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After two-years of delays, the all-new Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” is at last reality, following its first successful test flight from Seattle yesterday.
More than 25,000 employees, members of the public, and airline officials witnessed the departure.
Bloomberg.com quotes Mitsuo Morimoto saying, “After the test flight, I feel confident the schedule will be on time, and we will receive the aircraft as scheduled.” Morimoto’s company, All Nippon Airways is slated to receive the first aircraft sometime late in 2010.
Even at a price of $150-$200 million each, Boeing already has orders for approximately 850 of the 300-passenger aircraft. The company predicts operating costs 20% less than contemporary airliners, thanks to the use of light composite materials, improved aerodynamics, and refined engine technology in its manufacture.
The Federal Aviation Administration is having computer problems – again, and it’s causing travel delays across the country.
Contrary to news reports, you do NOT have to file a flight plan to fly. However, the problem greatly affects the airlines, since commercial flights generally operate under so-called “Instrument Flight Rules” (IFR).
IFR flights do require filed flight plans, but flights flying visually (VFR) need not. Consequently more flights (even some commercial flights) are likely to attempt to fly under visual rules, where the pilot is expected to maintain separation from other aircraft without the assistance of air traffic controllers. Because of this, pilots must fly clear of clouds.
Authorities insist the situation does not threaten safety, since airliners will not take off until their paperwork is in order. However, some users may elect to take off under visual rules then request an IFR clearance enroute, or to fly VFR from takeoff to landing. Such flights require a greater level of pilot vigilance.
Bottom line: the capacity of the system is severely restricted, and it does add a measure of chaos, which in my opinion can indeed threaten safety.
The pilots involved in the mysterious 150-mile overflight of the Minneapolis-St.Paul Airport are now giving conflicting stories on what was going on in the cockpit (see Oct 23 blog below).
At first, they indicated they overflew the airport by 150 miles because they were involved in a heated discussion over company policy, but few believed that. Most thought the two were asleep. But now the pilots are saying they were engaged in their personal laptops going over company business.
Is it me, or does all this strain credulity? As Judge Judy might quip, none of these explanations has “the ring of truth” to it. In all my experience in the cockpit, I have NEVER had ANYTHING distract me from checking out what the airplane was doing for anywhere NEAR that length of time — some 50 minutes of being clueless! So none of these answers quite work for me.
Safety officials say the cockpit voice reporter indicates they were talking to a flight attendant in the cockpit. But keep in mind the recorder only goes back 30 minutes prior to landing, to a time when they already knew they had overflown the airport. So no telling what went on some 20 minutes prior to that, when the flight cruised past its descent point.
Fresh speculation is maybe a third crewmember in the cockpit kept both pilots, er — distracted! Whatever it is, these two are starting to remind me of the Northwest pilots from a few years back, who were caught intoxicated just before they attempted to takeoff. Where in the heck is Donald Trumpp when you need him?
They are all sooo FIRED!