Category Archives: Aircraft

German air force jets intercepting Jet Airways 777

VT-JEX, one of the Boeing 777-300ER planes of Jet Airways, had a loss of communications over the German airspace near Cologne earlier this week while operating as 9W 118 from Mumbai to London. This lead to the German Air Force scrambling two Eurofighter Typhoon jets. It is usual protocol to scramble jets to check in on the cockpit in case someone stops responding to the radio, to be able to visually communicate with the aircraft pilots and in case something is wrong in the plane, take further steps according to instructions from the ground.

A British Airways plane, operating on BA 2042, was trailing this flight and the pilot managed to capture the footage on his mobile camera. Someone even managed to click the entire chase from the ground.

The first video posted shows the planes catch up with 9W118, and second one shows them disengaging and flying away. It’s good to watch them in succession with audio on! The pilots on the British Airways plane are chatting in a very calm manner as they see this unfold in front of them, and that itself indicates that this is not an out of the ordinary situation.

The second part of the video has a lot of chatter and eventually the fighter jets go away and it ends with a view of the cockpit.

Tail-strike after bounced landing damaged Jet2 737

Portuguese investigators have detailed a bounced landing at Funchal in which a Jet2 Boeing 737-800 was substantially damaged by a tail-strike.

The inquiry states that an “excessive” nose-up input on the control column after the bounce – during which the aircraft travelled about 300m at a height of 8ft – resulted in a sharp nose-up attitude of 9.15°.

Portuguese investigation authority GPIAA adds that the manual deployment of speedbrakes caused a loss of lift.

It states that the aircraft subsequently struck the runway with a force of 2.15g, at a pitch attitude sufficient to scrape its tail. Inspection revealed damage to the 737’s aft fuselage including bent struts, cracks in stringers, and deformation from frictional abrasion.

Funchal airport is subjected to turbulent winds, and the aircraft (G-GDFC) had been conducting an approach to runway 05 in such conditions on 17 February 2014.

GPIAA says the approach was flown manually from around 1,200ft, but that it deviated from the glidepath, and was below it some 15s before touchdown.

During the last few moments of the final approach the aircraft encountered varying tailwind and crosswind components, and its descent rate reduced and increased with commanded thrust. It experienced oscillations as the control column was turned up to 50° right and 65° left.

GPIAA says nose-down inputs caused the descent rate to increase to 1,000ft/min before a nose-up input reduced this to 150ft/min. But then a nose-down input lasting some 4s, combined with a thrust reduction and a downdraft of 10ft/s resulted in the descent rate rising to 1,500ft/min as the jet passed 220ft.

This was initially limited to 750ft/min with nose-up input, but a subsequent variation in headwind and more nose-down input caused the descent rate to reach 1,100ft/min at 35ft.

After flaring, the aircraft touched down at a sink rate of 350ft/min with a 1.86g impact, and a pitch of about 6°.

Cockpit-voice recorder information reveals that the normal landing checklist had not been carried out during the approach. The speedbrakes were not armed, as required by this checklist, and did not deploy after the initial runway contact.

The aircraft consequently bounced and, once in the air, its speedbrakes were deployed manually, while nose-up column input was increased.

As a result of the loss of lift from the speedbrakes, the aircraft landed heavily – about 5s after the initial contact – at a pitch attitude high enough to allow the tail to strike the runway, causing minor injuries to two members of the cabin crew, before the 737 rolled out.

GPIAA points out that the aircraft had deviated from the stabilised approach profile, and indicates that the crew ought to have executed a go-around, and that a go-around should have been considered after the initial bounce.

Oman Air adds new B737-800 to its fleet

Muscat –

Oman Air, the national carrier of the sultanate, has announced that a new Boeing B737-800 aircraft has joined its fleet as of 24 January.

This new aircraft will be used on short and medium haul routes and has a capacity of 162 seats, with 12 Business class seats with seat pitch 46 inches and 150 Economy class seats with seat pitch 30 inches. Each seat is equipped with an LCD screen, back-mounted 10.6 inches.

Oman Air has operated B737s for many years and the aircraft provides the backbone of the airline’s long and medium haul fleet, with 23 currently in operation. The new aircraft will be deployed soon on its arrival for commercial flights.

