Throughout the week, I upload photos to my server and share them on Twitter. They are photos I find interesting, but not quite enough to write a blog on. For those of you who don’t use Twitter, I want to share them, but not exactly sure how. Why not post a collection of links in a blog? Let’s give it a try and see how it goes — click on the links below for photos.
Lots of interesting photos. Click the links below to see larger versions.
* On Tuesday July 26th, United Airlines Boeing 767 Flight 635 enroute from Chicago, landed in Seattle with brake issues and was met by fire trucks who quickly sprayed water on the aircraft’s brakes. No injuries were reported.
* Last week, Lufthansa announced 30 firm orders for the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft. The order consists of 25 Airbus A320neo and five Airbus A321neo aircraft.
* No in-flight entertainment system is safe from me. I have a way of requiring them to be restarted quite often and on my recent Singapore Airlines A380 flight was no exception.
* I have had a goal of catching a ride on a Beechcraft Starship and Dan Webb caught Starship N514RS at Oshkosh AirVenture last week.
* While on a long layover at LAX, I caught a glimpse of Eva Air’s special 777 livery on a Boeing 777-300ER.
* I had the “opportunity” to see JAL’s new livery for the first time in person while stopping in Narita. I have to say that I was not that impressed — a bit too plain for my taste. Also caught an Asiana Boeing 747-400 in the same shot.
* Have you ever wondered how United Airlines goes about cleaning their front windscreens? I caught a worker cleaning the windscreen of the special Friend Ship livery A320 in Chicago during a recent trip.
* A little blast from the past, I wanted to share probably the happiest Lockheed L1011 I have ever seen. Great photo by LAXramper.
Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER (B-16715) about ready to take off from Paine Field on its delivery flight on Sunday.
Back in July I looked into why three brand new Eva Air Boeing 777’s were just sitting at Paine Field. It turned out they had issues with their Koito seats. Well, “issues” might be an understatement. Turns out not only were the seat’s safety in question, but also Koito’s certification process. So much so there was talk of an air worthiness directive from the FAA to ban the seats in the US.
Boeing and Eva Air has been silent with how these three Boeing 777’s were going to get seats. Last week the aircraft, which has been parked next to the Paine Field tower for months, were moved, prepped and started to take customer test flights (photo of B-16717). Then yesterday, the first of the three Boeing 777’s took its delivery flight to Taiwan (photo). Of course, the big question was what seats are inside the aircraft?
Eva Air obviously doesn’t want to say too much since I am guessing they will take legal action against Koito. Boeing has been staying pretty quiet as well, since they have a policy not to discuss their customers. However, I have been able to confirm that the seats in the aircraft are from Koito.
Beverly Holland with Boeing Communications explained to me that, “Koito Industries works directly with our airline customers. Ever since this issue came to our attention, we have been working closely with our customers who have purchased the seats to make sure the seats are fully compliant to Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and FAA regulations.”
As reported previously, if the JCAB certifies a seat, the FAA also certifies them through a US/Japan bilateral agreement. Boeing has had a team in Japan helping to make sure the seats are able to become certified. Holland did confirm, “Boeing is committed to helping our customers through this situation.”
Speaking with an Eva PR consultant Mary Graybill, she confirmed that the airline is working with Koito and Boeing to have the seats installed at Paine Field. She wasn’t able to confirm when the aircraft will officially be delivered, but did say that, “all three will be used to serve long-haul and regional routes, in rotation with the B777s EVA is already operating.” By chance of luck, I was at Paine Field on Sunday when I got an email alert stating a Boeing 777 filed a flight plan. Turned out to be one of the Eva Air Boeing 777’s (B-16715) being picked up by Eva pilots and flown to Taiwan. Due to heavy fog, the flight was delayed, but did take off at 2:35pm.
So are the seats safe in the Eva Boeing 777’s? Yes, I think so. Even though Boeing and Eva won’t talk much about what they have done, I would assume that neither would allow the airplanes to transport passengers if they haven’t verified the safety of the seats. It is great for Eva to make money using these Boeing 777’s, but it is disappointing they won’t be parked at Paine Field to spot anymore. At least Paine Field is quickly filling up with other Boeing airplanes to provide plenty of eye candy.
VIDEO OF EVA AIR BOEING 777-300ER (B-16715) on DELIVERY FLIGHT FROM PAINE FIELD taken from the Future of Flight’s Strato Deck
* My photos from Eva Air Boeing 777 delivery flight
* Video from Liz Matzelle on the Boeing 777 taking off
This is back in January when there were just two Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER's sitting at Paine Field. Photo by Kevin Frysinger
I am up at Paine Field quite a bit. This is where many of Boeing’s aircraft are made: the 777, 787, 747 and 767. For months I have seen two brand new Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER’s sitting by the control tower. The last time I went by, there were three. Why would Eva Air let three brand new planes worth about $800,000,000.00 just sit and not make revenue? Well, it turns out they have no seats and the problem extends beyond Eva Air.
The seat manufacturer Koito, based in Japan, falsified safety test results and in September of 2009, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) withdrew approval for the seats. EASA claimed that 16g, 9g and flammability test data were affected and the EASA stopped Airbus from installing any additional seats.
