PHOTOS: British Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

A milestone for the British aviation industry, as the country's national carrier took deliver of its first Airbus A380, becoming the tenth operator in the world to receive the superjumbo.

First look inside Singapore Airlines' brand new premium cabins

View these amazing photos and video showcasing the airline's next generation of business and first class cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

PHOTO: First Airbus A350 XWB’s engines powered up

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB, moving the aircraft closer to its maiden flight.

Pilot becomes online sensation with stunning cockpit photos

Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni's amazing photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

PHOTOS: Thomson becomes first UK airline to receive Boeing 787

Thousands gathered to watch Thomson's first 787 Dreamliner (from an order of eight) arrive at Manchester Airport, completing its delivery flight from Paine Field in Everett.

Monday, July 29, 2013

VIDEO: Emergency vehicles greet Germanwings flight at Hamburg Airport after crew declare emergency

A Germanwings Airbus A319-100 was greeted by emergency vehicles at Hamburg AirportGermanwings received quite a welcome at Hamburg Airport earlier this week, after the airline declared emergency on a flight arriving from Stuttgart, with 149 people onboard.

Alarm bells were ringing soon after the Germanwings Airbus A319-100 departed from Stuttgart, with airport officials noticing that the airplane had left debris from its tyres on the runway.

According to a report in Aviation Herald, the flight crew was informed about the discovery and entered a hold at 7000 feet for around 25 minutes. During this time, emergency services from the airport and surrounding area were alerted.

A ground observer, Thomas Nebel, managed to film the Airbus A319’s landing on runway 22, where it was greeted by an impressive lineup of emergency vehicles.

The video, which you can view below, also shows the aircraft stopping on the runway for a check by emergency services, after which it taxied to the apron on own power. No damage was found on the gear or tyres.

What are your thoughts on the video? Feel free to leave your comments below. Plus, have you liked The Aviation Writer's Facebook page and subscribed to our free newsletter? Its the best way to keep updated with our latest aviation stories, videos and photos!

MORE VIDEOS: Boeing 737 catches fire in Russia, passengers jump to safety from aircraft wing

Saturday, July 27, 2013

PHOTO: Boeing unveils new-look livery, which debuts on a 787-9 Dreamliner

First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Features New Boeing Livery
Boeing Commercial Airplanes unveiled a new-look livery today, with the design making its debut on the first 787-9 Dreamliner.

Having just rolled out of the paint hanger, the 787-9 will complement and extend the 787 family, offering airlines the ability to grow routes opened with the 787-8.

“With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters), the 787-9 will carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometres), with 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes,” stated Boeing in a press release.

“The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering the features passengers prefer such as large, dimmable windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.”

I've included a photo of the new livery on this page - what are your thoughts? Feel free to leave you comments below, as always.

Plus, have you liked The Aviation Writer's Facebook page and subscribed to our free newsletter? Its the best way to keep updated with our latest aviation stories, videos and photos!

Related article:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shock as body falls from Air France Airbus A330 during flight, landing metres away from horrified resident on the ground

An Air France Airbus A300 [Photo: Air France]It’s not something that many people will experience (or want to experience) in life.

Yesterday, in the West African country of Niger, an unsuspecting resident was out and about in the early morning, when suddenly out of nowhere a human body came hurling down from the sky, landing metres away on the ground.

Imagine the shock of witnessing such a horrific sight. According to media reports, it turned out to be the body of a suspected stowaway, who fell from the landing gear of an Airbus A330-200, which was performing Air France Flight AF-547 from Ouagadougou.

"The police discovered the lifeless body of a black person lying in blood," commented Niger Interior Minister Abdou Labo, adding that blood had also been spotted on the left wing of the plane.

VIDEO: Impact of severe turbulence filmed on Singapore Airlines flight

The A330 was approaching the capital city of Niamey when the incident occurred, but continued for a safe landing. Authorities then grounded the plane, meaning that the onward flight to Paris was cancelled and passengers were rebooked onto a couple of alternative services.

Officials were holding the plane in Niamey so crew members and passengers could be interviewed, and investigators in Ouagadougou were also looking into "the conditions in which the passengers boarded," added Labo.

"At the moment, the plane is grounded on the tarmac at the airport and the flight to Paris is cancelled until the end of the investigation," he said.

Have you liked The Aviation Writer's Facebook page and subscribed to our free newsletter? Its the best way to keep updated with our latest aviation stories, videos and photos!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

VIDEO: US Airways flight delayed after bees swarm around aircraft, leaving passengers stranded onboard for hours

An image from showing the US Airways plane as experts try to move away a swarm of beesIf you’re a fan of Samuel L Jackson films, you’ll know about the perils of snakes on a plane. However, passengers onboard a recent US Airways flight lived out an unlikely sequel to the Hollywood blockbuster involving a swarm of bees!

Around 70 people had already boarded the airplane at Charlotte Douglas Airport this week, ready to depart on their flight to Indianapolis, when a last-minute delay was announced by the pilot.

The reason? A large number of bees were hovering around the airplane nose, close to the push-back tug, and the stubborn swarm was refusing to be moved.

Unfortunately for passengers, the flight was unable to take off until the situation was resolved, and nobody could leave the plane for safety reasons.

HILARIOUS VIDEO: Sleeping airline passenger uses neighbour as makeshift pillow

At face value, moving the swarm would appear an easy task, however initial attempts only angered the pesky creatures. Fearing for the worst, cabin crew even started to check if passengers were allergic, while paramedics were also called on stand-by.

Thankfully, an unlikely hero soon appeared on the scene in the form of a local bee keeper, who used his expertise to quickly shoo away the bees, allowing the flight to depart a couple of hours later than scheduled.

While the situation was out of US Airways’ control, passengers were treated to $100 vouchers for a future flight... and hopefully our man of the moment, Mr Bee Keeper, managed to snag one too.