Abdulaziz Alraisi, executive vice president, Products and Brand Development, said, “In keeping up with the expansion programme, Oman Air is adding a new aircraft to its fast-growing fleet. Known for its energy efficient systems and combined with Oman Air’s superb maintenance staff and facilities, this is an ideal acquisition as we spread our wings to further afield.”

With the addition of the new Boeing 737-800, Oman Air’s fleet stands at 48. Currently, Oman Air’s fleet consists of four Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 23 Boeing 737-800, one Boeing 737-700 and four Embraer 175s.

A second new B737-800 will be joining Oman Air’s fleet on February 16, followed by a Dreamliner B787-9 on February 23. The delivery of the new aircraft is part of Oman Air’s ambitious and dynamic programme of fleet and network expansion. The airline continues to be recognised for its award winning on-board experience, winning many industry awards in 2016 to add to its growing collection. Oman Air’s latest aircraft addition consolidates its position in 2017 as the airline continues its progress to becoming a successful company of the highest quality.


How Many Cars Fit into a Boeing 747?

The first Boeing 747 joined the KLM fleet in 1971. Everyone knew this was the biggest passenger aircraft in the world at that time, but just how big was it? The best way to make this clear was by placing it side by side with something familiar, something that illustrated the proportions. KLM came up with a smart solution in January 1969.

The outline of a 747 was painted, full-scale, on the platform near the old Schiphol terminal, now Schiphol East. The contour line was painted 40 cm wide, and 100 kilos of white paint were used to complete the 375-metre-long outline of the silhouette. Two painters did the job.

cars boeing 747

46 DAF cars

And then the smart solution arrived in the form of six trailers carrying a total of 46 cars. These came from Van Doorne’s Automobiel Fabrieken in Eindhoven, better known as DAF. These little cars are a national treasure in the Netherlands. All models were equipped with a so-called “variomatic” – an automatic gearbox with a ‘smart shift’ whose sole purpose was to put the car in reverse. This gave the DAF another unique feature: you could drive it backwards just as fast as you could drive it forwards. In 1969, DAF was the last Dutch manufacturer still producing its own brand of cars, and business was booming. So it was hardly surprising that DAF was keen to play a part in KLM’s photo shoot.

cars boeing 747

When the paintwork was completed and all the cars had been parked in place, it was time to take the photo. But that was no easy task. The view from the old air traffic control tower wasn’t good enough, and a cherry-picker platform also proved to be unsuitable. And so a helicopter was chartered to capture this remarkable image.

Great PR stunt

KLM’s Public Relations department sent the photo out to the press and it was promptly published by almost every Dutch newspaper (and there were a lot more of those back in the day). The clippings saved in the archive reflect just how much the 747 appealed to the imagination, partly because the DAF was such a powerful icon in the Netherlands. In short, this KLM initiative was a great PR stunt for both transport sectors.

[via KLM]


Ever Wonder Why Airplanes Still Have Ashtrays in the Bathrooms? Here’s the Answer.

this-why-airplanes-ashtrays-bathroomSmoking is strictly prohibited—except for some people.

Look up from your seat on almost any commercial aircraft and you’ll see an illuminated no-smoking sign. So why is there an ashtray in the bathroom on an airplane (likely also outfitted with a no-smoking sticker of its own)?

It might seem like the feature is a relic of times gone by—maybe the plane is old, or no one’s updated the lavatory’s design yet. But that’s not the case—inflight smoking was fully banned in 2000 and most planes built before then have since been retired.

It turns out the real reason is simple: Some passengers just don’t follow the rules. And when that happens—and the misconduct takes place at 36,000 feet—there’s got to be safety measures in place. So whether it seems like a reward for disobedience or not, ashtrays are a must.

“If somebody did decide to light up and then put their cigarette in the trash, well, the trash is all paper products, so the ashes could start a fire,” Debbie, an American Airlines flight attendant, told

Whether it seems like a reward for disobedience or not, ashtrays are a must.

In fact, ashtrays in bathrooms are required in order for the plane to leave the runway. As per the Code of Federal Regulations for airworthiness:

“Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door, except that one ashtray may serve more than one lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served.”

