Friday, January 26, 2007

Travel tips - How do you Lodge a Formal Complaint with an Airline

Imagine it's your first time ever in first class on an airplane. You've used a combination of frequent flyer miles from your spouse's business travels and points earned through a rewards program with your credit card to book the two of you on a nonstop flight to a romantic destination for the weekend. You're excited about your first time in first class – having enough room to be comfortable and getting the extra perks that come along with the prestigious seating.

as the flight attendant walks by for the first time you ask him, "Excuse me, do you have any magazine's I can look at." He turns and says, "I'm sorry. Haven't you heard about 9/11, airlines in bankruptcy, employee layoffs, overworked flight attendants? Of Course, we don't have any magazines. You should have brought your own." You think to yourself, "But I thought I was in first class. I thought I'd get waited on hand and foot." Then your spouse, who is a very frequent air traveler, lets you know that first class isn't what it used to be.

Next, you try to put up your tray only to find out that it's broken. It sits right in your lap, making it useless. When you point this out to the same flight attendant (actually, the only flight attendant it seems), he tells you that you must be doing something wrong. It's not broken. When you show him it is broken he says, "Huh," and walks away. You spend your flight with food in your lap and a huge disappointment over your "first class" treatment.

this, of course, is a true story that was relayed by a friend of mine, and one many air travelers can probably believe and most likely top. It seems that the service you get on an airline truly isn't what it used to be, and most air travelers have learned to adjust. But what should you do if you're met with rude airline employees or unacceptable amenities on the plane?


it would have done my friend no good to complain to the flight attendant. He clearly didn't care and most likely wasn't in a position to change anything even if he had cared. So who should you complain to and how should you go about doing so?

Situations like this are best left to filing a formal complaint with the airline after the air travel experience is done. The best way to file a formal complaint is in writing – either by written letter or e-mail.

before writing your complaint, attempt to get a hold of the airline's passenger's rights statement, often called a "conditions of carriage" or "contract of carriage" statement. It will spell out the airline's policy on how passengers are to be treated. If you can find that your treatment or situation was against what is mentioned in their statement, it is best to include that in your letter. Copy the specific wording from their statement in your letter and relay exactly how your situation is in violation of their policy.

your written complaint should be professional and to the point and include the following information :< /p>

* Your flight information so that the airline knows exactly which flight you were on and which seat you were sitting in

* Focused details about your complaint. Explain what the situation was and why it was specifically a problem for you. Include the names of any airline employees who were rude, disrespectful or just plain made the situation worse. Also, if there were any employees who tried to make the situation better, but couldn't, include their names also. Sometimes, your complaint has nothing to do with employee conduct.

* Choose which aspects of your experience to complain about and keep your letter to the point. In my friend's case, the rudeness of the employee was much more of a problem than the fact that there were no magazines available for the passengers. The rudeness of the flight attendant should have been the focus of the incident.

* If you are a frequent traveler with that airline, state it in the letter. If the experience has made you rethink your relationship with the airline, state that also. It will get their attention.
* Send a copy of your complaint to The Department of Transportation and the Aviation Consumer Action Project and let the airline know you're doing so. This will also get their attention. The address for the Department of Transportation is 400 7thStreet SW, Room 4107, Washington, DC 20590. Address the letter to the attention of the Aviation Consumer Protection Division. The address for the Aviation Consumer Action Project is P.O. Box 19029, 589 14 th Street NW, Suite 1265, Washington, DC 20036.

* A detailed explanation of how you would like the airline to go about remedying the situation. You could ask for monetary compensation, frequent flyers miles added to your account, discounts, free travel, or perhaps just an apology. Don't get greedy, however. Is an overworked, disgruntled employee's snip about no magazines really worth a free ticket?

* You may wish to include a photocopy of your tickets, but don't EVER send your original documents.

Before writing a formal letter of complaint, you may try making a phone call to complain and remedy your situation, but most experts agree that writing a formal letter of complaint is a much more effective way of getting satisfaction from the airline.

If you have not heard from the airline within 30 days of your initial complaint, resend the letter. This time send it by registered mail.

it is best to write and send your letter of complaint in a timely manner, as close to the date of the flight as possible. Unfortunately for my friend with the disappointing first class experience, the complaints were heard by friends but never by the airline. It is now a year past the experience and too much time has passed for the complaint to seem important to either the traveler or the airline.
For more useful travel tips like this, visit the site mentioned.

Travel Restrictions Have Been Eased Aren t you Glad

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lifted some of the carry on restrictions on US flights that were imposed in August. That is welcome news to air travelers. Previously, with the exception of medications and baby formula/milk, no liquid or gel like substances were allowed to be carried onto the plane. They had to be placed in checked luggage.

So just what are the new, less restrictive, regulations? Here's a run down. Passengers may take liquid or gel like items such as toiletries with them through security if they are placed in a quart-size, clear plastic zip top bag. Only one zip top bag per passenger will be allowed. The liquid or gel in the containers can only be 3 ounces or less which is the common size for travel sized shampoos, toothpastes, etc. The containers may not be capable of holding more than 3 ounces, even if there are only 3 ounces of liquid or gel in them. For example, if you have an 11 ounce sized bottle of shampoo, but only 3 ounces of shampoo are left in the bottle, you cannot bring the bottle on.

The plastic bags will need to be taken out of carry on luggage and x-rayed separately. The machines can identify if a substance is unusual, but they cannot determine if the substance is explosive or bomb-related. However, the TSA hopes to have machines that can detect those types of substances in the nation's checkpoints in the future. They are currently testing machines that use magnetic resonance imaging to detect explosive substances that can be used to make a bomb.

Saline solution, eye drops, medicines and infant formula/milk does not need to be in the zip top bag. They should be separate, but you must let screeners know about them before entering the security checkpoint. Also, security has the right to request a taste test of infant formula/milk, and very likely may do so. It's hard to believe it's come to this, but it has.

Also, liquid and gel items that are bought at the shops on the concourse after going through security can now be brought onto the plane. That means that you can buy water and other beverages, full sized toiletries, or other previously restricted items for use on the plane.

The partial lift on the bans is good news for air travelers, particularly those who use carry on luggage only.

The US is not the only country lifting some of their restrictions. Last Friday, the UK's Department for Transport came out with revised restrictions. For flights that are originating outside of the UK, they will allow liquid and gel like substances to come with passengers. For flights originating from the UK, the restrictions are still stricter than those in the US. This is important information to know for those who are traveling from the US to the UK and home again. The carry on bag and items you left the US with may not be allowed to be carried on when returning to the US.

Each passenger may carry one (and only one) travel bag not bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (which is approximately 22inches x 17 ½inches x 9 ¾inches). Any other bags brought on board such as a handbag must fit inside of the one allowed carry on. Any bag that is bigger than the allowed dimensions will be required to be checked.

The only exception to the one bag rule seems to be for musical instruments. They may be carried on, but they will need to be x-rayed first.

The Department for Transport still has some tight restrictions on what can be placed in the carry on bag. There can be no liquid cosmetics, toiletries, liquids, gels, or beverages in the bag or on a person when going through security.

Necessary liquid medicines may be in the carry on bag, but the quantity cannot exceed 50ml. Also liquid baby formula/milk may be carried on, but the contents of every bottle must be tasted by the guardian of the baby at the security check point.

Electronic equipment such as laptops, cell phones, PDA's and MP3 players will need to be removed from the carry on bag and screened separately.

Items that are purchased after going through the security check point in the airport's shops may be taken on board.

Things are not back to normal yet, but they are getting better. So, the question now is where are you and your 3 ounces of shampoo going to travel this fall? Here are some ideas.

For all of you leaf peepers out there (leaf peeping is an actual activity – they talked about it on an episode of The West Wing once) how about treating your shampoo to a long weekend in the Northeast. Try Baltimore, MD where from October 1 – November 30, 2006 you can enjoy "Free Fall Baltimore." If you plan your trip for mid-October you can catch some beautiful fall foliage and take advantage of the city's promotion.

The promotion offers free admission to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum (where you can probably view a few landscape portraits of fall foliage, too). There are also over 175 free cultural events going on throughout the city during the promotional time. For more information go to

If leaf peeping isn't your cup of tea, then how about making your fall excursion all about a glass of wine. Head to Napa Valley where it's harvest season. Napa Valley is the biggest wine region in the United States, and when fall arrives the wineries begin to have samplings of their upcoming vintages. Treat yourself to food and wine pairings, fall festivals, cultural events at theaters and opera houses and a good wine education.

However, if you do choose to bring some of Napa Valley's treasures home with you, have the winery pack them for the flight. They won't be allowed in your carry on luggage.

Air Travel Carbon Emissions are destroying the Environment

The UK government is aiming for a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 but we will not be able to meet our goals on climate change without curbing the demand for air travel. At present the experts predicts that only 5.5% of the UK carbon emissions is due to air travel and that the government should concentrate on the other 94.5% as the UK air travel industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in revenue and these figures are set to increase as the airline industry wants to increase the number of passenger movements in UK airports from about 200m per year now to about 470m by 2030. If this happens then air travel will account for over 10 % of carbon emissions in the UK. It will be more than 10% if other polluting sectors such as car travel are reduced due to an increase in public transport use and cleaner fuels.

