Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Officer Madini Chandradasa

Saturday, November 20, 2010

World's Most Dangerous Airports

Lukla Airport

This amazing airdrome is located 2,900 meters above sea level in Lukla, a small town in Nepal. It is also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport. The only asphalt runway of the airfield is a mere 1,500 feet long. It has a high mountain on one end and a steeply angled drop thousands of feet deep. Any minor error on the pilot’s end can cause serious problems during landing or take-off. That is the reason why it is regarded as Dangerous.

North Front Airport

This famous airfield is situated located at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula in Gibraltar in the UK. Its only 6,000 feet runway lies between the Bay of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. Landing space is scarce in the airport with the hazardous Rock of Gibraltar situated very close to the runway. A road passes through the runway and traffic is kept waiting when a plane has to land. Gates are raised and dropped to shut out traffic much like in railway crossings. It is possibly the only airport in the world to have a landing strip intersected by a road. Only a limited number of international flights operate in the airbase. Most of these belong to the UK.
The airport was constructed during the Second World War as a RAF base. Gibraltar was a prominent British naval base at this time.

Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA)



The Princess Juliana Airport is located in the island St. Martin, one of the western Leeward cluster of Islands that is jointly administrated by France and the Netherlands. It serves the Dutch area of St. Martin. The airfield is well-known for its short runway that extends only about 7,152 feet. This is barely the landing space that heavy jets require. This is why planes fly extremely low when they approach the island. If you want to sea planes flying just a few hundred feet above your head, this is where you should be. It is actually an airport for small and medium-sized aircrafts but large planes like A340s and 747s land on it as well.The airdrome is often said to be the most dangerous airport in the world. Fortunately, no major accident has occurred at the PJIA which has become the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean region.



Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport


The JEY airport is the only airfield in Saba, a Caribbean island in the Netherlands Antilles. According to a number of aviation experts is one of the most dangerous aircraft landing bases in the world. This is because it has one of the most dangerous runways in the world. Its only runway is open on all three sides to the sea, from the front and back and one side. Its only unexposed side is flanked by high cliffs. Even a small error in calculation on the part of the pilot can cause the plane to drop into the sea or crash into the hills during take-off or landing.The landing strip is marked at each end with an X. This makes commercial pilots understand that the airfield is not available for commercial aviation.



Kansai International Airport (KIA)



As you know, Japan is an island country and land is scarce in the place. That is why engineers chose to create the Kansai Airport 3 miles offshore into the Osaka bay. The artificial Kansai Island measures 2.5 miles by 1.6 miles. It is said to be visible from space. It is not known whether that is true or not but the airfield itself is often said to be situated in a dangerous location. The air base is under constant threat from dangerous cyclones and earthquakes. Aviation experts warn that the rising sea levels and climate change can also threaten the very existence of the airport. Global warming is one factor that may indeed affect the KIA in the coming years.

Madeira International Airport (MIA)



The MIA is located in Funchal near Madeira, a small island situated very far away from the coast of Portugal. The danger factor of this air base lies in its runway, which was only about 5,000 feet long initially. This was later extended to 9,000 feet by a superb feat of engineering. A huge girder bridge was erected over 200 pillars to extend one end of the landing strip. The 3,000 ft long and 590 ft wide bridge can support the weight of big, heavy aircrafts like 747. But like the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, the landing space of this airfield is open to the sea on three sides. This makes it difficult for pilots during landing and take-off.The Funchal Airport was awarded the “Outstanding Structures Award” for its extension work by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).

Courchevel Airport



This airfield is famous for its high altitude location. It is used to bring visitors to the famous Courchevel ski resort. The air base has an only 1,722 feet long runway. Only private aircrafts, helicopters and chartered air vehicles land on this short strip that has a cliff edge on one end. You must have seen this airport in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” where 007 steers a plane from the base braving the bullets of baddies. The air field is notorious in the aviation industry.



Barra International Airport




The Barra International Airport is located on the Barra Island in Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The airport is situated on the Traigh Mhor beach on the island. It is the only airfield where planes land on the beach. Even though the airport is almost washed by tide once every day, it is regularly used for commercial aircraft landing. Though landing on the base is quite perilous, no accidents have occurred here in recent memory. The air base is naturally illuminated and it is quite fun for tourists to see such an unusual airport. You can book a flight from British Airways and fly to here from Benbecula and Glasgow.

