Showing posts from February, 2015

Split Scimitar Winglets set to become a common sight

If you think that you've been seeing some funny-looking airliners in the past couple of months, you're not imagining things. On February 18th, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 made the world's first commercial flight by an aircraft equipped with fuel-saving Split Scimitar Winglets. Regular blended winglets are now quite common on commercial aircraft, as they improve aerodynamics and thus reduce fuel consumption. Made by Aviation Partners Boeing, the Split Scimitar Winglets reportedly do an even better job – when retrofitted onto United's existing Next Generation 737 Blended Winglets, they should reduce fuel consumption by two percent per aircraft. The airline plans to add the new winglets to its entire fleet of 737, 757 and 767 airliners. By doing so, it estimates that it will save "more than 65 million gallons [246,051,780 liters] of fuel a year, equivalent to more than 645,000 metric tons [710,991 tons] of carbon dioxide and $200 million per year in jet

A crash course in probability

GULLIVER will soon fly from Heathrow to Milan on a British Airways Airbus A319. That flight has a one-in-4.8m chance of crashing. Shortly after he is jetting from Heathrow to JFK on a Virgin-operated A330. Chance of crashing? One in 5.4m. That means that he could apparently expect to fly on the route for 14,716 years before plummeting into the Atlantic. These figures come courtesy of “Am I Going Down?”, a recently released iPhone app that claims to calculate the odds of a disaster on a particular flight. Users input three variables: the departure and arrival airports, the airline, and the type of plane used. The app's maker hasn't responded to requests to give a little more detail of its methodology, but one presumes that it is a simple weighting of the proportion of crashes associated with each of those variables in the past. There are, of course, countless holes in such a simplistic approach. How does one decide the relative importance of the make of plane, airline or