Friday, September 20, 2013

What Kind of Engine does an Aircraft have?

"Fan!"....that was the answer my colleague gave when I asked him the above given question. My brain instantly stopped working for 2 seconds. I didn't know what to think or what to say.

I am surprised to find out how much people didn't know about one of the most impressive invention that impacted all our lives. It is because of these engines, man can cruise at high altitudes at very high speeds.

Let me introduce you to "Turbo-Fan Engine". Watch this quick video:

This is how it works:
1. The fan or propeller suck up air,
2. Compress them,
3. Directs them to fuels cans in the middle where fuel is mixed with compressed air,
4. Fuel is then burned with ignites.
5. Burning/Combustion cause fuel to expand, and with the pressurized air the air goes out at very high speed.

Here's another video to broaden your perspective:

Now this is the basic concept of how the engine works. Remember that there is more to the engine than this.
It took years of development and hard work to finally make a jet engine that was reliable.

There are also different kind of engines, they vary in size and function.

1. Turbofan engines:
 They are the most common, used in passenger aircraft:

They have a giant fan/propeller in front of the engine. Now when thinking of it, my colleague was actually correct.

2. Second is Turboprop Engine:

They are used for high load, low speed aircraft.

They use a giant fan outside the engine.

3. Turbo shaft engine:

These are the engines used in helicopters.

4. And finally the Turbojet engine:

The engines used in fighter jets:

These engines lets fighter jets to go beyond speed of sound (which is a lot). These engines have fuel injectors called after burner. Contrary to other engines they have afterburners installed at the back of the engine. Enormous amount of fuel is injected to the already combusted air which creates a force like no other. It's actually pretty cool.

Company's like Rolls-Royce and General Electric are the leading manufactures of some of the best aircraft engines known to man kind. Both the companies are currently working to develop an environment friendly engine which will consume less fuel.

I encourage you to ask me questions so that you understand this better.

Thanks Guys.

Live Long & Prosper.

Bye ~ Chan

Friday, September 13, 2013

Indoor flying Unleashed

Here's a short video, from a company that brings you indoor flying experience into a whole new level:

- Chan

Friday, August 30, 2013

Meteorological Instruments used in Airports

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and colleague, Mr. Faisal Mallick, Sr. System Engineer, ICAD. He is responsible for the Meteorological Instruments going to be installed in King Abdulaziz International Airport. Recently we had a talk about these instruments/equipment and the important role it plays in airport environment.  

Technically, Meteorological Instruments are the equipment used to sample the state of the atmosphere at a given time. The equipment vary in type and numbers according to airport size and operation. Meteorological Instrument do more than just observe weather. Without these instruments it will be impossible for 50,000 aircraft around the world to land safely. These are the vital back-stage hard-workers of airport.

In aviation world; wind speed, wind direction, pressure, temperature, humidity, noise level and air quality are all information without which the industry cannot function. It's like internet for Google or tweets for Twitter. 
The most common Meteorological Instruments used are:

1. Wind Measurement System

As the name indicates, this system calculates the wind speed and direction. I am sure you ahve seen this instrument, an image at-least, somewhere:

2. Weather Surveillance Radar
Weather Radar is used to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, and estimate its type (rain, snow, hail etc.)

3. Meteorological Garden
An area protected by fence where most of the weather instruments are installed to measure vital parameters.

4.Low Level Wind Shear Alert System

These instruments are kept near runway to detect micro-bursts or wind shear, very dangerous for aircraft.
These wind are heavy and can cause the aircraft to change its intended path leading to worst-case scenarios.

6. Upper Air Observation System

The Balloon. To know accurate data of the atmosphere activities in stratosphere, an Upper Air Observation system is used. It's basically a large helium balloon with an instrument called Radiosonde. They measure the usual parameters like wind, pressure, temperature and pressure. Since the pressure decreases as the height increases, these systems blow up at 40km or less from the ground. Yea, everyday meteorological team in airport blow up $150 worth equipment.


