In this year of the summer Olympics, it is only fitting that NASA scored a gold medal when it “stuck the landing” on its Curiosity rover, the most ambitious lander ever sent to another planet.
Cincinnati-based Comair will close its doors at the end September, and nearly 2,000 people will lose their jobs as a result. Granted, the reasons for the airline’s demise might not matter much to them, but perhaps an examination of the forces that led to Delta’s decision to shutter its subsidiary will prepare others for a similar fate.
I recently interviewed Kenn Ricci, the principal of Directional Aviation Capital, which owns Flight Options, Nextant Aerospace and Constant Aviation. When I asked him about his state of mind, he immediately replied that he’d “made a pact with myself in 2007 to never complain about anything ever again.”
Most companies looking to improve the speed and efficiency of their operations look to buy off-the-shelf products, whether software or hardware. The cost and time of customization and the upkeep of custom-made products is usually just not worth the money and effort, and usually the products are just not as good. Producers of the off-the-shelf products are the experts, whose business it is to make and regularly update their products.
These days, everybody complains about the airlines: rotten food, TSA hassles, cramped seating, long delays, lost luggage. And while private jet travelers are a decidedly happier lot, they’ve been known to offer the occasional gripe as well: the charter flight lacked sufficient baggage space, the catering service overcharged, the FBO disappointed.
The UAV community that will meet soon in Las Vegas for Unmanned Systems North America might draw some wisdom from the effort to introduce unmanned aircraft in UK civil airspace.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got a response from acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta after she questioned cost overruns on a contract to train air traffic controllers, but it wasn’t the one she wanted.
Here we are in 2012, nearly 110 years since the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, and with some notable exceptions aircraft design over the years has become about as conservative and uninspired as a bowl of Jello.
In February 2011 the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive calling for removal of chemical oxygen generators from airplane lavatories, or emptying the generator and restowing the masks. (By the way, no one told the passengers that there was no longer any supplemental oxygen supply in the bathrooms.) While security wasn’t mentioned in the AD, apparently there was a safety problem. Or as the FAA so confoundingly put it in the new final rule, which rescinds the 2011 AD, “This AD was prompted by reports that the current design of the oxygen generators presents a hazard that could jeopardize flight safety. We are issuing this AD to eliminate a hazard that could jeopardize flight safety and to ensure that all lavatories have a supplemental oxygen supply.”
During the 2012 Farnborough International airshow, United Aircraft president Mikhail Pogosyan did what no chief executive of a Western aerospace company would even consider: comment publicly on the findings, or lack thereof, by investigators of a fatal accident before the relevant authorities had e
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