Boeing to test laser that could help pilots avoid turbulence

IT’S the thing you probably hate the most about flying. Turbulence.

While flying into a patch of turbulence won’t cause a plane to fall out of the sky, passengers and crew risk serious injury inside the cabin as a result of the ultra-bumpy ride.

Some 44 people in the US were severely injured by turbulence in 2016, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration. In Australia, about 25 turbulence-related injuries are reported each year, according to the latest data from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which says many other cases go unreported.

And it could get a lot worse, with a UK study this year warning bouts of turbulence strong enough to toss passengers around cabins could become up to three times more common due to climate change.

But Boeing may be on the verge of a solution for all that.

Next year the company will test technology that will let aircraft to detect upcoming clear-air turbulence from many kilometres ahead, allowing pilots to avoid it.

Boeing might have the solution to our biggest problem with flying. Picture: Eric Piermont/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Boeing might have the solution to our biggest problem with flying. Picture: Eric Piermont/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

As part of Boeing’s testing, aircraft will be fitted with lidar (light detection and ranging technology), which will emit pulses of laser light from the plane’s nose and measure weather conditions up to 17 kilometres ahead.

This will allow pilots to avoid the rapid change in wind speed and clear-air turbulence, which is a problem because it has no cloud warning of its presence.

“We expect to be able to spot clear-air turbulence more than 60 seconds ahead of the aircraft, or about 17.5 kilometres, giving the crew enough time to secure the cabin and minimise the risk of injuries,” the Boeing program’s lead investigator Stefan Bieniawski told Wired.

The lidar will be fitted to the nose of the aircraft.

The lidar will be fitted to the nose of the aircraft.Source:ThinkStock

Even if pilots couldn’t steer around the turbulence, a minute’s notice could allow passengers to brace for the bumpy conditions ahead and cabin crew to stow away risky items such as hot coffee, Wired reported.

And the technology couldn’t come sooner, given the growing list of serious injuries caused by turbulence over the past year.

August 2017: Ten people were sent to hospital when an American Airlines flight from Athens to Philadelphia hit turbulence. “[The plane] started shaking, then it took a big drop. Babies screaming, people in front of us hitting the ceiling,” one passenger said of the ordeal.

Passengers were badly injured on an Aeroflot flight that hit turbulence in May. Picture: Instagram/krlrgstk

Passengers were badly injured on an Aeroflot flight that hit turbulence in May. Picture: Instagram/krlrgstkSource:Supplied

May 2017: At least 27 people were seriously injured on an Aeroflot Boeing 777-300 flying from Moscow to Thailand after the aircraft hit a patch of severe turbulence 40 minutes into the trip. Some on board suffered fractured bones in the terrifying ordeal, when the plane flew through a pocket of clean air turbulence.

May 2017: Extreme turbulence rocked an AirAsia X flight from Taipei, Taiwan to Kuala Lumpur, terrifying the 300 passengers on board and injuring five people. Horrifying footage of the incident emerged, in which a woman can he heard asking of a man lying on the ground: “Is he dead?”.

March 2017: In a slightly different example of turbulence, a private plane flipped over “three to five times” before plunging more than 3000 metres towards the Arabian Sea after it was struck by powerful turbulence when a superjumbo flew over it. The pilot pulled off a remarkable recovery.

Before and after scenes from the interior of a Bombardier Challenger 64 which suffered damage after flying into the wake of an Australia-bound A380 in March. Picture: flightservicebureau.org

Before and after scenes from the interior of a Bombardier Challenger 64 which suffered damage after flying into the wake of an Australia-bound A380 in March. Picture: flightservicebureau.orgSource:Supplied

December 2016: Passengers were “tossed like rag dolls” when Qatar Airways flight from Washington to Doha hit extreme turbulence, forcing an emergency landing. Witnesses said a young boy was thrown out of his seat and into the lap of a passenger across the aisle during the scary experience.

November 2016: Seven people were hospitalised after China Eastern flight MU777 ran into turbulence as it landed at Sydney Airport. One patient suffered a laceration to the jaw, and others injuries to the head, back and wrist.

October 2016: Two crew members and a passenger were injured when a QantasLink flight from Melbourne encountered severe turbulence on descent into Canberra.

September 2016: Passengers said they “thought they were going to die” when their United Airlines flight from Houston to London hit turbulence, leading to the hospitalisation of 14 passengers and two crew members.

Airline Threatens Pilots With Jail for Secretly Filming Flight Attendants Having Sex

An airline has allegedly warned pilots after rumours emerged some were sharing explicit footage of colleagues engaging in sexual acts while on flights.

According to the Sun Germany’s Condor Airlines have told pilots they could face receiving the sack as well as criminal charges if they were seen to be taking and distributing X-rated images.

Those caught could face up to two years in jail.

IBT Times reported pilots were allegedly filming stewardesses performing sex acts before trading footage as “trophies”.

A Condor spokesman said: “We have been clear with our colleagues that there is no place in our organisation for this kind of inappropriate behaviour.

