UK to Australia non-stop
Mar07

UK to Australia non-stop

Sleep might be exactly what passengers may be craving even more than normal when the first ever non-stop Europe to Australia scheduled flights commence in late March. Long the ‘holy grail’ of long distance airline travel, the Heathrow to Perth service will be flown by Qantas using B787-9s and will be a flight of approximately 17 hours airborne. That sounds like a lot to most of us (somewhere in the region of 14,500km), though...

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A Virgin Sleeping Beauty awakes
Mar03

A Virgin Sleeping Beauty awakes

No – we haven’t regressed to fairy tales (at least, not just yet), but rather a modern fable demonstrating the current buoyant state of the airline business. The Sleeping Beauty in question is an Airbus A340-600 belonging to Virgin Atlantic, named ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and registered, appropriately enough, G-VNAP. They’re not short of imagination at Virgin Atlantic, it’s one of the reasons they’re one of our favourite airlines [full...

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De-icing the RAF way, Tad Higher
Jan21

De-icing the RAF way, Tad Higher

Ice. Our normal routine is to forget about ice until we see a weather forecast for the next day that causes us concern. If frost is forecast and we have a lesson at 0900, we wait until everyone else has packed up for the night and then stick a Tomahawk just inside the hangar door, hoping Randolph doesn’t notice when he locks up. If he doesn’t spot our aircraft we can get away without paying a hangar fee for the night. We...

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Once in a while we allow some of the inmates at FTN Towers to climb on to their soap box and get something off their chest. Normal service will be resumed in the next issue…
Dec10

Once in a while we allow some of the inmates at FTN Towers to climb on to their soap box and get something off their chest. Normal service will be resumed in the next issue…

I, Robert A week can be a long time in politics, a lifetime in Silicon Valley, but rarely a significant period of time in the aerospace industry. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions. Around mid-November an e-mail pinged into the inbox at FTN Towers with an announcement from Airbus that they are setting up a new Airbus China Innovation Centre in Shenzhen, widely considered to be the ‘Silicon Valley’ of China (it says here). The...

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At last – a certified DC-3 flight simulator
Oct24

At last – a certified DC-3 flight simulator

Here at FTN Towers we’re used to reporting the latest news of advanced simulators being bought by flying schools and other training organisations. We’ve even been known to have a go in simulators from time-to-time (and it’s not true that an FTN staffer once described a particular simulator as being more realistic than the actual aeroplane it was representing). Even so, the news that that the Dutch CAA has certified a DC-3 simulator as...

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Fearless, daring and intelligent – and I’ve got the bars to prove it
Oct19

Fearless, daring and intelligent – and I’ve got the bars to prove it

At a flying school frequented by this squawker some years ago, the wearing of epaulettes by the flying school staff was eschewed. As a ‘grass roots’ flying club, teaching private pilots exclusively, it was deemed somewhat gauche to be seen parading round the clubhouse in full piloting regalia, resembling a Bolivian Tank Commander in full dress uniform. Instructor identification was deemed obvious by the general swagger and 1,000-yard...

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