Jun 29, 2008

B 787 Milestone

This recent article reveals how carefully a new aircraft design is tested - one small step at a time. I'm sure that much of the caution arises from the fact that an electrical fire damaging or destroying the one and only completed (to this point) airframe, would be a disaster of immense proportions to the program and the entire company.

Also of note is the fact that this will be the first airliner (that I'm aware of) that dispenses with most of the pneumatic bleed system, using electrically-driven systems instead. This link is a description of why and how they plan to do that

Boeing achieved full power-on for its first 787 two weeks ahead of schedule, a significant milestone as the company seeks to restore a reputation tarnished by a trio of delays to the aircraft's first flight.

The power-on process started June 12 and brings electrical power onto the airplane in stages. The complexity of that process is increased by the fact that on the 787 the pneumatic (bleed air) system is replaced totally by electronics.

Boeing first applied power to verify that wiring had been connected properly. After the completion of those checks, engineers plugged in an external power cart and slowly began to bring full power into each segment of the system, beginning with the flight deck displays. From that point, the pilot's controls were used to direct the addition of new systems to the power grid.

The next significant step will be moving ship one onto the flight line at Everett, followed by engine testing and then taxi trials. First flight is expected in the fourth quarter, with the end of October the target for seasoned program observers. (Source: Air Transport World)

Jun 28, 2008

Exit program at US airports? Wot the...?

I haven't heard of this proposal before. Does anyone know what's behind it? What is it supposed to accomplish? Why would I, as a Canadian Citizen, accept being finger-printed upon DEPARTURE from the USA? But only at airports, not if I drive out? And why at departure? Nothing in such a proposal makes any sense to me -- can anyone explain?

IATA and US Air Transport Assn. strongly objected to a US Dept. of Homeland Security proposed rule that would establish an "exit" program at US airports requiring airlines to fund and manage the collection of fingerprints from non-US citizens departing the country.

Jun 21, 2008

Evening Glassair Arrival

I enjoy the end of a summer's day at a small airport. The day's heat dissipates and the air calms and begins to freshen up as the sun sets lower in the sky. The birds start chirping and there's a lazy sense that all is right with the world.

Local pilots make their way back to the nest and who knows what you might see - like this recently-minted Glassair returning from a test flight. What a beauty.

Jun 5, 2008

Flying Movies..

So, ever had a check flight that went so wrong?!!

I enjoy Ernest Gann's autobiographical writings, but his novels were a little melodramatic, and the movies made from them are even more so. As much a reflection of the 50's as anything, I guess. But pretty darn funny today:

And this: