The air show was delayed for two years during the pandemic
This week saw the welcome return of the Farnborough Air Show. Running from 18-22 July, visitors were treated to displays, press releases, panel roundtables, exhibitions from the aviation industry, including aerospace, defense. Issues such as Environmental, Governance and Sustainability (ESG) were high on the agenda, with aircraft manufacturers and airlines promising smarter technology, cleaner fuel, and greener business. This means more room for highly fuel efficient and quieter aircraft, and hopefully less expensive to operate.
As an example, Airbus and CFM International are collaborating to flight test CFM’s cutting-edge open fan engine architecture on board an Airbus A380. The Flight Test Demonstrator is aimed to mature and accelerate the development of advanced propulsion technologies, as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) demonstration programme.
“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, astronaut Tim Peake, and British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visited the show in the first two days. The Prime Minister met some of the 1,500 exhibitors at one of the world’s biggest aerospace and defense trade shows. In a speech, Mr Johnson said: "I’m glad that I finally made it to Farnborough, this famous air show, in the climactic weeks of my time as Prime Minister."
The photos in this blog were taken over the five days, in a period in which we experienced the hottest day ever in the history of records in the UK (40.2C) on Tuesday July 19, followed by the obligatory rain showers. Hence why you seen a blue sky in some photos and a dark grey in others.
Were there many orders?
With this being the first show in four years (and with a delay due to the Pandemic), it seemed and came across as a quieter affair compared to previous shows. There wasn't the much anticipated fanfare that happened in previous years. But one thing was clear: Boeing seemed to do quite well in terms of orders. Though Airbus, meanwhile, managed to conduct just two sales on the premises of the airshow, one for the A220 and one for the A321neo. However, it had secured a big win just ahead of Farnborough, with China’s top three carriers ordering almost 300 A320 family aircraft on 1 July, 2022. This chart from AeroTime shows a breakdown of the orders made in this year's show, and Boeing has certainly made more orders in 2022:
The Boeing 737 MAX 10
The largest of the 737 MAX family, the Boeing 737 MAX 10, made its international debut at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022. During the show, the aircraft ran on a blend of sustainable aviation fuel. Before the show, Boeing had already received more than 3,300 net orders for 737 MAX narrow bodies, and kicked off the Farnborough Airshow with firm order signings with Delta Air Lines, Inc. for at least 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets and with All Nippon Airways parent ANA Holdings for twenty 737 MAX 8s, along with two Boeing 777-8F cargo variants.
Also, Qatar Airways made official an order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft, with options for a further 25 of the type. "We are honored that Qatar Airways has decided to add Boeing’s single-aisle family to its fleet, deepening our relationship with this world-class airline," said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 737 MAX 10 is ideally suited for Qatar Airways’ regional network and will provide the carrier with the most capable, most fuel-efficient airplane in its class," he added. The order, worth $3.4 billion at list prices, capped a largely one-sided show dominated by Boeing's efforts to shore up the MAX 10, whose future lies partly in the hands of regulators and Congress.
Qatar Airways displayed its Boeing 777-300ER (FIFA World Cup 2022 Livery), 787-9 Dreamliner and Qatar Executive Gulfstream at the airshow.
The Boeing 737 MAX 10 leaves Farnborough after the show back to Seattle via Reykjavik. The 737 MAX 10 will continue test flights and obtain its type certificate before it can begin scheduled operations. The delay, caused by the problems of the 737 MAX 8 and the extended scrutiny of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is a major stumbling block in its commercialization. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The Boeing 777X
One of the highlights of 2022’s edition of the show was the huge Boeing 777X, the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, which the manufacturer showed off in both static and flying displays. With new breakthroughs in aerodynamics and engines, the 777X will deliver 10 percent lower fuel use and emissions and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition. The 777X is based on the original 777, but is much larger, more powerful, and is ready to serve the next generation of long-haul air travel, and generally passengers prefer large aircraft, and this will not disappoint!
