Category: Demystifying

Creative Air Marshalling

It’s not often that aircraft marshalling hits the headlines but this video of ME1 Tan Wen Kai of the Singapore Airforce has gone completely viral. Aircraft marshallers use hand-signals to communicate with aircraft on the ground, for example to give directions. It’s the equivalent of guiding someone into a parking space, except there’s not much…

Read more… 5 Sep 14

Banner Planes in Action

I’ve long been obsessed with banner planes. They are fascinating and amazing to watch. When I did my PPL in Spain, I was lucky enough to see them in action every weekend. All excerpts from You Fly Like a Woman: The weekends were busy at Axarquía now that high summer was here. Broad-shouldered young men…

Read more… 6 Dec 13

The Story Behind an Unbelievable Photograph

A reader mailed me this amazing aviation photograph and I knew I wanted to know more. I was surprised at how much I discovered about the photo, which at first glance I thought might be a fake. But the story of who took the photograph and how he managed to get the shot is a…

Read more… 1 Nov 13

5 Things About the Dreamliner That I Didn’t Know

1) The Dreamliner’s noise reduction tech is the results of decades of NASA research The Dreamliner has chevrons – serrated edges on the engine nacelles – in order to reduce the noise. Passengers on the plane before it was grounded say that it is quite noticeably quieter but I hadn’t understood the background. “Evolution from…

Read more… 1 Feb 13

Why do aircraft still have ashtrays in the lavatory?

We’ve all seen this in the toilets of commercial aircraft: a large no-smoking sign with a plainly marked ashtray underneath. Obviously airlines who allow in-flight smoking have ashtrays as a part of the standard model. But are there any of those left? The US banned smoking on domestic flights in 1990 and soon followed up…

Read more… 14 Dec 12

5 Surprising Facts about Black Boxes

Today, aircrash investigations centre around the black box – that is, the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). I have always thought of them as rather straight forward: one collects flight data and the other records voices in the cockpit. However, when I started to do some research about flight recorders,…

Read more… 27 Apr 12

Accident Reports

Just a little slip: a tragedy of errors for G-EUOE

The AAIB have released their report on the incident involving Airbus A319-131 G-EUOE at London Heathrow Airport on 24 May 2013. This is one of those reports where I find…

Shocking CRM led to that Abandoned Tupolev at Moscow Airport

This story started, as so many do, with an interesting photograph posted to Reddit. I was curious, and decided to investigate the accident. The sequence of events that led to…

Demystifying

Motion Induced Blindness

I received this from reader Albert Masetti as a demonstration on eye fixation. Michael Bach, a Professor at the University of Freiburg has a full page of Optical Illusions and…

Engine Failure After Take-Off

A selection of posts and articles discussing Engine Failure After Take-Off

History

You won’t believe this one weird trick they used to fly beer to the D-Day troops in Normandy

Today, I have a long and very interesting article for you which was originally published on the amazing Zythophile blog by Martyn Cornell. Martyn Cornell is an author, journalist and…

The teenager who flew to Moscow

28 years ago, on the 28th May 1987, a 19-year old German flew a Cessna 172 to Moscow, taxi-ing straight into the Red Square. At the time, the airspace around…

Fun Stuff

The Hoverboard is Not So Hot (Supercool!)

OK, so you all know that I really really want a jetpack. However, I have decided that under the circumstances, I’ll settle for a hoverboard. Specifically the one in this…

New Design!

A few months ago I saw some people talking about Fear of Landing on Reddit, which was pretty cool, except that one of them said “Yeah, but what’s up with…