Are Circular Runways Coming To Our Airports?

Are Circular Runways Coming To Our Airports?

I came across an interesting video showing research and simulations that are taking place that suggest that a circular, banked runway (Think race track style) is better, safer, and more environmentally sound.

The research is being conduct at The Netherlands Aerospace Center and several advantages are being discovered with a 360 degree runway.   One being the idea that you can micro-tune approaches and departures to account for wind conditions; eliminating all those enjoyable cross-wind landings we like to watch on Youtube.   The research suggests that you can have 3 aircraft departing and or arriving at the same time which would reduce congestion at major airports.  Also with a circular runway, aircraft would spend less time in the air holding patterns over airports which in turn would reduce air and noise pollution near the airports.

Here is the video (Courtesy of BBC) explaining the concept along with simulator work showing the effectiveness of the idea.  (PS, if any of you use X-Plane 10 or 11, there’s a circular airport that is available….and it’s a blast!).

The TSA Is About To Get More ‘Touchy / Feely’

The TSA Is About To Get More ‘Touchy / Feely’

According to an article published earlier today by Bloomberg, it appears that our friends at the TSA have revised their screening policies as it relates to ‘patting down’ passengers at security check points.

Citing a 2015 study concluding that more and more weapons are making it past screening procedures, the TSA has notified its officers to be more thorough when patting down passengers.    Up until now, the TSA had 5 different approaches when it came to physical contact or screening of  a passenger.   With the new policy, that list of 5 has been narrowed to 1, and that ‘1’ is more comprehensive than the previous 5.

A spokesman for the TSA stated that passenger will ‘notice that the new pat-down is more involved’.   The TSA also said that this will apply to airline crew.    The TSA randomly screens a small number of ‘known crew’ passing through ‘crew security’, but that small percentage of crew being screened will be subject to the same new scrutiny as a passengers.

According to the article, the new strategy has been quietly rolled out in smaller airports over the past 2 weeks, and is now being rolled out to airports nationwide.  No mention was made if this would affect ‘Pre Check’ or similar expedited security programs.


Turn and Cough……

LUFTHANSA’s A350 Debuts A New Economy Class Cabin

LUFTHANSA’s A350 Debuts A New Economy Class Cabin

During my trip to Munich for the A350 Roll In Event I had a chance to tour the aircraft’s interior and got my first close up of Lufthansa’s new Economy cabin that will be featured on the A350.

The changes are not subtle when compared to the most recent iterations of the typical Lufthansa Economy cabin.    The biggest difference that will strike passengers immediately when they board will be the color scheme.   Lufthansa has gone to great lengths to improve the ambiance of this 224 seat Economy cabin, featuring new color schemes and lighting technology.   Not to mention, the new IFE system provides passengers with fantastic on-board entertainment.

First, let me show you the new interior.    As I mentioned above, the color scheme is what draws the most initial attention.   You’ll see that Lufthansa intentionally shaded the seats from darker seats along the windows to lighter colored seats in the center of the cabin.   This was done to create an optical effect to help the cabin appear larger than it is.   You’ll notice that in these shots:


You’ll notice the change of tint from the darker seat along the window, to the very light colored seat in center of the middle section. This was designed intentionally to give the cabin a sense of width and roominess.



The darker outer seats……


Perhaps the biggest improvement that comes with the A350 is the IFE system that the Economy class cabin will enjoy.    Based on the Panasonic EX3 system, passengers will now be treated to the largest display ever to be installed on a Lufthansa Economy class seat.   With this new system, passengers will be able to access upwards of 100 Movies, 200 TV shows and hundreds of Music and other entertainment options (games, reference, etc).

As I wrote in this post, this new IFE system will also allow passengers to pre-plan their viewing menu by using an App on their smart device.    The ‘Lufthansa Companion App’ allows you to see your flight’s IFE menu up to 6 weeks ahead of your flight and you’ll be able to build your favorites list via the app.  Then once on board, you’ll sync your device to your seat-back display and watch the things you wanted to see.    With the new IFE system, you’ll also be able to stream the content directly to your smart device as well.   Another first for Lufthansa.


