Archive for March, 2008

Small Jet Crashes Into a Home – 5 Killed

UK small plane crashAt least 5 died after a Cessna Citation I crashed into two homes in Farnborough, England. The plane took off from London Biggin Airport and was heading to Pau, France. Shortly after take off the pilot reported vibration in the engines. Some minutes later there was a Mayday call and the plane crashed into two houses. One of them was completely destroyed.

There were 5 people aboard. Three of them have already been identified. They were all known peopleUK small plane crash from motor sports: David Leslie, a former tourign car champion, motorsport executive Richard Lloyd and Mike Roberts – the pilot.

Luckily the destroyed house was empty as its owners are on holiday, thus there were no more victims on the ground.

Watch video about the crash here.

Read more about the aircraft type here. 

By Szafi

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London Heathrow Terminal 5 Opens

The biggest construction work over the last years is finished and the largest standalone building of the UK has started its everyday business today. The UK’s flagship building is solely to be used by British Airways (BA), the UK’s flag carrier. BA promises that connections will be much faster (~20 mins), and also time spent at the Terminal while departing will also be significantly reduced (~10 mins), as they plan with most of the passengers checking in online before arriving to the airport and then “flying” through the Departures area very quickly. To allow this, 96 fast-bag drops have been installed with the same number of self-service check-in kiosks for those who had no time to check-in from their office, home or mobile phone. According to the website of British Airways, all passengers must be ready to fly (passed check-in and security) 35 minutes before their flights, which means on a normal operational day you can arrive at the airport only 45 minutes before your flight (but this is a theoretical minimum, we believe this means 55-60 minutes in reality…) – if you’re an experienced self check-in kiosk user or have used online check-in and do not have any baggages to check-in.

Terminal 5 banner on ba.com

A Green Building

Following the first idea about a fifth terminal in as early as 1982, construction finally started on the £4.3 billion pound project in September 2002 (5.5 years ago) and has been on time and on budget. 2006 Stirling Prize winner the Richard Rogers Partnership designed the 40 metre high, 396 metres long and 176 metres wide, 5 level Terminal 5. It is built between Heathrow’s two runways, on reclaimed land previously occupied by a sludge works. The project has successfully moved 9 million cubic metres of earth and two rivers have been diverted to create space for the new building. The area now is home to 30.000 woodland plants and 4.000 trees and is planned to have more in the next two years. On top of this green initiative, the building will be operated with as small environmental effects as possible:
  • Water conservation – 85 per cent of the water that falls on T5 will be collected and reused
  • Recycling – 97 per cent of the construction waste was reused and passengers can contribute by recycling their waste at special facilities around the terminal
  • Lighting – the predominantly glass constructed building allows in natural sunlight, reducing the need for artificial lighting (30.000 square metres of reinforced glass and 5.500 glass panels also guarantee the light and airy feel)
  • Heat – 85 per cent of the heat required by the building is provided by waste heat from the existing airport heat and power station

The terminal housing the longest baggage carousel system in the world will be able to handle 30 million passengers every year, raising the total capacity of Heathrow to 90 million from 68 million currently (while the airport was originally designed for 45 million…). The main terminal building is home to Concourse A, while the satellite Concourse B has been finished as well (with dedicated stands for the Airbus A380 superjumbo – already on order with BA), and is connected to the main building by an underground people mover system. The opening of Concourse C is scheduled for 2010. Alltogether, Terminal 5 will have 60 aircraft stands.

All sorts of traffic means are connected to the building, including Heathrow Express rail service as well as the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line. 4.000 cars can be parked in the new Parking Garage, but there are bicycle routes up to the terminal as well, with free bicyle parking in car parks 1 and 1A.

BA will use Terminal 5 as the only one carrier, but Terminal 5 will not be the only one terminal used by BA, as they are forced to keep some of their services on Terminal 3. You can find the list of destinations served by BA and their Terminals here. There will also be a frequent coach service launched between Terminals 3 and 5 to allow BA passengers to easily transfer between the two terminals used by the British carrier.