What can we do to prevent this growth in flying?

The government has said it wants aviation included in the next round of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. What is this? Well…

There is an emissions trading scheme in operation internationally but many people are not aware that this is perceived to be the cornerstone of the climate change policy in the EU and USA.

Firms are set quotas on how much carbon dioxide they can produce per year, if they produce more than this allowance, then they buy an allowance from another firm that has not reached its quota on how much it can produce in one year! Get it?

Emissions Trading is particularly suited to the emissions of greenhouse gases, the gases responsible for global warming, which have the same effect wherever they are emitted. The idea of the carbon-trading scheme was to raise the cost to firms of continuing to pollute while creating a market to give an incentive to become more environmentally efficient.

Another suggestion to curb travel is airlines paying higher taxes on short haul European flights to reflect emissions, even if this results in higher fares. The thinking is that taxation through passenger duty would be easier and quicker than focusing on the Emissions Trading Scheme but any proposed increase in taxation would need to be enough to slow down the growth and eventually decrease the number of short haul flights.

A decrease in flights would be bad for airports and airlines as they would see a decrease in airport generated profits and could lead to a number of job losses and competitiveness for the UK economy, but other sectors of the UK economy such as domestic tourism would benefit thus creating jobs and revenue for the tax man to get his greedy hands on.

Most of the wealthier nations in Europe are developing an air dependent culture and its clear that something needs to be done. Frequent flying for business and pleasure and second homes abroad is fuelling this growth in air travel. Other forms of public transport such as rail are getting more expensive making domestic flights within the UK more affordable and convenient. In the USA this tends not to be the case due to the distance between major cities.

Carbon offsetting helps you to offset the carbon dioxide that you use when flying by planting trees or installing solar panels and thereby removing your contribution to global climate change. You contribute to pollution by flying; you reduce the pollution by planting trees! You are carbon neutral!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Flying Machine

The invention of the flying machine changed humanity. It changed the way and the speed at which we travel. It made the world seem a little smaller as people and places in distant lands suddenly seemed much nearer by the lessened time it would take to reach them. It increased our communication between people and nations as they could travel across oceans and meet in person rather than communicating by letters or other non-personal means. Flying quickly became a recreational sport, an attractive career, and an appealing science. It lifted man into the skies, where before he only dreamt of going. It freed us from the confines of this earth upon which we live. Flight drastically changed the way wars are fought. Suddenly nations were no longer protected by standing armies at their borders. A plane could easily fly over their borders and attack a city deep in the heart of a country. Planes were merciless war machines dropping bombs on cities, respecting neither soldiers nor citizens. All were vulnerable and targets of the loads of bombs dropped by planes. Later other uses of airplanes were created, more recreational and sporty, such as the model airplane and the radio control airplane.

The airplane model is a replica of the larger, real planes that are or were actually flown. From the first plane flown by the Wright Brothers to our modern aircraft and space shuttles, you can find model airplane replicas. The replicas consist of planes flown in all of the wars, from many different countries. Each country was always trying to outdo the others in their command of the skies. In the days of airplanes, if you controlled the skies, you controlled the war. This competition between countries led the quick development of a variety of different types of fighting military aircraft. The more effective types of planes were quickly adopted by all of the countries, however, and nations began selling airplanes to other nations, so that now many countries have similar sophisticated and modern military aircraft.

With all of this in mind, a model airplanes hobby can obviously be, not just some little simple thing that people do, but it can teach about history and science. One can learn about modern military aircraft right alongside with the plane flown by the Red Baron in WWI. One can learn the evolution of the aircraft; the different types of planes and styles that countries developed and built upon or discontinued. Currently there are very many modern developers of airplanes. There are even more airlines that are supplied by these airplane manufacturers. If you are at all interested in aviation, what better way to start than to purchase your own model airplane and begin learning the history of airplanes?

There are also radio control airplanes. This side of a model airplane hobby may focus more on the science and actual flight of airplanes. Model airplanes work according to the same laws of science and physics as a real airplane. They use the same laws of thrust and lift. The wings, tails, and propellers of a model all have to be built according to the same principles of flight. The model airplane can stall in the air or crash similar to real plane.

Not surprisingly, the airplane and its offshoot developments are continuing to change humanity, from their wars, their communications, their travels and finally to their hobbies. Who knows what will happen next, where the airplane will lead us next. But it is obviously important to take a part in this continuing human experiment in aviation and flight, even if you just start with a model airplane or radio control airplane.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Air safety

Navigation aids
One of the first navigation aids to be introduced was the introduction of airfield lighting to assist pilots to make landings in poor weather or after dark, introduced in the USA in the late 1920s. The concept of approach lighting was developed from this in the 1930s, indicating to the pilot the angle of descent to the airfield, which later became adopted internationally through the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

With the spread of radio technology, several experimental radio based navigation aids were developed from the late 20s onwards. These were most successfully used in conjunction with instruments in the cockpit in the form of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), first used by a scheduled flight to make a landing in a snowstorm at Pittsburgh in 1938. A form of ILS was adopted by the ICAO for international use in 1949.

Following the development of radar in World War II, it was deployed as a landing aid for civil aviation in the form of Ground Control Approach (GCA) systems, joined in 1948 by Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), and in the 1950s by airport surveillance radar as an aid to air traffic control.

All of the ground-based navigation aids are rapidly being displaced by satellite-based aids like GPS, which make it possible for aircrews to know their position with great precision anywhere in the world. With the arrival of Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), GPS navigation has become accurate enough for vertical (altitude) as well as horizontal use, and is being used increasingly for instrument approaches as well as en-route navigation. However, since the GPS constellation is a single-point of failure that can be switched off by the U.S. military in time of crisis, ground-based navigation aids are still required for backup.

Air safety topics


While aircraft are able to withstand normal lightning strikes, the dangers of more powerful positive lightning were not understood until the destruction of a glider in 1999 [1]. It has since been suggested that it may have been positive lightning that caused the crash of Pan Am Flight 214 in 1963. At the present time aircraft are not designed to withstand such strikes, since their existence was unknown at the time standards were set.

Engine failure
Although aircraft are now designed to fly even after the failure of one or more aircraft engines, the failure of the second engine on one side for example is obviously serious or even more when it's all of them, as illustrated by the 1970 Dominicana DC-9 air disaster, when fuel contamination caused the failure of both engines. To have an emergency landing place is then very important.

Metal fatigue can also have similar consequences (see below).

A very unusual class of "engine failure" occurred in 1979 when a complete engine detached from American Airlines Flight 191, causing damage to the aircraft from which the pilots were unable to recover.

Metal fatigue
Metal fatigue has occasionally caused failure either of the engine (for example in the 1989 Kegworth Air Disaster), or even of the aircraft body, for example of the De Havilland Comets in 1953 and 1954. Now that the subject is better understood, rigorous inspection and nondestructive testing procedures are in place to attempt to identify potential problems.

Composite materials consist of layers of fibers embedded in a resin matrix. In some cases, especially when subjected to cyclic stress, the fibers may tear off the matrix, the layers of the material then separate from each other - a process called delamination, and form a mica-like structure which then falls apart. As the failure insidiously develops inside the material, nothing much is shown on the surface; instrument methods (often ultrasound-based) have to be used.

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed shortly after a takeoff, killing all 260 persons aboard and 5 more on the ground. Both the engines of the Airbus A300-600, the rudder and the tail fin separated from the plane before impact. Numerous more modern aircrafts developed related problems, but most were discovered before they caused a catastrophic failure.

Delamination risk is as old as composite material. Even in 1940s, several Yak-9s experienced delamination of plywood in their construction.

Stalling an aircraft (increasing the angle of attack to a point at which the wings fail to produce enough lift) is a potential danger, but is normally recoverable. Certain devices have been developed to warn the pilot as stall approaches. These include stall warning horns (now standard on virtually all powered aircraft) stick shakers and voice warnings. The best known stall-related airline accident was the Staines air disaster in 1972.

Safety regulations control aircraft materials and the requirements for automated fire safety systems. Usually these requirements take the form of required tests. The tests measure flammability and the toxicity of smoke. When the tests fail, they fail on a prototype in an engineering laboratory, rather than in an aircraft.

Occasionally these measures have failed. Fire on board the aircraft, especially the toxic smoke generated, have been the cause of several incidents. An electrical fire on Air Canada Flight 797 in 1983 caused the deaths of 23 of the 46 passengers, resulting in the introduction of floor level lighting to assist people to evacuate a smoke filled aircraft. Two years later a fire on the runway caused the loss of 53 lives, 48 from the effects of smoke, in the 1985 Manchester air disaster. This incident raised serious concerns over the standard aircraft emergency evacuation time of ninety seconds, and calls for the introduction of smoke hoods or misting systems although both were rejected. It did result in the introduction of revised overwing emergency exit doors on certain new aircraft, and a small increase in the spacing between seats next to the emergency exit.

