Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Twenty years ago today, on September 11, 2001, the world changed. There are many ways to reflect on that awful day. After 36 years working as Cabin Crew, my thoughts will tend to be directed towards those crew members who lost their lives, but this doesn't in any way diminish the rememberance of all of …

My ‘Other’ Job

People often ask about my 'other' job - the one that I do when I'm not being a Tour Manager i.e. mostly during the winter season. I'm a certified teacher of aviation english, at the moment working with some of the wonderful pilots at Air France. Many people wonder why pilots need to learn English, …

Airlines: the pre-Truth industry

A compelling case for change?

Airline pilots today are obliged to steer their machines according to an instrument discovered in the earth’s Iron Age: the magnetic compass. Ships’ commanders only use that these days if all else fails.

By modern navigation standards the magnetic compass is not an accurate device. An aviator flying along a magnetic meridian toward either the North or South Magnetic Pole flies “a wiggly track” according to the Geomagnetism Team of the British Geological Survey. The pilot’s magnetic compass may display a constant heading, but the aircraft relying on it follows the gently wandering vagaries of the earth’s dipolar magnetic field.

In 2011 a Boeing 737 suffered a fatal crash on approach to land because of the artificially-induced complexities of a navigation system based on Magnetic North in a digital era (detail later). All four crew and eight of the 11 passengers were killed.

Modern aviation navigation can be conducted using…

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