Best of the Web

Teenage Girl Becomes One of the Youngest Pilots in Britain. The Dunmow Broadcast has reported that 17-year old Saffron Walden County High student Pernilla Craig has just become one of Britain’s youngest pilots. She would have claimed the top spot if it had not been for the weather keeping her grounded. Otherwise, her next dream is to work for the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland after graduating from Oxford University.

Turning Around British Airways. MarketingWeek has a lengthy interview with Frank van der Post, the Dutchman who has been credited with turning around British Airways’ fortunes since he joined as managing director of brands and customer experience last year. Van der Post noted that his status as a Dutchman coming from a different industry (25 years in hospitality) has provided the fresh perspective the airline was looking for when it hired him.

Canadian Fighter Pilot Reminisces. has an article about 89 year old John Thompson, a Canadian fighter pilot who flew his 100th mission during the war in May of 1945. Thompson flew everything from Spitfires to Typhoons and he also saw combat during D-Day where his greatest enemy were the “damn Yankees” who would mistake his aircraft for German Fockes or 190s.

Remembering Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose. On another historical note, the Daily Mail has noted it’s the 65th anniversary of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose by reprinting a series of photos from LIFE – many of which have never been seen before. The Spruce Goose was the largest flying machine ever built (with a wingspan of 320 feet or 97.5 meters) and was designed to carry 750 troops or one M4 Sherman tank. However, it only flew once and Hughes was later called to testify before the Senate War Investigating Committee to explain the usage of government funds for the aircraft.

Check Your English Language Proficiency Endorsement. On a regulatory note, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is advising private pilots to check the currency of the English language proficiency endorsement on their licenses because pilots applying for any of the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) licenses must have a valid English language endorsement. UK pilots were automatically given an endorsement by the CAA in 2008 but this blanket “Level 4” endorsement was only valid for four years. Unless renewed, it expired in March 2012.

Pilot Blamed in Clackmannanshire Crash. On a safety note, the BBC has reported that an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report has found that the pilot who died when his microlight crashed in Clackmannanshire had not undergone proper (or rather any) training. In addition, the pilot was not a member of a microlight club, there were no records of him attending any formal flying lessons, he did not have a medical declaration and the aircraft had been de-registered by the CAA.

Mitt Romney’s Campaign Aircraft to Be Decontaminated. Across the US, the elections are over with and Bloomberg Businessweek has reported how the McDonnel Douglas MD-83 used by presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being returned to USA Jet Airlines for “decontamination” and repainting. Apparently, any aircraft used in a political campaign becomes notoriously filthy as poor hygiene, recycled air and “threadbare immune systems combine to create flying tubes of contagion.” Romney also used a Hawker 400, a Learjet 35, a Cessna Citation and an Embraer Phenom 300 during his presidential campaign.

Time Lapse Video of a Gulfstream Getting a New Paintjob. Finally, Duncan Aviation celebrated the opening of its $11.5 million, 45,000 sq. ft. aircraft paint shop in Lincoln (Nebraska) by setting up a small fleet of cameras to capture this time lapse video of Gulfstream GV receiving a fresh coat of pain:

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