Friday, September 9, 2016


Most of you will be aware that I have an interest but no great background in aviation.   On another post there was some discussion about the merits/hazards of flying on el cheepo carriers,   Happy to carry that on and broaden it out.

There are of course el cheepo carriers and el cheepo carriers.   If I had time to spare I would have no hesitation in flying Jet Star in New Zealand.   But airlines like Air Asia and Tiger leave me cold for a whole variety of reasons including the fact that they employ numbers of pilots that (1) wouldn't cut the mustard in more established airlines and (2) young pilots looking to build up their hours.    That's not a good recipe for safe travel neither is fact they tend to operate older aircraft with many, many cycles on the clock.   Throw in some slap dash maintenance and you get my drift.

Most airline disasters occur on take-off or landing always remembering that any and every landing is a controlled crash.   It is acknowledged the one thing airlines could do to greatly increase passenger  survivor-ability would be to install rear facing seats but they won't because studies have shown passengers won't stand (sit) for it.   Thems the breaks.

Airport congestion is another huge issue at major airports as is the fact that while English is the universal language of the industry some third world (and no so third world) pilots and air traffic controllers find it challenging.

There, that should be enough to get you started.


Psycho Milt said...

I worked as ground staff at Hamburg airport for a while in the mid-90s. One of the airlines we checked in for was Birgenair, a Turkish charter airline that mostly ferried guest workers between Turkey and Germany. It was very cheap but the tickets were sold mostly by Turk-run travel agencies and I wouldn't have been game to fly to Turkey with Birgenair in any case. I went on board the plane a couple of times - it was a DC8, "the pride of Japan Airlines in 1968!" according to the Ops guy. I remember standing with him looking at the dried up, cracked rubber seals around the doorway and the two of us speculating about what the actual air pressure in the cabin would be at 30,000 feet. A few years later, back in NZ, I saw on the news that a Birgenair DC8 had nosedived into the sea killing all on board, and wondered if it was the same plane - quite likely was, there wouldn't have been that many DC8s in use in the late 90s. There's cheap and then there's cheap...

The Veteran said...

For Egbut ... I have just checked out the cockpit of the 787 Dreamliner. It does have 'steam' instruments ... including an AH, ASI and Altitude indicator. Happy bout that.

Gerald said...

Past perceptions sometimes don't reflect the present.

Anonymous said...

if you measure value by accident stats I gather Qantas is about the best with no fatalities so far. I like them irrespective of that and found my numerous flights on them between Wellington - Hong Kong and return great. Best schedule, best price and great crews - what's not to like? I'm nervous about anything Asian or Arab unless they have a 'western' pilot in charge.

Wife and I did a local flight in Vanuatu down to Tanna and I was able to wander around with the Aussi pilot while he did his pre flight after noting he weighed all the passengers and luggage. He was clearly a professional and allowed wife to sit up front next to him which she found calming. May have been because she's a bit heavy but I've never told her that and said it was because she looks great.


Noel said...

"to install rear facing seats but they won't because studies have shown passengers won't stand (sit) for it"

More than simply a perceived passenger response. Increased weight from necessary construction, probable necessity to use a 3 point harness rather that a lap belt to name a few all add to resistance from airlines to install them.

Gerald said...

Try the poll here Vet.

The Veteran said...

Clearly the case for rear fencing seats is overwhelming but equally clearly cost and passenger resistance trumps safety and I guess I can understand that. In the 60s and 70s I flew in any number of RAF ac with rear facing seats but I'm not sure that's still the case.

The C130 in its tactical configuration has longitudinal seating and I suspect that is the the worst one of the three options.

I can recall a number of years ago at the Auckland Flying School one of the A Cat instructors coming in looking rather shaken. He had as a pupil the daughter of some high-up in PIA. 40 hours on and she had still not gone solo. Came in with a bit of a cross-wind and about 50 feet off the ground she simultaneously pulled off all power and took her hands of the control column and said she couldn't do it. Were I a betting man and dollars to donuts she's flying passenger jets from the left hand seat. Wouldn't fly PIA if you paid me.

Anonymous said...

A mate in Singapore related how a middle east airline sent their captains in for simulator refresher and upgrade training. The simulations are virtual reality. From the time this one senior Arab captain sat down he embarked on a series of stunningly incompetent actions that would have been disasters in reality. After a number of lather, rinse and repeat episodes the shaken instructor decided to call it a [bad] day and reschedule another session when the guy had sorted himself out. The response? 'I'm in command of this aircraft'.

