Thursday, October 31, 2013

On Electronic Devices on Planes, Facts A Minor Factor

The Twitter message from New York Times editor Damon Darlin came minutes after the Federal Aviation Administration began a news conference announcing a change in policy on electronic devices on airplanes. Darlin pinned the credit for switch to a Times reporter. "And thank you Nick Bilton," his message to me read. 

Many, many people are like Bilton, Darlin and company, thrilled that the FAA has promised to streamline "the approval of expanded PED use by giving airlines updated, clear guidance."  Though each airline will continue to decide for itself, how and when it will allow passengers to use PEDs, the FAA is making it clear, it won't be an obstacle anymore. Within hours, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue filed for FAA approval of expanded use of gadgets on their flights. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Virgin America Video Making Passengers Loosen Up and Fly Right

New safety video photo courtesy Virgin America
High fives and "You go girl!", to Virgin America for its new safety video that has all the required information set to a rockin' beat. Like Air New Zealand, Southwest and Cebu before it, and fingers-crossed, more airlines to follow, Virgin America is acting on the simple truth that boring, read-by-rote pre-flight briefings are the white noise of air travelers. No one is listening.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plane-spotting or Spotted Planes, with Lumix Camera Who Knows?

Tight shot of airplanes taken from a long, way off.
There are not too many cameras that suit the needs of a frequently-traveling airplane geek who is fastidious about not only packinglight, but packing small. That’s why I bought the Lumix Panasonic ZS10. There were lots of things I liked about this camera and I wish I could recommend it. BUT I CAN'T.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Kinda Sorta Mea Culpa for Previous 787 Post

An Air India 787 in Charleston, SC in 2012
Getting information from Air India is not such an easy assignment. And as I learned from my readers and Jason Rabinowitz of @AirlineFlyer, information on the missing fuselage panel on an Air India Dreamliner reported by Times of India was not correct. Neither Air India's spokesman G.P Rao, nor anyone from the office of air safety have answered my emails seeking details on the Boeing 787 flight which appears to have been made with a unsecured or entirely missing panel.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

From India to the Dreamliner Factory in Charleston a Message about Quality Control

Photo courtesy Times of India

Boeing is confirming that a section of the underbelly of an Air India Dreamliner came off during landing, though spokesman Doug Alder will not say whether the plane is the newly delivered VT-ANO, as the Times of India reported, or a Dreamliner delivered ten months ago.

The panel "was recovered at the airport," Alder said in an email, reiterating what he said when the story was first reported that there was no safety of flight issue.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Does Tesla's Battery Fire Tempt Boeing to Schadenfreude?

The joke about the mixed emotions when ones' mother-in-law drives off a cliff in your brand-new-car surely must describe how Boeing feels today watching Tesla defend the lithium ion batteries powering its cars. 

Tuesday (while I was writing a nice little feature  for the Times about a Tesla S as wedding coach) a similar sedan caught fire in Washington state, a roaring blaze captured on video by a passing motorist who spontaneously opined "Oh, s--t dude, that's a brand new car!" 

He then adds, "Wow, I can feel the heat in here." That may be the more significant statement which I will get to in a moment.