Monday, February 01, 2016

Stamford co.’s parts on new Boeing jet

Boeing flew its new 737 MAX single-aisle passenger jet for the first time, with the aircraft’s engines and airframe including components from Stamford-based Hexcel.

Chicago-based Boeing flew the 737 MAX at its final assembly plant in Renton, Wash., with the single-aisle aircraft having collected more than 3,070 orders to date including from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and GE Capital Aviation Services, a Norwalk-based subsidiary of General Electric that leases aircraft to airliners. First delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2017.

Hexcel carbon fiber is used in fan blades and containment cases for LEAP-1 engines made by CFM International, a joint venture of GE Aviation and France-based Safran.

The nacelles that house the engines have an acoustic inner barrel designed with Hexcel’s Acousti-Cap technology, in which a permeable cap material is individually embedded into each honeycomb cell to create an acoustic septum. Hexcel said that reduces the noise “contour” of the 737 MAX engine by 40 percent next to older Boeing 737 aircraft.

The 737 MAX also includes systems from the UTC Aerospace subsidiary of Farmington-based United Technologies.

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Dramatic rescue at RAF Leeming during a routine training flight in a Hawk jet

An RAF pilot who lost his sight in the middle of a training flight was talked down through a safe landing by a comrade who flew behind him, it has been disclosed.

The dramatic rescue happened last week at RAF Leeming during a routine training flight in a Hawk jet.

The unnamed pilot radioed to base after he was suddenly lost vision because of a suspected medical problem while flying solo above North Yorkshire in the BAE Systems single-engine training jet.

At one point the pilot’s vision was so bad that commander’s considered having him eject into the North Sea because there was little chance he could land safely, sources said.

But the prospect of him suffering ejection injuries, as well as losing the plane led them to dispatch another pilot, Flt Lt Paul Durban, to try to talk him down.

Flt Lt Durban, a 39-year-old father of two who flew Tornados in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming an instructor at RAF Leeming, flew close behind the stricken pilot to talk him down.

A source said: “They think he had an infection in his eye and he just couldn’t see. The other pilot flew behind him and talked him down. They got him down safely and the plane is OK. Flt Lt Durban is fine too, though I think he was pretty exhausted.”

The RAF on Sunday confirmed the incident on January 28, but refused to comment on the condition of the stricken pilot. Sources said his vision was thought to have been affected by the sudden deterioration of an eye infection.

An RAF spokesman said: “During a routine training sortie on Thursday, one of our pilots temporarily suffered a partial loss of vision. To assist in the recovery of the aircraft to RAF Leeming, the pilot used the radio to request the assistance of a wingman and was promptly joined by another aircraft from the same squadron.

“The impaired pilot flew in formation back to RAF Leeming with the other aircraft where the pilot landed the aircraft uneventfully. Flying in formation, and conducting an approach to land as a formation, is a skill practised daily by RAF fast jet pilots.”

The RAF’s 100 Sqn use Hawk jets at RAF Leeming, near Richmond in North Yorkshire, to train forward air controllers and to act as enemy jets in practice missions. They are also flown by the RAF’s aerobatic team, the Red Arrows.

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Revealed: How packed holiday jet had near-miss at 1,500ft with rocket made from FIZZY DRINKS bottles

The Airbus A321 was leaving Birmingham Airport when the pilot spotted a UFO "very close" to the cockpit.

A packed holiday jet had a near-miss at 1,500ft with a rocket made from FIZZY DRINKS bottles, it has emerged.

The Airbus A321 flight was leaving Birmingham Airport when the pilot spotted a UFO from the cockpit.

It passed "very close" to the starboard side of the aircraft but did not make contact, said air safety body UKAB which investigated the incident.

In a report, it was described as "rocket shaped and the size of 2 x 2litre fizzy drink bottles."

The pilot said it passed just 100ft vertically and 200m horizontally from his aircraft.

It is believed the UFO was probably a DIY water bottle rocket sent up in to the air by an amateur enthusiast.

But is thought to be the first time any has reached such height as to encounter an aircraft.

Local rocketing groups were contacted by the UKAB and said there were no meetings held at the time of the incident at around 9.50am on August 18 last year.

By law, anyone wanting to fire a rocket which has a motive power exceeding 160 Newton-seconds has to contact Air Traffic Control.

Making water bottle rockets is a popular science experiment.

A large bottle is partially filled with water or another liquid and then compressed with a pump until the pressure fires it into the air.

The world record height reached for a water bottle rocket 2,723ft.

The air watchdog said it had ultimately been unable to trace the source of the rocket.

