Vanity Fair: The Human Factor

We typically steer clear of airline-related topics in General Aviation News. But for William Langewiesche’s feature – The Human Factor – on the Air France 447 in Vanity Fair, I’ll make an exception. As sophistication and automation in all aspects of aerospace has developed over the past few decades our role as pilots must be continuously evaluated. Langewiesche masterfully mixes re-telling the sequence of events that led up to the accident with airline industry analysis and inertia. As a pilot, the story wasn’t an easy read, but worth it. I hope you feel the same.

Wanted: Engineering Test Pilot in Kansas for Bombardier

Bombardier Aerospace is looking for an engineering test pilot who will be responsible for conducting test operations on aerospace vehicles for the purpose of research, development and certification. Among the list of qualifications are three years of flight test experience (or equivalent) and an ability and willingness to work with irregular hours and work days. Learn more and apply for this role here.

Looking for a different role? Browse all aviation jobs in the USA on Aviation Jobsearch. This Job of the Week was brought to you from a partnership between General Aviation News and Aviation Jobsearch.

Is Facebook changing how you consume news?

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Facebook. It’s social. It’s mobile. It’s ubiquitous. It’s free. What’s not to love about Facebook? [That’s sarcasm, by the way.]

Facebook “drives up to 20% of traffic to news sites,” reports Ravi Somaiya in a recent New York Times story.

On the General Aviation News website, since the start of 2014, we’ve seen just under 20% of our traffic come from Facebook. Since Aug. 1, however, the percentage soared to more than 35%.

On Jan. 1 we had just north of 26,000 “likes” on our Facebook page. As I write this on Oct. 27, we have more than 187,000 “likes.”

a4e3cabab20a65370bdca853f9ad426aIn the popularity contest that is Facebook, we’ve passed Plane & Pilot, Flying Magazine, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and all the non-publication pages I found to track. Woo hoo…

There have been weeks that we’ve sent a ton of traffic to our own website, as well as those we link to. I have to admit, it is fun to receive a call from someone who thanks me for driving so much traffic to their website from a simple share on our Facebook page.

But Facebook is a fickle mistress. As quickly as she gives, she takes.

From the same New York Times story, “About 30% of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center.” And since the majority of people who read this aren’t in the news/media business, the second half of the paragraph is a throw-away, “The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.” Or is it?

In isolation, the first part of the above quote isn’t particularly bothersome. However, there’s more: “Roughly once a week, Greg Marra, a Facebook engineer, and his team of about 16 adjust the complex computer code that decides what to show a user when he or she first logs on to Facebook. The code is based on ‘thousands and thousands’ of metrics, Mr. Marra said, including what device a user is on, how many comments or likes a story has received, and how long readers spend on an article.”

1e8246950a74b4eaed3388ca222a3de7For those of us with a Facebook Page, we can immediately impact a user’s news feed, if we’re willing to open our wallets. All any of us have to do is click the blue “Boost Post” button to reach more people. Disclosure I: We have not boosted any posts. Disclosure II: As a business owner, in the media business, the “Boost Post” button make absolute sense to me.

So, if you are one of the 30%-ers who get their news from Facebook, and don’t want to subject yourself to the whims of 16 Facebook engineers for said news, I suggest you sign up for a few subscriptions to the human-edited publications you enjoy and trust. [Yeah, I know that is a self-serving suggestion.] Whether it is General Aviation News, or BoldMethod, or EAA, or AOPA, or Flying, or Plane & Pilot, or The New York Times or [insert publication here] matters not.

Come to think of it, I found the New York Times story that inspired this column from a human edited newsletter called, Next Draft [tagline: The Day’s Most Fascinating News from Dave Pell.] May I suggest you subscribe.

Video: NBAA talks RPA

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“The FAA is expected to issue its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) [which we name remotely piloted aircraft (RPA)] by the end of 2014. In a standing-room-only session at NBAA2014, a panel discussion covered many questions: Will UAS operators be required to be certificated pilots? Will the UAS itself have to be certificated? Is the U.S. falling behind the international community in its regulation and use of UAS? This video gives a brief overview of the session.” [Read more…]

AV100 headset impresses this head

Hannes Arch

Headsets are a lot like underwear…very personal yet very important. Some pilots like style, some look for quiet, and some lead with price, but all pilots look for comfort. And to make it difficult for the manufacturers, no headset fits two heads the same.

AKG Aviation, a division of Austria-based audio technology pioneer Harman, debuted its AV100 at SUN ‘n FUN this spring.

[Read more…]

RPA not UAV in GAN

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Drones

There isn’t anything unmanned about most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). There is a real, live human being attached (wirelessly) to that airborne craft.

That’s why General Aviation News will from now on refer to them as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). And we’re not the only ones weighing in on this discussion[Read more…]