The Future of Personal Commuter Flights

767_topshot_375.jpg Smaller commuter flights, less air-traffic, less congestion at airports, less expense, this is the trend in business travel. Thousands of smaller airports and smaller airstrips will pop up around the country for what is being called an airway taxi service by Donald Burr, president and CEO of Pogo Jet. MSNBC news touts affordable, personal jets as the trend. Commercialized skies could conceivably become a big problem for the FAA.

In an older post dating back to September, 2005, by SiliconBeat, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are said to have purchased the use of a Boeing 767 as their personal jet at a rate of $7,000 an hour. Unfortunately, little information on the jet’s use and interior design is available in an ordinary Google search. It’s interesting, however, to ponder what Brin, an avid environmentalist, has in mind for the future of personal air travel. It’s equally interesting to wonder what our skies might look like five, 10, and 20 years from now as more commuters take to the skies for personal and business purposes. Obviously not everyone will buy a Boeing 767. It’s more likely that the skies will end up looking like rush hour traffic in and out of LAX.  


USAF F-22A Canopy Traps Pilot for Five Hours

canopy3.jpgIt appears as though the US Air Force has two options available to them when the canopy of an F-22A traps its pilot inside. When this happens, the USAF opts for the safest and cheapest rescue as shown here. They cut the canopy with a chainsaw. In this case, the pilot was saved after being trapped inside for five hours. 

The photo at left is part of POGO, a Project On Government Oversight, coverage of what POGO claims is a PowerPoint briefing obtained from the USAF, April 10th, 2006. The presentation is not available online, nor is it clear whether this is training footage or an actual event. In either case, it is clear that jammed canopies can be costly.

This rescue is reported to have cost the Air Force $182,205. One reader comments that the other option would have been to eject the pilot. But even though the F-22A’s seat is designed for zero altitude and zero airspeed ejections, it is more expensive and dangerous to rescue the pilot that way.   

Real-Time Airplane Accident Map and Reports

800px-USA-satellite.jpgView real-time map of the US showing actual airplane accidents and incidents. Click on a specific location to get date, time, injury, and damage report information along with links to Google satellite imagery of the site location and links to aircraft pictures. 

In addition to detailed accident and incident reports, there are real-time updates of actual seismic activity, wildfires, and storms. Click on a storm icon for NOAA information and descriptions.

New Line of General Aviation Headsets

Telex_0061_Stratus30XT.jpg"The pilot’s headset is their connection to the world," says Steve Parker, product manager for Telex Communications. In a new line of general aviation headsets released this month, Telex improves on earlier Stratus and Echelon headsets for increased noise reduction, communication clarity, power management, and comfort.

The Stratus 50 digital headset features 50 decibels of active noise reduction (ANR), upgraded microphone and speaker technology, and improved ear cushions and cups.

The Stratus 30XT features 30 decibels of ANR, a microprocessor-power-management system for 50 hours of battery life, a built-in battery recharger that can be charged in the cockpit, at home or in the car, a cellphone/MP3 adapter, and customizable fit.

First Ever Photo of Airbus A380 Interior

0957790.jpgSkyGeek thanks Andrew Hunt for this photo of the most advanced cockpit in the world. Compare this photo with computer imagery used in an earlier post on the Airbus A380.

In our earlier post of the new flight deck, video shows the making of the new aircraft, but interior imagery was limited. The photo at right really captures what it might be like to pilot this amazing flight deck.


Satellite Sleuths Trace Helicopter Crash

helicopteri.jpgSatellite imagery from Google Earth captures helicopter in a Mostoles, Spain, bullring before its non-fatal crash. Google Earth Blog reports say that Spanish opposition leader Mariano Rajoy was aboard the helicopter when it crashed minutes after leaving the bullring.

Video cameras watched as the helicopter went down just outside the stadium. CNN covered the breaking news.

A Google Earth satellite image searcher stumbled across what he noticed could be the December, 1, 2005, helicopter crash just before it happened. Frank McVey helped determine the photos date stamp, and authenticity.


Airplane Accident Report Database

sm_seal.gif The National Transportation and Safety Board maintains an online database of airplane accident files. The database of reports contains information for the United States and its territories starting with 1962.

Preliminary reports are usually available within days of an accident. Factual information is updated as investigations continue. General instructions for using the interactive searches are available from the Web site. Also available are monthly lists of investigations and completed investigations.

A sample search by place name and date range located 18 accident and incident reports in PDF format. The reports are concise, easy to understand, and comprehensive.

President’s Marine One Mobile Oval Office

marineone_485.jpg Marine One receives a 6.1 billion dollar makeover (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin). It’s popular news in the Aviation and Space section of Popular Science online. A new fleet of 23 VH-71 aircraft will replace the outdated fleet of Marine One aircraft between 2009 and 2014.

The new design will give the President and his staff twice as much cabin space for their mobile Oval Office. The interior of this 110-million dollar bird must be nice. Some of the main features will include its spacious 8 foot wide by 25 foot long cabin, a lavatory, a galley kitchen, and fold-down stair spares for Presidential photo opps.


Real-Time Radar for Your PC

bthumb2.gifAviation enthusiasts can track the skies on their home computer. It’s as simple as connecting the SBS-1 virtual radar antenna to a computer using a USB port. Install the BaseStation software for an on-screen virtual radar display, and enjoy the vector scope display and more.

The SBS-1 antenna and BaseStation software are innovative products made by Kinetic Avionics in London, UK. With their small antenna and software, you can identify aircraft by callsign, altitude, speed, and whatever else is being transmitted at that time.

A forum to serve the Basestation/SBS-1 community is available to answer frequently asked questions and to provide useful tips for operation.

Airbus A380 Advanced Cockpit Is Ready for Lift Off

a380_chart170.jpgThe Airbus A380 cockpit is the world’s Most Advanced Flight Deck: designed to make flying easier. Digital information and instrumentation is displayed on a larger, improved primary flight display. The advanced navigation display system graphically updates and displays pilots’ waypoints. And the pilot enjoys improved elevation views for better terrain navigation. The very impressive head-up display includes an optional infrared view for taking off and landing through darkness and fog. A state-of-the-art onboard information system displays maps, manuals and runway diagrams. See the Airbus being built to change lives 500 passengers at a time.