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Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

Latest

Inside the wild worst of regional aviation in Australia, as uncovered by the ATSB

Inside the wild worst of regional aviation in Australia, as uncovered by the ATSB

July 8, 2009 2 Comments

On 26 June 2007 a Skippers Aviation Embraer EMB-120ER turboprop with 31 people on board nearly crashed on final approach to the Jundee mine airstrip in WA. The ATSB final report into this serious incident reads like a tour through the wild west, or worst, of Australian air transport. It has bad piloting, dismal airline […]

And now, the differences between the JSF and the A400M

July 8, 2009

This Bloomberg article on the seemingly intractable problems with the Airbus A400M military transporter is a reminder of the risks of reality suspension in defence projects world wide. The A400M has the potential to destroy government funds on a European scale, in terms of cancellation and total loss of investment. But the JSF, which is […]

The flightless wonderliner rolls, brakes and turns under own power for the first time

The flightless wonderliner rolls, brakes and turns under own power for the first time

July 8, 2009 8 Comments

One day before the second anniversary of the ‘faux’ roll out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the prototype has moved under its own power at Paine field, Everett, near Seattle. No test flight program for the 787 has been given since its ballyhooed first flight on 30 June was cancelled at short notice only days […]

How the Joint Strike Fighter and Dreamliner 787 programs are compromised by similar project management failures

How the Joint Strike Fighter and Dreamliner 787 programs are compromised by similar project management failures

July 7, 2009 16 Comments

While many of Australia’s defence commentators are in the US witnessing the roll out of the country’s first F/A-18F Block 2 Super Hornet, which is the metaphorical equivalent of unveiling a Polish cavalry rider and horse on the eve of WW II, the Boeing 787 is emulating the JSF program as being a screw up. […]

Why Air Power Australia is an important addition to the Plane Talking blog roll

Why Air Power Australia is an important addition to the Plane Talking blog roll

July 7, 2009 3 Comments

Crikey and its blogs report on things that the established media often ignores or misunderstands or wraps up in the obscure language of managerial or administrative english. This is a criticism that has also been made of Plane Talking, for its non-coverage of defence aerospace issues. It is a valid criticism. The independent Air Power […]

The truth about standing room flights, or is Michael O’Leary losing his marbles?

July 7, 2009 6 Comments

Air travel anti-Christ and CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary overlooks two realities in his pursuit of standing room flights. 1. Filling a 737 with passengers standing upright and strapped to a ‘bar stool’ would exceed the certified emergency evacuation load limit by as many as 90 passengers, and require re-certification and possibly an extra set […]

AF447 related-A classic ‘pre-computerised cockpit’ encounter with iced up pitots

July 6, 2009

A US reader has found an intriguing report into an incident in 1996 in which an American Airlines Airbus A300-600R suffered from some of the issues identified as affecting AF447 . The jet flew into severe icing conditions and the pilots lost reliable speed readings. This jet pre dates the fly-by-wire and intensively computer aided […]

Is stuffed, narrow and miserable part of the plan for the Qantas Cityflyer fleet?

July 5, 2009 4 Comments

There are a few puzzles to consider as the Qantas Cityflyer fleet, which is mostly based on aging but comfortable 254 seat Boeing 767-300s faces falling demand, rising competition and a delayed Boeing 787. Part of the puzzle is that 787s were supposed to have replaced the oldest and thus most costly to maintain 767s […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-How Qantas took a full service fare off the Cotton family and gave them low cost quality

Angry Flyers Lounge-How Qantas took a full service fare off the Cotton family and gave them low cost quality

July 3, 2009 9 Comments

Nick Cotton and family who live near Sydney were ripped off by their Qantas experience this year and want their correspondence with its Customer Care office published. This is his story, told in letters to and from Qantas Customer Care, I purchased 4 tickets on Qantas to Johannesburg for my family (2 adult children + […]

AF447-Preliminary report into Air France disaster contains hints of an epic struggle for control

AF447-Preliminary report into Air France disaster contains hints of an epic struggle for control

July 3, 2009 9 Comments

AF447 an Air France Airbus A330-200, struck the mid Atlantic ocean just over a month ago ‘in flying position’ going straight ahead but falling so fast its underside was forced upwards toward the ceiling with ‘great compressive force’. There was no mid air breakup. The accident, which killed all 228 people on board the Rio […]

Hello Sydney-Welcome to the Tiger experience

Hello Sydney-Welcome to the Tiger experience

July 2, 2009 1 Comment

Here is a taste of what Sydneysiders can look forward to when Tiger turns up tomorrow (Friday, 3 July) on the Melbourne route, courtesy of the 7 network’s sneak peek at its new reality show Air Ways. Just another day on Tiger Airways Air Ways is shot in Tiger terminals and jets with the airline’s […]

Airbusophobia versus reality plus a few things to keep worrying about

Airbusophobia versus reality plus a few things to keep worrying about

July 1, 2009 1 Comment

There is no possible connection between the crash of an the Yemenia Airbus A310 a day ago and the 1 June crash of an AirFrance A330-200 in the mid Atlantic with the loss of 228 lives. But that won’t stop the Airbusophobia which seems to rule the air waves at the moment. They were both […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-Jetstar’s New Zealand offensive

Angry Flyers Lounge-Jetstar’s New Zealand offensive

July 1, 2009 4 Comments

Jetstar’s entry into the NZ domestic market has so far been three weeks of picking fights with its customers. All the carrier has to do now to cap it off is to affix murals showing the underarm bowling incident to the cabin bulkheads. In the most recent reaction to the ill-will it has generated, Jetstar […]

Some last statistics from Qantas and Virgin Blue before things get even worse

Some last statistics from Qantas and Virgin Blue before things get even worse

June 30, 2009

The May provisional traffic statistics from the Qantas and Virgin Blue brands are the last insights into their operations before black Friday, 3 July. This Friday is the day Delta, the world’s largest carrier, enters the Australia-US market on the Sydney-Los Angeles route, and Singapore Airlines’ Jetstar clone, Tiger, takes on everybody and Jetstar in […]

V Australia adds Hong Kong to list of possible new routes

June 30, 2009

A leak that says Virgin Blue is asking for slots at Hong Kong airport for its V Australia subsidiary isn’t surprising, except for taking so long. The two factors in this move are the caustic losses being made by all carriers on the crowded trans Pacific non-stops to the US, and the synergy of a […]

Attempt to lessen legal obligations of airlines blocked in Senate by pilot unions

June 30, 2009 1 Comment

A back door attempt to water down the absolute responsibility of airlines for the actions of their employees and criminalise pilots has been blocked in the Senate. The government attempted to use the device of a Select Legislative Instrument (SLI) to amend the Aviation Transport Security Act 2005 to place off-duty airline flight crew outside […]

Dreamliner-An Impossible Dream?

Dreamliner-An Impossible Dream?

June 28, 2009 8 Comments

The most alarming question to arise from the Dreamliner fiasco is whether high composite airliners are doomed to fail. Not fail as in fail to reach production, although that is a possibility even at this stage, but fail as in start crashing after large numbers of the two high composite airliners in question, the Boeing […]

Where might the Dreamliner fiasco take Boeing and Airbus?

June 26, 2009 2 Comments

It needs to be recognised that the 787 project has the potential to ruin the Boeing Commercial Airplane business and force the company as a whole to re-organise its defence, space and other technologies activities into a separated entity. Such thoughts are probably already being entertained in EADS, the owner of Airbus, as to how […]