It’s 40 years today since BA Concorde flew its first commercial flight

Jan 21, 2016

It’s time to remind you all again about Concorde! It was a great aircraft and one of it’s pilots has been back to remember the good times. Captain Mike Bannister, British Airways’ former chief Concorde pilot, has returned to Heathrow to inspect the iconic supersonic aircraft, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first commercial flight. Following his walk-around, Captain Bannister declared:

“She’s looking ship-shape and remarkably good 40 years on!  I’m delighted that, parked in her position at the end of runway 27L, millions of customers arriving at and leaving Heathrow continue to have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of one of the great loves of my life.”

British Airways Captain Mike Bannister and Concorde

British Airways Captain Mike Bannister and Concorde.

Alpha Bravo, one of seven Concordes operated by British Airways, remains in top condition thanks to the efforts of a new generation of engineers who were still at school when Concorde retired in 2003.

British Airways Concordes

These apprentice and graduate engineers have learned how to maintain and protect the airframe of Concorde under the watchful eye of senior engineers and retired Concorde specialists.

Keith Rose, British Airways’ general manager of engineering, who is in charge of the Concorde project, said:  “Working on Concorde not only gives our graduate and apprentice engineers the chance to expand their skills by working on a unique aircraft type, it also allows them to be part of the extraordinary heritage of British Airways, keeping this world-renowned aircraft in excellent showcase condition.”

Concorde’s first commercial British Airways flight took-off from Heathrow on January 21 1976, bound for Bahrain.  From 1976 to 2003, the aircraft’s sleek fuselage and slender delta wing was the silhouette to spot as she climbed out toward or returned from her usual destinations of New York or Barbados.

And there are few better avgeek experiences than enjoying a fried breakfast in the Compass Centre as Concorde roared past during its very impressive take-off.

The seven British Airways Concordes are now displayed around the world, and it is estimated that more than one million people have visited them over the past 12 years.

ritish Airways Concorde flight deck

While the retirement of Concorde was a sad day for all aviation enthusiasts, the aircraft has left a lasting legacy.  Not only can she still be visited, and admired, but the many advances that first allowed Concorde to fly have since found their way onto today’s aircraft.  For example, composite materials akin to those found on Concorde are now used to improve efficiency of aircraft such as the modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner; and high-pressure hydraulics, designed for Concorde have been adapted for use in the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380.

Concorde Facts and Stats

  • Concorde was a joint undertaking by the British and French governments; she was designed and built jointly by the British Aircraft Corporation and Aerospatiale
  • Concorde successfully completed her first supersonic flight on 1 October, 1969 – although the first commercial flights by British Airways to Bahrain and Air France to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar – took place on 21 January 1976
  • Concorde still holds the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a civil aircraft (New York to London in two hours 52 minutes, 59 seconds)
  • She flew up to 11 miles high at the edge of space in the layers between the stratosphere and the ionosphere where the curvature of the earth could be seen (see photo taken by Captain Mike Bannister from the flight deck that shows this curve).

Photo taken by Captain Mike Bannister from the Concorde flight deck that shows the curve of the Earth

  • Due to the intense heat of the airframe, Concorde could stretch anywhere from six to 10 inches during flight.  Every surface, even the windows, was warm to the touch by the end of the flight.
  • As well as passengers, Concorde was sometimes used to transport human organs, diamonds and currency.
  • The menu on British Airways’ first commercial flight included:  Champagne Dom Perignon 1969, caviar and lobster canapes, grilled fillet steak, palm heart salad with Roquefort dressing and fresh strawberries with double cream. Customers were also offered Havana cigars.
  • James Callaghan was the first British premier to go supersonic when he went to see President Carter in Washington to negotiate landing rights for the aircraft in the US.

British Airways Concorde taking off

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Will you be buying an Airbus this year as 2016 aircraft prices released

Jan 19, 2016

Following a successful year in 2015 Airbus has increased the average list prices of its aircraft by 1.1 per cent across the product line. The new pricing is effective from January 1st 2016. The 1.1 per cent price increase has been calculated according to Airbus’ standard escalation formula over the January 2015 to January 2016 period and takes into account the drop in materials and commodities prices.

Last year Airbus delivered 635 aircraft to 85 customers including 10 new ones. These deliveries comprised of: 491 A320 Family aircraft, 103 A330 aircraft, 27 A380 super jumbos and 14 A350 XWB airliners.

Airbus also achieved 1,036 net orders from 53 customers (of which eight are new), comprising 897 single-aisle aircraft and 139 widebodies. At 2015 year-end the overall backlog had climbed to a new industry record of 6,787 aircraft valued at US$996.3 billion at list prices.