Bird Strike
Bird strike is an aviation term for when there is a collision between a bird and an aircraft. It is a common threat to aircraft safety and has caused a number of fatal accidents. In 1988 an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 sucked pigeons into both engines during take-off and then crashed in an attempt to return to the Bahir Dar airport; of the 104 people aboard, 35 died and 21 were injured. In another incident in 1995, a Dassault Falcon 20 crashed at a Paris airport during an emergency landing attempt after sucking lapwings into its rear engine, which caused an engine failure and a fire in the airplane fuselage; all 10 people on-board were killed. [2]

Modern jet engines have certain limited capability of surviving an ingestion of a bird. Small fast planes, like eg. military jet fighters, are in higher risk than big heavy multi-engine ones.

The highest risk of the bird strike is during the takeoff and landing, in low altitudes, which is in the vicinity of the airports. Some airports use active countermeasures, ranging from a man with a shotgun through recorded sounds of predators to employing falconers. There are also exotic solutions, like eg. planting poisonous grass along the runways that is not palatable to birds, nor to insect that attracts insectivorous birds. Passive countermeasures involve sensible land-use management, avoiding conditions attracting flocks of birds to the area (eg. landfills).

Volcanic ash
Plumes of volcanic ash in the vicinity of active volcanoes present a risk especially for night flights. It is hard and abrasive and can quickly cause significant wear on the propellers and turbocompressor blades, and scratch the cabin windows, impairing visibility. It contaminates fuel and water systems, can jam gears, and can cause a flameout of the engines. Its particles have low melting point, so they melt in the combustion chamber and the glass mass then sticks on the turbine blades, fuel nozzles, and the combustors, which can lead to a total engine failure. It can get inside the cabin and contaminate everything there, and can damage the airplane electronics. [3]

There are many instances of damage to a jet aircraft in an ash encounter. In one of them in 1982, a British Airways Boeing 747 flew through an ash cloud, lost all four engines, and descended from 36,000 feet to only 12,000 feet before the flight crew managed to restart the engines.

With the growing density of air traffic, encounters like this are becoming commonplace. In 1991 the aviation industry decided to set up Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs), one for each of 9 regions of the world, acting as liaisons between meteorologists, volcanologists, and the aviation industry. [4]

Human factors
Human factors including pilot error are another potential danger, and currently the most common factor of aviation crashes. Much progress in applying human factors to improving aviation safety was made around the time of World War II by people such as Paul Fitts and Alphonse Chapanis. However, there has been progress in safety throughout the history of aviation, such as the development of the pilot's checklist in 1937. [5] The ability of the flight crew to continually maintain situation awareness is a critical human factor in air safety.

Failure of the pilots to properly monitor the flight instruments resulted in the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in 1972, and error during take-off and landing can have catastrophic consequences, for example cause the crash of Prinair Flight 191 on landing (also in 1972), and the 1958 Munich air disaster on take-off during a blizzard. As in this latter case, other factors such as the weather often contribute to pilot error incidents.

The collision of aircraft can take place in the air (1978 PSA Flight 182) and on the ground (1977 Tenerife disaster), both of which involved pilot error.

Very rarely, flight crew members are arrested or subject to disciplinary action for being intoxicated on the job. In 1990, three Northwest Airlines crew members were sentenced to jail time for flying from Fargo, North Dakota to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport while drunk. In 2001, Northwest fired a pilot who failed a breathalyzer test after flying from San Antonio, Texas to Minneapolis-St.Paul. In July 2002, two America West pilots were arrested just before they were scheduled to fly from Miami, Florida to Phoenix, Arizona because they had been drinking alcohol before the flight. The pilots have been fired from America West and the FAA revoked their pilot's licenses. As of 2005 they await trial in a Florida court [6]. The incident created a public relations problem and America West has become the object of many jokes about drunk pilots. While these drunk-flying incidents did not result in crashes, they underscore the role that poor human choices can play in air accidents.

Human factors incidents are not limited to errors by the pilots. The failure to correctly close a cargo door on Turkish Airlines Flight 981 in 1974 resulted in the loss of the aircraft - however the design of the cargo door latch was also a major factor in the incident.

Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) is a class of accident in which a perfectly good aircraft is flown, under control, into terrain. CFIT accidents typically are a result of pilot error or of navigational system error. Some pilots, convinced that advanced electronic navigation systems such as GPS and INS coupled with Flight Management System computers are partially responsible for these accidents, have called CFIT accidents "computerized flight into terrain". Failure to protect Instrument Landing System critical areas can also cause controlled flight into terrain. Crew awareness and monitoring of navigational systems can prevent or eliminate CFIT accidents. Crew resource management is a modern method now widely used to improve the human factors of air safety. The Aviation Safety Reporting System, or ASRS is another.


Aviation or Air transport refers to the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Aircraft, include fixed wing (airplane) and rotary wing (helicopter) types, as well as lighter-than-air craft such as balloons and airships (also known as dirigibles.)

There are two major categories of aviation:

Civil aviation
Military aviation
Civil aviation includes both scheduled air transport and general aviation.

Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and work together to establish common standards and rules for civil aviation through that agency -- the most notable exception is the United States, which does not belong to ICAO but has still worked to harmonize its regulations and procedures to avoid confusion for pilots flying to and from other countries.

Because civil aviation and military aviation operate under different rules around the world, there are sometimes difficulties when the two share the same airspace, occasionally with fatal results.

Civil aviation includes two major categories:

Scheduled air transport, including all passenger or cargo flights that operate on a published schedule; and
General aviation, including all other flights, private or commercial
For the public, the most visible part of civil aviation is scheduled air transport, but in fact, the vast majority of flights operate under general aviation.

Military aviation includes any use of aircraft by a country's military, including such areas as transport, training, disaster relief, border patrol, search and rescue, surveillance, surveying, peacekeeping, and (very rarely) aerial warfare. For military aviation based on ships such as aircraft carriers, the term Naval aviation is sometimes used.

Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and work together to establish common standards and rules for civil aviation through that agency -- the most notable exception is the United States, which does not belong to ICAO but has still worked to harmonize its regulations and procedures to avoid confusion for pilots flying to and from other countries.

Because civil aviation and military aviation operate under different rules around the world, there are sometimes difficulties when the two share the same airspace, occasionally with fatal results.

Civil aviation includes two major categories:

Scheduled air transport, including all passenger or cargo flights that operate on a published schedule; and
General aviation, including all other flights, private or commercial
For the public, the most visible part of civil aviation is scheduled air transport, but in fact, the vast majority of flights operate under general aviation.

Military aviation includes any use of aircraft by a country's military, including such areas as transport, training, disaster relief, border patrol, search and rescue, surveillance, surveying, peacekeeping, and (very rarely) aerial warfare. For military aviation based on ships such as aircraft carriers, the term Naval aviation is sometimes used.

USS Abraham Lincoln rides out a storm in the Arabian Sea while on station in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

General aviation (GA) encompasses all aviation other than scheduled airline flights and military aviation.
It includes everything from privately-owned light single-engine aircraft to business jets, news gathering, police, pipeline patrol, emergency medical flights, crop-dusting, rotorcraft, sport ballooning and many other aerial activities.

A general aviation scene at Kemble airfield, England. The aircraft in the foreground is a homebuilt Vans RV-4

A general aviation scene at Kemble airfield, England. The aircraft in the foreground is a homebuilt Vans RV-4Much of the traffic in general aviation is flown under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in contrast to airline traffic which is nearly always flown under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) (under which air traffic control is responsible for preventing mid-air collisions). The ground facilities needed for most general aviation flights are generally less sophisticated than those required by the armed forces or airlines operating scheduled flights, but there are many differences between the smaller grass aerodromes and those capable of accepting the larger corporate aircraft on international flights. Some of these differences simply reflect the different speeds and capabilities of aircraft types in common use, whilst others reflect regulations imposed to safeguard the safety of pilots, passengers and nearby communities.
Most public-use airports, including airports which are served by commercial carriers, have some general aviation traffic, although GA users are sometimes subject to user fees at the larger airports.

