Staying at the Airport Hotel – Budapest

On 30/08/2010, in On the go..., by admin

For long drives, nothing beats the Grand Voyager

Our latest business opportunities call for an increasing amount of travel, among them to Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is special in more ways than one, including the fact that it is my birth city and coming back even if for a short time is always a pleasure. Last week’s trip was a combined business/holiday affair and we drove “home” in the company Chrysler Grand Voyager. You may look on that car with a disapproving eye from an environmental point of view but in terms of comfort and the ease when you need to haul people and gear, it has no equal in its category.It was of course only natural that we should be staying at the Airport Hotel near Ferihegy. BluSky Services, my company, has a corporate arrangement with the hotel and so we get a great rate but even if you have to pay the normal price, you get excellent value for your money.

It was very late evening when I pulled into their spacious parking lot which has slots also for cars hauling a caravan or which are themselves longer than your usual passenger vehicle. Plenty of parking space there so you will never end up having to find a slot on the street even in the busiest months.

A welcome sight after the long drive...

Our room was also spacious and well appointed and there was no problem at all with finding space for our gear. The beds were very inviting but I know from experience that after having driven 13 hours it is best to take some time to relax before trying to sleep. We were also hungry so we went down to the restaurant that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter how late or how early you walk in there, a friendly crew and a full menu card awaits you. The kitchen is a nice combination of international and Hungarian and the food is excellent. Not at all the kind of characterless stuff so many hotels offer you at exorbitant prices. The Airport Hotel in Budapest serves you great food at moderate prices any hour of the day or night.

Click here to read the full article

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In search of Roger

On 27/08/2010, in Just to let you know..., by steve

Looking for Roger...

When I opened my mail this morning, there was an item with the greeting “Aloha”… As a big fan of the islands and a subscriber to Aloha Joe’s newsletter, I do occasionally get mail from Hawai’i but reading this email touched my heart like no other has in a long time.

The sender is the co-founder of Wings Over Hawaii, a non-profit organization based in Honolulu, with the mission of promoting aviation education in their schools, grades 5-12. This is a wonderful mission by any measure but there is more.

Marissa, the sender of the email, is planning to launch a web site and blog dedicated to finding Roger. So who is Roger?

Well, if you are a pilot or an air traffic controller, you will have invoked his name thousands of times to acknowledge a transmission on the radio. But Marissa believes that there is another side to Roger which has never been described in the ICAO books but which is nevertheless equally real to those who love aviation.

Roger is the spirit of the sky and the essence of flight. Pilots touched by Roger have that special twinkle in their eyes and their hearts on their wings. We all encounter Roger somewhere, some time.

But how did the name Roger assume the meaning: correct receipt of the transmission is acknowledged?

Click here to read the full article

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EASA Safety Review 2009 published

On 24/08/2010, in SKYbrary News, by steve

News from EUROCONTROL’s aviation safety knowledge base SKYbrary.

EASA has published its annual safety review for 2009. The report includes an analysis of accident data for light aircraft; although the data is incomplete, because several member states did not report, it gives further insight into the safety challenges facing general aviation. “Loss of control In-flight” continues to be the most frequent accident category for general aviation and aerial work operations.

Download the report here.

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Why airlines are reluctant to SWIM

On 20/08/2010, in SWIM, by steve

In the air traffic management context, System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is an accepted concept and in fact SWIM is considered as one of the most important mainstays of both SESAR in Europe and NextGen in the USA. SWIM attained this status through the widespread recognition that the lack of information and the poor management of available information was in fact one of the main causes of inefficiencies in air traffic management.

In the SWIM context aircraft and airline systems are as much part of the net-centric environment as are ATC systems and airports. In other words, information is universal and must be managed as such without artificial barriers separating the partners along legacy divisions based on activity types. It does not mean that everyone may see into everyone else’s kitchen. Commercial and other sensitivities are taken into account but required information is available to whoever needs it, where they need it and when they need it.

Only by going away from the legacy thinking of treating information divided into company domains and replacing it with an information-as-needed type of paradigm can the hunger for information in aviation be quenched. This will certainly cost money but the transition has to be made or the consequences can be dire.

In this light it is certainly cause for worry to read in the July 26 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology about the debate that took place recently at SITA’s Assembly in Genval, Belgium. There Edward Nicol, Cathay Pacific Airways’ director of information management, while acknowledging the legitimacy of the connected aircraft concept, argued that to date no supplier could provide a business case for such a system. As reported by Aviation Week, he went on to say that the implementation programs being promoted by the manufacturers do not fully recognize the practical difficulties of overhauling an airline’s legacy systems.

Unfortunately the report does not quote the position of airlines in the SESAR and NextGen sphere of influence but I am afraid that their view of the connected aircraft is probably rather similar. And therein lies the lethal trap.

Click here to read the full article

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The saga of Brussels Airlines flight SN 2908 continues

On 17/08/2010, in CDM, by steve

Our regular readers will remember that back in June I wrote a post about how the passengers and, apparently Vienna airport itself, was left in the dark about the comings and goings of SN 2908… Passengers were being boarded into the holding area when it was revealed that the flight would be an hour and a half late. You can read that story here.

