tip off

BEN SANDILANDS | October 09, 2015 | SPACE | |

Blue skies and red water ice found on Pluto

Highlighted areas of exposed water ice on Pluto

What is it that uncovers red coloured areas of water ice under the blue skies of Pluto?

NASA scientists have offered only a few partial answers to these questions in the latest briefing on the results of its New Horizons fly past of the distant micro-planet in July.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 09, 2015 | ROUTES | 12 |

Air NZ might have just decided where Qantas will fly its first 787s

Are we all going to San Francisco? It seems so. SF Travel promotion photo

The activation by Air New Zealand of the potential of its Star Alliance relationship with United to bring the US carrier onto the San Francisco-Auckland route means Qantas would be really keen to have its first tranche of Boeing 787-9s now rather than in the second half of 2017.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 07, 2015 | AIRLINER DESIGNS | 8 |

CSeries airliners battered by bad financial news stories

Lovely, but unloved, the protype CSeries 100 on its first flight two years ago.

It has been a damaging few days of bad news stories for Bombardier’s CSeries of regional jet airliners, culminating in Airbus breaking off talks apparently aimed at selling it control of the program for a big discount over its development costs.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 07, 2015 | AIRLINER DESIGNS | 3 |

Airbus ends talks with Bombardier over troubled CSeries program


The larger of the two CSeries jets the 300 is the size of an A319 or 737-700

Update: Airbus has now responded to the earlier Reuters report about the Canadian jet maker, Bombardier offering to sell it control of its CSeries regional jet program, confirming that there were talks, but that ‘such discussions are no longer being pursued’.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 06, 2015 | CARBON RELATED | 9 |

Cathay Pacific lays it on the line about climate change

A cheerful cover about a really serious climate change report by an airline

Cathay Pacific isn’t the only airline seized by the need to reduce fossil sourced carbon emissions, but its  2014 Sustainable Development Report may be the most lucid and honest account of what a major airline is doing, and how, overall, it may yet fail.


There are a few issues with the two jet MH370 conspiracy theory

Are these people milling around at an unidentified airport fodder for CIA attacks?

For those who enjoy conspiracy theories, there is a very good one being circulated about how two jets and a captured US drone command post in Afghanistan led to the murder by the CIA of almost everyone on MH370 in order to stop the equipment being sold to China by the Taliban.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 05, 2015 | AIRLINER DESIGNS | 6 |

Bombardier hungry for orders and cash for its CSeries jets

CSeries 100, will it ever find its destiny in the Australian outback?

Devoid of more ‘quality’ orders and at risk of losing some that it already has the Quebec plane and train maker Bombardier is reported by Reuters to be asking for even more cash for its CSeries airliners from the provinces appropriately named Caisse pension fund.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 03, 2015 | CABINS | 27 |

Boeing leaks more teaser details of a seven seats across 7M7 airliner

Those who miss the civilized seven across main cabin seating on the once widely used Boeing 767 jets might take some encouragement from a graphic  circulated by ‘wealth managers’ Merrill Lynch and Flightglobal this last week.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 02, 2015 | SPACE | 3 |

Pluto’s locked binary partner Charon reveals its finer details

Part of Charon image showing a girdle of rift like features

NASA’s space probe New Horizons has now downloaded the most striking and high definition view of Pluto’s large companion Charon.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 01, 2015 | AIR CRASHES | 4 |

MH370 search dismisses two ‘odd’ objects on closer look

While casting no light on yesterday’s kerfuffle over fresh search strategy talks in China, the  delayed MH370 update has eliminated the first of two sets of objects of potential interest on the floor of the south Indian Ocean after a closer look.

BEN SANDILANDS | October 01, 2015 | SPACE | 16 |

NBN satellite launch may not deliver what it promises

Sky Muster 1 is launched, image from ABC TV.


One of the most powerful forces in the world today, disruptive new technology, will destroy all of the hopes that rode into space this morning on the rocket that launched the first of two NBN National Broadband Network satellites toward geostationary orbits.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 30, 2015 | ROUTES | 6 |

Qatar Airways starts Sydney-Doha daily 777-300ERs in March

If you think Qatar being in Oneworld with Qantas is useful, check the fine print closely

As widely anticipated Qatar Airways is coming to Sydney from 1 March with daily 777-300ERs on the Doha route.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 30, 2015 | AIR CRASHES | 6 |

Malaysia ‘hopes for’ MH370 search talks in China next week

Hoping to arrange a date with China, Malaysia transport minister Liow Tiong Lai

Following on China’s snubbing of a tripartite meeting concerning the search for missing flight MH370, Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai says he hopes Australia, Malaysia and China will meet in China next week to discuss a more effective search strategy.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 30, 2015 | SPACE | 1 |

Saving the space station just made easier by Boeing deal

Orbital sunrise on the ISS seen from Russia's Zvezda module

That background chattering about the chances of the International Space Station being abandoned in the near future may be turned down by Monday’s extension by five years of Boeing’s contract to provide engineering support services, resources and personnel to the program until 30 September 2020.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 29, 2015 | AIR SAFETY | 51 |

What happened when a Jetstar captain and trainee locked horns approaching Sydney

A Jetstar A321: Ready to rumble?

It seems that there was a bit of verbal biffo in the cockpit of a Jetstar A320 approaching Sydney Airport more than two years ago between a ‘tough’ training captain and a rookie first officer.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 29, 2015 | SPACE | 11 |

NASA prostitutes Mars in dreadful PR fail over water discovery

Enough to bring salty tears to the eyes of real scientists?


The important scientific evidence that water is able to flow short distances on the frigid and very low atmospheric pressure surface of Mars because of dissolved salts was thoroughly prostituted in an embarrassing NASA media conference overnight.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 27, 2015 | AIRLINER DESIGNS | 8 |

Second version of Airbus A350 begins to take shape

The nose and 'office' of the first A350-1000 as seen last week

It is about the size of a 777-300ER, but far more efficient in operation, and based on three flights this observer has taken in the first edition of the A350, the -900, this -1000 model will be ultra quiet to fly in.

BEN SANDILANDS | September 27, 2015 | AIR CRASHES | 15 |

Is Australia missing the point about the MH17 atrocity?

Russian ground-to-air missiles on display at a defence show

This last week the Australian media largely ignored Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pressing once more for a special multi-national tribunal to investigate the MH17 atrocity in which a Malaysian Airlines 777 was shot down over Ukraine on 17 July last year, killing all 298 people onboard.


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