Archive for the ‘aircraft’ Category

Look Out, NIMBYs, It’s a Eurocopter 135 Above Mission Bay: “BEAR FORCE ONE” Comes to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

I have clear memories of the time those rich, property-owning, eastside NIMBYs taped an anti-helipad flyer to my bike, parked en la Mision.

Well look what’s moving on up to the east side now – it’s “BEAR FORCE ONE,” which just happens to be a Eurocopter EC 135 P2+ with the UCSF Benioff logo right on the side, straight outta YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (Yolo) County.

As seen by KQED’s David Mariuz just this afternoon:

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I’m like YES YES YES.

So, where’s your messiah now, NIMBYs?

(And who’s on the helipad batter’s circle now? Could it be SFGH?)

Anyway, SF has been bereft of medical helipads since the NIMBY’s came to power – it’s nice to see a reversal…

A Message to the Selfish NIMBYs of Potrero Hill: HELICOPTERS SAVE LIVES – An Attempt, Yesterday

Monday, October 13th, 2014

[UPDATE: Welcome NIMBYs! Here's a little reading for you, just keep on paging down...]

Here’s a US Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter  heading north on its way to attempt to save  the life of a person up in Marin County.

As seen over Ocean Beach, which was closed to swimming yesterday, owing to high surf conditions:

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Someday maybe San Francisco will have a hospital with a functioning helipad…

I’ve Never Seen an Aircraft Flying Around Without a Registration Number – And Yet This Was Over the Stanford Game

Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is new on me:

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Boy, this aircraft/banner combo seems familiar:

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Here are some of my other beefs against the flying banner ad biz in the bay area.

A380 Superjumbo Update: Where’s Your Messiah Now, SFO? Things Just Aren’t Working Out with the Big Airbus

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Even back six years ago, even back in aught-eight, this kind of press release from SFO seemed more optimistic than average.

Anyway, we spent a lot of money getting ready for the Airbus A380 double-decker and we do get a handful of flights* every week, but things just haven’t worked out.

Oh look, it’s a Lufthansa A380 filled with German tourists going home after their summer vacations in the bay area, high above Daly City: 

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Click to expand

I’ll tell you, the reason why we still use a lot of four-engined Boeing 747-400 jumbos at SFO is because we already have them. They’re there, hundreds of them. But they guzzle a lot of fuel, so, not too long ago, the A380 was considered to be The Future. But it’s a guzzler too. So The Future now belongs to large twin-engine aircraft like the Boeing 777 models (present and future) and the slightly smaller twin-engined Airbus A350 line.

So all that hype coming out of SFGov about the A380 being “green,” well that was a lot of hogwash. The A380 was/is just another jetliner and SFO took steps to accommodate its massive size and that’s fine, but it wasn’t/isn’t/will never be a game changer the way the people at SFO were hoping for (or lying about – I still can’t tell why they were so excited as late as 2008, when the promise of the A380 was already being questioned).

Anyway, here’s the update:

A380 Continues To Pose Challenges For Heathrow – The A380 was tapped to help capacity-strapped airports, but could it end up hurting them?

Arguably, the A380 was specifically designed for Heathrow, which has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbour problem. So great, here’s a giant plane that’s really quiet – isn’t that great? Well, read the link above to see how things are working out when the rubber meets the tarmac.

SFO also has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbor problem, but our airport is a lot smaller and, as stated, those A380′s aren’t really working out and nobody’s really buying them anymore, so we’re not going to have to deal with Heathrow’s problems. No no, we’ll just muddle through.

But the skeptics have already been proven correct, after just six years.

One wonders what SFO’s next overhyped fad will be…

*More so in the summer, when the French and the Germans really pine to come here, so they can stay “Near Union Square” in a fleabag hotel only to get bitten by bedbugs, only to be told that said fleabag hotel doesn’t have bedbugs so GTH. On behalf of San Francisco, I wish to say, “Sorry, French and German people.”

Is This Piper Cherokee Over San Francisco Operating at Minimum Safe Altitude? You Make The Call

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Was this airplane at least 500 feet above Pacific Heights as it journeyed north the other day?

I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Planes is dangerous.

That Geico Banner Dropped on Fremont – Was That from “Ad-Viation,” the Outfit That Dropped a Banner on SoMA Last Year?

