Inside Unmanned Systems Magazine

On 15/01/2016, in Bookshelf, by steve

UASIn the mid-eighties I was working as a Technical Officer, Rules of the Air and Search and Rescue in the European Office of ICAO in Paris. One of the recurring, though private, tasks was every month to drop in the corner press shop and pick up the latest editions of the various personal computer magazines. Some of you may remember that back then we had the BBC computer, the MSX, ZX, and many others, including the IBM PC… They were incompatible platforms, each with its own quirks and “biosphere” of dedicated fans. Each group believed that their favorite was going to be the personal computer of the future and few could foresee the IBM PC and Microsoft stealing the show.

In the office we were avid readers of those magazines and even though each of us was in a different camp, the fascination of what computing could potentially bring to aviation kept us on an even keel and the discussions were mainly on the technology in general rather than the different platforms that brought us that technology.

The stellar development of computing since those early days is well known now and one of the best mileposts of where we have come is without any doubt the quarterly magazine, Inside Unmanned Systems.

Their editorial mission is to provide actionable business intelligence to decision makers and influencers operating within the dynamic global UAS community. Analysis of key technologies, independent reports on the latest policy and regulatory developments and evaluation of new product designs and applications support the results of which stakeholders need to succeed across the commercial, civil and defense sectors.

Opening this magazine, I always get a feeling of nice déjà vu… A computer magazine to-day has a sort of mature feel to it, it is not exactly boring but you do not really expect surprises to pop up on its pages. The computer magazines of the 80s were very different… They were dealing with developments that jumped ahead month after month and made the reader wonder with bright eyes just where it would all go if progress kept on like this.

Click here to read the full article



On 31/08/2014, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Lawrence Goldstone
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0-345-53803-1
Also available as Kindle eBook.

birdmenI guess if I asked who the fathers of real powered flight have been, you would answer Orville and Wilbur Wright. OK, some of you may have different ideas, including certain gentlemen from Russia and other places but at the end of the day there can be little doubt that the Writs had a defining role in the early days of powered flight.

Now, if I said that they were the most important blocking factor of major developments in the early days of powered flight, you will raise an eyebrow and ask how come?

But this is exactly the picture we get from Lawrence Goldstone’s book “Birdmen”. This thoroughly researched volume brings a totally credible and mainly never before seen picture of the early days of powered flight and the rivalry between its pioneers in the United States. You will understand how the patents the Wrights took out on every aspect of their Flyer and the subsequent lawsuits they launched against everyone who dared to build similar machines actually stifled innovation for many years.

As it has happened so often with people with a really trendsetting product, the Wrights also failed to develop their aircraft further with the result that it became hopelessly obsolete and in time they were left behind never again to be in the forefront of aviation.

This is must have book for everyone interested in the early years of powered flight who wants to understand how things worked back then and what it took for a new design to succeed or fail. This book is above all about the people who risked death and competed fiercely to make humanity’s oldest dream come too. I can fly…



Eugene Bullard, the World’s First Black Fighter Pilot

On 16/02/2014, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Larry Greenly
Publisher: NewSouth Books
ISBN: 978-58838-280-1

eugibeA generation to whom an African-American US President is a normal thing may have some trouble imagining an age where a young guy with top-notch credentials and abilities had to go to France to realize his true potential, becoming a fighter pilot in World War I and then being active in the French Underground in World War II. He was simply ignored in the United States when he returned home, his multiple decorations notwithstanding. At age sixty four in 1959 he was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, a fact showing clearly that the French had not forgotten him even after his return to America. Not only was he not forgotten, he was in fact fondly remembered so much so that General Charles De Gaulle personally invited him to a ceremony in New York where Bullard was embraced by the General himself.

NewSouth Books has brought to us the fascinating story of Eugene Bullard, written by Larry Greenly. Of course the name Bullard will not be unfamiliar to military history and aviation enthusiasts, his pioneering exploits have been chronicled before. However, this is the first time his life has been written up in a book meant primarily for the history-minded part of the general public.

In this time and age young people do not bat an eye if they have to cross several continents in pursuit of work or pleasure. When Bullard was in his way to France, it was a journey filled with hardship and being black did not help at all. He left behind racial discrimination as he headed for France, a country his father often talked about as the example of equality.

Having run away from home at age 12 he ended up in the French Foreign Legion (a notoriously difficult organization to live in) and later joined the Lafayette Flying Corps.

Larry Greenly brings us the story of this hardy young man in a fast paced but thoroughly enjoyable narrative which is easily understandable even for someone who has never dwelt deeper in the strange world that was Bullard’s reality.

This book is a historically accurate account yet it is written as a novel so do not expect a dry history lesson. You are transported right to where the action is and the characters talk and feel and live their lives  in front of you eyes.

If you enjoyed the Tuskegee Airmen (also by NewSouth Books) you will love this book too! Thoroughly recommended.


