Experts Say Problems Encountered by 787 Dreamliner are Normal

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Boeing’s next-generation aircraft 787 Dreamliner is experiencing some growing pains. In December, a United Airlines 787 diverted its flight due to mechanical problems. Last week, a Japan Airlines 787 delayed its flight after a pilot on another aircraft saw that the 787 was leaking fuel, then a maintenance worker discovered an electrical fire in another Japan Airlines 787. These reports may make the passengers uneasy boarding the 787 which debuted in 2011, but aviation experts say new aircraft usually encounter such problems.

Every new airplane is going to have these kinds of “teething problems,” said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and former airline mechanic. The manufacturers usually “get a handle on it quickly and fix it.”

According to Boeing Vice-President and Chief Project Engineer for 787 Mike Sinnett, “There are issues we have seen that we will need to work through and just like any new airplane program we work through those issues and we move on.”

Sinnett added that the on-time departure rate of the Dreamliner has been in the high 90 percents in the first 15 months it has been flying.

“These are best-in-class airplanes and their performance has been best in class,” he said. “But we are not happy until we are perfect.”

Goglia added that new airplanes are much safer than ever before.

The Dreamliner is not the only aircraft that experienced some issues in the its first months of flying. Janet Bednarek, an aviation history professor, said that the Airbus A380 that debuted in 2007 had cracks in the wings. Aviation consultant Michael Boyd shared that the Boeing 747, an avant-garde aircraft during the 70s, experienced some engine problems when it was new. Boyd added that the operational advantages of 787 is enough that the orders for the aircraft will stick even if faced with these issues.

The flying on the 787 Dreamliner remains to be an exciting prospect for air enthusiasts. Do you love flying? Get your own fleet of popular airlines only from Warplanes. You can also fleet your own fleet of helicopter models from the wide range of museum-quality products offered by Warplanes.

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NASA’s Space Shuttle will Fly to its Retirement Home

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The space shuttle Endeavour will take a piggy-back ride from a Boeing 747 as it journey to its final home. After a final review from NASA managers on Wednesday, the Endeavour will go on a cross-country flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles where it will be put in display.

NASA is expecting that the space shuttle will draw crowds and onlookers as it passes over three space centers and make stop overs on the way. The Endeavour will end up in museum, just like the space shuttles Discovery and Atlantis after NASA ended its 30-year space shuttle program last year. The Endeavour is the baby of the space shuttle fleet as it was built as a replacement for Challenger, the space shuttle that exploded shortly after it launched in 1986. It rolled out of the assembly plant in 1991 and flew some of the most high-profile missions in history. It flew a spacelab mission and many International Space Station Assembly mission and also with the Russian space station Mir. The Endeavour was named after the first ship commanded by British explorer, James Cook.

The flight was originally scheduled on Monday, but was delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

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Reasons for US Airlines not flying the A380

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ATLANTA - Three U.S. carriers are also the world’s three biggest airlines (United, Delta and American) but little indication exists that any of them have any particular desire to fly the world’s biggest passenger airplane.

Four years after the introduction of the Airbus A380, which can carry up to 600 passengers, 49 aircraft are flying for six international airlines, and orders have been placed by a total of 18 airlines.

Moreover, no U.S. carrier seems close to purchasing the A380, although Airbus spokesman Clay McConnell said that “eventually you will see some U.S. airlines order it.”

So far, the A380 has defied skeptics,, to the point that its story no longer revolves around doubts and questions, but rather around what destination will be the next to gain service.

The destinations don’t currently include Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston or Newark, where U.S. carriers operate their principal hubs. Rather, the U.S. airports with A380 service are all international gateways served by foreign carriers with hubs on the opposite side of the Atlantic or Pacific. These airports include Los Angeles, Miami, New York (Kennedy), San Francisco and Washington Dulles.

The U.S. carriers, “prefer frequency over size,” said aviation consultant Scott Hamilton. In their hubs, several times each day, dozens of airplanes fly in, exchange passengers and fly out, and the carriers often prefer to serve international destinations more than once a day – or they simply don’t have enough passengers to a given destination to fly an A380.

“When I look at the current crop of managers, the guys running airlines in the U.S. today, they don’t appear to be the kind of people who manage their businesses to have bigger airplanes,” added Avondale Partners analyst Bob McAdoo. “Instead, they want to manage smaller airplanes and more frequencies to their hubs.”

