Things about aviation you should know by Harshada Ahire

Things about aviation you should know by Harshada Ahire

All about aviation
The word Aviation was introduced by the French writer and former naval officer Gabriel La Landelle in 1863. The word aviation is derived from the Latin word avis means “Bird” and the suffixation. Aviation deals with travel by air, specifically in a plane.

1.History of aviation

1.1 Early Beginning of aviation

In 852 AD, Armen Firman of Spain covered his body with feathers and created wing-like garments that he attached to his arms. He then jumped from the tower but his attempt was unsuccessful with minor injuries. In the 5th century, kites were invented in china. It was known as the first aircraft made by man.

The age of modern aviation began during the 1700s and classified into two main categories: -

A] Lighter-than-air aviation and B] Heavier-than-air aviation

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1.2] Lighter-than-air aviation

Ballon de Rozier

In September 1783 an inventor De Rozier came up with the idea of creating a balloon that could possibly carry people. The idea that people could travel by air was so inventive that other people began capitalizing on the movement This invention become popular and made successful on November 21,1783 by Montgolfier brothers. The balloon was lifted by hot air from a wood fire and flew a total of nine kilometers in 25 minutes. It had enough fuel to fly for a longer duration but two aeronauts had to land because the firewood’s embers began to burn the fabric. The Experimenting of balloons was limited because they could only travel downwind due to lack of maneuverability. Later this issue was solved by dirigible. Dirigibles derive lift from hydrogen or helium gas instead of from heat. These airships were the first to carry passengers over long distances.

Airships are classified into three categories: -

•        Non-rigid – Also known as blimps, they lack a solid wood or metal framework. They basically consist of envelopes filled with gas, with a small gondola attached below.

•        Semi-rigid – An airship with a solid supporting structure that only runs on the bottom part of the ship’s interior.

•        Rigid – These airships have a full internal framework, usually constructed from wood or some type of metal, covered with an envelope. One or more gasbags inside provide lift.

The age of lighter-than-air aviation waned with the development of better airplane designs. On May 6, 1937, the zeppelin Hindenburg burst into flames and crashed to the ground at Lakehurst, N.J., killing 22 crewmen, 13 passengers and a ground worker. The accident would mark the end of the airship era.

1.3] Heavier-than-air aviation

Wright flyer

The first recorded powered flight was carried out by Clément Ader on October 9, 1890 in his bat-winged, fully self-propelled fixed-wing aircraft. The flight was of a significant distance (50 m (160 ft)) but insignificant altitude from level ground. On December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers completed their dream by braking records through feet and time with each successful test flight. The Wright brothers flights combined both power and control, setting a new standard for aviation. The Journal of Aircrafts noted that the Wrights discovery was one of the most critical components of heavier-than-air, powered flight is three-axis control . Aircraft began to transport people and cargo as designs grew larger and more reliable. The Wright brothers took aloft the first passenger Charles Furnas on May 14, 1908. Approximately eleven years later this invention lead to military manufacturing for WW1 and five years after that the postal air mail service. heavier-than-air powered aircraft had become practical for reconnaissance, artillery spotting and even attacks against ground positions. The 1920s and 1930s were a time of explosive growth in civil aviation. Revolutionary aircraft designs such the Douglas DC-3 which became the first airliner to be profitable carrying passengers exclusively.

2] Post World War II civil aviation

DAYTON, Ohio -- Cessna UC-78B Bobcat at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

By the end of World War II, many towns and cities had built airports, and there were numerous qualified pilots available. The war brought many innovations to aviation including the first jet aircraft and the first liquid-fueled rockets. After World War II especially in North America, there was a boom in general aviation in both private and commercial as thousands of pilots were released from military service and much inexpensive war-surplus transport and training aircraft became available. Manufacturers such as Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft expanded production to provide light aircraft for the new middle-class market. Today that standardization has paid off in safer and more economical airliners operated by the major carriers.

There are five major manufacturers of civil transport aircraft.

•        Airbus, based in Europe.

•        Boeing, based in the United States.

•        Bombardier, based in Canada.

•        Embraer, based in Brazil.

•        United Aircraft Corporation, based in Russia.

Boeing, Airbus, Ilyushin, and Tupolev concentrate on wide-body and narrow-body jet airliners while Bombardier, Embraer and Sukhoi concentrate on regional airliners.

3] Military aviation

Simple balloons were used as surveillance aircraft in the 18th century. Over the years, military aircraft have been built to increasing capability requirements. Manufacturers of military aircraft compete for contracts to supply their government's arsenal. Aircraft are selected based on factors like cost performance and the speed of production. Other branches of a nation's armed forces may use naval aviation and army aviation, in addition to or instead of a dedicated air force. In some cases, this includes coast guard services that are also an armed service, as well as gendarmeries and equivalent forces.

