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The Geeks go it alone in this episode, but despite the lack of an aviation guest we manage to have a great time talking aviation.
The week’s aviation news:
- Air Force plans to ground Global Hawk plane, stop production, report says
- Push For 3rd Chicago Airport Still Aloft
- Delta Said to Weigh US Airways Bid in Review of M&A Options
- Delays Worse After JFK Runway Work Done
David’s Aircraft of the Week is the Lockheed Model 10 Electra.
In this week’s Australia Desk report, Grant flys solo this week and covers a few headlines, an overly accurate mood-sensing music system, and some voice mails.
Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.
In the Across the Pond segment, Gareth Stringer and Tim Robinson talk with Pieter Johnson about aviation news items from Europe. Making the cut this week is the Neuron-UCAV, the RAF buying second hand transport aircraft and the latest idea for runway capacity in the UK.
Pieter can be found on Twitter as @Nascothornet or XTP Media’s Facebook Page.
Mentioned in the episode:
- Crosswind Landings during a storm at Düsseldorf B777,767,757 A330 Sturm Andrea
- The Network for the DC-3
Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at email@example.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.
Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.
David, I can think of a few other reason why other nations might shy away from the Global Hawk after USAF cancelled the program: a) slow or no upgrades on the airframe & sensor suite; and b) reduced parts availability.
“Just the Geeks” featured Rob making (dum-dum-daaaaaah!) TWO MISTAKES when talking about crosswind landings.
The first one was a mistake by omission: He described the crabbed approach method, where the aircraft is flown down the approach pointed into the wind, and “kicked straight” with the rudder at the last minute. Max asked if that was the same technique used for all airplanes, and Rob said, “Yes!”
Turns out that there’s another method that’s used, mainly in small airplanes, especially in taildraggers: The slipped approach method.
Using this method, the entire approach is flown with the fuselage aligned with the runway centreline. Drift is resisted by lowering the windward wing slightly, and downwind rudder is used to counteract the resulting turning tendency. This forward-slip is maintained all the way down the approach until touchdown, which is made windward-wheel first, with the downwind main held off the ground after touchdown for as long as possible with ailerons.
This method has the advantage of not needing a sudden directional change immediately prior to the moment of touchdown, when the aircraft is already undergoing pitch changes, speed changes and power changes. It produces a more stable touchdown, which is handy in taildraggers, which will “ground loop” if landed with any drift whatsoever.
The second mistake is a bit more arguable. Rob mentioned the steerable main gear on the B52, which allows it to land sideways, and said it hadn’t been used anywhere else.
Boeing also designed it into the body gear of the B747, which “casters” to assist crosswind landings. Crosswind technique in the 747 is to land crabbed and let the undercarriage sort it out, most spectacularly visible in old videos shot from near the runway at Kai Tak, where you can often see the body gear trucks rotating as the aircraft settles onto the ground if you look closely enough.
Some small taildraggers (eg Cessna 180’s) can be fitted with “crosswind gear” which casters at the moment of landing. It’s fallen out of popularity because it makes taxying in crosswinds unnecessarily difficult, but it’s a similar idea to the B747 and, indeed, the B52.
There are two camps, each with valid points.
One of them has been well-represented by The Geeks, who make the quite valid point that airlines should be free to advertise their prices just like any other business, and that as long as the final price is shown to the consumer before the pay up there’s no problem.
To justify that stance, a division is drawn between airline-imposed fee-for-service (priority boarding, extra baggage, etc) and government-imposed taxes and charges (sales tax, TSA fees, whatever).
I’m not sure how airline-imposed “fuel levies” that many airlines charge fit into that scheme. Surely they should be built into the base ticket price, since there’s no way to buy a ticket without them…?
The other camp wants to be able to easily compare prices, so they need to see the actually-charged-to-the-credit-card price earlier than a customer who has already made their decision. If I’m comparing the cost of getting from Chicago to New York via Southwest or American Airlines, I need to know the FULL price before I actually book and pay for the ticket — especially if I’m trying to work out whether it’s cheaper to do the trip with a heavily discounted connection via Dallas!
One thing that The Geeks keep saying is that other businesses don’t have to include taxes in their prices, so why should airlines.
It might help to consider that in some (most?) parts of the world, taxes DO need to be included in advertised prices — the USA is quite exceptional in the way it allows the taxes to remain unmentioned until the last possible moment.
Last year, Tiger Airlines, a Singapore Airlines subsidiary, was successfully prosecuted by the Australian commerce regulator for breaching this requirement: Australian law requires prices to be all-inclusive, not just for airlines, but for everything. If you’re buying a meal or a car or an airline ticket the advertised price must include all taxes and charges.
Perhaps the disbelief from certain sections of this podcast’s listener base would be easier to explain if it was understood that many listeners come from jurisdictions where the American treatment of taxes looks weird and whacky, and where it’s always been totally obvious that advertised prices must be actual prices, not nebulous aspirations.
I continue to think we have amazing listeners, and the comments above support my belief!
Mark’s comments on transparent pricing are pretty interesting. As much as I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve never noticed the inclusion of tax in advertised prices. Maybe I just assumed the rest of the world is tax-free! More likely, foreign currencies are confusing and I just didn’t pay attention… But thanks for bringing the world perspective.
Also, thanks for teaching me a bit more about cross wind landings. Interesting (there’s that word again!) about the B747 landing gear.
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