There's a video report from below with more details and don’t forget to sign-up for The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter for more aviation stories, photos and videos. Click here to subscribe.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Amazing footage inside cockpit of fighter jet, as pilot does killer stunts at UK airshow Newsletter (25th July 2013)

The Aviation Writer’s free newsletter has been receiving a great response, with almost 2,500 subscribers to date.

The newsletter is sent twice a week, if you have subscribed yet, you can click here to sign-up.

Today’s newsletter includes the latest content highlights from the blog, with stories such as: Hilarious video of sleeping passenger goes viral, video captures moment Southwest Boeing 737 lands without front landing gear, and amazing footage inside cockpit as pilot does killer stunts at UK airshow!

Click here to read the newsletter:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HILARIOUS VIDEO: Sleeping airline passenger uses neighbour as makeshift pillow

Video footage of a sleeping passenger using her neighbour as a pillow has gone viralHas your personal space ever been invaded during a flight by other passengers?

It’s a common complaint, especially in economy class, and YouTube user Steve Callum can definitely relate. And after watching his latest video on the social media website, you’ll understand why!

The video, which was uploaded a couple of weeks ago, had been filmed during a recent flight across the US East Coast. Soon after take-off, the woman seated next to Steve decided to have a little nap… and unintentionally started to use Steve’s body as a makeshift pillow.

After his initial efforts to move the lady off him, Steve decided to start filming his failed attempts, and the video has become a viral hit online, attracting more than 200,000 page views since being uploaded two weeks ago… and the number is growing fast.

MORE VIDEOS: Watch two EXTREME examples of China airport rage... when will the madness end?

“Here I was... Minding my own business on a flight home, when I ended up in an extremely awkward situation. This lady was totally out of it. As soon as she sat down, she started falling asleep, and it only got worse as the flight continued,” he commented on YouTube.

“I tried lifting her up, shaking her, and startling her, but it seemed like nothing was going to work. So, I thought it would be fun to get some of it on video to share with family and friends. Then she finally moved... Only to find someone else for the last part of the flight. Ha!”

You can watch the video, titled ‘Awkward Flight, below. And if you want to keep updated with the latest aviation videos, photos and stories, you can subscribe to The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter here.

MORE VIDEOS: The ultimate test drive… Watch the new 2014 Range Rover Sport being driven through a Boeing 747!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Boeing Completes 737 MAX 8 Firm Configuration

An artist rendering of the Boeing 737 MAX 8Boeing has completed the firm configuration of the 737 MAX 8. This milestone marks completion of the major trade studies that define the capabilities of the 737 MAX family.

"We have defined the design requirements for the 737 MAX that provide our customers with the most value in the single-aisle market," said Michael Teal, chief project engineer, 737 MAX, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We continue to follow our disciplined process to ensure that we have completed all the requirements for the development stage of the program and are ready to begin the detailed design phase."

As detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin. Final assembly of the 737 MAX 8 is scheduled to begin in 2015 with first delivery scheduled for the third quarter of 2017.

The 737 MAX will be 13 percent more fuel-efficient than today's most efficient single-aisle airplanes and 8 percent more fuel-efficient per seat than tomorrow's competition. The configuration includes new LEAP-1B engines from CFM International that are optimized for the 737 MAX, a redesigned tail cone and the Boeing designed Advanced Technology Winglet to reduce fuel use. Other changes incorporated include upgrades to the flight deck displays, an electronic bleed air system and fly-by-wire spoiler flight controls.

"The 737 MAX will not only be the most fuel-efficient airplane, it will maintain the 737's industry-leading reliability," said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and program manager, 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are working closely with our customers and industry partners to ensure that the airplane we deliver will perform as promised."

Related story: Southwest becomes first airline to order Boeing 737 MAX 7

Additionally the MAX will take advantage of advancements in connectivity. "As we continue to improve connectivity on the 737 platform, the 737 MAX will offer customers the capability to use real-time data to make operational decisions around maintenance on the ground during flight," said Leverkuhn. "This will allow airlines to more efficiently manage their fleets. Enhanced connectivity also will benefit passengers as the demand for more wireless access to information and entertainment in flight continues to grow."

The 737 MAX family includes the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 and will serve the 100- to over 200-seat market. The 737 MAX will extend the Next-Generation 737 range advantage with the capability to fly more than 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km), an increase of 400-540 nmi (741-1,000 km) over the Next-Generation 737. First delivery of the 737 MAX 9 is planned for 2018 followed by first delivery of the MAX 7 in 2019.

To date, the 737 MAX has accumulated orders for 1,495 airplanes.

Related story: Student designs the livery of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800… check out the results!

PHOTO & VIDEO: Southwest Boeing 737 lands without front landing gear at New York's LaGuardia airport

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 landed without its front landing gear at New York’s LaGuardia airport
It’s amazing how aviation incidents are reported these days… literally within minutes, details will start to appear online through various websites and blogs.

That’s exactly what happened today, after a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 landed without its front landing gear at New York’s LaGuardia airport. It had around 150 people on board at the time, who were arriving from Nashville.

According to media reports, the airplane skidded to a halt after the technical malfunction, with 10 passengers being treated on the scene for injuries, six of whom were taken to a nearby hospital.

“Southwest Airlines flight 345 landed at New York's LaGuardia at 5:40 PM Eastern Monday evening from Nashville. The aircraft is a Boeing 737-700. Eyewitness reports indicate the aircraft's nose gear collapsed upon landing. There were 150 people on board including Customers and Crew," Southwest Airlines confirmed in a statement emailed to Yahoo! News.

"All Customers have been deplaned and transferred to the terminal," the statement continues. "Initial reports indicate local responders are caring for five Customers and three flight attendants who have reported injuries at this time. Southwest is cooperating with local authorities, and the NTSB has been notified.”

The FAA added that pilots, “reported possible front landing gear issues” before landing.