And this isn’t a case of unnecessary worry. Rogue inflight smoking has been known to happen—and even to take down planes. In 1973, a flight from Rio de Janeiro crashed after a cigarette thrown in a trash receptacle started a fire. All 123 passengers on the Boeing 707 died.

Other wayward passengers have tried. In 2010, a Qatari diplomat was arrested upon arrival at Denver International Airport for smoking on board, as well as making threats to the airline staff. In 2013, a family of four caused a flight to make an emergency landing in Bermuda after the entire group was accused of smoking.

So you see, whether smoking is banned or not, lavatory ashtrays will be a constant. We hope you never use them.

Why do Russian aerospace engineers favor 90 degree vertical stabilizers vs. American designs with V-shaped tails?

By Rajan Bhavnani – A small number earlier American fighters used “canted” (though not quite “V-shaped”) tails. However, the fact that all new American fighters are (and likely will continue to be) designed with more “V-shaped” tails is a (relatively) new feature. It exists for a very specific reason.

It’s not so much that American engineers favor V-shaped tails; they add a significant level of complexity to the aircraft. Instead, V-shaped tails make it much easier for engineers to meet a key American requirement; low radar observability.

As you can see from the diagram, objects at right angles act together to reflect radio waves (like radar) directly back to their source. This means, a vertical tail stabilizer can be a significant part of an aircraft’s radar signature.

Prior to learning how to shape an airframe to minimize its radar cross section, American fighters mostly used the same 90 degree vertical stabilizers you see on Russian aircraft.

Here’s a quick timeline to visualize the change over time (organized by “first flight” year).

1970 – F-14 Tomcat: 90-degree vertical stabilizer

1972 – F-15 Eagle: 90-degree vertical stabilizer

1974 – F-16 Falcon: 90-degree vertical stabilizer

1978 – F-18 Hornet: Here we see “canted” vertical stabilizers. It’s not 90-degrees, but it’s also not an aggressive “V-shape.” That’s because it was done to give the F-18 an extremely high max angle of attack; not to achieve a lower radar cross section.

1981 – F-117 Nighthawk: Here we have truly “V-shaped” vertical stabilizers. Though calling anything about this aircraft “stable” is a bit of a misnomer since it would be completely unflyable without a very sophisticated fly by wire system that has to constantly make adjustments just to maintain stable flight.

1997 – F-22 Raptor: Somewhere between the F-18’s aerodynamic advantage from using a canted tail and the F-117’s advantage from a V-shaped one.

2006 – F-35 Lightning: This one is more toward the F-18’s canted tail than a true V-shape, and that makes sense when you consider that the F-35 was always designed for export (the F-22 was not). It has a significantly less “stealthy” design in terms of radar cross section because the US does not want to export its most sophisticated “stealth” designs.

As an interesting side note, the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA (first flight was in 2010) is a new fighter being jointly designed by Russia and India. The angle of its vertical stabilizers looks somewhat similar to that of the F-22…

So in the future, you may see fewer Russian aircraft with 90 degree vertical stabilizers as well.

The Mistake Most People Make During an Airplane Evacuation

In an emergency, U.S. regulators require that aircraft be evacuated in 90 seconds.

Earlier this week, an Emirates plane crash-landed in Dubai before bursting into flames that engulfed much of the Boeing 777. Miraculously, all 300 crew and passengers on board survived, primarily because they were able to deplane in less than 90 seconds. Yet in the wake of the accident, footage has emerged showing several passengers making a key mistake as they exit the plane: opening overhead compartments and attempting to grab their luggage. “Leave your bags behind! Jump and slide, jump and slide,” one crew member can be heard shouting as smoke fills the cabin.

These passengers are not alone. Despite warnings during in-flight safety briefings to leave all personal belongings behind in the event of an emergency, a 2000 study by National Transportation Safety Board found that nearly 50 percent of people in a commercial airplane evacuation had tried to take a bag, with the main motivations being grabbing money, wallets, or credit cards, with the secondary priorities being work materials, keys, and medication. A 2015 evacuation of a British Airways flight that caught fire in Las Vegas also showed passengers fleeing with luggage.

