Most Americans are familiar with Air Force One. It’s the big jet that the President uses for all his air travel. Many folks probably don’t give it much thought, preferring perhaps to focus on where the President is going and what he will be doing rather than the aircraft itself.
Air Force One, however, has a storied history and many interesting facts. Many of these points of interest were recently discussed in a Robb Report article. Here are a few of them:
Is there only one Air Force One?
At the present, two aircraft serve as Air Force One. Each one is a Boeing VC-25. In fact, Air Force One is a call-sign, not an aircraft. Any well-maintained aircraft can serve as Air Force One.
To read the full blog and learn more interesting facts about Air Force One, please visit my website: ScottBealeAviation.com
The rising energy consumption in the world today has countless negative implications for tomorrow’s generation. It’s a challenge for almost every industry to cut energy usage. The aviation industry is one of these industries. Luckily, steps are being taken to increase flight fuel efficiency through design and engineering.
One of the concepts developed by aeronautical engineers is called the geared turbofan engine which is a fan-drive gear system engine. This piece of engineering marvel was designed a decade ago and has been installed in smaller, private jets. Some jet owners have observed as much as 15 percent less fuel consumed. And bigger geared turbofan engines for commercial airliners and freight planes are being developed and could be in the market within the next five years.
Even changing the materials used in creating aircraft components can help save fuel. Engineers have seen the effects of using composite ceramics in creating hotter combustion, which in turn leads to more fuel saved. Composite ceramics have a higher melting point and are as dependable as traditional alloys.
Composite ceramics can reduce the weight of engines by 30 percent. It can also bring down fuel usage as well.
Scott Beale is a seasoned aviation professional. For more discussion on the aviation industry, visit this blog.
In aviation history, there are plenty of near-misses where the pilots did the right thing and were praised for their heroic deeds. Here are some names and stories that deserve a look back.
On June 24, 1982, a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Auckland was passing over Jakarta, Indonesia, when it encountered volcanic ash from Mount Galunggung’s eruption, leading to failure of all four engines. The captain, Eric Moody, reassured passengers and calculated how far the plane might successfully glide before reaching sea level. The engines successfully restarted at about 13,500 feet.
Miracle on the Hudson
Chesley Sullenberger III was at the helm of US Airways Flight 1549 when it managed to land safely on the Hudson River after the aircraft was disabled by a flock of Canada geese. He told a publication that his only training for a water landing was going through a few paragraphs in a manual along with a brief classroom discussion.
British Airways Flight 5390
A badly fitted windscreen panel failed and sucked the captain, Tim Lancaster, halfway out of the cockpit on board a flight to Malaga with 81 passengers back in June 1990. His legs remained inside and tightly gripped by flight attendants, while co-pilot Alastair Atchison made an emergency descent amid an inability to hear air traffic control due to rushing air. The pilot landed safely in Southampton and was treated for a broken arm, frostbite, and shock.
Saving a superjumbo
Richard Champion de Crespigny, the captain of a Qantas flight on November 4, 2010, saw engine number 2 exploding over Indonesia, ruining a wing and causing a fuel tank fire. It forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Singapore, where miraculously no one was hurt except for four tires that blew during landing.
Scott Beale has been working in the aviation industry for more than 20 years, successfully growing businesses, both of which he acquired and founded. Read more about his professional experience on this site.
Thanks to advances in technology and new regulations, flying is safer than it has ever been. Numbers show that last year was the safest year for commercial passenger air-travel in recorded history, even though more flights are being taken now more than ever before.
More than 8 million people travel via plane each day. While most people are familiar with the concept of flying, there are several facts associated with this modern method of transportation that often go unnoticed.
1. Flight Attendants Are Paid Only When the Plane Is Moving
While different airlines have their own policy, most only pay their flight attendants when the plane is moving. If it takes an hour for all passengers to board, that’s an hour of unpaid time for the flight attendants. They are generally only paid when the plane is taking off, flying or landing. As a result, many flight attendants complain about flight delays or other issues preventing the plane from moving.
2. Flying Causes Dehydration
Many air travelers feel thirsty upon boarding a plane because of the cabin’s low humidity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average humidity inside a plane’s cabin is less than 20 percent. To put that number into perspective, most homes have a humidity level of 30 percent to 50 percent. With less moisture vapor in the air, passengers often experience the effects of mild dehydration, including dry mouth, fatigue and itchy skin.
3. All Planes Have Ashtrays But Smoking Is Prohibited
It may sound contradictory, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all flights in and out of the United States to have an ashtray in the lavatory even though smoking is prohibited. CNN explains that ashtrays provide a safe way for passengers to extinguish their cigarette if they decide to light up even if smoking is prohibited.
If you’ve read my first two blogs on airline jargon, you now know twenty new terms! This is my last segment for the airline glossary, provided nine more words, to make you an expert the next time you travel through an airport. Thanks to Patrick Smith, and his book the Cockpit Confidential, here are the last few terms in this series.
LAST MINUTE PAPERWORK If you’ve ever been on a flight that seemed to have taken forever to leave the terminal, you were probably waiting on “last minute paperwork.” This is typically for a revision to the flight plan or waiting on the maintenance team to get the logbook in order.
NONSTOP In the first of this series, we discussed what was a direct flight. Go back and re-read that definition. A nonstop flight is a flight that does not have any stops between take-off and landing at your destination.
THE OFF-POSITION When the flight attendants are asking you to put your electronics in the “off-position,” they are simply just telling you to turn it off.