Archive for the ‘aircraft’ Category

Formation Flying: 56 Years After The Day The Music Died, Two Beech Bonanzas Buzz SF – Like a G[3]6, Like a G[3]6

Friday, February 20th, 2015

(Your choice – you can play Like a G6 or American Pie* as you look at photos of these Beechcraft Bonanza G36’s.)

This was the scene yesterday over Market Street. I ain’t never seen this:

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What’s this, a joyride? Or is somebody making a video? I don’t get it. This is like the General Aviation version of the Blue Angels.

I’ll just say that this is dangerous flying.

Gee, if I could only get an N-number as this formation circles over South of Market, the Twitterloin, the Western Addition, etc. My aging Canon prolly shouldn’t have been set at ISO 25600 and this pair was a little too far away from my 200mm lens as they flew in and out of the fog, oh well:

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Oh, I know, how about N301RB for a registration number? Hello Brent Wolfe of Phoenix, Arizona.

Welcome to Frisco.

*Yeah, the $70 million Gulfstream G650 was supposed to be called the G6, hence the song title. But it turned out that the name G6 was only actually applied to a kind of Pontiac, which was a car line, back in the day. Speaking of history, Buddy Holly died in a V-tail** Bonanza back in 1959.

**Yeah, 60 Minutes made a big deal about the differences betwixt the accident rate of V-tailed versus straight-tailed Bonanzas, but most of the deaths had to do with inexperienced pilots flying into known bad weather. Another factor was that v-tailed Bonanzas certainly look bad-ass – they have a strong “ramp appeal,” so they attracted the wrong element, you know, people like Steve Wozniak, people who are successful in the non-flying realm. “Forked Tail Doctor Killer” is the phrase that covers this phenomenon. The next step up in status would be a Piper Saratoga or something, or, Heaven forbid, a twin-engined aircraft, and that’s when you know you’re a baller…

The Dashcams of Taiwan: Incredible Video of the Crash of Transasia Flight GE235 – Sullenberger-Style River Landing Saves Some Lives?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Nothing goes unrecorded by the car dash cams of Taiwan:

TransAsia Airways Flight 235 looks to have lost a lot of power from its left engine. But assuming that the propeller blades of the failing engine were feathered to lessen drag, there’s no reason why a properly-loaded ATR 72 shouldn’t have been able to climb out to a safe altitude using the remaining engine.

There appears to be a lot of data recorded on this crash, so they mystery should be solved soon…

How the Giant Airbus A380 is a Fuel-Hungry Dinosaur and How Smaller Mammals are Eating Its Eggs – The 80 Meter Box

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Here you go, let’s take a look at two recent flights out of SFO.

An Airbus A380:

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And here’s a Boeing 777, which is an older design, but it’s not yet a flying dinosaur:

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Here’s why. What are the differences you see? Doesn’t the A380 look sort of stubby to you? Part of that has to do with the 80 Meter Box, which is the reason why the wingspan is 79 point-something meters. The wings were made as long as possible, so they just barely fit inside that box. The result is a design that isn’t aerodynamically efficient. Also the wings were made too big and too strong* in order to accommodate anticipated future stretched models. So that means that if the A380 never gets stretched, then it will be burdened by too short, too strong wings for its whole life. (And look at the A380’s huge tailplane in the back – that’s another sign of its stubbiness. It’s too close the wings, so it needs to be bigger and heavier, ala the even-stubbier Boeing 747SP.) Future 777s will have folding wingtips, the better to be long and thin in flight, but easier to move about the gate area. Mmmm…

Also, four engines vs. two. Well, if you want to build big big big, then four engines is the way to go, but why would you want to build so big? Well, efficiencies, but landing slots at big international airports aren’t as precious as Airbus anticipated. If you think that international flight will grow spectacularly and that the hub and spoke system will dominate, well then, yeah, it’d be nice to get as many passengers as possible into the limited number of flights you’re allowed. But that’s not the point we’re at now, so maybe Airbus built the A380 “too soon?” It’s sure looking that way. And then Airbus is stuck with four older-style engines sucking up fuel. Unless, they want to hang newer style engines off of the wings, but that change would take a long time and cost a lot of money. But then it’d still be too stubby.