We as passengers/pilots/engineers/ATC Controllers or anyone in aviation industry owe a lot to these instruments for making our live safe and easy.

I am grateful to Faisal for making me realize the importance of these systems.

Live Safe Guys..

Friday, August 16, 2013

Why Can't You Use Phones on Planes?

Below given video is so funny, that I actually had to show you:

But seriously, why can't we use our phones or any electronic devices in the plane?

Usually people/passengers think that it might affect the communication between the pilot and ATC Towers (Air Traffic Control Towers). But let me tell you it's not just that. Affecting the communication is the least an electronic device can do.

Cell phones or any other electronic devices can interfere with aircraft navigation sensors. You see all the aircraft has lot of sensors like Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, Gyro, Instrument Landing System(ILS) etc. They have a safety margin line for electronic signals. Most of the electronic device operate and produce electromagnetic signals less than the safety line. But there are times when the signals spike.

Take this for example, if a passenger is trying to make a call in air 10,000ft above ground, that cell phone has access to many cell towers below. The signal will bounce-off multiple towers instead of one. Now if in the same plane another person is trying to make a call; there are multiple signals now bouncing-off multiple  cell towers. What if ten people in the plane try to call at once? How much signals their cell phones produce? So with right timing and activities, there can be a major spike in the signal level and can seriously damage the aircraft equipment to work properly.

There were many incidents in the past, like wrong readings in instruments, which when investigated led to the use of cell phones. Since aircraft have two-set of reading (redundancy), no flight ended in crash.

Understand and realize the fact that when you travel, you travel with hundred others. You are either a team inside or doomed individual alone. You can only lead by example.

Also it is an aviation rule not to use cell phones inside a flight. Internation Civil Aviation Organisation(ICAO) and Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) comply this.

That being said, aircraft that are capable of Wi-Fi and telephone capabilities have extra shields specially designed to resist electromagnetic signals from common electronic devices. It is all about safety after all. As I have told before, Safety is the first priority in Civil Aviation Industry.

Pilots now use ipads for flight plans and to know meteorological data.

So be the greater he/she to switch-off your mobile while flying.

Live Long.

And your comments are appreciated.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Boeing Vs Airbus

I'm excited to write about this topic. Two World-Class Companies - Boeing of America and Airbus of European Union. 

The story of business rivalry between these two legendary aircraft manufacturing companies is like a party that never ends. Boeing and Airbus represents more than just mere companies, they make powerful political and social impacts.


Each companies have bought dynamic innovations in aviation industry.We have seen Airbus, although a younger than Boeing, was able to break the ice despite the customer loyalty enjoyed by Boeing. Airbus depicts the classic story of how dangerous big risk can be measured and dealt with proper tactical approach. For Airbus it was Win Big or loss. 

In 1960s Airbus was nothing but a small European company with no great future let alone be a competitor of Boeing. But, when A320 was entered service in 1988, it was a huge success. Only A320 had fly-by-wire control system in the civil Aviation Sector. Fly-by-wire made the flight safe and reduced pilot error a lot. This technology is installed in all commercial aircraft today. Boeing innovated its 737 from time-to-time and is still the market leader. Boeing 737 is the world's best selling narrow-body jet. Airbus A320 is the second best.

Airbus rose a respectable class of  Aircraft manufacturer and Boeing began to take Airbus seriously.

Airbus introduced a new model called Airbus A340 in 1991. This plane filled the need for an long-range wide bodied aircraft which falls into the category in between narrow-body and jumbo-jet class.  In 1995 Boeing 777 was introduced to compete. This was Boeing's first aircraft to have fly-by-wire system. Boeing 777 was much more efficient than A340. A340 programme is now terminated. Airbus now focus on A350 which is loaded with composite materials and fuel efficient engine. This aircraft will go head-on with Boeing 777. Who will be the winner in this class is yet a question unanswered. 