TITAN The Book – Going Beyond A-CDM

On 22/04/2013, in Bookshelf, by steve

TITAN_The_bookTITAN was an EC 7th Framework project which looked at ways of further optimizing the turnaround, a kind of Airport CDM on steroids. During the project it became very clear that although Airport Collaborative Decision Making had been around for quite some time already, a lot of people still did not have a good understanding what it was all about… In the circumstances, talking about further enhancing A-CDM looked like a pretty hopeless exercise, certainly outside the relatively small circle of those in the know.

Since TITAN was also talking about involving new, often off-airport partners, in the optimization process, the need to provide good, easily accessible and understandable knowledge about the subject of CDM in general and TITAN in particular became even more evident.

Our proposal to write a book on CDM and TITAN, in a style that is more enjoyable than the usual rather dry technical material, was accepted and after three months of hard work, the 75 page book was finally put on the table and accepted.

On behalf of my co-author Ana Saez and myself, I am now very pleased to make TITAN The Book available for download here.

If you are interested in a little CDM history and the elements of airport CDM, you will find all this in Part 1. Part 2 talks about how the A-CDM concept can be extended in the new ATM environment and here you can read about the exciting new world of trajectory based operation, SWIM and many other things that make use of collaborative decision making. We also touch on why the focus is on the turnaround… This then leads us into Part 3 in which TITAN is introduced and we learn how events far from the airport can actually have a great impact on the aircraft turnaround and why it is wrong to leave these out from the picture.

We have also included a high level operational scenario in which a passenger is followed from his hotel room all the way to the aircraft seat and the working of the TITAN services is explained.

I have tried to make the style of the book a bit more relaxed than the customary CDM texts in the hope that it will be attractive also for the casual aviation reader.

Get your copy here… and please send us feedback after you have looked at it.

Happy reading!


Aviation’s Servants – Zsuzsa Frick Vereczi’s fascinating new book

On 09/04/2013, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Zsuzsa Frick Vereczi
Publisher: Civil Legiutak a Vilagra
ISBN: 978-963-08-5972-1

Untitled-1It is not often that Roger-Wilco reviews books written in any language other than English. However, every now and then a volume lands on my desk that is not (yet…) available in English but which is so unique and interesting that we are compelled to share the experience with our readers in the hope that one day the work gets translated and then it will be on the wish list of the Roger-Wilco family.

The collapse of Malev Hungarian Airlines in February 2012 has spawned many words in many different publications, most concerned with the reasons and the chances of starting again. While the human element was part of those discourses, it was not center stage.

Zsuzsa Frick Vereczi’s book, “Aviation’s Servants” is different. Coming a little over a year after the Malev tragedy it is firmly in the slipstream of the emotional storm left by Black Friday, this book opens up a totally different world, takes a totally different perspective and even introduces a totally different, fascinating format.

Zsuzsa went out and chatted with the people who have been, and in a way continue to be, the essence of Malev and the operation of aircraft and the required infrastructure, bringing their thoughts, views, opinions, feelings, hopes and frustrations to the reader in a questions and answers format that is impossible to put down once you start reading it.

Flip open the book at any page and listen to the words… Soon, you will hear the whining of the engines, smell kerosene, see the gray paint on the metal cabinets, feel the emotions of the people giving you their heart while talking about the job they loved.

Zsuzsa has been an employee of Malev for decades and what I admire in her work is the trust she had in what her fellow aviation servant’s had to say and the conviction that this would be of interest to us all… I think this book is a must have for the big aviation family as well as those who have ever experienced the wonder of flight and now would like to meet, truly meet, those who made/make it happen.

As I said, the book is presently only available in Hungarian but hopefully one day an English translation will also see the light of day. When that happens, aviation’s servants the world over will get a chance to see just how alike and yet wonderfully different, we all are.

An absolute must have in your aviation library.

By the way, the book’s public presentation will be on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 3 p.m. in the STEX-House Coffee and Restaurant in Budapest (VIII. district, Jozsef Blvd. and Barross street corner). There you can meet not only the author but also some of the stars of the book!

To order the book, write to Zsuzsa at


QF32 – Saving an A380

On 21/10/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Capt. Richard De Crespigny
Publisher: Macmillan Australia
Text-to-Speech: Activated
X-ray: Not activated

We have brought you reviews of several books over the years and in each case we were talking about flesh and blood, sorry, paper and printing ink volumes, that is to say, traditional books. When I started searching for QF32, Capt. Richard De Crespigny’s account of the A380 engine failure incident, I found an interesting situation. Amazon was selling the paper book but for UK customers only. Amazon in Germany also had it in stock… but only in electronic format for the Kindle reader!

Since I have been carrying my ICAO and other documents as well as some books on a 7 inch Samsung tablet for some time now, I decided to give this a try. Since Samsung was kind enough to provide a Kindle reader in software as part of the tablet’s basic complement of applications, the only expense involved was the price of the book itself, which, at 11.99 Euros appeared to be very reasonable. Not to mention the fact that you can have the electronic book delivered practically instantaneously free of charge!

The transaction went through without a hitch…

Of course it was no surprise that this book would get written. After the all engines-out landing on the Hudson river, the story of how an Airbus A380 was saved by its Australian crew when one of its engines had an uncontained failure was a natural.

