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Spectacular Landing

The approach to land at Chagual Airport, Peru has been captured from the co-pilot’s seat in a spectacular video below.

Aircraft is a Beechcraft B200 twin-engine 13-passenger transport owned by Lima Peru based Aero Condor.

Chagual airport is located at an altitude of 1879m (6167ft) on a tiny piece of flat land in a river valley between the towering Andes Mountains.

Boeing 787-9 – first pictures

Boeing has completed painting the first 787-9 and it’s the first to sport Boeing’s new corporate livery.

The first 787-9 will eventually be delivered to launch customer Air New Zealand after the certification process.

With a 6.1m (20ft) stretch the 787-9 can carry 40 more passengers over the 787-8 and has a nominal seat count of 290 in three classes. It also has another 555km in range for 15,700km (8,500nm).

Boeing 787 program’s vice-president of aeroplane development, Mark Jenks, who has been with the 787 since its inception and has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the program, is very upbeat.

“There is no question that 787-9 production has benefited from the hard lessons of the 787-8,” Jenks told AirlineRatings.com. “The performance of the 787-9 has just been extremely steady.”

Amazingly, instead of gaining weight it has lost several hundred kilograms compared to its final configuration in 2010.

“So, again, given some of the struggles in the past on this program it’s been really very encouraging.”

In fact the 787-9 schedule reset two years ago has been maintained.

“This is much more in keeping with our tradition of doing airplanes,” adds Jenks. “There is very little – [almost none] – travelled work.”

Air New Zealand will get the first three examples, which are line numbers 126, 133 and 139. All Nippon Airways will take its first 787-9 after Air New Zealand with line number 146.

In May Boeing rolled out of the factory the first 787 to be built at the increased production rate of seven a month. The aircraft is the 114th 787 to be built overall and the 100th 787 to be built at the Everett, factory.

Boeing says the 787 program is on track to achieve a planned 10 per month rate by year-end. And the company is looking at ways to increase production.

The 787 is the most popular twin-aisle commercial aircraft ever launched with sales of over 930. 

Can large commercial planes fly upside down?

The hit movie Flight starring Denzel Washington as pilot Whip Whitaker continues to draw fans who are asking the same question. Can a commercial aircraft fly upside down?

In the movie, Captain Whitaker flips his twin-engine 150-seat MD-88 on its back to keep it flying longer to avoid crashing into a neighborhood before it makes a crash landing – right way up – in an empty field.

The scene, a Hollywood masterpiece of special effects, has people asking can an airliner fly upside down. The answer is yes for a “little” bit!

Unlike military fighters, commercial planes do not have the engine power for sustained inverted flight and rely on lift from the wings.

Boeing, which in 1997 merged with McDonnell Douglas, builders of the MD-88, was very clear when the movie was released: “The MD-80 series cannot sustain inverted flight. The MD-80, as with all commercial airliners, was designed to fly upright. Commercial airliners are only tested and certified for upright flight.”

However, one Boeing aircraft has flown upside down – twice!

It happened in August 1955.

During the 1955 International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting in Seattle, Boeing hosted airline chiefs at the Gold Cup power boat races at Lake Washington.

The highlight, before the power boat race was to be a fly-by of the “Dash-80” Boeing 707 prototype. But to impress the chiefs of the world’s airlines, Boeing’s legendary test pilot “Tex” Johnston put the Dash-80 into a 1G roll which, while not overstressing the airframe, gave Boeing’s then-President Bill Allen severe heart palpitations.

Not content with one roll, and in case any of the airline executives thought they were seeing things, Tex brought the Dash-80 around again and repeated the maneuver. The next day Tex quipped to Allen when asked about the barrel roll, “I was just selling airplanes.”

The famous barrel roll was made even more famous when commemorated on canvas by famous artist – and Airlineratings.com US Bureau Chief – Mike Machat

One Picture is worth thousands of dollars

Turkish Airlines’ in-flight magazine Skylife is holding an international photo competition entitled “Bridges and People” and the lucky winner receives tickets up to US$15,000. The idea behind the contest is simple: bridges unite people and Turkish Airlines doesn’t just connect continents, but civilizations and cultures as well. So the airline, which has one of the largest international networks, invites you to build bridges towards your own destinations.

The competition is open to all photographers, both amateur and professional, and photos have to visualize bridging the gap between people, cultures, and civilizations.

Or, as the airline describes:

Life is one long bridge,
Connecting to the opposite shore,
Reaching out a hand from one side to the other.
It is the uncertainty of waiting…and the assurance of reaching your goal.
It is reducing distances, resolving differences.
Bridges create a pattern, a flower, a friendly word…

Deadline is November 16, 2013.

Prizes for the Turkish Airlines’ Skylife photo contest include:

First Prize: Turkish Airlines’ flight ticket worth US$15,000
Second Prize: Turkish Airlines’ flight ticket worth US$6,000
Third Prize: Turkish Airlines’ flight ticket worth US$3,000

Winners will be able to use these tickets to travel to all destinations of Turkish Airlines.