In any case, it seems clear that only two U.S. carriers, Delta and United, are potential 380 customers, because they are the only two operating super large aircraft – Boeing 747s – today. Also, both fleets include both Airbus and Boeing jets, unlike American, which is all Boeing.

Historic 747 demolished in South Korea


The first 747 jetliner to carry commercial passengers and a symbol of the golden age of air travel was demolished in Namyangju, South Korea last Sunday, Dec. 12, as its owners gave up a frustrating decade-long attempt to make a profit from the mammoth piece of aviation history.

After decades of flying to nearly every continent, the Juan T. Trippe, built at Boeing’s plant in Everett and named after the Pam Am founder, was bought in 2000 from a California airplane graveyard by the South Korean couple, who transformed it into an aviation-themed restaurant.

Since that venture failed in 2005, the couple said they had unsuccessfully sought a buyer for the plane, which languished in a suburban lot 25 miles northeast of Seoul, its fuselage battered by the elements.

As its condition worsened, looking forlornly out of place next to a row of apartment buildings, the jet soon became an Internet curiosity — as well as a bitter reminder to its owners of a monumental business calculation.

After spending $1 million for the plane and $100,000 more to dismantle and ship it to South Korea, the couple, who run a noodle restaurant on the property, finally punched the 747 plane’s final ticket Sunday.

On a cold afternoon, two cranes straddled the big jet, their jaws ripping into its fuselage as workers on the ground sifted through the plane’s twisted wreckage looking for scrap materials. No plans have been announced on new uses for the space.

In the restaurant, the owners waited. “I try not to look out the window in the direction of the plane,” the wife said. “I know we can’t just let that plane sit there forever.” She paused, examining her fingernails. “But seeing it go, well, it’s just hard to watch,” she added.

Boeing officials say the Trippe was the second 747 of the 1,000 the company produced. The first was used for test flights only, and the Trippe was the first to ferry passengers.

After The Los Angeles Times recently featured the plane in a story, readers, including a onetime head flight attendant aboard the jet, e-mailed their memories.

“I recognized the photo of the Juan Trippe like gazing upon the face of a dear old friend,” she wrote. “If her walls could talk, her listeners would not believe the incredible stories she would tell from the golden age of travel which has long since passed into the history books.”

In recent months, the owners had been contacted by several potential buyers, including Japanese businessmen who wanted to display the Trippe in Tokyo as well as a group that wanted to move the plane and turn it into a church.

When the religious group finally backed out, the owners despaired and decided that it was the last straw. The jet’s demolition came 10 years and four months after they purchased it.

The husband said many South Koreans concentrated only on the money the couple has lost in the venture, but that foreigners who visited their restaurant often marveled over the jet’s long history.

The owners kept a few mementoes: the plane’s world clocks and a miniature model of the 747 aircraft.


Low-speed Taxi Tests Completed By Boeing Phantom Ray

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Last Nov. 18, the Boeing Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system successfully completed low-speed taxi tests at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.

Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing, comments that the “Phantom Ray did exactly what it was supposed to do.” Brown also said “It communicated with the ground control station, received its orders and made its way down the runway multiple times, allowing us to assess its performance and monitor the advanced systems on board.”

The tests were the first for the Phantom Ray following its rollout ceremony in May. Boeing now will prepare Phantom Ray to travel to Edwards Air Force Base, California, on top of one of NASA’s modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. At Edwards, Phantom Ray will undergo high-speed taxi tests before making its first flight. The flight-test program will last approximately six months.

Dave Koopersmith, vice president, Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft stated that “The autonomous nature of this system is unique, so achieving this milestone speaks volumes about the technology and expertise of Boeing, the Phantom Works organization and the Phantom Ray team.”

Phantom Ray is designed to support potential missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous aerial refueling.

Boeing’s portfolio of unmanned airborne systems solutions includes the A160T Hummingbird, Integrator, ScanEagle, SolarEagle, Phantom Eye and Phantom Ray.

He who gets inside all grand jets

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Aviation photography is an exciting and rewarding job! You get to hang around with famous, prominent people and hitch on their expensive rides while working. It’s true, ask Nick Gleis.

(click on the image for a larger view)

Photo taken inside a private jet

Pretty cool, eh?