Flight Global and ATI reports that these falsified tests affected as many as 150,000 seats on 1,000 aircraft. How can this happen? Multiple sources have confirmed to Flight Global and ATI that Koito falsely indicated that some seats had been cleared by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) by illegally forging the JCAB’s stamp of approval.
Many airlines have had to deal with the delays of aircraft delivery due to Koito’s issues and yet there are even more airlines that already have the seats installed. Earlier, Boeing sent people to Japan to help Koito solve its quality issues. However, it seems that their help wasn’t enough and Boeing told me they will no longer offer Koito seats to customers.
I also asked Boeing if the seats already on airlines are safe and Bev Holland, Boeing Manufacturing & Quality Communications Specialist, explained, “Boeing has a comprehensive system in place to make sure seats conform to FAA specifications before being installed. While we are working to help those customers who have previously ordered Koito seats to make sure the seats are correctly installed and certified, Koito seats are no longer an option for new orders. ”
When I asked Boeing about the Eva Air Boeing 777’s, Holland stated, “we do not discuss our customers’ airplanes,” but she did confirm that, “seats are buyer-furnished equipment.”
I can respect Boeing not talking on behalf of an airline, so I went to talk to Eva Air. I was looking to see if Eva would confirm why the Boeing 777’s are not being used, what their game plans for the aircraft are and if they are paying parking fees to Paine Field (which is actually owned by Snohomish County). I heard back from Katherine Ko, Jr Vice President of Public Relations for Eva and she stated, “Our priorities are safety and quality service, and those aircraft are there for aircraft update.” I was hoping for a bit more information, but I can understand the airline not wanting to say too much publicly right now, especially if any legal action is taken in the future.
Since Boeing and Airbus are no longer providing the seats, are the ones currently flying safe? I am told they are safe and it has not proven that they are not, it has just been proven that Koito falsified records. Currently there is an advisory board made up of the JCAB, Airbus, Boeing, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and Koito determining if the seats are safe. The board is requesting airlines who currently fly with Koito seats to donate a few, so testing can be done to see if they are safe. I am not sure how well that will go. I know airlines care about the safety of their passengers but do they really want to donate seats that might help to determine if they are defective and need to be replaced?
I also wondered why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wasn’t more involved in this matter since there are quite a few Koito seats flying in the United States. Would the FAA issue an Airworthiness Directive (AD) requiring all US airlines to replace the seats? I contacted them to find out and got some surprising answers.
I communicated with Alison Duquette, who is with the FAA Office of Communications, about the certification of the seats and she told me, “The Koito seats were approved through the US/Japan bilateral agreements. The JCAB reviews and accepts all data and the FAA then accepts their test data via our bilateral agreement.” This means the FAA just rubber-stamps JCAB’s approval, which was falsely rubber-stamped by Koito. Pushing to see if the FAA might possibly issue an AD she explained, “Japan is the certifying authority so they would be the government to issue a directive and then the FAA could follow.”
I asked the FAA if any new rules have been put into place after this incident and Duquette told me, “The JCAB has a process in place to make sure to correct any problems.” When I asked what the FAA thought about the forged approval by Koito, in essence by-passing the JCAB approval, Duquette referred me to the JCAB. At this point, it seems the FAA is taking a very hands-off approach.
So, what now? I am not exactly sure. Do I want the industry to have to spend millions during a time when they really cannot afford it? Of course not. However, I don’t want it to take an accident and people needlessly getting injured or die because they were sitting in faulty seats. I am sure this will be an on-going story. At the time of publishing this blog, I have not been able to get in contact with the JCAB or Koito. I will continue to work with Mary Kirby with Flight International (she also writes the RunwayGirl blog) on finding more answers.
No matter what happens, I really hope that those Eva Air Boeing 777’s can get into the sky soon; it is a shame seeing those beautiful birds stuck on the ground.
Image by @TxAgFlyer
San Jose Police Department’s Officer Manny Vasquez, left, and Sergeant Luan Nguyen
Two vacationing off-duty San Jose police officers, Luan Nguyen and Manny Vasquez, were on an Eva Air flight from Taipei to San Francisco, when the captain came on the intercom, “I have a situation on board. If there are any law enforcement officers on board, please identify yourselves to a flight attendant.”
The unarmed officers went to give their assistance and found a mentally ill passenger where they had to use force, straps, seat belts, and belts to restrain the man.
The passenger had attacked a sleeping women, choking her until others were able to get him off her. The flight attendants cleared the last few rows, which left the unstable man by himself and also near the galley — which had knives among other items that could be used as a weapon.
When the officers approached the man he started fighting violently, kicking everything around him, including the cabin window. The officers were able to take control of the man and worked with passengers restraining him for the remainder of the 4.5 hours to San Francisco. After landing the man was placed into police custody and the officers received a round of applause.
Although the men didn’t have any of their standard equipment an officer on the ground would have, they did have their training and that was all they needed to resolve a messy and potentially deadly situation.
Source and Image: Mercury News