Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Back In The Air

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the latest and more technological advance aircraft built today. Along with this the Dreamliner has had its shares of setbacks over the past year. It even reached to a point where the FAA grounded the aircraft on January 16, 2012 due to numerous battery and electrical issues.1-7-12_JAL787_APU_Battery

The issues started back in July of 2012, when during a preflight test; a part within one of the engines broke off within the engine compartment. The company ordered a full inspection of all Dreamliner engines; the FAA was notified of this incident and almost grounded the aircraft back then. Another incident occurred on December 4, 2012, when a United Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing in New Orleans after it experienced electrical problems. On December 13, Qatar Airways grounded one of their 787’s due to the same electrical problem.

The problems continued in 2013, when a Japanese 787 at Boston Logan had a battery component explode in the auxiliary power system. Then the very next day at the same airport a 787 had a reported fuel leak and had to postpone its takeoff. The following next 10 days saw various electrical problems, brake issues, and continue fuel leaks within the 787 models. Finally, on January 16, 2013 the FAA decided to issue an immediate halt of all 787 Dreamliner flights. They mandated that the Boeing Company review all the incidents and develop a course of action to fix these issues.

Over the past two months the Boeing Company developed a rigorous fix action to address all the problems that the 787 has experienced. The company devoted thousands of hours testing and implementation of different battery and electrical systems. It was reported that they were developing the fix problem even before the FAA decided to ground the aircraft. Finally, over the past few weeks they are installing a new auxiliary power unit batteries and protective casing which will minimize the impact of any other battery issues. The formal fix plan was submitted to the FAA and was approved and the federal official intends to lift the ground order for the 787 fleet soon.
The FAA will conduct an extensive review of every part in the aircraft before they certify the aircraft as safe to fly. If all goes well and the new fix actions are implemented as proposed, then the Dreamliner 787 should be back in the skies in the near future.

1939 Auto Union D-Type

An auto union, a group of auto makers led by Audi, created the D-Type racer that dominated the European Grand Prix racing circuit during its short lifespan. The D-Type was introduced in the middle of the 1938 season, and was dominating the Grand Prix circuit when World War II broke out and ended the time_machines_-_gran_prix_-_image_001year early.

There were not many of these cars made, and the war didn’t help with their preservation. The 18 or so that survived the war, because they had been hidden, were shipped to Russia and some were cut up for parts. The factory where the cars were built was in East Germany, leading to them being sent to Russia for study.

The car reached speeds of 200 miles per hour or more and was an immediate success. In 1938 the car placed third in the German Grand Prix in its very first race. Other D-Type cars won the Italian Grand Prix and the Donnington Grand Prix in England before the year ended.

In 1939 Hermann Muller won the French Grand Prix, was second at the German Grand Prix and fourth at the Swiss Grand Prix. He also registered wins at Grand Prix races in Yugoslavia and Rumania. Two days after the Yugoslavia race, Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. That ended the season and since Muller was leading in the standings at the time, he became the unofficial champion.

The car was one of the first to have the gas tank and engine behind the driver. It had a 3.0 liter engine in a V-12 formation. It was originally designed to be a V-16, but restrictions were put in place forcing the company to settle for 12 cylinders. Still, the super charged engine produced 550 horsepower.

Before the 1938 season Grand Prix cars had engines as big as 6 liters, and the racing establishment lowered the size to start the season. That led to the development of the D-Type.

As a V-12, it has two cylinder blocks set at an angle of 45 degrees, with a single overhead camshaft that operated all 32 valves. The car also went through a lot of testing in the wind tunnel of the German Institute for Aerodynamics.

The top automotive engineers in Germany worked to develop the racing car. They were also helped by the government, as Hitler approved giving them and their chief rival Porsche heavy governmental sponsorships to develop the best racing cars possible.

Heads Up! How Airplane Toilets Work

toilet-on-commercial aircraftFrequent flyers pay a visit to their aerial waste disposal system fairly often, and certainly they have caught themselves asking a simple question. How does this toilet work? It appears to have a minuscule amount of water or the blue sanitizing goop often associated with public toilets and outhouses. So how does the toilet flush? And where does the waste go? Don’t get too flush-strated trying to think about it! Let’s take a look at how airplane toilets function.

