Amongst the usual VIP business flights, Lots of Premiership footballer business over the last few weeks – expected to increase in volume as the end of season approaches – and some very big transatlantic trips scheduled over the next fortnight. Flaps has just posted best-ever results for the last financial year.
I can’t believe January has already pretty much shot by!The twins are already talking about half-term!!
The big news we have at this end is the imminent release of the book of our air charter exploits, Waking Sienna, which should be up on Amazon as an e-book by the end of this week at a very sensible price.
If you want to know the background and history behind Flaps International, the company behind Smarter Air Charter, the celebrities we deal with and the ups and downs (sorry about this terrible pun!) of the private aviation world, then this is the book for you. It’s a good deal more than just that though and early reviews are raving about it, frankly. We’re going to keep the price low to help spread the word about what we do and each review helps, so please let us know what you think once you’ve read it.
We’ve got a number of flight options in the air (there’s another of those awful puns – I just can’t help myself) and we’ve hit something of a company record having no less than six individual players at just one Premiership club with completely separate accounts with us. Don’t forget that these guys have quite literally a whole world of choice when it comes to choosing a supplier and since we’ve flown some of these players many times we like to think that it shows that we’re giving the right service and good value.
They say that our business is mainly word of mouth and that good news travels fast – well, there’s the proof!
Back soon with an update on the release of Waking Sienna.
Well, we’ve had a busy start to the New Year with flights to all parts of Europe. As ever, we always prefer to see our clients right to the door of the aircraft whenever possible and of course, we can provide many means by which a service can be personalised, with everything from VIP ground transportation up to the provision of former Special Forces Close Security Protection teams when the need arises. All this activity makes for quite a bit of travelling on the part of yours truly as Managing Director, to keep an eye on the services provided by our suppliers the operators and indeed the handling agents at the airports that we tend to use most frequently.
Lately, we’ve been using Biggin Hill a great deal for our London clients and we’ve been very impressed with the Jet Aviation facility although in fairness, all the London handlers are of a very high standard. Where possible, it’s great to be able to drive the client direct to the aircraft waiting on the apron, and so providing the seamless and stress-free experience that’s what we’re all about.
Last weekend a regular corporate client was taking a very lucky bride-and-groom-to-be up to their wedding in Scotland so we pushed the boat out for them and ensured everything went without a hitch, although perhaps that’s not quite the right phrase! Either way, it all turned out well – everything was bang on time, the catering was tip-top even though it was a fairly short flight and our ground transportation arrangements ensured a smooth continuation of the journey, having liaised closely in advance with the concierge of the destination hotel.
On the office stove bubbling away at the moment we have some interesting requests that we’re working on, including flights to Venice, Jersey and Budapest. The clients include a Premiership footballer and some very high-powered business regulars. Keep on eye on us so we can let you know what’s happening in the world of private aviation! Our Facebook page is Flaps Air Charter and Twitter is @flapsaircharter.
Hawker has received Russian validation for its 900XP business jet bringing the number of countries where the midsize aircraft is cleared to operate commercially to more than 50.
“The Hawker 900XP is ideally suited to the Russian market and with this certification we believe the aircraft will be in great demand with charter companies and those with a corporate or private fleet in the region,” said Sean McGeough, HBC president, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
McGeough said the aircraft can transport eight passengers and two crew members 2,740nm (5,000km), making the majority of Russia accessible from any point. Furthermore, he added, the Hawker 900XP can reach any point in Europe from Moscow or St Petersburg.
In a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report that is due to be released later on this year it is expected that the findings will establish a connection between poor pilot training and aircraft accidents.
Pilots lacking basic flying skills
Kathy H. Abbott PhD who is leading the research has found that whilst automatic systems have reduced or eliminated some types of pilot errors these same systems have introduced new types of errors. The main problem appears to be a lack of pilot knowledge of system operating procedures, mode transitions and associated system behaviour; and unusual attitude recognition and recovery.
The gap in pilot knowledge appears to be at fault because training is based on cockpits and standard operating procedures dating back to the 50’s. At the Flight Safety Foundation international aviation safety seminar last year even Airbus and Boeing recognised there is a problem.
It would appear that Pilots lack basic skills in things such as stall recovery and simple go-around procedures. Furthermore in Abbott’s findings pilots are concentrating too much on programming the automation at the expense of monitoring the flight path. It was found that the lack of crew knowledge of automated systems had an impact on 40% of accidents and 30% of serious incidents between 2001 and 2009,
Unlike in the past today pilots have to deal with failures which they are not given training. Pilots have to deal with computer malfunctions and failures; software failures; and un-commanded autopilot disconnects or pitch-up incidents which for no reason.
On Monday the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled against Boeing saying their 787 Dreamliner, and other aircraft, had benefited from improper subsidies which distorted the market unfairly against their European rival, Airbus.
The WTO findings will not be officially published for several weeks but Airbus believes the report will say that the 787 Dreamliner could not have been built without state aid. Boeings reaction has been that the Dreamliner would have been built anyway regardless of any subsidies.
According to Airbus Boeing received $5bn (£3.1bn) indirect subsidies via the Department of Defence and NASA and a further $2bn in local state subsidies. However, a spokesman for the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk’s office, said the US believed the WTO would confirm that “European subsidies to Airbus dwarf any subsidies that the United States provided to Boeing”. Moreover, if you average the $5bn over several decades the amount given only equates to the cost of a wide body aircraft per year.
This latest dispute is the largest ever brought before the WTO and is part of a six year ongoing battle between Airbus and Boeing for the $1.7 trillion passenger aircraft market. The roots of the dispute go back to 1992 when the US government discarded a previous 1992 trade agreement.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
That finding is in marked contrast to another WTO ruling last year finding that Airbus has received at least $20 billion in illegal or actionable subsidies. Another contrast is that Boeing has substantially ceased receiving prohibited subsidies, while Airbus continues to actively pursue them.
The findings of the latest report come in stark contrast to the findings of the previous dispute last year. The 2010 ruling found that Airbus had received £20bn in illegal subsidies which, unlike Boeing, it is still actively pursuing. In the original claim Airbus said it had been deprived of $45bn in sales but this latest report estimates only $3bn.
The wider impact of the WTO ruling is that it could impact the $25-50bn contract for refuelling tanker planes in the US. A decision by the US Air Force will occur around the same time as the official report is released by the WTO. Airbus may be the one to suffer as the report could highlight that fact that it receives unfair subsidies so when these are taken into account Boeing’s bid will be the more competitive.
Qantas prides itself on being one of the few airliners that have never had a serious plane crash. However, in recent weeks it seems things are conspiring against them.
Only on January the 11th the Qantas A380 fleet was finally resumed flights to the US after being grounded for two months. The planes were grounded on November 4th 2010 after a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine blew up in mid-air following an uncontained turban blade failure.
Whereas flights to London were resumed in November the flights to LA continued to be grounded whilst more detailed test were carried out. This was because the engines required more thrust on the LA route.
In this latest incident it was not an A380 but a 747-400 that suffered a contained turbine blade failure. Once again this incident involved a Rolls-Royce engine, this time a RB-211. Flight QF11, Sydney to LA, was just about to take off when the engine failed, or as the Pilot said “cooked itself”.
Qantas 747 engine failure
This incident has not done any favours to either Rolls-Royce or Qantas in terms of PR. The first incident which resulted in the grounding of the A380s cost an estimated $100 million, which Qantas is seeking a financial settlement with Rolls-Royce. Nevertheless, this second incident is nothing out of the ordinary for any airline so it is likely to have little impact on either party.