Monday, October 26, 2015

Don’t Be Spooked if 787 Battery Box is a Smoky Cauldron

Note: This post has been updated with new information from TUI Arkefly.

Two years ago, episodes of smoking and sputtering lithium ion batteries on two Boeing Dreamliners were so horrifying the entire fleet was grounded for months and the design was the subject of three safety investigations. But a mysterious transition has occurred, as if a spell had been put on the folks responsible for safe skies.

Just in time for Halloween and as I reported for Gizmodo, in the 18 months since Boeing was forced to confine its devilish batteries to a stainless steel housing so the plane could fly again, several more have misbehaved, emitting smoke and leading to at least one emergency landing.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Passion but Few Tears in Amsterdam for Airliners That Fly into the Past

Too often air travel is an antiseptic experience for the passenger as we sit in tile-floored, waiting rooms, our heads down and our minds in cyberspace. It is so rare and so thrilling to actually smell the jet fuel and hear the whine of the engines at the few airports that still encourage a love of the journey. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is one of them and it's the perfect place to reflect on commercial aviation's first century since KLM Royal Dutch is, at 96 years old, the oldest airline still in operation under its original name. (And what a nice name it is.)