Dreamliner drawing

I tweeted about this while it was happening last week, but it’s worth recording on here for those who didn’t see it, and for me to come back here in a few years and go “Oh yeah – remember that?”.

Flightradar24.com’s blog has the full story, but tl:dr – a Boeing 787 did a test flight over the USA, the route of which drew an outline of a giant Boeing 787.

This was during an ETOPS test on the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 TEN engine.

I had to look up what ETOPS meant, and found that it was “Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards”. Basically, it refers to the distance that a twin (or more) engined plane is allowed to go from an airport that it can safely land at, in case of engine failure. As with many of these sorts of things, it’s actually rather more complicated than it would seem to need to be.

Still, as long as the people in charge know what’s going on, I suppose…

Regulators closely watch the ETOPS performance of both type certificate holders and their affiliated airlines. Any technical incidents during an ETOPS flight must be recorded. From the data collected, the reliability of the particular airframe-engine combination is measured and statistics published. The figures must be within limits of type certifications. Of course, the figures required for ETOPS-180 will always be more stringent than ETOPS-120.

Pfft. Of course…

Unsatisfactory figures would lead to a downgrade, or worse, suspension of ETOPS capabilities either for the type certificate holder or the airline.

And so they should. Excellent.

New Gatwick flight

This almost snuck in under the radar (LOLz – aircraft pun), but here’s some great news for people living in Sussex:

British Airways has announced it is launching a new route from Gatwick Airport to Cape Town later this year.
The major airline is expanding its fleet or aircraft at Gatwick as new three-times-a-week flights are being added to its schedule.

And I suppose it’s good news for anyone in Cape Town too, as adding more flights means more seat, means less competition, means cheaper flights overall. This good news is tempered somewhat by the realisation that if you take one of these new flights, you will end up landing at Gatwick Airport though.

Have you ever been to Gatwick Airport?
Hmm.

You’ll probably recall that it’s almost 4 years since SAA stopped flying the Cape Town to London route, citing “dwindling passenger numbers” on flights to Europe from the Mother City. Something that doesn’t seem to have stopped Swiss, Turkish, Condor, Air France, KLM and (of course) BA from operating such services.

But, back to the new (Northern hemisphere) “winter only” Gatwick flights:

The three flights will depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6pm, arriving in to Cape Town at 7.50am the following morning.

This winter BA will add a fourth three-class Boeing 777 aircraft to its Gatwick fleet, bringing the total number of Boeing 777s at the airport to 12.

Note that those are two separate lines: there’s no suggestion that the LGW-CPT flights will be on 777s – BA currently operates 747s on its Cape Town to Heathrow route (for the moment, anyway).

I’ll get in touch with BA and see if they can tell me what aircraft they are planning on using. It would be nice to move on from the aging jumbos. After all, we were promised 787s way back in 2013…

 

UPDATE: And here’s the answer – 777s!

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That does help, Jamie. Thank you.