In 2005, by the introduction of Airbus A380, for first time in world history Airbus took on a very tough market. A market in which Boeing and only Boeing was leading for more than three decades with 747. You have to realize that designing a jumbo-jet aircraft itself is a Herculean task. Airbus took the initiative to fight Boeing with brilliant engineering, compelling manufacturing process and assembly line and amazing logistics. 

Boeing striked back with introduction of 787 Dreamliner. This plane as claimed by Boeing is one of the most efficient aircraft to be produced in the world. This narrow body plane is packed with composite materials with advanced wing design and production. This is a bold move from Boeing in designing a environment-friendly aircraft. Even though they faced some hurdles along the way, Boeing made a smart move with this plane. 

Boeing and Airbus will continue to innovate and create aircraft which will make flying safer and environmental friendly because that is what world desperately needs. This epic battle between these companies is worth watching. We live in a time when these make headlines in news papers. Let'c cherish that fact.


Your comments are much appreciated.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Douglas Bader - An Inspiring Pilot

I came to know about Douglas Bader when I was a kid, strolling around aviation books. He became an instant deep inspiration the moment I read his story. I photocopied that particular page and kept it in my school textbook all year. Although I lost the piece of paper, the inspiring story still glow deep inside my brain.

Douglas Bader was a fighter pilot, a Royal Air Force Fighter Ace. He is credited with shooting down 20 aircraft in a single air-to-air combat. There were also series of formation attacks with more than 10 victories. He was a War Hero who had incredulous knowledge in Aerial Combat Maneuvering a.k.a. Dogfight. But he was known as a legend for another reason.

In 1923, when Bader was in school, he happened to see an World War I Fighter Aircraft, Avro 504. The sight of biplane caused him to take an interest in aviation. At that time it was highly competitive to enter Air Force let alone fly a fighter plane. He got discouragement from everyone and was told not to pursue this because he was not good in his studies. But Douglas Bader was firm to become a pilot and decided to do whatever it takes.

Since he was good in Sports, he was able to get in the Royal Air Force Rugby team. He still needed the academic excellence in maths and science. His Warden helped him in his studies and through hard work he aced all his exams. In 1928, he did his first solo.

His aggressive nature helped him improve naturally in his dogfights and air shows. In 1931, when attempting a low-flying aerobatics, his plane fatally crashed. Bader was saved from the crash but lost his both legs forever.

All he ever wanted was to fly planes. Now handicapped, he was told to resign from the Air Force. He was constantly given pain killers for months to decrease the pain. Everyone around him had nothing but sympathy to this daredevil.

I believe that there is always a choice for every-man. I believe it's the choice that make a man who he is.

Douglas Bader chose to be a pilot no matter what. He rekindled his passion for flights. He got artificial legs. He learned to walk slowly, once he mastered it he started to run. His doctors said it was dangerous for him to do these, but whatsoever, he did. 

Through his sheer perseverance he learned to drive, run, play and even dance. His doctors were astounded with his achievements. Finally he was proven medically fit to fly again. He flew an Avro 504 amazingly. By 1937, he was back to active services and played an important role in the war. He led a life that deserves great respect and admiration.

Douglas Bader portray that with a definite goal, persistence and faith in self; impossible is nothing but word.

Live Passionate Guys.

Also your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.
- Chan

Friday, July 26, 2013

History of Aviation...

From the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to the Expanded Satellite Use; here is a small video of Aviation History. It's beautifully animated by UVU Aviation. It is great to see how the ability to fly has elevated in all aspects throughout the history:


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Can Planes Stop in Mid-Air?

When coming back from airport, I often see people staring at a 747 above us and stating "Look. That plane stopped moving. It's probably waiting to land." And when I tell them it's still flying, they say "What are you saying? You blind/crazy?"

Humans tend to believe what they see in front of their eyes, without thinking. It is because of this human tendency, sequels of movies like Paranormal Activity is being released. Believing a 747 can stop in mid-air is like Paranormal activity to me.

