JetBlue is adding luggage charges and packing more seats on its planes, and customers are freaking out. Is contemporary airline service so bad because the airlines are colluding to make you suffer, as Tim Wu writes in the New Yorker? Or because low-price, a la carte service is what fliers actually want, as Alison Griswold writes in Slate? For a data-rich deep dive into what passengers really hate about air travel, see "The Unfriendly Skies" (.pdf), a report on five years worth of air travelers' complaints to the US Department of Transportation.
In 1966, Weaver was flying an SR-71 at full speed, Mach 3.18, when it abruptly and catastrophically disintegrated. Somehow, he survived the breakup. He didn't eject; the plane just tore itself apart around him and scattered in all directions. In other words, he suddenly found himself flying along at Mach 3.18 ... without his plane. (via)
On Friday, ATCSCC Advisory 20 of 26-Sep-2014 went out. When operators, controllers and airport managers saw the title, a gasp of disbelief was heard. The problem was simple enough to state in three words, and complex enough to cancel thousand of flights and cost hundred of millions of dollars: ZAU ATC ZERO. [more inside]
Why We're Not Driving the Friendly Skies A number of us can thank a cartoon character from the future, George Jetson, for instilling our longing. Students of aviation history might look for inspiration to the Autoplane prototype built in 1917 by the flight pioneer Glenn Curtiss. And tens of millions of motorists who have been stuck in traffic jams stretching toward the horizon must also feel a need to know: Where are the flying cars?
Back in 2012, fashion photographer and filmmaker Milton Tan shot a time lapse film over a six month period, of planes overflying Singapore's Changi Beach on their way to and from Changi airport. After his "The Air Traffic" video went viral, managers at the airport made Tan an offer: six months of access to a restricted runway for a second film: The Air Traffic Two. (Via) [more inside]
"Normal return route canceled. Proceed as follows: Strip all company marking, registration numbers and identifiable insignia from exterior surfaces. Proceed westbound soonest your discretion to avoid hostilities and deliver NC18602 to marine terminal La Guardia Field New York. Good luck." [more inside]
Basically, it would be faster. The best part about the article is the short, embedded videos showing simulations of different boarding processes. There's the standard method, the Southwest pick-your-own-seat method, and the dehumanizing Steffen method.
How Airbus is Debugging the A350-XWB. Jeff Wise, writing in Bloomberg Business Week, describes the 18-month testing process for the new Airbus A350-XWB passenger jet. One page version (printer format). And a bonus media offering: a somewhat functional online 3D flight simulator. [more inside]
Just in time for holiday travel, the FAA now approves use of portable electronic devices for the entire duration of your flight.
"In the early days of human flight, a new word entered our lexicon: "aviatrix," the female version of "aviator." These women were true pioneers, although if you asked them, they would probably tell you they were just adventurous and loved flying -same as the men who took to the air in those days." Mentalfloss profiles seven women from the first decades of airplanes. If you'd like more tales of adventure and daring, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum website has a section on women in aviation, as does the San Diego Air and Space Museum (related Flickr gallery). [more inside]
Several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra were on a flight from Bejing to Macao that got stuck on the tarmac for three hours. With nothing better to do, the musicians resorted to doing what they do best...
Heathrow Approach Planes lining up on approach to London Heathrow at 17x speed. Strangely hypnotic slyt.
Josef Hoflehner took a series of black & white wide-angle shots of planes that appear to be flying very close to the beach. [Previously]
AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
GE has posted a searchable bird's-eye view of the 6,000 most popular airports in the world.
In the seven years since its last* appearance in the blue, Cliff Muskiet's Stewardess Uniform Collection has grown to more than 1,000 different uniforms from more than 400 different airlines. [more inside]
A 24 hour observation of all of the large aircraft flights in the world, condensed down to just over a minute. Similar videos are created by NASA's Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (or FACET), like this one of a day in the life of air traffic over the United States.
Electric airplanes are not a new idea, but there have been recent developments in building affordable production electric sport aircraft. They are super quiet, low vibration, highly reliable, simple and gas-free. [more inside]
Inside the private jets of African dictators and other heads of state. (Slideshow of photographs by Nick Gleis.)
How airplanes are repossessed. The rule is ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell—just get our airplane back.
You are a shark. You swim off the coast of Florida. You dive in and out of the water to smash boats, and you can pull jumbo jets out of the sky WITH YOUR TEETH. You are Miami Shark. Via Rockpapershotgun. [more inside]
January: Newly sworn-in President Obama says, "We need greater investment in... essential systems like the C-17 cargo... aircraft, which provide the backbone of our ability to extend global power." April: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says, "Our analysis concludes that we have enough C-17s, with the 205 already in the force and currently in production." May: The Office of Management and Budget proposes the termination of the C-17 program with a savings of $17 billion. July: The 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill includes funding for the program. September 29: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposes an amendment to strip that funding - "You can't walk through these hallways without bumping into a lobbyist from Boeing." September 30: By a vote of 64 to 34, the Senate defeats the amendment.
The ring wing or annular airfoil is an aircraft design which has been experimented with throughout the history of aviation with some interesting variations. It has served as the inspiration for several paper airplane designs, model airplanes of course, and a variety of children's toys. The capabilities imagined by the French coléoptère engineers of the 1950's and 1960's and the U.S. "flying tank" designers are available today at least in the form of unmanned vehicles (large PDF brochure, 6 minute video download, 1½ minute YT news clip). The technology has also been adapted to become the surfboard tunnel fin and there are underwater UAVs as well.