“Our new 2016 price increase reflects the strong appetite from customers around the globe for Airbus’ comprehensive, modern and innovative product range,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
Airbus aircraft prices 2016
“We see demand for our aircraft continuing to grow across all size categories as our reliable, efficient product line enables customers to grow their businesses profitably as well as being favoured by passengers who want to travel in the most comfortable cabins.”
Soif you would like to start your own airline or need an air cargo plane what do you need to spend to get yourself the latest Airbus model?

Airbus Prices

2016 Average List Prices (millions of US$)















A330-200 Freighter













Price depends on design weights, engines choice and level of selected customisation. 

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The FAA downgrade Thailand to Category 2 after latest IASA assessment

Dec 1, 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that the Kingdom of Thailand does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been assigned a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority.

U.S. and Thai aviation officials have a long-standing cooperative relationship and both countries work continuously to meet the challenge of ensuring aviation safety. A Category 2 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating means that the country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures. With a Category 2 rating, Thailand’s carriers can continue existing service to the United States. They will not be allowed to establish new services to the United States.

Thailand was assigned an initial Category 2 rating in 1996 and received a Category 1 rating in 1997. Reassessments of Thailand in 2001 and 2008 continued the Category 1 rating. A reassessment in July 2015 found that Thailand did not meet international standards. Today’s announcement follows ongoing discussions with the government of Thailand which concluded on the 28th October.

As part of the FAA’s IASA program, the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conduct operations to the United States, or participate in code sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines, and makes that information available to the public. The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.

A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards.  With an IASA Category 1 rating, a country’s air carriers can establish service to the United States and carry the code of U.S. carriers. In order to maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

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The Latest Update of Martin Aircraft Manned Jetpack Test Flying

Nov 20, 2015

Here is the latest update on the Martin Aircraft Jetpack. The following video is a practice flight display for an upcoming public event to be held in China in early December 2015.

Over the last six months, Martin Aircraft has been taking the P12 jetpacks through a formal flight testing and evaluation programme which differs from previous testing as these aircraft have been built in more of a production environment, using rigorous build configuration controls and processes.

As a result of the implementation of advanced aircraft sub-systems and better design, the manned flight testing phase has confirmed significant improvements in aircraft handling and maneuverability from earlier test flights.

Have you bought yours yet?

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How to beat Jet lag – tips for those long haul fligths

Oct 28, 2015

Jet lag! Most of you will have experienced this at one time or another if you have flown long distance.  As you travel across time zones the disruption of your body clock can lead to tiredness, waking up at night along with possible digestive problems and headaches. This  can happen after you return to your own time zone as well as during your trip.

So how do you beat Jet Lag?

There are many tips including changing you sleep pattern before you fly, eating specific foods and staying happy! But for us it’s all down to time.

We spoke to a commercial pilot recently about how he copes with crossing time zones and his answer was to stay on UK time wherever he flew. This may work for a long haul pilot but for anyone travelling for business or a holiday you do need to slot into the local time zone.

The majority of our recent long haul flights have been from the UK to the USA, Canada and South Africa.  For such distances direct flights will help you manage jet lag especially to somewhere like Cape Town. The time difference is just 1-2 hours in South Africa, depending on the time of year. If you book a direct flight, they usually leave in the evening, after 5pm. With an 11 hour 30 minute flight time you can enjoy some inflight entertainment, eat a meal and have plenty of time to sleep. Arriving in the morning from 7am onwards you can very easily slot into the local time zone. Stay awake all day and go to bed from 9pm onwards and you should be fine. Take a return night flight and the process is just the same.

It’s a simple thing but always knowing the local time of your destination is the best way to manage the jet lag. The first thing to do is change the time on your watch or phone as soon as you board the aircraft. If you are flying east to west – say London to New York or Toronto then the time difference is usually 5 hours behind on the east coast of America. All you need do is just stay awake! On arrival stay up until 9pm  local time and you shouldn’t have any issues. On the return flight take a night flight back. Don’t worry about catching a film just make sure that you sleep as much as you can, at least the second half of the flight,  so that you are woken by the crew as they serve the breakfast meal just before landing. Once landed stay awake until 9pm onwards.

It gets harder to cope the further the flight, especially if you are heading to Australia or New Zealand. Breaking up flights with a stopover can be helpful but also adds to the cost of your trip. Again it’s all about slotting in to the destination time.