Friday, July 25th, 2014

All right, work with me here, people – this one’s going to take a while to pay off and my theory may be incorrect, but anyway.

Here’s a post from earlier this year:

Hey Look, That Plane That Caused a Blackout in SoMA Last Year is Back in Business – The Dangers of Towed Banner Ads

“Well, here it is, a rare 1947 Sintson 108-2 over Golden Gate Park towing a banner, so that means it’s the very aircraft that dropped a different banner on SoMA last year, causing a blackout.

Ah memories:

“The aircraft, a Stinson 108, operating as a banner tow, experienced a release of the banner for reasons unknown. The banner displaying “$8.99 HAIRCUT SALE ENDS TODAY…” fell onto power lines at Fifth & Brannan Streets in San Francisco, California, causing a brief interruption of local power.  Note: Ad-Viation has registered two Stinson 108′s, N331C and N6053M, possibly out of Hayward Executive – KHWD.”

Well let’s hope this doesn’t happen again….”

And this was the feedback I got from “Ad-Viation Inc” of San Ramon just a month ago:

Ad-viation says:
June 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

The pilot that was towing the banner that cased the power out SoMA had over 10,000 of flight time & 7,000 plus hours of banner time without accident or incident. The banner release was do to what the pilot reported as the most sever wind shear he had ever encountered. The system that is designed to release the banner in the event that it is caught on something that could bring the plane down was activated by the wind shear. Wind shear has downed more that just “$8.99 HAIRCUT SALE ENDS TODAY…” Let’s be thankful it was not another DC 10.”

Now this is what just occurred down in Fremont a week ago per Hamed Aleaziz of SFGate.com / The San Francisco Chronicle:

Geico banner plunges from sky onto Fremont home

And here’s a Fremont Fire Department selfie to prove it: 

Now here’s what I saw just yesterday down in San Mateo County – it’s a Stinson / Piper 108 / Voyager towing a different GEICO banner:

So now I’m thinking, gee, is this the same outfit what dropped a banner on power lines in San Francisco last year dropping a different banner on power lines in Fremont this year?  

Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think? I mean it’s like rain on your wedding day/ It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.

So I don’t know. I don’t have a pilot name or an N-number to go on, so I don’t know who dropped that banner on Fremont and I don’t know if somebody / the bay area / PG&E / FAA / NTSB has an advertising-banners-keep-dropping-on-our-power-lines problem…

Aviation Writer James Fallows Commits the MSM Blunder of the Year with “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines” in the NYT

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Hoo boy: “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

“Was this disaster somehow the airline’s fault? The answer is no — but to understand why, you have to look at the complex realities of modern commercial aviation.”

My isn’t this a touch patronizing? Well, obviously the primary fault is with the crew and commanders of the Gadfly missile system used to shoot down the plane. But Malaysian Air Systems is partially to blame for its negligent operation.

“Malaysia Airlines, already world famous because of the still-missing flight MH370, appears to have been following all normal safety rules.”

Is anybody suggesting that this flight was somehow illegal? I don’t think so. So talking about Malaysian following the “rules” is pointless.

“…explicit prohibitions are critical, because the entire aviation system works on the premise that unless airspace is marked as off-limits, it is presumptively safe and legal for flight.

OK again, Jimmy, the flight was unsafe but legal. Nobody’s suggesting that the flight was not legal.

“…when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe.”

Again, Jimmy, why are you harping on what’s “legal” to make your point that Malaysian wasn’t negligent? It’s as if the New York Times has turned into the Public Relations arm of Malaysian Air Systems or the government of Malaysia.

All right, it’s time to review. Here’s a partial list of airlines that were specifically avoiding this part of eastern Ukraine before the shootdown:

Asiana Airlines

Korean Air Lines  

China Airlines

Air France

British Airways

Air Berlin [Germany's second-largest airline]

The operators of these airlines would have been able to fly over eastern Ukraine legally, but they chose not to. Why’s that, Jimmy? Why would these airlines spend more on kerosene for no reason?

Mr. Fallows continues in The Atlantic:

Somehow I suspect that if it had been a Lufthansa plane that was attacked, there would be fewer starting-point assumptions that the carrier had somehow been cutting corners at the cost of its passengers’ safety. 