Additionally, 80 photos which will be chosen by the jury, will be exhibited and the holders of these photos will be also awarded with a Turkish Airlines aircraft model.

Turkish Airlines has a 6/7 service and 6/7 safety rating from www.airlineratings.com.  Its network spans over 200 destinations in  some 100 countries.

 

Southwest Incident-latest

A scant three days after a Southwest Airlines jet from Nashville to New York was involved in a landing accident at New York LaGuardia the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says evidence indicates the nose-gear of the Boeing 737-700 may well have touched down first.

It’s not supposed to be that way. Tricycle-gear aircraft are supposed to land on their main gear, with the nose coming down after that.

In a prepared statement the NTSB says, “Evidence from video and other sources is consistent with the nose-gear making contact with the runway before the main landing gear.” 

That nose-gear collapsed backwards, causing the 737 to skid to a halt some 19 seconds later, and prompting an evacuation of Flight 345.  Revised figures indicate a handful of passengers and crew sustained minor injuries.

Key to the Safety Board’s factual findings is this bit of information: “at touchdown, the airspeed was approximately 133 knots and the aircraft was pitched down (AR’s added emphasis) approximately 3 degrees.” Four seconds prior to landing, at 32 feet above LaGuardia’s Runway 4, the NTSB says, “the airspeed was about 134 knots, and pitch attitude was about 2 degrees nose-up.”

Contacted by AirlineRatings.com, Beth Harbin, Southwest’s Senior Director of Communications, says the airline is cooperating fully with the Safety Board investigation of the accident.

More relevant evidence could come soon from Flight 345’s CVR. Friday July 26th a cockpit voice recorder group convenes at NNTSB laboratories in Washington, D.C. There they’ll “transcribe the relevant portion of the accident flight,” from that recording. The Safety Board says the recording itself is of “excellent quality.”

Back to the future?

Many would have seen the viral email showing Boeing’s 1000-passenger “new” 797 (see photo) and of course it is figment of some creative artist’s imagination – or is it?

In fact it’s not so funny and the idea has been around since 1910 when famous German aircraft design Hugo Junker patented a wing-only air transport concept.

This evolved in 1931 into the Junkers G38 34-seater airliner which featured a large thick wing providing accommodation for passengers (see photo).

The plane actually accommodated passengers in the nose, the short fuselage and the wing.

Through the 1930s and 1940s US, German and Russian designers studied the flying wing for a variety of roles with the promise of huge fuel savings and thus greater range.

In 1946 Northrop flew the YB-35 flying wing bomber (see photo) and in 1947 the jet powered YB-49 (see photo).

Movie buffs may recall that it was the YB-49 that delivered an attack on the alien machines in the original War of the Worlds.

At the time Northrop touted the passenger appeal of the YB-49 and produced a fim touting its virtues (see video below).

Later Northrop would build the B2 Spirit stealth bomber.  

Studies into the passenger potential of the flying wing continue and Boeing has indeed conducted both passenger trials in mockups and also built and flown scale models.

However one of the problems is passenger acceptance of what would be a picture theater styled cabin with up to 15 to 20 across the width with four or more aisles.

Thus some passengers would be seated well away from the centre of the aircraft’s axis and thus subject to significant movement up and down in turns with motion sickness implications.

Offsetting this are the significant benefits from the fuel economy of the flying wing which some estimate would burn up to 40 per cent less fuel than conventional aircraft.

Mile high same sex marriage – the hunt is on!

Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson will board an Air New Zealand domestic flight alongside a very lucky Kiwi couple to celebrate the first ever same sex marriage at 30,000 feet next month.

Same sex marriage becomes legal in New Zealand on Monday, August 19, and Air New Zealand is on the hunt for a special Kiwi couple to prove that love is truly in the air by tying the knot on a flight between Queenstown and Auckland.

New Zealand joins 14 other countries that have legalised same-sex marriage, affording full recognition and rights to couples. Other are other countries and states that recognise same-sex marriage but do not perform the ceremony.

Air New Zealand’s Head of Global Brand Development, Jodi Williams, says the airline expects to be inundated with couples wanting to have a unique wedding experience so they can demonstrate their love to the world.

“We expect this marriage at 30,000 feet to attract significant global media interest.  Naturally, the couple’s family and friends will want to be on hand for the special occasion so we have plenty of seats set aside for them.  Jesse Tyler Ferguson being present will make the day even more memorable,” said Ms Williams.

“Jesse has been deeply committed to campaigning for marriage equality and the fact that he is prepared to travel from the United States to be here demonstrates the historic nature of this event.” 

Jesse Tyler Fergusson said: “Justin and I are thrilled to be taking part in witnessing this historic moment for New Zealand! After launching ‘Tie The Knot’, our bow tie campaign for marriage equality in the U.S., it is clear that the journey towards marriage, both in the U.S. & beyond, means so much to us. We cannot wait to celebrate this joyous occasion with Air New Zealand!”

Kiwi couples keen to walk down the aisle on board the Air New Zealand flight are invited to visit www.flyingsocialnetwork.com and share their love story.  Entries close 26 July 2013

Ms Williams says the lucky winner will also get the honeymoon of a lifetime.