Bigger, Better, Faster.....Lufthansa's new IFE system aboard the A350.

Bigger, Better, Faster…..Lufthansa’s new IFE system aboard the A350.



One final special feature found aboard the A350 that will apply all 3 seating options (Economy, Premium Economy, Business) will be the use of special ambient cabin lighting.     With this, cabin crew will be able to adjust cabin lighting from a menu of 24 different options.   Each geared towards a specific on-board event or time of day.

For example, a ‘Boarding mode’ will feature natural tones of lights along with blue and yellow hints to suggest Lufthansa’s corporate colors.    For takeoff, the mode would be set to reduce the brightness of the lights and create a neutral lighting environment.    Another example would be the ‘Dining’ mode where passengers would be reminded of what lighting would be like in a restaurant.   Sleeping mode would off course darken the cabin, but leave accent lighting on.   Wake mode would have a gradual increase in cabin lighting, simulating a gentle sunrise so that passengers can awake naturally instead of being startled by a sharp change in cabin lighting.

From my time aboard the A350, I came away impressed with the strides that Lufthansa has made in making Economy class better.   In my opinion, the new IFE system is what makes this Economy cabin so much better than other LH versions.   Having a large screen with a retina quality display will help the hours fly by during a flight.   We all know that a long haul flight in Economy can bring with it a certain level of stress.  However, with the new features that LH has introduced to help passengers, it should make even the longest flights enjoyable.

Related:  The Lady in ‘Blau’

LUFTHANSA’s A350 Breaks Ground With Inflight Entertainment System Interaction

LUFTHANSA’s A350 Breaks Ground With Inflight Entertainment System Interaction

In addition to all the new technology and efficiencies found within the A350’s airframe, Lufthansa has added a twist to the Inflight Entertainment System that should ‘WOW’ passengers.

With the introduction of the A350, LUFTHANSA introduces a new tool that will allow passengers to customize what Movies, TV Shows, Music, and other media they can enjoy up to 6 weeks prior to their flight.     By using  the ‘Lufthansa Companion App’, you will now be able to see your IFE menu weeks ahead of your flight, and can use your smart-device or tablet to create your customized menu of content you wish to enjoy during your A350 flights.

Once you’ve installed the app, you can enter your flight details at which point you’ll be presented with your IFE menu.   From that point, make your selections and when you board your flight you’ll be able to sync your customized menu to your seat-back display and will immediately have your personal  list loaded onto the aircraft’s system.   What’s more, you can also use your smart device separately to view your IFE selections while on board.

The IFE system on the A350 is a customized version of Panasonic’s EX3 system which has the capacity to provide upwards of 100 Movies, 200 TV shows, and a myriad of Music and other content.    This  clearly marks the best that LH has to offer when it comes to Inflight Entertainment Systems.

The App should be available in your ‘local’ App Store in the coming weeks, timed with the introduction of the A350’s entrance into passenger service on February 10.

I’ll get to see the new system up close and personal later this week.   If the app is released by then, I’ll come back with a follow up showing how it works.



BRUSSELS Brings Economy Plus Seating To Long Haul Cabins…..

BRUSSELS Brings Economy Plus Seating To Long Haul Cabins…..

Brussels has unveiled a minor adjustment to their long-haul passenger cabins by adding an Economy Plus section.   The Economy Plus seats are the same seats as the normal Economy class, however seat pitch and recline angle have been increased for improved comfort.    Specifically, pitch has been increased by approximately 3-4 inches, and the recline angle of the seat has been increased from 8 degrees to 20 degrees.  The Economy Plus section will take up the first 4 rows of the Economy cabin aboard their A330s serving North America and Africa.

Y+ 2

To mark the introduction of this new seat plan, SN has randomly awarded 20,000 passengers traveling in July and August a complimentary upgrade from Economy to Economy Plus.   Otherwise, the upgrade cost from ‘Y’ to ‘Y+’ will be a flat €120 per segment.   For a limited time however, SN is offering this upgrade for only €99 each way.  The upgrade is available from any Economy Class fare.

A couple of amenities come with Y+ as well.   Passengers will be offered a glass of champagne before departure, an amenity kit, and a box of chocolates.