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Author Archive | David Learmount


The ATC changes the pilots never noticed

Pilots using UK airspace would not have realised this at the time, but during the last seven years the oh-so-cool air traffic controllers they have been talking to at “London”, “Scottish”, and “Shanwick” have all moved their workplaces - and many of them their homes. The UK’s main air navigation service provider NATS, formerly National Air Traffic Services, had the task of […]

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IATA admits pilot training isn’t working

“Pilot handling was a contributory factor in 30% of airline accidents globally in 2009, according to the International Air Transport Association analysis of accident rates for the period. “IATA has never delivered a verdict like this before, previously citing more all-embracing human factor descriptions such as ‘pilot error’, which includes judgement and procedures.” That’s what […]

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G-YMMM: could the crew have done any more?

After an accident, pilots always discuss whether a crew could have done more even if they appear to have done a good job. It’s not usually vicious or critical, it normally feels more like pilots experimenting with ideas about how they might handle a situation like it if they were to meet one themselves.   The crew of flight […]

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Nailing the Concorde “criminals”

Today in Pontoise, north of Paris, the French judiciary began to examine who, if anyone, was criminally guilty of causing the Air France Concorde crash. There is no obligation under French law to launch a criminal prosecution following an aviation accident. An accident could be presumed to be just that: an unintended, unforseen occurrence. This […]

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The curse of the flight director

Despite all the recent talk in this blog, at the FAA, at Airbus, and now at US ALPA about loss of piloting skills as a result of operating with high levels of automation for a long time, there is a danger that some people are getting confused between the loss of hand-flying skills and the loss […]

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Another one in the sea at night

With the loss of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 offshore from Beirut on 25 January, the phenomenon of fundamentally serviceable aircraft – and all their passengers – being lost over the sea at night is becoming frightening. I have put this issue under the spotlight before. Here’s a list of the main airline losses in this category since 2000. There […]

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What is “piloting best practice” these days?

If you are on the ops side of an airline or fractional ownership fleet, and you want to find out what currently constitutes piloting best practice, we can still take last minute bookings for Flight International’s Crew Management Conference in London staring 0900 on Monday next week. Pilot Best Practice, the theme for the CMC this year, is not […]

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A400M iron bird_copyright Airbus.JPG

Will the A400M fly, then?

  The A400M’s first all-engine, on-wing engine-run    Now here’s a real aeroplane. It has propellers. And yes, it will fly because we need this machine. At present there’s no military airlifter between the C-130 and the C-17 unless you are in the USAF. The maiden flight is programmed some time before the end of […]

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How to burn 18.4% less fuel and live. Really.

Courtesy of Oxford Aviation Academy and SAS at OAA’s Stockholm base, I have just flown an A320 twice from Gothenburg to Copenhagen, with identical weights in identical conditions both times. But, by adopting a few modified procedures the second time, we used 18.4% less fuel. Don’t try all these tricks on your next trip without having a […]

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Opening cabin doors onto the Hudson River

It was Capt Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles that put the US Airways Airbus A320 safely down on the Hudson River, but it was the cabin crew that faced the job of getting the passengers out. I spoke to two of Sullenberger’s cabin crew, Donna Dent and Sheila Dail, at the Guildhall in the […]

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