He was away with the virtual reality fairies.


paul scott said...

Flying around Thailand in Wog airlines has been ok for me so far,.
Nok Air [ Nok means bird] have propeller aircraft, one each side, attached to the wing I think, and the girls wear yellow.
They are not as good looking as the Air Asia girls, who are smaller and wear red.
Air Nok from somewhere like Sakon Nakhon in the North East starts with a walk out to the tarmac, take photos, climb up steps, passenger count, go. .
Entry back in to the airport is quite a long drift in under the clouds.
Inside Sakhon Nakhon airport last time, a little kid caught me reading Nabakov.
He went away to get his Mum to show her the weird alien.
They don’t read paper in airports,they don’t speak much, they look at 5 inch screens.
She in yellow dress was taking a satisfaction survey at the airport desk.
“Do you like Air Nok ?"
“Yes I like you too much, I like you a lot ” I say,then later in aircraft I am placed in an upgrade area. That’s a thing about Thai girls, the spin goes both ways.

At Thailand's internal airports there are no bookshops. None.
Five McDonalds though at Don Muang, a sign of the horrendous increase in body weight and diabetes in Thailand due to diet change.
Thankfully some coffee shops, and again, no bookshops . None ..
If you are a Muslim at Don Muang there is a special prayer room, but if you are Buddhist or Christian you can go fuck yourself.
Which reminds me, the Prime Minister here is a Military General.
Here they refer to the bombings down south as “Not terrorists”, but "sabotage", you know just a little misdemeanor by some discontents, which happens to kill lots of people.
I have to write to the Newspapers to say
“These are Islam terrorists as your Thai people well know. You are at War. We are at War with this barbaric stuff.
Your dialogue with Islam terrorists is a waste of time.
It will see your people thrown out of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, and then the scum will come to Bangkok.
What is the matter with you , do I have to fucking do everything myself, General/? "

David said...

if you are Buddhist or Christian you can go fuck yourself.


The Veteran said...

David ... off topic but do I take it from that you think radical islamists are 'a' ok?
just askin.

Anonymous said...

I have used Air Asia a lot in the past and through the good offices of my pal even been on the the flight deck of the 320. A huge Sikh complete with turban was flying that day.
He certainly gave the air of calm confidence and as I heard later his great uncle flew Spitfires for the RAF WW2.

The Aircraft are all new and have service contracts with accredited agents including Singapore Airlines, it has been voted the best low cost airline in the world for 8 years in a row. What is interesting is that both the AF and AA Airbus crashes had a French national on the flight deck, one as captain and the other as co pilot. The new generation trust computers more than mechanical readouts and always look to solving a computer problem than flying the plane. So much for "western pilots".

Given that AA has around 200 planes and Air NZ has 60 plus the turn around time for AA is 25 minutes, I would suggest that the airmiles flown by AA in a year would be in the region of six times that of Air NZ multiply that by ten years and you have a very good safety record comparable to all major airlines.

It is a conceit to say only westerners can fly properly......that's what the Aussies said about the Japanese in 1940....shortsighted, bandy little men flying planes made out of bottle tops.

I wont fly Quantas....the winning streak has to end sometime and they charge like wounded bulls.

Veteran.,, I had my twacts fisted re the AH. What happened was they removed the mechanical gyroscope from the cockpit and put an electronic version somewhere else on the plane still connected to the steam readout that is not connected to the planes computer that wrong.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

David said...

Veteran, whatever makes you think that? I think all religions are a cancer on humanity and need to be surgically removed. They are all parasites, they have no redeeming features and are the root cause of every evil on Earth.

Noel said...

Agree with your Qantas comment. Back in the day was member of their frequent flyer program.
Today there isnt a lot of differnce between them and others.
Only measure now appears to be legroom and Emirates A380 probably is tops there.

The Veteran said...

Disagree re Qantas. Mrs Vet and I flew to Sydney a few months ago on their so called business class. Seated in the last row ... the only thing between us and the first row of cattle class seating was a curtain and and arsehole in the first row there kept kicking the back of my seat in trying to stretch out ... food was crap too and the cabin service not much better. Transferred from them to Virgin Aust for the Sydney/Bali leg and it was chalk and cheeze.