La Guardia was closed for air traffic while emergency personnel helped passengers exit the Boeing 737 jet and federal investigators began trying to determine a cause.

“It’s too early to say what happened,” FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told Yahoo! News. “The plane is on the ground and the nose is on the ground.”

I’ve included a photo of the aircraft on this page, plus there’s a new video below that shows the plane landing (although the footage is not great quality). Sign-up for The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation news, photos and videos – you can subscribe here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Amazing footage inside cockpit of fighter jet, as pilot does killer stunts at UK airshow

Video filmed inside the cockpit of a MiG-29 jetThis year’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford has been receiving a lot of media attention in recent days, most of which has focused on a British Airways A380, which flew in formation with the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows.

However, that wasn’t the only cool display to take place at the British aviation event. The Polish Air Force also impressed with their own acrobatic displays, involving the MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft.

Imagine piloting the fighter jet, with around 130,000 visitors at the Royal International Air Tattoo, all mesmerised as the MiG-29 Fulcrum performed rolls and high g-force turns.

Actually, scrap that… you don’t need to imagine at all, because a cool new video was filmed inside the cockpit, showing Captain Adrian Rojek doing his thing over the Cotswolds.

All the footage was captured on the new Replay XD camera which is so small it can be mounted in places where cameras have not been able to film before.

You can watch the footage below, which has been uploaded onto’s YouTube channel.

“The Russian built fighter jet can fly at Mach 2.25 and has a top speed of almost 1500 miles per hour making it a giant among modern-day combat jets,” reported the newspaper.

“Fast jet pilots are trained to do special clenches and breathing to avoid the risk of g-force induced lack of consciousness (GLOC) and they also wear special clothing.”

What are your thoughts on the video? As always, leave your comments below, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page for more aviation videos, photos and stories – click here to visit.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

It’s a miracle! Aircraft collides with sheep during emergency landing. Aircraft is damaged, sheep is fine!

Call it a miracle, but a Welsh sheep was knocked by a light aircraft and survivedWould you consider including sheep in a list of the world’s strongest animals? I’m guessing not… although after reading this story, you might want to reconsider that decision!

According to a new report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, a 71-year-old pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Wales, after the engine of his light aircraft cut-out.

With almost 1,500 hours of flying experience, Bernard Ridgway really had to use his vast experience to land the plane in a nearby field, which was packed with sheep at the time.

Unfortunately, despite the elderly pilot’s best attempts, the right wing of his 1964-built Jodel plane actually hit one of the poor sheep. In most cases, that would prove fatal. However, miraculously… and I find it hard to believe… the accident report stated that “the animal did not appear to have been injured”.

Thankfully Bernard and his passenger, who intended to land at Rhigos Airfield in Powys, were fine too. The right wing of the aircraft, on the other hand, WAS damaged after its collision with the sheep and needed repair.

Using a combination of towing and taxiing under its own power, the aircraft was brought back onto the airfield after the incident, which happened on April 6.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often though, as what we do is usually quite safe. We have the odd bit of damage but what happened with the sheep is very unusual,” commented Keith Richards, a friend of Bernard’s who fixed the wing. “They’re quite tough I think.”

Talk about an understatement, I would say the sheep are really tough! What are your thoughts on the story? As always, feel free to leave your comment below, and sign-up to The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter for more aviation stories, photos and videos. Click here to subscribe.

Also read:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

VIDEO: First look at the forthcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which rolled out of the factory this week

Did you know the first 787-9 Dreamliner was rolled out of Boeing’s factory in Everett this week?

Under normal circumstances, this massive development for the US-based aircraft manufacturer would have been celebrated with much fanfare.

However, with dark clouds still looming over the smaller 787-8 due to recent issues, it is little surprise that Boeing opted for a low-key rollout on this occasion.

Still, that hasn’t stopped The Aviation Writer from getting its hands on a cool video of the rollout, which was uploaded on Vimeo by amateur photographer and self-confessed aviation nut Liz Matzelle.

At the moment, the aircraft is painted in a simple Boeing livery (which actually looks great on the bird), but it will eventually feature the Air New Zealand livery, as the national carrier is the 787-9 launch customer.

Check out the video below – and remember to like The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page for more aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to visit!

What do you think of the Boeing 787-9? Does it look better than the 787-8? Stay tuned for more updates on the forthcoming aircraft, with an inaugural test flight expected next month. We cannot wait!

Related stories:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ryanair’s latest money-making scheme… placing adverts on the outside of its Boeing 737s!

Ryanair is selling advertising on its planes, on the wing tips and the front and rear fuselageAdvertising has become an additional revenue source for airports throughout the world, with companies spending millions of dollars to feature on digital screens, pillar wraps, and the like.

And now, it seems, airlines might be jumping on the bandwagon as well. Earlier this week, Ryanair announced its latest money-making scheme, offering companies the opportunity to place advertisements on the livery of Boeing 737-800s.

In total, four different locations on the Boeing 737 are being offered to advertisers (the inner and outer winglets, front fuselage and rear fuselage) at what has been described as “a fraction of the price of newspaper adverts”.

“Ryanair is Europe’s largest carrier, flying more aircraft between more airports and carrying more international passengers than any other airline,” commented Ryanair’s Robin Kiely.

“And it’s not just low fares that we deliver as we’re now offering businesses the chance to reach millions of consumers through livery advertising on our fleet of 303 Boeing aircraft, ensuring their brand is featured on Europe’s largest – and cheapest – outdoor advertising medium.”

Ryanair is well-known for exploring all potential avenues for increasing revenue… we’ll all read the articles about charging passengers to use the toilet and offering standing-only tickets, none of which have materialised to date.

Advertising is not new to them either. According to the Ryanair website, unique advertising options include; Homepage Advertising, Newsletter Advertising, Boarding Card Advertising, Destination Pages Advertising and In-Flight Magazine Advertising.

