I’ve never actually liked flying much… oh they can gloss it up all they like, but if you have to sit in Cattle Class for more than 5hrs…(especially after the consumer, security and over priced hell they call the airport) the joy, or, in some people’s cases fear – soon ebb away to discomfort and boredom (or should I simply say they’re stomped into oblivion).
For me I guess it’s probably because I’m not driving it, giving over supreme trust to the men or women at the front to do their job to extreme excellence every single time they do it. Unlike the pilots who flew that Airbus into the Atlantic a couple of years back!
But way back when, I watched a documentary around the design and extreme testing of the then all new Boeing 777…
From the outset they were designing failure and known crash causes out of it. Not just a little, but totally.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of sitting in the cockpit of a Saudi Arabian Airlines 777 as we travelled over the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus, Syria/Jordan and on to Riyadh. At 44,000 ft these guys office is another existence all together! And I spent a few hours talking with and listening to the pilot, a former fast jet instructor, tell me about his passion for the 777.
To date, only one has ever really crashed. This, as many will know, was due to near impossible set circumstances to recreate – and no one died… This issue has now been completely designed out of all of the 777 systems and engines – thus making the 777 the most reliable and safest passenger aircraft ever made.
Today as an engineer at heart, as a passenger I ride on 777’s and marvel at the concept, the amazing complexity and power from engines with the metal fans blades that are actually grown molecule by molecule and how the fly by wire systems fly the aircraft better than any human could.
I note the smoothness to which a pilot levels off a climb, or responds to cross winds as we are on approach… and wonder if the person sitting next to me truly believes they actually have normal eating habits. Nowhere will you find more confident pilots and crew than on a 777.
Courtesy of Boeing here is a video of the people and the passion who make this frankly amazing aircraft.
And finally, just a few days ago the 1000th 777 rolled out of the Everett Hanger….
So why then have Boeing refused me downloads from their Hi-Res image library…
Oh yeah, 10,000 Boeing related hits on this blog last month just can’t be enough! The irony? Quite a few hits every month come from Boeing themselves!! Lets hope their over sized heads wont get in the way of building great aircraft!! ;-)
Yup, in the ever expanding global competitiveness of new aircraft, Boeing has had a few things to shout about regarding the new 787 Dreamliner.
In fact : Jonathan Gaffney, president and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association, presented Boeing with two certificates confirming the official status of the two world records earned by the 787 in 2011.
The airplane earned records for completing the longest flight for an airplane in its weight class with a 10,336 nmi (19,142 km) flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh. This record had previously been held by the Airbus A330 with a 9,126 nmi (16,901 km) flight in 2002.
I’d say the extra 1210 nautical miles pretty much smashes it :-)
Also in the last few days, Boeing delivered its first VIP format 747-8 to an undisclosed customer.. The VIP product line is of course in the “Private Jet” class and all I can add is “Wow!!”
However, it’s reasonably well documented that a well known Russian billionaire has actually ordered an Airbus A380 for a staggering sum of money – but I gotta ask; “what the hell do you do with all that space?”
Of course, regular readers will have noted that just before New Year I spent a little time in Roswell, New Mexico. Now, with all the usual fun tourist stuff going on, I forgot to go the former Walker Air Force Base just to the south of Roswell. Of course this base was significant in the Roswell legend and while buying up t-shirts as proof of my visit, I simply forgot. You see while the former Walker AFB is now a parking site for many airliners, it’s also a place Boeing carries out many of its tests on new aircraft, especially regarding the 777 and 787. Obviously Christmas week wasn’t the ideal time to catch anything cool going on, but nevertheless, I think i’d have liked to stop by.
I’ll finish this aviation post with news that if you wish to get a look at the 787, it’s actually on tour and details can be found HERE
This week I was nearly tempted to write a political reality post. A no holds barred wake up to reality about the BS that goes on here in the UK… However, as a lead on from my last post – look over there =====>>>> the shop is up running and ready!! Now I know my humour often has to be toned down considerably – but it transpires many of you like my often rude or quirky sayings… especially the word “Bollocks” and the interest in the mug area is quite interesting :) At this rate I’ll have to start a “Bollocks” store on it’s own. I’m still tweaking it, so keep and eye on it. Oh and if there’s something I’ve missed or simply does notwork – please let me know.
