The death of the aerodrome control tower

Do air traffic controllers really need to look out of the window in a control tower to manage traffic at an airport? That’s a question UK air navigation service provider NATS is now asking in a recent blog post. The company knows it can’t ignore the advances in remote tower technology that are already available, and […]

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Analyst calls for UK politicians to declare airport support

As the Airport Commission approaches its conclusions and a general election looms, the City of London wants political party leaders to declare their hand now on airports policy in the new government. James Stamp, KPMG’s head of transport puts it particularly clearly: “We welcome the progress being made by the Airports Commission. However, we believe […]

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Holiday flight guide to hijacks, intercepts and bomb threats

Qatar Airways flight QR23 from Doha to Manchester, UK was just an ordinary flight until it was quite close to its destination. At that point the window passengers in the Airbus A330 noticed that the flight had been intercepted by an RAF Typhoon fighter. It was shadowing them in loose formation. QR23′s crew had been […]

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Tally-ho! – the QR23 live media event

The Qatar Airways flight QR23 airborne show at Manchester, UK yesterday was a gift for the 24h news media. It was exciting, continued for several hours, and no-one got hurt. The A330 was intercepted by an RAF Typhoon fighter during its approach to Manchester airport after the skipper told ATC there had been a bomb […]

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Toxic cabin air: will the industry act now?

British Airways may be centre stage for this week’s report on a case of pilot and cabin crew terminal illness, but cabin air contamination is an industry-wide problem and not related to a specific airline or aircraft type. As more and more pilots and cabin crew come forward with manifestations of organophosphate-induced neurotoxicity (OPIN), it […]

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Just an ordinary accident?

I never thought I’d be relieved to hear that an airline accident was probably an “ordinary” one. But after the trauma (no, it is not too strong a word) of Malaysia Airlines’ double misfortune, early information about the Air Algerie/Swiftair Boeing MD-83 indicates its crash cause is likely to be related to bad weather at […]

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Lessons from MH17

UPDATED: 25 July 2014 at 16:41 GMT   The loss of flight MH17 is not about Malaysia ­Airlines. It’s a particularly cruel irony that this carrier has lost a second Boeing 777 with everybody on board – again apparently through no fault of its own. If this disaster is confirmed as the unintentional shoot-down it […]

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Volcanic ash? No longer a problem…

It looks as if pilots will soon be able to weave between patches of atmospheric volcanic ash as they can weave around ordinary visible clouds. Israel-based Elbit Systems and Norwegian company Nicarnica Aviation  have agreed to integrate sensor data from a volcanic ash cloud detector system into a cockpit enhanced vision display. Engineering director of […]

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Where’s the safety incentive when accidents don’t happen?

Global airline accident statistics for the first six months of this year are staggeringly good – if you don’t include MH370. And for the purposes of this argument I am not including it. MH370 is missing, no trace of the aircraft or the 239 people on board has been found so far, and the official […]

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Lateral thinking for simulators

Professional pilots know well that full flight simulators are excellent places to learn procedures, systems, crew resource management, and how to make the best use of your flight management system/autopilot/autothrottle. But you can’t learn to fly manually  in them, no matter how good the visual systems and how faithful the cockpit model. They just don’t […]

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