A green laser can be picked up at any place for around Rs 800 (less than US$ 20). The beam is powerful, and the laser loses very little intensity in its propagation through air. Infact, the beam is so powerful that it can damage your retina, blinding you for life.
Irresponsible use of the powerful green laser is most observed by aircrew. A low flying aircraft on approach gives a sadistic thrill to those with a laser on the approach path: to shine the beam right at the cockpit. While this gives the man or woman, boy or girl on the ground a good few seconds of fun, the effects on the other side, up in the air, are anything but funny.
Firstly, the beam diverges slightly as it propagates through air. What appears as a pencil beam for the prankster is actually a huge green light for the pilot at a distance of around 5 kilometers (2.7NM) on approach. What has also been reported is the way in which the light diffuses when it strikes the windshield, having the effect of illuminating the flight deck, and distracting the flight crew.
Secondly, the intensity of the beam can either temporarily or permanently blind the pilot, especially on approach at night. If the cockpit floods with the green light and the pilot’s eye receives scattered light, vision will be temporarily affected, with the immediate consequence of losing sight of the runway and approach lights. This may lead to the aircraft going below the flight path, and impacting either terrain or buildings on approach. In case the laser beam directly hits the eyes of the pilot, the intensity can blind him or her for life, with immediate and long term consequences. The immediate consequence is the potential loss of control of the aircraft, threatening the lives of the 150+ passengers he is responsible for. The long term effect, if the airplane manages to be landed by the other crew member, is his inability to ever fly again as a pilot.
While admittedly this act is an of fun, and usually by the ignorant, helping spread the word can remove an unsolicited growing threat to flight safety.
An apparently “lesser known” fact about the Airbus A320 is the dive speed, its significance, and the associated consequences.
A Flight Crew Bulletin detailing the dive speeds and other speeds above VMO/MMO. (Click to enlarge)
The dive speed is the absolute maximum speed above which the aircraft must not fly. Typically, to achieve this speed, the aircraft must enter a dive (steep descent), as the engines cannot produce sufficient thrust to overcome aerodynamic drag in level flight. At the dive speed, excessive aircraft vibrations develop which put the aircraft structural integrity at stake.
On the Airbus fly by wire aircraft, it is not possible to reach the dive speed, due to the flight envelope protections available in normal law. If the sidestick is maintained full forward, and the airspeed crosses VMO/MMO, the pitch nose-down authority smoothly reduces to zero at approximately VMO +16 / MMO + 0.04. This however, does not guarantee the airspeed stabilizing at this speed.
If MMO + 0.04 / VMO + 20kts is reached or exceeded, then a structural inspection is necessary. Beyond MD (= MMO+0.07) / VD (= VMO + 31kts) (A320 family), structural disintegration can occur.
Here are the speeds for the A320, in Mach number and Kts. The lesser value must always be respected, at all times:
Graphical representation of the speeds, their significance & consequences. HSP is High Speed protection range.
MD/VD = M0.89/381kts
Maximum Operating Speeds:
MMO/VMO = M0.82/350kts.
Expedite Descent (as on FCU, if available)
The graphical representation of speeds above VMO/MMO, on the left (made by The Flying Engineer), gives you a clearer picture of the speeds, their significance for the FBW system, and the consequences.
To understand the seriousness of the VD/MD, take a look at the video below, which involves the VD/MD testing of the Airbus A380. The MD for the A380 is Mach 0.96, and the test crew dread taking the airplane that far.
I thought I’d be this cool dude by writing an extensive article on the 787 right away. Its too big, and too grand for that. In the time I will take to write up on the Dream, enjoy the photos from The Flying Engineer, who got one of the most detailed tours of the new bird from Boeing. And I adopted a reverse airflow direction over 238 economy seats and 18 business to cover this bird. Paid off!
The 787's aft Galley. In this airplane, the feeling of space is overwhelming!
A very kind Boeing employee showing me how much the seat can recline in the economy class. Notice that the bottom cushion for the thigh support slides forward as the seat reclines backward.
Another great feature on board this Boeing is the foot rest. Small additions like these make a long 8000NM flight more comfortable.
The Economy entertainment system. Providers of IFE are Panasonic and Thales. The nice handy remote can allow you to not only play your personal collection of movies through the provided USB socket, but can swipe your card for payments as well!
Another small yet useful feature: the 115V AC sockets for your appliances: available for every passenger under his/her seat!
Cabin clean shot: the economy 9 abreast seating (3-3-3) with a 32" seat pitch. Notice the feeling of space, the elevated ceiling, and the very curved overhead bins. It fools you into believing that there isn't sufficient overhead space. See the next photo to know more!