Nick Gleis has been an aviation photographer for over 30 years. He has shot aircraft for the biggest aviation companies and the wealthiest of private clients. He is as likely to receive assignments from presidents, dictators or royalty as he is from Gulfstream, Boeing or Lear.

His striking series has been spreading from blog to blog recently, bringing disbelief to many viewers who would otherwise never get a window into this particular world of excess.

So how does he do it?

“My catch phrase is Capturing Aircraft Ambiance,” says Gleis. “Every photograph taken aboard an aircraft is an attempt to draw the viewer into the world that I am surrounded by when I take the photograph; a communication of the feeling that world gives me.”

a jet or a hotel?

Gleis has photographed over 800 private aircraft – ranging from the Lear 20 series to Boeing 747-400s. To date, he has photographed over 200 Gulfstream aircraft alone. Clients have included heads of state and royalty from Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, China the United Arab Emirates.

What advice can Gleis give to aspiring aviation photographers?

Gleis urges the photographer to do the leg work before clicking the shutter. “Pre-visualizing the final outcome, then assembling the necessary elements, is the way to create lasting images.”

“Far too many new photographers today rely on digital tricks and software to produce technically good images,” says Gleis, “but images that neither excite nor inform the viewer. I would advise all up-and-coming photographers to slow down and look at the scene very carefully. Is there a better angle? Is the lighting optimal? After all, lighting is everything.”

Gleis also photographs on air-to-air assignments, capturing exterior images of subject aircraft by using chase airplanes such B-25 Bombers, Gulfstream IIIs and IVs and Lear 35s with special optics.

Fly me anywhere, Captain!

Even if  Gleis had the opportunity to reveal all and photograph the owners, he wouldn’t be interested, “I am happiest when I am shooting and it doesn’t really matter what I am shooting … with the exception of people.I would rather work at WalMart than shoot portraits or weddings.”


B747 Jumbos brought back by some carriers

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Surging bookings cause carriers like British Airways and Cathay Pacific Airways to return their biggest planes to traffic; thus, Boeing 747 jumbo jets are being brought out of desert storage.

Starting in October, British Airways will recall a 747-400 for flights to Dallas in its winter schedule freeing a Boeing 777 for an extra New York trip. Cathay Pacific has reinstated five freighters. United Airlines took a jumbo out of storage in California in June for use as a spare during the summer months.

Wide-body planes accounted for about 25 percent of the 200 aircraft retrieved from storage in May and June as carriers sought to tap rising demand for long-haul trips and a leap in cargo shipments. The number of 747s recalled in June exceeded those mothballed for the first time since January 2009, as shown on the data compiled by aviation consultant Ascend Worldwide Ltd.

According to Euan Fordyce, a spokesman of London-based British Airways, the airline is lifting winter capacity about 7 percent from a year earlier but will only add seats where it can do so without depressing yields, a measure of prices.

The deployment of the 747 to Dallas will provide about 70 more seats per flight, while the transfer of the 777 will take the number of services to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to seven a day from six, he said.

British Airways has learned a lesson from the 1990s, when it brought back “chunks” of capacity too quickly, Treasurer George Stinnes said in June. Europe’s third-largest airline still has seven 747s in storage, together with other models.

According to United Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino, United Airlines 747, with about 370 seats in a three- class layout, has operated on domestic flights between the carrier’s Chicago and San Francisco hubs and could be used as a stand-in for long-haul services to Asia, London and Frankfurt if required, adding that the plane may be removed from the fleet again this fall.

British Airways and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific have both idled planes near Victorville on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert in California. Arid locations are favored for storage because the hot, dry conditions hamper corrosion.

Peter Schneckenleitner, spokesman for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, is looking to reuse a single jumbo stored in Germany after returning about a dozen short-haul planes and smaller wide- bodies to service. The carrier has yet to decide where to deploy the jetliner.

UPS plane crash in Dubai killed two pilots


A UPS B747 plane

A UPS cargo plane crashed Friday evening after takeoff near Dubai, United Arab Emirates killing two pilots in the package delivery giant’s first fatal aircraft accident. The company confirmed the identities of the victims on Saturday as Capt. Doug Lampe, 48, of Louisville, Ky., and First Officer Matthew Bell, 38, of Sanford, Fla.