The near-miss was categorized as a Category B incident, the second most serious on the watchdog's scale.

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Nikon takes down plane photo after row

Nikon has taken down the winning entry to an amateur photography competition after a social media storm erupted over the obviously edited image.

Look Up, by Singaporean photographer Chay Yu Wei, appeared to capture a plane just as it flew over a building.

But Nikon and Mr Chay had to apologise after thousands pointed out the plane had very clearly been edited in.

It has also emerged that an identical image was posted on Instagram by another photographer one year ago.

Singaporean photographer Lee Yik Keat, who posted that image, called it "the classic lookup". He told the BBC he could not tell if it was the same photo, but said he had always freely admitted his was a composite.

How the fake plane row unfolded

11 January - Nikon Singapore announces its monthly amateur photography competition on Facebook asking for people to "enchant us with your monochrome photography", with a trolley bag for the winner.

The terms of the competition say the photos must be original works, though doesn't specifically bar editing.

Mr. Chay, who Instagrams as @yuuuuuwei, uploaded his entry.

The following week - One user asks Mr Chay on his Instagram how long he waited for the plane to pass overhead. He replies "Not too long, I was lucky" with two smiling emoji.

28 January - Mr. Chay is announced as the competition winner. Nikon says he chanced upon some ladders while on a photo walk of Singapore's Chinatown and thought it was make an interesting shot. "Little did he expect to catch an airplane in mid-air."

Almost immediately, people began questioning the photo.

Running it through Photoshop and playing just slightly with the colour levels showed very clearly a white box around the plane, indicating it had been cut and pasted onto the shot. The plane itself also appeared pixellated.

Much of the anger fell on Mr Chay, with photographers turning on his Instagram to accuse him of deliberate fakery.

"There's nothing wrong with the photo, I know tons of IGers who puts a plane on it or photoshop many stars etc, the problem is you shouldn't have lied about waiting for it, there are many people out there who isn't stupid," said one user.
Another user observed: "He took a similar photo last year as well. Must have been really lucky and skilful to have captured such low-flying planes twice."

But there was also anger at Nikon for what was seen as poor judgement, and bad handling of the row.

"The problem lies with the judges. May be photo-enthusiasts who are overly zealous in the quest for an 'impossible' or 'wow' factor in the entries. Please keep it real and get real practicing photographers to be the judges. It may help Nikon's reputation in many ways," MY Lye posted on the Facebook page.

30 January

Nikon posts an apology, saying "we should not compromise standards even for a casual photo contest".

"We have made an honest mistake and the rousing response from the community today is a reminder to us that the true spirit of photography is very much alive."

But many replies are not happy.

"It is appalling that a maker of serious photography equipment takes photography integrity so lightly," says Darren Lim. "If you truly made an "honest mistake", then rectify it. Don't try to justify by labelling it as a casual contest."

Also that night, Mr Yu posts an apology on Instagram.

He says adding the plane had been a "playful edit" and was "not meant to bluff anyone". He says he had been joking about being lucky to catch the shot.

But he says he "crossed the line by submitting the photo for a competition", and apologised to Nikon and the photography community.

Singapore's national airport, Changi, even got in on the act, posting this image with the hashtag #lookup on Facebook.

31 January

In response to more criticism of the competition and its initial PR reaction, Nikon issues a second apology, saying it will "do the right thing by our community and by the standards that are expected of Nikon, and as such, we will shortly be removing Look Up from our pages".

Thanking users for their "candour" and continue support, it apologises that this means their comments will also disappear.

1 February

Local media report that a very similar photo to Look Up was posted on Instagram almost exactly a year ago by Lee Yik Keat.

Mr. Lee tells the BBC he can't tell whether the picture was a copy or was inspired by his image, but that this method of making composite images "did not originate from me".

"I declared to my audience that it was two images into one edit and the tag was #putaplaneonit."

"I think this kind of editing is fine as long as it is declared, sometimes creative edits can spark other people's imagination so it can be useful. I think if he declared it was a composite and he wins it it is fine, however (if i am not wrong?) he did not inform Nikon upfront."

Memes roll in

Despite the anger, it's fair to say some photographers have had fun with the row as an opportunity to show of their photo editing skills.

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Incident occurred January 30, 2016 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England

Panshanger campaigners Will Davis and  Jerry Larke at the gates of the Panshanger Aerodrome site.

A light aircraft made an emergency landing at Panshanger’s former airfield on Saturday, more than 15 months after it officially stopped operating.

A pilot who trained at the  North London Flying School when it operated the airfield was forced to land there because his Cessna C150 suffered a complete electrical failure, filling the cockpit with smoke.