I for one enjoyed reading this book and I guess you will too. The description is not limited to the actual event itself. The years before that fateful day are covered through the life history of Capt. De Crespigny and this helps to understand why, when the plane was mortally wounded, the crew could still decide the best course of action in the circumstances and eventually lend the 380 safely.

Airmanship is not a word these days we necessarily and readily associate with terms like cockpit automation, envelope protection and so on. Yet, it was supreme airmanship that saved the lives of passengers and crew on QF32. This is the main message of Capt. De Crespigny also: automation is no substitute for superior airmanship.

Happy reading!



On 03/08/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Sam Chui
Publisher: Pixelium Company
ISBN: 978-988-99186-5-1

Good book stores the world over tend to have several nice volumes with aircraft pictures and they are rightly popular. However, when Sam Chui’s new book entitled Air2 hits the shelves, they will suddenly become obsolete.

Sam has come with a new formula that combines well written reports on flights he took with a breathtaking collection of aircraft pictures like you have never seen before. His reports cover a very wide range of interesting trips most of us can only dream about but he manages to tell us stories from flights which are unique in themselves. What about the last Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 flight or a retro flight on a Bangladeshi DC-10? Or Mount Cook Ski Plane glacier landing and a hop in a DC-8-62? These are just a few examples of why I think this book is absolutely unique. Each report is amply illustrated and we are taken from the cockpit to the on-board catering and frankly, I could not decide which pictures made my mouth water more.

If you are like me and tend to go to the last pages in any new book you lay your hands on… well, fasten your seat-belt because you are dropped into a wealth of aircraft pictures that will take your breath away. Sam seems to have wings and permission to fly anywhere… his camera records images of our beloved flying machines that range from the incredible to the astounding. You get to see aircraft as they were meant to be seen but so rarely are. Whether they are roaring into the air with huge turbofans sucking air hungrily or returning to the ground with their tires kissing the concrete with a sight of smoke, Sam manages to catch moments of unforgettable beauty.

If you like aviation, this book should not be missing from your collection. Highly recommended!

Order yours here.

I have a few sample pictures here to prove the point…








CANSO ATM Report & Directory 2012

On 04/06/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

67 ANSPs world-wide are members of CANSO. They handle more than 85 % of world air traffic. CANSO is also in regular contact with those ANSPs not yet members of the organization but which have recognized the value of membership.

CANSO publishes the ATM Report & Directory every year with the aim of providing the world’s most comprehensive source of information on ANSPs.

You can download your free copy of the directory here.


Aviation Week Launches Redesigned Website Offering

On 27/04/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

Aviation Week has unveiled its redesigned and enhanced subscriber-based Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN). These recent changes share the common goal of continuously simplifying and integrating the products and services to meet the changing needs of today’s aerospace and defense (A&D) market.

“ and AWIN — the premium subscription offering — form the cornerstones of the overall digital strategy,” said Anne McMahon, VP Data/Analytics and Marketing, Aviation Week. “Our technology team has been hard at work making back-end and front-end site improvements to provide more interactive content and an improved user experience, and we are very excited to launch them with new features that will serve our customers better and deliver measurable advantages.”

In addition to a refreshing new design, features include:

– More ways to connect and engage with Aviation Week journalists and A&D professionals around the world
– Simplified, integrated navigation
– New ad units and increased flexibility
– Additional ROI-driven market opportunities

New AWIN updates include:

– New commercial channel homepage with more data and analysis
– Expanded program profiles with deeper linkages to aircraft inventory
– Improved search
– New Executive Quick Views
– Greater user security is the leading website for aerospace and defense professionals with over 500,000 unique visitors and 2.4 million page views per month.

Click here to read the full article


Twenty-First Century Jet – The Making and Marketing of the Boeing 777

On 20/04/2012, in Bookshelf, by steve

By Karl Sabbagh
Publisher: SCRIBNER
ISBN: 0-684-80721-1

You may be wondering why I am recommending a book first published in 1996… The Boeing 777 is now known the world over as an efficient, safe and rather loveable aircraft that is in high demand by airlines.

Karl Sabbagh’’s book is a masterpiece and he tells the story of the 777 gestation in a clear and entertaining manner. While Boeing had put the future of the company on the line when they decided to build the 747, the decision to build the 777 and the effort expended was no less epic.

The original designers of the 777 are doubtless watching with a warm feeling in their hearts as Boeing is preparing to tweak the triple-seven to make it even more competitive with Airbus’ upcoming A350. From what is known about Boeing’s plans, it is clear that the 777 is an excellent design and a great platform on to which you can graft new technologies that will keep it a competitor to be reckoned with for many years to come.

In other words, we will be hearing a lot about the 777 in the coming years.

If you have not yet read Sabbagh’s book, this is an excellent time to get up to date on the story of the 777 and so be in a better position to understand and appreciate Boeing’s work to keep the twenty-first century jet right at the cutting edge in the coming decades.


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