Tag Archives: Boeing

Top ten list of things gone by the wayside part 2

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list is a continuation of a previous entry of things gone by the wayside. It has been quite a while since the first part came out on February 1, 2013 and Rebecca and I have managed to come up with ten more. So here they are in no particular order.

10. Older aircraft. [Oh, the days of the DC3s, the Boeing 727s, and the DC10s. As most of you know, I am a flight sim buff and I’ve always enjoyed the older aircraft for their nostalgia. If I had a bucket list, one of the things I would do would be to fly on a DC3. They were manufactured in the 1940s, and according to the internet, there still are a handful of them still in service.]

9. Wholesome television shows. [When I was little, The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie were two huge hits for CBS and NBC. I always loved watching the Walton and Ingalls families go through their daily lives, whether it would be fun times or hardships. There was never really any violence in those shows and even if something bad happened, the goodness of the people in the community came to the aid of the people in need.]

8. Children’s lemonade stands. [These might not be 100% gone, but I’ve heard that in some states parents actually need to get a permit, and one poor child’s lemonade stand was shut down by the police for lack of said permit. I remember having a lemonade stand when I was 9 or 10, and later in life, if I was driving around town in my car and saw one, I would make it a point to stop and have two cups. Those kids deserved the extra quarter.]

7. Typewriters. [Oh, yes, the days of Wite-Out. I remember vividly writing my early writing career stories on a typewriter. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite key is the backspace key; the old typewriters did not have that, hence my favorite product was Wite-Out. One college professor, I recall, did not allow Wite-Out and on one tough term paper it took me three tries to type the final page. When I was done, and I knew the term paper was just so, I threw the typewriter down the cellar steps. Mom laughed for an hour, saying, “I told you that one letter stuck, but you wouldn’t believe me.”]

6. The United States Football League – founded in ’82, ceased in ’86. [It took nearly a year to set up before playing began. The United States Football League, the spring time competition to the NFL, lasted just 3 seasons, ’83 through ’85. There were many factors to why it failed: #1, It expanded too quickly. #2. It paid humongous salaries with money it didn’t have yet. And #3. When Donald Trump, then owner of the New Jersey Generals, decided it would be a great idea to move to fall football and compete directly with the NFL, it was the beginning of the end. President Trump, you did not make the USFL great again, you killed it.]

5. Mom and Pop stores. [This one was going to be hardware stores, but Ace Hardware is still going strong so we changed to the Mom and Pop variety stores. You know the kind I mean, they sell a little bit of everything. State College had one such store, O.W. Houts & Sons, but when Wal-Mart came in, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Houts family would either sell or retire. I miss that store tremendously, it was part of my childhood. My mom shopped there every Saturday and sometimes I would go with her.]

4. Manners. [Quite recently, I was working the cash register at my job, when a mother and her two children walked up. The daughter, approximately age 10, gave me her order and said, “May I please have …” before everything she wanted. It was truly a wonderful thing to see; young children with perfect manners. I actually complimented their mom.]

3. Goodyear Blimp. [When I was a pre-teen, the Goodyear Blimp would always come to State College, Pennsylvania for one big Penn State home game. It would arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday, fly around at night advertising, and leave after the game. Over time, it began to only come the morning of the game and would be gone right afterwards. Now the Goodyear Blimp doesn’t come at all. We’ve had other blimps come and cover the games, but to me if just isn’t the same. Many an evening my mom and I would sit on the front porch in the fall and watch the blimp fly overhead and advertise their latest tire offers. Oh, if only to hear that low-pitched droning sound of its engines one more time. That sound is truly unique.]

2. Television variety shows. [Gone are the days of the Carol Burnett Show, the Sonny & Cher Show, and other such weekly variety series’. TV has evolved into mostly reality shows of a different sort now, mostly sleazy and sex related. And the one attempt at an old-fashioned variety show a couple of years ago was canceled after a few episodes. Take it from me, bigwigs of the major networks, the TV variety series is dead and gone. R.I.P.]

1. Handwritten letters. [This one holds a special place in my heart, for not that many years ago, I would write letters, and more importantly, Christmas cards. Yes, you can still buy Christmas cards and send them, but I’ve heard from retailers that sales decline every year. And why shouldn’t they, you can go on the internet and send any kind of e-card that you want for free on most websites. The fancier ones might only cost ninety-nine cents. That is still a much cheaper option then driving to Hallmark, finding that pretty card, bringing it home, putting a stamp on it, and taking it to the mailbox. I don’t know if writing letters will ever come back and replace email; I highly doubt it. I know it won’t for me. I have a dear friend in Romania and relatives in Holland, how easy and convenient it is to type an email, have the program spellcheck it for me, and after I hit send, the email the is half-way around the world within a minute. A letter would take a week or more.]

