Happy 110th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Powered Flight!

First canard design? (Photo: Richard de Crespigny)

Today, the 17th December 2013 marks the recognition of 110 remarkable years of revolutionary technology, intrepid exploration and inspirational leaders who (in Bert Hinkler’s words) have “flown the ships off the oceans”.

It’s 110 years today since Wilbur Wright flew the Wright Flier for 12 seconds, flying just 36 metres (half the A380’s wingspan), watched by brother Orville and sister Katherine and NO press.  (Katherine was probably the third person and first women to fly a powered aircraft.)

2012 09 Sep 10 - Neil Armstrong 131 (640x371)

Impatient (but  wonderfully dutiful wife) Coral in front of the Wright Flier at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Washington (Photo Richard de Crespigny)

2012 09 Sep 10 - Neil Armstrong 128 (640x472)

… a most basic cockpit. Roll control via wing twisting …. (Photo: Richard de Crespigny)

It’s 110 years since the first powered flight, 109 years since Rolls-Royce produced their first car, 44 years since Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and 34 years since the first commercial fly by wire aircraft (Concorde) took to the skies.

It’s 110 years of contributions by my forebears, uncles, father, son – and your forebears.

High technology in an industry that boasts the world’s best safety systems and safety records.

Follow your passion Sam Harris, work hard, reach for the stars and come fly with me! (Photo Richard de Crespigny)

Follow your passion Sam Harris, work hard, reach for the stars and come fly with me! (Photo Richard de Crespigny)

Thank you to the inspired and inspirational who have achieved (I think) the most remarkable and impossible! We should all be so very proud of our team efforts!

Today, view through the Head Up Display (A380)  (Photo Richard de Crespigny)

A view through the Head Up Display in the A380 simulator at Airbus in Toulouse. (Photo Richard de Crespigny)

Read this great summary from The Australian Newspaper  21 Dec 2013


  1. Jonathan Castelino · · Reply

    Thanks for a great entry as always Richard.

    Just wondering, have you been to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space museum near Dulles airport ? You couldn’t tear me away from there ! They have the real Discovery space shuttle parked in there amongst some fantastic aviation icons. I have also been to the Smithsonian in DC but had a better time at UH.

    Another quick question. I notice that the HUD does not have GS and heading (actual number). Is the HUD adjustable to include more/ less information?

    Jonathan Castelino

    1. Hi Jonathan,
      I have not been to the UH Museum, but will now put that on my agenda. The other REMARKABLE if not better museum is the Seattle Museum of Flight – the most remarkable display of civil, military and space aircraft I have ever seen.

      Re the Head Up Display (HUD). The display has specific display formats for: Taxi, Takeoff, Flight, Roll Out/Rejected Takeoff. There is also a “de-clutter” push button to reduce the number of symbols (in four stages).

      The HUD enables:

      • Flying manual flying to lower minima at airports that provide fewer low visibility navigation aids
      • Reduce takeoff RVR minima to 75m
      • More pilot “Head Up” time, reducing the possibility of spatial disorientation.
      • Improves situational awareness particularly to improve instrument scanning and to stabilise visual approaches. (Click here for a very relevant discussion by David Learmount)

      I think that only Air France has taken to option to purchase HUDs for their A380s.

      Cheers, Rich.

  2. Mervin C Reed · · Reply

    Good evening Richard,

    I am never ceased to be amazed by your fascination with flying! There is always something new on this site as there should be, although the lack of a photo of you driving a Caribou with a raincoat on is a serious oversight.

    I also expect you did not tell Coral how many times you practiced landings over and over again. I do not think she would have been bored. Those Caribou pilots were a special breed of cat as I recall.

    The other night as I was coming out of Singapore on the way home to Hobart, I started thinking about the guy in Singapore’s ATC control tower when he first got a look at your QF32 aircraft on finals to land with fuel pouring out of the wing and damage everywhere.

    Betcha he got excited.

    In any case I was speaking to a younger person the other day who was agitated and excited. The person said “you do not seem all that fussed” to which I replied “I did not get to be this old by being stupid!”

    That is us – the older and the smarter.


    Mervin Reed
    Long term passenger of Military Airlift Command – world’s largest airline.
    “This year’s in flight menu is Chicken”

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