Types of military aviation

A Su-27 escorted by an F-16

•        Fighter aircraft's primary function is to destroy other aircraft.(e.g. Sopwith Camel, A6M Zero, F-15, MiG-29, Su-27, and F-22).

•        Ground attack aircraft are used against tactical earth-bound targets. (e.g. Junkers Stuka, A-10, Il-2, J-22 Orao, AH-64 and Su-25).

•        Bombers are generally used against more strategic targets, such as factories and oil fields. (e.g. Zeppelin, Tu-95, Mirage IV, and B-52).

•        Transport aircraft are used to transport hardware and personnel. (e.g. C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules and Mil Mi-26).

•        Surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft obtain information about enemy forces. (e.g. Rumpler Taube, Mosquito, U-2, OH-58 and MiG-25R).

•        Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs ) are used primarily as reconnaissance fixed-wing aircraft, though many also carry payloads. Cargo aircraft are in development. (e.g. RQ-7B Shadow, MQ-8 Fire Scout, and MQ-1C Gray Eagle).

•        Missiles deliver warheads, normally explosives, but also things like leaflets.

4] The era of digital aviation

During the modern era on adopting digital or computerized techniques, the aviation industry has really taken off. During the 1970s, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software enabled the creation of better aircraft designs. Computer simulations have also led to the discovery of better materials for creating lighter and stronger airplanes. Digital systems have found their way inside the modern aircraft, rendering most mechanical and analogue instruments obsolete. Example of “glass cockpit” employing LCD screens instead of the mechanical gauges and dials.

5] The Impact of Safety on the Aviation Industry

The impact of safety in aviation can be defined by how management reacts to the implementation of a safety culture within the work environment. There is a growing separation between safety and the management of its impact on the aviation industry. Implementation of Federal regulations with a strong training regimen has proved to be a challenge within the aviation industry. Many of the necessary processes for safety are being ignored because of high cost to implement. To obtain the objective
that safety is part of the daily routine management has to contribute proactively to promote the right safety culture. An effective safety culture will only be accomplished through methods of creating a positive atmosphere and recognizing the human factors involved within the aviation community. Without a significant concentration in the arena of safety to improve operations the aviation industry will have greater opportunities to fail. Concentrating on safety issues will greatly improve the maintenance efforts and produce a safer operating more efficient culture. The inability of management to support a measurable safety program would only spell disaster within the operating company within the aerospace industry. Answering how the impact of safety in the aerospace industry may only be answered by management opening the financial lock and becoming proactive in the processes of implementation.

6] Aviation Security

Security personnel are the most recognizable entity prior to passengers accessing planes. Everybody knows theses personnel, they’re always telling people to take off their shoes, belts, all metal objects out of pockets, everyone rolls there eyes making snide remarks, or uploading videos to “Youtube” showing how the Airport Security groped then during a pat down. For every snide remark a passenger makes, they are thwarting a potential threat by locating someone’s knife, box cutter, lighter, or other item being detected through a pat down security check or a handheld metal detector; or though an X-Ray machine where bags are screened and objects that could cause potential. They will also be subject to random full screening so terrorists don't exploit the program to get on planes.

7] Environmental impact

Boeing KC-135 J57 wet takeoff

Like all activities involving combustion, operating powered aircraft from airliners to hot air balloons releases soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) are also produced. In addition, there are environmental impacts specific to aviation for instance

•        Aircraft operating at high altitudes near the tropopause (mainly large jet airliners) emit aerosols and leave contrails, both of which can increase cirrus cloud formation – cloud cover may have increased by up to 0.2% since the birth of aviation.

•        Aircraft operating at high altitudes near the tropopause can also release chemicals that interact with greenhouse gases at those altitudes,

particularly nitrogen compounds, which interact with ozone, increasing ozone concentrations

•        Most light piston aircraft burn avgas, which
contains tetraethyllead (TEL). Some lower-compression piston engines can operate on unleaded mogas, and turbine engines and diesel engines – neither of which require lead – are appearing on some newer light aircraft.

Another environmental impact of aviation is noise pollution, mainly caused by aircraft taking off and landing.

8] Causes and Factors Involving Aircraft Accidents

Aircraft crash

The causes and factors that will be discussed are human performance, environmental, and the aircraft itself. Although flying is one of the safest means of transportation, accidents do happen. It is the investigators job to determine why the accident happened, and who or what was at fault. In the event of an accident, either one or all of these factors will be determined as the cause of the accident. Also discussed will be one of the most tradgic plane crashes in aviation history and the human factors involved. With any accident investigation one of the main focuses is to determine the cause and factors involved in the accident. Determining the cause of the accident would consist of finding out why the accident happened. This can include any mechanical failures to environmental issue or even human error can be a serious cause to an aircraft accidents.