Landowner Mariposa, which ended the club’s lease in September 2014, has suggested the Welwyn Garden City site for housing, although aviation enthusiasts have not given up hope of restoring an airfield on the site.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told the Welwyn Hatfield Times there would be no obligation to report the landing unless it involved injury or damage.

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Day Trip Discoveries: Take advantage of value season at Future of Flight Aviation Center

You’ve likely heard of the Boeing Tour at Paine Field in Mukilteo – it’s one of the biggest visitor draws in the state of Washington. You may know it affiliated with the Future of Flight Aviation Center when that facility opened in 2005.

But have you taken the Boeing Tour and explored the Future of Flight Aviation Center? So many of us locals think we’ll take in this major attraction when relatives or friends visit… and then somehow that doesn’t happen.

So visit now for your own enjoyment during these winter months – when the ticket price drops during the “value season” through March 31 – and the Boeing Tour and Future of Flight are much less crowded. Tour reservations are a virtual necessity during the June-September tourist high season; now you can be more impromptu, although reserving a specific tour time is always wise and saves on the ticket price.

The Boeing Tour is the only tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America. Here 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners are built. You watch the world’s largest jets being assembled in the world’s largest building (measured by volume: more than 472 million cubic feet, covering 98.3 acres – a footprint as big as 75 football fields!). Mist clouds actually used to form in the Boeing plant before a state-of-the-art air circulation system was installed.

The 90-minute tour begins with a short introduction film at the Future of Flight Aviation Center; then you board a shuttle bus to the nearby Boeing manufacturing plant. Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll walk more than one-third mile through underground tunnels beneath the plant – part of the 2.3-mile labyrinth below the assembly floor. On the floor, employees often get around the huge building by using the 1,300 bicycles Boeing provides.

You’ll also walk up and down steep steps several times and ride an elevator 35 feet above the factory floor for a birds-eye view of the jets’ assembly stations. (With advance notice, special accommodations can be made for those who are physically challenged or in wheelchairs.)

From the overhead viewpoints, you’ll observe a truly remarkable operation employing 42,000 workers and learn fascinating factoids from your guide such as: 26 overhead bridge cranes operate on a total of 39 miles of ceiling track to transport wings, tails and other large parts to aircraft in the process of being assembled. Jets move along their respective assembly lines as these huge parts are fitted into place.

Children must be at least 4 feet tall to take the tour for safety reasons. Cameras and electronic devices, including cell phones, may not be taken to the factory; lockers are available at the Future of Flight.

Returning by shuttle bus to the Future of Flight Aviation Center, you can then explore its interactive displays highlighting commercial jet aviation. The 28,000-square foot gallery contains learning zones including Airplane Design, Materials, Flight Systems, Propulsion/Engines, Passenger Experience, Family Zone and Future Concepts.

Digitally design your own jet, then test and modify its flight worthiness. Stand next to a 30-foot-tall 747 tail to appreciate its tremendous size. Feel the composite material that makes up most of the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner. For an additional $8, take a virtual ride in the Innovator to far-away places such as Egypt and experiences such as the Battle for Iwo Jima and a Blue Angels’ flight.

A recent addition is the Family Zone with activities designed around the theme of aircraft manufacturing and assembly. Families can build simple aircraft models and use Lego (and Lego-compatible) pieces to design aircraft. A kid-sized airport and aircraft allow future pilots of all ages to practice their take-offs and landings.

Currently, the Family Zone is also home to a hands-on nanotechnology exhibit and new Bernoulli Table, which offers an interactive experience to teach the relationship between the velocity of air and the pressure it exerts.

Weekend Family Workshops are featured on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Each workshop includes an aviation story and a make-and-take project.

Maker Mondays, open from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the Gallery Maker Space, provide the opportunity to work on your own projects using 3D-modeling. Then print your project on the MakerBot Replicator. Makers under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $5 per day plus $0.90 per gram for materials.


Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
8415 Paine Field Blvd. – Mukilteo, WA
Phone: 425-438-8100

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily year-round, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Boeing tours begin at 9 a.m. and are offered on the hour; the last tour starts at 3 p.m.

Admission – Value Season (Jan 3 to Mar 31 & Oct 1 to Dec 19): 
$16 adult reserved/$18 walk-up; youth $9/$10 (age 15 and under)

Admission – Peak Season (Apr.1 – Sept. 30):
$18 adult reserved/$20 walk-up; youth $12/$14

Reservations are highly recommended as only a limited quantity of same-day, non-reserved tickets are available. 

Reserve at or phone 360-756-0086 or toll-free 1-800-464-1476 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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