A Pilot’s License or Pilot’s Certificate?

For those of us who have friends who fly as a profession, we have definitely heard them say they have a flying or a pilot’s licence after clocking so and so number of Nautical Miles or hours etc. However, on the contrary, if you read on the internet, equally possible is somebody calling the flying licence to be flying certificate. So which one exactly it is? A common notion so far has been that those who are flying commercial aircraft or jets own a flying certificate, while flying licence is reserved for those, who are on space duties.

Flying certificate

However, this seems a little off the hook in all honesty. According to Charles Spence at GeneralAviationNews, the FAA, governing body that issues these licences or certificates, recently has started using the term certificate for any aviation related activity while license has been earmarked to be used in case of any space related activity to help easy distinguishing.

Therefore, any activity related to an aviation related job, be it maintenance, flying or simple repair checks, all of them have a certificate issued against them. It is expected that these changes would soon take place on the FAA website too as over there, these terms are currently being used interchangeably as there had been no clear demarcation so far. According to the report on GANOklahoma City Office of the FAA has been using the term certificate for a while now while processing the papers of the pilots. This is certainly an interesting bit of information as we have heard both the terms being thrown around and never have been truly sure which is the right way.

Watch the Assembly of China’s First Man Made Aircraft C919 in 120 Seconds

While Boeing and Airbus have maintained monopoly in the large passenger aircraft segment, there have been a few players who are trying to rope into the trend and make a name for themselves. The likes of Mitsubishi and Embraer are probably the most well-known brands that are trying to give an alternative to the two of the biggest giants in the world of aviation. One new development that has kind of gone under the carpet is a China manufactured and designed aircraft, called C919. The aircraft is made by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) and features a single aisle.


This puts it up against the likes of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 as a plane capable of serving both short domestic distances as well as medium distances both domestically and internationally. The aircraft is expected to take its first commercial flight in 2016 and already more than 500 orders have been placed for it. Most of these orders are from the domestic Chinese airlines, though GE has also placed an order for 20 planes, which it would further lease out.

The Comac was expected to fly by the end of this year, but in July the plane was pushed back  because of reasons that have not been made public. Not a lot of people are confident of the plane making it big commercially, but another option may just not hurt really.

You can watch the assembling of one such C919 below:

Watch GE’s 3D Printed Jet Engine Fire

General Electric happens to be one of the leading players when it comes to engines in the Aerospace Industry. Along with, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royse, the triumvirate form the key propulsion core of pretty much every major passenger aircraft out there. GE has been in the past experimenting with the whole 3D fad to come up with an engine that could eventually replace out the metallic bodies, maybe in the future. We have seen several aviation parts in the past being manufactured using 3D printers, especially the non-load carrying components like the fairings.

The most recent development sees GE using 3D printing for an engine of the size of a football that would be used to power the RC planes, though who would right off one of the big boys like the GE-90 using the components right out of a 3D printer. In the past, GE has announced that the upcoming LEAP engines would be using nozzles that would be made out of 3D printer so that the engine would be cost effective.

You can catch the 3D printed aviation engine, called Angel Trumpet in the video above and it is interesting to note that the parts have been manufactured and sketched one by one and have then been assembled together using robust assembling techniques.

Water Cannon Salute Goes Horribly Wrong on a Virgin Atlantic Flight

It is a bit of a tradition to give a water cannon salute to a newly acquired aircraft when it is departing for a destination for the first time. It has been done several times over the past years where the aircraft basically is sprayed with jets of water by fire trucks on its two sides forming an arc around them as a gesture of best wishes. It was a rather uneventful morning at the Manchester airport when the inaugural Airbus 330 flight from Manchester to Atalanta was set to take off. The events took a rapid turn when the aircraft was given a foam cannon salute rather than a water cannon salute.

Airbus 330- Salute

The chain of events saw someone on the firetruck by mistake press on the Foam shower button rather than the plain water button which saw the firetrucks throw up foam rather than water which was expected from the cannons. This foam is used to subsidise the fire and obviously lead to clogging of the engines of the aircraft.

The passengers, 252 of them were initially told that the delay would be only of about 5 hours, though obviously declining took longer and the passengers were taken to hotels for an overnight stay in Manchester before departing next morning on their flight to Atalanta. In an official statement, Virgin said, “We needed to give the aircraft a thorough check over. The initial delay was whilst our teams carried out the inspection. It was then delayed overnight as the crew ran out of hours. Our crew are legally required a minimum rest time between flights”.

Image: Daily Mail

Turkish Airlines Forced to make an Emergency Landing after a Bomb Scare

A Turkish Airlines flight, TK 15, flying from Istanbul to Sao Paolo in Brazil was forced to make an emergency landing after a not was found in the lavatory cabin of the aircraft with the word ‘Bomb’ written on it. The aircraft made an immediate landing at the Casablanca airport in Monaco, which is en route the flight path to Brazil. After landing, it has been reported that all the passengers have disembarked the aircraft safely and there has been no casualty of any sort. The press officer of the airline too confirmed the reports of the incident, though did maintain everything is safe. So far, the incident looks like another hoax scandal, just like the TK 53 airlines, which was flying from Istanbul to Tokyo and was forced to make an emergency landing.

The aircraft is currently being searched for the explosives, though according to the latest, nothing has been found. With several unwanted incidents in the past couple of years, including the ill-fated, Air Asia, Malaysian Airlines flights as well as the recent case of GermanWings plane, you can understand why an extra layer of cautiousness is being applied. However, if the two cases do end up being a hox and nothing more, you would hope that Turkish Airlines would get to the depth of the issue and find the culprit, cause we could do with no such incidents.

