Friday, September 28, 2012

Did the Captain Fly 9 Years Past Retirement Age?

Thomas Good's Facebook photo
Did airline captain Thomas Good fly right by the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots? The Federal Aviation Administration would like to know. To some of his fellow aviators at American Eagle's Executive Air Good is already a legend. 

A spokesman for the FAA says it is investigating whether Good, until recently a captain with the regional carrier Executive Air, falsified his age on official documents.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

AA and Labor - Toxic Today - What About Tomorrow?

Astonishing. That's the only way to describe the apology being issued by American Airlines. Its reputation is on a steep descent and perhaps company honchos have come to believe only a big and sincere mea culpa can save it from disaster.

"This is not the way American Airlines runs an airline. It's not the way we're going to be running it in the future," airline spokesman Bruce Hicks told CBS News.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Near Disaster for Passenger Flight in the Syrian War Zone

Photo from The Aviation Herald
No matter what one's politics, the good news being reported out of Syria today is about the heroic accomplishments of the pilots in command of Syrianair Flight #501. They are to be commended for saving the lives of the 200 passengers on the plane by safely landing a crippled airliner after an inflight collision with a military helicopter.

Friday, September 21, 2012

FAA Action on Dreamliner Engine at Warp Speed

The engine on JA825J, has presumably been inspected for cracks
In what certainly deserves a round of applause for speedy response, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive on Thursday, ordering immediate inspections of Dreamliner and Boeing 747-800 GEnx 1B and 2B engines. The FAA took little time before agreeing with the National Transportation Safety Board's characterization of three GEnx engine failures in three months as problem that could potentially lead to "loss of the airplane".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Japan's Global Hub - Poised to be Eclipsed

Writing from Numazu, Japan

If there's a lesson for Narita International Airport in the recent jump by Qantas from Singapore to Dubai, it is this: Don't take anything for granted. Rather than continue to let Emirates eat its lunch, Qantas boss Alan Joyce is doing business with Emirates. (I'm not going to get into it here, because I already did here.)

But I was reminded of Joyce's decision to take some of his wide bodies from one airport and fly them from another as I sat at Narita's Museum of Aeronautical Science just beyond runway 16R/34L on Saturday, thrilling to the sight of jumbo jets taking off. From Finnair to Sri Lankan I watched a parade of flags and colors from every corner of the world. But just because they're all coming here now, doesn't mean it always will be so.

Friday, September 14, 2012

YIKES, GEnx Engine on My Dreamflight, Not So Dreamy

That's the plane and that's the engine
Even as I was grumbling about the seat pitch on the Japan Airlines Dreamliner where I was otherwise enjoyably ensconced in row 48 for 13 hours on Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board was poised to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to order emergency inspections of all the General Electric GEnx-1B and -2B engines powering the Dreamliner and the newest Queen of the Sky, the Boeing 747-800.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dreamliner is a Dream - When Not Trying to Work

What will come first, the new laptop with a smaller back-to-front footprint, or the economy airline seat that does not shove the laptop into one’s belly when the person in the seat ahead decides to recline?

I ask this question having just flown on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and I can report this old issue on the world’s newest airplane is not resolved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wowch! Qantas Takes the Join 'um Approach to Competition

Alan Joyce at the 2012 IATA general meeting.
I don't know how many times Qantas executives boo-hooed since upstart airlines headquartered in the Persian Gulf started eating the lunches of established flag carriers, but in public, Qantas boss Alan Joyce has made no secret of his resentment of Emirates and to a lesser extent Qatar and Etihad.

As I reported for the International Herald Tribune, airline executives grumbled the Middle East carriers were "subsidized by their governments" were "vehicles to diversify local economies", "paid less for fuel", yada, yada, yada. But all that complaining didn't solve anything. Having failed to beat 'em, Qantas is joining its former nemesis.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Richard Bach; Pilot, Writer, Now Plane Crash Survivor

Richard Bach gave aviation enthusiasts many gifts in nearly 50 years of writing. I hate to bring up the book that made him famous because the thin little 1970 novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull totally eclipses the dozen other books he wrote and that's a shame.