“We are rigorously pursuing any allegation. We will of course initiate disciplinary and legal measures if we find that there is any substance to any kind of claim”.

Condor was launched in 1956 and flies to 80 destinations across Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

Reports are BOTH new Delta Air Lines A350 jets have be damaged and are grounded!

How serious and how extensive the damage to either of the brand new jets, set to replace the aging 747’s, is still currently unknown. According to Airliners.net user Concordski this is possibly what happened to one of the jets:

… hearing from a Delta mechanic that a Delta A350 suffered wing delamination during a tire burst that sent rubber up to the wing during a landing at HSV. The mechanic described the event as similar to the Concorde except the phase was during landing instead of takeoff (also no causing debris and certainly no fire resulting). While tires do burst from time to time, the problem here is that the mechanic is saying that for the composite material that the repair going forward isn’t that clear for the wing which may cause issues for future events.” – Airliners.net

I have also seen chatter about this on a pilots chat board confirming some of the above information. Additionally I have reached out to Delta Corp for comment and will update this post once I know more. –by René

Delta Paid One Woman $4000 For a Bump Today — She’ll Still Fly Tonight!

GETTING paid almost $5000 to change your flight doesn’t sound like a bad deal does it?

But that’s just what one US Delta passenger has scored after she answered the call by the airline to forfeit her seat on an overbooked flight.

Possibly wanting to avoid scenes like when David Dao was infamously dragged off an overcrowded United Airlines in April — when the airline said it needed to urgently accommodate four staff members — Delta waved a very lucrative carrot to customers who didn’t mind waiting a few hours.

Viral videos of 69-year-old Mr Dao being dragged down the aisle and then chief executive Oscar Munoz’s handling of the incident unleashed public fury and sparked calls for new regulations of the airline industry.

Tracy Jarvis Smith got paid thousands of dollars by Delta Airlines.

Tracy Jarvis Smith got paid thousands of dollars by Delta Airlines.Source:Twitter

Commentators have already said such occurrence are rare, but that hasn’t stopped airlines changing their policies and offering more generous compensation for bumping passengers.

And that’s just how Tracy Jarvis Smith got her payday, according to website View from the Wing.

She accepted US$4000 (A$4967) to give her seat up on a flight to Indiana. The plane was reportedly full of American football fans following their beloved Georgia Bulldogs to their interstate game with Notre Dame.

Delta kept upping the price in a bid to get someone who had already taken their seat to give it up so someone who had a confirmed reservation could take their seat on the overcrowded flight.

Ms Smith jumped in when it hit the $4000 mark.

Amazingly, she was offered a flight a few hours later that would mean she could still make the game — and pocket thousands of dollars in easy cash.

She live tweeted the experience, telling followers “$4000 was my magic number”.


The Georgia Bulldogs take on Notre Dame tomorrow morning Australian time which gives Ms Smith plenty of time. She said on Twitter this morning she was still waiting to be confirmed on the later flight.

Emirates Holds Out for Assurances About A380’s Future

Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, is holding out for assurances about the future of Airbus SE’s A380 program before committing to an order for more of the double-decker aircraft.

While Airbus is pushing for a deal at November’s air show in Dubai, where the carrier is based, concern that the value of used A380s will plummet if the slow-selling model is canceled represents a major sticking point, together with the current list price, Emirates airline President Tim Clark said in an interview Thursday.

“I know they would like us to do something,” Clark said in London. “At the moment we are not at that state of readiness. We need copper-bottomed undertakings that they would do everything they needed to do to keep the program going. We don’t want to be left with aircraft that have no value.”

Airbus announced in July that it will slash A380 production to eight jets a year in 2019, down from 15 this year and 28 in 2016, casting doubt over the model’s future. That plan won’t change even if the Toulouse, France-based aircraft manufacturer gets another purchase contract before the end of this year, unless the number of planes bought was unexpectedly high, Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said at the time.

Emirates is already the No. 1 superjumbo buyer, with 97 A380s in operation out of firm orders and commitments for more than 140 planes.

Airbus offered an enhanced version of the A380 in June featuring fuel-saving winglets, which combined with an already-announced layout revision accommodating 80 more people would shave 13 percent from costs per seat. Emirates is exploring the upgrade with a view to buying 20 more planes, though Clark — who originally campaigned for a more significant upgrade featuring new engines — has said he doesn’t need the extra capacity.

Emirates also needs to consider how to deal with its oldest 25 A380s, which are due to be replaced by the last 25 planes of its existing order. It’s possible that the original airliners, some of which the carrier owns, may be retained to augment capacity, Clark said.

Airbus was already planning to slow A380 production to one aircraft a month as of May 2018. The reductions outlined in July mean that the company is no longer breaking even on a per-plane basis. Airbus gave up long ago on recouping the program’s 25 billion euros ($30 billion) in development costs.

Clark, who spoke at the 2017 Aviation Festival, said that Emirates plans to reverse reductions in U.S. capacity over the next six to nine months. The airline cut flights earlier this year following a slump in demand linked to curbs that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed in response to concerns about terror threats and security standards at Middle Eastern airports.

