Tweets from a Plane Crash

I don't Twitter myself, but the service is quickly becoming a sensation. As evidence of that, a Denver man gained some notoriety this December when he became the first person to twitter from a plane crash. He was aboard Continental 1404, the flight that departed the runway in Denver on its way to Houston. While the tweets aren't terribly informative, they are a testament to how the flow of information has fundamentally changed.

Airlines' Winter Weather Woes

I just got a hold of a 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. 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.

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