Safety issues grounds Tiger Airways

No Comments

Tiger Airways Australia, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Tiger Airways Holdings, was grounded Saturday for five days by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority over a series of safety issues with their A320 planes.

In an unprecedented move, CASA said it no longer had “confidence in the ability of Tiger Airways Australia to satisfactorily address the safety issues that have been identified.” CASA has been monitoring TT since January; it issued a “show cause” notice in April expressing concerns. Following TT’s response to the show cause notice, CASA said it imposed a number of conditions on the airline’s air operator’s certificate.

According to CASA, these conditions required actions to improve the proficiency of TT’s pilots, enhance the airline’s pilot training and checking processes, make changes to fatigue management, improve maintenance control and ongoing airworthiness systems, and ensure appropriately qualified people fill management and operational positions.

CASA is expected to apply to Australian federal court to extend the grounding beyond the five days, a move that could keep the airline’s 10 Airbus A320s idle for some time. Two safety breaches by TT pilots over the past week, including an incident of flying too low, prompted CASA to ground the airline.

Tiger Airways Holdings CEO Tony Davis arrived in Australia Monday to take charge of negotiations with CASA. In a statement, Davis said he was “very disappointed” that the airline had been grounded.

Though CASA declined to comment, industry sources said the watchdog wants the airline to make a range of management changes and to re-qualify all of its pilots in third-party simulators before allowing operations to recommence. The requirements could take up to a month to fulfill, affecting up to 35,000 passengers a week. The weekly cost to TT in lost revenue is estimated at as much as A$1.5 million ($1.7 million).

TT’s grounding comes less than two weeks after the release of a report by Australia’s Senate on airline safety that included 22 recommendations. High among them were tougher safety standards, better incident-reporting guidelines and increased training of pilots.

CASA grounded Ansett Australia’s Boeing 767 fleet in 2000 and 2001 over various safety breaches. The airline collapsed in September 2001.

Nine B787s for Kenya Airways

No Comments

On Apr. 14, Kenya Airways announced that it has signed a deal for the purchase of nine Boeing 787 aircraft to replace its ageing fleet and expand routes and flight frequencies.

Kenya Airways Chief Executive Titus Naikuni said six of the new planes would replace six of the company’s aging fleet of Boeing 767s, while the rest would be for expansion on new routes.

The airline had been mulling the purchase of A330s from Airbus, after the delivery of the 787, as per an earlier deal signed in 2006, was delayed from October 2010.

Naikuni also said the first of the 787s will be delivered in the last quarter of 2013, and the airline will have an option to buy a further four planes.

“They have given us delivery dates that we are comfortable with. It is a super aircraft,” Naikuni told media.

The size of Kenya Airways’ fleet, which also includes Embraers for domestic and short regional routes, has been curbing its ambitions by limiting destinations and flight frequencies, even on routes with high demand.

Kenya Airways has announced plans to raise an unspecified amount of cash to fund expansion. The process is at the stage of seeking regulatory approvals, Naikuni said.

Rising oil prices would force the company – whose strategy hinges on connecting African travellers to the outside world through its Nairobi hub – to increase fares to cushion its bottom line.

Fuel costs account for between 30 and 40% of the airline’s total operating costs.

“It (oil prices) is impacting us quite a bit. We will have to increase our fares,” said Naikuni, adding the jump in crude was so fast that hedging and fuel surcharges were not enough to deal with it.

C-130 Training Simulator Makes its Move to Base

No Comments

Now that the nearly 700,000-square-foot complex that will house the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing and their USAF School of Aerospace Medicine has been completed here, equipment is being moved in – including the first of two Lockheed C-130 trainers that will be used by the school.

A C-130 mock-up fuselage to be used in training medical evacuation staff

USAFSAM uses the fully functional C-130s and other aircraft simulators to train aeromedical evacuation teams, including flight nurses, aeromedical evacuation technicians and critical-care aeromedical evacuation teams, said Col. Charles Fisher, USAFSAM commander. The first C-130 arrived at Wright-Patterson Mar. 5, 2011, from Brooks City-Base near San Antonio, Texas, and was pulled into USAFSAM’s Aero-medical Evacuation Training Center early on Mar. 7.

Barbara O’Brien, 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Programs Division deputy director, said, “This BRAC program for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — 13 projects, $353 million in construction, and nearly six years in the making — has culminated here with delivery of the largest project, the 711th Human Performance Wing Complex, nearly three months ahead of schedule.”