Even though the 777X has been delayed by over five years, we are in this interesting period where the airlines that were affected by the delay have almost got over that part now. The COVID-19 Pandemic, if anything, has helped that cause. With any new aircraft, airlines are usually cautious. It is going to be great for the passengers and great for the airlines, too!
Warm champagne anyone?
The show also saw the introduction of some interesting features that we may see. Thanks to the team at Turningleftforless for taking this video of a "Champagne on Demand" as demonstrated by Adient collaborating with Boeing to explore improved comfort, functionality of commercial aircraft seating and interiors. My mate, James Nixon (ex- A380 captain), queried "Why does any airline exec think passengers want to drink warm champagne?".
Airbus A350-900 XWB and the Airbus A220-300
Airbus brought its A350 test aircraft for display flights throughout the show. Also, Airbus showcased an ITA Airways A350-900 and an Air Baltic A220-300 aircraft on the ground.
Air Baltic's A220. One of the biggest orders for the aircraft came from Delta Air Lines, Inc. Delta Air Lines firmed up orders for 12 A220-300 aircraft, bringing Delta’s total firm order for A220s to 107 aircraft – 45 A220-100s and 62 A220-300s. The A220s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
New British Airline: Hans Airways
Start-up carrier Hans Airways moved a step closer to launching flights between the UK and India, with the lease of an A330-200 aircraft and the start of crew training. According to the CEO, Satnam S. Saini, the aircraft is weeks away from launch.
The airline plans to launch flights between Birmingham airport and Amritsar as a key destination using an ex-Air Europa A330 and with a two class configuration – economy (branded Anand Class) with 274 seats and a seat pitch of 31 inches, and premium economy (Anand Plus) with 24 seats and a seat pitch of 56 inches.
Updating the media on progress Barry Humphries, CBE, Hans Airways’ board director and former head of air services policy at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“With the loss of flights operated by India’s Jet Airways and British inclusive tour operators Thomas Cook and Monarch Airlines, there is room for a third UK airline flying between UK and India (complementing British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.) All of us are working exceptionally hard and on schedule to be that third UK designated carrier.”
Supernal's eVTOL vehicle cabin
Black Eagles and the Boeing Stearman (Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers)
Future is Boom?
Boom Supersonic announced the updated design of Overture with 4 engines. Carrying 65–80 passengers at twice the speed of today’s airliners, Overture will fly Mach 1.7 over water with a range of 4,250 nautical miles.
Boom further said that the new design is the culmination of 26 million core hours of simulated software designs, five wind tunnel tests, and the careful evaluation of 51 full design iterations resulting in an economically and environmentally sustainable supersonic airliner. Boom also announced a market-expanding alliance with Northrop Grumman to develop special mission variants for the U.S. Government and its allies.
The question here is, will it better what Concorde achieved and will passengers pay for and enjoy the experience? United Airlines have already proudly stated that they plan to offer services on Boom. But will it be a success? We shall see. Maybe a debut at future Farnborough Airshows?
Aircraft on display
It doesn't get better than this. On our flight back from our honeymoon to Shanghai, we receveied a card signed by every member of the cabin crew and cockpit crew, and an announcement made over the PA- to the applause from the passengers. Quite a celebration and a joyful moment to remember for the rest of our lives: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
This was the exact screening point that the crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went through at KLIA on their way to the aircraft 9M-MRO and they never came back. I took this photo on the morning of February 10 on the way to Hong Kong. A bit of a sad feeling as I went through the same gate...that CCTV image shown on various media outlets of the crew going through this screening gate came to my mind. I interviewed two of the staff (one of them is the Malay lady in the hijab in the photo), who both remember that moment of speaking to the crew and saying goodbye. When I spoke to them, they were still affected by their loss.
I guess most Malaysians still are. Even in Langkawi -where the co-pilot gained his flight training-if you speak to the taxi drivers or some of the restaurant owners, they recall the happy times of meeting him and his family. There are still signs and posters saying things like "Hope MH370 come back".