Hindrances to GA advancement
GA has tremendous potential to revolutionize the way people transport themselves. With thousands of airports across the United States, people could theoretically get far closer to their ultimate destination with GA than with traditional hub and spoke airline travel. The most significant obstacles GA must overcome are:
The price of GA is prohibitively high, with the cost of aircraft often running into the multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars and the price of Avgas traditionally running far higher than automotive gasoline. The FAA requires that production, or "certified," aircraft meet stringent safety and performance requirements. These high standards mandate extensive testing and engineering, the costs of which are spread over a relatively small (compared to automobiles, for example) number of aircraft produced and sold. Homebuilt aircraft do not have to demonstrate the same level of engineering and safety, and are deemed airworthy under the much less stringent "experimental" category. These "Homebuilts" are usually significantly less expensive than fully certified production aircraft. With these factors contributing to the price, earning a pilot's license usually costs US$5,000 - US$8,000. Additionally, the maintenance costs of keeping aircraft in airworthy condition add up very quickly. In the United States especially, general aviation manufacturers pay high premiums for product liability insurance, reflecting the many lawsuits - exemplified by the United States' liberal tort system - resulting from aircraft accidents, most of which do not result from actual failures of the product. This drives up the cost of aircraft, insurance, and maintenance.
The ability to reach a destination on schedule greatly depends on the weather. GA aircraft and pilots operating under Visual Flight Rules are unable to fly safely (or legally) in weather that commercial aircraft operate in routinely.
The perceived safety of small private aircraft is relatively low across the general public (and safety requirements for most general aviation aircraft and pilots are indeed less stringent than scheduled airlines). In reality, the safety of any given flight is largely dependent on the pilot's judgment and knowledge of his or her own limitations. Mechanical failures play a role in only a small percentage of GA fatalities, and are usually compounded by pilot error.
The difficulty in getting from destination airports to their final destinations poses another problem to pilots and passengers. Car rental companies have tried to fill this void by placing small rentals around at small airports, but have met with mixed success.
Uses of GA
Because of the hindrances listed above, the use of GA has remained limited to pleasure flying for private pilots, and business aviation (or BizAv) often on highly expensive business jets for high ranking executives.

Private Piloting
Most general aviation pilots are private pilots. These pilots are allowed to fly by themselves or with passengers, provided the weather meets certain criteria and they do not accept compensation for their services. Some pilots also pursue an instrument rating which allows them to fly by Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) so that they may navigate by reference to their aircraft instruments in visibilities lower than the minimum required under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), and at altitudes above 18,000 feet.
Becoming a private pilot usually requires about 50–70 hours of flight training, a rather rigorous curriculum that encompasses meteorology, navigation, simple aircraft maintenance, study of the applicable regulations, and best practices in the cockpit, along with aircraft maneuvering, followed by knowledge and flight examinations. Private pilots can rent aircraft from flight schools or from flying clubs or buy one of their own, sometimes in a partnership with other pilots.

Business Aviation
Business aviation (or Bizav) occupies a large place in the GA community. Most Bizav users fly highly sophisticated, expensive, luxurious and complex aircraft with well trained crews. Because of a variety of factors including better aircraft, more experienced crews (typically professional pilots instead of private individuals), and a larger support group, business Aviation has a much better safety record than the rest of GA.

Backyard Birding The Success Formula

There is a chill in the air. Winter is approaching. As the supply of insects declines, birds will be searching for other sources of food. How many birds will you see at your feeder? That depends on how well you set up your backyard or garden. In this article, I will review some very easy steps that anyone can take to be virtually assured of attracting a variety of wild birds.
First, consider the basic needs of wild birds. They are the same three needs that all animals and people share - food, water, and shelter. Let’s take these issues one at a time.


If you throw a bunch of seeds or stale bread on your lawn, you will attract birds. (See, I told you it was easy!) Of course, you will also attract squirrels, raccoons, cats, possums, and a host of insects. The birds that come around may only be starlings, sparrows, and crows. If you are not selective about which birds you attract, and you don’t mind having some other critters creeping around, then bird feeding could be that simple. This is not the method preferred by most backyard birders. To be more bird-selective, (and thereby reduce the number of unwanted prowlers), just be a little more selective about the type of food offered. Black oil sunflower seed and mixes of various seeds are available at many supermarkets or, usually more cost-effectively, at feed stores and garden centers. These foods attract a variety of wild birds, including chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, buntings, sparrows and cardinals. They can be placed in tube feeders or platform feeders, tube feeders being more selective toward the smaller songbird species.
Suet, which is raw beef or mutton fat, is a great, high-energy food for birds. Suet can be bought in preformed blocks at the supermarket, purchased unformed at the butcher shop, or formed by hand from the beef trimmings in your own kitchen. Suet, which is often mixed with nuts or seeds as an added bird-bonus, is particularly beneficial in the cold winter months when birds can really use the extra calorie boost.
Fruit, berries, and even peanut butter are also good for attracting wild birds. Whatever variety of food you choose, always keep the feeder clean to protect against bacteria that can harm the birds.


Every living thing on earth needs water. A proper birdbath will attract many birds, some of which are pure insectivores and do not use bird feeders. The water in a birdbath should be no more than three inches deep to attract the greatest variety of wild birds. It is best if the floor of the birdbath is fairly light in color, so the birds can clearly gauge the depth. The floor of the birdbath should also slope gently to the deepest part, and it should be textured to assist birds with footing. The birdbath itself could be on a pedestal, hung from a branch or pole, or, if there is no danger from cats, it may be placed directly on the ground. In the winter, it may be necessary to add warm water to keep it from freezing, as most birds are poor skaters.
Watching the amusing antics around a birdbath is a uniquely entertaining experience for backyard birders. Birds of various species often perch around the rim, sporadically splashing, drinking, and preening in the water.


Many times, providing shelter for birds is an easy task. Place your feeder in a spot that is near some trees. Birds will fly into the trees when they seek protection from weather or predators. Make sure there are no shrubs or high grass (or any other place where a cat might lay in ambush) within 12 feet of the bird feeder. The birds will take it from there.
Over the years, we have encroached on wild birds’ domain, polluted the air and water, and otherwise contributed to a shift in the natural balance that has put the survival of many bird species in question. We owe it to them to give a little assist. Recent conservation efforts have done much in that regard, but there is still a long way to go. Feed the birds and take another step to a happier, healthier world.

Wild Things Tanzania Safaris Birding on the Kilombero River

Having spent the night in the Udzungwa Mountains we watched the sunrise over the Kilombero from the top of Sanje Falls. The valley stretched out before us, first sugar cane fields and a mist shrouded hint of the game planes beyond. This was our destination today.

We drove through the villages and colourful shambas until we reached Ifakara. This dusty town has a real wild-west feel to it. We stopped at the vibrant market and explored it with our guide whilst our cook bought fresh provisions. The stalls were packed with fresh vegetables and it was obvious that the farms in this area were very productive.

Leaving Ifakara we drove the 8km to Kivokoni where we crossed the Kilombero River by ferry. As we crossed we saw a pod of hippo blowing downstream and heard their distinctive grunt. The banks were lined with reeds and many brightly coloured weaver birds.

We picked up some tasty fried fresh water shrimps on the other side and drove into the heart of the wetland. The Kilombero Valley is the largest seasonal wetland in East Africa. The river is fed by the catchment from the Udzungwa Mountains and the Mahenge Escarpement and in the rainy season it bursts its banks flooding the plains. The Kilombero is the main water regulator of the Rufiji ecosystem and has been gazetted as a RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance). It is also home to the only viable population of Puku (a specialized wetland antelope) and their associated large lion population.

We left the main road and drove into the bush, the shamba giving way to wooded savanna. As we headed towards Boomer-Ulanga Forest saw a group of heartebeest in the distance and a snake eagle hunting. The miombo gave way to riverine tangle with numerous elephant signs. After a short while (with a minor delay caused by a fallen tree that was blocking our path) we emerged into the grassland. Here the track was barely discernable and out local guide Saidi ranged ahead of the car checking the route. This was about as off the beaten track as it is possible to be!

The long grass gave way and we were on the side of the river. We arrived at the community campsite next to a picturesque village. The local children were out in force to greet us. A striking difference was that here they greeted us respectfully, “Shikamoing” us rather than asking for pens or money (which happens far too often in touristy areas). The camp was swiftly erected as we enjoyed a cold soda whilst our guide explained about the village.

The majority of the people here are Wandamba (People of the Valley) and make their living through fishing. The size of the catch has declined in recent years due to over fishing and the use of mosquito nets (thoughtfully provided free by a well meaning NGO) for fishing Dagar (small fish). The community campsite was started in order to try to supplement the reduced village income.

After a pleasant lunch and a relaxing rest on the tree-top viewing platform we headed towards the river with Saidi. He beckoned us to a large Mitumbwi (dugout canoe). This was so large that we could place 2 of our camping chairs in it and still have excellent stability. This canoe was used for transporting the dried fish from the entire village to market in Ifakara. The fishermen themselves use much less stable smaller canoes and are occassionaly lost to hippo and crocodile.

We glided silently upstream, the only sound other than the chatter of birds the dip of Saidi’s punt and Suliman’s paddle. We were able to approach very close to many colourful birds and basking corocodiles. I counted about 50 species of bird in one hours canoeing on the river. The diversity was incredible. My favorite site was approaching close to a large colony of White Fronted Bee Eaters, these vibrant birds make nests in holes in the mud of the bank. We were directly below them when they took fright and with a rushing of wings a multicoloured cloud passed about a metre over our heads.

We returned at sunset, seeing the sun sink behind the Udzungwa Mts Range turning the water shimmering turquoise was something truly memorable. After hot showers we had a superb fish diner. Fried talapia caught that morning accompanied by stewed tiger fish. After dinner we adjourned to the local bar with our guide, here friendly fishermen beat us repeatedly at Bao (a board game involving many stones which you try to take possession of – based on sheep steeling apparently) and Drafts!

