HungaroControl’s New Air Traffic Control Center Building Commissioned Today

On 30/08/2012, in ATC world, by steve

ANS III to go live in February next year

HungaroControl’s new air traffic control center building, commissioned on 30 August 2012, marks a new important milestone of ANS III, the complex development plan for the Hungarian air navigation service provider. After installing the software, moving into the new facility, and completing a successful pilot operation, Hungarian air traffic controllers will control the airspace from the new hi-tech air navigation center.

As part of its ANS III complex development plan, HungaroControl Plc. is establishing a new high-tech air traffic control center in Budapest, Hungary. The purpose of the investment is to extend the existing capacities of the Hungarian air traffic control and maintain its high level of efficiency, technological standards and reliability in line with the EU’s integration plans and performance objectives. Built with EU funding of EUR 6 million in the framework of the TEN-T (Trans European Network – Transport) plan, the new air traffic control center has a total floor space of close to 10,000 square meters on three levels.

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Drone pilots… watch this video to see how they work

On 28/08/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

Look at this video. These controllers are in Nevada and are each flying a  drone thousands of miles away in the combat zone in Iraq and  Afghanistan .
Their left hand is on the throttle controlling the drone’s engine.  Note all the buttons which perform various tasks without removing the
hand from the throttle.  The right hand is flying the plane.

Welcome to the new world order. This is modern warfare. This is what is behind the headline: ‘Missiles fired from Nevada-controlled drone  aircraft kill Taliban leader’. Watch how it’s done. Words fail to do this justice.

The nicest bit? Fewer of our sons and daughters need to go into harm’s way!


FAA Announces Plans for Industry Working Group to Study Portable Electronics Usage

On 28/08/2012, in Safety is no accident, by steve

Given the widespread consumer use of portable electronic devices (PEDs), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is forming a government-industry group to study the current PED policies and procedures aircraft operators use to determine when these devices can be used safely during flight. Current FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from PEDs are not a flight safety risk before the operator authorizes them for use during certain phases of flight.

“With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight.”

The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA. The group will not consider the airborne use of cell phones for voice communications during flight.

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Cleaner, meaner and flies farther…

On 28/08/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

A special American Airlines 737-800 left Seattle for flight testing as part of its participation in Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program, which tests technologies focused on reducing fuel consumption, lowering noise and using sustainable materials.


Pictures from the 2007 Zhukovsky air show

On 26/08/2012, in Picture stories, by steve

Located on the shoreline of Galendzhik lake, some three hours drive from downtown Moscow, Zhukovsky Airport, once a secret test airport, is the perfect location to host the Russian Air Show: the reason is that
flying boats are a major concern for Russians designers,  so a large mass of water to display their impressive  performances was considered a must.

This is a wildlife show. Not only is this a chance to  behold the extremely refined stage of Russian aircraft  design, but also to watch live and much closer than  you could ever do in the west, since European safety
regulations concerning flight displays over civilian  audiences do not apply in Russia.

This is only a selection of the pictures from the show and a lot has changed in he past five years. Few of the commercial aircraft ever made it to the mainstream… but they are a unique sight nevertheless.

Antonov An-225 Mriya


Beriev Be-200

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United Airlines Announces First 787 International Routes

On 24/08/2012, in Airline corner, by steve

United Airlines today announced the first international routes for the airline’s newest addition to its fleet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

In addition to the previously-announced service from its Denver hub to Tokyo Narita, starting March 31, 2013, the airline will operate nonstop 787 service five days a week between its Houston hub and Lagos, Nigeria, beginning Jan. 7, 2013. United will also operate daily, nonstop 787 service between its Los Angeles hub and its Narita hub, beginning Jan. 3, 2013, and Los Angeles to Shanghai, beginning March 30, 2013.

United will also operate daily, nonstop 787 service from its Houston hub to Amsterdam and London Heathrow on a temporary basis. Houston to Amsterdam service begins Dec. 4, 2012, and Houston to London Heathrow service begins Feb. 4, 2013.

“The 787 is the right aircraft for these routes because of its many passenger-friendly amenities and superior operating economics,” says United’s Senior Vice President of Network, Greg Hart. “With 50 787s on order, we look forward to the many new route opportunities that will become available to United and our customers in the future.”

The 787 aircraft will display for sale for these routes on and other distribution channels beginning Aug. 25, while Denver to Narita service is available for sale now. In the near future, United will announce plans for initial domestic flying for the 787, which will precede the launch of international flights described above.

Configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy, the Dreamliner will revolutionize the flying experience for United customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Customers will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.


United Airlines’ First 787 Takes Flight

On 21/08/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

United Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner has completed its first production flight as Boeing makes final preparations for delivering it to United at the end of September. The aircraft took off from Boeing’s Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on Sunday. Boeing pilots flew the 787 around the Seattle area for more than three hours as part of planned tests of the aircraft’s controls and systems.

During the flight, crew members examined the 787’s onboard systems at high and medium altitudes. They also checked backup and safety elements, including cabin pressurization, avionics, navigation and communications systems.

Sunday’s flight was part of a series of work that Boeing performs after each 787 comes out of its paint hangar and before airlines take delivery of the planes. The work also includes fueling, systems tests, engine runs and taxi tests.

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“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owned by so many to so few.”

On 20/08/2012, in Anniversaries, by steve

Today is Monday, August 20, the 233rd day of 2012 – in 1940 on this day, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force before the House of Commons, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owned by so many to so few.”



UAVs in civil airspace… is this a good idea?

On 19/08/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The US Congress has directed the FAA to make all necessary arrangements to enable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to operate in national airspace by 2015. Not that there are no UAVs outside the war zones already. Customs, low enforcement agencies, emergency response teams and the like are already using those little wonders to help their job and there can be little doubt: as time goes by, there will only be more of them around.

The next big step, which Congress wants the FAA to realize, is to allow UAVs out of their rather limited operational areas, right into airspace where traditional aircraft roam.

Is this a good idea?

Well, I guess it will be a while before we will see passenger aircraft fly with no pilots on board but if you ask the cargo folks, they will admit that they would just love to get rid of the second most expensive item after fuel, the flight crew. The cost saving would be enormous and if you can think out of the box, you must admit: why not?

In a research project not so long ago we were looking at the possibility of installing a “take me home” function on passenger aircraft that would simply take over control in case of a hijack situation and land the aircraft automatically at the nearest suitable airport, with the highjackers gnawing on their mustache. The important aspect of this exercise was that all experts agreed that this would be possible with existing aircraft and technologies. So why not fly routinely under remote control or fully automatically?

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US Air Force Week 2012

On 19/08/2012, in Events, by steve

Air Force Week returns to New York City this Sunday, Aug. 19, providing flyovers, concerts and opportunities to meet Airmen serving in the U.S. Air Force.

The purpose of Air Force Week is to build relationships outside the local base community, reach out to those who are unfamiliar with the Air Force and to say thank you to those who lend their support.

The U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Team, the “Thunderbirds,” will fly over during the opening ceremony to be held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Aug. 19, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Air Force Broadcasting Service will air the ceremony live, via the Pentagon Channel, and streamed live on Air Force Link.

Senior leaders, and about 50 Airmen, will tour the 9-11 memorial and Freedom Tower Monday, Aug. 20, and members of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and the Air Force Research Laboratory will visit the Boy and Girls Club of America.

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