Airplane toilets function somewhat differently than regular toilets due to the extreme circumstances of being so high in the air. If the bowl was filled with water like a home toilet, the violent movements of the plane would cause the water to spill out of the bowl and splash around. Hardly sanitary or a desired outcome! To counteract this, airplane toilets use a vacuum rather than gravity to push the contents of the bowl out with little to no other liquid present at time of use. There will be a little bit of water or blue liquid used to cleanse the bowl during this step, but compared to commercial ground toilets it uses much less (2 liters for a vacuum toilet and 6 to 10 liters for a gravity toilet respectively). Thanks to the slickness of the bowl’s anti-stick surface, the waste is completely evacuated into the plane’s waste tank with no residue left behind!

By contrast, toilets found on the ground use a different system which is less water efficient. Upon flushing, a siphon system begins, draining the waste and water into a pipeline that uses gravity to pull everything out to the sewer or septic tank. It requires more water and energy, but since waste tank sizes aren’t a huge concern for homes and businesses this has remained a satisfactory design. More septic tank cleaning info here.On the plane, the size of a waste tank must be taken into consideration, as a heavier tank requires more fuel to carry, also sacrificing potential passenger weight limits in the process. This put pressure on engineers to come up with a better solution for airplanes as previous systems used more liquid per flush or simply ejected all waste from a vent on the body of the airplane. Modern airplane toilets are quite a technical marvel!

It may not be something you think about all the time, going to the bathroom is a frequent occurrence for us and toilets are something we take for granted. But a lot of thought has gone into the design of airplane toilets which need to provide us with this much needed service, especially on several hour long flights, so next time you’re on the latrine several miles up be sure to appreciate it!

The Dreamliner

As the newest edition to the Boeing family, the Dreamliner exceeds all expectations. With its advanced technology and state of the art interior features, the name Dreamliner is more than fitting. By taking the gaps in overall airline construction and combining them with passenger requests, Boeing has exceeded all expectations with the Dreamliner.

One of the Dreamliner’s most notable features is its ground breaking technology. The liner is built of approximately fifty percent composite materials, which make up its primary structure. With all the emphasis on the environment and how companies can improve to be “green”, the Dreamliner focuses on maintaining a green standard by reducing its fuel use with new and improved engine technology, which according to Boeing has made a two-generation jump. According to Boeing, the Dreamliner will use up to twenty percent less fuel. The Dreamliner will have two engines designed by General Electric and Rolls-Royce. For passengers and crew, they can be assured the aircraft is in top notch condition when they fly. The planes all feature self-monitoring systems that will alert the crew when maintenance is due. For a plane that is priding itself on being “simple” these advancements are more than one could expect.

Passengers on the Dreamliner are also able to enjoy a new take on the traditional airplane. Boeing is taking the average airplane and creating an environment in which travelers will be treated to comfort instead of feeling cramped and uncomfortable. Some of the new features will include larger lavatories, improved storage bins and windows in which passengers can adjust the tinting. Specialized noise-reducing chevrons will also create a quieter environment for those on the craft. Bowing also realized a need for an aircraft more accessible to those with mobility restrictions and therefor designed the Dreamliner with limited mobility in mind, creating the aircraft to accommodate those with special needs. According to a report from ANA (Air Nippon Airways) nine out of ten passengers stated that the aircraft exceeded their expectations. Among the favorites of passengers, the larger windows received positive reviews. Passengers are enjoying the benefits of the larger space as well.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is breaking technological barriers with its excessive improvements. From a technology standpoint, the Dreamliner is alone in its class and at the same time is able to exceed its passenger’s expectations.

The Airbus A320

 The Airbus A320 is one of a group of aircraft made by Airbus as passenger jets that are usually assembled in their final stages in France or Germany. The original A320 made its first flight in 1987 and the first model was delivered the following year. This was the first series of jet to use digital fly-by-wire control systems in flight. Airbus offered a new engine option in 2010, and also improved the airframe at the same time. The first commercial carrier to use the new design will be Virgin America, in 2016.

By the end of 2011, 4858 A320′s and other models in the A320 family had been delivered. 4765 of those planes are in service. The enhanced model, called the A320E, offers even more improvements to the aircraft. These include refinements in aerodynamics, new cabin design, savings in aircraft weight and the addition of curved winglets known as Sharklets, for better handling and aerodynamics.