The hustle and bustle of the village woke us early and we enjoyed a full breakfast. Sated, we immediately went down, clutching our fresh coffee, to the riverside to see the catch come in and look for the endemic Kilombero Weaver and Cisticola. It was a timeless site seeing the Mitumbwi returning from a nights work. We watched our cook acquire us some more fresh fish.

There was time for a village tour before we departed and we saw the smoking racks, local brewery (making Teka from millet) and fish net making. The net makers showed proudly the large mesh size – designed only to take the big fish. I hope that this trend is common to all of the fishing villages on the Kilombero and that it is not too late for the fishery.

We signed the vistor’s book before saying our thanks and goodbyes to the elders. I had enjoyed my stay next to the Kilombero River and resolved that the next visit would be for longer. This was some of the best bird watching I have experienced in Tanzania and combined with the unspoilt local culture the Kilombero is simply magical. I’m currently looking forward to visiting next January when a couple of new lodges are going to open, this will mean there is an alternative to camping and will hopefully increase the popularity of the Kilombero Valley. Tourism can clearly benefit the people of the valley but it must be conducted in a sensitive manner.

Birding Where to Find the Birds

Once you catch the bird watching fever, you are doomed. You will always find yourself looking for new viewing spots. Here is a quick primer on where to find them.

Birding – Where to Find the Birds

Whether you are traveling to a far off land or just walking around your neighborhood, you can find prime bird watching spots by following a few general rules. Birds tend to be creatures of habit [or habitat] much like humans. Specifically, certain birds always seem to show up in the same types of places. This gives you a little insight to when and where you can catch a view of them.

Alas, wooded areas are harder and harder to find as civilization spreads its winds in community developments. Urban sprawl has definitely taken a bit out of natural wooded areas. If you are fortunate enough to still live near some, you can find a bevy of sightings along the border of such areas. Obviously, bird species are different in every part of the country, but you can expect to see at least some of the following species – flycatchers, warblers, owls and the occasional hawk.

If you live along the coast of the ocean, you probably already know that sightings are as easy as heading to the beach. Since you need to go early for the best sightings, you get the extra advantage of finding a prime parking spot during the busy summer months. Depending on the habitat along your coast, you can expect to see some form of sandpipers, plovers and many other shorebirds. If you are lucky, herons and egrets may be in your area as well.

If you live near marshes or flooded areas, you are probably sick of mosquitoes and the like. The good news is you are in prime birding land. Where there are bugs, there are birds galore. You can expect to see species such as bitterns, blackbirds, wrens, sparrows, flycatchers and warblers. Just make sure you take the bug repellant with you!

As an aside, there are some man made areas that are excellent for birding. If you live near a dam, winter viewing can be excellent. For non-migratory birds, the flowing water around dams is an attraction.

The General Aviation Cessna 172 Skyhawk

It appears the most popular playing in general aviation in the history of mankind is the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Over 35,000 have been sold and you can find these aircraft in airports around the world. Cessna aircraft Corporation has a proud history in general aviation and has become the largest general aviation aircraft manufacture in history.

Why has the Cessna 172 sold so many? Well, because generally people learn how to fly in a Cessna 150 and then they wish to take their family or friends and the Cessna 172 is a logical progression, as it holds for people and is not very expensive or complex to fly. The Cessna 172 also gets very good fuel economy and although it does not hold very much it is quite a bit cheaper than the next upgraded model the Cessna 182.

You can ask any general aviation Private pilot if they have flown a Cessna 172 and there is a 90% chance that the answer will be yes because so many flight schools have them for rent along with many flying clubs. Many private pilots who end up buying their own aircraft she was a Cessna 172 because of its simplicity and availability. It is doubtful that any other aircraft will ever surpass the Cessna 172 as the most popular aircraft in general aviation of all times.

If you are considering buying an aircraft of your own a Cessna 172 will surely be on your list and although it may not end up your first choice the availability of used aircraft for sale makes the Cessna 172 Skyhawk a possible option. Please consider all this in 2006.

Retire All F-14 Tomcats to Aviation Museums

The famous F-14 Tomcats are now retiring from the United States Navy. The F-14 Tomcat was one of the greatest Navy fighters of all time; now it is being replaced by F-18s and in the future other aircraft, which are lighter, more maneuverable and have better performance with lower maintenance costs. The F-14 tomcat was used in the famous movie; Top Gun, with Tom Cruise.

This aircraft is so much a part of our nation's history and naval aviation history that these aircraft should all be retired to aviation museums around the country for everyone to see. They should not simply be mothballed and left in the desert to rot. I propose that the engines, electronics, hydraulics and other components be removed and the aircraft shells and frames given to both military aviation museums and private aviation museums.

Future generations need to be able to see these aircraft up close to understand aviation history. We should not allow these airplanes to decay and corrode in the desert. Likewise with the price of aluminum down there is no need to recycle them.

The F-14 Tomcat served the United States Navy well during the Cold War and was a sign of military dominance throughout the world. We should honor these F-14 Tomcats by putting them out to pasture in aviation museums. Please consider this in 2006.

How to Choose a Flight Training School

There are numerous pilot training programs available at most aviation supplies stores, software programs for more accuracy so people who want to learn flight basics can do it from the comfort of their own home.

However, many students prefer being enrolled in formal pilot schools, and even complete a career in aviation to fulfill their dreams. From accelerated flight training schools, to traditional pilot academies, choosing a flight training school only requires your will to enroll and attend on-site classes.

Whenever you see a flight course announced at an aircraft supplies warehouse, or promoted through an aviation magazine it would be best to learn more about them before making a decision since pilot training schools can be really different one from another.

Because some schools offer pilot courses in 21 days, you need to make sure that such study program is really serious to be taken. Asking other people who have taken that course is always useful.

Choose a school with a good reputation, whether recommended by a friend, an aviation supplies store, or perhaps an authority on the subject. Some aviation-related magazines also include reviews of flight training schools so you can have a better idea of the courses they are offering.

Aircraft supplies retailers often have a list of Flight Training Schools to provide their clients with all the information that they require for choosing a pilot training course.

After you analyze a number of schools that meet the criteria and learning requirements that you need, be sure to double check if the school offers flight training from a qualified professional staff.

In addition, leaning and interaction can complement each other, recreating the airline environment and offering practices with flight simulators and real aircraft navigation.

Pilot training is totally different to other courses, so the school providing such training should offer individual flight training or small groups and classrooms for best results.

A qualified school must have aviation supplies and the latest training aids to let you determine if this is your real vocation. Many students fail enrolling in pilot training with the belief that this course in nothing more that just a simulator game, when the learning implies also responsibility and careful attention and understanding of aircraft matters.

If your chosen school is able to offer new aircraft with the latest devices, instruments and flight training technology, then you will probably take full advantage of these facts, receiving support for contacting the airline industry at the end of the course.

In addition, that is another fact to bear in mind. A Flight Training School must make available to students, up to date information on the industry and all the related resources that complement your pilot training.

A Brief History of Modern Aviation

It might be said that modern aviation began on November 21, 1783 in France when two brothers went aloft in a hot air balloon. The true beginning of the era is usually considered to be December 17, 1903 when the Wright Brothers flew the first heavier than air powered plane a few hundred feet off a sand dune at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This first plane could not fly much further because it was almost impossible to control it. In the next decade the wide spread use of ailerons made aircraft manageable and by the outbreak of World War I, aircraft had developed enough for the famous dogfights that took place during that war.

Although aircraft had come a long way during this time, they were not large enough to carry freight or passengers. A type of lighter than air craft called a dirigible was considered more practical for that purpose, and was seen as the future of aviation. By the mid 1930’s, the Douglas DC-3 was introduced and became the first practical airliner. At the end of the same decade, the Hindenburg Disaster ended the age of the dirigible.

Once again, it was a war that boosted the aviation age. World War II was a spur to a tremendous technological spurt in aviation. By the end of the war, we had large bombers and jet aircraft as well as rocket power. In the years after the war commercial airliners expanded rapidly connecting the entire world. The introduction of the Space Shuttle opened the idea of space as aviation’s next frontier.

Another area in which aviation has expanded recently is the area of personal aircraft. Pilot training has become available in small airports that provide the aviation supplies needed to service small personal aircraft. In addition to pilot training, the small airports sell pilot supplies and aircraft supplies such as the new models of David Clark headsets that provide communication while providing ear protection. It is possible to have your own plane kept in hangers in these small airports, or even to rent planes there.

In the coming years, aviation is expanding in two different directions. The first push is out into space, but the second area of expansion is the area of personal aircraft. In the years to come, it is possible that the day will arrive when a private aircraft is about as common as a privately owned motor vehicle and the globe will shrink a little more as more and more people take to the air.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daytona Beach

For your next spring vacation, take your family out to one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in the United States: Daytona Beach. Experience the relaxing yet fun atmosphere of 23 miles of sparkling sand and warm sea. And enjoy the most exciting dining and entertainment scenes this part of Florida.

If you haven’t been to Daytona Beach or Florida, check out various Daytona Beach Web sites for more information and details. Some of these sites feature live feeds from cameras in the area. Get a feel of the local scene through this footage and images.

