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.