Aviation Week and Space Technology – 100 Years’ Young

On 23/05/2016, in Events, by steve

AWEstablished 13 years after the Wright brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, the magazines stated goal in 1916 was to aggregate vast amounts of information about the fledgling aeronautical industry “and make it useful to the constructor, the engine maker, the aviator and the sportsman… in accurate, scientific and unbiased form”. This text is on the opening pages of the 100th Anniversary Issue, in the Letter form the Editor and President.

It is interesting to note that Flight International, Aviation Week’s main competitor, first appeared in 1909 and one may wonder what kept the Americans from coming with something similar much earlier. We will probably never know. One thing is sure, to-day these two magazines represent the best and most trustworthy source of aviation information in the world. They both come in printed as well as electronic versions and they both have archives with a treasure trove of information on aviation history.

The fact that both magazines are still with us after all this time is of particular interest in itself. It shows the need for information among the members of the aviation community and also that the editors have succeeded in finding the right formula for delivering that information. I also have the feeling that in spite of the understandable move towards digital media, the print versions of the magazines are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. We are a traditional bunch, that is for sure.

Personally, I do have a slight preference for Aviation Week and will always put Flight International in the second place. This is purely subjective and is not a scientific judgement. At the same time, I must say that for being fully informed and to get the complete picture, reading both is a must.

So…. Happy birthday Aviation Week!


Waking from a Nightmare

On 23/05/2016, in Tower chronicles, by lajos

Photo metadyne

Photo metadyne

Did I actually shoot myself in the foot? Is it possible that I will have no work in the future now that we have woken from a nightmare that has lasted several years? Since there is no more 4NM rule, no noteworthy tower incident has occurred that would have required an investigation. What will become of me? Of course these questions are meant to be ironic, but they are also food for thought.

One thing is sure, the nightmare has ended and for five months now aerodrome controllers work with the 3 NM rule instead of the earlier 4 NM one.  An outsider might be forgiven for asking what is the great difference between 3 and 4 nautical miles? Does that one small mile make such a big difference? I have to tell you the difference is far bigger than one might guess from only looking at those numbers. When the 4-miles rule was still alive for use between an arriving and a departing aircraft using the same runway, aerodrome controllers often grappled with the thought in their minds: I could still let this guy go without infringing the threshold-threshold separation rule. But they could not allow that unfortunate departure go because then the 4 NM rule would be infringed… If he or she tried anyway, he or she would either get lucky or not… If he was not lucky, us incident investigators had to open a ticket on the case and the controller got a dress-down of sorts. This had the result of binding controllers into a knot and they would refuse to let departures go even if there was still plenty of time to do so safely without infringing the 4 NM rule. Unfortunately, a lot of controllers were getting tied into such knots in the course of the past several years. I had an opportunity to review several incidents during which the voice of the colleagues held a clear indication of their stress and the cramped effort to remain safe… This kind of working brought with it a drastic reduction of the aerodrome control’s efficiency. Ample proof was supplied also by the remarks thrown in by some pilots who were of course used to how ATC works at other airports where they can on occasion see even the registration marks of the aircraft taking off as they themselves are landing.

Click here to read the full article


There’s More to Flying than That!

On 12/05/2016, in View from the left seat, by phil

Before the introduction of Crew Resource Management (CRM) courses, relationships on the flight deck were not always as harmonious as they should be. Most captains were excellent mentors of young pilots, but some were cold and distant, and some downright difficult. Many, had learnt their flying in a hard school during WW2 and were deeply suspicious of those who had not shared the same experiences. Some may even have been suffering from mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whatever the cause, sometimes as in Phil’s story here, new young pilots could find life difficult when flying with these individuals.

You can read here what actually happened to G-ARVB. But Chris Ditmas was a very much nicer man than Hamish Reid!

Hamish Reid came from a seafaring family in Dundee.  Rather than follow his elder brother into the navy he joined the RAF when he was barely nineteen and, after training, was posted to a Lancaster squadron in Lincolnshire.  That was in January 1944, a year before the end of the war.

