Monday, April 30, 2007

More News on Layoffs In Toulouse: Much Ado About Little?

It's reported that as part of the Power8 program Airbus is going to cut a couple thousand or so production jobs in Toulouse by 2010 and a thousand office workers as well.

That doesn't even sound like a good old fashioned layoff, which makes me wonder how Airbus expects to shake a couple billion dollars out of this process.

Gather round me children, and a story I will tell,
How 3700 Dougloids went down the road to hell.

And it all happened on one day: March 16, 1992.

Friday, April 27, 2007

He Did the Mash, He Did the Monster Mash.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bobby "Boris" Pickett, performer of the perennial favorite "Monster Mash" died in Los Angeles Wednesday night at the age of 69. I never ever got tired of hearing "Monster Mash" on the radio around the end of October and I expect people will be listening to it for hundreds of years.

It is interesting to note that the piano player on the recording was a then little known musician named Leon Russell.

One thing's for sure-the Party over on The Other Side just got eerie.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Airbus On Track to Sell 20 A380s This Year?

Aviation Week reports that John Leahy, salesman deluxe and purveyor of lots of accurate information says that da Festung is on track to meet its goal of selling 20 A380s this year.

OK.....I guess there's a message in there somewhere, so let's have this conversation in December.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To the Tune of 'Sweet Home Chicago' Branson Goes Shopping

Forbes reports that Virgin's Richard Branson, he of the golden locks and the midas touch, has placed an order with Boeing for 15 of the B787 Dreamliner, 8 options, and purchase rights for 20 more. His Nibs also opined on Monday that the A380 is a financial disaster and he couldn't see how it could ever make money.

Anyway you count it, coming from a prestige brand as Virgin Atlantic is, it's a kick in the shins for the A350, but there's more bad news in the offing.

It is rumored by the Times of London that USAir is going to cancel its order for 20 A350s and order the B787 instead.

Stay tuned.

I'm not ready to declare the A380 or the A350 DOA, but as Yogi Berra once opined, "People are staying away in droves." The smell of decomposition is once again in the air.

Monday, April 23, 2007

That Would Be The A320 Reverse Engineering Facility, Right?

Monsters and Critics has it today that Airbus will hold 51 per cent of the new assembly plant they'll be building in Tianjin, China. Production will begin in 2009, and it is expected this will dovetail nicely with the large Chinese aircraft project slated for 2018, which will no doubt bear as close a resemblance to the A320 as the new ARJ21 does to the DC9-10.

I opined a while ago that what cash rich China was likely to do to ramp up their technology in this area would be to take an equity stake in a western engine manufacturer. The only one that came to mind was Pratt and Whitney.

However, the ARJ21 will use a CF34-10 coproduced by General Electric and Shenyang Liming, according to the Chinese Embassy, and the -10 is in the same thrust class as the JT15D that powered the DC9.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fire Sale At Airbus, Boeing-If You Want A Better Deal, Go See Cal?

It's reported this morning that da Festung is offering deep discounts on the proposed A350 and other incentives to get people to sign up, perhaps in advance of the big fandango in gay Paree. The Australian reports the following:

  • The A350-800 list, $189 million USD, your price $102 million.

  • The A350-900 list, $215 million USD, your price $102 million.

It is also thought that Boeing is discounting the 787 from $153 million list to $102 million.

It is also suspected that da Festung offering a free A350 with every A380.

Emirates is set to announce an order for 100 A350s next week, but with the deep discounts and compensation for the A380 contretemps, once the bill is in, Airbus may not make much dough here.

King Pyrrhus of Epirus said it well a couple thousand years ago: "Another victory like that and we are undone."

Credits to the Cal Worthington Archives for the pic of old Super Sales himself.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Floyd Landis and the Fishing Expedition

There have been some new developments in the Floyd Landis story that are worthy of note. The US Anti Doping Agency decided to let the French lab that screwed up Floyd's original testing and lied about it....they're going to test all Floyd's B samples from the 2006 Tour de about stuffing up the cracks and looking for something else to hang on the guy if the initial case goes down the crapper. It's shameful.

Floyd has said that further testing of his B samples when the A samples didn't turn up any violation at LNDD (the French lab at the epicenter of this travesty) is a violation of the WADA Code.