Therefore, at face value, Ryanair could make a serious amount of money with this initiative. After all, it operates more than 300 aircraft, which transport millions of passengers across Europe, with around 1,600 flights per day. And its not the first airline to try this out... remember the advert for Bulgari designer watches on one of Alitalia's Boeing 747 (see below)?

Advertising for Bulgari designer watches in Alitalia Boeing 747
But what do you, as someone that works in aviation or is passionate about the industry, feel about this latest idea? Will this ruin the beauty of aircraft liveries? Do passengers already face too much advertising during their travel experience? Or is this a great idea to help lower the cost of tickets?

As always, leave your comments below, and don’t forget to sign-up for The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter for the latest aviation news, photos and video. Click here to subscribe.


VIDEO: Watch two EXTREME examples of China airport rage... when will the madness end?

PHOTO: China Airlines Boeing 737 dented by airport worker in Philippines… will cost millions to repair!

PHOTOS: Check out Aeroflot's 90th anniversary livery, designed by a lucky competition winner!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

PHOTOS: Check out Aeroflot's 90th anniversary livery, designed by a talented competition winner!

As one of the oldest airlines in existence, Aeroflot launched a very special competition earlier this year to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

What made the competition so special, I hear you ask? Well, members of the public were invited to design a unique livery, with the winning entrant being painted onto the airline’s Sukhoi Superjet.

That’s a pretty awesome opportunity, and while aviation enthusiasts throughout the world were rubbing their hands in glee, there was a slight hurdle for most of them in the terms and conditions... only Russian nationals were permitted to enter!

Despite that geographic limitation, Aeroflot were inundated with entries, which were eventually shortlisted to a handful of finalists and the winner was announced as Alexander Sosnovsky, who wanted the livery to be themed around the Russian folk painting Khokhloma.

Now, I’ve never heard of Khokhloma before, but apparently it’s a decorative painting from the 17th century, which features a variety of wooden utensils and furniture, made with red, green and black on a gold background.

True to its word, Aeroflot has now revealed its SSJ-100 with Alexander’s design, and I’ve included a couple of photos on this page.

More of the images, which were taken by Marina Lystseva, can be found on my Facebook page – click here to visit!

So what do you think of the final result? Was Alexander Sosnovsky a worthy winner?

Leave your comments below – and don’t forget to sign up to The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation news, photos and videos. Click here to subscribe.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PHOTO: China Airlines Boeing 737 dented by airport worker in Philippines… will cost millions to repair!

An aerobridge worker in the Philippines has been named and shamed on the internet after accidentally damaging a China Airlines Boeing 737-800.

Carmelo Adaptante has been accused of “over steering” at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 earlier this week, causing an aerobridge tube to strike the aircraft’s door.

Although the incident was described as ‘minor’ by officials, a report on estimates that repairing the dent could cost anything between $1-3 million, depending on the extent of damage. That’s a pretty steep bill for China Airlines!

I’ve included a photo of the aircraft (with the aerobridge tube attached) on this page. Remember to like my Facebook page for more aviation photos, videos and stories – click here to visit!

The Boeing 737-800 was scheduled to operate a Taipei-bound flight when the incident occurred on Monday. However, China Airlines was forced to cancel the service as a safety precaution, leaving over 100 passengers stranded.

Around 40 of the passengers were booked onto an Eva Air flight to Taipei, while the rest were eventually accommodated on another China Airlines flights.

RELATED VIDEO: Unbelievable footage of China airport worker's terrible cargo handling

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

VIDEO: Watch two EXTREME examples of China airport rage... when will the madness end?

A clash between passengers and airline staff at Terminal 2 of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport Chinese airports have been plagued with flight delays in recent months. In fact, according to the latest report by FlightStats, a US-based data provider on air travel, the worst airports in the world for on-time performance last month were Shanghai and Beijing.

In total, 35 major international airports were tracked by FlightStats for the report, with only 28.72% of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport’s flights being on-time last month. The figure is even worst for Beijing Capital International Airport, where the on-time performance was a shocking 18.30%.

The situation isn’t much better in other parts of China. None of the country’s provincial airports (including Guangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Chengdu, Changsha and Urumqi) scored above 50%, reported FlightStats.

That might explain the unprecedented rise of ‘airport rage’ in China. And we’re not talking about minor little incidents here, but full-blown, violent examples that are injurious to health.

Just look at the photo on this page, taken at Terminal 2 of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport following a recent clash between passengers and airline staff. Three people (including two men) were accused of assault. Flights were delayed as a result of extreme weather conditions.

"Beating up ground staff doesn't change the weather," stated a comment on the Sina Weibo microblog, where the photo of airline workers lying on the ground was posted. "Don't vent your anger on innocent people."

A video uploaded on a week ago (which you can watch below) seems to show this incident (or a similar one) ‘in action’.

Shocking behavior, isn’t it? Here’s another video uploaded onto this week:

This isn’t the first time I am reporting on ‘air rage’ in China. You might want to check out these two blog entries as well: Shocking video of airport rage incident in China goes viral and Passengers cheer as air hostess is attacked on flight… is air rage on the rise in China?

What are your thoughts on the matter? Why do you think air rage has become so prominent in China and what would be the response if passengers behaved this way in other parts of the world? Leave your comments below and sign-up to The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation stories, videos and photos! Click here to register.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hot off the press! New milestone for Airbus A350 XWB, with almost 100 flight test hours achieved since first flight

The Airbus A350 XWB flight test campaign has been progressing at full pace
It’s been a month since the Airbus A350 XWB performed its very first flight in Toulouse… but what has been happening with the much-awaited aircraft since that time?

Quite a lot, according to Airbus! In fact, the flight test campaign has been progressing at full pace, with the first 92 flight test hours already completed since the maiden flight.

