Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 228,152
2013: 330,818

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Short Take: Fasteners in Boeing 787 Dreamliner Wings Require Re-Work

Boeing 787 Dreamliner wing inside the Boeing factory.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner wing inside the Boeing factory.

Jon Ostrower on his FlightBlogger site posted a story late last night on how thousands of improperly coated fasteners inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s wing need to be replaced to help protect against lightning strikes.

The FAA requires that all joints and fasteners not produce sparks around fuel after a lightening strike. Since the majority of the aircraft is made of composites, it is vunerable to arcing from one metal part to another. Boeing flies their test fleet of Boeing 787s with special anti-static additives. When the first Dreamliner, ZA001, was hit with lightening, it received no damage. 35 Boeing 787′s that have already been built which will require the re-work, which will take weeks per Dreamliner.

Check out Ostrower’s story for more information.

Two Airlines Have to Land at Washington’s Reagan Airport With No Tower Contact

Hello? Is anyone there?! (yea, I know this is not a shot of DCA, but let's pretend)

Hello? Is anyone there?! (yea, I know this is not a shot of DCA, but let's pretend)

Being able to talk to the tower when you want to land at a large airport, just miles away from the nation’s capital, is a good thing. Not being able to talk to traffic control when two airliners are trying to land is not.

Early Wednesday morning, a United Airlines and an American Airlines flight were unable to reach the control tower at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington DC. After the American flight aborted their landing and circled the airport, both landed while talking to a regional tower and announcing their actions to any other aircraft that might be in the area.

There was only one controller on duty and federal investigators are seeing if that controller might have fallen asleep. Since this happened between midnight and 1am, there wasn’t much traffic, but it is still an unsafe situation. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has asked the FAA to require two controllers be on duty at DCA in the future.

To learn more and get quotes from an airline pilot, United Airlines, the FAA and others, check out my story on AOL Travel News.

Short Take: Boeing Might Install Vibrating Seats in the Cockpit

Throttles of a Boeing 747-400.

Throttles of a Boeing 747-400.

Flashing lights, warning alarms and that shrieking voice saying “pull up.” There are a lot of emergency indicators in the cockpit of an airliner and Boeing is looking at adding another. The warnings already hit two senses: sight and hearing… it’s time to add touch. Boeing submitted a patent application to make the pilot’s seat vibrate in a number of different situations, but not only in emergencies. Can this help keep pilot’s awake during flight? It sure can’t hurt.

Learn more about how the seats will work, why Boeing is looking at this option over at my story on AOL Travel News.

Image: Sebastian Suk

Short Take: Delta’s New Economy Comfort versus United’s Economy Plus

Delta ad on one of their seatback video displays.

Delta ad on one of their seatback video displays.

On Monday, Delta Air Lines announced a new level of service coming to long-haul international flights: Economy Comfort. By summer 2011, more than 160 of Delta’s Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and Airbus A330 will have the new Economy Comfort seats installed. The seats themselves aren’t that much of a change, but what comes with them is a pretty a nice improvement. The seats will give you four more inches of legroom and 50% more recline, but you are also going to get free drinks and premium boarding.

The obvious comparison is to United Airline’s Economy Plus. United flies Economy Plus on international and domestic flights and it has been a great way to create loyalty for their passengers.

To learn more and see a great comparison chart between Economy Comfort and Economy Plus, check out Brett Snyder’s blog, Cranky Flier.For some photos and even more information, check out Dan Webb’s blog, Things in the Sky.

There is strong competition between the world’s two largest airlines and it looks like Delta has just played their hand. United… it is your move.

SHORT TAKE: Virgin American Launch Customer for Airbus A320neo With 30 on Order

The new Airbus A320neo in Virgin America livery.

The new Airbus A320neo in Virgin America livery. Image from Airbus.com.

Virgin American has announced they are the launch customer of the new Airbus A320neo with 30 orders of the aircraft. Before the first deliveries of the A320neo start in 2016, Virgin America also has orders for 30 Airbus A320′s with sharklets. This is a huge deal for the relatively new airline.

The Airbus A320neo is the next generation of the A320 family. The aircraft will allow New Engine Options (hence “neo”) which will increase range, lower fuel costs, while allowing airlines to keep a single fleet family of A320 aircraft.

Be sure to check out Dan Webb’s blog, Things in the Sky, as he was recently able to have a chat with Virgin America CEO David Cush and got some pretty interesting information.