Tag Archives | Cat IIIB

Flying backwards

In 1968 a Hawker Siddeley Trident was certificated to fly a category II autoland, permitting landing in fog with some forward visibility. By 1975 it had been cleared for category IIIB, which means it could land completely blind, and the exercise was only limited by the fact that the pilot needed sufficient visibility to taxi […]

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The sleepy pit stop

Commercial aviation has been slowly re-inventing itself since deregulation began in the USA in 1978, and a little later America began exporting what it called open skies agreements – a kind of buddy-buddy liberalisation rendered harmless by the straitjacket of a bilateral treaty . Things have moved on, but not far, and not throughout the […]

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It can’t be that bad: BA is recruiting again

The last time British Airways offered wannabe pilots the chance to train for a job with the company was before 9/11. Between now and 2016, says BA head of recruitment Robin Glover, the airline needs 800 new pilots, about half of which will be newly trained. The balance will come from other carriers and the military. […]

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The really big market for professional pilots

Airlines may not be hiring pilots at the moment, but the market will recover. Won’t it? Yes it will. Definitely. One of the first sectors to get moving when the economy revives – always – is air transport. But will new airline pilots get a lifetime career out of flying? Maybe not quite in the way they first thought. Especially […]

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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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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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Ryanair’s route via Rome to Damascus

Strange and wonderful things are happening.   Ryanair is saying nice things about its pilots (some of). Has the company’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, been walking the road to Damascus recently?   Thinking back to O’Leary quotations about his pilot workforce only about three years ago, adjectives like “overpaid” were juxtaposed with words like “wingeing” and “workshy”. […]

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Ryanair’s Ciampino birdstrike

Within about an hour of the Monday 10 November overrun at Rome Ciampino, the airline put out a statement that the Boeing 737-800 had suffered a multiple birdstrike on approach. It certainly did. The gory evidence that the aircraft hit a flock of birds is all over the nose cone and wing leading edges. Birdstrike alone is not an explanation of  the […]

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Air scares

So Qantas had a sudden decompression a few weeks ago, and now a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 has just suffered one. Sudden decompression is one of the two types of event that can occur on any passenger flight that are certain to scare the hell out of almost anybody on board, even though they normally contain little or […]

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