Things to Do in Daytona Beach

Soak up the sun on the sandy beaches a short walk away from the nearest hotels. Or ride the waves in East Coast’s surfing hotspot and experience once again the thrill of your first spring break. Break out of the normal beach experience and join bike riders as you explore the stretch of the beach.

Spend a relaxing day with the sound of water lapping against the side of the boat as you read your favorite book, get a sun tan or hook some fish. Or get out of the relaxing mood and have some wild water adventure by jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing. At night, you can take your family out for boat cruise and admire the lights of the bay. And then head out to a good restaurant for some dinner and music.

Break from the Beach

Over the course of your vacation, make sure you also check out the other attractions of Daytona Beach. Bring your family out for a river cruise and some fishing activities. Then you can drive back to your hotel. Some areas of the beach are open to vehicles. Spend the afternoons watching the sunsets and enjoying hotdogs and cotton candy. There are also tons of entertainment and shopping centers in the area -- be sure to buy souvenirs for the people back home, because they’ll want some of the nice items you can pick up in Daytona Beach, for certain!

Daytona Beach provides detailed information on Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Hotels, Daytona Beach Vacation Rentals, Daytona Beach Spring Break and more. Daytona Beach is affiliated with Panama City Beach Hotels.

Can Airbus Survive

Apparently Airbus is having a very tough time competing in the world free market against Boeing, as it is getting slaughtered this year by a three to one margin in aircraft orders. At Farnsborough Airbus did not do well and that they are also looking at the cancellation of nearly 10 eight 380 Airbus super airliners.

Airbus in their need to be going for the largest aircraft decided to build the super whopper A380 and aircraft one could say would be a great opportunity for an international terrorists strike, as he can hold up to a thousand people. With all these major setbacks and extreme debt in her best is looking to be bailed out again by the European Union.

This just shows that free enterprise and free markets with real competition for world markets makes the most efficient and competitive companies on earth. What is Airbus doing now, well now they are trying to copy Boeings Dreamliner concept, because airlines are looking for more efficient aircraft, which are lighter and get better economy. It is hard for an airline to make money with an aircraft that holds nearly 1000 people. If the airliner is not full the cost to run that airliner make things extremely difficult.

The European Union has used regulations to try to help Airbus over Boeing in many European markets, but any and airlines must live the most efficient aircraft if they truly wish to make a profit. Boeing is being very competitive in building efficient fuel economy aircraft and Airbus has missed the bus and some people in the aviation industry are now calling them Airhead, although maybe they would be better off building ground transportation; that is to say buses with air-conditioning. Consider this in 2006.

Airline Safety

Many people worry about the safety of airline flying. A lot of people want to know they are riding on a safe airline. However, it is very difficult to tell which are lines are “safer” than others based on accident statistics. Most airlines are safe, and the most dangerous factors usually include flying conditions (such as storms, or mountain terrain), destinations and good airline security which lessens the chance of terrorists, bombs and hijackings. The International Aviation Safety Assessment, is a guide to which countries meet the airline safety checks, not the airlines themselves. You can check with your airport for a list of different countries and there assessment results.

The majority of airline accidents occur on take off and landing, so you should try and book flights that don’t have a stop over destination. Larger airplanes have stricter rules and the passengers have a better chance of survival if the plane should crash, so you might want to consider booking your flight with a large airplane of thirty or more passengers.

While on your flight, to ensure your safety you should make sure you pay close attention to the safety video and closely read the safety information brochure under your seat. Always be aware of the closest emergency exit, and consider keeping your seat belt on at all times while seated if you are nervous about turbulence; which is often unexpected and can cause injury. You should also keep anything too heavy out of the overhead carrier in case of turbulence you don’t want anything to fall on you or anyone else. Also, allow the flight attendants to handle your hot drinks and food as they are trained to handle it and can safely manage giving it to you.

While airplane crashes are very rare, if the incident should occur, try to remain calm and listen to the flight attendants who can guide you through the steps to exit the aircraft quickly and safely.

Air Show Spectacular Draws The Visitors In Malta

This autumn's Malta annual air show is set to be the best ever this year, with tens of thousands of islanders and tourists attending the event over the weekend of September 23 and 24.

Making the event a truly international one, as well as the Armed Forces of Malta participating, the French, Italian, Dutch Swiss and Spanish will all have planes and crew in attendance, plus the British Royal Air Force and US Air Force.

Among the planes taking part are two Alpha jets from France, one of which will be doing an aerial display, six F-16's with two Dutch F-16's flying, and from the RAF two Harriers and two Tornadoes, with one of the Harriers expected to do an aerial demonstration.

Ticket prices for the Saturday or Sunday are low compared to many international air shows, ensuring access is available to many of the Maltese population as well as enthusiasts and veterans who travel from around Europe for the weekend. Prices this year are 4.5 Maltese (around US $12) for either day, with public transport to the show available throughout the island.

With the tourist season beginning to slow down, many of the hotels in Malta see the air show as a tourist attraction and organise transport to and from the event.

An advantage of holding the show in the second half of September is that the Malta weather can almost be assured to be good, with the all important clear skies allowing viewing of the participating planes.

Malta Holiday

The air show is seen by many in the Malta holidays industry as evidence that Malta can produce events which will not only prove an attraction to those tourists already on the island, but also as part of a package of other attractions to draw new tourists to the island.

The first half of the year has been a disappointing one for the holiday in Malta industry, with a drop in tourists for the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Commenting on the recently released figures showing a drop in visitors, one independent travel guide for Malta believes that events like the air show should be promoted more.

'Malta needs good news', they say, 'and if potential tourists could see on a Malta map of events quality displays such as the air show it would be a good reason to visit the island.

The island needs to compete against other destinations in the Mediterranean, but while most of them are seeing an increase in visitor numbers, Malta is showing a drop'.

Many hoteliers and others in the holiday industry are hoping that cheap Malta flights might become a reality in the near future. There has been talk of low cost carriers from the UK and Ireland providing services to the island for some time now, but no deals have been struck yet.

Unemployment on the island is high at over 8 per cent, and tourism is a major employer, but many feel that the government is reluctant to see the national carrier Air Malta face potentially subsidised competiton. But by doing nothing the island faces the danger of the whole tourist industry suffering.

'Malta can be a high quality destination with low cost fares', comment the travel guide. 'We already have good accommodation like the Malta Hilton , so potentially we can do it'.

Vocational Business

Education is a very important tool that a person can always count on to help one succeed in life. Whether you are about to graduate high school or you are perhaps more mature with a good deal of experience and years behind you, specialized education can help you get that edge to ensure a better foothold on the next step you want to take in life.

In instances like these, you can count on vocational and business schools to help you get what you want. Raise yourself above the din and make yourself stand out with a certificate from a vocational or business school. This way, you are armed with important career and vocational training.

To find out what vocational and business schools that may interest you in your neighborhood, check out CitySearch ( This fantastic online electronic yellow pages has one of the most vast listings that include vocational and business schools. Find schools that teach aviation, information technology, beauty and grooming, health and medical related careers, aging and holistic processes, or any trade and technical know how in Austin Texas through CitySearch.

CitySearch has an easy to use interface and people using this site can interact with results from searches by giving their reviews and ranking, providing additional help to other people who may benefit from learning from the experience of others. Even better is the fact that each result from a search is coupled with a location map to help you easily locate the vocational or business school listed. You can also search for other vocational and business schools in other cities through a link that will allow you to do just that.

For another wonderful electronic yellow pages search guide, check out This site also offers an extensive list of vocational or business schools in the area. Its search feature is standard and easy to use and is as efficient and helpful as citysearch. Not looking for vocational and business schools in Louisville? No problem.

You can say "hello" not only to Louisville but you can also say hello to Indianapolis, Dallas, Boston, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Illinois, Colorado... any city you are from or can think of! The great part is you don't have to walk or talk to use hello-just click and viola! You're one convenient step closer to a vocational and business school that will help you get where you want to be.

Aviation Gifts How To Buy For The Pilot In Your Life

Buying gifts for the pilot in your life has never been easier. With technology advancing every year, new aviation gifts are always popping up. But with that being said, you still need to make a decision as to which gift is best. For some people this is easy, but for others it can be a long process. In order to cut back on the stress you should simply take your time when searching for aviation gifts. There are plenty of items to choose from. All you have to do is look into all of them and you will surely be able to find something that suits your budget, as well as the pilot's needs.

If you are familiar with what the recipient already has your life will be much easier. After all, this will help you to avoid buying a duplicate item. But even if you have no clue, you should still be able to find something that is a bit unique. You may want to listen for hints, or even try to pry them out of the recipient. Anything that you hear them say about their plane should be music to your ears. For instance, maybe their transceiver was giving them trouble on their last flight. This may seem innocent enough, but right there you have come up with a great aviation gift. There are several high level transceivers on the market today. So not only can you buy a great gift, but you can also get one that they need.

