Archive for the ‘aircraft’ Category

That Geico Banner Dropped on Fremont

Friday, July 25th, 2014

[UPDATE: Ad-Viation says it wasn’t them. Fair ‘nough.]

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.

How to Watch the NTSB Board Meeting on the Asiana 214 Crash at SFO – Today, Starting at 6:30 AM PDT

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well fundamentally, this accident was due to pilot error, if you had to sum things up in two words. But the NTSB has been looking into everything that led to that error and now it will present its findings, in English, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.

Is it possible that the people who died weren’t belted in for landing? It’s hard to believe, but yes. And how will SFO operations fare in the NTSB’s assessment?

Here’s the link – they are providing many different kinds of connections

(more…)

Flying Low and Slow Over San Francisco – Where Do You Land If Your Engine Cuts Out? Well, Who Knows?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I don’t know – seems a bit too low and slow for me:

Click to expand

Our FAA has rules for a reason, non?

Remembering When You Could Regularly See Russian Acrobatic “Yak” Aircraft in the Skies of the Bay Area

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This Russian-made Yak-50 acrobatic airplane used to be seen all over the skies of the San Francisco Bay Area – buzzing Mount Tam in Marin County, checking out anti-abortion rallies along San Francisco’s waterfront, that kind of thing.

But here’s your take-away: These things had a working life of just 50 hours back in Mother Russia, as the stress of all them 9G loop de loops and whatnot led to bad things, such as “main spar collapse.” Ouch.

Anyway, looks like fun:

Circa 2005, Marin County, Canon 300mm 2.8L IS + 2x extender

Chinese-Backed ICON Aircraft Wants to Build Carbon Fiber Seaplanes in Vacaville? Really? No, Really?

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

I can’t see this ending well.

This outfit really, really reminds me of CODA Automotive.

Anyway, here’s the news of the day, California’s Cow Town will soon be California Aircraft Production Town, maybe, someday:

ICON Aircraft to Bring Hundreds of Advanced Manufacturing Jobs to Vacaville, California

LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – ICON Aircraft has announced that it will relocate to the City of Vacaville in Northern California, located approximately fifty miles northeast of San Francisco. Beginning in the first quarter of 2015, the company will begin operating in a 140,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the Vacaville airport, also known as the Nut Tree Airport. ICON intends to consolidate aircraft manufacturing, sales, training, service, and corporate headquarters at the new location. The move follows an extensive nationwide search for a site that would enable ICON to co-locate all divisions. The move stands to create hundreds, and eventually thousands, of advanced manufacturing-related jobs, while providing economic impact on the region that has been independently estimated to exceed $350 million.

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnvar/20140514/87590

“The selection of Vacaville as ICON’s new home is a major milestone for the company and a significant economic win for the residents of the region,” said ICON CEO and Founder Kirk Hawkins. “The move will play a major role in achieving our goal to not only deliver the best consumer Light Sport Aircraft in the world, but also a comprehensive flight training and operating experience that our customers and employees will absolutely love. The site we have chosen has a rare combination of key elements that makes it an ideal fit for ICON at this next stage of growth. The decision to stay in California and relocate to Vacaville, located in Solano County, would not have happened without the proactive, tireless effort of the airport officials, City of Vacaville, Solano County, and the Governor’s GO-Biz office over the last several years. This has been an impressive demonstration of local, regional, and state cooperation that ultimately made it possible for ICON to remain in California.”

“To say we’re pleased with ICON’s selection of Vacaville would be an understatement,” said Vacaville Mayor Steve Hardy. “We have much to offer ICON, as well as other businesses, and this seems like such a natural fit to us. We look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with this world-class operation.”

Supervisor John Vasquez added, “ICON will be the needed catalyst to ensure the long-term success of the Nut Tree Airport. Solano County, the City of Vacaville, as well as the North Bay region will benefit from this project. I am thrilled ICON is coming.”

ICON chose the site in Vacaville because of the business-friendly local government, accessibility to a vibrant, talented labor pool, existing facilities adjacent to the airport, and outstanding weather and local conditions for year-round flight operations and training. The site also allows easy access to compelling recreation destinations, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Wine Country, and Sacramento for visiting customers as well as employees. Finally, the San Francisco Bay Area represents a strong cultural fit:  ICON was founded in Silicon Valley, and the company culture draws heavily on the entrepreneurial drive embodied by the area.

ICON’s move also stands to have a significant positive economic impact on the region, according to an independent study. The study concluded that the move would directly and indirectly create hundreds, and eventually thousands, of jobs in advanced manufacturing as well as many other disciplines. The annual economic impact on Vacaville and Solano County is estimated to exceed $350 million through wages paid, local purchases made by ICON, and increases in employee and visitor spending, as well as sales and property tax revenues to the city and county once the company is at full production rates.

ICON will continue to manufacture production aircraft at its existing facility in Southern California before transitioning to the facility in Vacaville. The first customer aircraft is scheduled to be completed in early 2015.

For more information, visit www.iconaircraft.com.

For information on careers in Vacaville, visit www.iconaircraft.com/vacavillejobs.

ABOUT ICON AIRCRAFT:
ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded in response to the new sport flying category created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2004. ICON’s first plane is the A5, an amphibious sport aircraft that fuses outstanding aeronautical engineering with world-class product design. It has won some of the world’s most prestigious design awards and has inspired a global following. The company has received more than 1050 order deposits and has started manufacturing components of the first production aircraft. ICON Aircraft’s facilities are in Southern California, a hotbed for automotive design and aerospace engineering.

ABOUT FAA LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT & SPORT PILOT CLASSIFICATIONS:
In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person airplanes called Light Sport Aircraft. These airplanes enable a new classification of Sport Pilots to fly in lower altitude, uncongested airspace, during the daytime, and in good weather. The Sport Pilot License focuses on the fundamentals of flying and requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training, undercutting the time and cost of a traditional Private Pilot License by about 50%. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has described the new rules as “the biggest change in aviation in 50 years.”

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140514/87590

SOURCE  ICON Aircraft

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

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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….