All facts, conditions, and circumstances are taken into account when determining the probably cause in an investigation. Determining all the possible factors that are involved in an accident can help an investigator determine all the probable causes contributing to the accident. This can also help to determine weather or not the probable cause could have been prevented. All accidents usually have multiple contributing cause and factors which lead to a series of events causing the accident. The most common cause and factors involved in a crash are the aircraft itself are the environment or personnel. Personnel factors are the main cause of aircraft accidents.This will help investigators in there investigation .Althought aircraft accidents will eventually happen,
knowing this information can help to reduce the number of accidents and
the significance if one should happen.

9] Air traffic control

Air Traffic Controller Tower

Air traffic control (ATC) involves communication with aircraft to help maintain separation – that is, they ensure that aircraft are sufficiently far enough apart horizontally or vertically for no risk of collision. Controllers may co-ordinate position reports provided by pilots, or in high traffic areas such as the United States, they may use radar to see aircraft positions.

There are generally four different types of ATC:

•        center controllers, who control aircraft en route between airports

•        control towers (including a tower, ground control, clearance delivery, and other services), which control aircraft within a small distance (typically 10–15 km horizontal, and 1,000 m vertical) of an airport.

•        oceanic controllers, who control aircraft over international waters between continents, generally without radar service.

•        terminal controllers, who control aircraft in a wider area (typically 50–80 km) around busy airports.

ATC is especially important for aircraft flying under instrument flight

rules (IFR), when they may be in weather conditions that do not allow the pilots to see other aircraft. However, in very high-traffic areas, especially near major airports, aircraft flying under visual flight rules (VFR) are also required to follow instructions from ATC.

In addition to separation from other aircraft, ATC may provide weather

advisories, terrain separation, navigation assistance, and other services to pilots, depending on their workload.

ATC do not control all flights. The majority of VFR flights in North America are not required to contact ATC (unless they are passing through a busy terminal area or using a major airport) and in many areas, such as northern Canada and low altitude in northern Scotland, Air traffic control services are not available even for IFR flights at lower altitudes.

10] Advantages of aviation technology


1.       High Speed: Helicopters have been really helpful to the health care system.This is because flying will get sick people to the hospital faster than driving.This is why there are helicopter landing pads on hospitals.

2.       Minimum Cost: Unlike railways and road transport, there is no need to spend money on the construction of any track or road, only airports have to be constructed.

3.       Useful in natural calamities: During earth quake, flood, accidents and famine air transport is used for rescue operations.

4.       Useful for Agriculture: Air transport is useful for aerial spray on pests and insects which cause harm to crops.

5.       Strategic Importance: An airway has great strategic importance. It can be used for internal and external security.

11] Disadvantages of aviation technology

1.       High Costs: Air transport is a costly service. Its operational costs are too high. Middle class and poor people can not affect its cash.

2.       More Risks: Air transport is prone to accidents. A small mistake can be very dangerous for passengers. Hijacking of planes is easily possible.

3.       Huge Investments: For creating aviation facilities, huge investments are required. The cost of aeroplanes, construction and maintenance of aerodromes and control mechanism needs a capital expenditure.

12] Future scope of aviation

Boeing 777x

The question of whether or not the world continues to produce jet fuel from oil, coal or natural gas depends on a few key factors. Cost is the single biggest driver of options for the future of fossil-derived jet fuels and the future price of crude oil is fundamental to any material changes to the status quo. With the current boom in shale gas production, it is possible that gas could become sufficiently cheap and plentiful to be converted to jet fuel. Even if gas is not converted to jet fuel, it can relax the overall energy constraint thereby lowering the prices aviation faces for traditional kerosene. Against this background, decisions concerning the policies that will be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will play a major role in changing the cost differences between fossil-derived jet fuel options. If governments agree to put a price on carbon and other greenhouse gases, and that price is sufficiently high to change the global carbon emissions trajectory, then it is unlikely that coal-to-liquids or gas-to-liquids technologies will be viable.

13] Conclusion

The growth in the aviation industry, the fact that people are traveling more frequently and wish to do so quicker and more efficiently. With businesses growing faster than before, the need for Air Charter is increasing day by day and hence a study of the evolution and challenges faced by the entrepreneurs engaged in Air Charter would add value to the industry.

This article was submitted by Harshada Ahire

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Why do pilots sit on the left seat of the cockpit?

Why do pilots sit on the left seat of the cockpit?