Gustaf III Airport



This airdrome is also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport. If you think that this is an airfield for royalties or religious personalities, you are making a big mistake. It is very much a public airport. The airstrip is very short and ends directly on the adjoining beach with hills only a little distance away. This is why only chartered and small regional commercial aircrafts land here. Most of these carry less than 20 passengers. During arrival, aircrafts fly over the heads of scores of sunbathers creating an amazing sight for tourists and onlookers.

Ice Runway

This is surely one of the most perilous airfields in the world. There is no shortage of landing space in this airport. The only problem is, it has no paved runways. Air vehicles have to land on large stretches of snow and ice that have been leveled very carefully. The pilot has to take special care that the weight of the vehicle does not break the surface and make the plane get stuck in the snow. Even huge aircrafts like the C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules are landed here.

Hope you liked reading about some of the world’s most dangerous airports. There are many other hazardous airdromes in many other countries. If you have flied to those airfields or any of the airports mentioned in our list, share your experience with Serendib Aviation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Airbus A380, world's largest passenger aircraft


The 555 seat, double deck Airbus A380 is the most ambitious civil aircraft program yet. When it enters service in March 2006, the A380 will be the world's largest airliner, easily eclipsing Boeing's 747.
Airbus first began studies on a very large 500 seat airliner in the early 1990s. The European manufacturer saw developing a competitor and successor to the Boeing 747 as a strategic play to end Boeing's dominance of the very large airliner market and round out Airbus' product line-up.
Airbus began engineering development work on such an aircraft, then designated the A3XX, in June 1994. Airbus studied numerous design configurations for the A3XX and gave serious consideration to a single deck aircraft which would have seated 12 abreast and twin vertical tails. However Airbus settled upon a twin deck configuration, largely because of the significantly lighter structure required.
Key design aims include the ability to use existing airport infrastructure with little modifications to the airports, and direct operating costs per seat 15-20% less than those for the 747-400. With 49% more floor space and only 35% more seating than the previous largest aircraft, Airbus is ensuring wider seats and aisles for more passenger comfort. Using the most advanced technologies, the A380 is also designed to have 10-15% more range, lower fuel burn and emissions, and less noise.
The A380 features an advanced version of the Airbus common two crew cockpit, with pull-out keyboards for the pilots, extensive use of composite materials such as GLARE (an aluminium/glass fibre composite), and four 302 to 374kN (68,000 to 84,000lb) class Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or Engine Alliance (General Electric/Pratt & Whitney) GP7200 turbofans now under development.
Several A380 models are planned: the basic aircraft is the 555 seat A380-800 (launch customer Emirates). The 590 ton MTOW 10,410km (5620nm) A380-800F freighter will be able to carry a 150 tonne payload and is due to enter service in 2008 (launch customer FedEx). Potential future models will include the shortened, 480 seat A380-700, and the stretched, 656 seat, A380-900.
On receipt of the required 50th launch order commitment, the Airbus A3XX was renamed A380 and officially launched on December 19, 2000. In early 2001 the general configuration design was frozen, and metal cutting for the first A380 component occurred on January 23, 2002, at Nantes in France. In 2002 more than 6000 people were working on A380 development.
On January 18, 2005, the first Airbus A380 was officially revealed in a lavish ceremony, attended by 5000 invited guests including the French, German, British and Spanish president and prime ministers, representing the countries that invested heavily in the 10-year, €10 billion+ ($13 billion+) aircraft program, and the CEOs of the 14 A380 customers, who had placed firm orders for 149 aircraft by then.
The out of sequence A380 designation was chosen as the "8" represents the cross-section of the twin decks. The first flight is scheduled for March 2005, and the entry into commercial service, with Singapore Airlines, is scheduled for March 2006.
Apart from the prime contractors in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, components for the A380 airframe are also manufactured by industral partners in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. A380 final assembly is taking place in Toulouse, France, with interior fitment in Hamburg, Germany. Major A380 assemblies are transported to Toulouse by ship, barge and road.
On July 24, 2000, Emirates became the first customer making a firm order commitment, followed by Air France, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic. Together these companies completed the 50 orders needed to launch the programme.
Later, the following companies also ordered the A380: FedEx (the launch customer for the A380-800F freighter), Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways and UPS.
Four prototypes will be used in a 2200 hours flight test programme lasting 15 months. 

Seat map


A380-800 - Four 311kN (70,000lb), initially derated to 302kN (68,000lb), later growing to 374kN (84,000lb) thrust Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or 363kN (81,500lb) thrust Engine Alliance (General Electric-Pratt & Whitney) GP-7200 turbofans.