During these 92 hours, ten Airbus experimental test pilots have flown the first A350 (MSN1) and collectively put the aircraft through its paces to get to know its handling qualities and behaviour.

This early phase of test flights has resulted in the clearance of the entire flight envelope and initial testing of all key systems.

These include: engines, electrics, Ram Air Turbine (RAT), landing gear and braking, fuel and cabin pressurization, as well as a preliminary assessment of the autopilot and auto-land functions.

Have you signed up for The Aviation Writer’s FREE newsletter? Keep updated with the latest aviation news, photos and videos… click here to register!

The A350 MSN1 will now undergo routine maintenance and upgrades of its flight test installation to ready it for the second phase of the flight test campaign which will start in August, while the design office will analyse the results of these initial flight tests.

So watch this space, as there’s still a lot to come with the A350 XWB flight test campaign. In total, around 2,500 flight hours will be completed with a fleet of five development aircraft.

To date, Airbus has recorded 678 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 34 customers worldwide. Entry into commercial service of the first customer aircraft is scheduled for the second half of 2014.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

SHOCKING PHOTO: Graffiti artists cause $100,000 damage to private jet at US airport

Imagine being lucky enough to own a Learjet Model 60 and finding out your US$2.3 million private jet had been vandalised by graffiti artists… talk about heart breaking!

That’s exactly what happened at Van Nuys Airport in the United States this week, where criminals broke into a secure area and spray-painted terms such as ‘R.I.P’ and ‘Flame’ on the fuselage.

In addition, there are some unidentified initials on the tail of the aircraft, which Los Angeles police believe are “gang related and gang initiated”.

I’ve included a photo of the Learjet on this page, plus there's a video report below… the damage will cost an estimated US$100,000 to repair.

An investigation has now been launched by Los Angeles Airport Police and the FBI, while meetings are also being held to ensure repeat incidents are prevented.

I’m not sure if that softens the blow for the Malibu-based aviation company that apparently owns the Learjet… probably not!

"This is a big deal to me, to have somebody who could get onto the airfield and who could do that kind of damage, that kind extensive graffiti to an aircraft, and not be seen," said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon. "I'm not happy about it."

What are your thoughts on the matter? Leave your comments below and don’t forget The Aviation Writer’s free newsletter has all the latest aviation news, photos and video – click here to sign-up and keep yourself updated!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

VOTE! Which airline launched the best cabin crew uniform in 2013? Virgin, Qantas, United, China Eastern or Fiji Airways?

Airlines seem to be revamping their cabin crew uniforms left, right and centre!

More than 180 Virgin Atlantic employees started to trial the airline’s new uniform, created by Vivienne Westwood, yesterday.

In addition to cabin crew, the new design will be worn by pilots, ground staff, Clubhouse employees and Virgin Holiday staff.

Other airlines, such as Qantas, United Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Fiji Airways, have also launched new uniforms this year in a bid to modernise their public appearance.

There’s an obvious question around this… which airline did the best job? There’s a collage on this page with images from each airline’s new uniform, which are numbered as follows: 1 is Virgin Atlantic, 2 is China Eastern Airlines, 3 is United Airlines, 4 is Qantas and 5 is Fiji Airways.

Here’s a chance to vote for your favourite! State which one is your favourite in the comments section below… and you’ve find more fun surveys on my Facebook page, so feel free to head over there and like the page to keep updated! Click here to visit.

RELATED TOP 10: Airlines with the best cabin crew uniform in 2013 (Europe and Asia-Pacific)

Guest Post: Jet manufacturers look to boost sales with celebrity endorsements

Embraer premiered a short film to promote the Legacy 500 which featured Jackie ChanAs the global recession rumbles onwards, the aviation business continues to feel the financial turbulence over the sales of private jets (pardon the pun). So, in an effort to combat this, some manufacturers are now using celebrity brand ambassadors, hoping that they can use star status to boost their fortunes.

One recent example of this came from the Brazilian jet producer ‘Embraer Executive Jets’. They premiered a short film to promote the Legacy 500, a new jet, which featured Jackie Chan. The video is called Unbelievable, lasts for 6 minutes and has the production values of Hollywood whilst portraying the jet as something out of this world.

Naturally the Kung Fu master, in his capacity as an official brand ambassador for Embraer, also owns a Legacy 650. This private jet has the personalised touch, with the tail displaying a unique ‘Jackie’ motif (pictured below).

The aim here is simple. By using a huge star from Hong Kong, Embraer are convinced that Chan’s image will be able to help grow the company’s business within emerging markets such as China.

Bombardier Business Aircraft are another company that widely use brand ambassadors. One of the most significant is John Travolta, who has had an association with Bombardier since 2011 when he purchased his own Challenger 601 and thus became their most famous pilot.

It is well known that Travolta is an aviation fanatic, he possesses 11 different aeroplane licenses and has gone so far as to be a test pilot for the new Challenger 350 midsized jet. At the 2013 EBACE convention in Geneva, Travolta told the audience of his experiences and how ‘I felt like an astronaut’.

However, Bombardier have not rested on their laurels. They have an eclectic range of brand ambassadors which has included the men’s world no. 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic, classical pianist Lang Lang and the architect Frank Gehry. Similarly, Gulfstream Aerospace have jet users that are very high-profile, with Jim Carrey and Tom Cruise the tip of the iceberg.

Still, in the world of private jets there is always the potential for some more unusual examples of publicity. Cessna made headlines around the world due to Justin Bieber being a passenger on a chartered Cessna Citation X that flew into Germany.

Unbeknownst to the star, his pet capuchin monkey Mally required certain paperwork to be allowed free entry into Munich, paperwork that was not forthcoming. The German customs authorities were therefore left with little choice but to confiscate Mally and to place him within an animal sanctuary.

Happily I can report that Mally has a new home as a part of the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen (North Germany). Although I must add that at this time he has not been contacted to become a brand ambassador for any jet charter companies.