Airbus developed three new winglet styles in 2006, to counteract drag more effectively. They used two separate aircraft for testing of these improvements, but did not offer the new winglet style to commercial carriers at the time. They stated that the weight of the modified winglets would offset the aerodynamic benefits of the modifications. Rather, they opted to test a design using a blended winglet, as part of the modernization program of the A320.

In late 2009, Airbus announced that it would release new units of the A320 with Sharklets, beginning in 2012. Air New Zealand will be the first carrier to launch the new models. The Sharklets reduce fuel burn as well as allowing payload increases or longer range of flight.

A newer A320 cabin design was used in 600 aircraft by early 2009. The company states that it will offer better storage for luggage and an overall quieter experience for fliers. The improvements also add a new galley and reduced cabin weight, as well as easier use by flight crew staff.

Airbus is currently working on a new A320 engine, which uses 16% less fuel than the original engines. This will allow about 500 miles of additional range or extra payload up to 4,400 pounds. The A320neo also includes wing modifications and the blended winglets they call Sharklets. Technical upgrades are almost always being worked on by Airbus, to give the flying consumers their best flight experience.

B-17 – Boeing

B-17 – Boeing

The B-17 bomber, also known as the Flying Fortress, was developed by Boeing and went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized plane used in World War II. Its prototype, designated Boeing Model 299 flew for the first time in July of 1935.


Following changes to the model 299, 13 B-17s were ordered in January 1936 and began service in 1938. Although few were used before the attack on Pearl Harbor, production picked up quickly following America’s entrance into WWII. The planes were used in every combat zone during the war, mostly for strategic daylight bombing of German industrial targets. In May of 1945 production of the B-17ended; there were 12,700 of the fly fortresses built during the war. During that short period, a number of design changes were implemented.

Design changes
Eight major changes in design starting with B-17A and culminating in B-17G took place during the war. Boeing engineers engaged in a non-stop effort to improve the plane. More powerful engines as well as changes in gun stations were among the most popular innovations. The first mass produced of the B-17s was the B-17F, of which 8680 were built. By the time the B-17G was made guns had been increased from seven to thirteen and a new nose and larger flaps had appeared.

Dozens of B-17 bomber groups were stationed in Europe but only three in the Pacific theater due to the plane’s short range. It also had a relatively smaller bomb load capacity. What made it so popular was it durability. It had a well-earned reputation for being able to reach its target and return safely with its crew despite taking serious battle damage. The B-17 could not go far or carry very large payloads but it almost always made it through.

Attempts to use the B-17s as missiles toward the end of the war failed. The planes were fitted with radio controls and carried 12,000 lb of explosives. Called the BQ-7 Aphrodite missiles, the plan was to utilize these planes against hard to destroy enemy fortifications and U-boat pens, however the radio controlled guidance was unreliable.
The Royal Air Force’s attempts at using the B-17 failed because the planes’ strength and weaknesses were not taken into account. The British used the B-17s for patrol bombing instead of heavy bombing because they felt using the plane the American way was not cost efficient.

Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Meteor claims a special spot in aircraft history. Under war time pressures, the first Meteor flew on March 5, 1943, and went into combat

against V-1 flying bombs by late July 1944.

Meteor Quick Facts


  • Max speed: 600 mph
  • Ceiling: 43,000 ft.
  • Range: 980 miles.
  • Type: Single seat interceptor, fighter, bomber


Relentless development transformed its original mediocre performance, until just before 1946 when it became the fastest aircraft in the world. To set the speed record the four 20-mm cannons were removeed from the nose and the auxiliary fuel tanks were removed from the wings.

Meteors served the RAF in staggering numbers. The Meteor was used in over 50 Royal Air Force squads. Through the 1940s and 50s it was the most important 24 hour interceptor. It saw action with 10 air forces throughout the world.

It’s solid framework made the Meteor a development platform, and that pioneered many of the post-war advances in aviation. The Meteor airframe was used as a testing platform for primal turboprop engines. The world’s first turboprop flight was made by a Meteor powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent engines on September 20, 1945.

The Meteor was the first RAF fighter made with an ejection seat, which was needed because of the aircraft’s high speed and to get the pilot over the aircraft’s tall tail.