He had been fortunate.  Merely to survive the thirty raids of his one and only tour of duty required a fair amount of skill and a huge dose of luck.  Half of all Bomber Command aircrew were lost before they completed ten missions.  Such losses had left him deeply fatalistic, with a tough, no-nonsense attitude to life.  After the war, like many of his colleagues, he found it difficult to return to normal life.

Demobilisation left him drifting aimlessly.  He was not academically inclined.  Had the war not intervened, he would probably have finished the engineering apprenticeship he had begun on leaving school.  He tried working in a garage but found it boring.  Despite the horrors in the night skies over Germany, he enjoyed the craft of flying.  Its precision, its discipline, the sense of achievement appealed to his self-reliant practical nature.  Besides, there was little else he was trained to do.  So when he saw an advert asking for pilots to join BOAC, he applied immediately and soon found himself flying Avro Yorks, a transport version of the Lancaster bomber he had flown in the war.

Click here to read the full article


NextGen Update 2016, now available

On 07/05/2016, in NextGen, by steve


In Europe it is SESAR, in the US, NextGen. The two mega projects aiming to bring much needed improvements to air traffic management in the biggest aviation markets of the world. As we all know, they are not without problems but there are also important developments that we all need to know about. Here is the NextGen update from the FAA.

The NextGen Update is all new for 2016! We’ve completely refreshed the site to bring you the latest news and information on how we’re collaborating with our aviation community partners to deliver NextGen. In this year’s Update, you’ll find:

  • The latest on how NextGen’s top programs, including Data Comm, ADS-B, and PBN, are delivering a better travel experience for the flying public
  • An overview of NextGen’s environmental and safety initiatives
  • Updates on the tools controllers are using to help inform their decisions
  • Information to help the general aviation community prepare for the 2020 ADS-B Out mandate

In a new series of videos, you’ll hear directly from aviation community leaders who are reaping the benefits of NextGen today, as well as an overview of NextGen progress from FAA Chief NextGen Officer Michael Whitaker.

There’s never been a more exciting time to learn about NextGen. The NextGen Update: 2016. It’s all you need to know.

Source: FAA


Mirror mirror on the wall… who is the best ANSP overall?

On 05/05/2016, in ATC world, by steve

Photo: HungaroControl

Photo: HungaroControl

A few months ago an email dropped into my inbox containing a survey initiated by the Hungarian air navigation service provider HungaroControl, seeking feedback on how they were perceived in the air traffic management community.

News from HungaroControl are always welcome here, after all most of what I learned in the world of aviation comes if not from HungaroControl, but the long line of predecessors, including Malev and the Air Traffic and Airport Administration (LRI) where I spent my early, and most enjoyable, years. So I checked out the survey with interest and was pleased with the way it was set up and the width of the questions being asked. My only negative feeling came from the fact that there was a question which appeared to be politically motivated and was trying to puzzle out how the image of Hungary as a country was reflecting on HungaroControl. You will be excused if you admit that you are not following events in Hungary too closely but it is still worthwhile to recall that being associated with some of the political directions there these days may not be something an ANSP would desire to happen. I did write an article here expressing my concerns about that question.

Anyway, a few days ago another email arrived from HC, this time containing the results of the survey. Of course I was very pleased with being given the privilege of getting a look at the results, especially with the knowledge that the survey results were meant primarily for internal consumption.

I will not go into the details, instead here is a summary of the results condensed into a few words. The famous “question” seems to have passed without noteworthy comments. In other words, the image of Hungary has little or no reflection on their ANSP. This is very good and the way it should be. Air traffic management and politics should not mix.

Click here to read the full article


Quote of May

On 01/05/2016, in Quote of the month, by steve

The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.

Oscar Wilde

Photo: sproutentertainment.com.sg

Photo: sproutentertainment.com.sg


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