How Aviation has Revolutionized Travel and Transportation

How Aviation has Revolutionized Travel and Transportation

The aviation industry has come a long way since the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903. Today, it’s an integral part of modern travel and transportation, connecting people and goods across the globe. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of aviation, its impact on the world, and the latest developments in the industry.

History of Aviation

The history of aviation can be traced back to ancient times when people used kites and hot-air balloons for transportation and military purposes. However, the modern era of aviation began with the invention of the airplane by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903. Their flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it paved the way for further development in aviation.

During World War I, aviation technology advanced rapidly with the use of fighter planes and bombers. The first commercial flight was launched in 1914, and by the 1920s, air travel became more widespread. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the industry saw significant growth with the introduction of jet engines.

The 1960s saw the first supersonic flight, and by the 1970s, the Boeing 747 became the iconic symbol of commercial air travel. The industry continued to evolve with the introduction of new aircraft models, improved safety measures, and more efficient engines.

Impact of Aviation

The impact of aviation on the world has been significant. It has revolutionized travel and transportation, making it possible to travel to far-off places in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks. This has opened up new opportunities for trade, commerce, and tourism.

Air travel has also helped connect people across the globe, enabling them to visit friends and family in different parts of the world. It has also made it possible to attend international conferences, cultural events, and sporting events.

The aviation industry has had a positive impact on the global economy, providing jobs for millions of people around the world. It has also created opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, enabling them to reach new markets and customers.

However, the industry also has its downsides. Air travel contributes to carbon emissions and climate change, which is a major concern for environmentalists. The industry has been working on ways to reduce its carbon footprint, such as by using more fuel-efficient planes, investing in renewable energy, and using biofuels.

Latest Developments in Aviation

The aviation industry continues to evolve with the introduction of new technologies and innovations. Here are some of the latest developments in aviation:

Electric Planes: Several companies are working on developing electric planes, which would reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution.

Supersonic Travel: Companies like Boom Supersonic are developing planes that can travel at supersonic speeds, reducing travel time and increasing efficiency.

Space Travel: Private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are making space travel more accessible, which could have far-reaching implications for space tourism and exploration.

Artificial Intelligence: AI is being used in aviation for various applications, including flight planning, predictive maintenance, and customer service.


The aviation industry has come a long way since the first flight by the Wright brothers. It has revolutionized travel and transportation, connecting people and goods across the globe. The industry has had a significant impact on the global economy, creating jobs and opening up new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, the industry also faces significant challenges, including the need to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change. The industry is responding to these challenges with new technologies and innovations, such as electric planes and supersonic travel.

The future of aviation looks exciting, with new developments and innovations on the horizon. As the industry continues to evolve, it will play a critical role in shaping the world of tomorrow.

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I used to say there were only two things that worried me while flying an airplane: in-flight fire, and structural failure. Both are unpredictable, can occur with very little or no warning, and are insidiously dangerous. SwissAir 111 was an in-flight fire that quickly consumed the crew all aboard perished. American 587 was a structural failure that occurred after take-off when the vertical stabilizer separated from the aircraft. All aboard perished.

Those are dire and dramatic incidents, but they happen and they can happen again. These aren’t the only two accidents of this nature to occur but sometimes a better outcome is possible. In-flight fires can be fought, maintained, or extinguished. Structural failure doesn’t always lead to a loss of aircraft control. Aloha 243 suffered massive structural failure with a large piece of the fuselage separating from the aircraft and that plane landed safely with one casualty, a flight attendant. She was never found.

Nevertheless, these types of incidents are possible and are always something that I think about and wonder “what would I do?” or “will I even be able to react?” The worst thought for myself is encountering an incident where I don’t even have time to react to manage the situation. As pilots we all hope that we have the wherewithal to react appropriately and successfully manage the situation to a safe landing.

In light of my two fears, I’m not sure if I’m adding a third or just re-classifying my structural failure into a slightly broader category. In the past 18 months I have had two incidents of in-flight vibration that persisted through multiple phases of flight. This is significant because usually vibration is caused by the flight controls or the engines. If a power change doesn’t change the vibration then it’s likely the flight controls as they are the only parts that are supposed to be movable. If it turns out it’s not the flight controls then we have a bigger problem and structural failure could be next.

Last summer I was operating a ferry flight from Chicago to Raleigh-Durham. The aircraft had just come out of maintenance and they had either replaced or re-rigged the ailerons. The ailerons being the “little wing” on the trailing edge of the outside portion of the wing. These are the control surfaces that move in unison to roll the aircraft along the longitudinal axis.

I don’t usually worry too much about an aircraft just coming out of maintenance. I don’t have many superstitions when it comes to flying. I might avoid a 666 squawk code or flying at 13,000 feet if I have to. But maintenance isn’t something I worry about.

We actually had to drive to the hangar to pick up the aircraft which I guess should have been a bigger clue to pay close attention to the aircraft maintenance history. I didn’t actually know why it was at the hangar until after the event happened.