My mate, James Nixon quite rightly says (I quote):
"Airports are our homes. Their workers our extended families. The camaraderie of the players, from cleaners and the ladies at the canteens where we grab meals between flights, to the check-in staff and gate agents; we all have small but meaningful friendships with the people we see everyday of our working lives. When one crew doesn't come back we feel incomplete."
May god bless the crew and passengers of MH370...you are still in our hearts. Respect.
Sorry photo is blurry because I quickly took this one with my iPhone and did not focus on quality (I should have done!), as did not want to hold passengers standing behind me in the waiting line.
My wife and I would like to give a special thanks to Hong Kong based Passenger Services Officer, Ms. Koyi Wong from Cathay Dragon. After our flight was delayed from Shanghai Pudong to Hong Kong, we evidently ended up missing the HKG-KUL flight as well. Ms. Koyi Wong went out of her way to help us get not only onto our next flight, but also to make sure that our luggage arrived safely onto our next flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi (which was with Malaysia Airlines on a different ticket).
Koyi is a customer service professional extraordinaire, and in all my travels so far I have never come across an airline personnel who genuinely goes out of their way to help passengers. If it was not for her, we would have missed our flight to Langkawi from KL and it would have occurred us extra charges and delays etc. She deserves a special mention in your company newsletter or similar communication materials and I hope she can become more successful in her career and life. There are some truly amazing people in the aviation industry and Ms. Koyi Wong is definitely one of them. Amazing human. I did not take her photo, but here is a photo of her badge, which she quite rightly deserves to wear with sheer pride. People like Koyi ALL work for airlines (except for the ones who work in hospitals...or ambulances...or rescue helicopters etc.). My hats off.
Airline pilots are apparently trained not to spill drinks while in-flight. Interestingly, after our flight was delayed by nearly three hours (they like to avoid the insurance claims, so the delays are always just below three hours!), these chaps were in such a rush to get me to my wedding in Yangzhou that we ended up spilling the drinks in-flight!
Wedding cake and card given by Emirates airline cabin crew on flight to Dubai from London. Great flight...photos on their camera came out better (yes, hard to believe that a PHOTOGRAPHER could not take his own photo!)...never had 12 crew surrounding my seat...what a celebration!: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Not everyday you get to photograph a plane from your plane while taking-off simultaneously...ot happened to me at Madrid and I was fortunate to capture the moment.
Flying from London Gatwick Airport to Madrid International Airport with Iberia Express at night rewards passengers with priceless views of the city.
Nine hours into the flight flying en-route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong, we came across some spectacular sights over Mongolia. Outside air temperature is -65 Celsius degrees. Not sure of the exact place, but it is around 150 miles west of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
There are no simple answers to these questions. Becoming an airline pilot has never been easy in any time in history. Back in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, many major airlines around the world were investing heavily in the recruitment and training of future airline pilots by providing fully sponsored cadet pilot schemes, where the airlines would provide financial support, and the only requirement from the student was to pass all the rigorous selection tests and be medically fit. Effectively, this job- which is no longer the glamorous job it used to be with airline pilots being referred to as "glamorous bus drivers" - is very tough to get and equally tough to stay in.
However, since the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, and the global economic crisis, the vast majority of airline companies have cut back on providing a fully sponsored cadet pilot scheme. Instead, most would-be pilots have to either take a bank loan, or invest at least £120,000 to gain the frozen Airline Transport Pilot's License (ATPL) with around 200 hours, after which there is NO guarantee of a job.
Back in the 80s and 90s, all you had to do was get your frozen ATPL, and then the airline would provide the extra type-rating and training for you to get you to become a first-officer on your chosen aircraft type. Simply put, to become an airline pilot these days requires a huge financial investment, and without a guaranteed job at the end of it. That's assuming you pass the medical exams, and all the other theory and practical exams first time around (some of the best airlines require at least 90% in all exams), and if you don't pass them then that can go against you). One of my mates has just started studying for his flying at the age of 28 (which is fine as he will be around 31/32 by the time he qualifies for his first job), and another mate has started flying for the first time at the age of 45 (!).