On a recent 11 hour 30 minute flight to Bangkok,  a quick check of the time difference helped to organise what we were to do on the flight to not suffer any jet lag.  With a departure time at around midday we would be arriving in Thailand at almost midnight UK time. The plan was to try and sleep for the last 5 hours of the flight so that we would wake just before touchdown. To help block out any noise you can listen to one the music channels on the inflight entertainment. We managed 4-5 hours sleep and then stayed awake until around 10-11pm local time. The return flight was a night flight, departing around midnight so again sleeping for at least the second half of the flight meant a simple transition back to UK time.

We don’t worry too much about the food, or drinking too much coffee, it’s all about staying awake when flying east across the Atlantic and sleeping at least the second half of the flight if your (local) arrival time is early morning.  If you are arriving at midday or in the afternoon on a long haul flight then it maybe that you sleep the first half of the flight. Just switch into your destination time as you board the plane.

Hopefully this simple method works for you but if you have any tips let us know or tweet them to us @Plane_Talking.

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Travelport showcases new Travel Commerce Platform

Oct 26, 2015

Travelport has rounded off an 18-month branding project by launching a new high-end B2B commercial entitled ‘We’re There’. The video portrays how Travelport is redefining travel commerce through innovative technology solutions, while conveying how every single second, everywhere in the world where travel is searched, shared, bought or sold, Travelport is there. The film ends by revealing that every journey, itinerary and location shot in the ad, and those undertaken by the crew that made it, were searched, booked and paid for on Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform.

Established in 1971, Travelport now has 400+ of the world’s leading network airlines and low-cost carriers, 650,000+ unique hotel properties, 35,000 car rental companies, 12 major rail networks and 67,000+ travel agencies at their disposal whilst also providing distribution, technology, payment and other services for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry through 3 succinct strategies:

  • Connect, Share and Promote
  • Search, Sell and Pay
  • Partner, Build and Innovate

The combined value of these strategies is that we’re there for a huge variety of businesses that connect on our Travel Commerce Platform.

Gordon Nardini, Senior Director, Marketing at Travelport commented: “Our ‘We’re There’ commercial not only helps us explain the value that our platform brings to the travel industry, but also the very human side of our business, which is about helping people to get wherever they need to be all around the world, for a huge range of reasons. The film shows how we help the travel industry and the world’s travellers in so many different ways.”


Penni Hardy, Senior Manager, Global Brand, Travelport added : “Travelport believes passionately in getting the best brains together, and this commercial has been a creative collaboration between the brand teams in Langley and Atlanta, the team at Purple Creative and Connected Pictures. Everyone who has been involved has made their mark and we’re very proud of not only the final film, but also the way we have all worked together to make it happen.”

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First Singapore Airlines A350 is to fly Amsterdam route from April 2016

Oct 12, 2015

As Airbus continue to assemble the first Singapore Airlines A350 the airline has announced today that Amsterdam will be the inaugural destination for its new-generation Airbus A350 fleet. They expect services to begin by April 2016.

The airline has 63 A350-900s on firm order, the first of which is due for delivery in January. Prior to the introduction of Amsterdam services, the aircraft will be operated on select Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur flights on a temporary basis, for crew training purposes.

Additional A350 destinations are to be announced in the coming months.

“We are very much looking forward to the arrival of the new A350s which will be fitted with our newest-generation cabin products, providing more comfort to our customers. This includes new Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats, and the world’s most advanced in-flight entertainment system,” said Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Ms Lee Wen Fen.

Singapore Airlines A350

Singapore Airlines A350-900

“Our investment in the A350 is in line with Singapore Airlines’ longstanding commitment to operate a young and modern fleet. The highly efficient new aircraft will offer us the potential to open new routes, enhancing our network and further strengthening the Singapore hub.”

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 XWB A350-900 in build

The Singapore Airlines A350 fleet is expected to grow to 11 aircraft during the aircraft’s first year of operation. In addition to the 63 firm orders, SIA has purchase options for 20 additional A350 aircraft.

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Time Flies with Page & Cooper’s Pilot Watches

Sep 30, 2015

Pilot watches have been a necessity for most pilots for decades, with their original features and classic designs proving highly popular. Pilot watches are specially designed to provide maximum comfort for long distance journeys and with the face of the watch designed to be easily readable in all lighting conditions. Often designed to be unconditionally functional for the most demanding conditions which is crucial for pilots.