The Captain and I arrived at the aircraft and began our preparation to fly to Raleigh-Durham. Besides the fact that we would have no passengers, this would be a normal flight. The flight attendants were already on-board and ready to go. The plan was to fly to Raleigh-Durham and pick up a load of people that got stuck overnight and fly them to Newark. Standard stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Once we figured out the slightly convoluted maintenance hangar ramp procedures, we were ready to taxi. After we started both engines, we began our long taxi to the departure runway at O’Hare. From the hangar to runway 22L was about the longest taxi you can get for departure. By the time we were ready to depart the brake temperatures were approaching the maximum limit for take-off.

As long as they don’t exceed 300 degrees, we can take-off. However, what happens when you depart and put the gear up into the closed off gear wells? Usually they get warmer. This meant that after we took-off we would leave the gear down for a few moments to allow them some extra time to cool off.

What really happened is out of habit when we took-off we put the gear up. Then the Captain regretted that decision and wanted to put the gear back down. Which required us to slow the aircraft back down below gear extension speed.

Isn’t this about in-flight vibration? Yes. Good focus.

The gear did two things to us in this situation. It distracted us from any abnormal cues, and it required us to slow the aircraft down. For a few minutes during our initial climb our focus was on the gear, the airspeed for gear extension, and the brake temperature. Once we cooled off the landing gear and put the gear up, we accelerated to our normal climb speed.

Which is where life got interesting. Once the airspeed was above 300 knots in the climb, we felt a very consistent and very noticeable vibration. I was actually out of my seat when the vibration first started. Being a ferry flight, I had walked to the galley to pour myself another cup of coffee. It was like a scene from a movie, I am pouring my coffee and the plane started vibrating and my coffee cup shuddered in my hand.

“That’s odd…” I thought to myself as I walked back into the cockpit.

“What the hell was that?” I said to the Captain.

“I don’t know.” He said looking at the instrument panel, head half-cocked to the side like a curious puppy.

Airplanes do a lot of things at different times during flight. Vibrate ain’t one of them. The engines produce very small vibrations that can sometimes be felt in waves as they are out of sync slightly. The low hum of the outside wind flying around the fuselage is constant and loud. Airplanes do not vibrate like a washing machine with a lopsided load. They shouldn’t. Ever.

What you’re really feeling is an oscillation. Sometimes oscillations get worse and worse until something departs the aircraft for good then who knows what will happen. Sitting down in my seat and putting my seatbelt back on I had the feeling of “this is not good.” I put my coffee down and started looking around for clues.

The airbus has very good system synoptic pages that tell us a story about the aircraft and what it’s presently doing or not doing. We can look at the flight controls on our display and see if they’re moving in ways they shouldn’t be (fluttering in the wind, creating the oscillations or vibrations we’re feeling). They weren’t. We can look at the hydraulic systems to see if they’re over-pressurized and we’re feeling some feedback through the fuselage from the hydraulic pumps or lines. We’re not. We can look at the pressurization page to make sure the pressure vessel is intact and we’re not feeling the inside trying to fly to the outside. We’re not.

All this looking and we’re no smarter than the puppy with his head half-cocked.

We slowed the airplane back down below 300 knots and that seemed to alleviate the vibration significantly. Well that’s a step in the right direction. As of right now we have no idea what’s causing it or how to fix it but we can make it less dramatic by slowing down. This is good news and it’s an immediate relief of sorts. We’re still not happy but we’re not concerned about pieces departing the aircraft or losing control of the aircraft.

This is when we start making decisions about where we’re going. We very clearly are not going to Raleigh-Durham anymore. Are we going back to O’Hare? Are we landing immediately? Should we declare an emergency?

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With a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, I like to say I’m an amateur writer and that I’m learning to become a better runner. The truth is, I don’t really practice either affair with much focus. They’re sort of the hobbies I always tell people about but never really spend time on. Sure I write every so often, I’ve been running with barely a once a week frequency lately. Those aren’t really at the hobby level. I can’t even honestly say I dabble.

Coming soon, and in short order, I will be adding amateur parent to the list of things I haven’t practiced enough. My wife and I are expecting our first child this October, a girl. I have a lot of work left to do and it has all found its way to the bottom of my to-do list. Baby books to read, baby name lists to peruse, nursery furniture to browse, probably more I don’t even know about yet.

I haven’t been completely oblivious to it all yet, I have read what to expect. I feel a little sorry for my wife because so far everything has been on her shoulders. My part appears to simply be moral support and “no, you don’t look fat.” (She doesn’t.) All that aside, I still feel woefully unprepared for the literal shit storm that is coming our way. I have never changed a diaper in my life. I don’t even know where to start. I feel like the first few times I will be covered from hand to elbow in some form of excrement or body fluid.

