Editor Philip suggested I might like to share some airline reminiscences while I can still recall them. First, you should know a few facts about my professional life. As well as having been a GA pilot for more than half a century, I was an airline pilot for 33 years between 1970 and 2003. I amassed 20,000 flying hours on 25 jet types including eight kinds of Boeing as well as my 2,000 GA hours, operating mostly long-haul but including six years of short-haul European work. I visited every continent except Antarctica and operated in and out of 256 international airports (which I suspect is a comparatively high number).
My first long trip took place in 1971 after three-and-a-half months of groundschool, 23 hours in a non-visual, fixedbase simulator (the only kind that existed back then) and 11 hours and 45 minutes of exciting training in the real aeroplane. Believe me, despite being both fast and capable of carrying 150 passengers to the ends of the earth, that Boeing 707 was a very simple, unsophisticated but tricky airliner. Our instructor, the revered Chief Flight Engineer John Mann, warned us that she “could kill you in a thousand ways if you are not vigilant”.
So 24 May 1971 found me, just 21 years old, with the tiny total of 173 P1 hours, in the right seat of a mighty, Rolls-Royce Conway powered, Boeing 707-436 Intercontinental airliner. The trip itinerary read LHR-FRA-BEY-KHIDEL-RGN-SIN-HKG-HND-HNL and return. I knew HNL stood for Honolulu, but in those far-off days preceding Hawaii Five-O, I had no real idea where Honolulu was (except that from the trip description, it was clearly beyond Hong Kong).
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Hybrid-Electric ‘Hawaii Bird' Makes First Flight
Electric aviation company Ampaire flew its second technology demonstrator on 10 September. The aircraft is a refined version of its Cessna 337 ‘Electric EEL’ hybrid-electric power conversion.
Made in tiny numbers by Piper and Aeronca standards, the beautifully-engineered Rearwin Skyranger proves to be a delight waiting to be discovered
Dr Hill's new helicopter
You’ve seen pictures of concept helicopters before, and most of them never rose from the paper… but this one has a better chance than most of flying in the real world. It’s the Hill HX50, and the designer describes it as a ‘disruptive’ entry into the small helicopter market, offering a step-change for the better in safety, performance, comfort and elegance.
Make mine a turbine!
To say aviation and turbines is a happy marriage is true−albeit mainly in the airline, business aircraft and helicopter world. Light aviation, especially the ultralight segment, remains essentially a turbine free field−apart from noble exceptions, in the form of single-engine jets and ‘experimentals’.
Industry experts say...
Representatives from a selection of Approved Training Organisations look forward to the future of Commercial Air Travel and prospects for professional pilots after the pandemic
News from the clubs, schools & ATOs
First airline job
... won and lost after just eighteen months in the right-hand seat. Reflections on the rewards of the hardest work in a lifetime
Safety Matters and Safety Briefs are based on the AAIB Bulletin and UK Airprox Board reports, with additional material from the US National Transportation Safety Board.
Donegal wins ‘most beautiful airport' - again!
Donegal in Ireland has been named as the ‘world’s most beautiful airport 2020’ – for the third successive year – in a major vote by more than six thousand ‘flying fans’. The award is given as part of the annual Scenic Airports poll conducted by private jet booking service PrivateFly.
Come to Sweden!
A French pilot retires to Sweden, where he enjoys great weather, blissful flights and barbecues – and invites British flyers visit this GA-friendly country
A MAXimum Memorial
How Boeing’s missteps continued well past the Ethiopian Airlines ight that killed all 157 on board
Ghost at the Controls
Boeing insisted pilots didn’t need expensive training for the new 737 Max and wouldn’t have trouble diagnosing software errors midflight. Then Maxes started pointing themselves toward the Earth. Adapted from the new book Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing, by Peter Robison
Are Boeing and Airbus Flying Into a Bubble?
They’re launching freighters just as competition from retrofitted jets and cargo space on passenger planes is heating up
SkyCourier Visits Oshkosh
Serial No. 1 makes its very big debut.
PANDEMIC HASN'T DIMMED BOEING'S ROSY PREDICTION FOR PLANES
Boeing said this week that the airline industry is showing signs of recovering from the pandemic, and it raised its bullish prediction about demand for airline and military planes and other aerospace products and services.
Boeing Astronaut Capsule Grounded For Months By Valve Issue
Boeing’s astronaut capsule is grounded for months and possibly even until next year because of a vexing valve problem.
ROBOTIC POLICE DOGS: USEFUL HOUNDS OR DEHUMANIZING MACHINES?
If you’re homeless and looking for temporary shelter in Hawaii’s capital, expect a visit from a robotic police dog that will scan your eye to make sure you don’t have a fever.
LIFE IN THE AIR
Senior Moments The trade-offs of airline-pilot life
APPLE MUSIC LAUNCHES MORE THAN 100 CITY-FOCUSED MUSIC CHARTS
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Beijing isn’t ready to follow the United States in allowing Boeing’s 737 Max back into the air after a pair of fatal crashes two years ago.