A new life for the 747

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Boeing unveiled the passenger version of the 747-8, the 747-8I (Intercontinental) in a ceremony yesterday on Feb 13, 2011. What was totally unexpected was the new Boeing livery on the 747-8I. Called the ‘Sunrise’ livery, it features a dark Orange-Grey paint job and is a big change from Boeing’s usual Blue-White scheme. Although Boeing did give some clues for a few weeks before the unveiling by having the 747-8I depicted, presumably during dawn, in most of the ads in various aviation forums, the secret was very well kept.

Here is the video of the ceremony (Credit to the owner of the video) :

Watching Mr Joe Sutter, the chief designer of the original 747 (over 4 decades ago!) leading the crowd for having a look at the 747-8I was a nice moment.  🙂

Personally, I like the tail colours more with the lighter shade of orange and yellow, but overall, the huge 747-8I looks majestic in the new livery.

AirlineReporter has an article on this here. (Don’t miss the photos of the unveiling at the end of the article).

Categories: Aviation, Boeing, News Tags:

Beautiful Paine field

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a really beautiful panoramic shot of Paine field in Everett, Washington state, US, where Boeing is building its new 787 Dreamliners. The snow covered airfield looks magical in the yellow-golden evening sun. You can spot an assorted array of 787s in various stages of assembly, 747 Dreamlifters, a little Cessna on the taxiway, a twin engine GA aircraft landing, a B-52 sitting solemnly and aircraft from Cathay Pacific Cargo, Air India, Air France, Alaska Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, Cargolux, Turkish and others make this a truly beautiful photo.

Note the two 787s in the far right (JAL and Royal Air Maroc) with engines yet to be installed.

Credit to Liz Matzelle for the photo, which you can find here (30000 x 2373 – ~14.1 MB)

Categories: Aviation, Boeing

Cell arrays in MATLAB

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Cell arrays are used frequently in MATLAB code and they can be very useful in some situations, when you have data in both numeric and character formats and you want them to be together, for example. However, they can be tricky and sometimes not so obvious. While fiddling around with cell arrays, I came across some interesting points and thought it would be useful to other people as well.

Let’s create a cell array. I will leave out the ‘;’ so that we can see what is happening :

(1) test = cell(2,2)
test =
[] []
[] []

There are 2 ways (maybe more,  I don’t know) to assign data to a cell in a cell array :

(2) test{1,1} = 'KLM'
test =
'KLM' []
[] []

The other way to assign data to a cell would be :

(3) test(2,2) = {'Lufthansa'}
test =
'KLM' []
[] 'Lufthansa'

It looks like before you can assign something to a cell in a cell array, it has to be converted to a ‘cell object’ so that the receiving cell knows how to read what you send it. It can be done in either of the two ways above. When we assign ‘KLM’, we say test{}, which then makes sure that the string ‘KLM’ is converted to a cell object and inserted in the cell. In (3), we use the usual ( ) to point to the cell (2,2) in the ‘test’ cell array, but we enclose the string ‘Lufthansa’ in { } to make sure it goes in as a cell object.

To clarify, let’s look at what happens if you don’t do this. Let’s say :

(4) test(2,1) = 'Air France'
??? Conversion to cell from char is not possible.

What MATLAB says is that ‘Air France’ is a character array and it needs to be converted to something that the receiving cell of a cell array can understand.

From now, we’ll just stick to using { } to put in and get data from cell arrays.

Next, Let’s try :

(5) test{2,1} = {'Air Canada'}
test =
'KLM'              []
{1x1 cell}    'Lufthansa'

The (2,1) cell of ‘test’ is now a cell itself. Why is that? When we write (2), we say – make the string KLM into a cell object and put it in the (2,1) cell. When we write (5), we mean create a cell object for the string Air Canada, then put this cell object to the (2,1) cell.

To make this more clear, Let’s say we want to access the K in KLM. We write

(6) test{1,1}(1)
ans =

However, to access the C in Air Canada, we need to say

(7) test{2,1}{1,1}(5)
ans =

Basically, till we get to the data in a cell in a cell array, we use the { } braces. Once we get to the data, it is the usual character array or number and we can use the ( ) braces to access them.  MATLAB has a useful cellplot function that gives us a picture of how a cell array looks.

(8) cellplot(test)

which gives us

All cells are enclosed in boxes. To get to the data, we need to go into the box we are interested in. For instance, to get to the K in KLM, we need to go into the (1,1) box, so we write test{1,1}. Once inside, all we see is a character array which are indexed as usual using ().