Well, there you have it, part 2 of things gone by the wayside. Tomorrow will be a personal day for me, and I’ve asked Rebecca to put up a blog entry for me. I’m sure she will do her usual good job. So until next Wednesday when we both return, I bid you a good week, take care and happy reading.

Advertisements

Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories part 2

Greetings, readers. As promised, here is part 2 of a top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes that I have watched many times and studied. As all of you know, I love to figure out what goes wrong when these gigantic aircraft crash. Sometimes it is as simple as an incorrectly set lever, or in one instance, a pilot who was going to be fired committed suicide and took everyone on board with him. You will find many reasons in the following list. It has been a while seen I have seen a few of these episodes, and I was not able to watch them recently (as I wrote last week) so I used Wikipedia to compile my list. Though I’ve seen them all, I needed help with titles, dates, flight numbers, etc. I hope you appreciate this one as much as so many you did the first list.

#10. “Flying Blind” – Aeroperu Flight 603 [The year 1996 in October. Because of a maintenance blunder, the pitot tubes were left covered. When the aircraft took off, it immediately started to get false readings from the on-board instruments. After half an hour of being lost over water, the plane crashed into the sea with crew believing they were at a higher altitude than they were.]

#9. “Flying on Empty” – Air Transat Flight 2368 [2001, August. The Air Transat flight developed unusually low fuel load readings which the pilot and co-pilot thought was a computer error. As it turned out, a hose in the fuel line system gave out and the fuel leaked away. Luckily the aircraft was at a high enough altitude and the pilots were skilled enough to glide to an airport in their range and have a safe landing.]

#8. “Out of Control” – Japan Airlines Flight 123 [1985, August. After suffering an explosive decompression in the massive 747 tail section, the flight was doomed. The crew fought valiantly for close to 40 minutes before crashing into a mountain range, killing all on board killing all but four people on board. (Editor’s note: August 2017: A reader pointed out my error and sent me a comment so I could make the correction.) A faulty repair was to blame. The man who okayed the repair committed suicide afterward.]

#7. “Mistaken Identity” – Iran Air Flight 655 [1988, July. Due to a horrible misunderstanding during the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, the United States warship, USS Vincennes, thought they were firing a missile at a F16 fighter which was not answering hails. Instead, it was an Air Iran passenger jet incapable of receiving that hailing frequency. All 290 on board were killed.]

#6. “Kid in the Cockpit” – Aeroflot Flight 593 [1994, March. A proud pilot’s 15 year-old son was invited into the cockpit. Mistake #1. He was allowed to sit in the captain’s seat and pretend to steer the aircraft. Mistake #2. When the autopilot disengaged while the child was turning the yoke, the craft banked hard right and stalled. The g-forces prevented the pilot from getting back into his seat. Any child at the yoke of a commercial aircraft is a big mistake.]

#5. “Falling from the Sky” – British Airways Flight 9 [1982, June. Flight 9 took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on route to Perth, Australia. The 747, during a night-time flight, flew through volcanic ash that they could not see which caused all four engines to fail. After several attempts to restart the engines, they finally came back to life, and the jumbo jet landed at a nearby airport.]

#4. “Panic over the Pacific” – China Airlines Flight 006 [1985, February. The number 4 engine developed a temporary malfunction and stopped working. Due to pilot error, the plane went into a terrible tailspin. After many attempts to restart the engine, and what seemed like forever to regain control, the China Airlines flight made a successful emergency landing at San Francisco International. There was structural damage to the aircraft from the descent. It was later determined that any more structural failure would have brought down the jet.]

#3. “Gimli Glider” – Air Canada Flight 143 [1983, July. I followed this story from a TV movie they made about it some years back, and as in many cases the incident was completely avoidable. The brand new Boeing 767 was metric and at Montreal Airport the fuel crew failed to convert gallons into liters and only filled the plane half full of the fuel load required. If it were not for the brilliant flying of Bob Pearson and crew, landing at an abandoned air force base, the plane would have been doomed. He was able to glide it in over a long distance.]

#2. “Fatal Distraction” – Eastern Airlines Flight 401 [1972, December. Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was on its way into Miami International when it developed what appeared to be a mal-functioning landing gear light bulb. The crew fiddled with it but could not get it to light up. While they were distracted by pulling the bulb out, the captain bumped the altitude hold knob and the plane descended in the dark of night. The realized what was happening about 100 feet off the ground, way too late. The plane crashed into the Everglades. 101 people died and 75 people survived. On an eerie note, certain parts of the aircraft that could be salvaged and were in working order were installed in other Eastern Airlines planes of the same type. Crew members reported ghostly figures of the dead crew … if you believe in that sort of thing.]

