Now up in my ASK THE PILOT column at Salon.com:
OH MY GOD, THEY'RE DUCT-TAPING OUR PLANE!
Another duct tape controversy. This time it was a Ryanair 737. As London's Stansted airport, passengers watched with horror as a problem with the jet's windscreen was repaired using what they took to be duct or gaffer's tape. The plane took off, only to turn back minutes later when the tape came loose.
The story was picked up by Gizmodo and other sites, and pretty soon millions of people were reading about it.
But what really happened? Say what you want about Ryanair overall -- this is a carrier known to push the boundaries of "low cost carrier" into ever more controversial directions -- but this is another one of those things that looks a lot worse than it is.
See HERE for the full story, including an explanation from a veteran Boeing mechanic...
Recently in ASK THE PILOT:
ALL IN A NAME:
"...Concorde wasn't just a great * looking * plane, but that name, too: Concorde. The main idea, presumably, was to convey solidarity in the Anglo-French partnership that designed and built the thing. But it goes beyond that. There's something wonderfully evocative about the sound of that word: Concorde. It says sleek, fast, stylish -- a little bit haughty and probably out of your league.
That's something I miss: commercial planes that were named rather than numbered. Aside from Concorde we had the Comet, Trident, Mercure and Vanguard. Other planes were given nicknames in conjunction with numbers, like the L-1011 TriStar. The 787 falls in this category, though I'm not especially fond of the 'Dreamliner' designation. The imagery there is a little too wobbly and ethereal. People don't want their planes flailing around or nodding off. Dreamliner was in contention with three other possibilities: Global Cruiser, Stratoclimber, and eLiner. Global Cruiser sounds like a yacht, or a really big SUV. Stratoclimber sounds like an action hero. And eLiner is almost too awful to contemplate. Sort of like 'iPlane.'
The 747, for its part, remains a beauty all around: elegant prow, sexy tail, and the palindromic poetry of that name: seven-forty-seven..."
The rest of this article is here: