Randy’s Journal, hosted under Boeing Blogs (the plural definitively misleading as his is the only blog), has been running since the January of 2005 with one key point that I was hoping, since 2011, would get noticed: the header image. (shown above with spoilers highlighted in boxes)
The header image shows a Boeing 787, which appears to be on a climbout, with the spoilers deployed. It may be an unnecessary fuss, but in the line that he walks on, which is Marketing: details matter, and nothing could be as discomforting as the image of a Boeing 787’s spoilers deployed on a climbout.
The Blog (CLICK HERE) is described as, “Randy’s Journal is a place to find the inside stuff about the commercial aviation world.” Surely, and coincidently, the header image is a reflection of the present state of the Boeing 787 program: Adding unnecessary, and dangerous drag on a program that is struggling to climb out into the green.
There are many who have an eye for detail, and when they spot the Vice President for Marketing lacking that, it doesn’t speak much (or does it?). Especially an oversight from a man who once was a flight test engineer.
Boeing is a good company run by some of the best professionals, producing some of the most innovative and trend-setting products, but I sincerely hope Boeing starts paying more attention to detail in whatever it does, big or small.
Indigo Airlines’s President & Executive Director, Aditya Ghosh, interviewed at NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2013, had to say a lot on what he thought of the airline business. I believe that every pilot should read excerpts of what I believe are important, to understand that there may be a boom, but there may be a slump as well, if an airline is not well run.
What is it that Indigo saw?
“In most businesses, what tends to happen is that as businesses become bigger, and as the industry matures, the tendency is to move away from the basics. And we tend to kind of forget what the customer really needs, versus what are all the things the customer really wants.”
But the customer wants to be treated in a glamorous manner
“Customers want a lot of things, the only problem is that they don’t want to pay for it. This issue really is, how do you figure out what the customer needs, what the customer is willing to pay for, and can you do that over and over again really well?”
“Nothing uniquely different about Indigo except the consistency”
On Investment in Technology
“As a low cost airline and as a business that is so focussed on cost, it doesn’t come naturally to go make big investments, because the tendency is to go save cost, in a lot of little places. But the problem with penny pinching is you’re pound foolish, and for us, from day one, because we had the advantage of knowing we’ll get a 100-150 planes, we invested upfront for anything that was scalable, but had a good impact on productivity.”
India’s Southwest Airlines
“It’s a disservice to Southwest. Southwest is an amazing airline, an absolute legend. They’ve been around for 40 years and been successful.”
What is the matter with Indian Aviation?
“Ego comes in the way of wisdom, and people forget that cost is a big driver, and we lose focus of ourselves. We must look within”
Is the problem with the regulations?
“The problem without (external to the airline) is everywhere. A large part of the problem is within, because, many of the businesses don’t run them as businesses.”
Why are there so few airlines in India?
“It doesn’t matter how many airlines there are. There have to be more airplanes. If you have 50 airlines with 1 aircraft each, it’s still 50 aircraft. But if you have 6-7 good, sustainable airlines with a 100 aircraft each, this could be a really, really different industry. Absolutely, there should be more competition.”
Airline Market Outlook
“I think it (outlook on the aviation sector) is going to be better than the last couple of years, lot of demand, not enough supply, huge opportunity for the (airline) businesses to grow. But I think obviously…I’m quite certain that the big growth and the big success stories will happen on the low cost segment”
Consumer Point of View
“(Prices) should absolutely come down. For that, we will need airlines to do their thing, but we will also need the government to do its thing. The ultimate cost of travel for the traveller must come down. That is the only way this industry will grow.”
Sushank Gupta, the very driven and highly motivated commercial pilot who loves the Airbus A320, has been doing an excellent job by covering the A320’s systems. This is no small feat; with close to 1,000 questions to be answered, Project Airbus Tech (PAT) is comprehensive, and the biggest such project in India.
As of today (Feb 16th), PAT covers the Airbus A320’s Chapters 21, 23 and 24: Air-conditioning Pressurization & ventilation; Communication Systems; and Electrical Systems.
We are pleased to see the support of many well known pilots in the community extending a helping hand; we will appreciate if you too can contribute!
The aura surrounding Aero India 2013 is: lacklustre, as rightly predicted on this site. This year’s edition of the airshow lacks the punch and glamour that was associated with Aero India 2011.
The Boeing 787’s hopefully temporary grounding was reason for media personnel to throng the Boeing stall. And quiz Dinesh Keshkar. Boeing made its mistake of endeavouring on a project that pushed the application of technologies to a scale unseen before, AND offshoring the development work. Boeing employees back in the US are laughing at the management’s poor decision that now costs them a lot, lot more than what they thought would cost by keeping the development in the United States. As airplanes get complex, testing lacks the comprehensiveness in the light of existing and sometimes archaic regulations. This leads to what we’ve all witnessed with the Boeing 787.
The apron somehow seemed empty. The Airbus A330MRTT that was expected, didn’t show up on day one. There was no sign of the Russian Knights at the airbase. Bombardier’s press statement of having the Challenger 605 and the Global 6000 seems a promise unkept, atleast on day one of the show.
Embrarer was represented by its Lineage 1000, Phenom 100, and the EMB135BJ (Business jet variant of the Embracer 135). Cessna surprisingly was present at the show, with its VLJ Cessna Mustang. Parked right next to it was its class competitor, the Pilatus PC-12NG flying for Jindal. Hawker Beechcraft was represented by one Kingair somewhere far down the ramp, almost out of visual range. The IAF’s new Pilatus PC-7 MkII was seen on static display in gaudy colors.
Dassault parked a Rafale in the exhibition area, for everyone to come up close and get a glimpse of the aircraft in Armée de l’Air markings. Dassualt also brought a Falcon 900EX, a Falcon 2000LX, and a Falcon 7X to the show, making it the single largest exhibitor this time. The surety of the US$10B MMRCA deal being closed is reason enough.
The C-17 Globemaster was parked beside the KC-135 tanker.
An unexpected visitor: the Long EZ was present on static display.
On the flying side, Rafales, and F-16s were parked. The Flying Bulls performed wonderfully, and was good talking to the formation lead, Radka.
The rest were planes from the Indian Air Force, that appeared more like fillers than anything else. A DO-228 from the Coast Guard, A MiG29, MiG21, Jaguar (with a Honeywell F125 engine parked right beside, symbolising the confirmation of Honeywell winning the Jaguar re-engine deal). A IAF C130J, Sukhoi 30MKI, Mirage 2000…all fillers.
A WWII restored Tiger Moth took to the skies.
Enter the stalls, and the cut in individual spending is visible, everywhere. Welcome to Aero India 2013: the anti-climax of 2011.
The Flying Engineer is pleased to announce the launch of Project Airbus Tech (PAT): a Project, for Airbus A320 flight crew, that serves to provide quick access to technical questions and answers on the Airbus A320.
Project Airbus Tech is a social cause in the aviation community, to make aviation safer, and information accessible, accurate, and easy to assimilate. It may be accessed anywhere, anytime: even when you, the pilot, are in the crew transport and wish to revise some technical details about your aircraft.
Significant efforts are taken to ensure that the information in PAT is sourced only from FCOMs, and the content verified and cross checked by experienced line A320 pilots. Of course, a project such as this is very demanding; Contributions, suggestions, and any help are always welcome.
To link to Project Airbus Tech, simply type the following link in your browser:
Load Alleviation Function is accomplished by deflecting spoilers 4&5, and the ailerons, on both wings.
Capt Saleem Zaheer, Chief Pilot – Flight Operations at Indigo Airlines, sent out a mail to all Indigo flight crew describing his flight experience of the first flight of the A320 equipped sharklet, VT-IFH. Capt Saleem, and his senior first officer, flew the aircraft on the DEL-MAA-CJB-DEL pattern (Delhi – Chennai – Coimbatore-Delhi).
In course of their flight, the flight crew noticed no difference between the handling qualities of the sharklet-equipped A320, and their fleet of non-sharklet equipped A320s. The crew however noted the movement of ailerons and outboard spoilers when flying through turbulence, which is in accordance with a design by Airbus known as the Load Alleviation Function (LAF). The higher bending loads experienced by an A320 wing equipped with Sharklets, especially under conditions of rapidly fluctuating lift (when flying through turbulence), need to be alleviated. To accomplish this, the outboard spoilers (Numbers 4 & 5 on both wings) and the wing ailerons are deflected in accordance with the fall or rise in life.
VT-IFI landed in Delhi yesterday, and is the second Sharklet equipped A320 to join Indigo’s fleet.
Below is a video of VT-IFI’s first flight ever, which was on the 25th of January, 2013, at Hamburg, Germany.
A Jet Blast Shield, installed at Queenstown Airport, NZ. Image taken from Blastwall.
A common practice at India is the misunderstanding of technical specifications. This leads to field failures. Further effort is spent into a turtle-paced probe of the failure, and till the probe is completed, inconveniences are caused; the inconveniences leading to losses, and the losses finally blamed upon the manufacturer whose specifications were misunderstood.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (ICAO: VABB, IATA: BOM) has two physical runways, one running east-west (09-27), and the other one running north-west-south-east (32-14). The east end of 09-27 is very close to a road, and the Jhari Mari slum. The proximity to the road and slum poses a safety issue, when airplanes open power for takeoff.