Why do pilots sit on the left seat of the cockpit
The pilot on the left and first officer on the right
The pilot and first officer are only two flight crews in most of the modern aircraft. Pilot sits on the left side of the cockpit. And the first officer sits on the right side.

Reason for this goes back to the olden times. In olden times, Most of the aircraft were propeller driven. Propellers were attached in front of the aircraft.
Such aircraft have a tendency to yaw undesirably. This effect is known as slipstream effect. 

What is slipstream effect?

What is slipstream effect?
Slipstream effect
Most single engine Aircraft have clockwise rotating propeller. When propeller rotates, the air around it rotates. As Aircraft progresses, airflow becomes a spiral flow.

This air then hits the vertical stabilizer on the left side. Which makes aircraft to yaw left.

As Aircraft have a tendency to yaw left, it is easy for the pilot to turn Aircraft left. It takes more rudder force to yaw Aircraft right.

Airport Left traffic pattern

Aircraft left traffic pattern
Aircraft left traffic pattern
As it is easy to turn left, The left traffic pattern is standard traffic pattern. It means all the turns in the most of the airport traffic are left. But there are few airports with right traffic pattern.

The pilot keeps the aircraft on the right side of the airway. In olden times, pilots often used the direction of the rails and roads for the navigations. As opposite traffic follows the same rules, they pass each other from left. And hence avoiding any possible head-on collision.

This explains, why a pilot seat on the left side of single Engine propeller aircraft. But what about modern jets? Modern jets follow the same old rules. 

Why do modern plane pilots seat on the left seat of the cockpit?

Moden aircraft - Boeing 747 (Not so modern, but still!)
In most of the modern jets, there is no slipstream effect. But seating on left provides other benefits. According to International Civil Aviation Organization, in a case of a possible head-on collision, both pilots shall take their heading to the right. In this condition, left side seating pilot gets a better view of the other aircraft. This helps the pilot to control aircraft to avoid a collision.
And hence pilots seat on the left side of the cockpit. But it's not always true. Take an example of student pilots. Student pilots are not captain in command but they still seat on the left seat. and instructors seat on the right.

There is one more advantage of the pilot sitting on the left side of the cockpit. Pilot taxi aircraft in such a way that aircraft door is just in front of the airport terminal. In most of the airports, passengers board aircraft from the left side of the aircraft.  Hence, left sitting pilot gets a better view of the terminal building. This helps the pilot to take a better view of wingtip clearance from the terminal building. This ensures pilot that aircraft wings are not hitting airport terminal.

But why do passengers board a plane from the left? Check this article to know the answer.
Passengers board from the left of the aircraft
Do you know? most of the helicopter pilots seat on the right seat of the cockpit!

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why do we board a plane from the left?

Why do we board a plane from left?

why do we board a plane from the left?
Why do we board a plane from left?
If you haven't noticed this while boarding on flights whenever you travel, this title may have shocked you. Yeah, That's true! You always board from the left side of the aircraft. Reason? Because aircraft doors are located on its left side. But why?

Different experts have different explanations for this. 

One such explanation was given by a commercial pilot Andrew Stagg. According to Capt. Andrew, the reason for boarding from the left side of the aircraft goes back to ships. Here is the fun fact! The left side of the ship is known as port while the right side of the ship is known as starboard.

ship boarding from port
Ship port
Actually, in olden times, Helmsman used to steer ships with the help of steering oar. And as most of the people were/are right-handed. Hence, Steering oars were positioned on the right side of the boat. Hence, the right side was called as steerboard. And derived from steerboard, the right side of the boat come to known as starboard. About Port, to avoid obstacles to the steering oar which was on right side of the boat, an embarking and disembarking of the passengers was done from the left side of the boat. And obviously, that was a side of the port. So, left side come to known as a port.

Olden airliners followed this same rule even for the aircraft. Following the tradition, passengers board modern planes from the left.

Passengers boarding from left
Passengers boarding from left
Another explanation was given by US Air Force pilot. According to him, early airports were designed in such a way that aircraft could taxi adjacent to the terminal, stop and board or deboard passengers. From the olden times, pilots seat on the left seat of the cockpit. Keeping boarding door on the left side of the aircraft was convenient for pilots to judge wingtip clearance from the terminal building. Again, this explains boarding from the left side of the aircraft.

aircraft boarding from left
aircraft boarding from left
While passengers board or deboard from the left door, the right side of the aircraft is used for services such as refueling, loading, and unloading, etc. This saves the time of both passengers and ground staff. 

These were the explanations given by the experts. But this produces one more question. Why most pilots sit on the left seat of the cockpit? Here's the explanation for that!

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