The hoverboards in question are not the least bit like the devices from the Back to the Future films, but maybe they’re close enough for some people. I’ve seen a few of these around now, and while they look fun, it appears some models have an unfortunate tendency to burst into flames. That’s not much use if Biff Tannen happens to be in hot pursuit.
An exploding two-wheeler burned down a house in Louisiana a few weeks ago; another scooter combusted in the same state in the past week. A gyroboard caused significant damage to a home in New York a few days ago. At a mall in Washington this week, a scooterboard caught fire and shoppers were forced to evacuate. The perceived danger is significant enough that major airlines have banned the little vehicles altogether.
Might airships ever return to the skies, and convey us from one place to another, as an alternative to flying in an aircraft?
In 2013, the Aeros Corporation, based near San Diego, demonstrated a tethered flight of Dragon Dream – an airship measuring 90m (295ft) long and 27m wide. As big as this airship is, it is still only small sized prototype – the final design could be more than 169m long and be able to carry a cargo of 66 tonnes.
It’s something that’s been talked about for a long time though, so I don’t know if anything will actually come of it. That said, airship travel didn’t too bad at all. Take a look at these photos of the passenger decks of the Hindenburg, the dining rooms, lounge areas, and small bedrooms. If that’s not a comfortable way to fly, what is?
Unfortunately though, it was the tragic destruction of the Hindenburg in 1937, that brought the era of airship travel to an end.
A colourful visualisation of aircraft traffic arriving and departing from the five major airports surrounding London. Apparently just about all of these flights, 99.8% of them, experience no ATC related delays. Not bad for what must be some of the busiest airspace in the world.
Frequent flyers especially may be interested in the air they breathe while cruising at thirty-thousand feet… put it this way, there are all sorts of surprising ingredients, as it were, in the mix. And then this, an explanation of the low humidity environment of many aircraft cabins:
Most airplanes use about 50% recirculated air and about 50% bleed air that comes from the engines. Bleed air isn’t supposed to be dangerous. Outside air is first pulled into the first compartment of the engine, where it’s compressed and then pumped into the aircraft, sometimes through a filter. Then, it’s decompressed and mixed with the recirculated air before being blown out those little eyeball vents above your seat. The air is stagnant, and at about 12-percent humidity, it’s also drier than a desert. However, the air mixture is supposed to be safe.
An in-depth description of a flight from London to Tokyo, aboard a Boeing 747, written by British Airways pilot, Mark Vanhoenacker… that is quite possibly a more enjoyable experience than flying is, or has become.
It’s been dark for hours now. There are three pilots on a flight this long and now it’s time for my break. A colleague takes my place in the right-hand seat of the cockpit. Before I go to the bunk, located at the rear of the cockpit, I stay for a moment by one of the side windows, to gaze out and up. If you look into the night sky from an airplane for more than a few minutes you may well see a shooting star. My eye catches something. I look, smile and say to myself, There’s another one. I don’t even mention them to a colleague; another will be along soon enough.
The seat also features a fixed-back shell with a pan seat recline. This means you won’t feel the passenger behind you bumping or kicking your seat and, if you recline, the forward-sliding pan means you won’t be invading that person’s space.
As a bonus, the format also allows more seats to be fitted in an aircraft, surely making them a win for everyone. So, what are the chances of seeing these seats on flights any time soon?
Might this be a bucket list item? Visit fifty-two places across the globe, over the course of a year, while spending as close to week as is possible in each? Here are the fifty-two places. Now to find a round-the-world air ticket that makes it possible to visit all these places on the one trip…
In NSW, and I dare say in many other places, motorists are not permitted to handle their mobile phones whatsoever while they are driving. They are however able to pass their device to a passenger, but that’s about all. Needless to say taking Instagram photos is clearly out of the question.
Airline pilots appear to be bound by similar regulations, though as this collection of images goes to show, they don’t always seem to adhere to them, unless of course another crew member, someone who is non flight deck personnel, is actually taking the photos.
Perhaps airlines could consider assigning someone the role of flight photographer… many of these pictures, by sheer virtue of the circumstances in which they are taken, are stunning.
Despite incredible growth, airlines have not come close to returning the cost of capital, with profit margins of less than 1% on average over that period. In 2012 they made profits of only $4 for every passenger carried.
The engine information shown: On the top left are two dials; they indicate the N1 setting for the left and right engine. N1 is a measure of engine power – at 100% N1, the engine is producing maximum power (right now the engines are at 22.5% N1). The second row shows the engine’s EGT (exhaust gas temperature, currently 411°C), another measure of engine power and also an important thing to monitor – if the exhaust gas is too hot, you’re in trouble. To the right of the dials is a grid where engine warnings would pop up. On the bottom right are the fuel gauges; it shows the fuel in each of the three tanks and the total fuel onboard (40,200 gallons).