Captain James Basnett is at the controls of a British Airways Airbus A380 mega-jet, serenely cruising far above the stormy North Atlantic. More than 450 passengers are enjoying the inflight service, watching a movie or just sleeping away the overnight flight from Boston to London. Comfortably cocooned in the technological marvel that is a modern airliner, the passengers are blissfully unaware that their plane is just one of hundreds in a massive aerial armada heading to Europe from North America.
I’m a total AvGeek, and I happen to hold a very unique world record: I’ve flown on more inaugural airline flights of the “first of type” of a new commercial aircraft than anyone else in the world. This isn’t a record that I originally set out to claim; it’s thanks to good fortune, good timing and good planning that I was on board the first-ever Boeing 747, Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A350 and Bombardier C Series flights.
It’s been almost a century since the first, primitive experiments with in-flight film projection took place in an Aeromarine Airways Curtis F5L aircraft. It was 1921, and the 11 passengers on a sightseeing flight over Chicago were shown a silent movie promoting the city. But it wasn’t until 1961 that David Flexer’s Inflight Motion Pictures brought regular in-flight entertainment to passengers on Trans World Airlines’ early jets.
It’s important to have the right tool for the job. Looking at Heli-Austria’s large and diverse fleet of helicopters, it’s clear that CEO and Chief Pilot Roy Knaus has a big toolbox to draw from, stuffed full of the right machines for a wide range of missions.
Singapore to New York, nonstop. Almost 20 hours in the air. By the end of this year, passengers on Singapore Airlines' newest plane, the Airbus A350-900ULR -- for Ultra Long-Range -- will travel on a record-breaking, globe-spanning flight that will reconnect the two major metropolises.
Up in the air, there have been remote controls for as long as in-flight entertainment (IFE) has been in the cabin. Long before touch screens, control buttons for an IFE system were either installed in a seat’s armrest or on a tethered remote unit that retracted into a recess.