This week also has had me glancing at YouTube and as ever the Vlogs of Mr and Mrs Le Croix do put a smile on my face… here is a flavour of their fun and the following vid is about them.
Also the latest Boeing offering in Apache Helicopters is the AH64-D BlockIII and in true Boeing style they did one of their time-lapse high-speed videos of the first one being made. Great you would think, but you soon realise that a lot of tech goes into these things.
A strange thing happened the other day, it’s strange because I suddenly remember old tunes I used to play and had forgotten – only to remember, grab the guitar and not quite remember all the parts. In this case it was Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”. For the most part it must have sounded like I was trying to slaughter cats with a toothbrush – such was the disturbing noise I suddenly seemed to be creating. So with that, I will go and try to remember HTML and leave you with the real version and the late yet awesome Randy Rhoads doing it properly.
Yes, it’s this time of year again and strangely, while I dug up the old Christmas logo, I obviously forgot to update the theme with the modern logo style due to the fact I no longer have a working copy of Adobe Creative Suite or better still – Master Suite. This is a shame in itself due to the fact I was to animate the TWBrit logos soon.
This year I’ve been troubled about my wants and wishes… As ever, they’re all crazy, but I thought I would avoid things that require pretence – so membership of Whites Club has been removed. Nevertheless, the taste of all the things I cannot afford grows and lets be honest – is it not that if we refuse to dream, we’ll never make our tomorrow better? This year I will also ply a degree of reasoning with the items on the list. This does not mean there will be logic in that reasoning as in some cases it might come down phrases like “want one” or “me-some” ;-)
Also some things on my list last year I actually got :-) and some things this year maybe left over from last year.
So here it is, the crazy and often regarded insane:
The 2011 Christmas List
I know, I’ve put it here before, heck Gabsatrucker even made me one once. But Battenberg is a guys cake… It may look pink and yellow, be wayyyy too sweet – but it is the mass production and yet basic engineering concept that makes this baby a geometric marvel that most guys like – me some
Life Time Supply of Coffee
Because last time I did get coffee, but I’m still alive and I’ve run out ;)
A Knighthood: for services to Britishness, Commonsense and because I’m apparently Legendary :-)
Personalized TWBrit Guitar Picks
Not that I can decide which way to do the artwork as you can see….
:) Toller, Shaker, Blood and Black :)
Heavy Duty Footwear = CAT & Dehner
I have no problem with wearing pretty much nothing else than Caterpillar Colorado Boots all the time… Supreme comfort, durability and never a bad smell. I have also been on the look out for a long field boot for ages and without spending thousands, the only one that seems to be tough enough and still to be reasonable are Dehner Boots… the actual benefit of Dehners’ is that while it may look like you’re gonna get your head kicked in by them – it allows me to wade through your sticky, lard like entrails afterwards. This, (if you are unsure) is a good thing! ;-)
Tech… did you think I had forgotten?? Here they are, the crazy tech items I actually need…
Then 2 x XPS 15z with i7 cpu’s
Marshall Hand Wired amp and speaker stack.
Motion Computing J3500
A Matrox M9188 16 port Graphic Card with Touch…
Adobe Master Edition
I have come to use Adobe software a lot on here and with other work. I used to have the CS2 edition but lost the disc a long time ago. And have been using Trial versions ever since… the trials have expired :( But the reason I love this software is simply the fact you’re limited only by a few things; Imagination! Knowledge of how to use it fully and Cost. Here is the ad vid to the previous version; everything you see here, the detail in the designs, animations and the music was all done with it.
Because it’s Battlefield 3 and I can’t run Battlefield 2 anymore :( Just for fun, here is the Play Symphony playing the theme music :-)
Amberley Court was on last years list… If this house was a few miles east and not on the side of a hill… it would possibly be the best possible house in the world to me. It came up for sale on the Knight Frank website and I have literally spent weeks pawing over the plans and redesigning the Master Bedroom suite, removing the garden and building a huge basement that covers several floors and includes a way out to the pool house and an extensive subterranean garage, not to mention all manner of other things. The general layout is just astounding!! Sadly it was taken off the market… But still, what a house!!