Being 36 now, I personally would not do it, simply because of the huge amount of commitment, personal sacrifices and risks (both financially and personally) one has to take. If you are in a relationship or married with kids, then it is even more of a challenge. Some do manage it. A friend who was a doctor did a career change at the age of 39- she got the ATPL licence at the age of 41, and started working for Wizz (Hungarian airline) at the age of 43 after forking out around £150,000 of her money without a loan to get where she wanted to be.
1. First and foremost, pass your medical (must have an ATPL Class 1 medical) and pass all your 14 theory exams
2. Have at least a budget of around £120,000 to cover the 18 months course (including accommodation, exam fees, food and lifestyle costs. If you have to re-take the exams or if you take a modular course then the costs can be higher). It is probably cheaper in the US, Canada and Australia
3. In the UK, Oxford Aviation Academy and CTC Aviation are the best schools (highly respected and acclaimed by many global airlines)
4. Don’t do it just becase of the money- because flying is not the same as it used to be back in the 1970s/80s. You’ll be flying many more hours and for less pay for many years.
One of my mates has spent at least £180,000 over the course of four years to get his hours and type rating himself, and now works as a Second Officer for Cathay Pacific Airways- and with no home and no family at the age of 35. The bottom line is, only get into this career if you truly believe that flying is for you and nothing else should matter. Be prepared to sacrifice everything, and I mean everything and anything (plus you need support from your family, too).
If, however, you work for a government backed airline, such as a state-owned carrier (i.e. Air India, Air China etc.), then you may consider it a job for life- BUT if you fail your medical or your simulator checks then that is the end of your flying career.
Here is sound advice I got from one highly experienced airline Captain who has been flying for nearly 30 years:
"First things first - get your medical exam done before anything else. If you don’t have a Class 1 medical certificate, then there is no point carrying on. It is highly recommended that you get an ATPL-level medical as that is more detailed. Most people don’t, and it’s much stricter than CPL or PPL.
Secondly, to get the required 1,500 hours after gaining your flying license, that is a LOT and you will most likely need to spend your own money if an airline is not sponsoring you! You couldn’t do anywhere near that AND the ATPL subjects. I barely do 1,500 hours in TWO years on the Airbus A330 (Duty times are limiting on back of clock operations).
If you started at 34, for example, I would recommend doing ALL the theory exams before wasting more than 50 hours flying…too many people make the mistake and it drags out for years.
18 months full-time at, say, Oxford Aviation Academy or CTC (the BEST you can get) would get you a frozen ATPL licence and not even 200 hours I think.
Then you have to get hours to build up to 1,500 hours. Who is going to hire you versus a 23-year-old who they can bond to give years of service in exchange for a cadet-ship? So you really have too suss out the market, and KNOW before you start, where you are going to get the hours from, who will hire you and what their requirements are.
I would personally think that 34 is too late to start - I started at 26 and it was a stretch…but I think you WOULD get a job in the industry if you wanted it.
The retirements are coming thick and fast - particularly in the USA - and Boeing and Airbus are selling so many planes these days, especially in India, China, SE Asia, Middle East and Africa.
But do you want it?
The money is a third of what it was when I started - but you still have to pay at least US$120K to get into it.
The conditions are woeful and levels of safety have declined massively.
Given my life again, (at 26 had three companies, at 27 had a house etc., I sold everything to pay for the flying licence), I would spend my efforts making money and buy a Learjet or Citation to fly myself around in, and ONLY fly where I wanted to go, and in good weather.
You can’t imagine the stress/tiredness/ageing that occurs when you are flying into crap places, in crap weather in the middle of the night when you DON’T want to be there. It’s not healthy. The monsoon and Calicut -keeps me awake at night.
I am flying for the best airline in the world, with the best equipment in the world…and the rosters are the worst I have had in 29 years of flying and I can’t see myself doing it more than another 3 years.
Having said that, you could have an entire career flying turbo props and have a ball…given the right airline and location.
