In this year of the summer Olympics, it is only fitting that NASA scored a gold medal when it “stuck the landing” on its Curiosity rover, the most ambitious lander ever sent to another planet.
AIN’s editors offer their opinions, observations and thoughts on everything aviation.
Most companies looking to improve the speed and efficiency of their operations look to buy off-the-shelf products, whether software or hardware. The cost and time of customization and the upkeep of custom-made products is usually just not worth the money and effort, and usually the products are just not as good. Producers of the off-the-shelf products are the experts, whose business it is to make and regularly update their products.
These days, everybody complains about the airlines: rotten food, TSA hassles, cramped seating, long delays, lost luggage. And while private jet travelers are a decidedly happier lot, they’ve been known to offer the occasional gripe as well: the charter flight lacked sufficient baggage space, the catering service overcharged, the FBO disappointed.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got a response from acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta after she questioned cost overruns on a contract to train air traffic controllers, but it wasn’t the one she wanted.
During the 2012 Farnborough International airshow, United Aircraft president Mikhail Pogosyan did what no chief executive of a Western aerospace company would even consider: comment publicly on the findings, or lack thereof, by investigators of a fatal accident before the relevant authorities had
I’m pretty sure Mrs. Nussbaum never knew. It had to be obvious there were about 50 small trainer aircraft passing over her pool every day, but then the Nussbaum’s farm was close to the airport and there was flight training.
A recent Aviation Maintenance Alerts published by the FAA highlights a problem that should never, ever come up in aerospace: a design that allows mechanics to install something opposite the way intended. In this case, according to AC 43-16A No. 407, mechanics installed the elevators on a Piaggio P.180 Avanti upside down. After doing so, the mechanics were even able to rig the elevators according to the aircraft maintenance manual (AMM) instructions. Although installed upside down, the twin-turboprop was able to fly, and it did. According to the FAA’s Alerts, “During flight, this reversed elevator installation greatly influenced elevator trim authority—additionally causing the airplane yoke to be in a noticeably different longitudinal position.” The Alerts goes on to note that Piaggio has added a note to the AMM, warning mechanics about this potential problem. The FAA added, “A very simple way to ensure the correct elevator is installed on the proper side is to verify the location of the static wicks—they must be on the upper surface of the elevator.”
The eagerly awaited proposed changes to the FAA’s Part 145 rules that govern repair stations domestically and abroad are finally out. Talk about years in the making! Twenty-three years if we go back to the first public hearings in 1989, a mere 13 from the 1999 issuance of the original NPRM that first proposed many of these same requirements.
Recently, my wife and I attended a college-planning event at our son’s high school. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Andre was 5 and we were taking notes at an orientation session for parents of new kindergarteners, but here we are. He’s 17 now and, with a little luck and a lot of our money, he’ll be heading off to college next year.
Saturday was a nice day in Chicago. The temperature and humidity belied what should normally have been the front end of the hot, Midwest summer season. It was simply beautiful and BC, my two-year-old Harley Fat Boy, was projecting a subconscious message to me, “Let’s go ride, writer-boy.”
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