Posts Tagged ‘misc.’

This is just ridiculous

An obnoxious letter to the editor of USA Today:

It would be irresponsible to get ahead of evidence [in the AF447 investigation], but important factors are emerging. First, some experts blame global warming for the increased severity and frequency of hurricanes (most of which originate at latitudes within 5 to 15 degrees of the equator). Second, the flight appears to have passed through a band of equatorial megastorms. Finally, levels of turbulence in such storms are being investigated in the crash. Perhaps the memorial service in Paris will be recognized as the first for airline victims of global warming.

Hat tip to Cafe Hayek.


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Back from Arizona

I’m back in Washington after a good couple of days in Phoenix. Thanks to US Airways for hosting this media event — and especially for inviting bloggers and other social media folks and recognizing the increasingly important role we play in the media universe. The US Airways corporate communications office put on a great program.

It was also a pleasure to meet and see folks from the aviation media community — Richard Velotta from the Las Vegas Sun, Victoria Day from ATA, Lori Ranson from Flight, Bill Swelbar of the Swelblog, Holly Hegeman of Plane Business, and Joshua Freed of AP.

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New aviation resources

In addition to his podcast series, my friend Addison Schonland has recently unveiled a couple of nifty and useful resources for those who follow the airline industry. One is AirportButler.com, which offers reports that offer targeted results from DOT consumer air travel data. Even better is AirInsight.com, which makes the useful information logged in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ endless spreadsheets and data sets easy to access and use. Take a look!

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Here’s a air-travel problem for the mathematically inclined:

Suppose you are trying to get from one end A of a terminal to the other end B.  (For simplicity, assume the terminal is a one-dimensional line segment.)  Some portions of the terminal have moving walkways (in both directions); other portions do not.  Your walking speed is a constant v, but while on a walkway, it is boosted by the speed u of the walkway for a net speed of v+u.  (Obviously, given a choice, one would only take those walkways that are going in the direction one wishes to travel in.)  Your objective is to get from A to B in the shortest time possible.

  1. Suppose you need to pause for some period of time, say to tie your shoe.  Is it more efficient to do so while on a walkway, or off the walkway?  Assume the period of time required is the same in both cases.
  2. Suppose you have a limited amount of energy available to run and increase your speed to a higher quantity v' (or v'+u, if you are on a walkway).  Is it more efficient to run while on a walkway, or off the walkway?  Assume that the energy expenditure is the same in both cases.
  3. Do the answers to the above questions change if one takes into account the various effects of special relativity?  (This is of course an academic question rather than a practical one.  But presumably it should be the time in the airport frame that one wants to minimise, not time in one’s personal frame.)

[H/T: Greg Mankiw]

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From today’s SmartBrief e-newsletter, distributed by the Air Transport Association, the U.S. airline trade group:


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LOL Boeing


Lately, I’ve been reading LOLFed — the fun way to stay on top of the financial crisis. Today, on the heels of the leaking of Airbus’s dossier on the Boeing 787 and yet another round of 787 delays (deliveries pushed to 2010), LOLFed “reports” on some advice for Boeing chief James McNerny: “McNerney, upon calling his predecessor Alan Mulally for advice, received the suggestion that he taxi a 787 from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and ask Congress if they could spare a couple bucks to help the process along.”

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Thanks to my readers

Dear readers,

I hope all who are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday — which seems to be to aviation commentators what the Super Bowl is to sports reporters — will arrive safe and on time. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It’s been my pleasure to write this blog for the past sixteen months, but I’m most grateful for your comments, feedback, corrections, and insights. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to have met so many people in the aviation community through this blog. Thanks to all of you, and have a lovely holiday.



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Where have I been?

I’ll admit it: I haven’t been posting much this month. That’s because (a) most of the news is waiting for Barack Obama’s key transportation personnel picks and (b) my energies are currently engrossed with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. What, you say? Basically, more than 100,000 people try to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30. Why am I doing this? Eh, it’s an experience, and maybe I’ll like the story I have when I’m done. The funny thing is, I’m already over 21,000 words, and I’m actually having a lot of fun. I still don’t know where my characters are going, but they’ve already had some great adventures. (My protagonist? A sensitive, handsome, young, idealistic aviation policy blogger who lives in Washington, D.C. . . . OK, fine, so that bit’s not true.)

At any rate, I do actually have some aviation policy–related thoughts to share soon, so watch this space. And, like most of my readers, I’m eagerly awaiting transportation-related transition announcements. I’ll be with you fully again in December.

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Can’t get enough of the Aviation Policy Blog? Want to listen to me geek out and generally make a fool of myself for an hour? Then listen to this week’s Airplane Geeks Podcast! We talk a lot about the thirtieth anniversary of deregulation, but we touch on a number of other matters, too.

Thanks to Max Flight and Courtney Miller for inviting me to join them on the podcast and for putting together an outstanding weekly program.

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The Wall Street Journal today profiles ICE Air, an airline with service to exotic destinations like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Indonesia, and Cambodia. It offers leather seats with custom headrests and in-flight service with box lunches. The forty-pound checked baggage allowance is not enforced. It also has high load factors: “We are making a valiant attempt to overbook.” Would you like to fly ICE Air? Well, unless you’re an illegal immigrant being deported to your home country, you’re out of luck:

This carrier is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency responsible for finding and deporting undocumented immigrants. A crackdown on illegal immigration has led to a spike in deportations and the creation of a de facto airline to send the deportees home.

The air service, called Repatriate by air-traffic controllers, is known simply as ICE Air to agency employees. . . .

In all, the U.S. government deports people to more than 190 countries. Outside of Mexico, ICE flew home 76,102 illegal immigrants in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from 72,187 last year and 50,222 two years ago.

Now Boarding: Illegal Immigrants On One-Way Tickets Home [Wall Street Journal]

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