Page and Cooper are independent fine watch specialists, providing an expert service for a wide range of high quality timepieces. Page and Cooper’s pilot watches collection are perfect for any style or price range. Here we have selected 5 of our favourites to showcase to you.Page and Cooper’s pilot watches Laco Tokio

One of the original pilot watches came for the brand Laco, who Page and Cooper are proud to be the official UK distributers of. With over 90 years of watch making experience, the Laco Tokio watch is a perfect match for all pilots. With sapphire crystal making up the dial glass and smooth leather strap, this watch manages to incorporate a luxury style with practical design. It still has the features of an original pilot watch with luminous hands and numbers and a 50m water resistance adding that practical element.

Fortis have become a world leader in manufacturing watches for aviation. Another watch that reflects the traditional pilot watch design from the Fortis range is the Aviatis Flieger Cockpit. With a strikingly clear dial and a unique design which focus on the main elements of the Flieger Classic giving the watch its name. This watch gives a more youthful design with the split coloured face of the watch, as well as contributing to making it unmissable in all lighting conditions.

The Fortis Aviatis Daybreaker Stealth is an elegant and unique timepiece which consists of more than 500 micro-mechanical parts, making it one of the most complicated yet amazing watches ever made. A chronograph alarm, water resistant to 200m and with white superluminal coated numbers, indices and hands these are just some of the things that make this Fortis watch extraordinary.

The next watch I’ve chosen in the pilot range is one of great quality and packed with features essential for a pilots watch. The Damasko DC56 is an all-black, smart design, perfect for the more subtle watch wearers who will love its more technical flair. With a day/date window, self-winding mechanical movement and shockproof features this watch means business. Renowned for being tough-wearing and suitable for extreme weather temperatures Damasko watches are perfect for any pilot.

Another watch from the Page and Cooper pilot range is the Sinn 900 Diapal, this watch combines a range of different Sinn technologies to offer maximum reliability for time measurement and functionality. A special design feature on this watch is the Ar-Dehumidifing technology to prevent fogging in the watch face and ensures clear visibility which is crucial for a pilots watch. It also offers practical features such as American and European conversion tracking scales, perfect for pilots who are traveling through different time zones. This stainless steel watch is visually stunning, making it a potentially multifunctional watch which can be worn on most occasions.

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Win Flights to Thailand with Discover Thailand Beyond Business Experience

Aug 26, 2015

Would you like to visit Bangkok? You can win two flights to Thailand just by casting a vote.

We have been taking part in the ‘Discover Thailand: Beyond Business Experience’ campaign to help promote the all the benefits this amazing country has to offer.

Win Flights To Thailand

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) have teamed up with Thai Airways to offer two flights to the writer of one of five top articles relating to an experince in Thailand. There are also two flights availabe to one lucky voter!

The flights to Bangkok are from any airport on the Thai netowrk so you may get the chance to travel on their new A380 or 787 aircraft.

The voting finishes at the end of August so you don’t have long!

Please just visit here for your chance to win two return flights to ‪#‎Thailand‬. If you’d like to vote for our crew member – he’s the one at the controls of an A380!

Thank you and good luck – we may see you there!

‪#‎DiscoverThailand‬ #‎ThaiAirways‬ ‪#‎Contest‬ ‪#Win #‎Travel‬ ‪#Holiday‬ ‪

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Flying start for the Rugby World Cup 2015 #RWC2015

Aug 19, 2015

Flying and the Rugby World Cup don’t always go hand in hand but in 2015 it may be a little different.

The interest in rugby and flying has proved a hit for Air New Zealand, the All Blacks and several star rugby players from around the world this month. Just a month before this year’s Rugby World Cup the Kiwi airline has released another one of its world famous safety videos – this latest one called Men in Black Safety Defenders.

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. Starring alongside the two long-serving All Blacks is Coach Steve Hansen, team mates Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg . You should also be able to spot Wallabies great David Campese, former England Captain Martin Johnson and former Argentinean Captain Agustin Pichot making cameo appearances.

These themed  safety videos are always popular but the rugby theme has been a winner with the airline quoting 12.9 million online views in the first four days of its release.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Flying with Air New Zealand isn’t the only way to get your fix of rugby and flying this summer. If you’re thinking of heading to one of the games, or already have your tickets to a Rugby World Cup 2015 match then you can make it an even more memorable event. Usually associated with the rich and famous and seen at such sporting events as Formula One, flying into a rugby match is now an option for this year’s World Cup.

Flying into a rugby match Rugby World Cup #RWC2015

Rather than get hot under the collar as you try and negotiate busy motorways or struggle with public transport you can now look down on the chaos and enjoy the VIP treatment that air charter offers. There are specialist companies that offer such services to events around the world and can tailor  packages to suit your needs.

So if you are a rugby fan and like to be treated like a VIP why not take a look into getting a flying start to this year’s Rugby World Cup. #RWC2015


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