Check out this Sensational Video of Landings Performed in Crosswinds at Birmingham Airport

A terrible weather and smothering crosswind is the worst nightmare of the pilot when performing a landing. All the possibilities from missing the approach, missing the runway, of the wing bumping the runway become a stark possibility when the weather gods take the matter in their own hands and it definitely is not a pretty sight if you are sitting in the plane. All you can really do is fold your hands and pray for yours and those with you, and their safety.

A stunning video posted by an aviation enthusiast Flugsnug shows a few aircrafts, including a twin engine ATR landing at the Birmingham airport in absolutely nightmare of conditions. It is clear none of the aircrafts featured in the video are the mainstay Boeing or Airbus planes, which perhaps would take to the conditions slightly better given their heavier weight and more powerful turbojet engines.

However, if you are an aviation enthusiast like us, you would absolutely enjoy these turboprop planes somehow safely managing to land safely. This is the time when you actually get to appreciate a good pilot and his work, where in spite of really challenging conditions, he is able to bring everybody home safely.

Here is the video:

Airbus Releases a Gorgeous Page Celebrating the Delivery of the First Airbus A250 XWB

Airbus A350 XWB is Airbus’ big move in enhancing the performances of its long range aircrafts. The XWB or Extra Wide Body Airbus A350 promises to deliver a better passenger experiences with lower vibration as well as green flying with lower emission rates than any that an Airbus aircraft has delivered. The very first fully functional- ready to fly Airbus A350 XWB was recently delivered to Qatar Airways in a ceremony and event that was anything but lacklustre.

Airbus A350-XWB

In order to recapture the feel and the event highlights, Airbus has come up with a beautiful microsite that integrates pictures, videos as well as the social media activities of the event as well as the development of the aircraft. The microsite for the same is available right here.

The aircraft Airbus A350 XWB is made 53% by weight from composite materials and promises 25% less fuel burn rate. So far, over 778 orders of the aircraft have been received by Airbus. The Airbus A350-900 has a range of about 14,350 km with a typical seating capacity of 315 passengers. With a wingspan of 64.75 meters, the Airbus A350 is made for long haul flying ensuring a better flying experience and a more efficient flying. the engine on the aircraft is a RR Trent XWB x2 with a thrust range of 374 kN.

India’s Aviation Downgrade to Tier 2 Set to be Revoked by December

In what was a rather embarrassing situation, when India was dropped to Tier 2 in the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA), a new twist of plot for the good is set to save the blushes. In what is seen as a positive influence from the visit of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the US, a delegation is set to inspect the improvements made by the DGCA as a response to the downgrade on December 8th, with high possibility that India’s position in Tier 1 will be restored.


All this comes as a result of a meeting of three FAA executives with the members of the EU Air Safety Committee where they discussed the possible measures taken by the DGCA. A result of this demotion saw the two airlines out of India that operate in the US, namely Jet Airways and Air India have their plans for expansion in the US put on hold.

The safety concerns that were raised have seen the DGCA recruit 75 CFOIs or Chief Flight Operations Inspectors, with 56 of them already put in place and the rest due to join up by next week. A senior DGCA official has said that all the positions will be filled by November 16th, well in time for the major inspection on December 8th.


Checkout this Beautiful Formation Flying Involving 5 Airbus A350

We have all seen formation flying involving a lot of fighter jets or even cargoes. To see airliners fly in a formation is a rare sight and one that is a joy to behold. Recently in September, the newly tested Airbus A350 XWB airplanes took to the sky to provide a glorious sight of formation flying. Having clocked several thousand hours in flight testing as well as development of the airliner, it was one of the first public display of flying from the wide body aircraft.

Airbus A350

The Airbus A350 XWB recently was certified by the EASA, which is one of the last certification tests an airliner must pass before being inducted into service. The Airbus A350 XWB is expected to enter into service sometime towards the end of the year 2014 and promises a reduction of at least 25% of fuel without compromising on the comfort or the range of flying. The aircraft has a twin jet configuration and can carry up to 369 passengers, though the number can be varied based on the configuration of the airlines. Qatar Airways is expected to be the first airlines to take the delivery of the Airbus A350 XWB.

You too can catch a glimpse of the show that the aircraft put up in a video right here:

New Livery on the Dreamliner Fleet of Etihad Airways Features Facets of Desert

The Dreamliner series of aircraft from Boeing is one of the most advanced commercial jets out there. With more usage of composites than ever before, the Dreamliner is one of the most economical, light yet strongest commercial jets out there and obviously there is a lot of interest and excitement around them. While in India, we have already seen Air India receive its first batch of orders, the same cannot be said for all the customers.

Etihad- Boeing 787

One of the largest customers of the Dreamliner is the UAE based, Etihad Airways, which has ordered a total of 71 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The first of these aircrafts is expected to be delivered towards the end of the year and as a result work on the same is progressing really fast. Boeing and Etihad, this weekend revealed to the world the very first fully painted Etihad owned, Dreamliner. As expected, the fleet has a unique livery or paint and features various facets of desert from Abu Dhabi, giving a feel of the origins of the airliner.

James Hogan, president and CEO, Etihad Airways said,

The U.S. is a strategically important part of our network. As we celebrate the rollout of our first 787 today, we remain focused on bringing Etihad Airways’ world-class hospitality and unparalleled product experience to provide more choice to Americans traveling with us worldwide. We are also very proud to support vital U.S. businesses including Boeing as one of the largest airline customers for the Dreamliner, an aircraft that will play a fundamental role in the future of our growing international network.

While we were really disappointed with Air India for going ahead with the exact same livery on their Dreamliners like any other plane, it is exciting that Etihad has decided to do things differently, the way probably the 787 deserves.

Image via: Airline reporter