Anyway, Commercial aircraft cannot "stop" in mid-air. It's a fact. They are not designed to stop in mid-air. Allow me to explain this phenomena in two parts.

Part 1, Why planes cannot stop in mid-air :

The answer to this question can be explained by any average google search: "How Planes Fly?"
It's basics. It's all about four forces and an aerofoil shape.

It's old school. 

Anyway what I need you to understand from this is that, the aircraft will fall down from sky if any one of those four forces disappear ( Lift, Thrust, Weight or Drag).

Let's assume that the plane do stop in mid-air. If that is to happen, then the engines are to be switched off. Just like that of car - if the engine is stopped, the car stops. Same thing happens with aircraft. If the engine is stopped - aircraft stop producing thrust - and no lift is generated. If that happens the pilot will say nothing but " mayday mayday - Get me outta here!"

Part 2: OK,so if the plane is not moving; then why does it look like - "stopped in mid-air"?

Well actually you are staring at the aircraft for around 3 seconds max. You look once, "it ain't moving"; you look the second time within 2 seconds "nope, not moving at all" and you leave it at that. You probably must be in a vehicle when this happens.

The fact is, aircraft is moving. Since it is coming to land, the speed is considerably reduced which in turn effects its ground speed. The head wind speed is reduced from the total airspeed causing the ground speed to be less than that of the real value. It like the hour hand of a clock.

 There are plenty of literature written on this subject, feel free to read those.

Before concluding, keep in mind that there are aircraft that do stop in the air. Those are military aircraft specially designed to hover. The F-35 JSF is one of these aircraft that can hover or "stop in mid-air".

I recommend you to check Lockheed Martin YouTube channel  ( - they have plenty of videos on F-35s.

Live Happy - Chan

Monday, July 15, 2013

Prayers to Victims of Asiana Flight Crash in San Francisco

As you all know, an Asiana Flight (Boeing 777) crashed in San Francisco claiming the life of two. I pay my respects to the victims and their families on this terrible tragedy.

There was once a crash in Spain which claimed 583 human lives. It is considered the deadliest crash in Aviation history.

Watch the video below:

Regards -Chan

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How much does Plane Cost?

Recently my best friend shared a link about an aircraft called Icon A5. This aircraft is produced by a privately owned American Company called Icon Aircraft. They have an awesome looking aircraft and a cool logo. The sole purpose of this company is to make flying more affordable and accessible.

"Affordable" - That word got me thinking.

I get a lot of questions from people asking me - "How much does an aircraft cost?". And I ask which one, and they reply - "well, you know, the big ones".

An airliner like a Boeing 737-800, cost $72.5million. (72,500,000 USD). The A-380 on the other hand cost above $300milion (300,000,000USD). That's lot of money.

When coming to military world, a Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II cost you around $200million (200,000,000USD) while a B-2 Spirit cost you $1.5 billion(1,500,000,000USD). Fact: B-2 Spirit is the costliest aircraft in the world.

All high-priced aircraft are engineering marvels and depict a quantum leap in technology.
But there are aircraft, which are built to cherish the passion of flying.

Did you know that Cessna Aircraft Company produce aircraft more than Boeing and Airbus?  Cessna 172 is the most manufactured aircraft in the world (43,000+).

And a Cessna 172R cost 274,000USD.

This aircraft is very dear to pilots. They are used in flying schools all over the world. They are also used by people in U.S and Europe for personal use. Usually when you own an aircraft, you are considered as elite.

That was the story until now.

At this point of time, in 2013, it's much easier to own and fly aircraft than ever before. Let me get back to the Icon A5.

An Icon A5 cost 140,000USD. To fly this you need Sport pilot certificate which is very easy to get ( you don't even need a medical certificate).

This years Paris Airshow saw a rise in E(electric) aircraft. These planes can fly with lithium batteries. The advancement in composite material fabrication and better aerodynamics help these aircraft not just to fly, but fly sustainable and cheap.

