AOB – May 2018

27 May 2018

Happy birthday to me…..

Not one I will remember very fondly….

Nice enough day out in Hakone and on Lake Ashi – but we were fighting a little – not good for a birthday….ad a feast of Ramen for dinner.

Emirates have reduced their 3 person crews to just three flights – I guess the noise from both pilots and the media helped. Also I suspect their were a few phone calls from concerned regulators.


“From the 1st July the following pairings will be operated with a flight crew complement of 3”

The next email says:

“Last week I shared a list of potential 3 man LRV routes.”

The implementation of these decisions is coming from the Senior Vice President – Fleet
at Emirates. New to this role at the start of 2018 he was previously Director of Flight Operations at Easyjet.

Here is my problem. He has not managed a long haul fleet with 3am departures and 15 hour flights – he has not tried to sleep in an EK CRC (crew rest) and he has not had 24 hour layovers after a 14 hour flight and across multiple time zones.

I think you have to do it (and to do it for years to feel the effects of accumulated tiredness) before you tell others to do it.

21 May 2018

What do you do when you go to a friend’s house for dinner and people start to smoke: what do you do when there joint of choice is marijuana?

The online medical advice is simple: Secondhand marijuana smoke isn’t only harmful, it’s more damaging than tobacco smoke. To protect the long-term health of our heart and lungs, we need to avoid exposure.

The good news: Exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke is unlikely to make you “high.” This means a person probably won’t fail a workplace urine test or driving impairment blood test after breathing someone else’s marijuana smoke.

Nauseous maybe; but not high.

20 May 2018

So much nonsense about the royal wedding as a milestone to a more inclusive Britain. It simply underscored privilege and entitlement. This is Brexit Britain – there is nothing inclusive about it.

It was a posh white folks wedding where they felt good (but looked mostly miserable) by inviting a few other people.

The serfs were kept at a safe distance. The homeless were cleared off the Windsor streets.

Above all else it was a London wedding. If they wanted inclusive they should have taken the ceremony to Bradford.

The presence of the black choir was celebrated as a herald of the New Britain and yet everyone ended up singing ‘God Save the Queen’, as they always must, because the queen, for all this institution’s much trumpeted modernisation, is still an instrument of God to lead the British people.

There was a British royal wedding yesterday – think about it – this may be the last one of note for some 30 years…..George or Charlotte will likely be the next to be on global tv 0- and the word will look a bit different by then….though much of the pageantry will probably remain.

In the meantime – and rather less cheerful – there will be a few funerals.

Good luck Harry and Meghan – you looked happy.

18 May 2018

Emirates latest: From 1 July – EK will be operating with only three crew to:

Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Boston, Rio and Sao Paulo

Toronto is already a 3 crew operation but with a minimum 48 hour layover.

Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Boston are 24 hour layovers.

Presumably a captain; a co-pilot and someone on the jump seat to whack them over the head when they fall asleep. Just as an aside the Sichuan Airlines flight this week that survived the cockpit window blowing out over the Himalayas had three pilots. It was the jump seat pilot that held the FO inside the airliner while the Captain flew.

16 May 2018

Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?

Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.

Hugh Fennyman: How?

Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

Thus was written in Shakespeare in Love. In Homeland we have the same problem. It will probably all turn out well – but how is a mystery.

Past seasons of Homeland have ended with explosions and even the deaths of major characters, but season seven ends on a surprisingly somber note.

Who are the winners in Season 7. There are none. President Keane gave up her power and Carrie Matheson her sanity. We won, but at what cost?





Overall, this was a solid season of Homeland. You have to admire the show for finding a way to reflect the USA’s current political scene so unpredictably. Performances were as solid as ever.

An eighth season is coming. And Brodie is long forgotten.


15 May 2018

Some remarkable flying by a Sichuan Airlines crew this morning.

Sichuan Airlines Airbus A319’s was flying from Chongqing to Lhasa as 3U8633 when the right hand windshield burst completely when climbing through FL321, injuring the first officer, damaging the flight control unit and causing a loss of cabin pressure.

The captain initiated an emergency descent to 7100 meters (approx FL235 – minimum safe altitude due to mountains), turned the aircraft around and diverted to Chengdu descending the aircraft to 3000 meters as soon as clear of the mountains. The aircraft landed on Chengdu’s runway 02R about 35 minutes after leaving 9800 meters. The first officer and a cabin crew member received injuries.

Great work landing the plane in such circumstances (noise and freezing cold winds in the cockpit, unable to talk with ATC due to the cockpit noise, a broken up FCU, captain hand-flying the airliner, cabin depressurisation over very high terrain…etc).

14 May 2018

After 22 years at Arsenal: over, and finally, respectfully and beautifully, Wenger out.

No surprise here: A pilots’ organization is warning that soft ground conditions at Bangkok’s main international airport can cause its taxiways and aircraft parking positions to buckle or otherwise fail.

