A380 Waste Management System

A recent meeting held at York University brought forward the criticality of one of the real-time systems onboard the Airbus A380 – the waste management system.

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest passenger airline and it flies long distances. As such its human waste management systems have to handle a large volume of material.

Of course the material that ends up in the system was on the plane from the moment in took off but at the moment of takeoff the weight is distributed throughout the plane while the longer the flight continues the more of that weight gets concentrated in the waste management system.

More than that – the plane is getting lighter all the time – because it is burning fuel – so not only does the weight get shifted to a more confined region of the plane, it is relatively more important.

Hence the software on the A380 that manages the toilets is a safety critical system – and has to meet some quite exacting standards.

 In Toulouse, France, three-quarters of the waste collected and sorted at the area’s Airbus sites is recycled or sent for material recovery, with the rest used for energy-generation purposes. These facilities produce as much non-hazardous refuse as a town with 3,400 households; during 2010, 500 tonnes of wood, more than 400 tonnes of paper and 1,100 tonnes of metal scrap and chips were recycled thanks to a new “sorting attitude.” 

The sorting rules are the same in the offices at Airbus’ headquarters and its design/production operation: everything that can be recycled – including paper with a coloured background – must be thrown away in designated blue dustbins; paper with a white background in shredders or baskets; and waste that requires incineration in yellow dustbins.

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Video: Cessna 172 – Emergency Landing on Quebec HW 10

The following is a video of an emergency landing performed by a Cessna 172. The aircraft experienced engine failure enroute over Highway 10 in Quebec. You can hear the distress call from both pilots and the immediate glide response.

A friend’s cousin was on-board on this cross-country flight on 25th April 2011.

Nagpur – Future Aviation Hub

The passenger airline business is booming in India. The number of commercial aircraft is estimated to grow to more than 500 from the current 270 over the next five years. New airlines like Kingfisher, Indigo, Spice Jet, Go Air and Air Deccan are expanding their fleet.

A few months ago, American aircraft manufacturer Boeing decided to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Nagpur with a $100 million investment. Now, it’s the turn of European Airbus Industrie to follow suit. It has approached the state government to set up a similar facility near Nagpur.

Boeing had earlier said its investment in Nagpur would come on the back of a joint venture with Air India. It is seen as Boeing’s commitment to plough back part of the money it makes by selling 68 aircraft to AI.

The rush to invest in Nagpur was triggered by civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s plan to convert the Orange City, the geographic centre of India, into an international cargo hub. As a first step, he initiated a plan to build an airport for cargo operations.

Cargo carriers are expected to get another shot in the arm when the many special economic zones (SEZs) that have been proposed go on stream. It is expected that aircrafts dedicated exclusively to cargo will go up to 550 in the near future from the current 10-15.

Besides, big business houses have announced their plans to enter the organised retail business where logistics are crucial and cargo crafts will be in demand. It is believed that this is the reason Reliance is in the market for anywhere between 50 and 100 aircrafts to power its retail business.

Improvement in Airlines’ Operational Performance

A significant part of the objectives of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is to aid its member airlines. IATA helps airlines improve various facets of their operations including safety (through the IATA audit programs – IOSA and ISAGO), flight and ground operations. While the airline share prices have taken a serious hit, recent IATA statistics indicate that their operational performance is steadily improving.

Some key findings:

  • Air travel rose 5.6%% in September, contributing to a strong third quarter and high load factors (percentage of seats occupied). Airlines’ operating profit for the third quarter (based on 25 sample airlines, including 10 North American carriers) rose 3.6% from a year ago to $7.68 billion. That follows a 60% year-on-year decline in the second quarter. Still, airline share prices have fallen about 30% this year as analysts lower their expectations for airline profits, IATA says, citing Bloomberg Airlines Index.
  • Jet fuel prices climbed back to $128 a barrel in late October, 35% higher
    than last year. The fuel cost increase would have added 10% to airline operating costs, but their hedging tactics lowered the impact by about half.
  • The industry worldwide received 98 new jets and turboprops in September, but airlines continue to eliminate older, fuel-inefficient planes. As a result, the pace of seat addition slowed in September to an annualized rate of 4% to 5%.