Tag-Archive for » civil aviation «

Better to be lucky than good; though it helps enormously if you’re both

Have a look at this Tu-154B-2 being flown after 10 years in storage. The aircraft is suffering from limited aileron authority (but a fully functional rudder), which induces a classic case of Dutch roll. Somehow the pilot manages to put her on the ground and not kill himself in the process. Camera work leaves a little to be desired, though.

First video features a flypast of the crippled airliner, showing the roll oscillations.

Second video has the approach and landing from the 1:30 mark, but the flare and touchdown are obscured by trees.

Here’s a pic snagged from a Russian forum showing the aircraft just before flare and touchdown. Doesn’t look too promising, but at least it ended well.

Category: Aeronautics  Tags:  Comments off

Time is the longest distance between two places

A Qantas aircrew (and passengers) rediscover the old axiom that it’s better to be lucky than good.  Though it helps if you have an ample supply of both.

LEAKING water knocked out electricity to a number of systems during a Qantas 747’s flight to Bangkok, forcing the crew to land using limited battery power in a race against the clock.

…As a result of the leak many of the aircraft‘s communication, navigation, monitoring and warning, and flight guidance systems were affected.

Had the event occurred more than 30 minutes flying time from the nearest suitable airport, or if there had been a delay prior to landing, numerous flight-critical systems would have become unavailable, placing the flight at “considerable” risk, air safety investigators warned.

— Schneider, Kate.  “Qantas jet’s ‘lucky escape’ after water leak.”  News.com.au, 13 December 2010.

The plane had a 30-minute battery reserve powering the avionics bay, and they landed having used 21 minutes of it.

Category: Aeronautics  Tags: , , ,  Comments off

GE Aviation: Paths of Flight

Via the Ghost of a flea, a short but fascinating video illustrating the complex aerial ballet that is modern air navigation.

GE Aviation designs engines, flight paths, and advanced aircraft systems. And we wanted to share the intricate choreography of flying in all its glory. So we captured all the take-offs and landings that happen over the course of one day and combined them into one short film. Watch, and see the hidden beauty of flight reveal itself.

More details—including a “making of” video—at the GE Show site.

Category: Aeronautics  Tags: ,  Comments off

Air Canada dissassembled dying boy’s wheelchair to ship it, but can’t put it back together

Air Canada found itself in the eye of Twitter storm Thursday after breaking a terminally ill boy’s $15,000 wheelchair on a flight to New York City.

Tanner Bawn, 10, of Vancouver, has muscular dystrophy and is immobile without the electric wheelchair.

…Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline took the chair apart for shipping and couldn’t put it back together again.

He said Air Canada has sent the wheelchair out for repair but doesn’t know when it will be fixed.

— Dempsey, Ann.  “Air Canada breaks dying boy’s wheelchair.” Toronto Star, 5 August 2010.

Smooth, fellas; way to gin up some positive PR for the airline.

I’m a little unclear as to why the wheelchair had to be disassembled for shipping.  If the intact article won’t fit inside one of the standard LD2 or LD3 ULD containers, jam it into a larger one and increase the price accordingly.  If it can’t be accommodated on the airframe coded for that flight, then either 1) refund their money and give your regrets, 2) tell them it will arrive on a later flight with a more capacious airframe, or 3) suggest they ship it FedEx or UPS directly to the hotel at the destination.

You don’t really want to be in the business of disassembling customer goods and then having to reassemble them at point of arrival (and all of this sans original assembly instructions).  It’s an invitation to create hassles.

UPDATE: According to a family friend quoted by ABC News, it looks like the decision to dismantle the wheelchair was an ad-hoc one made on the ramp.

NICE SAVE: Mapleflot has offered to fulfill young Tanner’s number-one wish to visit Disney World with his cousins. Hopefully they’ll avoid breaking his wheelchair on that trip.