Free advanced Adobe Training
Private Boeing 787
Yes, yes, I know…. And yes that is a car in the hold. And why? Because it’s the ultimate freedom, and because it’s so wrong and well, I want one :D
But as I did not win the Euro millions Lottery to the tune of £146m ($227,716,200) a few months ago and would have bought a new 737 BBJ (or 2nd hand 777) to whiz myself and my friends about in – I decided to set my fictional goals just that bit higher ;-)
As EVERY year… a Taylor K22ce
As an interlude, I also have a question or two… Person posing as my former neighbour of sorts, who are you and what have you done with my razor-sharp witted, night driving, sledge-hammer owning, house bashing, hard-assed off roading buddy KMA? ;)
It has been a strange year, and I have to say there are several people I miss on the old twitterscape and blogasphere. I guess most don’t know who they are – but from Dave, Annie, Joanne, WKD, Al, and so many others… you’re missed.
Right – back to it…
Again…. The Land Rover 110 CSW… 2.5 TDi and fully equipped if poss ;-)
The Wacom Cintiq 24HD
Actually, I would use this every day!! Top tool for doing a top job :-)
A Desktop Solution with a 28 or 30 LED primary screen solution with 2 x22 screen and 6 x 7 touch screens. Sadly the NEC/Alienware 48 inch curved screen is no longer available.
Another Guitar : Gibson Les Paul Dark Fire.
This thing just takes guitar tech to a new level :-)
Gibson still make the Dark Fire, but you need to order it via dealer.
A Made By Bob hoody in navy blue with white writing, size XXL
Still want an Accuracy International .338
British Airways – Free bump to business class on every flight I take…. And free trip to Toronto before Christmas please (rtn January) ;-)
Theakston’s Old Peculier by the barrel, not the bottle
Whoever you are, where ever you are…. Please, have a great Christmas, drive safely and be safe. For my friends of other religions – know that the spirit and good will of this time extends to you also.
But NOT if you’re a kiddy fiddling priest!!
Regular readers will be thankful of the following image as I’m now too late to purchase these confectionary gifts for you – and yes, this is for real.., as you can see HERE. I know Hammy will be exceptionally disappointed ;)
Way back in the mid 1960’s, in fact a year before I was born, some chaps sat down and came up with the idea, then plan, for a short to medium haul jetliner… The original idea at Boeing was actually back in 1958 as they wanted to compete with aircraft like the DC9 and BAC 111. Back then, things were Spartan compared to these days, but for the most part they designed one of the greatest success stories in Aviation history.
Sure, most are still flying, and some dodgy outfits might be running some first generation ones well past the sell by date on the airframes (hence a few of the older ones make the news sadly every now and then), but this aircraft has been constantly updated, redesigned, they’ve even now fitted the 777 glass cockpit to it…
I am of course talking about the most widely sold, ordered, biggest selling civilian commercial aircraft of all time The Boeing 737… And yes, for somewhere between $30 – $40 million you to can enjoy your very own private one – in the form of the BBJ (Boeing Business Jet).
This month, in fact last week and even now sees the 7000th 737 on the production line…
Seriously, I don’t think you can beat that.
Well done Boeing!!
The Picture above is from Boeing’s Flickr and can been seen HERE
I actually forgot to write this post completely…
Apologies for this lateness, but on the 16th of August Boeing announce the flight tests of the 787 Dreamliner have all been completed and passed!!
The 787, just like the 777 has been tested beyond the most extreme limits. It is an astounding comfort to know that the original concept of the design and test of the 777 was to design failure and crashability out of the aircraft. In fact only one major incident has ever occurred in 17 years of flight and that had absolutely nothing to do with the aircraft design, furthermore – other than a broken leg – no major injuries were sustained!
Now the 787, an aircraft designed and built with composites, something that hasn’t really been done much in the civilian industry – the tests had to be toughened and be as throughly robust for every situation, and of course, new tests developed to exceed limits well beyond the normal operation of the aircraft…
Well done Boeing
For those in the private personal aviation market, or anyone dreaming of now not buying the 737 Boeing Business Jet but opting for and 787 VIP instead… Sadly you won’t get much or any change for three times the BBJ’s value!! and frankly, the 777 VIP is simply cavernous inside ;-)
That said, the 787 VIP is pretty amazing though, especially if you’re having Lufthansa fit out the interior…
Since I’ve been up I’ve been scouring the Boeing website and was hoping for live footage of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner First Flight.
Yes, today, finally after years of hard work, design, build – rebuild, redesign – the 787 took to the air infront of thousands of Boeing staff, engineers, general public, well wishers and half the worlds media.