Mr. good guy from Boeing poses with a huge trolly bag and a charming smile, just to show what can fit in the overhead and how! See the next picture.
A comparison of the overhead bin, when opened, and retracted (closed). notice the space. And notice the illusion of a poor capacity when retracted. Its unbelievable.
All due to the overhead bin innovative design, you no longer have to crouch to reach your window seat. You can stand closer, and longer, for seats close to the window. There is comfort, there is space, and there is well-thought-of engineering.
Business Class: Notice the seats that allow you to lie flat and get a good flight's sleep!
Mr. goodguy from Boeing poses again just to show you how much space there is everywhere. A wide cabin, a tall ceiling, curved and non-intrusive overhead bins: all make for a very good feeling of space.
Another take of the Business class seats! They're wide, and they have a 78" seat pitch. The IFE seems good, but the comfort is unparalleled.
Photo comparison of the most talked about thing in the cabin: the polarised windows. There are no shades. Instead, electrically controlled windows (through polarisation) cut the amount of light that passes through. The left photo and the right are taken with the same camera settings of exposure & ISO. Yet, note that despite it being broad daylight, on selecting a complete cut, its pretty dark inside (look close at the left photo and you will see a faint blue image)
The small round control below each window is responsible for the dimming.
Wilson Chow, who is about 2 meters in height, trying to show me that there is no way you can ever feel claustrophobic on board this beauty!
As soon as you enter the aircraft from the front-left passenger door, you see this. The stairway to heaven: the overhead crew rest area!
A view from the crew rest area, looking down at the cockpit entrance.
Cozy enough, comfortable. Enough for the crew? See the next photo to find out!
Boeing's 787 Captain Pat Bearce, a 6ft 3" tall ex-marines pilot, showing me that he too is comfortable in the crew rest!
The holy deck. The most sought after tourist destination on board the airplane. the Head up Displays, the avionics, and the simple feeling of luxurious space is very luring.
Another view of the deck, from the Captain's seat. The Honeywell FMS running on a Smith's (now GE) Hardware.
The Head Up Display. Notice how the display doesn't need constant refocusing of the eye. Infact, the lady captain said she who needed glasses to see instruments up close now no longer needs any spectacles while flying. HUD's allow you to have lower approach minima in poor weather.
I regret not having caught her name (Edit: Capt. Ross). There she is showing me the 787's "soft" FMS, which is NOT a touch screen, as one would be fooled into believing. A mouse-like cursor is navigated to the desired software buttons and clicked. pretty much like a laptop touch pad.
Up close and even closer. The Capt's hand on the Cursor Control unit., and shes navigating her way through the FMS. Hard to use the cursor and the keypad left of the screen, both of which demand constant shifting of the hand? Not really, says her. Its faster than on the 777's hard-FMS, is what the lady cpatin tells me!
The only touch screens in the cockpit are the Electronic Flight Bags, or the EFB. Comfort. Ease. Style. Technology.
So similair to the 777's cockpit is the 787 that FAA allows crews to undergo only 5 days of transistion training. It hasbn't worked this way across the world, with complaints from ANA, but from a higher level: the controls, the layout, the functions are all very similar to the 777. Says Capt's Pat, "To me, I just forget what a 777 and a 787 are when flying. they're transparent to each other. Almost"
There was a hurry, but then, there was room to fit in more. The Phenom 100 from Embraer is small to look at from the outside, and is a pain to get inside, but once seated, you’re in a nice, cozy business et of your own.
I still have more technical details of the aircraft to bring out, but the Phenom 100 is pure bliss, and an aircraft perfect for anyone getting introduced to aviation by way of a private jet. The “Jet” is a phenomenon, and boosts your image in the eyes of an onlooker, simply because having an airplane with propellers outside (read: turboprop) is simply “too old and not good enough“.
SO go in for a jet! With the ability to seat 4 passengers very comfortably in the cabin, and take two extra persons by exercising a very innovative use of space, the Embraer Phenom 100 does an elegant job of accomodaing 8 souls on board, including 2 flight crew.
The 8th seat: the seat is the loo!
The figures are not firm, but to give you an idea: 500kgs of fuel burn in the first 1 hour of the flight, ~350kgs/h fuel burn in cruise, and a range of about 1200NM (NBAA Assumptions): Very neat for anyone wanting to travel medium sectors, like the Phenomm100 operator: Joyalukkas (a renowned jeweller), whose aircraft (VT-AJI) is on display at India Aviation 2012.