For a lot of buyers, dealing with the finer details of all the aviation gifts can be difficult. The reason for this is that they have no clue what to buy or how much they should pay. If this sounds like you, your best bet would be to get in touch with somebody who has experience in this industry. For example, talk to the salesman at the store or if shopping online email the customer service team. Simply tell them what you are looking for, and ask if they have any suggestions. More times than not, somebody with a bit more knowledge will be able to assist you.

Buying for a pilot is not always the easiest thing to do. Not only do you have to find what they need, but you also have to learn a bit about the industry as a whole. But one thing is for sure. If you take your time you will come across many aviation gifts that are the perfect choice!

Aviation Accident Lawyers and Lawsuits

Although today's air travel is one of the safest forms of transportation, aviation accidents still happen and can become a living nightmare for those involved. There are many reasons that aviation accidents happen and they can all vary greatly depending on specific circumstances and problems that occur during the flight process.

Some of the accidents that occur deal with taxi and takeoff, descent and landing, mechanical failures, pilot error, poor weather and fuel mismanagement. Many people believe that aviation accidents can simply be caused by ‘bad luck', however in many of the cases researched; the accidents could have been avoided all together. If the pilot and flight crew can perform their jobs without and mistakes, an aviation accident is much less likely to occur.

An aviation lawsuit involves a lengthy process which requires an experienced level of expertise. Litigation in the aviation industry generally involves expert witnesses with specific knowledge in certain aspects of aviation such as air traffic control, engine design and mechanics. These lawsuits are generally directed towards pilots or manufacturers of aircrafts, however sometimes pilot error can be blamed for accidents along with defective or malfunctioning machinery. Since planes are mass produced, if there are malfunctioning parts in one of the planes, there's a chance that all of the models will have this defective part.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Welcome to Aviation Week

The dreams of aviation date back many millennia and there is an abundance of traditional myths that deal with the idea of humans flying like birds. One of the most well known stories is of course the Greek tale where Icarus and his father escape from their imprisonment on Crete by fabricating wings from feathers. Unfortunately, Icarus flies to close to the sun and ruins his wings. Without his wings, he is of course unable to fly and he drowns in the Mediterranean Sea. The true history of aviation is also filled with such tragedies; but it is also an example of human perseverance and our ability to invent incredible things and make our dreams come true.

Air crafts are usually divided into two main categories: crafts that are lighter than air and crafts that are heavier than air. In the first category you will find aircrafts such as hot air balloons and airships. These aircrafts ascend since they contain a gas that has a lower density than air. This phenomenon is caused by the same natural force that makes it possible for boats to float on water: buoyancy. The first aircrafts used heated air to fly, and heated air is still a common medium in air balloons. Warm air has a lower density than cold air, and the hot air inside the balloon will therefore rise. Later, other gases such as helium and hydrogen became popular but a problem with them is that they are highly combustible.

The first known hot air balloon was created in France in 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers. Their father was a paper manufacturer and when they brother were young they liked to play with inverted paper bags over open fire. In 1782 they managed to launch an 18 m³ silk bag that rose to an altitude of 250 meters. The brothers were encouraged by their success and the following year they sent up a 900 m³ linen bag during a public demonstration. This balloon flew for more than 10 minutes and covered a distance of 2 kilometres. Estimations show that it probably reached an altitude of 1600 meters or more. The brothers carried on with their experiments and sent up a duck, a cockerel and a sheep named Montauciel in a basket that was attached to a large balloon. The name Montauciel actually means “climb to the sky”. This experiment was carried out before Louis XVI of France, since the brothers needed his permission before they could begin to send up humans in balloons. A tear actually occurred in the balloon during this experiment, but the balloon landed safely and no animals were hurt. In November 1783, the Montgolfier brothers sent up Marquis D'Arlandes and a physics teacher named Pilâtre de Rozier. They sailed from château La Muette to the Butte aux Cailles outside Paris in a hot air balloon that; a 9 kilometer long trip that took 25 minutes. Their balloon reached an altitude of approximately 10,000 meters and the experiment gained a lot of public attention.

Air crafts that are heavier than air will not ascend like balloons and airships; they need engines to provide them with enough force. In this group you will find traditional airplanes as well as helicopters and autogyros. Airplanes are fixed-winged aircrafts and usually be equipped with a turbine engine or an internal-combustion engine. The so called gliders do however not have any engine; they relay on rising air masses to keep them off the ground. Rising air masses are constantly created by a wide range of natural weather phenomena, including thermals, ridge lift, mountain wave, convergence, morning glory and polar vortexes.

All air crafts need to be stored, much like a car or truck do. Many manufacturers build customized hangars and other metal buildings to house air crafts and keep them out of the elements.

The history of the gliders is often overlooked since motorized airplanes are much more common in our modern lives. The Wright Brothers, Percy Pilcher, Otto Lilienthal and John J Montgomery were however all devoted glider constructors and gliders are the source of modern motorized airplanes. The history of the gliders dates back to ancient China where kites large enough to carry military reconnaissance personal were developed. The first known glider was created in 500 BC by a man named Lu Pan, but his type of glider was used for recreation rather than military purposes. According to some sources, gliders were used in China as early as 500 AD but these claims have not been verified. The first European glider that could carry a person was created much later, in 1853. This glider was designed by Sir George Cayley, an English baronet and inventor. He had constructed model gliders as early as 1804, but it wasn’t until the middle of the century that he built a glider large enough to carry a pilot and convinced his coachman to fly it. Before the coachman tried the glider, Cayley demonstrated how safe it was by letting animals fly around in it. Cayley and his coachman launched the glider from a hill on the Brompton Estate and the coachman managed to pilot the glider all the way across the Brompton Dale. After a 130 meter long flight, he landed on a meadow, thereby completing the first European flight in a heavier-than-air craft.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Are Private Jet Services Beneficial

Private jet services are widening their horizons in terms of their appeal. Corporate and business sector are attracted to the advantages that the private jet services offer and they are bent upon to make the maximum use of it. If you have ever availed the services of a private jet, you can well gauge the trueness of that statement! Security is the utmost concern for all the big and famous airports of the world, and no wonder that most of the security measures consume a lot of time, which is too much precious for business and corporate travelers. Hence, it becomes almost imperative that they should avail the facilities of smaller airports and avoid the unnecessary hassle with documents and multiple security checks. Private jet services provide the best solution for this task.

Private jet services are beneficial in terms of the cost. Companies who do not want to buy the private jets can think about the rentals or partnerships with the companies that run such schemes. The cost of buying a private jet is too high, though bigger companies and corporate giants do buy it; but smaller companies who feel the need of private aviation can think of the alternatives. There are many private jet service providing companies who offer discount prices for continuous hiring. If you like the offer, you can also think to make some partnerships with the private jet service providing companies. With this you are free from maintenance and running worries: you have contributed the cost, and you can use it any time whenever you feel the need!

One of the biggest advantages that private jet services offer is the flexibility of the time and scheduling. Conventional aviation has many restrictions on this aspect, and sometimes you lose a lot of time due to delay in the arrival of the plane, or postponement of the flight due to some reasons. This is where private jets stand out, there is absolutely nothing that can delay the plane from where you want to fly, and there is nobody who can delay the flight apart from yourself. Yes, if you want to change the schedule, you can do it!

For the new customers, private jet services are still a big bundle of questions, including, competitive rates, contingency planning, and organizing all the logistics of a trip, etc. However, there are many experienced brokers or customers’ help-desks offered by private jet service providing companies that can work on this issue and solve all matters. You just need to make up your mind and decide that if it suits you, you will say yes to private jet aviation. There is absolutely nothing that can hinder the benefits that you will get from it!

Top Ten Aviation Gifts

If you are searching for a gift for a pilot there are many options to consider. The fact of the matter is that this industry is always growing and expanding. With that in mind you should not have any problems finding the perfect aviation gift for the pilot in your life. But if you are having a bit of trouble there is no need to worry. Listed below are ten of the best aviation gifts on the market today.

1. An air band transceiver with navigation display is a great gift for a pilot. Even though you will have to spend several hundred dollars, this is one aviation gift that will be used time and time again.

2. Another great aviation gift is a good headset. Again, you will have to spend quite a bit of money on this item, but it is something that any pilot can use every time that they take off.

3. If you want to get the best of the best, buy the pilot in your life a GPS system. This may cost a couple thousand dollars, but as far as aviation gifts are concerned this is the cream of the crop.

4. For a lower priced alternative look into a simple aviation calendar. One of these will only set you back a few bucks, but it is something that anybody can use day in and day out.

5. A crew shade kit is a great aviation gift that will not break the bank. Every pilot could use a shade kit in order to keep sunlight to a minimum and a lot of heat from the cockpit.

6. To go along with a headset you may want to buy a headset bag. This aviation gift gives the pilot an area where they can safely store their headset.

7. A simple bottle of plastic cleaner can be a great aviation gift. Every pilot wants their plane to look good, and with a quality cleaner this should never be too much of a problem.

8. As far as maintenance is concerned, a great gift may be a bottle of fuel treatment. This can go a long way in helping to keep your favorite pilot’s aircraft in good working condition.