One of my advance bookings is for the same flight in September and earlier this month Brussels Airlines sent a very nifty email informing me that the flight has been rescheduled and would now leave Vienna at 21.10 instead of the original 20.35. Since the flight was late most of the time anyway, this is nothing more than recognition of a fact of life but is a good move nevertheless. It will save a lot of frustration and aggravation, not to mention the improvement to SN’s on-time performance.

I did not get any reaction from Brussels Airlines to my original post and I would hate to appear pretentious by claiming that this rescheduling has anything to do with the article. It is probably just a coincidence… but a good one!

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Multilateration – Executive Reference Guide

On 13/08/2010, in Bookshelf, by steve

Multilateration (often shortened to MLAT) is a surveillance technology that promises to satisfy surveillance requirements in most circumstances and it is seen as the best option in the transition to ADS-B based surveillance. It is no accident that organizations around the globe are turning to this technology, not least because it offers a solution that is much less expensive than conventional radars.

ERA Corporation, one of the premier suppliers of MLAT solutions, is behind a new guide developed to provide an easy-to-read reference for air traffic management, airport and airline professionals to answer the numerous questions they usually have about multilateration.

It is a cute, compact volume which sums up things pretty nicely and even hardened veterans may find it useful when they need a quick fact or other reference for presentations or general papers. For others, it is a must have item.

Download your copy here.

There is also a web site dedicated to the subject, which you can access here. The site has a few rough edges but those will be ironed out in time I am sure.

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The rise and fall of an alien industrial spy

On 11/08/2010, in Environment - Without hot air, by cleo

As soon as teleporting was perfected for the military in a far corner of the galaxy, the first assignment for the new system was to send an agent to Earth to check out the source of incessant radio noise and strange video images alternately showing humans killing each other or pairing in strange ways often involving acrobatics that the far off aliens could not fathom. Mr. Fa’reye’s (a name quite impossible to pronounce for Earthlings) was selected as the agent for the mission. He was instructed to observe and provide a comprehensive report.

When Mr. Fa’reye’s arrived in Earth orbit, he was amazed to discover the incredible amount of junk that was floating around… his teleport capsule needed all of its computing power to dodge the obstacles. His first scan showed what he discovered were parliaments where people apparently went to discuss things which were subsequently mostly ignored by most other people. A lot of talk was about the environment and it seemed this was a subject that could actually make many of the two legged creatures in the parliaments quite passionate. They seemed to be saving their planet from some future catastrophe… They did not seem to realize that it was already happening. But, sure enough, they voted to spend a lot of money on future projects with doubtful outcome while very little if anything was being spent on mitigating the damage already being caused by their changing climate.

To Mr. Fa’reye’s’ amazement, people were also being duped by something they seemed to call hybrid cars which, apparently, they thought were not producing any harmful emissions. Power stations belching smoke as they produced the electricity for charging those hybrids were usually out of site and the people buying those cars did not seem to connect the smoke with their “emission free” vehicles.

On his last scan, he spotted a company making airplanes and what he discovered there was truly incredible on a world that seemed to be so hung up on protecting their environment.

Click here to read the full article

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When winglets turn green – Continental flies on bio-fuel

On 09/08/2010, in Environment - Without hot air, by steve

It is more than a year ago now, but on 7 January 2009 Continental Airlines was the first US airline to conduct a bio-fuel test flight with one of their Boeing 737-800s. One engine was running on a mixture of traditional jet fuel, algae and jatropha oil.

The 73 got a special paint job for the occasion, proclaiming the arrival of “eco-skies” on the side of the fuselage and winglets sporting a bright green color.

Continental was blasted by wary environmentalists for the extra paint job but they were reassured that the paint used was of the high solids kind and the surface treatment underneath was also of a modern, chromium-free type, both as environmentally friendly as they come.

N76516 had been spotted in its new livery all over the US but there is scant news on any follow up to this initial test.

Getting the new paint job

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HindSight – EUROCONTROL’s award winning safety magazine

On 05/08/2010, in Bookshelf, by steve

EUROCONTROL’s award winning safety magazine HindSight, appearingtwice a year has just published its 11th edition. It focuses on airspace infringements, a subject well known to all who fly or control aircraft.

Get the latest edition here.

You can order your free, printed copy here.

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“Say Again?” – A phraseology guide from EUROCONTROL

On 02/08/2010, in SKYbrary News, by steve

News from EUROCONTROL’s aviation safety knowledge base SKYbrary.

“Say Again?”, the Phraseology Guide developed by EUROCONTROL is now available online. This guide contains standard words and phrases as described in ICAO Annex 10, Volume 2 and ICAO Doc 4444. The objective of this online guide is to improve the use of standard phraseology by controllers and pilots. It explains the correct syntax, the context of use of phrases and words and provides spoken examples.

Check out the guide here.

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