The 787 is now officially a reality – well done and congrats to Boeing and good luck to all those who’ll be building this aircraft at the all new Charlston factory.
Maybe, just maybe… Boeing should have been the designers of the A400M – or at least a whole new concept!!
The relief comes in the face that Boeing’s stock is recovering and with news coming through of preparations for the 787 Dreamliner’s First Flight Boeings stock hit a 12 month high at $55.95!
After so many delays, primarily as this is the first time an airliner has been built this way, company officials promised the 787’s First Flight by the years end.
But the Boeing share price still has a long way to go to recover fully because back in 2007 when they first rolled out the 787, the company’s stock exceed $107…
The company’s Dreamliner could take to the skies as early as next week. Over the past week, aviation writers and enthusiasts have peppered the Web with possible first flight dates: Dec. 14, 15, 18, 19 and 22.
Meanwhile, production of the 787 is continuing with the first airline test aircraft starting to role off the production line.
Right now the 5th (yes the 5th) Boeing 787 Dreamliner is all but complete and ready to fly – or is it?!
There have been two overriding issues with the 787 in recent months, first the weight…
The weight is exceeding the basic remit for the aircraft considerably. So much so, instead of being able to achieve in excess of 8000 nautical miles, it would be lucky to achieve 6500 at it’s present weight. So, the engineers are really going back over the aircraft and find places to safely remove the excess weight.
The next issue is a technical one;
In a nutshell, the technical issue forcing the postponement of First Flight has to do with the two huge composite sections used as attach points for the wings on the 787. The first, the Wing Box, is manufactured by Mitsubishi and the second, the Centre Wing Box, is manufactured by Fuji.
These parts are joined together to provide a secure mounting structure for the wings, which are affixed to the assemblies at points on each side of the fuselage. Reinforcing stringers provide additional strength for the structures. The stringers are integrated into the composite material, which is then cured in an autoclave.
Unfortunately, the areas of the two assemblies where the reinforcing stringers meet, called stringer caps, sustained damage when the wings were flexed in a test conducted in May. This in turn caused some small sections of the wing structure itself to disbond.
Frankly, while economics might not be in favour of more delays, I’m quite happy (while not a purchaser) to wait for them to get it right and look forward to the First Flight date and subsequent extreme testing to prove this new kite as sound.
It’s true, which is of course that I one day wake up and find myself very wealthy.
You see, there is a pleasure that only the very wealthy can afford, you know, those who probably make 100 million a year in interest alone.
It’s to own my own BBJ and that my friends is a Boeing Business Jet. Well while that department are called that, the aircraft can be anything thing you want them to be.
The original BBJ is the Boeing 737, and while it is priced very competitively against far smaller aircraft, in the region of $50m – it’s not really a super long range cruiser. Also the 737 is up for redesign, so what’s left?
Well the 787 Dreamliner isn’t quite ready, so this leaves us with two – the 777 and the 747.
Now personally, I think the 747 is a little excessive, even if I did have the money to burn, but as for the 777, well apart from the fact I like them a lot, it’s seems to be just about the right size – even If I do need to take the car along too.
But sadly, with the whole global warming thing, running a few staff, burning a lot of fuel and money on servicing etc – it’s a lot just to cart one person around.
Of course I’d have one, heck I’d go and get my wings so I could fly it myself!
I’d be a complete menace in it too.
The crazy part is, I’d really get a lot of use out if it!
Oddly, when you think of the 747, you’d probably think about Air Force One, but that’s a different thing all together – it’s more like a flying office block.
Of course, that other company (airbus) also makes them, but buying one is more a question of how long you want to live – if you’re in your 80s, then sure, buy an Airbus.
News is coming in fast an furious about the loss – or probable loss of an Air Fr*nce Airbus 330-200 with 228 people onboard.
The aircraft was last seen 186 miles north east of the Brazilian coastal city of Natal and was due to land at Paris 09:10 GMT (2hrs ago at the time of writing).
It really is no wonder that Air Fr*nce has taken to buying Boeing 777’s of late. Here is one at Boeings factory at Everett unveiling the new Air Fr*nce logo. After all, who on earth would want to fly Airbus?! and general opinion is that the new A380 will just be a better way of killing more people at the same time. Heck, on it’s first landing at Heathrow it cracked a wing spar.
