Airlines

Airlines' Winter Weather Woes

I just got a hold of a CNN.com article that relates how winter weather is hindering Christmas travel on the airlines this week. Heavy snows are causing delays in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago and other places.

Spaceport America gets FAA approval

Virgin Galactic is yet another step closer to making commercial space tourism a must have for your Christmas wish list. They recieved approval from the FAA and are proceeding with construction plans beginning in the first quarter of 2009. The environmental impact study completed by the FAA in June of 2008 didn't have any major findings, paving the way for the approval. The "spaceport" will be located in New Mexico, and lists both horizontal and vertical launch and recovery activities. The spaceport Hilton should be along shortly...

Making the Call

Life for professional pilots isn't nearly as easy as it used to be. GPS-aided tracking systems, digital flight data and engine monitors, alarmist media coverage and the almighty Dollar (or Pound) mean that Big Brother is always watching and always ready to second guess any decision a pilot makes. I worry that this pressure sometimes leads people to make less than optimal decisions. It's nice to hear about pilots who are willing to make the right call, even if it's tough or unpopular. SkyNews has a story about a Flybe (European low-cost airline) pilot who did just that.

Delta/Northwest Get Ruling on Seniority List

Ted wrote about a Delta/Northwest merger nearly a year ago. Although it seems like it's been a long time, the deal is still on. Marketwatch.com recently reported that (through arbitration) the two airlines have finally ironed-out the details of combining their seniority lists.

Innovation for the Inside

We've seen airliner technology advance by leaps and bounds in the last decade. The skies are packed with regional jets and double decker airliners that are pushing the bounds of technology. Unfortunately, they seem to have overlooked one important area for design innovation... the economy class seat. This oversight was brought into sharp relief as I traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday. At 6'2" I tend to be very critical of even the smallest oversights in cabin comfort. Simply put, every half an inch counts when your knees are firmly indented into the seat in front of you.

Relief might be within reach though, designers at JPA Design are at the forefront of what we all hope is a cabin comfort revolution. The graphic inset is a design concept for a sleeper cabin modification. The design has yet to be adopted but it's a start.

So You're Saying There's a Chance...

I think a lot of General Aviation pilots share a random fantasy about being called upon to assist or replace an incapacitated pilot during an airline flight. (Not that we would ever wish them a life-threatening or permanent injury...we'd just like to be able to help keep everyone safe in case of an accident, right?) I don't imagine it happens very often, but an Air Canada flight attendant recently got that exact opportunity.

Sleeping in Style

I don't typically delve into the realm of air travel goodies, however, I just couldn't resist this one. Check out the "Nap Cap," a device engineered to tie your head to the backrest allowing you to sleep "comfortably." I can't wait to see one of these in action on my next red eye... All snickering aside though, with a $100 pricetag this thing better perform. Personally, I prefer the airport bar. It's cheaper and your friends won't mock you nearly as much.

Nobody's Perfect...

"Hangar Rash" seems like a pretty common ailment among general aviation aircraft. I usually think of it in terms of trainers that have endured 20 or 30 years of hard work and hard love. Even my new plane came with a tiny spot of hangar rash on the underside of it's right wing. It turns out that GA aircraft aren't the only ones in danger though. FoxNews.com has a story today about a pair of Qantas Airways 747s that were damaged today during ground handling.

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