The flight deck is very nice, deviating from Embraer’s control column, but retaining the signature “motobike” yoke. The cockpit is very simple, and designed for single pilot operation, making every panel easily accessible. The ergonomics is extremely appealing. (scroll down to read more)
The Garmin Prodigy 100 Flightdeck.
Funny how the seats still have a control column cutout, despite there being no column!
The flightdeck employs the Prodigy Flight Deck 100, which is Garmin tailor made solution for the Embraer 100. The screens are bigger than the G1000, pack moe information without cluttering, and present information that is more on the lines of Embraer’s “format”. The enhanced situation awareness impacts flight safety. Positively, that is.
With a 30kg cargo hold in the nose, and a 160kg hold in the rear, the Phenom 100 is a perfect machine even for the heavy traveller. Its small, its economical, and more importantly, it’s a PHEMONenon to reckon with.
What do you do if you want your aircraft to gain Western Acceptance?
Use their systems. (SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE TEXT)
The symbology is 100% Airbus, thanks to Thales!
The inside of the EASA approved Sukhoi Superjet 100 confuses you at first. It has the size of the A320 cockpit, but the display aspect ratio of the Airbus A380’s. The navigation display eerily has the same symbology as the Airbus aircraft, has the side sticks, the same flap lever, similar cockpit layout, and yet something feels different. The Russian engineer seated beside me.
The all-Thales supplied cockpit of the SSJ100 is simply brilliant, in the least to say, especially considering that the airplane is Russian. There is no cockpit clutter, there are no analog instruments, there is no poorly finished panel: there are simply 2 things: a brilliant airplane, and a Russian Engineer who can’t speak English. Had it not been for him, you would have thought it to be an A360, if there was something like that.
I managed to speak to Panyukov Pavel, who was a very friendly gentleman on board the aircraft. He believes that the SSJ100 makes a difference right from the start, and is all about savings: Acquisition to Maintenance. The figures never came though.
That is probably why the Russian airplanes don’t sell well: the sellers aren’t aggressive enough. No figures, and then when asked for a comparison with the competition, pat comes the reply, “We don’t compare. we have to evaluate on an airline route basis”. Noone was inside the SSJ100, except for me, Pavel, and the Russian engineer.
5 Abreast Seating
The seating on the airplane is old compact school: 5 abreast, with 3 on the right and 2 on the left. Seats were very comfortable. And the feats performed by their stellar air force pilots were equally good. Question is: what does all this mean for an airline, a customer?
Firstly, there exists a market gap today, between the 70 seat ATR72/Q400 aircraft and the 180seat A320. The gap is very huge, a gap that isn’t closed much even by the 156 seat A319. The SSJ100 will do a good job of plugging that gap, in part, but the sales aggressiveness that others show simply lacks in the Sukhoi team. Their attitude is more on the lines of “the aircraft sells for itself”. Not quite; it doesn’t speak well.
An Airbus pilot will be at home with similar colour cockpit, similar sidesticks, similar tiller, similar thrust levers, similar everything. How much the exclusively made SaM146 engines and aerodynamic combination contribute in its fuel burn is for them to reveal tomorrow. Till then, enjoy the pics of the marvellous airliner.
Capt. Rahul and F/O Karan are an excellent crew to fly with. Enjoyed my jump seat experience, all thanks to the jolly good Rahul!
Balancing aesthetics and performance is an art; an art that very few can master. When it comes to airplanes, whom better to turn to, than the only manufacturer of business and fighter jets?
Dassault’s latest offering, the fly-by-wire Falcon 7X trijet, couldn’t have performed any better. The cabin is plush, but the flight deck is a lot more attractive. With the EASy flightdeck, the all-Honeywell cockpit is reduced to four large LCD screens, which integrates many functions, just two of which eliminate the need for a paper checklist and paper charts. The cursor control unit allows for navigation between screens, and extensive drop down menus and check boxes make life simpler: provided you master the use of a cursor in the cockpit, which hardly takes any time.
We were pushed back and allowed to start engines only at taxiway “A”. Engine start is unnoticeable: no callouts, no checks: the FADEC does it all in a seamless manner. The engines cannot even be heard: the cabin and the engines are that quiet, and the flight deck too far in front to be heard. Advancing power for taxi gave the first taste of the airplane’s power: the bump ahead was noticeable. We back-tracked runway 09, lined up runway 09, and that was when the story really began.
My friend Harsha, taxiing his Falcon 2000 (VT-VKR) out!
