Dec 31, 2008

Pilot's unfortunate choice of words

This recent news story resulted from the Captain's poor choice of words in his announcement to his passengers. Usually when a flight is unable to land in poor weather, it is because the ceiling or visibility is below the required minimum value. This value varies according to many factors - pilot training and experience being just two of them. Others include the approach facilities installed in the aircraft, the runway electronic approach facilities (instrument landing system) in use, runway lighting system in use, wind conditions, runway conditions (ice or snow), even daytime versus nighttime in some cases.

The more "diplomatic" way for a Captain to announce that he is unable to land due to poor weather might be: "The weather in Paris has deteriorated below the required limit. We are diverting to our alternate airport, which in this case means we'll return to Cardiff."

Obviously when he left for Paris, the pilot figured he'd have the needed landing conditions. But hey, weather doesn't always "obey" the forecast. This pilot's use of tech-speak and jargon was unfortunate and caused needless concern to his passengers.

Interestingly, this BBC news report used more comprehensive language in their headline:
Rules stopped pilot's fog landing

Dec 23, 2008

Which Jet Shall I Use Today? Luxury on a budget...

Now here's an interesting idea. Air Stream Jets compiles a listing of charter jet positioning flights - where the aircraft is traveling to pick up a paying customer - and offers these empty leg flights at a very attractive price.

Now I haven't done all the math yet, but if I was moving an entire family, or group of friends or business colleagues and wanted to travel ultra-first-class on a budget, this would be an interesting option. Even if it was just for one part of the over-all trip it could be a nice 'perk' or a way of adding a little extra to the journey. Just by missing the huge lineups and delays at the main airline terminals (remember these biz-jets operate from small, deluxe business jet centers at a different place on the airport), it would be worth it!

As one example - a trip from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto is listed at just under $8,000. A mid-size jet carries 6 to 8 passengers, so that could be as little as $1,000 each. I'm not sure what the Business Class ticket on an airline costs by comparison - anyone know?

Well, it's a thought anyway. A chance to experience a little of how the automotive execs used to travel. And if that doesn't work for you, they also offer ride-sharing. It's an interesting way to utilize business jets and keep them flying, at least.

I'm not affiliated with this or any other such company - just think it's an interesting idea.

Dec 21, 2008

SST2 - Speedbird One: EGLL to KJFK

ICAO codes for London (Heathrow) to New York (Kennedy)

So, now that we're getting familiar with the Concorde flight deck, here's the next series of three videos. This is narrated by the Captain and gives insights into more of the technical details of flying Concorde:

Concorde Take Off

Concorde Acceleration 0.90 mach to 1.7 mach

Concorde Descend and Landing

SST1 - Speedbird 189: EGLL to KIAD

ICAO codes for London (Heathrow) to Washington (Dulles)

After finding that excellent series of Virgin 747 flight deck videos, I went looking for more. I was pleased to find two starring the Concorde. If there is one aircraft I'd love to fly before I lay down my wings, this would be it. But I guess there's not much chance of that now.

This first series is produced by the BBC and is obviously intended for a more general audience. The second series which I'll post next, contains slightly more detailed descriptions of flight deck procedures.

BBC TV Concorde special. Part one

BBC TV Concorde special. Part Two

BBC TV Concorde special. Part Three. Flight Engineers Panel

BBC TV Concorde special. Part Four. 12,000hr service

BBC TV Concorde special. Part Five. Descent & Landing

Dec 17, 2008

Virgin Nineteen EGLL to KSFO

This series of videos by Virgin Atlantic illustrates nicely the teamwork required in an airliner flight deck. So, fasten your seat belt while we prepare for departure:







Dec 7, 2008

All the news that's fit to fly...

While searching the net this morning I found the Aero News Network. What a great spot for catching the news of the aviation and aerospace industries. Whether you prefer reading, listening to viewing your news, you'll find it here.

For the record, I am in no way associated with ANN. I'm just happy to pass on their coordinates. And to replay their podcast sign-off line: "Have a clear and unlimited day!"

Dec 4, 2008

The Pilot: a TAC.TV exclusive!

A while back I linked you to an online site called Tetes-a-Claque and their animated story of an ill-fated flight crew. Despite my best attempt to provide a translation, it loses a lot if you don't actually understand the language. Well, now I'm happy to report that this and several other episodes of these whacky skits have been translated to English.

I've provided direct links to the three consequtive chapters in this story. Click and Enjoy!

Dec 2, 2008

Damned if they do, damned if they don't...

Pity the poor corporate pilots flying exec jets for the big three North American auto makers. If their companies don't survive, these pilots are out of a job. And if their companies do survive, they are still out of a job. Especially if their companies go 'on the dole' with the American taxpayers:

click here for the article about the proposed bailouts...

And, as if to add insult to injury, Japanese auto giant Honda (and others) continue with plans to produce their own business jets.