Flying Knight

Her Majesty seems to have taken a keen interest in airline strategy, with Emirates President Tim Clark knighted in this year’s New Year honours for “services to British prosperity and to the aviation industry”. Clark is recognised as an “outstanding British business leader and premier airline strategist”. Clark worked for four years at Gulf Air as a route planner, before joining Emirates in 1985. In 2003 Clark was appointed president and under his stewardship Emirates has grown to become one of the top ten biggest carriers in the world. The Royal Aeronautical Society’s fascinating interview with him earlier in 2013 is well worth watching:

Done Deal

Boeing’s machinists union narrowly voted in favour of Boeing’s offer securing 777X production in Seattle. The vote passed in favour 51 per cent to 49 per cent, with as little as 800 votes separating the outcome, ends two months of speculation and Boeing’s search for an alternate production site which attracted bids from 22 states and Japan.

Meanwhile Boeing’s 777X continues development, with a scale model now in windtunnel testing. According to Boeing the 4.22m-long scale model is “0.05% scale”, making the real aircraft around 8km long. With its predicted fuel burn improvements and that much capacity, no wonder Emirates wants 150.

Red Hot

With over 400 flight hours accumulated on over 150 flights, Boeing’s second 787-9 ZB002 has arrived arrived in Auckland on route to Alice Springs for a week of heat stress testing. Hot soak tests involve leaving the aircraft shutdown for prolonged periods to ‘bake’ before dark starting the aircraft to test the environmental control system’s ability to cool the aircraft on the ground and inflight. Weather in central Australia is unlikely to disappoint with a prolonged heatwave pushing temperatures well into the mid-40s. Ensuring the aircraft is efficiently utilised, Boeing will also use ZB002 to undertake autoland testing at Alice Springs.

Centenary

January 1, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the inaugural commercial air service between St Petersberg and Tampa, Tony Jannus piloted the flying boat designed by Thomas Benoist. The flight took 23 minutes and operated twice daily, six days a week until May 5, 1914.  It’s amazing to consider the progress of the first 30 years that proceeded that day back in 1914, from something so small to large transport aircraft and flying boats that had the endurance to fly for up to 28 hours as Qantas did with its Catalina Double Sunrise service.

Image: University of South Florida.

Feature image B787-9 ZB002 dwarfs an RFDS PC-12 at Alice Springs. Image: Alice Springs Airport.