I haven’t talked about the SIMs (simulator exams and checks) every half-year and licence renewals…only having a job for six months at a time. Knowing that the next time you walk out of a simulator, you could be unemployed and out of the industry for good (same each time you do the medical exam every year). You can’t ever relax - you can’t have a holiday for more than 34 days - or you lose your licence. Every three months you have to get back into the books and study.
The SIM-tests gets most people…some are incapacitated by it. The best airlines only allow you to fail once, after which you are either out to look for another airline to join or you go back to the books for another six months before taking the simulator exam again. Not easy. The physiological stress that comes with failing a simulator exam can be enough to put one off the career. Worth considering in advance. The same goes for the health checks. You fail a routine health check and that’s the end of your flying career.
Pilots below the age of 40 years are checked annually, whereas those above are checked six monthly. Medical standards and certification are stringent. Their eyes, ear, nose, throat, equilibrium, mental, neurological, cardiovascular and general medical conditions are checked by an aviation trained doctor. As long as a pilot is certified to be medically fit, he can continue to fly internationally up to the age of 65 years in the US, Australia and other ICAO member countries. This limit is not fixed worldwide, as the retirement age for Captains can vary from country to country.
In Germany and the U.K., pilots by law are required to retire at 55 years of age. If a pilot fails their medical check, then they can look for a ground based job. They can retrain and become good at some other type of work: aviation mechanic, computer scientist, engineer, law etc. Some of these fields will actually pay a much better salary than a pilot’s job. If you are not fit to fly, no amount of bargaining/rationalizing is going to fix that — you've got to accept it and just move on with a positive attitude. The root cause (psychological problems, in your example) is a red herring. You may have to change careers for many reasons: injury, family, health, etc.
SO, there is a lot to consider. Hope I have given you some food for thought.
There WAS a cadet-ship in British Airways in 1967-9 (I think)…and in 1968 in Australia anyone with a CPL got an airline seat - then the airlines filled-up with no jobs given until the late 1980s…but that was it.
They are running cadet-ships in India, Hong Kong, Qatar, Oman, Vietnam and U.A.E. for their locals now…and in Oz a few airlines are selling flying trying + bonding - but no cadet-ships- meaning that you have to fork out the case yourself. British Airways does a sponsored scheme but you have to provide £80,000 as a security bond first (which you will get back). I am not aware ANY good airlines did cadetships after the hiring boom of the late 1960s (they hired anyone worth a licence and 1,000 or so hours but nothing below that).
It always cost about US$120,000 to get a licence…mine cost less upfront cash and that was in the 80s - but took three years - so by the time you earn/pay tax/ and live, so amounts to much more than that.
The drama of getting from 200 hours to 1,000 hrs has ALWAYS been tough. Every pilot will give you the same story, each worse and more horrid than the next guy. It’s the industry’s way of weeding-out those who are less than focused enough to make it. The world is littered with 800 hour failure pilots who cannot get a job after gaining their license! So, make sure that you have a plan B in case something goes wrong.
Unless you are wealthy and have the cash in hand, most guys who take a loan take until they are in their 40s to pay it back. Which really stuffs up your family life. I started late, and was never been able to afford marriage and kids in my 30s. Now in my 50s, I am too late for all that.
But I made the decision when I started flying: Commodore (car)/Rolladoor (garage)/ Labrador (dog!) or flying.
And I chose flying. Since I joined jets in 1992, I was a First Officer- earning 65% of a real wage until I was 52. And these days the wages are getting lower and lower.
I will retire at 57, purely because I can’t handle the exhausting lifestyle. It’s much harder than when I was in my 30s. The airlines make us work much harder.
If my airline went part time, say a 75% roster I might stay, but I highly doubt they will.
I sat there watching Captains visibly age-from 60-65 they turn into old men!
But if flying is for you, you’d have known when you were six. Nothing would have stopped you getting there. It has changed markedly since I took it up. It’s a young man’s game - and - for most, safety is plummeting.
