Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today You Wish You Were Me

See the video of my flight below!
The best place to see an air show is on the ground and this is where several hundred thousand New Yorkers will be for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach on Memorial Day weekend. The best place to sit for the air show, however has to be the seat in front of Lieutenant Colonel John Klatt, on the aerobatic plane he flies for the Air National Guard.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kimberly Needs Help to Save Your Life

Kimberly works for EmiratesThe last story I reported for The New York Times and the one running tomorrow, talk about the amenities offered to fancy pants fliers, the folks who get to sit on the front end of the airplane and I'm not talking about the pilots. Premium class travelers get lots of jazzy extras including the services of flight attendants like Kimberly who works for Emirates. If asked, Kimberly will make the cushy business class seat into a lie flat bed and put the linens on for you. Yep turn-down service at 36,000 feet.

But there's something else that Kimberly will do that is even more valuable. Kimberly can save your life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Australians Simulate Airbus 380 Near Disaster

Last fall, shortly before Qantas Flight 32 gave a hairy, scary ride to 446 people on the Airbus A380, I was invited to tour the Airbus Training Center in Miami, Florida, given a detailed tutorial on the Airbus design and safety philosophy and  just for fun - allowed to pilot the A340 simulator.

These high-tech simulators can be programmed to fly any flight when the data has been captured, so we flew USAirways Flight 1549, better known now as the "miracle on the Hudson". This was, at the time, the most famous example in aviation of turning chicken s**t into chicken salad.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thunder and Aerospace a Winning Combination

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images
The term “play ball” is a metaphor for all sorts of transactions outside of sports. But it was the refusal of United Airlines to “play ball” with Oklahoma City that has brought the the Thunder to tomorrow night’s NBA playoff match with the Dallas Mavericks.  Before the basketball team was even a gleam in the eye of the Sooner State, beleaguered citizens were casting about for ways to pump life into Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where's the Fun in Flying - Turning Guff in to Guffaws

The Capitol Steps riff on airport security
The French philosopher Henri Bergson  once said, "Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks."  Well Bergson has been dead for 71 years, meaning not once in his lifetime did he have to take off his shoes or toss his drink in the trash before boarding an airplane.

So forgive my presumption but Henri would be right with me on my new campaign to puncture the ballooning hostility between passengers and airlines with a liberal and repeated application of sharp one-liners.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Air France Find Could Alter the Future of the Black Box

How excited do you think these guys are viewing the most significant break-through in the investigation into the crash of Air France Flight 447? On the monitors, accident investigators are watching the end of a very long and very expensive phase; recovering the black boxes from the plane that crashed while en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro in June 2009.  Two hundred and twenty eight people were killed in the mishap.

Over the weekend, the men saw, via remote camera, a robotic arm fetch the flight data unit of the Honeywell flight data recorder off the ocean floor and drop it into a basket where it was then hauled out of the Atlantic. An activity repeated on Monday with the cockpit voice recorder. I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinkin' this monumental development nearly two years after the search began, is being greeted with the popping of champagne corks.