Airplanes don’t make money sitting on the ground. That’s why the time from landing to takeoff is an efficiently choreographed dance of people and equipment. Known as a turnaround, or “turn” in industry parlance, it’s an airline’s version of a Formula One or NASCAR pit stop. The goal is to get an airliner back in the air as quickly as possible.
The aviation world is waiting to see if, or perhaps when, IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh will float a third offer to purchase Norwegian. The parent company of British Airways and Iberia already owns a chunk of the airline, and has been trying to buy the rest — leaving observers with a question: Why, and why now?
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.