Thursday, December 18, 2014

Timing is Right to Remember Wright Brothers as Symbols of Perseverance

Now. While we are celebrating the Wright Brothers historic flight 111 years ago, let me tell you the story of two other brothers; pilots and tinkerers who, in their own small way are commemorating the achievement and contributing to the Wright Brothers legacy.

Nick and Giles English are founders of the Bremont Watch Company, based in Henley-on-Thames in England, who struck a deal with the Wright Family Foundation to embed in a limited edition watch, a scrap of fabric from the wing of the original Wright Flier. Even while the popularity and necessity of conventional watches is on the wane there is a small and well-heeled minority who collect fancy watches and no surprise here, aviators are well represented among them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Does Black Friday Sale on Lasers Threaten Air Travel?

This post has been updated to include comment from the U.S. FDA. 

One of the largest sellers of high powered laser pointers has done an about face, discontinuing sales of devices that are styled to look like Star Wars light saber toys but are strong enough to blind in seconds. Wicked Lasers issued a press release explaining its decision and attributed it to the sale of the company to a "government-backed optoelectronics manufacturer" in China. 

Many of the laser pointers carried by Wicked Laser can not be sold legally to the general public in the United States because they exceed the radiation level set by the Food and Drug Administration for pointer devices. While a permit is required to purchase a hand held laser with an output greater than five milliwatts, Wicked Lasers seems unconcerned about the law as it advertises hand held lasers with close to one thousand milliwatts (or one watt). 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dreamliner Battery Still Not Safe Enough, NTSB Report Says

Firefighters at Logan Airport NTSB photo
How many ways did the company producing the lithium ion batteries on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fail to meet safe standards? I'm still wading through the 100 page report and the exhibits in the thick docket accompanying it, but so far, the list is lengthy.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cattle to Coddle Class; Tips from JetBlue, Turkish and Others

My friend enjoyed first class treatment on Thai
I don't often sit outside of the economy cabin when I fly and neither do most of my friends. So when I or someone I know gets an upgraded experience it is fun to compare what the various airlines consider a lux experience.

An acquaintance told me that he cashed in all his mileage points for a first class seat from somewhere in Asia to San Francisco. His journey required him to fly one leg on Thai Airways and change in Bangkok to United.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dreamliner Fuels the Boom in International Flying

A UA 787-9 photo courtesy United
Passengers on United Flight 98 from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia on October 26, participated in small slice of aviation history; flying on the world's longest Boeing 787 route. They not only flew the longest route, but on the first American airline to fly the new stretched version of the Dreamliner, the dash-9.