On folding up a world record paper airplane

Tuesday, 25 November, 2014

Because, when you build paper aeroplanes, you should strive to build the best paper aeroplanes.

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The best time to fly? Well it’s the early birds who get home sooner…

Monday, 17 November, 2014

Since I’m buzzing about the place at the moment… when it comes to avoiding delays while flying, especially domestically, taking flights that are scheduled for earlier in the day, rather than later, might be the way to go.

Like buses and trains, aircraft are also prone to hold ups as the day progresses, as they move from place to place, so travelling first thing, where possible, looks to be a plan.

The later you leave, the greater the average delay you will face until around 6PM when things flatten out and 10PM when we see benefits in leaving later. It makes sense that delays increase as the day goes on because, we understand, the primary cause of delays is waiting for the plane to arrive from another city. The first flights out in the morning don’t have this problem.

Based on US research, but I imagine same principle applies elsewhere.

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Timelapse footage from this year’s Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Friday, 7 November, 2014

I don’t think they actually move through the sky quite as quickly as they appear to… timelapse footage of several hundred hot air balloons launching at dawn, at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held in the US state of New Mexico.

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Can you name the first woman to fly around the world solo?

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014

In 1964, Jerrie Mock, a mother of three living in Columbus, Ohio, piloting a single engine Cessna 180 aircraft, became the first woman to fly solo around the world, yet the chances are you’ve not heard of her

But the last 50 years have produced no Hollywood movie, no legend, and, until recently, not so much as a statue of Mock in her small hometown. Elsewhere in Ohio – the so-called birthplace of aviation – the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton doesn’t include her. Committee members who vote for inductees, according to one who added Mock to the ballot in 2003, don’t recognize her name.

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Those magnificent hang glider pilots and their hang gliders

Thursday, 9 October, 2014

Hang gliding alone is not thrill enough for some flyers, such as Théo de Blic, who choose to engage in certain aerobatic manoeuvres to ramp up the excitement.

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Flying from Singapore to New York in the top deck

Wednesday, 8 October, 2014

Derek Low recently flew from Singapore to New York as a Singapore Airlines “Suites Class” passenger, which is like super luxurious, seven star, platinum plated, or something, air travel, and documented almost every minute of the journey.

It must be quite the experience, but I don’t know if I could – much as I’d like to – ever fly that way… I’d just keep thinking this’ll all be over way too soon.

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Imagine the world if the space between airports were nations

Thursday, 5 June, 2014

World Airports Voronoi by Jason Davies

If a nation’s size – and we’d be talking city states in some instances here – was based on the distance from its airport to the next nearest one, this is how the globe would look… by London based data visualisation consultant Jason Davies.

Via prosthetic knowledge.

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A little altitude is required to appreciate airports as works of art

Friday, 30 May, 2014

I used to fly aircraft, in my academy days so to speak, and can appreciate a certain artistic merit in the design of airports and, in particular, runways, but often times their aesthetic qualities can only be perceived at altitude.

These are some of the sentiments that inspired New York City based art director and graphic designer Lauren O’Neill’s Holding Pattern project, a collection of satellite images, gleaned from Google Earth, of airports and their runways, from across the globe.

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Landing on an aircraft carrier, now that’s landing an aircraft

Friday, 23 May, 2014

I flew small aircraft, really small aircraft, for a couple years once, and if you asked me what the single hardest aspect of flying was, I’d tell you it was landing. As long as you have your wits about you, taking off and cruising are relatively straightforward processes. Almost like driving a car.

When it comes to landing you really have to get a number of things right, and all at the same time. In most cases though you have a nice wide, and long, runway to bring the aircraft down onto. But what about trying to land on an aircraft carrier? That would present a few more challenges, would it not?

Again, you have to get a number of things right simultaneously, but the margin for error is somewhat reduced, as US Navy pilot Tim Hibbetts explains:

You catch sight of the carrier over 20 miles out through a light haze. Even after several years, it still stirs an emotional response. The thing is so big… and so small. It’s big when you have to clean it or paint it, but small if you have a rumor or need to land on it. You’re about 10 minutes prior to your Charlie time (when your hook should be crossing the ramp) and you’ve checked in with the group’s air defense ship. You’re coming down to your marshaling altitude before you pop the 10 nautical mile bubble, so you minimize your chances of swapping paint with someone. Your wingman is now in tight formation, so he’s not helping you look around to clear the airspace. You’re essentially flying both planes, so your head is on a swivel. If you see another aircraft at the last second, you can certainly jerk away to avoid it, but you’re just going to send your wing man to his death, so “vigilance” isn’t just a noun.

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The city and its light signature

Thursday, 17 April, 2014

Can you name the city, based only on an aerial photo of its night time glow as emanating from street, building, and other lighting? Being a frequent visitor to these centres, by way of flights that arrive after dark, would be a distinct advantage.

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