The light aircraft was heavily accelerated by three Pratt & Whitney PW307A turbofans, each capable of producing 2,846kgs of thrust. We were below the maximum landing weight of 28304kg, and by the 2000ft marker, we had reached V1. Seconds later, Capt. Rahul Singh Rawal rotated VT-RGX smoothly into the air, and the homesick angel came to life.
Check our climb rate!!
With a crazy climb rate that touched 5000 feet per minute, FL250 came all too early. We were above the clouds, and headed to waypoint HITAS, which was around 140 nautical miles away. We broke the cloud layer on our flight down south-east, and pure bliss ensued. The evening sun, ready to go down, and the game of shadows played by the clouds, and more: all enjoyed in a noiseless cabin that was comfortably pressurized at around 1400ft: Absolute comfort.
I had never flown so fast in my life: Mach 0.88 if I recollect correctly. The increase in the noise of the wind hitting the windshield at this incredible speed, was very noticeable, and yet so soft.
The very experience of the Dassault 7X’s flight performance is indescribable. Adding to that is a brilliant golden orange sun setting at FL250; the combination rendering you absolutely speechless.
Our lateral path, planned till MMV!
At waypoint HITAS, we turned back to Hyderabad-Shamshabad, and gracefully accepted vectors for the VOR approach for runway 09. On approach, Capt. Rahul who knew me very well, made it very clear that he’ll have 4 red on the PAPI as he was targeting the runway numbers to stop by taxiway Alpha (A). His touchdown was firm and nice, and the deceleration very powerful. The bird exited onto “A”, where our engines were shutdown, and we were towed into our parking slot.
My editor was impressed; the publisher awestruck, and I: on cloud 9.
VT-SUG is on display at India Aviation 2012! This is the very first public display of the Q400 in India, and the aircraft is all prim and proper. It smells good, it feels good, and the flight deck: as good as it ever will be. Very ergonomic, and not too crammed except for the act of making your way to the flying seat. (more text below)
Good overhead cabin bin space!
ANVS control panel
Capt Surinder Singh (Chief Pilot) and my friend Deepankar Singh
With 78 seats, and loads of interest from curious onlookers, the jet engine core- driver turboprop aircraft is making heads turn. The cabin overhead is spacious, the lavatory is more accessible, but just the seats make you uncomfortable.
Says Eric Sharma of Bombardier, “There are a line of seats available that can be chosen by the operator. This is typically the low recline one for high density seating”.
Enjoy the photos of this prim and proper bird! (And oh, don’t miss the ANVS control panel!)
Behind the fence, I understand, but i am 30 minutes too early! No crowd, and the energy is upbeat here! For your eyes, probably the first image of the Boeing 787 airliner for you all to enjoy!!! Here I go! Wish me luck, guys! 787!
737NG #4000 waiting to be assembled! Photo by Boeing, of Boeing.
Its really hard to believe that a tube of metal, sitting on a transport dolly, can ever fly. The rivets are clearly seen, the skin in protective paint, and covers for where the windshields should be. This time however, the common sight of a 737 fuelage rolling into Boeing’s Renton plant, is not just another body.
The only thing separating it from the rest is its number. It is 737 NG # 4000, a milestone for the 737NG program. With 2,674 737NG orders still unfulfilled, looks like the #4000 bird is going to eventually lose the limelight to # 5000, #6000, and maybe, #7000.
Four celebrations to look forward to. Well done, Boeing, for a cumulative 6613 civil Boeing 737NG variant orders as of Feb end, 2012, of which 59.5% have been delivered.
With the October 2011 announcement by Boeing of the 737NG production rate having been ramped up to 35 airplanes a month (“Rate 35”), 737NG #4000 should be completely assembled by the 3rd week of April, 2012. #5000 should be ready in the September of 2014; #6000 in the January of 2017, and #7000 in the June of 2019.
That’s a terrible wait!
Which is why Boeing CA CEO Jim Albaugh, in July 2011, asked his product development team to evaluate the feasibility of further ramping up production to 60 airplanes a month. As of today, the 737NG production will hit “Rate 42” by mid 2014, witnessing “Rate 38” from “Rate 35” somewhere between then and today.
Assuming Rate 38 hits in January 2013, And Rate 42 in mid 2014, #5000 should be out in July 2014; #6000 in July 2016; and #7000 in July 2018, advancing the earlier projected 7000th airframe’s delivery by one solid year.
Boeing badly needs Rate 60, keeping in mind that the Boeing 737 MAX is expected to enter service in 2017.
Disclaimer: Author estimated/assumed production rates. An estimate is an estimate, and an assumption always an assumption. Just for you to get a feel of when you’ll expect the 737NG that you order, today.