It’s incredible how it is was billed as some kind of revolutionary “green” aircraft just eight years ago. Anyway, that’s the fuel-hungry dinosaur part.

Now, where are the smaller mammals? Well they’re coming, they’re the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. Look at what you can do with them – you can more easily avoid those those big, crowded airports, right?

So we’ll just have to wait and see how things go for the A380. Maybe the world will change soon enough for the A380 to start making sense, despite its shortcomings. But until that happens, the A380 is nothing but a superjumbo jobs program, something the Euros can waste $20 billion of development money on, to put workers to work, all over Europe and in a few American states as well.

(It’s like the Concorde program all over again, spending big bucks to sell thirsty four-engined aircraft at less than cost.)

Oh well.

IMO, if Airbus wanted a big hub and spoke airliner, it should have built a big big twinjet, which would have fit into the 80 meter (or whatever) box more efficiently.

Boxes are efficient for watermelons, but not for jetliners – that’s how it works.

It’s halftime for the A380 and it’s down by three touchdowns.

Oh well.

Maybe it was just a bad idea…

*Or I should say designed too strong. The wing crack issue is there, but it doesn’t go to show how the A380 was fundamentally a bad idea for its time. It was just something that happened. My point is that the wings on the current and only A380 don’t really match the rest of the current and only A380, even leaving aside the 80 Meter Box

US Navy C-2A Greyhound Caught Flying Over Alcatraz with Its Cargo Ramp Down

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

How embarrassing!

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My first thought was that they might have been doing photography…

Cowboy Pilots, Air Safety and the Metric System: A Modest Defense of Fox News on AirAsia Flight QZ8501

Monday, December 29th, 2014

So cue the outrage here.

I don’t watch the cable TV news myself, but here are a few points:

1. American-style measurements are all over the aviation industry, like measurement of speed (in nautical miles per hour) and altitude (in feet). Pilot confusion with differing measurement systems has killed passengers and crew IRL.

2. And yes, international travel isn’t as safe as domestic travel, for a host of reasons. American pilots have better training, on average, and they have an easier job of it, not having to deal with the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Russian paramilitaries, for starters. Not a single passenger has died due to a crash on a domestic flight on a large (we’re talking about something bigger than a private jet or a regional airliner) jet since 9/11. And if you want to talk about international flight on 100+ seat jets either going to or coming from America, we’ve lost a total of three passengers (on an Asiana flight at SFO) since 2001, that horrible year.

3. And the thing about cowboys – that’s a reference to the Boeing / American approach to automation vs. the Airbus / international approach. So a “cowboy” pilot has greater power to do something stupid, but also a greater ability to get out of trouble. A “cowboy” is more likely to have military experience. A cowboy is the opposite of a “college boy.” Oddly enough, the computer-assisted cowboy and cowgirl pilots are doing better, on average, than the auto pilot-reliant college boys and girls.

The job of these hosts is to be appealing (by looking good in a suit or a fuchsia(?) minidress(?), to look somber (due to the tragedy) and to goad the invited expert into saying what s/he knows in an interesting way. Seems as if they were getting that job done.

So yeah, asking about the metric system sounds like a stupid question, I’ll agree. But everything the hosts were talking about comes from real life, it comes from someplace. It’s not just Fox News waving the flag.

IMO.

So laugh at Fox if you want, but they’re doing their job better than Jezebel / Isha Aran is doing its job of debunking Fox News. And, bonus, Fox News consulted an expert and Jezebel, which doesn’t know much about aviation, did not.

So, Fox News 1, Jezebel 0.

Area Resident Hearts Airplane Noise – NIMBY’s Living Near SFO Won’t Want to See This Particular Bumper Sticker

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“I Love Airplane Noise”

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Find out where the noise, the horrible noise, the bells! the bells! will come next…

The End of an Era: 2014 is the Last Time Any Airline Will Boast of Its Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets – Air China’s 747-8

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I was surprised to see this ad:

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Here’s how things looked back in 1968:

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And here’s how things looked back in 2008 for Boeing’s jumbo jet competition, the Airbus A380.

Where’s our jumbo jet scorecard?

