Posts with the category ‘Uncategorized’


Trump’s Somewhat Less-Than-Alarming Attack on Air Safety

January 26, 2017

The Washington Post tagged a story on Donald Trump’s first days as U.S. President with the alarming proclamation that he was “blocking regulations, including one to prevent plane crashes.” Without wading into the morass that is federal politics in America these days, let’s just be clear about what Trump actually did. Shortly after taking office Friday, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, ordered a number of government agencies to withdraw proposed rules from publication in the federal register, the last stop before the “proposed” comes off and the rule becomes law. From the Department of Housing to the Interior Department, senior lawyers must have worked through the… Read More…


Nick Tramontano; An Aviator’s Legacy of Kindness

February 12, 2016

  Consider this quote from Irish aviation executive Willie Walsh talking about the boss of a competing airline, Virgin’s Richard Branson. “I don’t like him, I don’t admire him, I don’t buy his bullshit.” Or consider Michael O’Leary of Ireland’s Ryanair, “I don’t give a shit if no one likes me. I’m not a cloud bunny or an aerosexual. I don’t like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry.” The world of aviation is full of arrogant, combative individuals who may be providing a service to a world growing ever more reliant on air… Read More…


FAA Funding Collides With ATC Overhaul and Airplane Fire Threats

February 11, 2016

The public has sporadic interest in air travel news; seat size and ticket prices get attention, as do stories of badly-behaving flight attendants. But two issues being debated in Washington deserve some thought for their significance as safety issues with wide-reaching impact. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued yet another warning about the danger of carrying lithium ion batteries on airplanes. This was ostensibly timed to coordinate with Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s new proposed legislation to ban shipping lithium ion batteries in bulk as cargo on passenger flights. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have been warning for years that lithium ion… Read More…


Third World Bathrooms in OneWorld Terminal

January 18, 2016

Warning to readers:  Photos of toilets appear in this post. Travelers at the airport hail from many countries and speak many languages but women arriving on oneworld flights into New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have one word for the condition of the bathrooms in Terminal 8, “Ewwww.” Kisha Burgos stopped at the bathroom in the baggage claim area and was shocked to see paper-strewn floors, filthy toilets and empty and broken paper dispensers in the stalls. “It’s bad,” she told me comparing it to the airports she visited in Bangkok, Vietnam and Laos on her recent five week trip. “Everything was really clean,” she said of the bathrooms… Read More…


Aviation Year in Review Has a Star Wars Sci-Fi Feel

December 29, 2015

Star Wars dominated the end-of-the-year entertainment news. Harrison Ford, the ageless superstar most associated with the ageless film franchise also arrives on my list of top aviation news stories as I wrap up the year with a look back at 2015. It was March (and the movie was already in the can) when Ford, a pilot for nearly a quarter century, lost the engine on his Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport. He crash landed on a golf course about 800 feet from the airfield. The NTSB determined a carburetor malfunction allowed too much fuel to flow into the engine causing… Read More…


Rolling Down the River; World’s Best Waterfront Bike Rides

December 24, 2015

Somewhere between the too-slow pace of walking and the everything-passes-by-in-a-blur of driving, I think riding a bike is just right. Some places are more conducive to bicycles than others, Beijing and Hanoi are for the suicidal pedaler, too much traffic, not enough respect for the two-wheeler. Seoul and Santa Monica, on the other hand are two of many cities where in a manageable distance one can go from city center to scenic waterside trail.  An additional plus in Seoul is free daily bike rentals for visitors.  That’s right, I don’t know how long it will last but the rental is absolutely free with helmets and locks included. How hospitable… Read More…


WWJD? If Jesus Had Been a Pilot

December 22, 2015

>A patient being carried All photos courtesy Samaritan Aviation. Mark Palm thinks he knows what Jesus might do if he were a pilot. He might climb into the left seat of a Cessna 206 Amphibian and fly the 700 mile long Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea helping transport the sick to the region’s only hospital. It must feel a bit like being God, and not in a good way, when Palm and others with the medical transport charity Samaritan Aviation have to dispassionately triage passengers before giving them a ride on the air ambulance.   Only those at risk of death– but not so close to… Read More…


Happy Birthday from Syria and Other Places in a Troubled World

December 19, 2015

>One of my Facebook messages today Not long after my eyes opened this morning I enjoyed reading some of the early birthday greetings posted on my Facebook page. (Don’t judge me.) It is heartwarming to be remembered by friends and family of course. Then I noticed something else; the remarkable number of countries from which those greetings came. I counted eleven even before 9:00 o’clock. My host family during my 2006 stay in Syria, my daughter’s former boyfriend in New Zealand, an au pair from Spain, a tour guide from Morocco, a pre-teen acquaintance from Australia, an a septuagenarian from Japan, business associates from Norway,… Read More…


Nice Landing or Scary Takeoff A350 Enters Service With Both

December 18, 2015

>A350 arrives in Brazil photo courtesy TAM What a difference a week makes. Early this morning, TAM Airlines happily welcomed its first Airbus A350 when it touched down uneventfully in Brazil after a flight from Airbus HQ in Toulouse France. Earlier this week, however, it was quite a different experience when a Qatar Airways charter flight with aviation writers enjoying a look at the fancy new wide body, attempted to leave New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.   >Honig’s blog post on the Qatar experience In that case, what appeared to be a normal takeoff roll was suddenly aborted. Zach Honig, The Points Guy… Read More…


Merry Christmas for U.S. Airlines With Record Profits in 2015

December 10, 2015

>US Carrier profitability takes off It will be a merry end of the year for North American airlines which will earn nearly $20 billion in profits in 2015, according to numbers forecast today by the International Air Transport Association.  That’s more than half of the $33 billion profit expected to be generated by the world’s passenger carriers for the year about to come to a close. “North American airlines are way out ahead of the pack and producing good operating margins,” said Brian Pearce economist for the trade association in a presentation to journalists in Geneva. But in an industry more comfortable with and more… Read More…


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