These soft spots have been reported since the airport at least 2008. The Airports of Thailand authority blames deficiencies in the asphalt materials used in pavement construction and the height of the water table below the airport. The airport was built on a former swamp.

Permanent repairs are not expected to begin until at least late 2019. A team is on standby around the clock to make stopgap repairs. Bit late if the airliner is already stuck in a hole!


10 May 2018

I am always impressed by the quality of the people at Olin College – in part because they understand things that leave me mystified. The college has announced nine new faculty will join the College over the next two years.

The selected full time and visiting faculty include:

Alessandra Ferzoco Visiting Assistant Professor of Measurement Science. Ferzoco’s lab combines mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy to study molecules. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Erhardt Graeff Assistant Professor of Social and Computer Science. Graeff studies creative uses of technology for civic and political engagement. He will receive his Ph.D. in June from the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab.

Kelsey Houston-Edwards Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Houston-Edwards studies probability theory. She has worked as a science journalist and has a YouTube show exploring mathematics. She is a doctoral candidate in math at Cornell University.

Whitney Lohmeyer Assistant Professor of Engineering. Lohmeyer is a systems engineer at OneWeb and received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT.

Steve Matsumoto Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Matsumoto’s research focuses on computer security, as it interests with economics and game theory. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University.

Carrie Nugent Assistant Professor of Computational Physics and Planetary Science. Nugent discovers and studies asteroids. She is the author of Asteroid Hunters, a popular science book. She earned her Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA.

Alice Paul Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Paul’s research focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms for optimization problems. Paul earned her Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University.

Emily Tow Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Tow studies biofilms that form during wastewater recycling. She is also a visual artist. She has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

Linda Vanasupa Visiting Professor of Materials Engineering. Vanasupa is a professor of Materials Engineering and the founding Associate Director of the Center for Sustainability in Engineering at California Polytechnic State University. Vanasupa earned her graduate degrees at Stanford.

Super-smart people.

8 May 2018

Emirates is parking airplanes at DWC. The EK PR people talk of a short term shortage of pilots and adds that all will be solved by the 170 cadets that are currently in the Emirates training college.

No it will not. Some of the cadets will come online at the end of this year. Some will not make it. Many will need extra training. Some will be good. Some will not. And in the meantime pilots will continue to leave. It is not a mass exodus as some of the media commentators day – but it is a consistent flow of leavers.

Here is the best advice they have received for a while:

“Everyone is beyond tired of the excuses. Just get the wallet out, pay a decent salary increase to retain and attract. Then, with sufficient numbers, sort the rostering debacle by having a system that actually works by removing daft restrictions. It’s not rocket science!”


Emirates has announced it will start a daily service between Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, and Dubai, from 1 October 2018.

The daily flight to Edinburght will complement EK’s current double daily flights between Dubai and Glasgow.

Emirates will also replace Etihad’s five weekly flights from AUH to EDI. Part of the closer co-operation between the two airlines.

Flight EK023 will depart Dubai daily at 0955hrs and arrive in Edinburgh at 1450hrs, while the return flight, EK024 will depart Edinburgh at 2015hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0640hrs the next morning.

6 May 2018

Great win in Lampang. 1-0. Goal from the outstanding K. Thossapol.

5 May 2018

Whatever happened to Christoph Mueller, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Emirates? He arrived in 2016 as the great hope for the future of the company and appears to have been neutered or silenced.

This is his standard mantra from a recent conference in India – I dont disagree though the timescales might be ambitious:

In his keynote address, Christoph Mueller said that hyper-personalisation would be the new industry requirement.

“Mobile devices will become redundant in around 10 years and will be completely replaced by voice. We will also have a completely new customer segment, with 30% of passengers being active seniors who have retired with good incomes and are travelling the world. Commuter profiles will change, and global migrants and a middle-class with massive purchasing power will drive technology,” he added.

4 May 2018

“As Trump holds National Prayer Day after admitting he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels, some suggest he’s a porn-again Christian.”

Off twitter!

“Growing passenger numbers on flights, as a result of a codeshare partnership with Emirates, will soon see Flydubai flights landing at Emirates’ Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport (DXB), the airline’s CEO has said.

“The cooperation is growing very strongly, and in the future we’ll be moving flights to different parts of the airport, [and] absolutely to Terminal 3,” Ghaith al Ghaith said.”

As if DXB’s T3 was not already busy enough. But the new FZ flight to Helsinki is a good example of a flight that might be more effective operating from T3.

1 May 2018

Stayed up until 4am this morning watching Watford lose 0-2 away at Tottenham (well, at Wembley this season.)

At times we played OK football – and we created the better chances. But our finishing show a woeful lack of confidence in front of goal. And Karnezis gifted Tottenham their opener. Why manager Gracia persists with the Greek goalkeeper is a mystery; he does not inspire confidence and he does not lead the team. Simply not a big or strong enough presence.