88 ABW Civil Engineering’s efforts began with site surveys back in 2005 followed by project programming, concept development and master planning, Ms. O’Brien said, culminating in their partnership with the Louisville District of the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers to lead the massive design and construction effort for the installation.

Ms. O’Brien noted that the 711th Human Performance Wing Complex is the largest single civil engineering effort for the installation in more than 50 years.

“Of course, many (civil engineers) would not encounter this unless you were building a new installation or going through a base realignment and closure,” she said.

88 ABW Civil Engineering’s and other entities’ efforts have not gone unrecognized, she said: “This is an award-winning program. We have garnered several Air Force Design and Department of Defense Value Engineering Awards, and we are certainly pleased to participate in what may be a once-in-a-career program for many Air Force Civil Engineers.”

The C-130 simulators will be joined by a Boeing C-17 Globemaster, a Boeing 767 and a helicopter, all to be used to train aeromedical evaluation teams and troops.

“We place (the students) in an immersive training environment that includes very realistic flights with high-technology simulated patients in each of our two C-130 trainers,” Colonel Fisher said. “These are fully instrumented, fully operational aircraft without wings. We can simulate onboard emergencies with them. When you are inside, the sound, the feel, the environment, is absolutely realistic, and we are able to challenge our team with highly complicated missions that are modeled on actual missions and challenging patients who have returned from combat environments.”

He added that the school’s staff participates each week in global telephone conferences to discuss new technologies, capabilities and patients.

“With this training, our graduates are able to return people home with an almost 100 percent survival rate,” he said.

The C-17 simulator is in final construction in San Antonio and will come to Wright-Patterson in several months. The Boeing 767 is a civilian reserve air fleet trainer, the only one of its kind in the world. Plans call for it to be located alongside the building.

“What you are watching is the movement of a massive organization from Brooks City-Base to here with no break in mission along the way,” Colonel Fisher said. “We have continued all of our classes, lab work and consultations and created and staffed a whole new facility, without disrupting the mission along the way. We’ve done that with a lot of work and a lot of very long hours for the entire staff to keep that bridge going. Despite the challenges of moving, the school continues to function every day. The school’s laboratories process about 45,000 specimens each week and haven’t missed a day of productivity due largely to the incredible coordination and dedication of the staff.”

Fight over aerial tanker contract set to end

1 Comment

One of the most hotly sought-after military contracts in U.S. history is expected to be issued this week, perhaps the finale in a scandal-ridden bureaucratic nightmare that has pitted two global aerospace titans in a high-stakes competition for a decade.

At issue is a $35-billion prize purse to replace the Air Force’s fleet of Eisenhower administration-era aerial tankers, which refuel warplanes while in flight. The Pentagon has twice awarded the contract, only to see its decision overturned amid accusations of underhanded politics and discriminatory rule-making.

Follow-on tanker contracts could involve building 300 to 400 additional tankers valued at more than $100 billion over several decades, analysts said.

The decision has national implications and strong political overtones. Both companies have boisterous contingents in the halls of Congress pushing for one side or the other because of the huge number of jobs at stake nationwide. For example, if Boeing wins, the bulk of assembly work would be done in the Seattle area. EADS has plans for an aircraft production plant in Mobile, Ala.

But much of the work is slated for California, with airplane parts being manufactured across the Southland. Take Parker Aerospace in Irvine. It’s set to be a supplier on either EADS North America’s offering of a modified Airbus A330 passenger jet or Boeing’s contender, which is based on its 767 airliner.

Dozens of other local aerospace companies also stand to benefit, depending on the outcome, including Raytheon in El Segundo, Alarin Aircraft Hinge Inc. in the City of Commerce and Lamsco West Inc. in Santa Clarita.

But getting to work on the program hasn’t been easy. It’s been a decade-long affair for the Air Force to replace the oldest planes in its fleet. Many of the planes — based on 50-year-old heavily modified Boeing 707s — are run-down, rusty and corroding.

The military depends on the tankers all over the world because they refuel bombers, fighters and cargo planes in midair beyond America’s shores. Still, the Pentagon has been unable to award the contract.
- Los Angeles Times

Assembly of 1,000th Boeing 767 has begun

No Comments

A Boeing 767-300ER aircraft

The assembly of the 1000th Boeing 767 airplane has begun at the factory in Everett, Washington. Loading the wing spar into the assembly too was the first step in major assembly done by the mechanics. The spar is the internal support structure that runs through the full length of the wing.