Always having been slightly disappointed by the lack of planning and exhibitor info available during the airshow, making me go searching for companies, I made this list of serious civil aviation players who can potentially make a difference. After making this list for 24+ hours, I realised to my horror that the organisers are still updating the list! But this one is good wnough to start of with: Just refer, identify companies by their logo, and you’ll know if they’re there; if yes: where. Have a good time at India Aviation 2012, and see you there!
Google Map Image of VOHS, with the parallel taxiway now serving as a parallel runway just once a week.
It is weird when a flight crew member calls you up and asks, “Did you know that Hyderabad has a parallel runway?” Well, being off the line for some time can have its effects.
The GMR-Group’s Ragiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA, ICAO: VOHS) at Hyderabad proudly boasts off as ” the first greenfield airport in the region with two runways”. While that is true, a closer look reveals what it really is.
The AIP Supplement AAI/ATM/AIS/09-09/201 (click to view) from the Airport Authority of India, effective 09th February 2012 (a month back) details that the parallel taxiway-“A”- has been converted to runway 09L-27R for day VFR operations and the current main runway is re-designated as 09R-27L.
The new runway is 3707 meters long (in comparison to the 4260 meter long 09R-27L), and is 145 feet wide (in comparison to 195 feet of the main runway) and is certified for operations by Code-E aircraft. Code E includes aircraft such as the A340 and B747, and is defined by wingspan between 52m & less than 65m, and the outer main gear wheel span between 9m & less than 14m.
The new secondary RWY shall be a dependant RWY (operating with restrictions), and available only for day operations in visual flight rules. No precision approaches (ILS) are available. At a time, either RWY 09L-27R (new runway) or RWY 09R-27L (old runway) shall be used for the purpose of landing and take- off, but both may not be operational at any point of time.
Notice the delsignators on the runway: 27R, and 27L (not clear)
The distance between the centrelines of both parallel runways is just 224 meters (736ft), and cannot support parallel runway operations.
The main purpose of opening the new runway was to prevent disruptions in flight operations during scheduled maintenance. Every Tuesday between 1330-1530 hrs local the main runway (09R/27L) is closed for maintenance work. RGIA can continue flight operations uninterrupted during this period. Also, in the event of a mishap closing one runway, the other runway may remain operational to prevent a disruption in flight schedules.
The DGCA, India, issued a new Civil Aviation Requirement, SECTION 8 – AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS SERIES ‘C’ PART I(click for PDF) on the 13th of June, 2011, on All Weather Operations (AWO). Due to the extended operational impact of this CAR, a great amount of Jeppesen charts were affected. (See Chart Alert), the most noticable of which is a grey shaded box in the profile.
Note the "Grey Area" in the approach profile.
The CAR lays out that all non-precision approaches (NPA) shall be flown using the Continuous Descent Final Approaches (CDFA) technique unless otherwise approved by the DGCA for a particular approach to a particular runway.
Compared to the traditional descent approach technique, where the aircraft descends step-by-step prior to the next minimum altitude, the CDFA technique has safety and operational advantages, such as standardization of procedures, simplification of the decision process (one technique, one decision at one point), increased height above obstacles, use of a stable flight path, reduced noise and reduced fuel burn. The CDFA technique can be flown on most published approach when VNAV or ILS is not available. When electronic or a pre-stored computed vertical guidance is not used, vertical speed or flight path angle may be used to achieve a CDFA profile.
This has few implications. Air crews can no longer level out at the MDA and fly to the MAP to execute a go around. Instead, the go-around must be executed at the MDA, or the MAP, whichever occurs first. Also, the go around must be flown through the MAP, unless otherwise specified. Hence, the pull up arrow is at the point where the CDFA and the MDA intersect.
In case of ILS approaches, the CDFA and the Glide path are identical. The CDFA is enforced when the Glide Slope is out of service, in which case, go-around must be initiated at the point where the glide path and the MDA intersect.
Because the concept of levelling off at MDA no longer exists, there are chances of flying below the MDA, in case of executing a missed approach at MDA when flying a CDFA. Further, the MDA may be reached either before or after the intended vertical path, due to vertical path errors involved with a non-precision approach. For this reason, the MDA is emphasised in the segment between the MAP and the ALTITUDE-DME check preceding the MAP.
The Jeppesen chart profile depiction will be modified to show the continuous descent on final approach. DGCA published minimum altitudes will be shown as segment minimum altitudes in the profile (grey shaded box). These minimum altitudes are typically provided for obstacle clearance and must not be violated to remain clear of obstacles or terrain.