Best of the Web

“Greenwashing” from Sir Richard Branson? Paul Bertorelli has written a lengthy opinion piece for AVweb regarding Sir Richard Branson and a recent story on his plan to begin fueling his airliners with an alternative fuel that is made out of the effluent of steel and power plants. Paul also recalled that Branson had gotyen involved with a proposed bio-fuel project that would use palm oil as the feedstock. However, Paul contends that Branson’s statements about the world "oil running out" of oil is “complete hogwash.”

Air France is Back in the Hotseat. Paul has also written another article about how the French BEA (Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses) is livid over the leaking of the cockpit voice recorder transcript from the fatal Air France Flight 447 which crashed in the South Atlantic back in June of 2009. The transcript was revealed in its entirety in a book called Erreurs de Pilotage, by Jean-Pierre Otelli. Paul commented that it is easy to see why the French BEA is so upset because the transcript “reveals a degree of cluelessness and abrogation of command that you don’t often see in the professional airline world.”

Behind the Scenes at the Reno Air Show Tragedy. Speaking of another tragedy, General Aviation News has a lengthy article giving a behind the scenes look at the Reno Air Show and the crash at the last one. The article also reminded readers that Think Kindness, a Nevada non-profit organization, has created a fund for the victims and family members impacted by the tragic accident. For more information, visit or

The B25 Bomber That Hit the Empire State Building. On a historical note, Sylvia, the blogger behind the Fear of Landing blog, has written a lengthy account about the 1945 incident where a B25 bomber hit the Empire State Building at the 78-79th floors. Luckily, the fire was extinguished within only 40 minutes – the only fire at such a height that was ever successfully controlled.

100 Years of Soaring. On another historical note, NASA’s Langley Research Center had recently partnered with the First Flight Foundation and other organizations to celebrate Soaring 100 — the centennial of Orville Wright’s October 24, 1911 historic and world record glider flight. In fact, it was Wright’s nine minute and 45 second flight that started the sport of modern soaring. For more information, visit

New Airship Being Developed. On another soaring note, Nortavia-Transportes Aereos, a Portugal-based company is developing a “safe and environmentally friendly” airship that is designed to transport both cargo and people. Specifically and over the last last five years, Nortavia has built a 1/10 scale prototype that is six meters long and three meters high and wide wide named after the Earth Goddess, GAYA. The project is set to debut in Seattle some time in December.

Pan AM Getting Widespread Press. Finally, the new television series about Pan Am flight crews has sparked renewed interest in general about Pan Am. However, one former Pan Am stewardess did tell Seacoast Online that:

The uniform was a little bit longer. You had to have short hair. Your hair was not supposed to touch the collar. You couldn’t wear any jewelry except Pan Am wings in your ears. We wore high heels for walking around and had loafers for the plane. We never wore heels on an airplane…

Moreover, it was the the seasoned, older captains who flew the jets in those days – not the younger and good looking pilots!

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