The history of aviation is littered with aircraft concepts and prototypes that promised to bring point-to-point passenger services to the traveling public. The idea of replacing massive and remote airports with a rooftop or downtown landing pad was, to say the least, inviting. The 1950s were a time of enthusiastic aerospace development and innovation, and one odd-looking aircraft of the era was the Fairey Aviation Company’s Rotodyne. It was designed to meet a short-haul vertical-lift requirement of British European Airways (BEA), an ancestor of today’s British Airways.
Writer Ian Fleming’s Agent 007 burst onto the movie screen in 1962’s Dr. No, in an era when the glamor and cachet of jet travel had permeated the public psyche. Long before social media, the idea of connecting the world through high-speed air travel was popularized by the movies, television and magazines of the time. The rich and famous were featured flying to far-flung destinations in what seemed to be the blink of an eye.
Inmarsat’s I-5 F4 satellite thundered into space yesterday evening, carried by a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. In a picture-perfect evening liftoff, the rocket launched at exactly 7:21 p.m. (EDT), precisely at the beginning of the launch window.
It's magical. And it's very loud. That moment when a helicopter lifts off is a sweet sensory overload, with turbine engines screaming and the main rotor beating the air into submission just a few feet above your head. But coddled in a good set of noise-canceling headphones or cocooned in a super-soundproofed cabin, you can experience the wonder of rotary-winged flight while marveling at the spectacular views unique to heli-sightseeing.
Almost 35 years ago, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) began its international expansion to North America, flying a Boeing 747-200 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Vancouver, BC (YVR). It was the first airline to fly nonstop between the two key Pacific Rim cities, and on Tuesday morning, Cathay Pacific introduced a new aircraft type on the route. The airline’s Airbus A350-900XWB, B-LRI, touched down in the pouring rain just after sunrise, almost an hour ahead of its 8AM scheduled arrival time. I was with the media group, set up on the south ramp for the A350’s expected arrival on YVR’s Rwy 08R. But just a few minutes before landing, the plane’s approach was changed to the north side runway, 08L.
Last fall, the Government of British Columbia launched a pilot project to evaluate the use of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) in search and rescue (SAR) operations. The project is being overseen by Emergency Management BC (EMBC), the coordinating and supporting agency that provides the operational funding for specialized resources, to regional SAR organizations. The province’s all-volunteer SAR teams provide an essential and critical service, finding errant hikers and out-of-bounds winter sports enthusiasts throughout BC’s rugged backcountry.