I wonder if my daughter will know that I’m absolutely awful at changing her diaper. I imagine her looking at me with some wide eyes and a smirk that says “really, dude?” Or maybe she’ll be as oblivious as me and it will be the shit leading the shit wearer. Hopefully ignorance truly is bliss. For both her and I.

In an effort to explain myself to my daughter, I have started keeping a journal for her. Sort of an open letter to her from me with the story of how she came into this world. A dash of explanation, a pinch of apologies, and a heap more information than she probably wants about her mother and I meeting and our lives before her.

I have been trying to convey to her how much I love her mother and where we came from before we met. I apologized for all the ways I will embarrass her (including this diary) and all the important days I will miss. Hopefully I will be able to hand her this book one day when it’s right. Hopefully she won’t receive it after I’m gone and before I can give it to her.

It’s funny how different your worldview becomes once a child enters the picture. It wasn’t as much at first. When we first learned Ericka was pregnant, it didn’t really compute to either of us. From the outside, she didn’t look pregnant. She just looked normal. I didn’t feel much different, besides a tinge of excitement and a pang of nervousness. However, as the weeks have ticked by, and more milestones have been met, she’s looking more and more pregnant. The images from her belly are more and more infant like and less lizard like (sorry).

Now it’s starting to feel a lot more real. I look around our new home and imagine what it will be like with a baby crawling around. Our baby. Our child. Slobbering all over the place just like our dog, but in a much, much, cuter way.

I started asking myself within the last few weeks, “what have you done for her today?” I’m a pretty selfish person and this internal dialogue is very new. So the irony so far is this, I answer that question with “I wrote to her.” And “I went for a run today.” There is no better motivation to cultivate my so-called hobbies than to share with my daughter a part of me and to stay in shape so I can be there to hand her that piece.

Pretty soon we’re going to start filling out the nursery with her first things. A baby shower is coming up quickly later this year. Very soon after that we’ll hopefully be holding our happy and healthy baby girl. Asking ourselves, “what can I do for her?”

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It’s the second week of April and it snowed all morning. The birds are just as confused as most of us walking around in the snow trying to figure out what season it really is. Officially it has been Spring for weeks now and yet the temperature outside and the white fluffy stuff everywhere is telling a different story. Up until today it had simply been too cold to be Spring, but now mother nature is in open revolt of the time-honored tradition of getting warmer in the Spring.

Even with the extended Winter season, I have been doing pretty well avoiding the worst of the weather at work. I think I’ve had to de-ice less than five times so far this winter. I should say, a few times we’ve had to get de-iced, but they completed it at the gate while we we’re boarding. That doesn’t really count in my mind because there is almost no interaction or work required on my part.

I have been Chicago based now since January and I will say the reserve work load is much different here than it was in Newark. I spent a lot of time on short-call assignments in Newark with no actual flying assignments. Chicago is a bigger base by about double, but I’m given either a flying assignment of airport standby pretty much every reserve day. Ironically, as I’m writing this I’m sitting at home on long-call and it looks like I might squeak through until tomorrow on long-call still.

Even though they’re finding work for me almost every reserve day, I still much prefer being based here in Chicago where my commute is under an hour by train over the 2-hour flight to Newark. When I do get an assignment, it means I can leave the house about an hour and a half before I need to be at work and have plenty of wiggle room. A noon assignment in Newark meant I was leaving the house as early as 4am to catch an early flight to be in position on time in Newark.

Regarding reserve, I’m getting closer to being a line-holder. For May I counted maybe 18 people between me and the ‘guaranteed-a-line’ line (g-line). I’m hoping that over the Summer (and maybe as early as May) with the increased flying schedule I can hold a line. Having the extra days off will be nice but the ability to access premium flying would be a nice pay bump.

Of course, I could transfer back to Newark and be a line-holder, but then you have to figure out if commuting to a line is better than just being based at home. Reserve isn’t that bad here and being home at the end of a trip is really nice. Commuting is just so much time each month. Maybe if I was top 25% in Newark and still on reserve in Chicago I would seriously consider commuting again.

Next thing to consider is switching airplanes. Depending on how fast movement happens on the Airbus I might consider the 757/767. The argument there goes back to being a junior reserve pilot versus potentially a line-holder on the Airbus. Junior on the 757/767 probably just means lots and lots of SFO-EWR red-eyes. We have plenty of red-eyes on the Airbus but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid almost all of them. I think I’ve only done one! It doesn’t even really count either because it was LAS-IAH with a block time of like 3:30.

Hopefully it warms up soon. If not, hopefully somebody calls in sick for the Puerto Vallarta layover. Or Miami. I’m not picky, I’ll take either.

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Slowly but surely

After much turmoil and toil and trial, I think I’ve found some basic settings that I like.

New blog platform, new domain name, new email address, I feel fancy. Everything is set and ready to go. The only major thing left to do is redesign the site layout, rework the theme, import all my old posts, stylize it all, and start writing! That’s a small list.

Anyways, welcome to the new domain,

Hopefully work will proceed and writing will pour. See you in the future.

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