Mar 26, 2012

Hi Jacker Hacker?

Some new 'widgets' are being proposed to prevent hijacking....

Of course the one greatest vulnerability of this system might be the ability of a "hi jacker hacker" (I think I just coined a new term!?:), to break into the system itself and take over the aircraft electronically!


A new autopilot will make another 9/11 impossible.

How 'Autoland' will work.

A hijack-proof piloting system for airliners is being developed to prevent terrorists repeating the 9/11 outrages.

The mechanism is designed to make it impossible to crash the aircraft into air or land targets - and enable the plane to be flown by remote control from the ground in the event of an emergency.

Scientists at aircraft giant Boeing are testing the tamper-proof autopilot system which uses state-of-the-art computer and satellite technology.It will be activated by the pilot flicking a simple switch or by pressure sensors fitted to the cockpit door that will respond to any excessive force as terrorists try to break into the flight deck.

Once triggered, no one on board will be able to deactivate the system.

Currently, all autopilots are manually switched on and off at the discretion of pilots.

The so-called 'uninterruptible autopilot system' - patented secretly by Boeing in the US last week - will connect ground controllers and security services with the aircraft using radio waves and global satellite positioning systems.After it has been activated, the aircraft will be capable of remote digital control from the ground, enabling operators to fly it like a sophisticated model plane, maneuvering it vertically and laterally.

A threatened airliner could be flown to a secure military base or a commercial airport, where it would touch down using existing landing aids known as 'Autoland function'.After it had landed, the aircraft's built-in auto brake would bring the plane safely to a halt on the runway.

Boeing insiders say the new anti-hijack kit could be fitted to airliners all over the world, including those in the UK, within the next three years.

The latest move to combat airline terrorists follows The Mail on Sunday's disclosure three weeks ago that scientists in Britain and Germany are developing a passenger-monitoring device.

This will use tiny cameras linked to specialist computers to record every twitch, blink, facial expression or suspicious movement made on board flights in order to identify potential terrorists.

A Boeing spokesman said : "We are constantly studying ways we can enhance the safety, security and efficiency of the world's airline fleet.

"There is a need in the industry for a technique that conclusively prevents unauthorized persons gaining access to the controls and threatening the safety of passengers.

"Once this system is initiated, no one on board is capable of controlling the flight, making it useless for anyone to threaten violence in order to gain control."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Jan 23, 2012

When Blogs Collide!

(Sometimes my aviation-related blog can't help but intertwine with my faith-related one. Today's such a day. Thanks for your indulgence ...)

This video is an especially good reminder that computers do not fly aircraft. Computers can of course, be used to guide an aircraft along a pre-programmed pathway that was selected and authorized by a human being, provided the computer's progress is continually monitored and corrected by a human being. But computers do not fly.

No computer built today can instantly reassess it's three dimensional situation and quickly make the appropriate corrections to a flight path and adjust to the demands of changing conditions, just by "looking out the window."

Computers are unable to continually assess the thousands of different questions that a pilot works through routinely on every flight, such as: "How much turbulence will there be? How much ice will there be in those clouds? What is that snow squall doing as it sweeps across the runway? Just how bad will the traction be during the landing and taxi into the terminal?" - to mention only a very few.

No computer can rapidly absorb thousands of bits of information from myriad sources and then assess the situational changes occurring each moment, adding in the lessons gleaned from previous experience and training which was oft-times adapted from unrelated events, then take the appropriate action.

As wonderful as they are, no silicone-based computer can match the abilities of a well-trained, well-motivated "carbon-based-unit" called a pilot. Most importantly of all, only human-pilots actually care whether they live or die!

I pass this video along as a reminder of just how awesome human beings are to have invented such great tools as Airbuses and computers, and to use them so creatively...

And maybe, just maybe, as we wonder at the amazing things humans are able to create, we'll pause to wonder - Just how is it that we-the-carbon-based-units came to be?

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Aug 29, 2011

PBY / CANSO at the new home

Brent Mayes sent these photos of the PBY / CANSO:

Bldg behind white truck is home of Spruce Goose

I see the props (and engines?) are removed. These were rented from Victoria Air Maintenance's aircraft. From what I saw of the aircraft when it was parked in Nanaimo, the original engines will need a lot of work to get them up to standards.

Thanks Brent!

Aug 24, 2011

United Airlines Launches Paperless Flight Deck With iPad


CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and deploying 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. The electronic flight bags (EFB) replace paper flight manuals, and as a first for major network carriers, provide pilots with paperless aeronautical navigational charts through an iPad app. Distribution of iPads began earlier this month, and all pilots will have them by year end.


"The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying," said Captain Fred Abbott, United's senior vice president of flight operations. "The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight."


Jul 18, 2011

Classic old bird on the move...

The old Canso/PBY flying boat that's become such a visible landmark on the Nanaimo airport, is soon to be moved to a new home at the Evergreen Aviation and Space museum in Oregon. It'll be a unique opportunity to see (and hear) this classic old radial-engine powered aircraft fly again.

The earliest it might leave is tomorrow, Tuesday July 19th ... but a lot depends upon weather and any ongoing maintenance issues... Victoria Air Maintenance might have more up-to-date information about the plans as I think they are doing the work.

Here's a short video of the engine start up last week:

Jul 7, 2011

iPads and Pilots

FAA approves use of iPads by pilots for charts and maps

Alaska waving 'Bye, Bye' to flight bags with iPads for pilots

Alaska Airlines has become the first US domestic airline to announce plans to issue Apple iPads to all its pilots for use as Class 1 portable, kneeboard electronic flight bags (EFBs), following a successful trial.

The 1.5lb iPads, which replace up to 25lb of paper flight manuals, contain an app called GoodReader that is loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials.
Each Alaska pilot should have received his or her new iPad by mid-June.

In conjunction with replacing paper manuals, Alaska is exploring the replacement of paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad, eliminating the need for every pilot to carry their own copy.

The two initiatives, dubbed "Bye, Bye, Flight Bag," will save about 2.4 million pieces of paper, according to the carrier.

Some other airlines are now following this imitative.