Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 138,116
2013: 330,818

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In PlaneView: Flying on a Gulfstream G650 with Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell's mint-condition Gulfstream G650 departing KPAE. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Honeywell’s mint-condition Gulfstream G650 departing KPAE – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Last year, I wrote about visiting Honeywell’s facility in Redmond, after which I got to spend an afternoon flying with their crash test dummies. That, however, only covers the activities of Honeywell Aerospace in Washington State.

Honeywell has a large presence in Phoenix, specifically at Deer Valley Airport. At one point this was the legacy of Sperry Electronics, which got its start making gyroscopes for Curtiss biplanes. They even had a rudimentary autopilot demonstration in June, 1914.

So, what does this have to do with Honeywell? Well, prior to their purchase by Honeywell Aerospace, Sperry developed the first Flight Management Computers (FMC). The best way to describe an FMC is that it’s a layer above the autopilot and allows for a degree of pre-planning and programming for the aircraft’s mission. Flight Management Computers have evolved to a level most of the old Sperry guard could never have imagined, though the form factor has remained relatively the same.

Honeywell Aerospace is not known for sitting still. Much of their avionics technology hangs out on the bleeding edge. The thing is, airlines and their associated airframers tend to demand low cost AND reliability. Flight deck and avionics design usually evolves within corporate aviation. It is no wonder, then, that Honeywell and Gulfstream work so closely to develop an integrated flight deck and avionics suite. The internal name of the Honeywell avionics and flight management package is Primus Epic.

While it is also at home on a Falcon 7X, Dassault puts their own special finishing touches on it so that it better matches their ecosystem. We’re not talking about Dassault today- we’re discussing Gulfstream- so the Honeywell system is marketed as PlaneView.

How does one get a good understanding of the practical elements of PlaneView/Primus Epic you ask?

The best way. By seeing it in person by flying on a Gulfstream G650 and who am I to say no?

Continue reading In PlaneView: Flying on a Gulfstream G650 with Honeywell Aerospace

The Last DC-10: Part 1 (Dhaka to Kuwait City)

S2-ACR on the ramp at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

S2-ACR on the ramp at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

So, you want to fly on a DC-10 in 2014? Bad news. Very bad news. I hate to tell you, but that ship has sailed. Until a few days ago, that was not the case.

Arriving into Dhaka at 4:51 am, the first thing I noticed was the haze. I really have no idea where it comes from – it seems to burn off by the afternoon. The next thing I noticed about Bangladesh was how easy it was to get a visa on arrival. If you were wondering, Dhaka is only certified for CAT-1 ILS approaches. This has been known to wreck timetables and force diversions to far off points.

The first thing I noticed was that the airport has a great degree of 1970’s Marxist-chic to it. I admit, the airport actually opened for passenger use in the 1980’s- but there were many stop-and-start construction efforts that make it, in some ways, the most amazing the airport was ever (semi) completed.

I had exactly twenty four hours in Dhaka and almost no idea what to expect. Dhaka’s a very fluid city; the buildings may look the same, but the traffic is a variable no one should mess with! Thankfully, the hotel shuttle never seemed to have much of a problem finding either a semi-paved or unpaved road to beat the chaos. The other thing not included in travel brochures about Dhaka is that no matter what hour of the day, someone is riding their car horn.

But I wasn’t  in Dhaka for the traffic or interesting architecture. I was there to take the last passenger DC-10 flight ever.

Continue reading The Last DC-10: Part 1 (Dhaka to Kuwait City)

A Historical Look at the DC-10 Before its Final Passenger Flight

S2-ACR, the last DC-10 in any sort of passenger service. Photo by Ken Fielding

S2-ACR, the last DC-10 in any sort of passenger service – Photo: Ken Fielding

This article was written for AirlineReporter by Kris Hull. 

Starting tomorrow, the last Douglas DC-10 will start its farewell tour as the last passenger DC-10. Biman Bangladesh Airlines will fly to Birmingham, UK, by way of Kuwait and then offer scenic tours before it is finally ferried to a final “resting” location in the US. Our own Bernie Leighton will be covering these events from Bangladesh and beyond, but before we tell the last chapter of this majestic aircraft’s life, we wanted to start at the beginning with this historical look at the DC-10.

The birth of the wide-body airliner as we know it today can be traced back to one event in the early 1960′s: The United States Air Force’s request for proposals for the CX-HLS, the program that would ultimately become the C-5 Galaxy. Lockheed won the CX-HLS competition, and as legend would have it, Boeing would strike gold when they converted their design into what we know today as the 747. However, that is not quite 100% true, and Boeing was not the only company to transfer design philosophies from the CX-HLS to the commercial market.

Continue reading A Historical Look at the DC-10 Before its Final Passenger Flight

Attending the Singapore Airshow 2014 – Asia’s Premiere Aviation Event

The Korean Air Force Black Eagles Aerobatic display team open the show with a magnificent fly past

Korean Air Force Black Eagles aerobatic display team opening the show with a magnificent fly-by                                                        Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

This was my first visit to the Singapore Airshow which is Asia’s largest bi-annual aviation event and has been running since 2008. My expectations of the show were pretty high given that Singapore is a world-wide leader within the aviation industry.

The Static display was just as impressive as the flying display - Photo: Jacob Pfleger

The static display was just as impressive as the flying display – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The event ran for six days, with the first four being reserved for trade visitors.

The flying display was limited to one hour during each day of the trade show. This is because when the display takes place, all arrivals and departures at Singapore Changi airport must be suspended due to the proximity of the display site to the approach/departure tracks of the airport.This restriction also meant that the display had to take place outside of peak hours, so it happened during the middle of the day. As such, the lighting conditions proved very challenging for photography and general viewing of some aerobatic displays.

At present, there is a strong possibility that the 2016 show’s display will be cut even further, to just 30 minutes, but with more than one display window during the day.

Continue reading Attending the Singapore Airshow 2014 – Asia’s Premiere Aviation Event

How Social Media is Shifting Breaking Stories Around the World

How many photos of a Ethiopian 787s did you see on the story about a 767? Photo: Bernie Leighton

How many Ethiopian 787 photos did you see on the story about a 767? Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

The way people across the globe are able to get their breaking news is changing. I found it very interesting how the Ethiopian flight 702 story was broken and covered.

Personally, I had just wrapped up a great Aviation Geek Fest 2014 and was tired. I decided to head to a bar with Jason Rabinowitz and Ben Granucci (other AvGeeks and some who write for sites like Airchive.com and NYCAviation.com) to have a beer and write some emails. Then I got word from one of our writers, Bernie Leighton, that he thought an airliner had just been hijacked. Jason confirmed he was hearing some rumors as well. It was game time – I switched gears and tried to start confirming what we were seeing.

As Jason and Ben went running to their cars to grab their electronic devices, I started to coordinate with Bernie and our Associate Editor, Blaine Nickeson, via Google chat about who was going to do what with this story.

Continue reading How Social Media is Shifting Breaking Stories Around the World