Reporting: Darren Douglas

Friday, July 12, 2013

OOOPS... Push-back tug accidentally driven into nose gear of Delta Air Lines plane at San Francisco Airport!

Here’s an interesting photo doing the rounds at the moment, taken by a passenger at San Francisco International Airport earlier this week.

Although it’s not immediately clear from looking at the image, it actually shows a push back tug on the ground, which was accidentally driven into the nose gear of a Delta Air Lines plane… oops!

The unfortunate incident happened moments before the aircraft was scheduled to depart on Cincinnati, Ohio-bound flight. Around 138 passengers were on board when the collision occurred, according to media reports, and they felt ‘a big time jolt’.

This could have been an expensive mishap for Delta Air Lines, but luckily for the carrier there was no evidence of damage.

NBC Bay Area interviewed one of the passengers, Bob Meyer, who explained that everyone had to disembark and wait for a replacement aircraft, which departed a few hours later. The video report is included below.

“They immediately opened the doors back up and both of the captains came off the plane and went out to inspect what happened,” he commented. “They told everybody that one of the tugs had hit the plane and we all had to get off. We couldn’t use the plane.”

The replacement plane, although just a safety precaution, helped to keep passengers calm, especially with everyone feeling a bit sensitive after the recent Asiana Airlines crash at SFO.

"Luckily they were able to get us off the plane. It would have been racing through my head the whole time if they had thought it was okay to fly the plane. You know, is it really safe to fly the plane,” Meyers added. “It’s  night time out, something that big hit the plane, I’m sure everybody out there was worried about something like that happening. You don’t want to crash land after something like that just happened over the weekend.”

MORE PHOTOS: Southwest Airlines unhappy with ‘leaked’ photo of airport worker

How exactly could this have happened? Was it simply a case of the driver not looking ahead? Leave your comments below – and don’t forget to like The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page to keep updated with more aviation stories, photos and videos. Click here to visit.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

VIDEO: The ultimate test drive… Watch the new 2014 Range Rover Sport being driven through a Boeing 747!

Land Rover invited journalists in the UK to test drive the 2014 Range Rover Sport the other day.

Now, I wouldn’t normally cover the launch of a new car on this blog, but this particular test drive will definitely interest aviation enthusiasts… in a BIG way!

That’s because Land Rover arranged for lucky journalists to test drive the 2014 Range Rover Sport through a Boeing 747 aircraft at Cotswold Airport. How cool is that?

Journalists were guided through a special course, where they drove the car up a ramp, into the Boeing 747 (which even had some seats inside), through a challenging little course inside the plane (which, at one point, tipped the car at a 40-degree angle), and then back out again.

As someone involved in digital marketing, I thought this was a brilliant idea. There’s already been heaps of coverage in the media, including the video below from Autoblog, with footage of senior editor Steven Ewing doing the test drive himself.

“All in, the experience was mildly terrifying, and one of the stranger things I've done in my life,” he later commented. “Words can't really describe the full experience, but thankfully, we captured a video of the whole stunt.”

Thankfully indeed. Check out the video below… enjoy, and remember to like my Facebook page for the latest aviation videos, photos and stories. Click here to visit.

MORE VIDEOS: VIDEO: The ultimate race... Aero L-29 Delfín airplane versus Maserati super car!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

American Airlines apologises about cabin crew photo shoot... but did they really need to?

Imagine being stuck in a plane for four hours due to a flight delay. Not a great feeling, right?

How would you react if cabin crew from the delayed flight were outside the aircraft, posing next to the engine while having their photo taken by the captain?

This exact scenario played out at San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica recently, where maintenance issues resulted in a delayed American Airlines flight to Dallas. The flight attendant having her photo taken was apparently close to retirement and wanted a keepsake.

However one of the passengers, Brian Kelly, was so furious that airline staff were taking photos while passengers were stuck in the aircraft that he snapped them in the act.

“They’re having fun to me,” Brian Kelly told the media afterwards. “That seemed like an enjoyable time, and I’m stuck in a plane and can’t go anywhere. It just didn’t seem right.”

The flight was eventually cancelled and American Airlines provided overnight hotel accommodation to passengers as a result. Before everyone left the aircraft, a pilot walked through the cabin and personally apologised for the inconvenience.

PHOTO: Southwest Airlines unhappy with ‘leaked’ photo of airport worker

Since the photo has been published in the media, American Airlines has issued a public apology for the incident. “Our people did their best to accommodate passengers during difficult circumstances, but showed poor timing when they chose to take a commemorative photo,” commented a spokesperson. “We’re reaching out to every passenger on board that flight to make amends.”

How exactly is the airline making amends? Well, Brian Kelly received 25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles from the customer relations department.

Aside from public apologies and gestures of good will, the flight crew were apparently contacted by supervisors and were all “sincerely apologetic for not only the inconvenience of the delay, but also the timing of the photo” according to media reports.

The question is… was all of this really needed? Not according to online commentators on the website of news channel NBC 5 DFW, who have blasted Bryan Kelly for basically being a kill joy.

“Honestly Mr. Kelly, are you for real??? Nothing was being harmed except your over sensitive feelings. You don't deserve an apology, just to grow up,” wrote Donny Hilgeman from Texas.

“I guess Mr Kelly would have preferred a grumpy unhappy crew that didn't enjoy their jobs,” added Kari Dawn Wynn Moore. “Or he wanted something for free, which he probably would've received anyways with the lengthy delay... but let’s throw the poor flight crew (who didn't want to be delayed any more than you did) under the plane so to speak.”

“Quick, send a whambulance!” commented Maria Flengas, receiving 25 likes from other readers for her humorous input.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. I couldn’t find anyone that supported him from the 125 comments on the article! What are your thoughts? Did American Airlines need to apologise, compensate and discuss the matter further with flight crew?

