Ernest S. Arvai
Who would have thought it? Delta is one of the leading US carriers that has made its annoyance with the big three Middle Eastern airlines quite public. But today Delta announced that it is taking yet another equity stake in an airline, purchasing a 3.55% stake in China Eastern. This is becoming something of a habit at Delta, and it is closely following the Etihad model of buying equity stakes to further cement its airline alliances. Continue reading
Recently we’ve seen a number of instances in which software problems have emerged on commercial aircraft, most recently, a glitch that could shut down a Boeing 787 in flight, rendering the electrical system that controls the aircraft useless. We’ve also heard that a member of the hacking community, who runs a computer security service, may have caused a United Airlines aircraft to change direction after taking control of the aircraft via the wi-fi system on board.
Couple this with prior glitches with both A380s and 787 that have been told to us by industry insiders, who are afraid to go public to protect their jobs, and it appears the industry has a new problem to address — keeping aircraft systems safe from hackers, viruses and other threats. So far, we’ve seen some gaps that don’t add to our confidence that the industry is doing all it could, either… Continue reading
Boeing has an image problem with GoldCare. If you asked most people in the industry what GoldCare is, they would say it is a comprehensive “nose to tail by the hour” MRO solution for the 787 Dreamliner. They would also likely opine that the program has not been particularly successful, and among the ISTAT community, cite a presentation several years ago by a former Boeing executive that was publicly challenged as falling short of airline requirements. Combining those events with GoldCare’s introduction at the time the 787 program had major difficulties, one can see how a brand can become highly misunderstood by the marketplace.
Today, GoldCare is much more comprehensive and successful than the common perception. The program has expanded beyond the 787 to 737NG, 747-400, 777 and 747-8. It will be offerable for the forthcoming 777X and 737 MAX as well. GoldCare also encompasses much more… Continue reading
Any pilot of a twin engined aircraft recognizes the phrase “dead foot, dead engine”, as it explains concisely and easily how to recognize which engine has failed when an emergency occurs. For example, when the right engine fails, the power from the left engine will turn the aircraft to the right, requiring left rudder to keep the airplane straight. The right rudder would be the “dead foot” indicating the dead engine. Apparently, such recognition this was not the case in February’s crash of a TransAsia Airways ATR-72 in Taiwan that was captured on video crossing a freeway bridge and crashing dramatically into the Keelung River. Factual data now emerging from investigation, including the cockpit voice and flight data recorders indicate pilot error and confusion in the cockpit.
Two issues emerge from this situation that are important from a safety perspective. The first is the adequacy of… Continue reading
At the Paris Air Show, Airbus, through its subsidiary Elbe Flugzeugwerke and Singapore Technologies Aerospace announced a joint venture to develop a passenger to freight (P2F) conversion for the A320 and A321 narrow-body aircraft. This is a significant development and will provide competition for the numerous Boeing P2F programs for the 737 and 757 that already exist.
Airbus forecasts a market of more than 600 small freighters over the next two decades, all of which will come from P2F conversions. Today Boeing has a virtual monopoly on that market, with the 737-300 and -400 comprising most of the conversions, and development of program for the 737-800 underway. Continue reading