Attempting to retrieve carry-on luggage in an emergency is a serious safety threat, and can take precious seconds off an evacuation time where every second counts: Aviation safety rules in the U.S., U.K., and Australia mandate that airplanes be built so that they can be completely evacuated in less than 90 seconds. This is not an arbitrary number—rather, it’s because it takes just a minute and a half for the jet fuel in the tanks to ignite and explode.

Some advocate for making it a crime to grab a bag when evacuating, likening it to smoking on an aircraft, which the FAA banned in 1990. “Smoking is not allowed because it can jeopardize the lives and the health of other passengers and the lives and health of the crew,” Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told Bloomberg. “And carrying your bag could have the same consequence.”

Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle solved? Hexagonal clouds creating terrifying air bombs with 170mph winds may be to blame for disappearing ships and planes, scientists claim

Hexagonal clouds creating terrifying air bombs with winds of 170mph could be behind the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

Scientists have claimed the stormy blasts can flip ships into the sea and bring planes crashing down into the sea.

The mystifying 500,000km square patch in the North Atlantic Ocean has been blamed for the disappearance of at least 75 planes and hundreds of ships, but the oddly-shaped clouds may hold the secret to the vanishing acts.

Hexagonal clouds creating terrifying air bombs with winds of 170mph could be behind the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

The mystifying 500,000km square patch in the North Atlantic Ocean has been blamed for the disappearance of at least 75 planes and hundreds of ships, but the oddly-shaped clouds may hold the secret to the vanishing acts

The winds created by the so-called air bombs are so powerful they generate 45ft high winds

The winds created by the so-called air bombs are so powerful they generate 45ft high winds.

Meteorologist Randy Cerveny told the Mirror: ‘These types of hexagonal shapes over the ocean are in essence air bombs.

‘They are formed by what are called microbursts and they’re blasts of air that come down out of the bottom of a cloud and then hit the ocean and then create waves that can sometimes be massive in size as they start to interact with each other.’

Researchers added massive clouds were appearing over the western tip of Bermuda Island – ranging from 20 to 55 miles across – and Dr Steve Miller, satellite meteorologist at Colorado State University told Science Channel’s What on Earth said: ‘You don’t typically see straight edges with clouds.

‘Most of the time, clouds are random in their distribution.’

Scientists believe these weather phenomenons are behind the Bermuda Triangle mystery, according to the Mirror.

At least 1,000 lives have been lost in the Triangle in the last 100 years.

On average, four planes and 20 ships go missing every year.

Passengers will soon be able to sit on top of a plane

Passengers will get a stunning bird’s eye view

Since the pod uses more fuel and costs so much passenger planes could offset the cost by adding a premium for passengers who want to pay for a room with a view and the company is pretty sure that people will be willing to pay.

They said: “We wanted to come up with a product that would provide a higher level of entertainment to reduce the boredom of long flights.”

According to the Mail Online, the teardrop shape of the capsule has been designed so as not to interfere with the airflow on the plane.

Shakil Hussain, Windspeed’s CEO, said: “The concept attracted a lot of attention at the recent conference of the National Business Aviation Association, in Las Vegas.

“A large aircraft manufacturer in Europe plans to start offering the SkyDeck to potential customers soon.”

So the next time you’re flying you might be in with a chance of a bird’s eye view but it’ll definitely cost you.

Dramatic footage of terrifying airplane landing goes viral

Amateur videographer and airplane aficionado Radko Našinec recently captured incredible footage of a Boeing 737-430 going up against some very strong cross winds — and nearly losing.

Filmed at Václav Havel Airport in Prague, Czech Republic, the terrifying video shows the large airplane getting violently thrown about like a small toy just as the wheels graze the runway.

As the plane tries to touch down, it becomes apparent that the aircraft will not be able to overcome the large gusts of wind preventing it from landing — left with no other option, the pilot immediately begins to reascend.

The footage, which was posted on YouTube on October 4, has already been viewed over 200,000 times, and has racked up many comments commending the pilots on a job well done.

Thankfully, the plane was able to land safely on the second attempt.