Emirates aims to restore twice-daily flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle and a daily service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Clark said. The carrier has scaled back capacity through the early retirement of more than 60 aircraft, the executive said, with others used to increase offerings to destinations including the African cities of Lagos, Abuja and Luanda.

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This airline wants to turn you (yes, you!) into an airplane PILOT

Hey you: Want to be an airplane pilot?

JetBlue is preparing for a looming pilot shortage by expanding its first-of-its-kind training program that takes regular schmos (like you!) and turns them into high-flying commercial airplane pilots. Boeing estimates there will be about 117,000 pilot jobs that need filling in North America in the next 20 years, and few people with the required 1,500 hours of flight time to fill them. That’s why JetBlue last year launched Gateway Select, to train the youth of America in the aviation arts, no experience necessary.
Trainees are taught everything from meteorology to aerodynamics and rack up the requisite 1,500 hours of flying experience before they are hired at JetBlueAccording to Bloomberg, the first batch of trainees included a grocery store clerk, an accountant, and a baggage handler–and the program set them on the path to flying the friendly skies. Want to get in on the fun? JetBlue will be accepting online applications starting Wednesday and running through Sept. 30. It isn’t cheap, though: According to the website, the cost is approximately $125,000, payable in installments over about 15 months.

New Round

JetBlue, which received more than 1,500 applications during about a week in the first Gateway Select round, will choose 24 candidates again this time. Training could begin in early 2018.

Trainees go through classroom instruction — including meteorology, aerodynamics and aircraft systems– spend time in flight simulators and then build up 1,500 hours of flying experience before they are hired at JetBlue. The program was opposed by the pilots’ union when it was announced last year.

Nineteen candidates from the original group of 24 still are in training, broken up into smaller groups. Having to fund the six-figure cost of the program has proved to be the biggest problem, Christie said. The airline continues to work on ways to help the candidates secure loans for the training, he said.

Watch moment passenger plane catches FIRE mid-air and makes emergency landing

THIS is the shocking moment a passenger plane’s engine appeared to catch fire causing it to make an emergency landing.

The Japan Airlines Boeing 777, with 233 passengers and 15 crew onboard, was bound for New York when on takeoff the pilot reported a bird strike to an engine.

Dramatic footage shows bright orange flames shooting from the left engine as the plane ascended from the runway.

Japan Airlines said the pilot requested an emergency landing just minutes after taking off from Haneda International Airport on Tuesday (September 5).
Japan Airlines plane on fire in airFLAMES: The plane’s engine caught fire mid-air

“It seems that a bird got sucked into the left engine when taking off”

JAL spokesman

A JAL spokesman said: “It seems that a bird got sucked into the left engine when taking off.”

The pilot dumped the fuel to lessen its weight before safely returning to the airport.

A 57-year-old passenger said: “Right after taking off we heard five bangs and the plane shook, but all the passengers were calm.”

A school student, 17, added: “I was nervous at first but I’m glad we were able to come back safely.”

A land ministry official said that a grass field next to one of the four runways briefly caught fire after the plane took off but was soon extinguished.

United Airlines employee struck by plane propeller at Newark Liberty Airport

A United Airlines employee was hospitalized after being hit with a plane propeller at Newark Liberty Airport early Saturday.

The accident happened at about 2:20 a.m. opposite Terminal A.

According to Port Authority Police, a 54-year-old woman from Orange, N.J. was reportedly struck by a moving propeller.

She was taken to University Hospital with a serious head injury.

The Port Authority says there was no disruption to airport operations.

The airplane was not on a runway, it was opposite Terminal A maintenance area, the Port Authority said.

Why is fuel stored in the wings of aircraft?

For this answer, I’ll take the example of the Boeing 737.

Fuel is stored in 3 tanks, however, contrary to popular belief, the 737–800 has 5 tanks. They are –

The surge tanks are not counted to the fuel capacity of the aircraft but act as a precaution, in case the main tanks overflow.

Fuel is stored in the wings for primarily 3 reasons :-

  1. Fuel acts as a counter stress for the wings shortly after takeoff when the great stress of the aircraft’s mass acts on them. This prevents a large change in the wing dihedral angle. This effect is so great on the Boeing 747, that if only the centre tank was filled (leaving the wing tanks empty) and the plane would take off, the wings would simply snap.

Due to this reason, fuel is first consumed from the center tank and then the wing tanks. Conversely, during refueling, the wing tanks are filled initially and then the centre tanks.

2. Keeps the centre of gravity more or less in the desired position. If the tanks are at the nose or tail of the aircraft, there will be a large change of momentum as fuel is filled or consumed. Longitudinal centre of gravity is vital for an aircraft’s stability, and any large change in its position is not conducive for flying.

3. The weight of the fuel provides rigidity to the wing, thereby reducing wing flutter. Flutter is the vibration of the wings due to the airflow. Large flutter is so hazardous that it can even result in total collapse of the wings. The following video explains how flutter acts on aircraft and other structures.

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