Category: Culpae Poenae Par Esto  Tags: ,  Comments off

Bitchin’ Betty is a real, live person

Who knew? I thought the aircraft manufacturers just used a more refined version of the comical text-to-speech junk bundled with every modern operating system.

Apparently this woman is the voice of the CAWS (Central Aural Warning System) on the MD10, B717, C-17 and C-130J. Here’s a video of a C-17 landing at Joint Base Andrews, where you can hear her in action.

RELATED: Airbus aircraft use a male voice that sounds a little more like an actual human being, but it prompts the pilot to engage reverse thrust by hollering “Retard, Retard” during the landing roll.  It makes me chuckle.

Category: Aeronautics  Tags: ,  Comments off

Charles Lindbergh arrives at Paris/Le Bourget, May 21st, 1927

Crowd at Le Bourget airport greeting arrival of American aviator Charles Lindbergh after his touchdown to historic solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 21st, 1927. (Time/Life)

Crowd atop building at Le Bourget airport awaiting arrival of American aviator Charles Lindbergh for the touchdown of his solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 21st, 1927. (Time/Life)

(Left to right) American aviator Charles Lindbergh, British aviator Sir Alan Cobham and American Ambassador Myron T. Herrick, at window of the French Aero Club where Lindbergh received its gold medal for his transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 1927. (Time/Life)

Frenchmen standing guard beside American aviator Charles Lindbergh's plane "Spirit of St. Louis" to protect it from souvenir hunters in wake of historic solo transatlantic flight. Paris, France. May 22nd, 1927. (Time/Life)

American aviator Charles Lindbergh's plane "Spirit of St. Louis" in a hanger at La Bourget airport to protect it from souvenir hunters in wake of historic solo transatlantic flight. (Note: Holes along side of plane were made by souvenir hunters.) Paris, France. May 22nd, 1927. (Time/Life)

RELATED: An amusing anecdote regarding the American ambassador’s hero-worship, and the rather more down-to-earth King George V, from Leonard Mosley’s Lindbergh: A Biography.

His most perfervid admirer was Ambassador [Myron] Herrick, for whom Charles Lindbergh had become almost a winged god brought temporarily to earth.

“I am not a religious man,” he said, shortly after Lindbergh’s arrival, “but I believe there are certain things that happen in life that can only be described as interpretation of a Divine Act… Lindbergh brought you the spirit of America in a manner in which it could never be brought in a diplomatic sack.”

Not quite so extravagant was King George V of England, but he told his courtiers that Lindbergh was “quite a feller.”  When the flier had been rescued from the hysterical crowds which greeted him at Croydon Airport on his arrival in Britain, he was taken to the American embassy and told that the King wanted to receive him in audience.  The American envoy, Ambassador Alanson Houghton, happened to be on vacation and his place was taken by the chargé d’affaires who was, Lindbergh recalled later, “a boiled shirt who was rather in a state because I was in an ordinary business suit and had no frock coat” in which to be received by the King.

In the car on the way to Buckingham Palace, the chargé kept nervously instructing Lindbergh in court protocol, how and when he was to bow, and above all else when he was to walk backward.

“He got me kind o’ scared by the time we arrived,” Lindbergh said later.  “And there at the door was a lord who said that the King wanted to see me alone.  So I was taken into his room and I remembered to bow and we sat down.”

The young flier and the aging King-Emperor sat facing each other for an awkward moment, and then the monarch leaned forward.

“Now tell me, Captain Lindbergh,” he said.  “There is one thing I long to know.  How did you pee?”

It was a question which, Lindbergh said later, “sort of put me at my ease.”

“Well, you see, sir,” he said, “I had a sort of aluminum container.  I dropped the thing when I was over France.  I was not going to be caught with the thing on me at Le Bourget.”

— Mosley, Leonard. Lindbergh: A Biography.  New York: Doubleday, 1976.

Category: Aeronautics, Historica  Tags: ,  Comments off