“We’re shouting them a honeymoon to Palm Springs in the United States.  It’ll be an amazing time there escaping the cold Kiwi winter.”

 

Ethiopian 787 fire – latest

Investigators from the United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch have ruled out the 787’s battery as the source of the fire that damaged an Ethiopian 787 at Heathrow Airport on Friday.

Attention is now focused on the plane’s galley and questions are being raised as to whether a galley oven or coffee machine was left on or if cleaners and maintenance staff may have left a smoldering cigarette on board.

The 787, while powered down, was plugged into a ground power unit but it is unclear if the power was switched on.

Paul Hayes, director of air safety at Ascend, a British aviation consulting firm told the Wall Street Journal that one plane is lost on the ground to an electrical fire every five years.

Mr. Hayes said that several incidents were suspected to have started after a cleaner or ground worker furtively smoked on a parked plane and then failed to fully extinguish the cigarette.

In a statement Boeing said: “We’re aware of the 787 event at Heathrow Airport and have Boeing personnel there. We’re working to fully understand and address this.”

Boeing has delivered 66 787s and has orders for 930 planes.

The 787 is crammed with innovations including more electric systems rather than the traditional pneumatic systems that do not rely on bleed air from the engines.

The 787 has in all six electrical power generators and these provide power to the plane’s electrical systems in flight, including the flight deck displays, flight controls and in-flight entertainment. The system is more efficient because it reduces the drag on the engines.

However, New York based Bernstein Research, one of the industry’s foremost analysts, says that the fire damage appears to be near the vertical stabilizer, on the left side of the top of the 787 and as such should have very little connection to electrical systems.

While it is unclear what the cause of the fire is Bernstein says that it believes that there is no connection between the fire and the battery issues of the past.

“Because it appears that the 787 fire is not related to the battery, we believe it is likely that this is a one-off problem that certainly must be addressed, but does not pose a risk to the overall program,” said Bernstein.

Ethiopian 787 fire – latest update

Investigators from the United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch have ruled out the 787’s battery as the source of the fire that damaged an Ethiopian 787 at Heathrow Airport on Friday.

Attention is now focused on the plane’s galley and questions are being raised as to whether a galley oven or coffee machine was left on or if cleaners and maintenance staff may have left a smoldering cigarette on board.

The 787, while powered down, was plugged into a ground power unit but it is unclear if the power was switched on.

The AAIB said that “at approximately 1550 hrs UTC on 12 July 2013 a Boeing 787-8 of Ethiopian Airlines, registration ET-AOP, suffered an event at London Heathrow whilst the aircraft was parked on stand, with no persons on board.”

The investigation team which includes representatives from all interested parties has initiated the technical investigation into the event.

The 787 is currently located in a hangar at London Heathrow.

The AAIB reports that “there has been extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage, a complex part of the aircraft, and the initial investigation is likely to take several days. However, it is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) batteries are located.”

Paul Hayes, director of air safety at Ascend, a British aviation consulting firm told the Wall Street Journal that one plane is lost on the ground to an electrical fire every five years.

Mr. Hayes said that several incidents were suspected to have started after a cleaner or ground worker furtively smoked on a parked plane and then failed to fully extinguish the cigarette.

In a statement Boeing said: “We’re aware of the 787 event at Heathrow Airport and have Boeing personnel there. We’re working to fully understand and address this.”

Boeing has delivered 66 787s and has orders for 930 planes.

The 787 is crammed with innovations including more electric systems rather than the traditional pneumatic systems that do not rely on bleed air from the engines.

The 787 has in all six electrical power generators and these provide power to the plane’s electrical systems in flight, including the flight deck displays, flight controls and in-flight entertainment. The system is more efficient because it reduces the drag on the engines.

However, New York based Bernstein Research, one of the industry’s foremost analysts, says that the fire damage appears to be near the vertical stabilizer, on the left side of the top of the 787 and as such should have very little connection to electrical systems.

While it is unclear what the cause of the fire is Bernstein says that it believes that there is no connection between the fire and the battery issues of the past.

“Because it appears that the 787 fire is not related to the battery, we believe it is likely that this is a one-off problem that certainly must be addressed, but does not pose a risk to the overall program,” said Bernstein

Asiana Airlines considers legal options

Asiana Airlines is considering legal action against both US TV channel KTVU-TV and the US crash investigator over a TV report that named four “bogus” pilots related to the crash of its 777 on Saturday July 6th.

The Oakland-based TV station apologized after it read out the bogus names, which phonetically spelled out phrases such as “Something Wrong” and “We Too Low.”

The National Transport Safety Board has also apologized saying: “The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6. Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident. Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.”

KTVU said: “Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

Interestingly the names were read out despite the official names being confirmed days earlier by both Asiana and the NTSB.

The two pilots flying the plane were: Lee Jeong Min and Lee Gang Guk.

Three passengers died and more than 180 were injured, 49 seriously, when the 777 came in too low and hit the airport’s runway sea wall.

 

 

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