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In some of the more bizarre airline news we've come across, Hainan Airlines has begun the recruitment of a whole crew of fresh pilots to take their planes, including their Dreamliners, up into the sky. That's not the bizarre part. A crucial step in the recruitment process is a body-odor check. Yep, a recruiter smells the pits of potential pilots; boy, that's the pits.
After an extensive assessment process of technical skills and personality interviews, the flight deck hopefuls have to get their underarms smelled for potential offensive body odor. Since the airline's pilots do interact with passengers, it makes sense to ensure that no interaction turns sour because of a little foul smell. A recruiter has even noted the parallel to the on-the-job duties by saying, "If they can keep their cool in this test, they aren't going to sweat in the cockpit."
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Dominic Howard-Jones. The embodiment of BA’s "To Fly, To Serve" slogan
Zany cabin crew might be par for the course these days (if you fly Southwest or Jetblue at least), but it’s not often you get a pilot who gets the whole plane laughing, especially if you’re flying fusty British Airways, right?
A huge exception would be the man, Captain Dominic Howard-Jones, who flew us from Pisa this last week. Or, as he would say, “drove the beast” down to Pisa. From boarding to disembarkation, he kept us entertained (though never irritated), doing the usual piloty announcements with his own personal twist, as if he was actually happy to be leading this flight, rather than going through the motions.
For example, the cabin crew were “gallant staff,” the plane became “the beast,” the co-pilot was “driving us” and, at Pisa, we may as well sit down again because the jetbridge was making “excruciatingly slow progress” towards us.
Just the other day we were going on and on about American Airlines and how they’re looking for plenty of flight attendants. That’s still the case, but now the carrier is also looking for a few good men and women to sit up front in the cockpit.
American Airlines is very much trying to reduce costs and what not as part of its bankruptcy, and there’s ongoing discussions between the airline and the pilots union. However, even with all this stuff going on, it looks like American wants to hire around 2,500 brand new pilots to fly passengers to here, there, and everywhere. Around 1,500 of them would be replacing retiring pilots, so it’s not like they’re just firing people in hopes of scoring lower paid employees.
As American focuses more and more new routes to additional international destinations there’s clearly a need for more people to fly the planes. Right now there’s about 7,500 pilots serving aboard American Airlines, so if you ever wanted to be one of them now’s the time to do so.
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November 2. That would be the day to avoid movie theaters if flying makes you nervous or, you know, watching CGI airplane crashes freaks you out. This is because Denzel Washington's new movie Flight premieres that night and it's going to be a doozy.
Watch the trailer above, but be prepared for the graphic crash scenes. If it makes you feel any better, all passengers survive a la "Miracle on the Hudson," though this aircraft isn't landing in any rivers; it's landing upside-down.
You’d think that with heightened security around the globe that it would be somewhat tricky just to stroll aboard an airplane dressed up like a pilot. Well we guess it’s not that challenging to do so, as it looks like someone just got away with an act straight out of Catch Me If You Can.
Over the weekend, a man in a pilot's uniform was arrested while innocently sipping coffee at Italy's Turin Airport. His not-so-innocent previous adventures included riding up front in the cockpit jumpseat of an Air Dolomiti flight, after passing as a legitimate pilot to both security screeners and apparently the cabin crew. Forged identity cards and a snazzy uniform were a couple of his keys to success, but after a run-in with local law enforcement it appears that the party is over.
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These are United pilots, but you get the idea
We might have missed something, but we’re pretty sure American Airlines was low on cash and filed for bankruptcy not too long ago. That hasn't stopped them from spending, as they’ve ordered a whole bunch of new planes and even have been giving away trips to meet Michael Bublé.
Their latest purchase? iPads! Other carriers have been pretty quick to adopt the iPad, but now it looks like American Airlines is ready to jump right into the tablet world. The plan is for pilots to shelf all the traditional paper-based materials, as it’s now going to all be on the company-issued iPad.
Remember Halloween 2010? Boy, do we. You see, that was the year that the Steven Slater-JetBlue incident resulted in "Disgruntled Airline Employee" becoming the new "Postal Worker Gone Postal" hot Halloween costume.
Amusingly, the conviction behind Slater's decision still inspires some to dress up as him, since costume dealers continue to peddle the look. For example, the $39.99 ensemble re-interprets events with a faux pilot uniform (Slater was actually a flight attendant) and two frothy bier mugs (we'd like to see him go down the emergency slide with those).
Here's the full, hilarious description:
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We love it when airlines get new uniforms. Like, love love it and we're not even flight crew, so we can only imagine the elation at Virgin America as their employees don the new Banana Republic-designed uniforms.
Today is the very first day for the fresh outfits, which incorporate such flash as silk scarves, red trenches and red stripes on pilots' epaulets. If you're flying soon on Virgin America, now you know exactly what to say to quickly get on their good sidecompliment them on the new uniforms!
If you're not flying Virgin America soon, there's still a way to watch as the crew gets comfortable with styling the slicker duds; VX crew is encouraged to submit "selfies" (self-shot photos) to Pinterest and Instagram of themselves sporting the new gear.
Living in New York and talking about travel as much as we do, it's inevitable that the "Miracle on the Hudson" come up in conversation. Heck, we ran down the river on a blistery January day just to glimpse the thing. Still, everyone seems to have one question now: "what's Sully up to?"
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, for those who've been living under a very heavy rock the last few years, was the captain of US Airways flight 1549 who successfully executed a water landing on the Hudson River with no loss of life, after bird strikes took out the Airbus A320's engines. He went on to fly again, but not for long. Sully retired just over a year later, in 2010, and went on to do a whole number of things (indeed, Wikipedia has a whole section just on his post-Miracle events and awards).
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It has always been said that the state of Ohio is the "birthplace of aviation" (it also happens to the birthplace of your intrepid editor. Coincidence? I think not). Still, head some 40 minutes north of the state line and up into Michigan, and you'll hit a town that serves as the birthplace of the automotive industry.
It's Dearborn, MI, the international home of the Ford Motor Company and former location of Ford Airport, site of many firsts: first U.S. airport hotel, first concrete runway, first U.S. scheduled passenger service, first contracted airmail service, first radio control for a commercial flight and first U.S. passenger terminal. Though the airfield is no more, the planes that earned their wings on it are, somewhat miraculously, still flying.
Around 18 of the 199 Ford Tri-Motors originally produced still have the sun glinting off their corrugated metal wings, the wind through their three radial engines. And two of these 18 were present at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, offering rides for $80 per person this past weekend. You know we had to.
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Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Wittman Regional Airport has no regularly scheduled flights. And yet it manages to rack up over 90,000 landings every year. It has no impressive passenger terminal. And yet it counts visitors in the millions. What OSH does have, you see, is EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a massive aviation celebration that swamps the tiny town for one week every summer.
At 8am this past Saturday we landed right in the thick of things, arriving on one of Southwest Airlines' newest, shiniest Boeing 737-700s after a quickie flight up from Chicago-Midway International. Here we could type a slew of fawning adjectives to describe our day (not even a full day!) spent zipping from the expansive cockpits of military transports to reclining in the slim leather seats of private props, but luckily a simple worda word we maybe whispered and shouted a thousand times at OSHsums it up: awesome.
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Ever just started crying in an airport? Until this week, we'd have answered "no"and even this week, it wasn't anything to do with our flight.
No, it was the sheer power of the blocks of the AIDS Memorial Quilt currently on display at Washington Dulles, and in particular this block, "Sewn with love by the flight attendants of Continental Airlines."