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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

Dreamliner nightmare-Qantas cancels 15 and defers first deliveries of others by 4 years

Dreamliner nightmare-Qantas cancels 15 and defers first deliveries of others by 4 years

June 26, 2009 6 Comments

Qantas has cancelled 15 Boeing 787s and delayed the first tranche of deliveries from the balance of a remaining firm order of 50 of the jets for four years. The move saves the airline $US 3 billion in capital expenditure liabilities, and also keeps it clear of the consequences of current issues with the design […]

The Dreamliner debacle-Time to tell the truth

June 25, 2009 5 Comments

One of the most troubling aspects of the Dreamliner nightmare is the failure of the jet’s composite structures to behave as predicted by the computer models used by Boeing. If the assumptions made in the design diverged so sharply from results when the wing was put under stress, what confidence remains in the overall robustness […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-Why can’t I use my laptop?

Angry Flyers Lounge-Why can’t I use my laptop?

June 25, 2009 1 Comment

Why can’t I use my laptop or mobile phone when the plane is taking off or landing? The answers to this question from a Crikey reader come at a time when Qantas is about to launch a system in which ‘dangerous’ mobile phones are made safe, for a fee of course, using new communications technology. […]

Dreamliner ‘Neverliner’ bonanza for Airbus-up to 12 more A330s for Jetstar, maybe.

June 25, 2009 1 Comment

The numbers varied, but the hot tip earlier this morning was that up to 12 Airbus A330s will be added to the Jetstar fleet by late 2010 or early 2011 to replace the 787 capacity Boeing has failed to deliver according to any of its past broken promises. This was followed by another hot tip […]

Qantas review of 787 program moving toward conclusion

June 24, 2009 2 Comments

Boeing has a new definition of wing. It is ‘side of airplane’. This means it wasn’t really the wing that was starting to break two months ago under static testing, it was just the side of the Dreamliner. Easily fixed. Could have flown on time. Nothing to worry about. This tripe, swallowed in its entirety […]

Dreamliner-The wing began to break

June 24, 2009 2 Comments

Getting the truth out of Boeing is a real struggle. This issue that the company is trying to represent as something minor that can be patched internally was the wing starting to delaminate at something less than 120% of the maximum design load. The side location dutifully noted by the US media in a Boeing […]

Bad times at Boeing, Dreamliner delayed again pending further design fixes

June 24, 2009 2 Comments

There is no new schedule for flight testing of the Boeing Dreamliner following the postponement of the first flight due by 30 June because of the discovery in April of design deficiencies in the area where the wing joins either side of the fuselage of the high composite ‘plastic’ airliner. Boeing issued this statement a […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-Sending a letter to Jetstar

June 23, 2009 15 Comments

We have invited Jetstar to reply to this complaint in writing to our POSTAL ADDRESS ONLY. Subject: how far have JETSTAR come with technology?? Hi Guys, I think maybe the actual answer is: not forward but backward! Yes! It seems they are able to have great huge iron birds fly through the air carrying thousands […]

Laser a plane, go to jail

June 22, 2009 5 Comments

An item in the Cairns Post this morning adds to the rising number of fools with lasers being caught doing something that might have seemed like a coward’s cheap thrill in pointing a laser at an aircraft. A TEENAGE boy has become the first person charged under Queensland’s new laser laws after he allegedly targeted […]

Minor injuries reported on Qantas flight to Perth from Hong Kong this morning due to turbulence

Minor injuries reported on Qantas flight to Perth from Hong Kong this morning due to turbulence

June 22, 2009

Qantas has acted ahead of media reports this morning to announce some minor injuries caused by severe air turbulence on an A330 service from Hong Kong to Perth. This is the full statement:-

Branson calls on UK goverment to let British Airways go broke

June 22, 2009 1 Comment

Richard Branson’s call on Sunday for HMG to let British Airways go broke rather than prop it up with bail out money is fiercely controversial. It is exactly how Branson wants it to be in the circumstances when British Airways is trying yet again to stich up the North Atlantic market with another airline that […]

AF447-The traces disappear

AF447-The traces disappear

June 22, 2009

These plots of the wreckage and victims (red) recovered from the Air France flight AF447 disaster on 1 June show the enormity of the task that confronted search vessels and aircraft mostly provided by Brazil. The data, released by the French accident investigator, the BEA, is mapped on 6 June, (above) and between then and […]

Home grown aircraft composites could also cut fossilised carbon emissions

June 20, 2009

A concept for turning matter from a single type of plant into a high performance composite material for use in aircraft cabins has won a University of Queensland team first prize in the inaugural Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenge. It is an idea which minimises the use of energy from fossil carbon releasing fuels in […]

Sydney-one soon to be stuffed airport and three statements point to trouble ahead

Sydney-one soon to be stuffed airport and three statements point to trouble ahead

June 19, 2009 3 Comments

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese ended the one airport for Sydney policy today in a rider to granting approval to Sydney Airport’s latest 20 year plan. He said Sydney would need a second airport after 2029, and invited the NSW Government to join in a study to find and develop a site. Which really means something […]

What’s wrong with this Qantas press release?

What’s wrong with this Qantas press release?

June 18, 2009 2 Comments

Here’s a question for anyone thinking of switching to Qantas or staying with them. What’s wrong with this press release? For a start it doesn’t sit well with anyone who has checked in on line and printed their own boarding pass for a domestic flight, only to confront a farcical queue to get to the […]

Algal fuel breakthrough confirmed

June 18, 2009 1 Comment

If the hysterical tendency in popular debates over the role of airlines in climate change was to have been believed, technology offers no answers to jet engine greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the 7 January biofuel test flight by a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 were announced today. The flight was conducted in partnership with […]

How to see the ISS in broad daylight

How to see the ISS in broad daylight

June 18, 2009 2 Comments

The International Space Station or ISS is now an easily seen daylight satellite, a white point of moving light especially easy to see from an airliner, and more like a large gliding silver star if the sun is low but still above the horizon. Until recently it has been difficult but not impossible to find […]

The measure of tough times, and tighter seating from people who know

The measure of tough times, and tighter seating from people who know

June 18, 2009 1 Comment

Some bad news for the more privileged business travellers was dropped by Philippe Chérèque, the executive vice president of Amadeus the travel technology company at a briefing in Sydney yesterday. “This slide in premium travel demand is not only unprecedented, it is structural,” he said. “We don’t believe it will ever come back as it […]