The company said the crew members were flying a Boeing 747 to Cologne, Germany, when the plane went down near the Dubai International Airport shortly after takeoff. The National Transportation Safety Board has been dispatched to the scene to assist the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE. Officials said the GCAA will take lead on the investigation.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and all of us at UPS extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both of these crew members,” said UPS CEO Scott Davis. “Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with them during this difficult time.”

A statement posted Friday on the UPS website said that at approximately 12 p.m. Eastern Standard time (8 p.m. local time) UPS flight number 6 from Dubai and headed to Cologne, Germany—a Boeing Co. 747-400—crashed after takeoff.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear, but it appeared to have been preceded by a fire on board. The plane took off around 7 p.m. local time, and, according to a person familiar with the situation in the U.A.E., the crew reported trouble shortly after becoming airborne and alerted air-traffic controllers, who eventually diverted the plane to a government-owned landing facility in the desert.

Some preliminary reports indicated that the pilots ultimately may have been forced to try to land at the government-owned facility after struggling with an onboard emergency that may have obscured their view of some cockpit instruments.

Neither UPS nor local authorities were commenting on the precise sequence of events. After saying that the plane crashed on takeoff, a UPS spokeswoman later Friday confirmed there was an hour gap between its takeoff and the crash.

“We will … release more information as it becomes available, in cooperation with government authorities. We will not speculate about the cause,” said UPS’s airline and international operations manager, Bob Lekites, according to the statement on the UPS website. “Until then, we ask for your patience in this difficult time.”

It was the first fatal plane crash for UPS, which has been an industry leader in promoting and using advanced navigation aids to enhance safety and efficiency at its primary U.S. hub airport in Louisville, KY. The company has had four other aircraft incidents since 1985, most recently in February 2006 when a DC-8 that had a fire onboard burned after landing in Philadelphia, according to the Aviation Safety Network.




(Mild Spoilers)

Many times have helicopters, fighter planes and other aircraft were used to film movies. Many times have they also appeared or “starred” in these. Here are a few recently shown movies wherein planes were used to add more zing to the moving pictures.

The A-Team movie poster

Directed by Joe Carnahan, The A-Team action film adapted from the popular TV series wouldn’t be a total testosterone-packed movie without the explosions, armament, and cool modes of transportation. An F-22 Raptor destroyed a medical chopper. Unmanned aircraft were CGI-produced. Ground vehicles like a GMC Vandura van and military tanks (unfortunately used in the air, too, thanks to parachutes) were used.

There are talks about the well-received 2010 movie Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan with Leonardo DiCaprio as the main character, using a Boeing 747 passenger jet. Others think it was a Qantas A380 aircraft. Some claim it could have been an NZ aircraft. At the near-end of the film, Leo and his crew board the business-class to do their bidding. The nose seemed like a B747 but issues about the futuristic seats led to being vaguely similar to the seats of an NZ aircraft. It’s still a mystery at this moment but some planes need to be modified when shooting movies.

Inception movie poster

The Losers movie poster

Another adaptation this time from a comic book is the action film directed by Sylvain White called The Losers. A chopper was used but I’m not sure what kind of helicopter it is yet since I have not yet seen this movie and it was hard to judge based on the trailer. I tried researching it online but to no avail. Can anyone tell me? Just leave a comment.

Movie still from The Losers film


Bomb hoax cause Air France plane to land in Brazil

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Air France Flight 443

The Air France Flight 443, a Boeing 747-400 passenger jet, bound for Paris emergency landed at Recife Airport in Brazil last July 10 after receiving a bomb threat.

AF Flight 443 took off from Rio de Janeiro and later received information from Rio’s International airport control tower that someone called thirty minutes after the plane took off, saying that there was a bomb on board. The mysterious caller had a female voice.

The 405 passengers and 18 crew members were unhurt and safely evacuated according to Recife Airport authority spokesman Jorge Andrade. They were ushered in nearby hotels while a five-hour search for the bomb was conducted on the B747 passenger jet. This resulted to the 30-minute closing of the Recife airport. No bomb was found after the search and resumed its flight to Paris.

The flight was on the same route as Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which crashed last year off Brazil’s northeastern coast. 228 people were killed. There were no survivors. Until now, authorities have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

Air France Flight 447 which crashed on June 1, 2009

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