The aviation world will change. Skepticism and fear are the factors that make people not to look into small aircraft. The joy of flying is completely different from a pilot's seat like watching Avatar in 3D instead of 2D. 

The world was skeptical when Ford first rolled out it's car. Same happened for cell phones, Internet, social networking etc. All these have changed our world. Flying will be affordable one day. Just like having a driving license, you will have a flying license.

With that prayer in mind, I'm concluding. See you all next week. Live Happy.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Aeronautical Engineering as Career?

Aeronautics can be defined as the science involved with the study, design and manufacturing of aircraft According to Wikipedia, the term literally means- "sailing through air"

To make a body sail through air or airborne or fly is more than just a few calculations. The capability to fly is in and itself a tremendous achievement by human kind. The invention of airfoil and control surfaces alone changed the world as we know it.

Aeronautics has developed a lot in the last 113 years after Kitty Hawk. To fly faster than speed of sound, to cruise at 80,000 ft, to fly non-stop around the world - all has been possible because of aeronautics and aeronautical engineers. When I really understood the engineering concepts behind a flight - I had nothing but respects towards the people who created it. To be able to design a machine that can fly 50,000 ft above the ground is a great privilege only earned by an aeronautical engineer. That's how cool it is. I am proud to be an Aeronautical Engineer.

Aeronautical Engineers play a great role in getting an aircraft airborne. The sole purpose of an engineer is to convert ideas into practical entities. It is same for an Aeronautical Engineer. When there is a need to fly 800 people across any ocean with a minimum fuel burn; an aeronautical engineer designs the aircraft and make sure it fly well. Or when there is a need for an aircraft that cannot be detected by enemy radars and should be capable of carrying 40,000 lb of payload - aeronautical engineers designs it, manufactures it and make sure it neutralize the target. That's how cool Aeronautics is.

All that has been said about Aeronautical engineers, you must keep in mind that Aviation is not only about Aeronautical Engineers. Aviation industry is a massive platform where many engineering disciplines unite. At this point of time, the requirement for an aircraft is far more than just flying. Nowadays the aircraft requires to be a lot safer and smarter. Through many iterations, learning from the past - engineers come up with innovative solutions to make flying safer, smarter and green. Our planet now needs quieter and efficient airplanes. This is being delivered by Companies with pool of brilliant minds - most of them being Aeronautical Engineers.

I am glad that we get to live in midst of many exciting events and that we are able to observe the aviation industry change its pace. The awesome fact is we are a part of this.


Friday, June 28, 2013


It really is a sight of beauty when an Emirates A380 takes-off from runway 16R/34L. I see it everyday for the last one year and each time when I see it, I forget about everything else.

Hi there, thank you for reading the article. My name is CK (a.k.a. Chan) . I am an Aeronautical Engineer currently working in deploying aviation systems around the world.

Airplanes have been a part of my life from a very young age. When I was in high school I went to middle east for vacation. My family took an apartment near an airport, very close to the runway. I could see aircraft coming to land very close . I would get so excited and be like "Whoa!! Mom Look at that!!". I would spend hours watching the jumbo jets landing and taking off. That was the time of my life when I decided to know more about aviation.

I took aeronautical engineering as my majors in college and guys, it was the best decision ever. 

The purpose of this blog is to provide infotainment for all and especially Aviation Enthusiasts. I believe a blog like this one will stand as a tribute to aviation industry. It is my deepest desire to contribute to the internet aviation something my own. 

At the end of the day, its all about you. There is no value in my articles if you don't find it interesting. So let me know what you would like to read about. This is your blog. Let me know your thoughts.

 I post every Friday.



  • Name:
  • Vision: To Cherish the Passion of Aviation.
  • Content : Infotainment - Articles, Photos &Videos.
  • Post Schedule :  Friday . (Update: Saturday also.)
  • Author:  Chan CK