Did you know Singapore Airlines have fired ALL their expats? The week before Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash at San Francisco, they did a go around after doing the exact same thing…with a Boeing 777 full of passengers. THAT- in the 90s - would be inconceivable."
Read this excellent article by BALPA
Below is a video of a veteran American pilot who gives the low down on the subject. Worth watching:
When it comes to writing books, it is always the original ideas that win, and this is one that most people have been waiting for someone to write about. This book is very well-researched, well-written, and thoroughly deserves to be read and reviewed by mainstream global media outlets. The author provides the readers with factual information and very useful messages on a subject that is crucial to those who take us safely from A to B. The author does this all with an entertaining and witty song throughout. It is a pleasure to read what he has written - so much more beautiful and interesting than anything else that you will find in any aviation related magazine.
The only problem here is that I, or anyone for that matter, sadly cannot reveal the identity of the author. Which is a shame, because when you read the amount of excruciating detail that he has gone into in laying out the crude fundamental reasons of why pilots and cabin-crew fail to get a good night sleep, only then you end up realising how fortunate those are that are reading this subject. I appreciate that the author provides interesting facts with a winsome sense of fun, and sometimes with silly-clever interludes, but on the whole there is a lot of pertinent information about a serious subject at hand.
It goes without saying that for a demanding job as being an airport pilot (and also cabin crew), getting the license and qualifying to get the job is only the first step in something that can be a rewarding career. However, the real challenge is to fight off the fatigue that comes with the job (it can make or break a career- and that’s one of the many reasons why you need a Class 1 Medical to be an airline pilot).
For most passengers, a single 12-hour flight can be enough to put off flying for a while- imagine doing that day-in day-out for the rest of your career. Pilots who fly internationally have to deal with jetlag and the weird times at which they land/take-off all the time, and they have to be fully mentally and physically fit for that. It is not easy by any means. Weird sleep patterns can have a disastrous effect on your body. In many cases, crew only have up to 48 hours of layover time before they turn-around and fly again. Low-cost and regional crew also have to deal with such challenges (though not with jetlag), but imagine starting at 3am and finishing at 1am the following day without a rest and aircraft delays, and then have to start again the following day- that’s the life of a low-cost airline pilot.
Many pilots and cabin-crew choose to find various ways to fight of their the pressures of the job - binge drinking (not everyone, of course), sleeping tablets, anti-migraine tablets, chain smoking etc. are all well-known habits that are practised in the industry (it is very difficult to get into and stay in the industry and very easy to get out of the industry). But how do you effectively end up enjoying a good night sleep on a layover? How do you manage to do that, especially if you are working for a not so well-known airline, where they stick the crew up in the cheapest hotel possible, complete with bed bugs and noisy neighbours?
Well, thankfully this book lifts the lid on a subject which everyone in the airline industry wonders about, but nobody has had the time to write about. I think every pilot, whether they are a trainee, experienced, a Top Gun… and even if they have flown Air Force One for the U.S. President, should get a copy of this book, grab a freshly brewed coffee (preferably not the one you get on planes), and cherish every word. In actual fact, this book would come handy to other insomniacs, especially doctors, nurses, night-time police helicopter pilots and so on.
The highly respected and experienced author works for a major airline (cannot give name) as an Airbus A380 Captain, and he has been all over the world and in all kinds of situations for the past 30 years – in other words, he’s seen and done it all from Dhaka to Guangzhou to Malta to Zanzibar and in other far flung places.
Click here to order this book from Amazon createspace for only $15.9
Click here for the book's website
Fond memories of Paris....with a beautiful photo I took from the sky in 2010...when Paris was the city of LOVE not WAR. Prayers and thoughts with ALL Parisiens.
Special thanks to Oman Air.
New Delhi IGI Airport, as seen from 40,000 feet en-route from Kathmandu to Muscat @Oman Air. This is the closest I have got to India since my last trip in 1998! Usually I keep my eyes closed when the plane goes over India...but this time I couldn't resist taking a photo of New Delhi!: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
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