Friday, August 28, 2015

Delivery by Drones. The Future of logistics.

Moving things around was always a problem. From the beginning of time, everything wanted to move. There was no action without movement. In fact, moving is the only way to go forward - in all areas of life. Good thing is that we invented wheel and the world changed for good. Now we take wheels for granted. 

When we started using wheels, it became apparent that we need something stronger and powerful to make use those wheels to carry and move more stuffs. Engines and vehicles were soon created.

Apparently, human race wanted more and they needed it fast. It's our innate desire to admire speed - because it's exhilarating. It's pure adrenaline. 

And so, fast cars were invented but fast trucks were "meh". Supersonic planes were designed while C-17 and C-5 Galaxy fly subsonic. It's also, I think, the reason why series "Flash" is much cooler than "Super Girl".

And now, in the age of "anything is actually possible with technology" - small flying robots are solving the problem of getting stuffs fast.

There are startups coming up all over the world that design the perfect transportation flying robot. We are talking about companies selling flying machine specifically designed to transport stuffs below 5 Kg in 20 Km radius. And they do that autonomous. Aviation industry is not only about passengers and national threats anymore. 

As companies like Mattrnet (  and Flirty ( are funded with wealthy venture capitalist organizations; they are still illegal to fly. 

British rules laid out by the Civil Aviation Authority limit unmanned vehicles to operating at least 50m from a building or person, and always within sight of an operator. Same story with FAA also.

We all heard about the "Amazon Prime Air". It's cool. They use quad-copters to deliver stuffs under 30 minutes. FAA never gave a green signal for them. Yet.

Google "Project Wing" is thinking further into future by designing an Aircraft instead of copters. Aircraft is faster and can carry more weight. Well, they can do that since its a moonshot project and doesn't effect there business directly.  

Even though it's illegal to fly now, all these companies are striving for this technology to happen. Why? 

Because it's progress. That's how we humans roll. After a while,with persistence,  this authority and jurisdiction will adapt. It always has and always will.

There a some exceptional cases where authorities let use drone for delivery. 

DHL is one company that has small success in the drone delivery business. They have a service to an German island called Juist. It's a sandbar island with less than 2500 people as residents. It's 12km into the North Sea. DHL only fly this route under strict jurisdiction and deliver mainly medicine.

Ten years from now, the unmanned aerial vehicle section will be changed in all Civil aviation rules around the world. New rules will be written. In two decades, drones will be taken as granted just like the wheels.

Thank you for reading guys. Until next time, this is CK signing off.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mother of Endurance. Flying 2 Months, without landing.

In 1950's was a time of record setting. Aviators all around the world were trying to beat records in such a pace that it was becoming an obsession. But one flight killed it all. One flight end the record setting madness. The record made by Cessna 172 bearing the tail number N91272B made a world record 50 years ago that still remain unbroken. 

The story of how Bob Timm and John Cook flew for 64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes is entertaining. 

It was a marketing escapade hoisted by a hotel in Las Vegas called The Hacienda Hotel. It took mechanic Bob Timm, who was also a pilot, one year to modify N91272B. 

Modifications include a bottom tank for more fuel storage, a small platform instead of co-pilots cabin, a sink (yup! a small stainless sink to shave) and modifications for the engine. They had it fitted with electric motor for fueling purpose and for the engine oil.

The plane took on December 4, 1958 from McCarran Field in Las Vegas. They had special permission from FAA to extend the maximum take off weight for the extra modifications. 

The plane was fueled twice a day in broad daylight. There were events were it had to be fueled in the night time also.

Two pilots would read comic books, did exercises, and made up games such as " guess how many cars we will pass in the next hour," as well as performing the daily tasks of fueling, eating and maintaining communications with the support and ground staff. Food, water for washing, towels, oils and other supplies were passed up from the ground.

They would fly most hours over southwestern deserts in the Blythe, California, and Yuma, Arizona, areas but would occasionally fly as far west as Van Nuys and Los Angeles to garner radio and TV publicity. 

They finally landed the aircraft on February 7, 1959. 

Today the aircraft is kept in display at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. 

Thanks for reading.

This is CK signing off.

P.S. I apologize for not posting on Saturday as per schedule. I was travelling. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Most Built Aircraft: Cessna 172 Skyhawk

When Cessna Aircraft company wanted to modify its Cessna 170 in the late 1950's; little did they know that they were going to change history.

They modified their taildragger 170 model into a tri cycle landing gear variant which what we now call as the Legendary Cessna 172.

While Cessna 170 was a success itself with around 5000 built in less than 8 years, 172 became an overnight success with more than  1400 being built in its first year.

Cessna 172 came to be celebrated worldwide because of it astonishing simplicity and reliability.
It was so successful that it  became the most produced aircraft in the world.

More than 43,000 Cessna 172 were built ( including all variants).

43,000. Wow. Just wow.

The total built number of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 sums up to less than 15,000.

I know I'm comparing apples and oranges  here. Cessna 172 is in a different aviation market when comparing to 737 and 320. 

My point is, how many small aircraft have been built the same way?

Cessna 172 Skyhawk has a powerful impact in aviation industry. Cessna 172 is successful in many level. Be it design, cost, maintenance, reliability etc.

It's being used for various  purposes around the world ( including military).

With its simplicity and brilliant design aspects and attributes; Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular aircraft in the world.

I am sure that all pilots at one time of their life has flown this bird. And with that flight it won over their hearts.

