About David Learmount

Author Archive | David Learmount

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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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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Why Sully succeeds

If you read Capt Chesley Sullenberger’s just-published book “Highest Duty”, you will understand that the success of his Hudson River ditching was no fluke. Sullenberger is a thoughtful man. Everything he does is considered. He identifies objectives and works resolutely toward them, checking his progress as he goes. It’s the way he approaches life and flying. If […]

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Toxic cabin air appeal: has your health been affected?

This blog has, several times, addressed the subject of the contamination of bleed air supplied to aircraft cabins by toxic organophosphates. Now Susan Michaelis, already the author of the Contaminated Air Reference Manual, is appealing for those who have suffered – or believe they have done – from illness related to cabin air contamination, to get in touch […]

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Helicopters can escape their niche

Safety has been – and still is – a problem for helicopters. It may be the roles they perform as much as their inherent instability and mechanical complexity, but those factors are beginning to sound like excuses for not changing anything. Actually, helicopters don’t have to continue to be the poor relations of fixed-wing aircraft, with safety worries consigning […]

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Pilot fatigue: the invisible killer is paraded for all to see

Pilots are conducting a day of action to draw attention to their concern that a scientific study saying European flight time limitations (FTL) regulations are unsafe may be ignored. The European Cockpit Association says the report, commissioned by the European Aviation Safety Agency, proves that existing regulations, at their extremes, are actually dangerous because of the length of duty periods that […]

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