Leave your comments below – and don’t forget to sign-up to The Aviation Writer’s free newsletter to keep updated with the latest stories, photos and videos from the airline world! Click here to subscribe.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

PHOTOS & VIDEO: First look inside Singapore Airlines' amazing new business and first class cabins

Singapore Airlines today launched its next generation of cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

Customers travelling on select flights between Singapore and London will be the first to experience the new cabin products from September, in First, Business and Economy classes. The new seats and KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system will be progressively rolled out to other routes as additional new aircraft enter service.

Singapore Airlines is investing nearly US$150 million to introduce the new products on an initial eight Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The investment programme will be extended as the new products are introduced on Airbus A350 aircraft scheduled for delivery in the years ahead.

Today’s unveiling is the result of more than two years of working with world-renowned design firms. BMW Group DesignworksUSA assisted with the development of the new First Class, James Park Associates assisted with Business Class and Massive Interactive with the in-flight entertainment system interface.

“The significant investment in our next generation of cabin products reaffirms our commitment to product innovation and leadership, and demonstrates our confidence in the future for premium full-service air travel,” said SIA’s Executive Vice President Commercial, Mr Mak Swee Wah.

“Special attention has been given to ergonomics, comfort, convenience and design, as well as to our customers’ interests and lifestyles. The task that we gave ourselves and our design partners when we started the process was to make ‘A Great Way to Fly’ even better. We are confident that we have delivered.”

First Class

Singapore Airlines’ new First Class seat, set in a modern, welcoming cabin, offers customers enhanced comfort in their own personal sanctuary. Each seat features a new fixed-back shell design with curved side panels to provide a clear demarcation of personal space, for added privacy. At 35 inches in width and with an increased bed length from 80 to 82 inches, it is one of the most spacious First Class products in the sky.

Extensive research was conducted to determine how best to increase the comfort of the new First Class seat. An ergonomically sculpted cushion and improved adjustable headrest have been introduced for greater seating comfort, while new features such as a padded headboard for extra support and an additional mattress layer ensure customers enjoy a good rest.

In line with our renowned customer service philosophy, more thoughtful and convenient features have been introduced. For example, the seat now boasts a stylish passenger control unit that includes a new switch to provide customers easier access to turn off their in-flight entertainment monitor, and for cabin crew to do so without disturbing customers when they are resting.

Another key feature is the in-seat lighting. In-depth research was carried out with lighting experts to develop not only a stylish reading light, but one that also provides a conducive environment for reading or working. Extensive tests were carried out to determine the optimal light colour and intensity, with brightness adjustability. In addition to reading lights, the seat features ambient lighting, which not only accentuates the seat design but also serves as a night light in a dimmed cabin.

Complementing the experience is a new state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system. First Class customers can enjoy the new KrisWorld on a sleek 24-inch LCD screen, with video touch-screen handsets.

To ensure that personal devices are within easy reach, even while charging, both eXport and USB ports are discreetly located within a leather-lined bespoke stowage compartment by the side of the seat. HDMI ports have also been added to provide the flexibility for customers to use KrisWorld as their own personal media player.

Business Class

The new Business Class seat blends modern sophistication with functionality, to address business travellers’ requirements for more flexibility, comfort and privacy.

Set in a warm and inviting cabin, the seat offers greater recline at 132 degrees and features an improved ergonomic seat cushion. When converted, it becomes the industry’s widest full-flat bed, at 78 inches in length. The seat also features a padded headboard cushion for enhanced comfort.

In addition, the new Business Class seat boasts two new seating positions - ‘Lazy Z’ and ‘Sundeck’ - following in-depth research and feedback from customers. These additional lounging positions provide even greater flexibility for customers to choose their preferred ways to work or relax.

Taking into account customer feedback for increased stowage space, there is now an amenity stowage area on the side console and a laptop stowage area.

Other enhanced features include an 18-inch LCD screen and video touch-screen handset for customers to enjoy the next generation KrisWorld, as well as an all-in-one business panel including in-seat power supply, USB port, eXport and HDMI ports. Like the new First Class seat, the new Business Class seat boasts a floodlight reading light and the LCD monitor on/off switch for added convenience.

Economy Class

Through the use of innovative design and materials, the new Singapore Airlines Economy Class seat provides additional comfort, with increased personal space and legroom. Each seat, which features a refreshed contemporary fabric design, comes with new backrest seat cushions with side bolsters for better back support. An ergonomically sculpted headrest cushion, which supports an increased range of height adjustments, offers better neck support.

Customers can also enjoy the new KrisWorld in-flight entertainment experience on a wider 11.1-inch monitor, featuring an intelligent and unique touch-screen graphical user interface (GUI) accompanied by a video touch-screen handset.

Monday, July 8, 2013

PHOTOS: NTSB releases harrowing images from inside the crashed Asiana Airlines Boeing 777

It’s been a horrible week for the global aviation industry, following the tragic Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 accident at San Francisco Airport on Saturday, which resulted in the death of two passengers.

Although such incidents are often clouded by expert (and not-so-expert) theories about the cause, it will probably take months before federal investigators have a more accurate hypothesis.

Thanks to the cockpit voice recorder and “black box” flight data recorders, which were recovered from the wreckage, we already know that pilots attempted to abort the landing and start a ‘go around’ around 1.5 seconds before the aircraft crashed.

The Boeing 777’s black boxes have not indicated that the plane was experiencing any problems before the crash, and Asiana Airlines has stated that engine failure is unlikely to be the cause.

Asiana Airlines told the media that Lee Kang-Kook, the pilot in charge of landing the plane, had flown 9,700 hours in an Airbus A320. He was "transition training" to fly the Boeing 777 (having accumulated a total of 43 hours), and it was his first attempt to fly into San Francisco while manning a 777.

The aircraft was carrying 141 Chinese, 77 Koreans, 61 Americans, three passengers from India, one each from Japan and Vietnam and seven whose nationalities were unknown, the airline said.