In a dissenting opinion, Christopher Campbell, one of the three arbitrators says "the admission of evidence in clear violation of the WADA Code smacks of an uneven application of the rules ...(and)...strips this adjudication of the appearance of fairness."

The entire process offends the notion of due process, fundamental fairness and transparency of the proceedings. It is redolent of the show trials of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It also puzzles me to see how this kangaroo court system became so entrenched in the world of sport.

And as I have said here a few times.

What got Floyd across the finish line was Floyd. That's who won the 2006 Tour.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gunky Light Seals And What To Do About Them

If you're like me and you are enamored of film cameras you have no doubt puzzled over the question: "Why did the foam they used for light seals in this blankety blank camera turn into sticky black goo?"
There IS an answer.
A fellow named Jon Goodman has put together a very nice manual and provides a kit of materials that allow the person with reasonable mechanical skills to replace the seals and do a good workmanlike job of it too.
Jon sells his materials on eBay and other places for modest prices and he trades under the seller name "interslice".
So last night, I decided to tackle replacing the seals on a Canon AE1 that has been hibernating here for a few years. It went well, and I am ready to tackle the rest of the herd.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pollard Trial Slated for June 4

This is one of the strangest stories to come out of deepest darkest Iowa that I just have to share it with the world. It concerns a real whodunit.

It seems that last year Justin Pollard, a 22 year old man from Iowa, was charged with intentionally running over and killing Annamarie Rittman, a 46 year old Altoona woman. The homicide, if that is what we're talking about, occurred in the predawn hours of a December morning in 2005 in the parking lot of a home improvement store where Rittman worked.

As you might expect there were cameras watching. There always are.

Some grainy security camera tapes were produced of a pretty new red Ford F-150 pickup cruising through the lot at the time in question. Soon the hunt was on for red Ford pickups, and apparently there was enough on the security camera video to identify the truck as Pollard's because of some stickers in the back window. At least that's what they say.

Pollard has been in the Polk County Jail since March of 2006 while the case has worked its way through all the pretrial maneuvering. He has no previous criminal history, and was a military policeman with a National Guard unit in Scott County.

What's curious about this case is that Pollard has absolutely no connection with Rittman that has been disclosed in the press, although there have been unsubstantiated rumors centering on drug money owed by Rittman or her husband.

Pollard seems a most unlikely enforcer.

The trial is now set for June 4, 2007 in Polk County, and if circumstances permit I shall attend. I've never sat in a murder trial or watched Mr. Alfredo Parrish do his stuff, so this ought to be high drama indeed.

France's Last Angry Woman: "J'Accuse!"

Segolene Royal, France's gadfly Socialist presidential candidate has pinned the tail on the donkey.

In this case, the donkey is Noel Forgeard, former co CEO of Festung Airbus who, in a time honored tradition that George Orwell would have recognized, was treated to a nice golden parachute as the price of his departure from da Festung.

It seems that Noel got himself a nice $11.4 million severance package, and this was despite his dumping his Airbus stock in advance of damaging news becoming public about the state of delays in the A380 program that did, in fact, send the stock right in the crapper.

Ms. Royal has suggested that Forgeard ought to disgorge all the ill gotten gains he received, because when all the cards are on the table he did a lousy job running the show at Airbus.

Segolene, if you ever feel like entering American politics, we could sure use you.

Editor's note: You've probably been wondering where I've been lately. Well, I am self employed and I've been pretty busy lately, and being self employed I can't control my work flow. Simply, you take the work and then try and figure out what to do with it. At this point, I have reached a place where I can chill a little and do some thinking and writing. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Of Customer Service and Oats

Michael Boyd, aviation consulting's enfant terrible has weighed in on something that makes a lot of sense these days, and that's the distressing trend toward what is euphemistically called 'outsourcing'. I've got my own opinions on what we should call this trend but nevermind.

Mike is talking about the major airlines that have outsourced their aircraft, crewtime and customer service handling to regional airlines. He makes a number of commonsense observations including the following:

  • cheap customer service can be very expensive, if it's bad.
  • if SLPs can't afford to pay their workers enough to keep them interested, their entire business model is untenable and they should do something else
  • if you hired the SLP and they stink, don't blame them because you're baiting and switching the flying public
  • if your service delivery stinks revenue and costs go south.

It stands to reason that if you're buying oats they cost some. If the oats have already been through the horse they cost less.

Check out the March 19 Hot Flash.