AOB – December 2017

30 December 2017

Saw the new Star Wars today – very enjoyable.

Here is the review from rogerebert.com – which is pretty well spot on.

26 December 2017

More on the JFK fallout at Emirates – “Being an old duffer and therefore saddled with outdated and unwanted qualities, such as airmanship, common sense, lateral thinking etc, I find the evolving EK approach to line ops in general and post incident reaction to be very worrying. The above qualities were instilled in me when I started flying over 40 years ago and were always being refined and reinforced, by a succession of wide body airlines – until I joined Emirates.

When I agreed to join EK as a DEC I was told I was being recruited for my experience and ability to see the big picture. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that this is actually the last thing our employer wants.

More and more, I am forming the opinion that I was recruited under false pretences and I think it might be time to join the long list of people who have already voted with their feet. And that would be a shame as there are some great operators and some extremely nice people here – but nearly everyone I fly with feels ‘inhibited’ (their words, not mine) by company policy and culture.

A top down culture change is needed. It isn’t going to happen, so either stay and make the best of it or get out. They are the only options.”

Again fro PPRUNE – but interesting take on how things are right now.

Nice Christmas Day – quiet in the day and dinner at home with Anna and Nicholas in the evening. No turkey – a home made beef wellington instead. Not bad!

Meanwhile in Toronto:

“It may look like a winter wonderland outside, but you may want to bundle up if you want to enjoy the snow this Christmas— the City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert.

Extreme cold weather alerts are typically issued when temperatures reach -15°C or colder or a wind chill of -20°C or colder.

Environment Canada predicts a dip to -14 C tonight with a windchill of up to -25. The national weather agency says brisk westerly winds are expected to cause blowing snow with exposed areas being particularly vulnerable.”

I remember those days!

22 December 2017

EK83 from pprune – “Well, now that you asked, there were tales of long taxi times, assigned FLs that were not in the flight plan, and dodgy weather at GVA.
But surely, if you do the miles to go vs. fuel remaining calcs, you don’t reach a point where you get an eicas fuel low level (don’t quote me on whether that’s a warning or a caution,it’s been a long day) message when executing a missed approach. Perhaps an earlier diversion was called for?
The planned alternate was binned as being too far away, so the crew elected to go to LYS, called mayday on finals, and had 1800kg left in the tanks at the gate. After a quick refuel, they were off again. Alls week that ends well.”

1,800kg – between 15 to 20 minutes in a 773 at cruise altitude. Fortunately Lyons is just down the road from GVA and did not have weather issues.

21 December 2017

Six premiership managers already fired this season – and we are not half way yet:

Frank de Boer – C Palace
Ronald Koeman – Everton
Craig Shakespeare – Leicester
Slaven Bilic – West Ham United
Tony Pulis – West Brom
Paul Clement – Swansea.

Possible casualties to come: Hughes (Stoke), Benitez (Newcastle) and maybe Silva (Watford).

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Rumours of an incident with EK83 from DXB to GVA on 14 December – flight diverted to Lyons. Certainly looks slow on approach to GVA. But no other details in public.

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10C this morning.

19 December 2017

The ME tensions continue to rise – this evening Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed to have fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi king’s official residence in Riyadh, which Saudi Arabia said was intercepted south of the capital.

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Forgot to mention – England lost in Perth and are now 0-3 down in the Ashes series – a whitewash seems likely.

Too many senior players did not do themselves or the team justice. It would be nice to think that the captain can reshape the team with players that want to be there. But we are talking about england cricket – a team and sport largely run by dinosaurs.

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Cold in Chiang Mai – just 15C this morning.

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Back from a few days in Hong Kong with Tai. I may actually be falling out of love with the city.

Crowds. Everywhere.

16 December 2017

Helpful advise in the Guardian from Jay Rayner:

“Thou shalt drink Bailey’s, though only at this time of year. Drinking it at any other time of year marks you out as having the palate of a seven-year-old. Drinking it at Christmas defines you as sweet and sentimental.”