The jet blast, from aircraft jet engines, have been demonstrated to cause significant damage to proximate objects, such as cars, and houses. (view the video towards the end of this article) The problem is amplified in larger, and heavier airplanes, that require a significantly greater amount of takeoff thrust.
For example, on an Airbus A320 (180 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 78 tonnes), with the CFM 56 Engines, exhaust velocities of upto 144km/h may be recorded at 500ft behind the aircraft. On an Airbus A330 (typically 335 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 235 tonnes), with the GE CF6-80E1 engines, exhaust velocities of upto 169km/h may be recorded at 500ft behind the aircraft. On an Airbus A380 (typically 525 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 560 tonnes), with the GP 7200 Engines, exhaust velocities of upto 169km/h may be recorded upto 720ft behind the aircraft. The A380, unlike the previous examples, has four engines, pushing a larger mass of air, and causing more potential damage.
Engine Exhaust Velocities at takeoff, Airbus A380 with Trent 900 Engines
According to the Beaufort Scale of wind speeds, wind speeds in excess of 119 km/h cause “Severe structural damage to buildings".
At Mumbai airport, when aircraft line up on runway 27 (easterly end) for a departure (takeoff), the closest approximate distance between the aircraft and a sufficiently busy road named “Magan Nathuram" is 500ft. With all sorts of vehicles: cars and tall, loaded trucks plying on the road, the risk of a jet blast’s direct and indirect damage to vehicles, and the adjacent slums, is very high, every time an aircraft takes off.
The Jet Blast shield located near the threshold of Runway 27. The visible gap in the centre is the portion that was jet-blasted away in 2012.
This necessitates a Jet Blast shield: a well designed barrier between the aircraft and the road. In 2011, a new Jet blast barrier from Blastwall, a Canadian firm, was installed. A year later, in the July of 2012, the shield gave way when a cargo plane tookoff. Along with the shield, the ILS Localizer array, located right behind the shield and responsible for Runway 09 operations, was damaged.
The Times of India brought out an article on this damaged shield, which may be read HERE.
Since the July of 2012, the jet blast shield has been left damaged. Satellite images show the central section of the Jet Blast shield missing. The risk of a jet blast affecting civilians outside the airport perimeter has forced Mumbai airport to shut a part of taxiway “N1", with the NOTAM A0900/12 stating: “PORTION OF TWY ‘N1’ EAST OF TWY ‘N3’ NOT AVBL FOR OPS". While the ILS has been repaired, the Jet blast shield hasn’t and as such, aircraft can line up on Runway 27 only via taxiway N3, displacing the take off point almost 1000ft ahead: a requirement to prevent Jet Blasting the locals away.
Interestingly, Blastwall has installed their shields at Toronto Pearson International Airport, and at Queenstown Airport. At Both airports, the installed jet blast shield is located greater than 530ft behind the estimated closest aircraft line up position. At Mumbai, the shield is located only about 400ft behind, subjecting it to greater stresses.
A statement from Peter Roston, President of Blastwall Ltd:
“We have provided frangible fibreglass blast walls to airports all over the world since 1998 and have never had a failure including here in Mumbai. Our specifications are clearly outlined on our web site and in fact were quoted in the purchase order we received for this wall originally. Unfortunately someone misunderstood the limitations as expressed on our site. As a result, once placed in operation, the wall was overstressed almost 100% from the specifications. Being frangible, it did as required and collapsed. In fact the wall performed exactly as designed. Both the president of our engineering company and myself flew to Mumbai to discuss the collapse , review the misunderstanding, and determine a path to correct this problem for the future. We suggested a drastically reinforced model. Eventually, after review of our specifications by the purchaser’s own engineers, this was approved and purchased. It was shipped some time ago and is at the site awaiting installation."
The very fact that a new, reinforced jet blast shield was purchased is proof that the company was not held liable for a defective product. Peter agreed with the Flying Engineer’s view, stating, “There are only really two solutions: 1- build a stronger wall to contain a higher velocity and/or 2- move the aircraft further from the wall."
The most frequently used runway for operations, 09-27, is 11,312ft long. A fully laden Boeing 747-400ER Freighter, at 412 Tonnes, requires around 11,000ft of runway to take off at sea level, at 32°C. With almost 1,000ft knocked off, the smaller available take off distance when departing from runway 27 (westerly direction), lowers the permissible takeoff weight of the 747-400ER by 10 tonnes.
NOTAM A0900/12 is still in effect, and this introduces a payload penalty for long haul operations of large aircraft.
To better appreciate what a Jetblast can do to a vehicle, watch this 50 second video, involving anAirbus A319 (Upto 75.5 Tonnes Maximum Take Off Weight, 156 Pasengers maximum seating capacity, 2 CFM 56-5 Engines producing a max thrust of around 12,000 kg force each):