Posts Tagged ‘Boeing 737 Max’

[BBC News] An unidentified drone came close to hitting a plane as it landed at Heathrow, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed.

An Airbus A320 pilot reported seeing a helicopter-style drone as the jet was 700 feet off the ground on its approach to the runway at 1416 GMT on 22 July.

The CAA has not identified the airline or how close the drone came to the plane, which can carry 180 people.

It gave the incident an “A” rating, meaning a “serious risk of collision”.

This is the highest incident rating the CAA can give.

Investigators were unable to identify the drone, which did not appear on air traffic control radar and disappeared after the encounter.

In May the pilot of an ATR 72 turbo-prop plane reported seeing a helicopter drone only 80 feet away as he approached Southend airport at a height of 1,500 feet.

The incidents have prompted a warning from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) that the rapid increase in the number of drones operated by amateur enthusiasts now poses “a real risk” to commercial aircraft.

The association’s general secretary, Jim McAuslan said drones could cause a repeat of the “Hudson River experience”, when a plane was forced to land in water in New York in 2009 after birds were sucked into its engines.

“The risk of a 10 kilogram object hitting a plane is a real one that pilots are very concerned about” he said.

“A small drone could be a risky distraction for a pilot coming into land and cause serious damage if they hit one.”

Sales of drones have increased rapidly, with UK sales running at a rate of between 1,000 and 2,000 every month.

They are expected to be very popular as Christmas presents.

They cost as little as £35 for a smaller model – more advanced drones capable of carrying a high definition camera and travelling at 45 miles per hour cost almost £3,000.

Only a very small minority of people operating drones have attended training courses in how to fly them.

A spokesman for the CAA said it had to depend on people using their common sense when they operated drones.

He said the current level of risk should be “kept in perspective” but warned that breaking laws governing the use of drones could potentially threaten commercial aircraft.

“People using unmanned aircraft need to think, use common sense and take responsibility for them”, he said.

“There are rules which have the force of law and have to be followed.”

Drones may not be flown higher than 400 feet or further than 500 metres from the operator, and they must not go within 50 metres of people, vehicles or buildings.

There are exclusion zones around airports and the approaches to them for drones weighing more than seven kilograms.

Mr McAuslan said there was an urgent need for rules to be tightened before much larger unmanned cargo planes – potentially the size of a Boeing 737 – took to the skies.

Read the original story at BBC News…..

BBC News
7th December, 2014


Boeing’s 737 gets a makeover to add fuel efficiency.

The Boeing’s 737, a commercial jet that made its debut in 1968 and the one you’ve most likely flown on is getting a makeover to fit with the new demands of air travel in the 21st century.

Boeing 737 makeover to add fuel efficiency

Boeing 737 makeover to add fuel efficiency: USA Today Article

The new version, the 737 Max, which is scheduled to make its debut in 2017, is designed with new engines to burn less fuel than its three predecessors, to help airlines pare costs and leave less of a carbon footprint on the global environment.

But at its most basic, the Max will be the same 737 stalwart the traveling public has come to know the last 44 years. It’s a single-aisle jet that will ferry up to 215 passengers on both short and cross-country trips, and offer efficiency that’s helped make the 737 the best-selling commercial jet in history, with 9,745 sold.

“They’re known as the workhorse of the industry,” says Mike Van de Ven, COO of Southwest Airlines, which has exclusively flown 737s since the airline’s birth in 1971.

“It really beats the competition on fuel burn. It really beats the competition on reliability, and it really had a very effective maintenance program. And they just made that airplane better and better over the last 20 or 30 years.”

Southwest, which has the largest fleet of 737s in the world, with more than 550, is reaffirming its faith in Boeing and the 737 by ordering 150 Max jets. American Airlines is sold, too, having ordered 100 Max planes in July before seeking bankruptcy protection in November.

“There’s a lot of interest in our industry and among our customers in the next generation of aircraft,” says Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer. “Customers see it as a better product and younger fleet, and airlines see it as an opportunity to lower our costs.”

A cheaper fuel bill could mean that rising airfares may not rise so quickly, say travel industry analysts.

“It hopefully will mean more stable pricing for consumers,” says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor flights. Lower costs for an airline, he says, “should transfer to the consumer pocketbook.”

Outfitted with new engines, the Max will use 10% to 12% less fuel than its most current Boeing peer, the Next-Generation 737, company officials say. That holds particular appeal for airlines, with jet fuel making up 25% to 40% of their costs, and whose profitability is threatened as the price of crude oil stays around $103 a barrel as it was on Friday…..

Read the full story at USA Today…..

By Charisse Jones