Since December I've been the technical lead on an 18-person project at work, which has tanked my blogging frequency. I may return to my previous 3-posts-in-two-days velocity at some point. For now, here are some articles to read:
That's all for now.
Tabs open but not read in my browser:
There was one more item, but it's too big to gloss over.
Starting May 1st, general aviation pilots like me will have an easier time getting aviation medical endorsements:
Starting on May 1, pilots will have the option to maintain their 3rd class medical, or opt to use the BasicMed rule. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete an online medical education course every two years, undergo a medical exam every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. The medical exam will include a four-page FAA form to be completed by your doctor and kept available by the pilot for FAA inspection. Your regular doctor can complete the form, and they don’t need to deal with the FAA at all.
The aircraft and operating restrictions under BasicMed include: pilots cannot operate an aircraft weighing more than 6,000 pounds and cannot have more than six people on board. IFR operations are allowed, but pilots must fly at less than 18,000 MSL and no faster than 250 knots. Pilots using BasicMed also cannot fly for compensation or hire. To qualify for BasicMed, pilots also must have held a medical that was valid any time after July 15, 2006.
So instead of a $200 aviation medical exam every 2 years (at my age), I can just fill in a form and keep it in my flight bag? Sign me up. I'll take the online course just as soon as the FAA releases it.
So maybe I'll get bck in the cockpit this spring? I haven't flown for a while because it's expensive and I don't live near the airport...and also because I haven't gotten off my ass to renew my Class III medical certification. Well, here's one fewer thing I need to do.
Yesterday's flight to London took only 6 hours, 37 minutes from wheels-up to landing. That is, in fact, the fastest I've ever gotten from O'Hare to Heathrow, by 8 minutes. I am impressed.
High above the North Atlantic, our hero reads the articles he downloaded before take-off:
- Releasing to Production the day before a holdiay weekend? No. Just, no. OMFG no.
- American Airlines just won a lawsuit started by US Airways that opens up competition in airfare consolidation—maybe. Bear with it, because this one article explains a lot of what's wrong with competition in any endeavor today. (I'll find a link to the Economist print article I just read on this topic when I land.)
- The Washington Post helpfully provides 94 questions we Democrats are asking as we slouch towards a Trump presidency. Thanks, guys.
- In the spirit of Christmas, Citylab remembers when Manhattan had the El. (How is this about Christmas, you ask? No El.) It's interesting to me that only now, more than 60 years later, is New York replacing the east-side transit options with the Second Avenue Subway.
- Also from Citylab, an interview with Costas Spirou and Dennis R. Judd about their new book Building the City of Spectacle, how Mayor Richord M. Daley remade the city. (Note to self: buy their book.)
- Finally, the Deeply Trivial blog compiles a couple of videos every Star Wars fan should watch. I know for a fact that the author was born well past the Ewok Divide, and yet seems to have a good bead on the Star Wars universe. Perhaps there is hope for the galaxy.
Today's flight is remarkably fast. We caught the jet stream off the Labrador coast, and with about an hour to go, we're hurtling 1,074 km/h off the west coast of Ireland. This could end up the fastest trans-Atlantic flight I've ever been on, in fact. Details later.
N.B.: Most of the entries on this blog since 2011, and a good number of them going back to 1998, have location bugs that show approximately where I was when I wrote the entry. Click the globe icon directly below and it will call up Google Maps.
If I write an entry at my house, I use a street intersection a few hundred meters away for an approximate location. In a city of three (or, in 1998, seven) million, I feel that's enough privacy. Otherwise, I try to be accurate, even going so far as to whip out my mobile phone to get a GPS fix in flight, as I've just done. Why, you ask? Because it's cool, I reply.
It's not all about PETUS today:
- Via AVWeb, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive requiring owners of Boeing 787-8 airplanes to reboot them at least every 21 days. I am not making this up.
- Trump, never a fan of intelligence of any kind, is sticking his fingers in his ears about Russian hacking of our election. Jeet Heer warns that this yet another way Trump is very dangerous. Plus, he's lying about the CIA's role in the Iraq WMD fiasco. It wasn't the CIA who lied; it was the Administration.
- By the way, Trump has the lowest approval ratings of any incoming president since 1988 (and probably since 1974).
- Oh, and we got about 200 mm of snow over the weekend. Parker's going to need a new pair of pairs of shoes.
Winter is here.
Folks, if you have to evacuate a burning 767, leave your fucking bags in the plane. That would have prevented most of the injuries sustained when this happened yesterday at O'Hare:
The plane's 161 passengers and nine crew members scrambled down emergency chutes on the left side of the plane while flames flared and thick black smoke billowed from the wing on the right side, according to the airline and video from the scene.
Twenty people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, mostly bruises and ankle problems, according to fire Chief Juan Hernandez, head of emergency medical services at the airport.
The aircraft experienced an "uncontained engine failure," in which engine parts break off and are spewed outside the engine, a federal official said. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the incident and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The danger of such a rare and serious failure is that engine pieces effectively become shrapnel and can cause extensive damage to the aircraft.
Scary, and they can't use the plane again, but since everyone survived and there were only minor injuries, this counts as a good flight.
All of these articles look interesting, and I hope I get to read them:
Oh, fun! Another meeting!
Recaps of the debate comprise just a few of the things I haven't had time to read today:
- Who hated Trump's caginess on whether he'd accept the election results if he lost? Everyone: The Economist, The New Republic, The National Review, Talking Points Memo, everyone.
- Trump's debate performance is being compared to book reports by kids who haven't read the book.
- Pilot Patrick Smith says Trump's airline wasn't that bad for customers, but it never made a profit either.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs beat the Dogders 10-2, which means the series will be decided at Wrigley on Saturday or Sunday.
- Looks like Chicago will have a warm-ish November and a normal-ish winter.
- One of the world's largest data centers, here in the South Loop area of Chicago, will soon be a lot bigger.
- Funny statistic: almost all airport noise complaints come from a handful of people—like the one person in Maryland who complained about Washington Dulles 1,024 times last year.
- Finally, "Hamilton," which I saw Sunday, got a rave from the Tribune.
Back to my meetings.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the annoying trend of using smaller airplanes for longer routes is taking off over the Atlantic:
The re-engined 737 Max and A320neo jets offer a 15 percent fuel saving meant to cut costs on the shortest inter-city services. At the same time the revamp has added about 800 km to their range -- just enough to allow the narrow-bodies to span the 5,000 km between the eastern U.S. and Western Europe.
Norwegian Air Shuttle, JetBlue Airways and Portugal's TAP are among airlines buying the jets for trans-Atlantic routes, with NAS set to lead the way when it becomes one of the first carriers to get Boeing's Max 8 next year. Its initial flights may link Edinburgh, Birmingham in England and Cork and Shannon in Ireland to smaller airports in New England and the New York area.
Yeah, 8 hours in a 737 or A320 does not sound fun. The only exception I'd make is for BA flights 1, 2, 3, and 4, which are 32-seat, all-business-class A319s that fly between London City and JFK. Of course, they're not exactly marketing to price-conscious leisure travelers: a round trip on that route will set you back about $6,000. And one more thing: the return trip tops up its fuel tanks in Shannon, Ireland, because even a stripped-down A319 can't make it all the way from London to New York yet.