This sounds like it came straight from Malaysian Airlines, this racism (or whatever) argument he’s pushing. In any event, corner-cutting at the expense of passenger safety is exactly what occurred here.

And here’s the stinger:

“If a government or rogue faction shoots down a commercial plane, is that really an “air safety issue?” 

Well, hell yes it is, Jimmy. It’s exactly an air safety issue. That’s why all those airlines cited above, plus others, were avoiding the area. For safety.

Comes now aviation writer Christine Negroni to offer views contrary to that of flyboy fanboy James Fallows:

So while Malaysia is self-evidently correct it its statements; the airspace was open and hundreds flights between Europe and Asia were using it every day, it is a weak reply to a valid question of responsibility

Indeed.

Why James Fallows wants to shut down the conversation about the question of responsibility is a mystery to me…

Holy Toledo, Check Out All These Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotors Flying Over the Presidio Today – “Military Training”

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Via PresidioSF:

Click to expand

Yowzer. I myself have never seen a tilt-rotor IRL

Bob Smolenski has the deets and some video:

“Three V-22′s landed at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Followed by 2 Presidential helicopters. Not sure who was riding on them today. Both Pres. Obama and VP Biden are in Washington DC”

Here’s the Reason Why Atlantic Writer James Fallows is So Wildly Enthusiastic About High Speed Rail – One Simple Trick!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Back in 2001, James Fallows wrote a stupid book called Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel about how we’d soon be flying around on tiny Very Light Jets (VLJ’s)(Actually, the book should have been called Jimmy Likes Planes ’cause that’s basically what’s inside).

Then 9/11 happened (so that’s the current excuse as to why things didn’t work out for the bold predictions in Free Flight).

But in 2002, Jimmy came back to say that, ahora mas que nunca, now more than ever in a post 9/11 world, tiny jets were going to transform the world of commercial aviation. He had an “optimistic vision.”

And then in 2008, Jimmy doubled-down with this wildly enthusiastic tale about people at companies that would soon go bankrupt. Every last one of the companies that Jimmy was so wildly enthusiastic about went BK. Read through the whole thing if you want. It’s like oh yeah, we’re going to do everything better cheaper faster lighter and, oh well, the plane’s engines will be coming two years late BUT THAT”S A GOOD THING!

It wasn’t.

So that’s Jimmy’s undeclared baggage, three trunks full of embarrassing writings on The Coming Transportation Revolution.

Comes now James Fallows to say how great California High Speed Rail is going to be.

IDK, why not instead just be realistic, Jimmy Fallows?

‘Cause I don’t think the whole Jimmy Likes X, where X is the latest big transportation revolution / scheme, is working out for Jimmy.

Or us.

Checking In on a Typical Mayor Gavin Newsom Press Conference a Half-Decade Later: Who Lost Qantas?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Well, nobody really “lost” QANTAS, but SFO used to have the big Australian carrier like for a half-century and now it doesn’t so that’s what SFGov was upset about back in the day. Let’s review.

Here’s 2009, from Qantas:

“In 1954, San Francisco became Qantas’ first US mainland destination and we have a long association with the city. We are delighted to showcase our new aircraft to the people of San Francisco.”

And here’s 2009, from Newsom:

“San Francisco International Airport was designed to accommodate the new A380 aircraft, and we are extremely pleased today to welcome Qantas Airways in the first commercial A380 flight to SFO,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “This state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new aircraft provides yet another bridge of friendship between San Francisco and Australia, and we look forward to continuing our long and successful partnership with Qantas.”

Now IRL, the Airbus A380 was and is just another airplane in the sky. And IRL, the state of the art of large commercial aircraft would be to use two large engines instead of the A380′s four smaller engines. And calling it “environmentally sensitive” was and is a bit of a stretch and, in fact, these days it’s considered a guzzler and so much so that Airbus is considering certifying completely different engines.

Anyway, what happened soon after this press conference in 2009 is that Qantas shut down operations at SFO and went to Texas. So instead of upgrading airplanes coming into town, they just upped and quit on us, they couldn’t wait to get out of here.

Why? Because it made sense for them to do so and also the airport people at Dallas Fort Worth came up with millions of dollars to throw at Qantas.

Who knows, Qantas might come back to SFO at some point (but it doesn’t really matter all that much).

Pretty much everything he said at his press conferences turned out to be wrong – this is just an example.