Tuesday, 29 September 2020

How Many Flight Attendants Are Required Per Flight?

Ever wondered how many flight attendants are required to operate a flight? The minimum ratio of flight attendants to passengers varies by country, but it’s generally between 1:36 and 1:50. In Australia, the standard minimum ratio is 1 flight attendant for every 36 passengers. But there are some exemptions. For example, flight attendants are not required on aircraft with fewer than 15 passengers (or flights with up to 22 passengers, where at least 3 are infants or children and there are two pilots). On Australian-registered wide-body aircraft with more than 216 seats, there are different legislated minimum numbers of flight attendants. In general, there must be at least one flight attendant for each “floor level exit”. In other words, a crew member must be available to sit by each exit door during take-off and landing. There must also be at least one cabin attendant for each separate compartment of the plane occupied by passengers. These rules are set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in the Civil Aviation Order 20.16.3, part of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. Based on these ratios, you would expect to see 5 flight attendants on Boeing 737-800 or Airbus A320 flights in Australia as these aircraft have up to 180 seats. But Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and (previously) Tigerair all operate domestic flights on these aircraft types with only 4 cabin crew. (Qantas may still operate some Boeing 737 flights during meal times with 5 crew, in order to provide a full meal service.) They are allowed to do this because they have each received specific exemptions from CASA. The aviation safety regulator began issuing such exemptions in 2007. Alliance Airlines has also received an exemption to operate Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 flights with only 2 flight attendants, despite these planes holding 80 and 100 passengers respectively.In the United States, Europe and many other countries, regulators require only a minimum 1:50 ratio of cabin crew to passengers. In recognising this international standard, CASA allows airlines to apply to operate specific aircraft types at the lower 1:50 ratio if the country that manufactured the aircraft allows it, and the airlines can demonstrate that it is safe to do so. This includes demonstrating to the safety authority that an emergency evacuation can take place in less than 90 seconds with the reduced number of crew members. Of course, many airlines roster on more crew than the minimum required to ensure better passenger service, and also to provide flexibility in case a crew member falls ill while on a layover. In March 2017, a report was presented to the Australian government titled “Finding the Right Balance: Cabin Crew Ratios on Australian Aircraft”. In this report, the government rejected suggestions that the 1:36 ratio should be retained indefinitely in Australia, and that CASA should stop granting exemptions to airlines. The government’s view was that the 1:50 ratio has not compromised safety or security. Of course, Australia’s airlines also prefer a 1:50 ratio because they can save on crew costs.

Story sourced from here

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Antonov An-26 military transport plane crashes in eastern Ukraine

A Ukraine Air Force Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed on the E40 highway, while on approach to runway 16 at Chuhuiv Air Base (UKHW). The aircraft carried cadets of the Kharkiv University of the Air Force. It came down at the side of the road and burst into flames. Two of the 27 occupants survived the crash. The aircraft crashed in Kharkiv Oblast, a region which borders Russia to the east and the separatist area of Donbass to the south, at around 20:45 and caught fire. The accident happened during the aircraft’s approach for landing, says the Ukrainian ministry of defence. It came down about 2km from the airfield. “It is reported that, in addition to the crew, cadets of the Ivan Kozhedub National University of the Air Force were on board,” says the ministry. “The leadership of the ministry of defence, the armed forces of Ukraine, and all personnel express their deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the fallen servicemen.” The Ivan Kozhedub National University of the Air Force is located in the city of Kharkiv, not far from the crash site. It states that 20 of those on board were cadets. Both the air force and the university have identified the aircraft as an An-26Sh variant, bearing the military number 76. The university and the Chuhuiv base are linked to the 203rd aviation training brigade. Eastern Ukraine has been a hotbed for Russian-backed separatist activity. In 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER, was shot down with a surface-to-air missile in the Donetsk Oblast, which is about 250 km south-east of where the An-26 crashed. To investigate the cause of the An-26 crash, the government of Ukraine says it has established a joint commission that includes the ministry of defence, ministry of internal affairs, a local state government official and the country’s deputy prime minister. “The area of the catastrophe is surrounded and controlled by servicemen from the Military Law Enforcement Service in the armed forces of Ukraine,” says the ministry of defence. By 21:53 the fire had been extinguished, says the Ukrainian state emergencies service. The cause of the crash has not been confirmed but Kharkiv Oblast governor Oleksiy Kucher says he received information that the pilot had reported failure of the left engine. But Kucher adds that such a failure is “not a critical situation” for an experienced pilot, and that the circumstances of the accident will be determined by the investigation.
At the time of the accident the aircraft had a total flight time of 5,985 hours and had made 3,450 landings.
There have been 10 Antonov An-26 aircraft crashes since 2017.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Ukraine Air Force 
Aircraft: Antonov An-26Sh
Registration: 76 Yellow
Serial Number: 5608
Engines: 2 Progress AI-24VT Turboprop engines,
First Flew: 21st October 1977
Age: 43 Yrs Old


