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

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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

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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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The solution for the problem that didn’t exist

BAE Systems, in partnership with Quest International, look as if they have come up with a brilliant solution to a real problem – contaminated cabin air. But if you had asked BAE the day before the 15 September press conference that launched this new system (called AirManager) whether contaminated cabin air was a problem, they would have said it […]

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Peanuts, monkeys and pilots

The following is a US-flavoured comment, but thoughtful and illuminating. It’s penned by a senior US airline pilot who posts under the name Seaavi8tor, but he’s real alright. Some of you will know him and his views. You can read what he says here, but the following quote provides a flavour of his subject: “In terms […]

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Fatal distraction

Spanish investigators have just released more information about the Spanair MD82 take-off accident at Madrid Barajas in August last year. If you remember, the crew attempted take off having omitted to set the flaps, and there was no take-off configuration warning to alert them to their mistake. The aircraft was destroyed and almost all on board were […]

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Airbus automation: is enough enough?

Airbus is considering automating another pilot function when it introduces the A350. Highly automated aircraft include all the airline types rolling off all production lines today. But Airbus, a child of the digital age, is often tagged as being even more automated than Boeing. This perceived difference generates a lot of heat - but very little light – among […]

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