To access the C in Air Canada, we first say test{} to get in the (2,1) box. But we see one more box inside. So we say test{}{}. Now all we can see is a character array Air Canada which can be indexed in the usual way using ( ).

Finally, let’s say :

(9) test{1,2} = {'UPS'; 'Delta'}

This is equivalent to :

test{1,2}{1,1} = 'UPS';
test{1,2}{2,1} = 'Delta';

We would have the picture as :

To access, for instance, the P in UPS, we would follow the same steps as before.

Let me know what you think. Comments welcome.

Categories: MATLAB Tags: ,

EU enacts new air safety law

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

On September 21, the EU passed a new law aimed at improving air accident investigation by securing independence of air accident investigators.

Points to note (most are quoted, with minor edits):

  1. Safety investigation into an accident is to be conducted free of pressure from regulatory or other authorities.
  2. Any statements taken from individuals by a safety investigator, as well as voice and image recordings inside cockpits and air traffic control units, will be used only for safety investigation, unless there is an overriding reason for disclosure to the judiciary, to ensure people can testify without fear to the safety investigators.
  3. The safety investigation authority will be obliged to make public the final accident report in the shortest possible time and if possible within twelve months of the date of the accident or serious incident.
  4. Each Member State must set up a civil aviation accident emergency plan and ensure that all airlines based on its territory have a plan to assist victims of accidents and their relatives.
  5. EU airlines, as well as non-EU airlines departing from an EU airport, will be obliged to produce a list of all those on board an aircraft as soon as possible, and at the latest within two hours of the notification of the occurrence of an accident to the aircraft, and their names can only be made public after the families or close relatives of the passengers have been informed by the authorities and only if they do not object.
  6. A list of any dangerous goods on board the aircraft will have to be released by the airline immediately after the accident.
  7. Airlines to provide passengers with the means to indicate a contact person in case of an accident.
  8. Setting up of European Network of Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authorities to advise EU institutions, make Europe-wide air safety recommendations, promote best investigation practices and strengthen national safety investigation authorities.
  9. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will have access to the safety occurrence reports produced by Member States and may be invited to advise in accident investigations.

The newly passed law is important because it separates the regulatory body (EASA) from its investigation arm, as is done with the FAA and NTSB. Having both functions in a single organization would invariably lead to conflict of interests as the investigative arm tries to correct the regulatory one. The result being,  air accident investigations end up covered in hazy conclusions and little clarity. India’s DGCA is in a similar situation and we would do well to take a leaf from the EU in this regard.

Link here.

Thanks to Flightglobal  for the heads up .

EADS Revamps brand

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the European aerospace giant, has revamped its brand and that of its subsidiaries with new logos as part of its Vision 2020.

EADS defense and security has been renamed to Cassidian and gets a new logo, while Commercial and Military airframer Airbus,  helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter and space division Astrium sport new logos.

Personally, I think the new logos look very good. However, I think that the Airbus logo would look better if the silver ball didn’t extend beyond the blue curves on the outside, so that basically, it would be the old Airbus logo with a 3D silver ball behind it.

More Here : EADS Press Release

Thanks for the heads up from : Flightglobal

Categories: Aviation, EADS, News

A Boeing and an 8 year old

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment


The next thoughts that spring to mind are of a high-tech, massive, glamourous, aerospace company whose earnings outstrip GDPs of some countries. Now imagine an airplane-crazy 8 year old kid. At the most, what effect do you suppose a kid can have on Boeing? Turns out, the kid can send Boeing scrambling to salvage its image.

Boeing receives thousands of unsolicited ideas to improve their products and almost all of them are customarily disposed of. Enter 8 year old Harry Winsor. When Harry sent his drawing to Boeing, Boeing did the usual bit and sent him a curt Thank you note.  Harry’s father wasn’t amused and wrote about this on his blog. Things happened and eventually, Boeing invited Harry and his family to Seattle for tours of the Boeing assembly plant and the Future of Flight museum. They also gave him a Boeing bag with tons of Boeing goodies inside!

But Harry had the last laugh when he gifted Boeing a drawing he had made to thank them for the invitation. Guess what the drawing was? An Airbus A380. 😆

Credit must go to Boeing for being so sporting and making this happen. 

More here

Categories: Aviation, Boeing

The Wright Way

May 30, 2010 1 comment

This (Right-click and open in a new tab) is an article I wrote in college for the departmental fest newsletter, to relive the event that marks the beginning of modern aviation as we know it today.

Let me know what you think!

Categories: Aviation, Aviation History