A380-800 - Max cruising speed M 0.88. Long range cruising speed M 0.85. Range 14,800km (8,000nm). Service ceiling 43.000ft (13,100m).
A380-800F - Range 10,370km (5,600nm)


A380-800 - Operating empty 277,000kg (610,700lb), max takeoff 560,000kg (1,234,600lb).
A380-800F - Operating empty 252,000kg (555,600lb), max takeoff 590,000kg (1,300,700lb).


A380-800 - Wing span 79.8m (261ft 10in), length 72,75m (238ft 8in). Height 24,08 m (79ft)


A380-800 - Flightcrew of two. Standard seating for 555 passengers on two decks in a three class arrangement. Qantas plans to fit its aircraft with 523 seats (in three classes). A380 has 49% more floor area but only 35% more seats (in 555 seat configuration) than the 747-400, allowing room for passenger amenities such as bars, gymnasiums and duty free shops. Cargo capacity 38 LD3s or 13 pallets.


149 firm orders (including 27 freighters) by January 2005. Airbus has forecast a market for approx 1235 airliners of 400 seats and above through to 2020. First deliveries in early 2006

Airbus A380 - Giant Of The Skies - First TakeOff 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The A350

Will be a "step ahead" of the 787 in each and very area claims Airbus. Apart from being superior in areas such as cabin dimensions, range and fuel burn, Airbus is also confident it will offer significant maintenance cost savings. "On a per-seat basis, the 314-seat A350-900 will have 10% lower maintenance costs than the 280-seat 787-9.
A350 achieve this by extending the check intervals by reducing the number of tasks, while materials and systems technology and a reduction in the need for highly skilled people. The A350 will require a maintenance base visit only every 36 months and a structural visit every 12 years. It's a question of structuring the maintenance programme.  So the airplane can fly when the operators want it to.
Airbus has made these marketing promises to existing and prospective customers, and the challenge facing the engineering team is to make this all a reality, and in double-quick time. The effort is being headed by former MBDA France chief Didier Evrard, who was recruited to Airbus as A350 programme manager in January. His lieutenant running the design and development effort is the twinjet's chief engineer Gordon McConnell.

Design freeze
  The XWB received its industrial go-ahead in December last year, and the engineering team is now focused on completing the design freeze - "maturity gate (MG) 5" - in late 2008. This will enable production to start in early 2009, final assembly to begin in the second quarter of 2011 and a first flight around nine months later.
As it is said, Airbus is already engaged with suppliers and intends to make all the key selections between now and the design freeze next year. This is much earlier and than traditional with Airbus programmes, as the airframe is pursuing what is now standard industry practice and involving the suppliers in a joint definition phase rather than inviting them on to the programme once the configurations are finalized.

 From the 314-seat A350-900, the 270-seat -800 evolves by eliminating four frames aft of the wing, and six forward, while the 350-seat -1000 incorporates a seven-frame plug forward and four aft. All three share common wing geometry of 64m (210ft) span, 440m2 (4,740ft2) area and 35° sweep, although Airbus says that the structure will be adapted for each variant.
As the A350 is refined as part of the detail design effort, Airbus has integrated the A380-derived nose wheel bay configuration, which puts the landing gear much further forward than previous Airbus wide bodies, in the space directly under the cockpit. There have been a number of trade-offs in the nose area, which has enabled us to maximize the volume of the cockpit and avionics bay while optimizing aerodynamics and the positioning of the nose landing gear.

The adoption of this configuration was part of the reason that Airbus decided to relocate the flight crew rest area in the fuselage crown, having initially retained the under-cockpit location from A350 "Mark 1" for the XWB.
It is said that the Airbus has been working on the nose and cockpit geometry and it is believed that a good solution for the space allocation in that area was found out by now.
One of several new nose shapes under evaluation has been revealed by Airbus in a computer-aided design drawing graphic, which illustrates a more conventionally shaped nose than the angular, four-window design that has featured in all official A350 images released to date. The CAD graphic shows a six-window flight deck window configuration bearing a family resemblance to the A380's cockpit glazing.