Tai – take note.

12 December 2017

Lots of commentary on PPRUNE about the Emirates incident at JFK – though little media coverage.

One comment reflects something that I have heard from a number of people:

“Many at EK inhabit a space where a common sense approach is overridden by procedures that merely increase complexity as the various stakeholders seek to justify their influence and rely more than ever on infallible technology without ever considering that pilots can and will do just as good a job. The primary reason they think this way is simple, these very same stakeholders are themselves almost to a person intimidated by anything that isn’t straight forward or something that is slightly unusual or challenging, therefore the assumption is made that a procedure is required to mitigate the challenge as they judge that a normal line pilots skills are inferior to their own.
NCE is another airport where this has been highlighted which will in time present similar type events.”

8 December 2017

This does not look good:

EK 207 4th December departure – arriving at 20.30pm into JFK, New York (01.30am UTC on 5 December.



Two screengrabs from Flightradar24. The airplane is at 0ft calibrated altitude short of 13L at JFK flying the Canarsie approach – a curving VOR approach into the airfield.

ATC – JFK Tower – calls “Emirates5KiloPapa – “you appear to be extremely low on approach. Confirm you have the runway in sight.”

The audio is here: scroll to 26.04 to listen to the warning to EK.


Emirates 207 aborts its landing and climbs to 2,000ft before circling to land on 22L.

From the ICAO: “Although civil transport is considered to be the safest means of transport, air navigation is an activity facing many potential dangers. … When an accident happens involving an international civil aviation flight, Annex 13 sets out the rules on the notification, investigation and reporting of the accident.”
Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation – ICAO

I assume this incident will require reporting and investigation – especially as it is so soon after a similar incident at Moscow.

7 December 2017

This on PPRUNE today: the changes in UAE airspace apply to AUH as well as DXB. This appears to be from an ATC officer:

“Just a quick note regarding the new airspace coming into affect on 7th December

The powers that be have agreed and put in place in many’s opinion an unsafe, inefficient airspace design.

There are many problems within ATC at AUH. However the main focus of this post is a friendly warning to pilots to please be on your guard for the foreseeable future.

The new airspace has SIDS and STARS that are not separated from each other with an amazing amount of conflict points. Far more than I have ever seen in any airspace.

Currently AUH don’t have the correct amount of staff to man the new position it requires. They have also cancelled leave meaning many controllers are fatigued. Put this together with a very unsafe airspace and I am truly concerned that a serious incident is a real possibility.

It will be interesting to hear your options after the 7th. We are told that it is fuel efficient but I’m sure within a matter of days you guys will realise that isn’t the case.”

6 December 2017

So Dubai airspace is about to change dramatically in a move that is absolutely necessary to support the number of aircraft movements but may have safety issues.

From tomorrow all arrivals and departures are changing with closer spaced routings and parallel arrivals.

There will be minor departure changes but the current use of a single runway for departures will continue.

There will now be a left and right downwind for the two runway 30s – depending on activity at Al Minhad airforce base.

Runways 12L and 12R have no such restrictions and have a permanent double downwind.

Think about it this way. Traditionally Dubai has been a land left and take-off right airport. Flights landing on 12 L have flown over Sharjah and then turned over the sea onto final for 12L.

Now 12R landings are possible with a right downwind. This will bring flights over Business Bay or Al Quoz before making a right turn to 12R.

The same applies in reverse for runway 30 arrivals. The traditional route is fly over Shrarjah – head out into the desert – right turn – in over Mirdiff and onto 30R.

A left downwind for 30L will head over the city and into the desert for a left turn – coming in much closer to Mirdiff City Center and onto 30L.

The problem may be on the ground where a plane landing on 12L and going to terminals 1 and 3 will need to cross Runway 12R There is not a lot of space between the runways – just enough for the M taxiway.

The real issue will be wake turbulence from EK’s heavy aircraft – the effects of which are well documented.

Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans) have been working with this issue since the 2013 launch of a capacity programme aimed at increasing capacity at DXB.

Due to the close proximity of the staggered runways at DXB, in July 2015, dans established a Wake Analysis Facility to research and study the behaviour of wake generated by landing and departing aircraft.

In March 2016 DXB started Approach Peak Offload (APO) Operations based on the principle of reallocating arriving medium-wake category aircrafts to the right runway (normally used for departures) during peak arrival periods at DXB.

For the new changes it appears that DXB is implementing a Dependent Diagonals Concept
where the right runway will not be restricted to just medium-wake aircraft but will also be used by heavy-wake and super-wake aircraft. This requires simultaneous dependent approaches, requiring a diagonal separation between approaching aircraft.

I wonder – the trouble with all of this is that there really is no independent oversight – DANS, the GCAA and Emirates are all government entities. There is no third party regulator. So just how tested is this? Has it been tested endlessly in the simulator? What are the minimums when the airport reverts to single runway arrivals?

5 December 2017

Apparently our miserable neighbours have already had three written warnings from the developer about noise.

The owner is an Air Asia pilot – which is alarming if he shows the same casual disrespect for passengers and colleagues. Poor.

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Time to look back on a few things in 2017: some of the best tv shows – mainly binge watched on long air flights:

Taboo: This is the Guardian’s commentary: “Tom Hardy was simply mesmerising as brooding cut-throat James Delaney in this seedy, murky plunge into the dark heart of 19th century London. Gunpowder, treason, and a compelling plot – taking in such adversaries as Jonathan Pryce’s deliciously slimy East India boss, Jason Watkins’ calculated Solomon Coop and Mark Gatiss’s bloated, disgusting Prince Regent. Watching the anti-hero’s dastardly schemes bear bloody fruit, amid the assorted depravity around him, made for essential viewing on cold Saturday nights.

The Man in the High Castle: Independent commentary: Amazon’s flagship original show based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name returns for its third season. The show’s bleak alternate timeline where the Nazis and Japanese Empire won the War comes loaded with extra relevance given the new rise of the far-right. Its alternative history has become genuinely compelling.

Lucifer: Guilty pleasure. Good looking people behaving badly in LA. What’s not to like?

The Good Fight: CBS’ successful spin-off from the Good Wife.

Coming early in 2018:

Billions (Season 3): Damian Lewis is back as a cut-throat hedge fund boss (Sky Atlantic) Homeland (Season 7): The popular spy thriller starring Claire Danes (Channel 4)

4 December 2017

Woken up at 2.08am by the neighbours drunken party singing from their balcony.

Moved to a room at the back of he house – a bit quieter – slept around 3.30am.  Headache today. Tired.

3 December 2017

Let’s agree not to mention the cricket from Australia.

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Instead let’s think about the folks over the road from us who have been holding a housewarming since the morning – as the party has been running for over 12 hours now.

They have gotten louder as the day has gone on. They will argue that they are not playing music so are keeping the noise down.

Instead they shout, cheer, yell and scream. One voice is especially shrill. There must be some 20 people on their rooftop balcony now.

We have kept our doors and windows closed to try shut out the noise. Unsuccessfully.

It is very Thai. No consideration of other people and a sense that they are entitled to make as much noise as they like. The Thais like noise. and they like making noise.

There was no warning to neighbours that they would be hosting this all day party. There will be no apology either.

I did worry that the roof terraces could be noisy. Quiet dinner parties would be nice. Shouting, alcohol fuelled voices are not nice.

Given the cars that are parked it is a fare bet that some of these people will be driving later. Not clever.

Once again I am having reservations about our move here. Moving again would be expensive and very frustrating. But this is not right.

The development needs a residents’ constitution, a code of conduct that respects that this is a diverse community. We do not have that.

1 December 2017

Here is your World Cup draw for Russia 2018

Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

England should be very happy with that.

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