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Author Archive | David Learmount

What’s gonna hit the airlines next

As  if we needed to be told, things are changing and the outlook is bleak. But bleak like what? Thales, which held a big party to launch its new RealitySeven flight simulator range and announce its re-entry into the provision of training support services on 19 February, gathered a massive breadth of global air transport expertise at […]

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Colgan 3407, icing, and turboprops

Early information released by the US National Transportation Safety Board about the Colgan Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 that crashed on approach to Buffalo on 12 February made it look as if the agency had more or less decided that icing was the cause. This is definitely no longer so. Icing now looks like just one factor – maybe […]

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Which way is up for Eastern and Western artificial horizons?

An Aeroflot-Nord pilot flying a Western-built aircraft – a Boeing 737-500 crashed on approach to Perm, Russia, last year because of disorientation. The official report says the accident was at least partly caused by the fact that the Western and Russian artificial horizons (AH) – alternatively known as attitude director indicators (ADI) – work on a completely different psychology. This captain had spent most of his […]

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The toxic subject that won’t die

Two television stations, one German and one Swiss, have begun their own investigation in the face of consistent denials by airlines that passengers and crew are routinely exposed to neurotoxins, and have proved that it is true. I have blogged about this before. And we have investigated the subject ourselves and found it to be […]

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Michael O

Revealed: How to run an airline

Somebody has noticed that all is not well in the world of airlines, and has deduced that good management practises might help. They’ve written a book about it. Is it just me, or is there is an insidious implication here that most airlines are badly managed? The main theme, I gather from the blurb, is that […]

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Ditching as an informed choice

This week’s Comment page in Flight International – When water is the best option – muses on whether the US National Transportation Safety Board’s inquiry into the Hudson River ditching could provide simulator manufacturers with enough hard information to enable them to simulate ditchings for pilot training purposes. If that were possible, it might add […]

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Prima donna passengers versus punctuality

Yesterday I boarded an EasyJet flight out of Cologne for London Gatwick. We pushed back 17min early and arrived 40min early. Pushback as early as that is a record for me. I was left to reflect on how this was achievable. Clearly the airline had all its operational ducks in a row, but the final decider […]

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How ditching should be done

Ditching is always a high risk option, but this US Airways A320 crew made the right decision under the prevailing circumstances. They then showed the world how ditching should really be done. They reminded us that this exercise can be completely survivable, given piloting skill and the right weather and visibility conditions. Pilots are informed […]

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Piloting is going blue-collar

At a time when being an airline pilot is as demanding as it has ever been, the image of the job is going down the tubes. Among the biggest culprits are a number of the world’s most influential pilot associations, including the British BALPA, America’s ALPA, and France’s SNPL, but pilot mass wingeing on global flightcrew forums doesn’t […]

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‘Women pilots are best for modern airlines’

Airlines are looking for the right personality in their trainee pilots, and women are more likely to have it than men. Don’t take it from me. This is from Europe’s largest pilot training organisation, the Oxford Aviation Academy. OAA’s group managing director for ab-initio training, Anthony Petteford, says: “Many of the skills needed now are things […]

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