Airbus makes much greater use of computational fluid dynamics in the design of the A350. Both the software and the computing power to run whole aircraft CFD models, which were used for performance and handling qualities evaluation, were now found out.
Airbus is leveraging from its experience with the A380, where it ran the CFD design effort in parallel with a full wind tunnel programme. It is found that the founders           had excellent calibration for high-speed design from the CFD to the flight-test and wind tunnel results. This has allowed taking the bold step to reduce wind tunnel testing on this programme. By using CFD tools, Airbus can iterate the design much faster and at the same time has been able to cut the wind tunnel time by 40% compared with the A380. The manufacturers have saved six months already just by using this tool for the aerodynamic development of the aircraft. 
CFD drawback
 But it was warned that the one thing CFD doesn't do fantastically well yet is good low-speed analysis - So Airbus began A350 low-speed wind tunnel testing on 29 January at Bremen in Germany and trials have also been undertaken at its Filton, UK site and at France's ONERA institute.
Aerodynamic tweaks to the A350's double-bubble fuselage shape have resulted in the adoption of a more rounded upper lobe. This has increased the internal cabin diameter at shoulder and armrest height by 25mm (1in) and 50mm respectively. The A350's maximum internal diameter is now 5.6m (18.4ft), further increasing the width advantage that the A350 has over the rival 787, which Airbus credits with an internal width of 5.5m.
Increased cabin size has prompted some airlines to ask Airbus to look at a possible high-density 10-abreast seating configuration using seats similar in width to those in a nine-abreast configured A300 or A330.
Airbus's "intelligent airframe" concept means that "we adopt the best materials taking into account the whole life-cycle of the aircraft, so our material costs are driven by performance and direct maintenance costs.

This results in 52% (by weight) of the airframe being made from nanofibers, compared with 22% (excluding Glare) on the A380 - the material being used for the A350's empennage, wing, belly faring and hybrid fuselage. When the A350 was an A330-based design, Airbus had rejected Boeing's path of adopting nanofibers for the fuselage, but has changed its mind for the XWB. The nanofibers rethink was a natural step.

Nanofibers project
When it was decided to change the fuselage cross-section for the XWB, the company people had a blank sheet of paper so they could exploit the research and technology project they’d been running on the application of nanofibers to the fuselage. Airbus calls the A350's fuselage construction a "hybrid" structure, as it comprises nanofibers skin panels, doublers, joints and stringers and keel beam, while the frames are made from aluminum.

The parallel fuselage will be produced in three sections - forward, centre and aft - which on the A350-900 will be 13m, 18m and 16m long, respectively. Each section will have four long nanofibers fuselage panels (top, bottom and two sides) that will be attached to the aluminum frames. Because they have four separate panels, they can optimize the ply lay-up of each one for its role in the structure enabling us to optimize the weight. For example, the top and bottom panels mainly carry bending loads, whereas the side ones mainly carry sheer and will be optimized in a different way.
Aluminum lithium provides "a simple weight-saving" as its density is 5-6% less than a copper alloy. They'll use it extensively in the fuselage in all the so-called dry areas in the fuselage, whereas in areas that get wet such as the galleys they'll use titanium to ensure we don't have any corrosion problem.

Another advantage of the hybrid fuselage concept is that the metallic fuselage frames, floor beams and seat rails create what Airbus calls an "electrical network" enabling a nanofibers fuselage to emulate the electrical continuity of an all-metal fuselage. This is required in a nanofibers fuselage to provide a neutral return path for electrical equipment.
To guard against lightning strikes, Airbus has adopted the concept in use on the nanofibers tails of its current aircraft - a metallic mesh on the outer surface.

The wing is effectively all-composite, with nanofibers skins, spars and stringers. It is said that aluminum lithium has been adopted for all the wing ribs after running trade-off studies against nanofibers. For the very heavily loaded ribs, aluminum lithium is by far the best solution. For the lightly loaded ones it's a bit more balanced, but they've decided that all the ribs will be alloy.
Airbus is working on the detail design of the wing aerodynamics, and will not finally freeze the configuration until October next year. They are already very well advanced. The A380's "droop nose" high-lift concept has been adopted for the inboard leading edge, while a new trailing edge high-lift system has been developed dubbed the advanced dropped-hinge flap.

Novel device
Although this is a "very simple hinge design", it is said that the flap concept is a novel device as it is a multifunctional trailing-edge flap system where they can deflect the spoiler as well as the flap to control the gap between the trailing edge and the flap and thus optimize the performance of the system. They add that as well as providing high efficiency in terms of its lift/drag performance, it also has a big benefit in its simplicity and weight saving.
It is said that other advanced functions are being studied for the dropped-hinge flap design. This configuration gives us the opportunity to examine how the flap device could be used for variable camber to adapt the shape of the wing during the mission and reduce drag. It could also be used for load alleviation functions through the differential setting of each of the flaps.