Saturday, 26 September 2020

Stolen Mexican jet crashes with cocaine on board

A private business jet that was stolen in Mexico has been found crashed in a Guatemalan jungle with two male passengers, as well as three kilograms of cocaine and a number of unspecified weapons onboard. The aircraft, a BAe 125 twin-engine jet, was reportedly stolen from Cuernavaca Airport on Tuesday, before it was found to have crashed in a mountainous area of northern Guatemala, with two passengers and a stash of illegal drugs and weapons onboard. According to Mexican authorities, three unidentified men walked onto the airstrip at Cuernavaca Airport on Tuesday, claiming to be mechanics working on the plane, and proceeded to fuel up the aircraft. Two of these men then entered the plane and took off down the runway at around midday local time on Tuesday, without authorisation or a flight plan in place. Authorities tracked the plane as it travelled south. Several hours later, the plane then landed at Zulia airport in Venezuela’s north-west, close to the Colombian border, according to the Guatemalan military, where it stayed put for a short time. The plane then took off again, towards Guatemala, where it crashed in the mountainous Alta Verapaz region shortly after 8pm local time on Wednesday. It is not clear what caused the crash, however the aircraft appears to have struck trees and crashed into a wooded area near the airstrip. The aircraft was largely destroyed by a post-crash fire, and both pilots onboard were killed. Neither has been identified. Also found in the crashed aircraft was three kilograms of cocaine found in three separate packages, as well as a range of unspecified guns. Guatemalan authorities initially incorrectly identified the burned aircraft as a Hawker 800. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities have said they will be launching an investigation into the matter

Aircraft Information
Airline: Private Owner
Aircraft: British Aerospace BAe-125-800A
Registration: XB-PYZ
Serial Number: 258018
Engines: 2 Garrett TFE731-5R-1H

Story sourced from here with additions

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Happy Birthday Cathay Pacific


Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (CPA), also known as Cathay Pacific or Cathay, is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport. Before Covid, the airline's operations and subsidiaries had scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 190 destinations in more than 79 countries worldwide. Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of 132 wide-body aircraft, consisting of Airbus A330's, Airbus A350's and Boeing 777 equipment. Cathay Pacific Cargo operates the Boeing 747. 


Cathay Pacific was founded on the 24th September 1946 by Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow and American Roy C. Farrell. They named the airline Cathay, which is the ancient name given to China, and Pacific because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific (which happened in the 1970s). Moreover, to avoid the name "Air Cathay" as it had already been used in a popular comic. The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998 (originating from New York JFK airport), which was also the maiden flight to arrive at the then-new Hong Kong International Airport.  Cathay Pacific is the world's tenth largest airline measured in terms of sales, and fourteenth largest measured in terms of market capitalisation. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international cargo airline, along with main hub Hong Kong International Airport as the world's busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic. It is one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance. (Cathay Pacific's subsidiary Cathay Dragon is also an affiliate member of Oneworld.) Before 1994, all Cathay Pacific aircraft had a "green lettuce" livery on the tail and carried the British flag on the empennage.  In the early 90's Cathay Pacific aircraft carried the new "brushwing" livery on the body and on the vertical stabiliser. The brushwing logo consists of a calligraphic stroke against a green background; the stroke is intended to appear like the wing of a bird. The previous logo, consisting of green and white stripes, was in place from the early 1970s until 1994. In November 2015, the airline revealed a refreshed version of its previous livery, featuring a simpler paint scheme while maintaining their trademark brushwing on an all-green tail. In 2019 Cathay was voted 4th best airline in the world behind ANA 3rd, Singapore 2nd and Qatar 1st.
As of March 2018, its major shareholders were Swire Pacific, Qatar Airways and Air China. 

Aircraft                            Current fleet   

Airbus A330-300                           10 Active             8 Parked

Airbus A350-1000                         12

Airbus A350-900                           12 Active             14 Parked

Boeing 747-400                              6

Boeing 747-800                              14

Boeing 777-300                              16 Active             40 Parked


Wednesday, 23 September 2020

How Aviation Fuel Differs From Regular Fuel

Have you ever wondered what makes aircraft fuel unique and not-suitable for cars? After all, why can’t you use jet fuel in your vehicle to give it incredible power?

What is the difference?

Fuel is made up of long-strings of hydrocarbon atoms and sorted into different types through a distillation column. The longer, heavier strings fall to the bottom, and the lighter atom chains float to the top (this is a fundamental summary). Some of the most common types of hydrocarbons are natural gas with very light chains, gasoline (or petrol depending on where you read this), followed by kerosene, then diesel, lubricating oil, and then residual oils on the very bottom. Gasoline (gasoline) has 7 to 11 atoms in a chain. Jet fuel is a little heavier than gasoline, at around 12-15 atoms long. It is closer to kerosene than gasoline. Technically, the fuel is close enough that it can supplement a truck’s fuel supply. Back in 2012, Toyota used jet fuel to power one of its pickup trucks as a publicity stunt. 

What types of jet fuel are there?