Boeing 747 1st Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but now obsolete

Boeing 747 2nd Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but pretty much obsolete

Airbus A380 1st Generation = FAILURE! Pretty much. A big money pit for Airbus

Boeing 747 3rd Generation = FAILURE! Approaching obsolescence faster than expected 

See a pattern here?

Here’s How Larry Ellison Runs His Hawaiian Airline: $4000 Bonuses Paid to Pilots at “Island Air” Being Recalled

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Why would you give people a bonus right before the holidays and then take it back right before the holidays?

And then you plan on giving the money back* again next year, maybe?

What a mess!

Hey, here’s a solution for LE.

Why not just sell your POS Toyota LFA and then use the proceeds to fund the bonuses?

Oh, here it is, parked on Van Ness in front of the House of Prime Rib:

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That would cover it.

(Now, here’s the thing about the LFA. The suits at Toyota felt the program was taking waaaay too long, which it was, so they said, “Forget about the tranny, just finish that car!” So they slapped in a slushbox** and called it a day. That “awful” transmission totally doesn’t match the rest of the car. Oh well! But don’t take my word for it… [“One big giant squirrel.” “Awful transmission.”]

Anyway, this is the kind of thing what makes up your Legacy, Larry.

Don’t you care about your Legacy, Larry?

Or, if not, do you care about unnecessarily pissing off all your pilots? 

*These bonuses weren’t exactly Christmas Bonuses, they were WE’RE FINALLY GETTING NEW AIRPLANES Bonuses. So I guess the Island Air people weren’t happy with the Airbussy prop planes they bought, so now they want to switch over to the Canadian competition? And then there was some kind of bonus for the pilots connected to that. Which planes would be best? Well, you just don’t know. You’ll never know, actually. Perhaps Island Air just doesn’t make sense as a bidness? I’ll tell you, back in the 1990’s people’d be trying to start up inter-island airlines just for the PR value, just to have fun. The idea would be to lose money on the airline (ooh look, we have all-jet aircraft!) to build up goodwill to use for another purpose. It didn’t work out..)

**Look at all those words in Wikipedia about the chassis and engine and then there’s just one line about the awful transmission…

What’s This – Asiana Airlines is Actually Happy About Its Recent 45-Day Ban from SFO? And Its Stock Price is Up?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Man, this recent report on Asiana Flight 214 from Anadolu Agency, the official press agency in Turkey(!), sure is informative – every line is pure gold.

Check it:

“We have two weeks to appeal and nothing is set in stone, but we are still considering what to do because to be honest we have got off light,” said the man, who did not wish to be named given the sensitivity of the case.

Well gee, this is true or somewhat true or not at all – how do you prove it? IDK. But man, this is not good for Asiana to have an employee/insider celebrating like this, for various reasons.

Three people died – one of them run over by a fire truck responding to the scene – and more than 180 of the 307 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were injured when it clipped a sea wall and crashed into a runway at San Francisco airport on July 6 last year.

The SFFD gets a lot of criticism over its performance on that day, at least from outside of SF. (Here’s the rosier view from inside SF, FYI.)

United States National Transportation Safety Board officials have accused the pilots of mismanaging the landing due to a failure to manage speed and altitude, along with a reliance on an automatic throttle they didn’t fully understand.

Yep. It could be that it’s especially hard to learn on a modern Airbus and then switch over to the Boeing system. People should be looking into this…

“We can choose when to start the suspension, and if we do it during our off-peak season the damages will be greatly reduced,” he added.

Again, it’s OK to think this, but you shouldn’t come out and say this, IMO

The source said that he expected Korean Air – Asiana’s main rival – to be furious with the decision. As evidence, he highlighted that its services to Guam were stopped for more than four years after a 1997 crash claimed 228 lives, and that it was one of only two airlines that fly into South Korea’s Incheon International Airport that had refused to petition for leniency for Asiana – the other being its budget division Jin Air.

Sounds kind of petty, Korean Air.

Asiana had argued that suspensions had not been shown to improve safety.

Mmmm… I’m inclined to agree. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this old school-style punishment.

The company’s stocks rallied on the local KOSPI bourse on Friday, rising 4.58 percent as the lighter-than-expected suspension was announced.

Did not know that.

You know, there are still a lot of stories to tell about Asiana 214. Like what about the people that received serious injuries – how are they doing?

On it goes…