Kim Pastega, Vice President and General Manager of the Boeing 767 program, states “This is an important milestone for the 767, which has continued to evolve and improve since entering service nearly 30 years ago,” adding “The 767 is a high-performing twin-aisle airplane that delivers nearly 99 percent dispatch reliability every day for more than 90 operators around the world.”

The 1,000th airplane, a 767-300ER passenger model, is scheduled for delivery in February 2011 to long-time customer All Nippon Airways (ANA). ANA ordered its first 767 in 1979 and has taken delivery of 89 767s to date.

Boeing will use the 767 as the platform for its NewGen Tanker if it wins the U.S. Air Force KC-X Tanker competition. Contract award currently is scheduled for mid-November.

The Boeing 767 family is a family of clean, quiet, fuel-efficient airplanes that provide maximum market versatility in the 200- to 300-seat market. The Boeing 767 family includes three passenger models — the 767-200ER, 767-300ER and 767-400ER — and a medium-widebody freighter, which is based on the 767-300ER fuselage.

A Boeing 767-200ER

A Boeing 767-400ER

FAA: Boeing 767 Jets’ Pylons to be inspected

No Comments

Delta Airlines Boeing 767 aircraft

Pylons of 138 Boeing 767 aircraft will undergo inspection as ordered by U.S. aviation regulators. Pylons attach the plane’s engines to the wings to reduce the threat of cracking.

Now a requirement, inspections are to be conducted after 8,000 flights rather than 10,000 flights. The examinations must be done within 400 flights, or 90 days, whichever occurs later, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement last Wednesday.

The Chicago-based plane maker said last month that it was suggesting more frequent pylon inspections after mechanics at AMR Corp’s American Airlines discovered cracks on one jet. Pylon failure can cause an engine to fall from the wing where it is attached.

The FAA is also requiring pylon inspection after 400 flights instead of 1,500 flights. According to FAA, the inspections will cost carriers about USD$47,000.

McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Northwest Airlines

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that damage to an engine pylon as it was reattached to a plane at American’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, maintenance facility contributed to the crash of an American DC-10 in Chicago on May 25, 1979. All 271 people onboard along with two people on the ground were killed. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff. Sections of an engine pylon came off the plane, allowing the left engine to fall off, cutting critical control lines and causing the DC-10 to roll on its back before hitting the ground. It was noted to be the worst single plane crash in America.

Israeli Air Force holds tanker replacement plans

1 Comment

Plans to find a near-term replacement for Israeli Air Force’s Boeing 707 tankers has been on hold, a senior officer said.

According to the source, after evaluating the possible alternatives, a decision has been taken to retain the current fleet of converted aircraft. Other options under consideration had included modifying Boeing 767s and the Gulfstream G550 business jet, which has already been adapted for Israeli use as a surveillance platform.

The air force’s existing 707 tankers were converted by Israel Aerospace Industries and two years ago underwent a Honeywell glass cockpit upgrade. This introduced six multifunction displays, new communications equipment and a global air traffic management system.

Separately, work was also performed to replace the Israeli-made boom previously used by the aircraft with the same design installed on the US Air Force’s KC-135 fleet.

Despite the decision to not replace its ageing fleet, the IAF’s current tankers are “sufficient” to support the service’s missions, the source added.

- Flightglobal

TOP10 Private Jets and their Owners

No Comments

“Equipped with luxurious interiors to suit their delicate taste, private planes make the trips of their wealthy owners more comfortable and enjoyable.” So who are these damn lucky people? Let’s count to ten.

Donald Trump

10. Donald Trump and his “golden” Boeing 727-23
Trump’s 1968 vintage Boeing 727-23 was reconfigured to hold 23, with pale leather armchairs, oil paintings, and Waterford crystal lamps. Inside it you will find 24 carat gold seat belt buckles, with a bedroom and bathroom that also has 24 carat gold sink and faucets. The Trump logo on the side of the aircraft is 30 feet long, 4 feet high, and also made of 23 carat gold leaf. The plane is valued at around US$50 million and has a yearly maintenance fee of about US$2 million.

