The WalkerClark law firm in the US published on its web-site an interesting comment on the Boeing 787 debacle. "The February 4, 2013, issue of the New Yorker includes a short piece on current problems with the Boeing Dreamliner. It should be at the top of the reading list for every law firm managing partner who is considering the risks and opportunities of legal process outsourcing. James Surewiecki describes how Boeing’s decision to outsource design and production of an unprecedented percentage of the Boeing 787 aircraft, combined with a “build twice, check once” attitude about FAA certifications, produced risks that could have been easily avoided."
After more than 70 tests, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson pulled the model airplane with the 55-inch wingspan out of the wind tunnel at the University of Michigan for the final time. It was 1933, and the 23-year-old aviation engineering wunderkind had sensed months earlier that there was a problem with the design of the sleek plane. Now he had proof he could share with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation engineering team in Burbank, Calif. The stakes couldn’t have been higher.
A student from Texas has invented a plastic pistol that anyone can make with a 3-D printer - not exactly an "aviation advance, however....."
US Major Defence Programs & the War of the Wide Bodies
n the quest for (some) transparency in defence spending, a new US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report provides a brief 2 page overview of 86 such programmes.
For Airbus, the A350 XWB presents a wealth of opportunity, since the plane was designed to compete directly with both the 787 Dreamliner and Boeing's 777 and 777-X.
Questionable methods of passenger screening - observation & racial profiling
The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques program screens passengers by observing their behaviour to detect potential high-risk travellers. The program’s Behaviour Detection Officers detect passenger behaviours indicative of stress, fear, or deception. Since the program’s inception in Fiscal Year 2007, TSA data indicate that the program has expended an estimated $878 million and has more than 2,800 full-time equivalent positions, as of September 30, 2012. Despite the program’s growth, TSA has not implemented a strategic plan ensuring the program’s success.
GAO reports on TSA Acquisition of Screening Technology and TWIC Pilot
TSA acquisition programs represent billions of dollars in life cycle costs and support a range of aviation security programs, including technologies used to screen passengers and checked baggage. Within DHS, TSA is responsible for establishing requirements for testing and deploying transportation system technologies. Since 2010, GAO has reported that DHS and TSA faced challenges in managing acquisition efforts, including deploying technologies that did not meet requirements and were not appropriately tested and evaluated
In September 2011, The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that, overall, FAA did a good job following its certification processes in assessing the composite fuselage and wings of Boeing's 787 against its airworthiness standards. However, a new GAO report has indicated that the approval process--referred to as certification--presents challenges for FAA in terms of resources and maintaining up-to-date knowledge of industry practices, and identified two issues that may hinder FAA's efforts to conduct certifications in an efficient and timely manner.
Airport-centric Development (U.S.) & Heathrow and Berlin Challenges
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to examine airport-centric development and the activities of airport operators and regional stakeholders to facilitate such development. In an effort to increase airports' efficiency in moving passengers and cargo while bolstering the economies of regions surrounding airports, some airport operators, government officials, and business owners are exploring opportunities to strategically develop airports and the regions around them. This report describes the factors considered and actions taken by airport operators, government officials, developers, and others to facilitate airport-centric development.
This newsletter looks at two health issues that have also impacted aviation and travel. Although the first – Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – is less related to travel today, the 2003 SARS outbreak, which was successfully contained, initially was a “travel related” scare.
Boeing787 Batteries & EU Aviation Incident Reporting
New details about the fire aboard the B787 have been disclosed in a preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that provides the most comprehensive picture so far of the battery fire in the 787 that was parked at an airport and burst into flame on Jan. 7
Airport Passenger Facility Charges, American Airlines Merger and Carnival's latest Triumph
A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has been published of a study of alternative means of collecting airport passenger facility charges (PFCs) that would allow such charges to be excluded from the ticket price
This issue of the Newsletter contains a number of articles on airports. We compare the integrated approach to airports and airlines in Singapore and Dubai with the highly publicised difficulties facing airlines and railway terminals in Germany. On the one side we have the article entitled "From hub to tourist destination An explorative study of Singapore and Dubai¹s aviation-based transformation"
The last manned strike fighter and robot like flying machines
With UK Royal Air Force pilots beginning test flights of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet in the US (UK is acquiring a vertical takeoff version) the huge cost of this programme again raises the question - with the emergence of the ubiquitous Drone, are these aircraft really required?