While Houston Hobby Airport hosts thousands of business aviation flights each year, I wonder how many of the crews transiting the airport are aware of the old Municipal Airport Terminal? It’s something that I didn’t know still existed until a trip to Houston earlier this year, for the opening of the new Million Air FBO/company headquarters. Driving on Telephone Road on the west side of the airport, I noticed the white art-deco wedding cake-shaped building set back from the street, along with a few signs advertising it as the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.
When Business Jet Traveler interviewed entrepreneur Mark Cuban back in 2010, he explained how he purchased a Gulfstream V online. First, he looked at info about the jet on the manufacturer’s website and sent an e-mail to set up a demo flight for his pilot, who reported back that he loved the airplane. Then, recalled Cuban, “I sent another e-mail saying I wanted to buy it. I got the banking instructions, wired the money, and that was it.”
It is way too soon to speculate about what might have caused the Gulfstream IV runway excursion crash at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. on May 31, but the NTSB preliminary report’s focus on the gust lock system raises some questions.
As the air transport industry’s heavy hitters gathered in Doha for IATA’s June 1-3 annual general meeting (AGM), thoughts turned to heavy iron—namely, prospective widebody developments that stand to upset the competitive status quo as early as the Farnborough Air Show in July.
Many of us in aviation in the U.S. haven’t been paying much attention to our neighbor to the north. Canadians are known for being somewhat quiet and unassuming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that quiet and unassuming doesn’t mean they’re not busily working on practical solutions to important issues. In fact, there’s a lot going on in Canada that we in the U.S. could learn from in the aviation arena.
When it comes to song topics, love is number one, but travel may be a close second. In a gazillion tunes, it seems, someone is hopping on or off a train, boat or plane.
As I write, the whereabouts of the missing Boeing 777 operating as Malaysia Air Flight 370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing remains unknown. The Prime Minister of Malaysia has announced that analysis of satellite data suggests the airplane crashed in the south Indian Ocean but no debris linked to the aircraft has been found.
Spending a week in China at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition is a refreshing reminder that as much as countries like China want to put general aviation to work, the actual implementation is going to be nothing like what aviation-minded westerners are used to. It seems we have a naive desire to see general aviation in China replicate the landscape of non-commercial aviation in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
As I write this from my seat on a Boeing 777 bound for China, I realize I no longer have the same degree of nonchalance I had on previous long-haul flights. I am aware the airplane, one of the most modern jetliners in the sky, is functioning exactly as intended, the comforting whoosh of its powerful engines omnipresent as it courses smoothly through the air above the Arctic Circle, yet in the back of my mind, thoughts drift to another triple-seven, also China-bound, which more than a month after its disappearance still has given investigators little clue as to where it actually ended up and why.
The incidence of lasers being pointed at aircraft is rising at an alarming rate, jumping by more than 1,000 percent since the FAA started tracking data in 2005. Last year, according to FAA data, so-called “lasing” incidents averaged 11 per day. With this proliferation comes greater potential for an aircraft accident, with injury and loss of life both to aircraft occupants and to people on the ground.
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