Obviously, I’m not talking from a professional point of view, and we certainly have no idea what brought this particular A330 down with so much probable sad loss of life. But never the less, I just don’t trust Airbus’s and these days, I simply refuse to fly on them, but I will happily fly 777’s.
After all, the production of the A400M is simply turning into a farse. The A400M is the replacement for the C130 Hercules, and lets be honest here – not only is it needed, but with present military operations they’re needed yesterday! Already 5 years after the first order was placed, the A400M hasn’t even flown yet. They claim they might be able to deliver the first one sometime around 2012… Nice one, I doubt we’ll need them so much by then.
You don’t have to read too much of this blog to know that while I love traveling – not so much a fan of the flying part. However, there is one aircraft type I do trust and actually enjoy flying on – the Boeing 777. When we take a moment to compare the flight, systems, build quality and record of this aircraft you learn one or two fundamentally important facts; 1) this aircraft was designed and built by trying to crash and destroy it at every opportunity. 2) they don’t crash – unlike Airbus’s!!!
So, while I was shocked, it compared little to how shocked the entire aviation community were when one fell out of the sky while landing at Heathrow Airport in London.
Firstly, the aircraft fell nearly 125 feet and the cabin remained fully intact, then with the exception of one broken leg – everyone got up and walked out.
It didn’t take long for investigators to rule out the 777’s fly-by-wire computer systems – indeed, everything started to look like some sort of fuel issue.
Now lets put this into perspective, the entire industry has been waiting for the results of the investigation, an investigation that is being carried out in places all around the world.
So What happend?
BA038 had been descending gradually into Heathrow, the autopilot and the automatic throttle system controlling the aircraft.
The trouble started two miles out at 600 feet, as the plane was slowing down in its landing configuration.
At this point the engines would have required more power to keep the plane from sinking below the glideslope – an invisible three degree path down to the runway, generated by radio waves.
When the automatic throttle demanded more power, the engines initially responded. Then first the right engine, followed eight seconds later by the left, powered down – to a level below the thrust needed.
Warnings would have flashed up on engine monitoring screens in the centre of the control panel, showing the power was below that required.
A lower screen would have shown more detailed information about the flow of fuel around the aircraft. Other displays would show the likely speed and height the plane would achieve over the next minute.
Faced with the knowledge that a disaster was in the making, the crew had around 40 seconds to save their aircraft. It’s understood the captain Peter Burkill quickly reduced the amount of wing flaps deployed.
This was as important as the skilful manipulation of the control column by John Coward, in saving the aircraft. It cuts drag, speeds the plane up a little, and when a pilot has speed, he can maintain altitude.
The 150 tonne Boeing just cleared the busy A30, the airport perimeter fence, and a radio mast before crashing to the ground in a stall – where the plane can simply fly no longer.
There would have been further warnings in the cockpit, including the stick-shaker, where the controls vibrate to alert the pilots.
ICE in the fuel??!!!
Yep, thats right, according to THIS report by the AAIB over on the BBC website, this is indeed what they believe caused the problem.
Frankly, I’d wait and see what everyone else reports in too.
I’m not a fan of Airbus, I’m not a great lover of flying really – but it’s a necessity.
Airbus have this persistent knack of crashing stuff, I dunno, maybe it’s just a Fr**ch thing.(other than the A340 which appears to be almost as good as a 777).
The first time the A380 landed at Heathrow two years ago to test the airport out, almost ended in tears when one wing only just missed the ground, landing so hard it cracked some wing spar’s.
If you want safe air transport – look no further than the Boeing 777. The first and only incident happened at Heathrow a few months ago and it was the first in the aircrafts 13 year history… Now that is safe!
The 777 was designed from the outset to be un-crashable. They started with all known reasons for mechanical failure, designed them out then actually tried to crash the aircraft. This was a whole new approach to aircraft design and construction.
The incident at Heathrow looks at the moment not to be related to the actual aircraft i.e. contaminated fuel. But that 777 dropped over 100ft into the ground and while the damage was obvious – the fuselage never even got bent out of shape.
Here are a couple of videos of some of the tests carried out on the 777.
777 Maximum Load Rejected Takeoff – If this video does not play, you can watch it HERE in YouTube. Link willopen in a new window. The others should play fine.
Same test with a A340 which catches fire.
777 Wing load test to destruction (how to write-off a $270m aircraft)