9. An oil torque wrench may sound a bit strange, but it is something that every pilot needs. These specialized aviation gifts are meant to reach hard to find places while working with precision.

10. There are many different types of DVD’s that make for perfect aviation gifts. They range from teaching pilots how to complete certain tasks to maintenance tips.

Friday, January 19, 2007

How to Find Really Cheap Flights

Airline competition has always been intense, but there are more and more resources available today that allow travelers to quickly compare fares without relying on travel agents. Here are a few of the strategies savvy travelers use.

First, start with the major airfare search engines to get a base idea of the lowest rates for your trip. ,, and will do the job. Next, you'll need to cover the individual airlines that aren't covered by these engines. Southwest is one of these, so check .

Your next step should be to check the airlines website for the lowest fare that you've found from the search engines. Before you do, make sure the fare that you've gotten includes all taxes and other fees. Often you can save a little by going direct to the airlines website.

Your ability to find the cheapest fares will depend greatly on your degree of flexibility in departure and return dates, and amount of time ahead of the trip that you start looking. With the number of routes being reduced by the airlines in order to fly at high as capacity as possible, it's even more important to plan in advance these days.

If you do have some flexibility, Orbitz will allow you to select a flexible date option which will enable you to scan for the best prices up to 3 days before or after a specified date.

If you have maximum flexibility then simply wait for a good deal. Orbitz, Southwest, and others will notify you when sales run on destinations you are interested in. Check a few of the websites for the airlines that you've found deals on up to this point to see if they offer any type of notification service on sales. is a good resource to check for sales also.

The next strategy is to see if any special deals are available for a group that you can be associated with. Seniors, students, single women, etc. often have websites that offer discounted fares.

Private Jets for Luxury Traveling

The aviation industry has had a boom for quite some time now. Air travel is growing cheaper and more comfortable by the day. Private jets have made their own contribution to this boom. Private jets offer extremely fast and comfortable travel options, both to business travelers and to those looking for luxury.

Private jets offer a smarter alternative to a fractional ownership option, which has been popular for quite some time. Private jets allow the passengers to relax, or to work during travel. Passengers can have the food of their choice, drink their favorite wine, and get off the plane as fresh as ever.

Service offered to private jet travelers:

Service in private jets is excellent. Most jets have their owners’ favorite chefs cooking the food they like, stocking the alcohol they like, and well trained flight attendants. In addition to this, in private jets one can sit anywhere; fly anywhere, at any time. This is one reason that business travelers prefer private jets. With most businesses going global, the business leaders of today have to travel everyday at the spur of the moment from one part of the globe to another. They cannot afford to wait for a seat to be secured with a commercial airline.

Hassles such as these are eliminated when one has the option of a private jet. It also allows business travelers to hold meetings, spend time with family, and prepare for important business proceedings. Multiple security checks are not necessary, nor are long queues to unnecessarily hold up anybody at the airport.

Luxury travelers:

For the super-rich, commercial airlines are a discomfort they can do without. Private jets are the other alternative. Private jets can be decorated any way the owners prefer. The jets can be fitted with all the luxuries required. If one can afford a jet, it offers a lot of value in terms of comfort level and ease of travel. Movie stars, sports players, and celebrities are always hounded by publicity, so private jets can help them avoid all that attention while traveling. Besides, the pressure of social life leaves little time for them. Such travelers can relax in a style that they are used to living in, onboard a private jet.

Getting a private jet:

Private jets can either be bought or rented. The option does not depend much on cost of buying/leasing. Jet planes need hangers and many staff to maintain them while they are on the ground. This is why some people prefer to rent a jet when they think they need it most, and then return it when the need is over. Business travelers in corporate companies usually prefer to buy the private jet, as they have many people at top levels who keep on traveling all through the year. For luxury travelers who take fewer trips, renting is a better option.

Private jets also offer better safety, as they follow all the norms prescribed by the international aviation authorities. Private jets are an adequate means of travel for both business travelers and luxury rich travelers.

Birmingham City guide including hotels

Britain’s second biggest city after London is Birmingham. Birmingham is the cultural centre of the West Midlands and offers the casual visitor an enormous range of exciting opportunities and things to do. Offering an unsurpassed range of shops and shopping centres, and literally hundreds of activities and things to do, Birmingham is the ideal tourist destination; a city that is always guaranteed to keep you occupied.

As a city, Birmingham is packed with places to visit, enabling you to get a real taste of the city’s culture. Just a few of the places include:

  • Birmingham Cathedral: Built in 1725, this is one of the city’s most beautiful historic buildings, complete with four Pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows.

  • The Royal Air Force Museum: Treat yourself to a stunning display of aviation history and witness over seventy aircraft situated within three separate wartime hangars. You’ll see Spitfires, Hurricanes, Vulcans and more.

  • Cadbury’s World: One of the country’s biggest and most popular museums. You’ll find out about the history of chocolate, and how it originated in South America, as well as seeing a genuine production line. Of course, a visit isn’t complete without sampling the produce…

  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: Witness a huge variety of exhibits that range from spooky Egyptian mummies to a wooden toy collection for the kids. Treat yourself to some culture and examine the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world.

  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens: An astonishing fifteen acres of beautiful gardens are available for exploration, as well as four glasshouses containing exotic plants.

  • When it comes to finding something to do, you’ll find that Birmingham has it covered. Some ideal places for pursuits include:

  • The Ackers: If your family’s into sport, then enjoy taking part in a variety of activities including climbing, canoeing, skiing, snowboarding and more. Occupying over seventy acres and located just two miles from the city centre, The Ackers couldn’t be more convenient.

  • Second City Canal Cruises: Enjoy cruising down the Birmingham canals and buy gifts from the souvenir shop.

  • The National Sea Life Centre: Witness over sixty displays of exotic marine life, and find yourself enthralled by the undersea world. See giant turtles, reef fish and sharks too.

  • Newbrook Farm Experience: Visit a working farm and keep an eye out for the many rare breeds of animals that include cattle, hens, pigs, ponies and goats.

  • Woodgate Valley Country Park: The perfect place for walkers, with mile upon mile of tracks to explore. There’s something for the kids too, with a farm, play area and a fun pony-trekking centre.

  • If you’re feeling hungry after touring Birmingham, you’ll discover that Birmingham is renowned for its culinary diversity – meaning that you’ll find the right meal, no matter what variety of food you’re looking for. Within the city, home-cooked traditional British food goes hand-in-hand with exotic cuisine from India and China, and all of Birmingham’s eateries are in easily accessible locations. Whichever end of the scale interests you – whether it is a simple takeaway or a slap-up three-course meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant – Birmingham has it covered. Here’s a small selection of the city’s eating-places:
  • City Café Birmingham: Service, style and ambience are on the menu at this top-rated restaurant that offers a la carte menus, a famous Sunday lunch buffer and a vegetarian garden. Enjoy a live Jazz band every Thursday evening.

  • Metro Bar & Grill: Free-range meats are the order of the day here, along with a comprehensive fish board that changes daily. Metro also serves a range of sandwiches and simple snack foods if you’re looking for something quick.

  • Peppers: Birmingham’s top-rated Indian restaurant has every kind of Indian dish imaginable, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when you see the menu. The restaurant’s ethos is value for money.

  • San Carlo Ristorante: Authentic Italian food is what this restaurant offers, with many of the ingredients imported directly from Italy. The chefs and the management bring real individuality to the menu.

  • Opus Restaurant: Seasonal and regional are the keywords for this eatery’s menu, which offers genuine British meals with the ingredients locally sourced.

  • When it comes to finding somewhere to stay in Birmingham, the only problem you’ll experience with Birmingham is the amount of options available – so many, in fact, that you’ll be spoilt for choice! Short breaks and long stays are catered for in hotels and guesthouses in the city centre or on the outskirts. Further, the prices range from the immediately affordable to more expensive and luxurious rooms. If you’re looking for an alternative, then you’ll find that Birmingham has plenty of options ranging from campsites to self-catering accommodation. There are also special packages available, such as the spa break, where you’ll find yourself pampered into luxury.

    When you’ve finished exploring Birmingham by day, you’ll discover that the city comes alive at night with some of the coolest pubs and nightclubs around. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing sit down and drink, or want to party away the small hours, you’ll doubtlessly discover the ideal venue. The Nightingale Club, located in the heart of the city centre, has three levels incorporating numerous bars, discos, a restaurant and a games room. Meanwhile, The Jam House is a nightclub supported by music maestro Jools Holland, and holds up to 600 people. Alternatively, Rick’s Garden Café & Bar in Birmingham offers you the opportunity to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine under the stars.

    The above information should give you some idea of just what Birmingham has to offer as a city. There’s something to keep you occupied whatever your interest, with a whole range of different cultural activities. If you’re traditional, you’ll enjoy visiting the city’s many museums and art galleries, and learning about Birmingham’s history. If you’re part of a family, you’ll discover attractions that have proved to be popular with thousands of children while in Birmingham. Eating, shopping, seeing and doing… all four bases are covered when you come to Birmingham.