2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


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Aeroscholar Talks with the AiplaneGeeks

Discovery Space Shuttle at Smithsonian

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with some amazing aerospace buffs at www.airplanegeeks.com. One of their viewers was interested in learning more about http://www.aeroscholar.com, the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering department, and AIAA. I was extremely happy to oblige them ūüôā

I highly recommend the show to those of you interested in aviation, especially if you have a long commute to work where you’ll have plenty of time to listen.

The episode that I was a guest speaker on can be listened to here.

Highlights of the show:

  • Aeroscholar talks about the state of education in the aerospace industry, aeroscholar.com, advice for people interested in aerospace engineering and aviation, and the cool tours that the AIAA at Michigan have been on.
  • David Vanderhoof gives us a report on the Space Shuttle swap-out at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum‚Äôs Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. He spoke with NASA Director Charles F. ‚ÄúCharlie‚ÄĚ Bolden, NASM Curator Dr. Helen Morill, and Senator John Glenn.
  • Dan spoke with Virgin Galactic‚Äôs CEO and President George Whitesides aboard Virgin America‚Äôs inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
  • Warbirds Facing Doom?
  • American Airlines unions, US Airways announce deal to support merger
  • Merged airline would be called American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth
  • Bates: US Airways has a good plan, American Airlines doesn‚Äôt
  • A JET FLIGHT PASSENGER‚ÄôS NIGHTMARE: Delta flight forced to emergency land after bird strike takes out a 757 jet engine
  • Business Expert Videos Delta 1063 Mid Air Bird Strike

The hosts were great, consisting of:

A full bio for each of these airplane geeks can be found on the Airplanegeeks.com About page.

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Funchal, Madeira Airport (FNC): 9th Most Dangerous Airport

Landing at Madeira FNC Airport

Half of my family is from Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the coast of northwestern Africa. The island offers amazing beaches, beautiful year-around weather, and majestic mountains. I’m a little different than most tourists though, since I love their airport the best! Ranked by Discovery Channel as one of the top 10 most dangerous airports in the world, you could literally just watch the planes come in and have yourself a great day (and get a great sun tan while doing it).

Its been a few years since I’ve been to Madeira (though I hope to be back within the next year now that I’m about finished with school), but there really isn’t anything like landing there.¬†To put things in perspective, to be able fly from Madeira at all, the pilot in command must have a minimum of 200 hours as captain on the aircraft type in use, and a minimum of one take-off and landing at Madeira in the last six months, or one supervised flight accompanied by a pilot qualified to land there.

FNC Approach

Approach info for flying into Funchal's airport.

Incidents & Accidents at FNC

  • On 5 March 1973, an¬†Aviaco¬†Sud Caravelle¬†10R (Registration EC-BID) crashed into the sea during approach, losing the aircraft and three crew.
  • On 19 November 1977,¬†TAP Portugal Flight TP425, a¬†Boeing 727-200¬†(Registration CS-TBR) was traveling from Brussels to Madeira via Lisbon. After a go around, the aircraft attempted to land in poor weather conditions, of which it landed long on runway 24 (now runway 23) and plunged over a steep bank. It then struck a stone bridge and the right wing was torn off, and then crashing hard onto a beach. A fire then broke out, setting the aircraft alight. Out of the 164 on board, 131 lost their lives.
  • On 18 December 1977,¬†SA de Transport A√©rien¬†Flight 730, a Sud Caravelle 10R (registration HB-ICK) was cleared for approach on runway 06 (now runway 05), but descended below 720¬†ft (220¬†m) causing the aircraft to crash into the sea. 36 people died out of the 57 on board.

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Nice insight into problems facing American Airlines

The Stengel Angle

I grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, somewhere that probably does not ring a bell to most people. However, if you’re at all familiar with the steel industry, you might recognize the name Bethlehem Steel, once the second-largest steelmaker in the United States. Founded in 1857, Bethlehem was a titan that had large influences on the steel industry, like shipbuilding during World War II and the mass production of the ubiquitous I-Beam (which placed the company as the leading supplier to the construction industry and led to the skyscraper era).

Unfortunately, if you know the story of Bethlehem Steel, you also know about their demise. Plagued by the increasing market share of cheaper foreign steel in the U.S., mismanagement, and labor issues, the company closed its iconic Bethlehem plant in 1995, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, and finally sold all remaining assets to the International Steel Group in 2003. According to

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Complexity Cockpit

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The Beauty of First Flight

This weekend I got the chance to do something that I’ve always dreamed of. I piloted my first aircraft! Like most aerospace fanatics, ever since I was a child all I wanted to do was be a pilot. Having family all over Europe, I was constantly traveling and I loved it. I got to fly on planes all the time.

When the time came to choose my career path I tried to make the best decision between becoming a pilot or being an aerospace engineer. Eventually the decision was made to follow engineering and I’m extremely happy that I did! Being able to help design and build beautiful flying machines gives a level of satisfaction that I wouldn’t give up for anything. I did however make myself a promise that I would one day become a pilot, even if only as a hobby. This post outlines the beginning of a dream that will hopefully consume endless beautiful weekends for the rest of my life.

The Michigan Flyers did a phenomenal job of hosting the AIAA event for us this year! Thanks again!!

Cessna Planes

Discovery flights for the AIAA University of Michigan. I'm flying in the Cessna 172, but we also had a 162 and 152 at our disposal.

Ann Arbor Airport

Shortly after takeoff you can see the Ann Arbor Airport

Big House

Flying over the Big House and Crisler Arena

Whitmore Lake

Whitmore Lake from the sky

Landing Ann Arbor Airport

Flaps deployed for landing at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport

Landing Tower Ann Arbor Airport

With a little help from the flight instructor we made it safely back on the ground

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Happy First Contact Day

Twitter is going crazy today with everyone saying, “Happy First Contact Day.” Both William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) and Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) have also been in on the action.

So what is this mysterious First Contact Day that everyone keeps mentioning? A little definition below:

The term First Contact, in¬†Human¬†context, is also used to specifically refer to the first official publicly and globally known contact between Humans and extraterrestrials. The First Contact took place on the evening of¬†April 5,¬†2063, when a¬†Vulcan survey ship, the¬†T’Plana-Hath, having detected the¬†warp signature¬†of the¬†Phoenix, touched down in¬†Bozeman, central¬†Montana, where they met with the¬†Phoenix‘s designer and pilot,¬†Zefram Cochrane. This event is generally referred to as the defining moment in¬†Human history, eventually paving the way for a unified¬†world government¬†and, later, the¬†United Federation of Planets. The event also became an annual holiday called¬†First Contact Day. (Star Trek: First Contact;¬†ENT: “Broken Bow”, “Desert Crossing”, “E¬≤”, “These Are the Voyages…”;¬†TNG: “The Outcast”, “Attached”;¬†VOY: “Homestead”)

An unofficial first contact between Humans and a Vulcan occurred during theDepression era¬†in¬†New York City. In¬†1930,¬†Kirk¬†and¬†Spock, a Vulcan from the23rd century, traveled through time and walked on the streets of New York being witnessed by many. When the two were caught stealing clothes by thepolice, Kirk attempted to explain to the officer that Spock was¬†Chinese¬†and his ears the result of a childhood accident. After they escaped from being taken into custody, Spock disguised his Vulcan appearance. (TOS: “The City on the Edge of Forever”)

We finally may have made some progress on quieter supersonic flight, I hope 51 more years is enough to get our Warp Drive technology up to speed!

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