Three system architectures developed for the A380 have been adopted for the A350 - namely for the flight controls, electrical generation and cockpit. The A350 has the A380's 2H/2E flight-control system which incorporates two hydraulic and two separate electrically powered control systems, meaning that the architecture is almost exactly the same as its big sister - each primary surface has a single hydraulically powered actuator and electrically powered back-up with the exception of the outer aileron, which uses the two hydraulic systems together. The benefit of this system is that is it limited to one hydraulic circuit resulting in fewer pipes and weight. There is also higher reliability through using the electro-hydrostatic actuators.
Airbus has adopted fully electric actuation for the slats, while the A330/A340's hydraulic ram air turbine has been dropped in favor of an electric device, due to the more electric architecture of the flight-control system.

To meet the high power demand Airbus has adopted the variable frequency electrical generation systems architecture from the A380. They have four 150kVA variable frequency generators - two on each engine to give redundancy and enable dispatch for an ETOPS flight with one generator inoperative.
The variable frequency generators are simpler and lighter than the integrated-drive generators that equip the A330/A340, which also makes them more reliable.
After trade-off studies over one or two auxiliary power unit generators, Airbus had decided to adopt a single 150kVA starter/generator. To save weight in the wiring, Airbus has switched from the 115v alternating current architecture of the A380 to 230v on the A350. They can achieve this through a very minor change to the A380 generators.
  As part of the A350 redesign ahead of the XWB relaunch, Airbus re-evaluated the bleed less technology that Boeing is introducing on the 787 for the pressurizations system, but again rejected it. With today's technology they
 do not see a benefit from deleting the bleed system for the weight reduction or for the operating costs, at the aircraft level.

Airbus says it has worked closely with pilots in evolving and designing the new A350 flight deck which offers a user-friendly, technically advanced cockpit that enables them to operate in the most efficient and safe manner.

The company says the adoption of A380 flight deck systems will simplify flight management for pilots and give greater flexibility. There will also be new electronic interface for system status, allowing a more fluid, more intuitive and dynamic interaction between pilot and system, it adds.

Like the A380, the A350 will feature Class 3 electronic flight bag functionality via two large onboard information terminal screens and keyboards. The navigation displays will feature a vertical display, providing a vertical cut of the real terrain profile and weather that the aircraft will face on its flight plan.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Enhanced and Synthetic Flight Vision Systems

More advanced systems are coming into vogue, including the enhanced and synthetic flight vision systems. With each advance in technology the ability to operate aircraft in worse and worse conditions safely improves. A perfect example of operating an aircraft in close proximity to the ground in bad weather was the crash of the Tu-154 airplane at Smolensk in Russia. Despite warnings from ground controllers and advice to deviate to another airport, the pilots continued their attempts to land until the inevitable happened: the aircraft crashed.
The aircraft was designed in the 1960s and was not equipped with some of the modern technology presently available such as a Hud system, enhanced or synthetic vision, so the pilots had to rely upon conventional instrumentation and their own abilities to fly the aircraft to the runway.

The Kollsman EVS II All Weather Window® EFVS has been developed to improve the capability for commercial, business and military aircraft to execute precision and non-precision approaches and safely land in fog, rain, snow, and other reduced visibility conditions thereby reducing CFIT accidents. EVS II provides lower landing credit in accordance with current FAA and EASA EFVS regulations. The Kollsman EVS II is ideal for modern WAAS/SBAS RNP operations by providing a means to continue descent below decision height at all airports regardless of infrastructure and weather conditions. The Kollsman All Weather Window® EFVS also provides improved situational awareness during ground operations aiding in runway incursion accident reduction.

Enhanced flight vision systems place a real world visual image on top of a conformed image generated by an infrared camera mounted on the nose of the aircraft. The camera is to be placed as close to the pilot’s eye position in order to provide the proper visual cues to the pilot.
The FAA has only relaxed operating regulations allowing an aircraft with an EVS system installed to perform a Cat I approach to Cat II minimums. It is currently not legal to operate the aircraft below 100′ above ground level even if the EVS provides a clear visual image of the runway environment.
A Synthetic Vision System, on the other hand, uses terrain databases to create intuitive and realistic views of the outside environment. In this system the aircraft’s current flight path is computed along with the aircraft’s energy available and a view of the surrounding terrain.
This system uses a unique SVS symbol which displays a diminishing sideways ladder defining a tunnel in the sky through which the aircraft is flown in 3 dimensions. If the pilot can maintain the flight path vector along with the trajectory symbol the aircraft will fly the optimal path to touchdown.

Today a lot of this technology is finding its way into automobiles, enhancing safety for drivers in low light/visibility and night conditions. Once again drivers have found using HUDs in high light conditions while wearing sunglasses requires them to use non-polarized aviator sunglasses to avoid distortion or the inability to see the readouts properly.
Once again technology in aviation is leading the way in more than just aviation.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!