The Trump

9. Roman Abramovich and his Boeing 767-33A
A Russian businessman and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC, Abramovich owned a private Boeing 767-33A/ER, registered in Aruba as P4-MES. It is known as “The Bandit” due to its cockpit paint detail. This 767 may look ordinary on the outside, but its interior is reportedly outfitted with chestnut and decorated with gold. Originally the aircraft was ordered by Hawaiian Airlines but the order was canceled and Abramovich bought it from Boeing and refitted it to his own requirements. Interior details or images are not available anywhere. P4-MES was frequently parked at the Harrods Aviation facility at Stansted Airport, UK.

Abramovich is currently the 3rd richest man in Russia and the 50th richest man in the world according to the 2010 Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $11.2 billion.

8. The Sultan of Brunei and his Boeing 747-430

Inside Sultan's B747

The Sultan bought this B747 brand new for at least $100 million and had it fitted with a special interior and features such as washbasins of solid gold and Lalique crystal at an additional cost of some $120 million. The Sultan has several other aircraft, but this is his largest.

7. Jimmy Buffett and his Grumman HU-16 Albatross
This former military Grumman HU-16 Albatross amphibian aircraft owned by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett is named The Hemisphere Dancer. In 1996, it was shot at in Jamaica by local police who suspected it of carrying drugs.

Buffett's jet

6. Air Force One
The aircraft used to transport President George W. Bush on important state and domestic visits, Air Force One is a Boeing 747-200B that has been heavily modified with secure communications systems, electronic equipment, a self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air stairs, and the ability to refuel in-flight.

Former Pres. Bush on Air Force One

5. Mark Cuban and his Boeing 767-277
Billionaire Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team, reportedly had custom-made seats installed on the aircraft that are large enough to accommodate the team’s tallest players.( Read more…)

4. Elvis Presley and his Convair 880
Named “Lisa Marie” after Elvis’ daughter, this Convair 880 was customized with 28 seats instead of the usual 110. The tail of the now preserved jet was painted with The King’s personal TCB logo, which stands for Takinâ Care of Business.

Lisa Marie

3. Bill Gates and his Bombardier BD-700 Global Express
Owned by Challenger Administration LLC on Bill Gates behalf, this Bombardier Global Express jet can carry eight people at a cruising altitude of 51,000 feet for a distance of 6,500 nautical miles, a range that permits nonstop Tokyo-New York or Los Angeles-Moscow.

Bill Gates

2. Wayne Huizenga and his de Havilland Canada DHC-6-320 Twin Otter
One of the most rugged and reliable utility transport aircraft ever built, the unpressurized Twin Otter can carry up to 19 people and take off from and land on rough strips as short as 100 yards. This aircraft appeared in a seaplane chase scene in the James Bond film Casino Royale.

Wayne Huizenga's Twin Otter

1. Harrison Ford and his Cessna 525B CJ3 Citation Jet
Harrison Ford pilots his own CJ3, which can carry six people in comfort for some 1,900 nautical miles. Ford is considered so good a pilot that the FAA asked him to be the spokesman for the runway incursion awareness and prevention campaign that the agency started in 2001.

Harrison Ford

- Chill Out Point
- wealthandluxury
- wikipedia

Mark Cuban Can’t Live Without His Private Jets


Mark Cuban, not just another Maverick

For someone who has everything, a private jet is the last and best status symbol. Private plane also conveys a sense of power and influence. That might all be true, but for billionaire Mark Cuban, private jets aren’t a luxury, they are a necessity.

At present, the man who purchased the Dallas Mavericks back in 2000 has three planes; the Gulfstream, a Boeing 757 for his National Basketball Association team and a B767 he rents out for charter.

In an interview, Cuban said having a private ride has definitely helped him in so many ways. “It means I have more hours in my day to spend with friends and family. It means I can get more work done. It means I can travel comfortably with my family.”

Cuban's G-550

As you might recall, Cuban bought his $40 million Gulfstream V online that puts him in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest electronic-commerce transaction ever.

On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks’ Boeing 757 includes a weight room, oversized seats and a facility for trainers to provide medical treatment. Each player’s locker includes a personal entertainment system.” I came up with the strategic vision for the airplane..I said I wanted room for players taller than seven feet, plus special setups for meetings, coaching resources and video and connectivity resources,” Cuban said.

Asked if he has any plans on upgrading his current airplane, he answered “Yes. We are looking hard at upgrading. “

“It’s part of my life that I can’t be without,” he added.

- Wall Street Journal
- Business Jet Traveler

You can also read this:
Airplanes and Jets: The Rides of the Rich and Famous