#1. “Frozen in Flight” – American Eagle Flight 4184 [1994, October. While in a holding pattern waiting to land in rough weather, a commuter plane suddenly banked hard right and spun out of control. Though the pilots fought valiantly, the aircraft did not have enough altitude and it slammed into the ground, killing all 68 on board. The reason was a design flaw that made the de-icing system ineffective on a certain area of the wing. Too much freezing rain built up while flying in the holding pattern and the plane could not stay airborne anymore. The ATR-72’s wing was redesigned and the problem was fixed.]

There is our second top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes. I’m reluctant to say enjoy it with so much disaster and grief associated with so many of the stories, but if you are a fan of the show and have not seen these episodes, check them out.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

My initial thoughts on Malaysia flight 370

Greetings, readers. I am treading lightly on today’s subject. As with many people in the world I’m sure, Malaysia airlines flight 370 is on my mind. Something doesn’t quite seem right. There are enough satellites circling Earth to pinpoint nearly anything, yet it has taken nearly two weeks to find the remains of this Boeing 777; if it indeed crashed.

As I understand it, the plane was taken off-course on purpose and could be anywhere within the large plane’s fuel load capacity. I totally get that. That bird can fly many, many hours. This does put the searching teams at a great disadvantage. Start from the runway and search each of the 360 degrees in the full circle and then fly the flight’s fuel capacity. Am I saying they should have found it after two days? No. But to me it is smelling more and more like a possible, if not probable, cover-up.

I saw on the news that the pilot had a home version of a flight simulator and part of the flight plan of MA 370 was deleted. Was this to see if he could get away with something and not have it detected? There is a red flag for ya. And what about the co-pilot? He was either in on it, knocked unconscious, or killed. It’s looking like it is going to take months, if not years, to unravel this mystery. I was going to do some speculation of my own, but I have decided to wait for more facts.

To conclude, again many thoughts and prayers to the friends and families of those on the flight. I can only imagine the horror you are going through. Good news or bad, may there be some form of closure soonest.

Until next week, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Is Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner a nightmare?

Greetings, readers. The big airplane fan (me) is here to give you his point of view on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. I have been keeping up with the production progress in the news for the last several years now. A recent documentary confirms that delivery was at least three years behind schedule. That in itself for a new aircraft is not unheard of. Let’s jump two or three years forward, to January 9, 2013, when I read a USA Today newspaper article listing all the problems that this brand new wonderful aircraft is experiencing. Today, I found a timeline of the USA Today reports for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on their website, but could not find the exact article to link for you. I hope the link I did add will work for you to get you to the timeline.

An abbreviated list of its woes include battery malfunctions that cause toxic fumes to be released into the cabin, debris falling onto the tarmac, a power generator failed during a flight, electronic system problems, and it can be a  fire hazard. To me this is not a dream but a nightmare. As of Wednesday, the 17th of January, the whole fleet, I do believe, was grounded by the FAA so that all problems could be checked and fixed. Has the Boeing company built a modern version of the Ford Edsel; something that was supposed to be slightly ahead of its time but turned out to be a complete flop?

No doubt the fleets of 747 aircraft are aging and need to be replaced. The 757 was a very good craft, but no new ones are being produced. A good chunk of them are still being flown, but the 767 and 777 wide-body can fly more passengers at a time and earn more money per flight.

According to IMAX’s 45 minute film, Legends of Flight from 2010, which I viewed on Netflix, both the Boeing 787 and Boeing’s competition, the Airbus A380, had their growing pains. Airbus seemed to have come out on top faster than Boeing. To me this film was very entertaining and I got my first glimpse of the interiors of these two wonderful aircrafts. The whole idea was to get back to the glamorous days of air travel with bigger, more luxurious, seats some of which could be pulled out into a bed.

When my family in the 70s and 80s traveled by airplane, the 747 was in its glory. That was the airliner to take overseas. French company Airbus followed suit in the 90s with their A330 and A340 models. Those were Airbus’s long distance machines.

Do I think that air travel has become unsafe? Well, I’ve heard it said many times that you have more of a chance dying walking across a busy street than you do dying from an airplane crash. I still believe that is the case. Just like all new electronic things, there are bound to be kinks and gremlins, and of course the bigger the machine is, the more problems can arise. I’ve no doubt that Boeing will solve the 787’s woes quickly. If they don’t, Airbus could be poised to swoop in (no pun intended) and put our once mighty American plane manufacturer out of business.

Until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.