Three of the four runways at SFO were open Sunday afternoon. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also completed their first day at the crash site yesterday, with some harrowing images posted on TWSB’s twitter account.

"You can see the devastation from the outside of the aircraft, the burn-through, the damage to the external fuselage. But what you can't see is the damage internally. That is really striking," said SB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman before the photos were released.

With these images, we now have our first peek inside the aircraft. I’ve included a couple on this page and the entire photo album has been uploaded on my Facebook page – click here to visit.

VIDEO: Bombardier aircraft crashes into airport hangar during engine test

Sunday, July 7, 2013

TIME-LAPSE VIDEO: A mammoth task… watch the new Etihad Cargo Boeing 747-8F being painted!

Painting the Etihad Cargo's Boeing 747-8F was a major taskThe new Etihad Cargo Boeing 747-8F has received an amazing response from plane spotters around the world, with a huge number of photos appearing online in recent weeks.

To be honest, that’s not a huge surprise… for a couple of reasons! First, the wide-body aircraft is very photogenic and provides a stunning canvas for the Etihad livery.

Second, its currently being deployed on a round-the-world scheduled routine in conjunction with Atlas Air, covering locations such as Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Chicago, Miami, Viracopos, Quito and Amsterdam… so there’s plenty of opportunities for plane spotters to take their snaps.

And since this particular aircraft has been receiving so much attention, here’s a cool time-lapse video that shows the Etihad Cargo Boeing 747-8F being painted!

You can watch the video below – and there’s a regular stream of aviation videos, photos and stories on my Facebook page. If that sounds like your cup of tea, click here to visit and like the page.

RELATED ARTICLE: Amazing time-lapse video of British Airways staff creating Boeing 747 artwork

“Etihad Cargo is reinforcing its position as a global operator with the entry into service of this round-the-world routing, touching the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe,” commented Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways during the service’s official launch at the end of May 2013.

“This goes beyond simply joining the dots, it’s about working with partners, operating routes which benefit our customers across the globe, entering new markets, establishing new trade lanes, being cost effective and delivering value. By linking the round-the-world capability with our existing Etihad Cargo services through our Abu Dhabi hub, we believe our offer is industry-leading.”

MORE TIME-LAPSE VIDEOS: Etihad Airways takes over Dubai roundabout for promotional campaign

Saturday, July 6, 2013

VIDEO: Air New Zealand rejected landing at Wellington Airport due to extreme high winds

Did you know that Wellington is known as the windiest city in the world? It’s a fact we learned this week, after hearing about continued flight delays at Wellington Airport due to high winds.

Rejected landings are not uncommon in such weather conditions, as the video on this page will show. The footage, taken by a plane spotter at the airport, shows an Air New Zealand approaching the runway for a routine landing… however, due to high winds, the Boeing 737-300 starts to sway.

For safety reasons, the pilot aborts the landing and heads back into the sky, ready for another attempt. Do you think the pilot did a good job? Feel free to leave yoru comments below - and remember to sign-up for The Aviation Writer's free newsletter to stay updated with the latest aviation stories. Click here to register.

Since being uploaded onto YouTube a few days ago, the video has been viewed around 130,000 times, attracting a mixed response from users. Overall, the pilot has been praised for his handling of the situation, while the more negative comments seem to have been deleted.

VIDEO: Watch dramatic engine failure on Thomas Cook Airbus A330 in Manchester‏

“It's often fun landing at Wellington!” commented one user, Luke Reid. “I believe that they get one TOGA (take-off go around) and if they miss the second attempt then it's off to the alternate. I've been on more than one flight where the passengers started cheering once the aeroplane made it safely down.”

“Glad the pilot didn’t try and get brave and land it,” commented another user, MidFlightRiot. “Good decision. Could have gone very bad.”

Friday, July 5, 2013

PHOTO: Tiger Airways unveils re-branding… but viral photo shows new logo PEELING off airplane!

With much excitement, Tiger Airways was re-branded as Tigerair this week, marking a brand new identity for the Asian low-cost carrier. However, there’s already been an initial hiccup with the re-branding exercise, which was spotted by internet users almost immediately.

“The new face of Tigerair has a fresh and upbeat look that embodies its brand personality — warm, passionate and genuine,” boasted a press release for the Singapore-born and bred airline. “The leaping tiger that used to be the main element of Tigerair’s logo has made way for a contemporary grey rounded font typography, with blushing orange accents.”

Koay Peng Yen, Group CEO of Tiger Airways Holdings, explained that a number of changes have been initiated since late last year, and the new brand identity should be seen as “a reinforcement of our commitment towards a better and bolder Tigerair”.

He added, “We look forward to being the leading airline and travel partner connecting people across Asia Pacific, and being part of the communities we fly to.”

All sounds good so far, right? However, a photo of a Tigerair plane with the new branding has started to appear online. I’ve included the image on this page... notice anything with the logo?

The photo was posted on Reddit under the headline ‘Tiger Airways new livery doesn't set in time. Gets damaged during its first flight to Alice Springs’.

The image has even been doing the rounds on various aviation forums. “Heard the livery is actually stickers and already started peeling off by the time they arrived in ASP!” stated a user on Sydney Airport Message Board.

Meanwhile, the same photo has been drawing criticism at popular pilot website “If they’re trying to make the public believe they are low cost then they have got the look right,” commented one user. “Nothing like a cheap sticker half peeled off to say we’re cheap. I would guess the whole rebranding had a $1500 budget.”

VIDEO: Crossing the line? Pilots must have their armpits sniffed before Hainan Airlines hires them!

What are your thoughts on the story? Any ideas what caused this to happen? Feel free to leave your comments below… plus, sign-up now for The Aviation Writer newsletter to keep updated with the latest aviation photos, videos and stories. It’s FREE – click here to register.