The first flight to arrive is BA 026 from Hong Kong, piloted by BA’s first woman pilot, Captain Lynn Barton, due to touch down at 4.50am. She has described the role as “a huge honour”. The first flight to depart is heading for Paris at 6.20pm with a further 380 (what a coincidence with the A380…) flights due to arrive or depart at the terminal on its first day. The BA move will involve a convoy of more than 1,000 vehicles, including 360 baggage trailers, 240 cargo containers and 27 short-haul aircraft. More than 2,500 ground staff will also make the move, with another 3,000 to follow on the 30th of April.

Once airside, BA passengers will be able to kill time in an enormous shopping mall and a range of cafes and restaurants – the list of outlets includes Harrods, Prada, Bulgari, Wagamama, Gordon Ramsay, Paul Smith and Carluccio’s as well as Starbucks among many-many others.

by balint01

Sukhoi Superjet Also Delayed

It seems like no new aircraft in the 21st century can be developed according to the first announced schedules. Following the almost 2 year delay of the Airbus A380 superjumbo which had wiring problems and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which is facing a still growing delay due to supply chain problems in the production of the composite airframe (originally it was planned to be delivered in about two months to its launch customer – but still has not ever taken off…) here are the latest news about the Russian Sukhoi Superjet being delayed…

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed - by Reuters

As we reported earlier, the Sukhoi Superjet was revealed on 26SEP2007, when they claimed the rolled out aircraft was basically ready to fly about two months later. Back then on the ceremony it was announced that “the first flight will take place before the year end,” and they have also pointed out that they are on schedule, unlike the above mentioned A380 or the 787… Then came the news yesterday, that the Russian manufacturer announced: “Technical problems will postpone delivery of the first Sukhoi Superjet indefinitely.”

First deliveries to launch customer Aeroflot originally were slated to begin by late 2008. Aeroflot has already removed the Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft from service to make room for the first SSJ’s to arrive which are due to replace the aging mid-sized airplane. “The airplane is currently in the final testing stages and it will make its first flight within a month,” Alexei Fyodorov, CEO of United Aircraft Building Corp., told RIA Novosti. “Our specialists are working round the clock to meet our obligations to contractors.” We can only hope that this “within a month” will now be real, as it is crucial for the SSJ to show a positive image to the World Market, that it plans to conquer. Airbus and Boeing are stronger and larger players to manage such delays, but for Sukhoi being a new entrant, it is very important to show professionalism to its (future) customers. To date, the 78 and 98 seat version aircraft has collected 73 firm orders and 46 options, mostly from Russian customers.

If we think about it a little more, these delays even sound understandable, as the aircraft market today sells planes for deliveries in 5-6 or even more years down the road. All manufacturers are therefore pressured to announce a new plane as soon as possible with as soon delivery dates as possible, in order to not lose possible customers. If you announce a certain date and then are forced to pay a penalty, it’s still better than losing the whole business to another plane which is already on the market, or has promised an even earlier delivery date… This way at least you do have the business. Tough competition and not normal market conditions have led to this stage, but it’s the airline customers that go into a more and more uncertain future with such an emerging tendency. They need to plan fleet strategies, networks and even schedules ahead – when counting with the new airplanes which are then delivered only a few years late…

It will be interesting to follow the developments of the new Chinese Regional Jet, the Japanese Mitsubishi Regional Jet as well as the new Bombardier C-Ceries – will they be on schedule with their new programs or can we make a new rule: “New Aircraft development projects in the 21st century are always behind schedule”?

by balint01

Friday Fun – Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly

I received this link from a good friend of mine. It’s really funny. It is the music video of Foo Fighters’ Learn to fly. I hope you’ll like it.

Thanks Emonk for the link!

Happy Easter to everyone!