Building and flying free flight model airplanes is a pastime so obscure it doesn't even register on the geek heirarchy. But in the period between Lindberg's flight across the Atlantic until the start of the Second World War, thousands of boys (and some girls) around the world succumbed to the allure of rubber, lube, and dope. [more inside]
A narrated slideshow tour of Stockholm's Jumbo Hostel, which is inside a remodelled Boeing 747. The engine pods will be each become a room for two. Opens January 15th.
Point Niner - "Satisfying an unnatural infatuation with airplanes and rockets." A regularly updated blog with nice bits of aviation goodness.
According to the photographer's daughter, "All photos in this collection were taken by then Lt. and later Capt. George S. White, my Father, while he was serving in the Pacific as a pilot. They are generally between 1945 and 1948 from what is documented." My favorites? The barmaid or postwar Tokyo or wrecked planes and airplane graveyards.
As the Seattle PI notes "Paul Allen's 'Flying Heritage Collection' of 15 planes, mostly dating from the 1930s and '40s, is noteworthy both because of its rarity -- several are the only models of their kind remaining -- and its condition -- almost all of them have been refurbished so that they can be flown." [more inside]
Carl Rankin builds awesome RC planes out of straws, plastic wrap, tape, and foam take-out boxes. (via)
Remember when air travel was viewed as glamorous and exciting? Of course you don't. So check out this collection of vintage flight attendant photos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Airline Branding Weblog. Can you say "Awesome"?
Abandoned plane wrecks of the north. The Arctic North is a cruel environment for men and machine; for planes it is no different. The weather creates all sorts of hazards, the terrain offers its own variety of opportunities for disaster. (Warning: extreme comic sans.)
Ever had a yen for a table made from jet engine turbine blades or a desk fashioned from a wing or a cowling? Giancarlo de Astis and Moto Art are two high-end design firms that are creating eye catching furniture and functional art from scavenged airplane parts. You can see their work and the work of others in the aviation art community at InterFlight Studio. Or do-it-yourself-ers in the crowd might just prefer a Field Guide to Aircraft Boneyards.
Airsafe.com: more air crash information than you'll ever hope you need. Celebrity Air Crashes Cases. Airlines without Fatal Events. Fatal Events by Airline. How hard is it to fly a 757 or a 767? How to File a Complaint About Your Airline Service.
An Israeli military training mission gone bad. A mid-air collision during a simulated dogfight. An A4 Skyhawk goes down, and an F-15 Eagle decides to try and make it the 10 miles back to base. When the pilot lands, he finds out that he has definitively answered the question, Can this aircraft fly on just one wing? [video]
Save the Girls! A gallery of WWII era fighter & bomber nosecone art is the highlight of this site dedicated to the history and preservation of such works.
Flight Patterns (watch the overview video) is a cool visualization based on FAA flight records for one day. You can see the overnight lull, then the morning sweep across the country in a series of short videos. It's like cabspotting, but on a much larger scale. This is from the same guy behind The Sheep Market.
FedEx Thunderstorm Deviations. "FAA radar track sequence of a bank of FedEx aircraft getting into Memphis as thunderstorms pass over the airport" (Google video). I'm having Rip Off flashbacks.
After the first time I flew on an upgraded ticket, I wondered why some airline didn't just make slightly more expensive tickets on a plane filled with fewer, roomier seats for those that crave comfort (basically, all business class). Well, it looks like someone has at Eos Airlines. The seating arrangements look fantastic, going from roomy seat area to flat bed to double table with two seats (for a coworker), with privacy and aisle access for all. Unfortunately "slightly more expensive" is pretty high at $5k for NYC to London, though that's cheaper than major airlines. Business Week has the full story on this new venture.
Looking for detailed flight info? This site takes airplane flight tracking to air traffic control levels. Be sure to check out the complete airport status and the facinating flight movies.
Satellite photos of airplanes in flight. This is a great time-waster, but for some reason I keep looking for more (you may need to adjust the zoom bar on the page to maximum). These are all at the Atlanta airport, and I was surprised how close they were to each other.... check out the one that left before, and the one before that, and the one before that... Those are all taking off, here's one that's landing. Can anybody find any more? Or does anyone care?
"We're going to hit houses, dude," (NYT Reg. ), Alone in their 50-seat commercial jet, the two young pilots decided to see what it could do...A few minutes later, though, both engines were dead, and the pilots were struggling to glide to an emergency landing at an airport in Jefferson City, Mo. (or the non-registration Jefferson City NewsTribune version, or the NTSB site)
Do As I Say and Not As I Do. Go Military R&D. It took less than 4 months to develop a laser that is safe to shine at airplanes.
Fantasy Planes. Sometimes I think the most interesting airplanes are the ones that never got built
Chapters in the Sky --- a rich collection of autobiographical aviation storytelling by Paul Niquette. Complete with glossary for non-pilots/enthusiasts. Highlights: two crashes in one day, the flight school riding on the success of Paul's FAA checkride, commuting over LA.
This is an odd way to find out about an earthquake in California.