Nov
13
2012
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Where is the most exciting place to be a pilot?

crashed-planeThe most exciting place in the world to be a pilot may well be the highlands of Papua New Guinea, away from the scheduled routes. Here there’s no radar (or at least there wasn’t when I was there in the 1980s). The flying is visual and “seat-of-the-pants”. The pilots serve remote airstrips nestled in valleys [more…]

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Aug
11
2010
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What is Engine Health Monitoring?

rolls royce jet engineWhether flying on a business trip or a vacation, as your aircraft takes off you will probably be confident that the pilot and the crew have carried out their pre-flight checks, the ground crew have serviced and checked over the aircraft, and throughout the flight the crew will be monitoring the instruments. But you may [more…]

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Jul
19
2010
2

What are Operational Navigation Charts and Tactical Pilotage Maps?

hainan-onc84Operational Navigation Charts (ONC) and Tactical Pilotage Maps (TPM) are large 42” x 57.5” topographical maps prepared and published by the US Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center in St. Louis, Missouri, for flight navigation. There are now, of course, digital devices and CDs that pilots use, which can be updated easily. But most of us [more…]

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Jul
16
2010
1

Do air disasters come in twos and threes?

columbia-disasterAt paid Q&A/Research site Uclue, a customer asked the researchers to investigate his uncanny feeling that major air disasters frequently occur within 15 days of each other. A researcher named Bowler was able to list the large crashes and show that there was no 15-day pattern. But how close to each other do fatal air [more…]

Feb
18
2010
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What do they do with unwanted aircraft?

This Boeing 737 will eventually be recycled (photo by eisenbahner CC-BY)In this time of financial constraints, the aviation industry is finding things rather tough. However, one part of the industry is flourishing, and that is aircraft recycling. Airlines are disposing of aircraft which are old, or aircraft which for financial reasons cannot be maintained within their fleet and kept flying. Or where the airline has [more…]

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Feb
01
2010
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Who was the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license?

Raymonde de Laroche (photo PD)The early years of powered flight required pilots of daring, courage and skill. One of these pioneers was a remarkable Frenchwomen, Elise Deroche, who in 1910 became the first woman to hold a pilot’s licence. In the few short years following the Wright Brothers’ successful flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, aviation had been a [more…]

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Jun
05
2009
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Which airport has to wait for tide to go out?

Barra Airport runway and terminal buildings (photo by Kevin Walsh CC-BY)The Outer Hebrides are a collection of islands on the west coast of Scotland. Barra is the most southerly of the inhabited islands. Although a small island, Barra is famed for its scenery: beautiful beaches, machair (fertile low-lying grassy plain), its hills, and being the home of the clan MacNeill and their 15th century Kisimul [more…]

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Mar
23
2009
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How many volcanoes are there in Alaska?

Mount Edgecumbe, one of the more peaceful volcanoes in Alaska (photo by Patrick Denker CC-BY)The current volcanic activity on Mount Redoubt has again focused attention on the chain of volcanoes which extend from west of Anchorage, through the Alaskan Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, to the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia. They form part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of volcanoes and earthquakes stretching all the [more…]

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Feb
06
2009
1

What are the busiest airports?

How many aircraft movements? (photo by snappED_up CC-BY)There are different ways of defining busiest, but based on passenger numbers and aircraft movements then Atlanta, Georgia (ATL), is at the top. If you remove domestic passengers, then London Heathrow, UK (LHR), has the largest number of international passengers. The statistics are published by the Airports Council International, a worldwide association representing airport authorities. [more…]

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Jan
28
2009
1

How Do I Overcome a Fear of Flying?

fearofflyingWhat’s to be afraid of? Flying is safer than driving they say. Statistics prove it. Even so, many people suffer from a fear of flying. For some, it might only amount to a “butterflies in the stomach” attack of nerves, or a case of white knuckles at worst. For others, however, the fear can become [more…]

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