By Szafi

Air Asia Airbus in Williams F1 Livery

AirAsia WilliamsF1 livery Airbus A320 - by F1live.com

AirAsia is a sponsor of the Williams F1 team, and has recently extended the 3 year contract. As the 2008 Formula-1 championship was kicked off a week ago in Melbourne, Australia, the second round is arriving to Kuala Lumpur for the coming weekend. To mark the Malaysian Grand Prix and the sponsorship with Williams, AirAsia has painted one of its Airbus A320’s into a special, Williams F1 livery.

The aircraft, whose livery is an exact look-alike of the AT&T Williams racing car, with Williams’ traditional racing colours of blue and white, whilst the ‘nose’ of the aircraft is designed to look like Nico Rosberg’s racing helmet. At the belly of the aircraft you can also find painted Bridgestone tyres in the front and in the aft part as well. The aircraft (new registration number: 9M-AFW) was named ‘Sir Frank Williams’ in tribute to Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of Williams.

Nico Rosberg said: “It has been incredible to see the AT&T Williams livery on AirAsia’s plane. I’m delighted that the design of my helmet, which I have been racing with all my life, has been used to create a lasting tribute to the team’s partnership with Air Asia.” Kazuki Nakajima has added: “I am very impressed at how well the Williams Toyota FW30’s design has translated to the SFW30 Airbus. I think we would all like to thank AirAsia for this great venture and we are proud to be associated with the Airline of the Year 2007. This is indeed a source of inspiration to both of us going into the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.”

A high resolution picture of the plane on airliners.net by Rajesh Changela:

Link to airliners.net for the Large photo

by balint01

Indonesia Grounds Adam Air

Indonesian authorities have withdrawn the Operation Specification Adam Air Sky Connection (Adam Air). The carrier is grounded as of March 19 and has three months to make safety improvements or it will have its AOC (Air Operator’s Certificate) revoked.

Shortcomings noted by the Ministry of Transport include that the airline carried out operations not in accordance with their AOM (Aircraft Operations Maintenance). Also, personnel training was not carried out in accordance with the company’s training program. And maintenance was carried out, not in accordance with the Maintenance Manual.

Adam AirAdam Air was founded in 2002 by two persons, a well-known Indonesian businessman called Agung Laksono and a lady called Sandra Ang. It was named after Sandra Ang’s son. The airline started operations on 19 December 2003 with 2 Boeing 737s. There were discussions about selling 20% of the stakes – even Qantas was among the expected investors -, but after the crash of flight 574 on 11 February 2006 international investors backed down, although there were no fatalities or injuries in that accident.

Since the crash there have been continuous talks about the safety records and management style of Adam Air. According to talks they bribed their pilots to fly unsafe planes. Today’s decision of the Indonesian ministry was a logical effect of serious reports from the pilots of the airline about safety issues and corruption.

You can read more about Adam Air here.

By Szafi

Ryanair Angels With Bigger Breasts

Remember those “find seven little differences between the two pictures” type of riddles? I played that last time when I was waiting at the Dublin airport for my Ryanair flight to depart.

The riddle was about finding the differences between the old and new style paints of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircrafts. There are a few small differences like:

  • the letters in Ryanair on the side of the plane are bigger
  • the harp-angel logo in front of the word Ryanair has a different color
  • the engine is painted in a different way
  • in the old paint there is a narrow black stripe between the yellow stripe and the background white color
  • in the new paint the yellow stripe runs up to the tail of the plan

Ryanair plane at Dublinpaint01.jpg

The funniest difference however is something Mr O’Leary wanted. So if you think this is a mistake or it was made by a different artist or there is any other reason, forget about it. This was a well planned step from the most conscious, most agressive and the most genius CEO of the airline industry.

What is it? Well, it’s a male world – nobody knows it better than us, women – so the solution is simple. The angel that is the silouette of the harp in the logo of Ryanair has bigger breasts. Does it really work in such a simple way with men? Well, it is your choice to judge it, but if anybody on this planet watches the logo just a second longer or notices the logo at all, it was worth it. Well done!

Ryanair Angels With Bigger BreastsRyanair Angels With Bigger Breasts

Is it just me to see the jaw of a shark in that logo watching from a different angle? 🙂

By Szafi


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