It's one of the legends of aviation.

Thank You for reading. 

Until next time, this is CK signing off.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

F-35 Entering Service For The first Time

Well the time has come. The famed F-35 Lightning II is entering service for the first time in the history of aviation. I say, it's about time. 

Ten F-35's will be deployed at Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) based at Yuma, Arizona.

We grow up hearing about it. And  it was a mystery why these aircraft are not yet in service. They were always going through design changes, budget overruns, schedule slips. But as we all know, great things can all be achieved by hard work and it will take time - otherwise everyone would have had it.   

It's been 14 years now. When the news first came out - that they are designing a "Stealth" aircraft that could take off vertically; it was bizarre! 

But when I saw the first vertical take off in Lockheed's website - I said to myself " She was the one".

The threatening condition of the world is filled with terrorism and mindless attacks. People who threatens peace. When a country spend trillions of dollars to fight for peace and serenity, they look out to a machine that can fly invisible and hit hard. Those machines can end war even before it begins. 

With F-35's entering the service we can be glad that elite soldiers will make sure of our peace and serenity. 

Until Next time.


Friday, August 14, 2015

A380 is 10 Years Old

On 27th April 2005, the super jumbo took off to skies and made history. I was in high school at that time. TV news channel show the take off in the news. It was just such a moment that I wish to go back and see it again.  I still have a photograph of maiden flight in my room. 

Fast forward 10 years, I am fortunate enough to see it in ramp and even fly in it. 

A380 is the flagship plane of Airbus. It was designed for the jumbo jet market, which was being dominated by legendary Boeing 747. With success of A320, it was evident that Airbus could do better with a jumbo jet. It is the final frontier. 

Airbus invested about $15 billion for the design and production of A380 in the early 2000's. They had an plan to sell 1500 planes (almost half of the market). But so far they only sold 317 planes with 167 delivered yet. 

It's not a bad news as such. Aviation business model may contain a break even point of even 30 decades. The bigger the sale is, the greater time it will take. And we are talking about $428 million here. Emirates and other customers were able to purchase the aircraft for a lesser price (about $360 million)  for being the first customers and for large orders.

More than a dozen airlines have ordered the aircraft, with Emirates being the major consumer. 

Forecast from aviation experts predict that  by 2020, Asian markets will grow by multiple percentages and this will have a direct impact on A380 sales. 

With A380 it's a matter of time. 

Remember that this plane was built in a time of great change in airline industry. But that doesn't mean it is only built for that. The engineers in Airbus were smart enough to design the aircraft to evolve and adapt according to the market needs.

That being said, A380 will always be the queen of the skies. 

Until Next time.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Why are airline passengers asked to lift up window shades during takeoff and landing?

"Safety First" as we all know is the mantra for airlines and airliners. The very existence of commercial aviation exists because of people trust in its operational safety. In an industry where rules are written in blood; nothing is left to chance or risks. 

When you take overall flight into consideration, the probability of mishaps are at the time of take-off and landing. Having said that, it is important for airliners to take precaution in all phases of flight. 

Since aircraft is prone to danger while in ground, in the worst case, passengers are to be informed as quickly as possible. What better way to inform them than perceiving it from their own eyes. 

Imagine this scenario, a passenger A in front window seat has his window shades closed while passenger B in back window seat has his window shades open. If a fire breaks out in the engine, passenger B is already aware of the situation and has begun to call for help. But passenger A has no idea what is going on. This lack of information and arising confusion will fill him up with fear causing him to make poor decisions. 

There are plenty of cases where aircraft was saved because passengers identifying some kind of abnormality while the aircraft was taxiing. (Check this out: )

If the window shades are open, passengers really know what is happening and with that clarity of things they can make better decisions. 

It will also help their orientations. Also, at a time of evacuation, rescue personnel can check for any trapped passengers. 

It's better to be in light side than dark. May the force be with you.

Until Next time. 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Fan Wing

This is the cross section of airfoil:

This is the cross-section of fan wing:

Replace the leading edge with a rotating fan along the wing and bhoom! have a fan wing.

You see, it's wing having blades layered like a rotating fan as shown below :

What is the use you ask?

Well, with this kind, we don't need an engine. Instead of an engine, we have a motor rotating the "fan" embedded in the wing. Think of the amount of money we can save with taking out the 250kn thrust emitting powerful turbine engines.

Of course that's not the only use.

Since they make the air to work more than a conventional airfoil; the lifting capacity is high. This rotating wing is designed to take heavy weights, just like a C-17. They also can take-off short and land. (a.k.a. STOL)

Patric Peebels developed this concept back in 1997. Soon Fan Wing company was formed. As of today, the company is trying to develop its full scale aircraft. 

I think this can work very well.

Until Next time Pals.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beacon & Surfair: Fly Unlimited with a monthly subscription

Welcome to the Netflix of the skies. Pay your monthly subscription and fly all you want. No more ticket booking, no more standing in long queue - just get to the airport and fly. 

This is what startups like Beacon and Surf air is doing. I am really impressed by these innovative startups. 

There are commuters in cities - business professionals and such who does flying all the time. Now traditionally they have to spend time booking the ticket, paying money, long queues, small leg space etc. - and they have to do this over and over again in a month.

Now for a monthly fee of $2k, members to fly all they.

With this new idea, which began in 2011, flying can be revolutionized. They are making the taxi service of skies. What we now have is the bus service. 

Check out the videos below:

Until Next time.