Why of course you’d expect to see this as the first clip from one of the world’s most advanced aeronautical technology shows.
This gratuitous shoehorning in of one of my favourite clips does have a (tenuous) link. Gladys Ingle performed the stunt in Los Angeles, reasonably near to where I am, and she performed an air repair, having seen what was going on from the ground. Easier to do from a couple of thousand feet than with regular eyes from the ground to 30,000ft, but still…
Gladys was a member of the barnstorming troupe, 13 Black Cats. The video shows what must have been a regular impressively crazy staged stunt as part of her act. She helps out an aircraft that had lost one of its wheels. Starting on the ground with a wheel strapped to her back, Ingles flies up on one plane, walks down the wing, and then transfers to the plane with the missing wheel. She then shimmies down to the undercarriage, only a few feet from the spinning propeller, and replaces the wheel.
Thank God for the Gladys’s of this world. I love aviation crazies, especially the women.
Meanwhile life on the road for this aviation crazy goes on. This time I’m in California for the Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX), reporting in my role as editor of Inflight Magazine. Sitting in the meeting rooms at Anaheim Convention Center it is easy to become a little blasé about concepts such as mass data transfer, the connectedness of everything, and personal and machine health monitoring. Indeed, the people on the cutting edge of today’s aviation technologies speak matter of factly about ideas such as immersive mobile communications; smart sensory networks; machine-to-machine communication; cloud and fog computing; Big Data; augmented, mixed, and virtual reality.
So I sit in happy acceptance and awe, and occasionally pinch myself to remind me that the OEMs are now only producing IT-enabled aircraft – sometimes called e-enabled aircraft or digital aircraft – that enable secure IP communications to and from the aircraft. This will change the face of flying as we know it since, the technology will have a major impact on the way airlines operate in the cockpit, cabin and on the ground. These next-generation aircraft will revolutionise our travel experiences, by offering digitised cabin connectivity, aircraft operations and aircraft communications as a matter of course.
There were 18 sessions on offer yesterday – impossible to cover them all. I opted for passenger experience – see my reports on the Inflight Magazine news feed. Especially see Michael Childers’ call to action on closed captioning.
I’m easily pleased, and of all the presentations I attended, Patrick McEneany of BMWDesignworksUSA‘s appealed enormously. He showed us a future concept overlay for a tablet to help passengers navigate the pain points through an airport. Where are the bathrooms? Do I have time to go before my flight? Where is Duty Free etc. That was cool, but my heart leapt with joy at the kids’ version with Disney characters literally guiding you throughout the airport right to your seat. And then they sit there and play driving the plane with you.
The one that hit me most though was award winning motivational speaker Lee Silber, best-selling author of 19 books, including The Wild Idea Club. He had some great advice for the audience, but stunned us all with a personal announcement after his presentation. One of his key messages was “Don’t miss your life.” A couple of us simply had to track him down backstage afterwards to invite him to lunch, but he was taking his own counsel and meeting up with his kids for the afternoon to go play in the sunshine. His humble vulnerability at that moment underlined his message, so thanks again Lee for that. It’s a keeper.
The fun finished with no less than three evening events. I attended the Avion Awards dinner in my capacity as one of the judges. Though am not sure I’m allowed to reveal my identity as an adjudicator, so I won’t, obviously. Virgin America cleaned up. Emirates took top prize as the best overall and Norwegian did pretty well, too, with the advent of free connectivity and a moving map.
Then on to a Global Eagle social, where I politely approached a man whose face I knew to ask whether I’d interviewed him or – and I quote – he was a ‘grand pooh bah of the industry whose face I just knew from the media.” Happily for my reputation as the person not to take out tired, he turned out to be Dave Davis, Global Eagle’s CEO and one of the most powerful people on the IFEC scene today. Fortunately he’s also a nice guy with a sense of humour and I am promised an interview, so things can work out well.
Then onto the lovely Runway Girl herself – Mary Kirby’s social in conduction with the fun folks at Gogo. Great evening at the Ranch with a brilliant band, good company and great food and drink, so thanks a million for that.
So this particular media was truly social yesterday. and I have to say no matter how technologically advanced we become with our communications, a man machine interface can never truly replace the magic of one human being reaching out to another. I sense Gladys would have agreed…