There are two types of jet fuel with self-explanatory names – Jet A and Jet B. The main difference between the two is the freezing point of the fuel, with Jet B having a much lower point and thus is useful for planes in icy regions. The latter is also the fuel of choice for the US Air Force and therefore generally reserved for those operations. Having a higher flash point (point of catching fire) is also an added advantage of using a kerosene base for the fuel. Combined with the lower freezing point, this gives aircraft a much safer operating range. Some fuel providers include some additives like anti-static chemicals, fluids to prevent corrosion of the tanks, de-icing agents to lower the point even more, and even some chemicals with anti-bacterial properties. ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) regulates aviation fuel, so any aircraft landing at any airport worldwide can get access to the same quality of fuel.

Can ships use jet fuel?

You might have realized that another type of vehicle in the world is big, bulky, and requires a lot of power – ships! Boats typically use a derivative of diesel to power themselves on long journeys (much like a long-haul flight). Normally, ships require so much fuel that it ends up being incredibly expensive even to consider aircraft fuel instead. “As a very combustible petroleum product, jet fuel can be used in a marine fuel blend, and so we would not be surprised this practice may be occurring,” said Tim Wilson, principal specialist for fuels, lubes, and emissions at Lloyd’s Register to Bloomberg. But these are not standard times, and with less than 50% of all aircraft flying today, there is a massive abundance of aircraft fuel available. Hence, we have now seen a trend of aircraft fuel moving to maritime operations. “Only in a situation where the economy is in complete tatters, do we see usually more expensive components heading straight into VLSFO [very low-sulfur fuel oil],” said Eugene Lindell, a senior analyst at consultant JBC Energy GmbH to World Oil.

With the price of a barrel of jet fuel at around 50% of its 2019 value, it looks like this practice may last some time.

Story sourced from here

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

British Airways Boeing 747s Won’t Be Going To Rossiya

BRITISH AIRWAYS B747-436 G-CIVK (CN 25818)    File Photo

There were rumors floating around the avgeek world at the weekend that Russian carrier Rossiya would be taking several of British Airways’ old Boeing 747s. With many sad to see the back of the Jumbo Jet, this possibility offered an avenue for the aircraft to remain in service. But British Airways has confirmed that there is "no truth" to the rumors circulating that a number of its Boeing 747s have been taken up by the Russian airline Rossiya. As things stand, all 31 of the airline’s Boeing 747s are due to be scrapped.

What is happening to British Airways’ 747s?

But if British Airways’ Boeing 747s aren’t going to Rossiya, where are they going? For the time being, the fleet is being sent to sites around Europe. Many have been dispatched to Kemble, a storage and dismantling site in England. There was some debate as to whether a Boeing 747 would be able to leave the site. However, a former Corsair 747 recently departed the area. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, some 747s are being flown to the St Athan facility near Cardiff to be scrapped. A further batch of aircraft has been sent to Spain. Indeed, five of the airlines 747s were already sent to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard, before the decision to withdraw the fleet had even been made.

Story sourced from here

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Cathay parks 40% of its fleet to survive


Cathay Pacific has announced it will ground two-fifths of its passenger fleet for the “foreseeable future”, in a move it deems necessary in order “to survive and thrive” into the future.
The Hong Kong flag carrier has announced that it will park 72 of its aircraft, making up 40 per cent of its fleet, outside of Hong Kong as it waits for demand conditions to improve.

The airline is currently operating at just 8 per cent of its pre-COVID flight capacity, while its planes are operating at just under 20 per cent of their usual load factors, a new record low for the airline.
Further, Cathay has also warned that it may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic unless it introduces a dramatic restructure, again hinting at impending job losses in the near future.

Cathay executive director Ronald Lam Siu-por noted that the carrier was “facing a long and uncertain road to recovery”, and said that its sweeping restructure plans are likely to be revealed by next month.
“We are weathering the storm for now, but the fact remains we simply will not survive unless we adapt our airlines for the new travel market,” Lam warned.

“A restructuring will therefore be inevitable to protect the company, the Hong Kong aviation hub, and the livelihoods of as many people as possible.”

                                                                         File Photo

This outcome was previously foreshadowed when the airline said it would not be accepting any further government wage subsidies for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, as doing so would require the company to protect jobs until November. However, a number of the airline’s subsidiaries will make use of further wage support. Cathay Pacific is currently burning between HK$1.5 billion (US$193 million) and HK$2 billion (US$258 million) per month as it continues to battle through the COVID-19 aviation crisis.

Analysts have previously warned that airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will take far longer to recover from the crisis than most, as they have no domestic network to rely upon until international conditions improve.

Last month I flew from Brisbane to Alice Springs for the night just to view the aircraft parked up at the APAS facility (Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage).
Below is a list of Cathay aircraft on the ground as of today


B-HLP   B-HLR   B-HLS   B-HLU   B-HLV   B-LAD   B-LAQ               


B-HNE   B-HNG   B-HNH   B-HNJ   B-HNM   B-HNO   B-HNP   B-HNQ   B-HNS    B-HNU   B-HNV   B-HNW                              

Story sourced from here with additions