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Articles by Ben Sandilands

Comet lander Philae stuck in a rocky badly lit place

Although it wasn’t known when scenes of jubilation broke out in the control room of the Rosetta mission when its comet lander Philae touched down on the dark surface of Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it ‘flew’ for another 113 minutes.

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Virgin Galactic survivor didn’t know critical lever was unlocked

In its latest update on the crash of the Virgin Galactic space tourism vehicle, America’s NTSB says the surviving pilot didn’t know a critical control lever had been unlocked at the wrong speed.

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Boeing unwilling to comment on 777 security issues

Boeing is not casting any official light on the concerns that have been raised over the insecure access to an electronics and electrical systems bay located below and behind the floorline of the cockpit of its 777s, including the 777-200ER that was missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. This is Boeing’s response to a request made [...]

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Scoot to keep its long haul 787s nearer to home, for now

Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson says the wide body Singapore Airlines low cost carrier is comfortable and optimistic within its chosen space of non-stop routes of up to around nine hours flight time from Changi Airport. But in a wide ranging interview Wilson also said “We have a watching brief on possibilities beyond that nine hours [...]

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Qantas classic logo jet goes through its pre-delivery paces

It’s always hard to keep a secret in Seattle, such as a special logo paint job, when the jet in question has to be rolled outside and taken on pre-delivery flights.

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Should Sydney’s 2nd Airport celebrate Lawrence Hargrave?

Should Sydney’s second major airport be named after one of the great unsung heroes of Australian, indeed, world aviation, the modest but far sighted box kite and curved airfoil innovator, Lawrence Hargrave?

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MH370: Boeing needs to explain neglect of 777 security flaw

The unsecured electrical and electronics bay located under the floor and behind the cockpit of the Boeing 777-200ER that performed vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is again in the spotlight.

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Boeing, market forecasts, and … crowded Sydney Airport

There is a special form of agony involved in sitting arm-in-sling through an excellent Boeing market forecast in which no-one actually discussed whether or not the projected growth would ever fit into Sydney Airport.

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Airbus A330-200 gets enough range for non-stop SYD-LAX

Warming to the topic that $$$ are all that matters when airlines choose airliners, it’s noted that the latest 242 tonne version of the A330-200 could do non-stop flights both ways between Sydney and Los Angeles.

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Boeing to be ‘boring’ with a look alike 737 replacement!

There will be much gnashing of teeth and sobbing into anoraks today as the ghastly implications of a Reuters story quoting Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney spreads throughout the ranks of plane spotters.

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Bradfield, a fitting if ironic name for Sydney’s 2nd Airport

Naming Sydney’s 2nd airport for a man with such astonishing connections with turbulent politics in NSW is an act of generous genius by PM Abbott

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Silkair brings quality to Cairns and underserved FNQ

In an important boost to leisure as well as business connections with SE Asia, Singapore Airlines’ single aisle subsidiary Silkair is to start flights between Singapore and Cairns three times a week from May.

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Space Tourism looks beyond sub-orbital hops to moon flights

Virgin Galactic’s vision for space tourism was already under seige by those with even more ambitious plans, including Earth-Moon loops

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Branson on SS2: “Grand program has horrible setback”

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson says the apparent pilot error that may have caused the crash of the SpaceShipTwo sub orbital craft last Friday is ‘easily fixable’ and has vowed to press on with the program.

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Virgin Galactic crash: Dead pilot moved critical lever too soon

The dead co-pilot of the crashed Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space craft Michael Alsbury moved a crucial control surface lock to an unlock position seconds before it tumbled and broke apart according to US crash investigators.

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Virgin Galactic crash investigation will take a year too long

When America’s National Transportation Safety Board acting chair Christopher Hart said the SpaceShipTwo crash investigation could take up to a year he almost certainly killed Richard Branson’s space tourism dream. This is why.

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Did ‘Screw it Do it’ bring Virgin Galactic crashing to earth?

If the central allegations about the conduct of Virgin Galactic in this UK Sunday Telegraph report are correct,  it will not just be Richard Branson’s legacy that will suffer, but the complex and arguably inadequate state of safety regulation of commercial space ventures by US authorities. However, caution should be exercised in leaping to either [...]

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Branson “We are not going to push on blindly”

Branson says Virgin Galactic might not finish what it has started

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