Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Joke: Three guys at a job interview

A Mathematician, a Statistician and an Accountant were all in the final stage of a job interview for a Vice President job in a large corporation. The evaluation commitee had a plan to ask all three the same question to finally find out who gets the job.
The Mathematician was first: "How much is 500+500?". Without hesitating, the Mathematician replied "1000". He was dismissed. Next was the Statistician. His reply was: "a mean 1000 on 95% confidence level". He was also dismissed. Finally the Accountant was asked how much 500+500 was. He said: "How much would you like it to be?" and was hired.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stop the unnecessary printing!

I mentioned this before and I will probably mention this another hundred times: There is no point discussing global warming or fighting SUVs (this is a petition launched by the social party in Switzerland. They try to make alaw that forbids to buy SUVs...), as long as we can't get the little things right.
As I want to give my five cents to environmental conciousness I have reduced paper correspondence to a minimum. I send letters as pdf files and I do this with invoices as well. I also ask some service providers like swisscom to send me invoices in electronic form and not on paper. But of course this is only working when everybody plays the game. Funny enough it is always the big player (like Eurocontrol recently) that tell me "they can only process payments when invoices are sent as hardcopies". Now isn't this great?! Wouldn't it be those huge organisations that could make a difference? From that perspective I have to say the IFPP is a pioneer. Some years ago we changed to paperless meetings and the working papers are only available in electronic form. I tell you this saves piles and piles of paper.
I really wonder, when large companies finally have the guts to change these old habits of printing every fart onto a piece of paper.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You pay for what you get

This is the rule in Japan. Actually I quite like it. It means I don't have to figure out how much I should tip a taxi driver or a hotel employee bringing me the food I ordered from room service. It's easier for me to calculate what the trip expenses will be. Therefore I was quite astonished recently, when a big resort hotel in Japan told me, they offer me a special price because I stay for three weeks. When I arrived, they told me that they give me a room with a balcony. Wow! Twice the unexpected. This is out of the ordinary, because a couple of years ago in a Hotel in Tokyo, the nice young lady laughed at me as if I had made a very funny joke when I said she could also give me the early check-in for free (I arrived at 10.00 am, their check-in time is 3 pm) when she communicated the official early check-in rate per hour. I thought I'd make the remark, as I had reserved in this hotel for six weeks...
But after the years here in Japan I got used to this type of behaviour and I find it normal. So I only had to smile this morning, when I left Tokyo and handed in my key. I payed the bill the day before so I could leave without delay. I spent 2 weeks at that place and it was not exactly a cheap place. When I left, the receptionist ran after me and said "I am sorry sir, one more beer!" I had to smile, as indeed I seem to have had a beer from the minibar that was not on the bill when I paid. Funny actually, at least in Japan. Because I am sure, back home i would get furious when a hotel asked to charge me 3 Dollars 50, when I paid about thousand fivehundred times this amount the day before :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Language follies

A friend of mine saw this in Bangkok. Whether Sue is good looking or not, nobody can tell...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Online Campus

When Apple changed the dot mac platform to "mobile me", unfortunately they gave up the groups feature. Although they say that existing groups can be maintained, all the online students had problems to log on ever since. It seems that access from outside the mac community is difficult.
I am currently evaluating an alternative. Eventually it is possible to use the ANI forum as the central element, but we shall see. As soon as I have an alternative, I will communicate it through the ANI Campus message board.

So long

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New course venue in Switzerland

After a long evaluation I have now made a deal with the Artos in Interlaken/Switzerland to host ANI courses in the future, when they are held here in Switzerland. I am sure, it is a good choice, as the course rooms are very bright (top floor of a 5 story building) and have a nice cafeteria area right in front of the training rooms, where students can relax and have a drink, or get some fresh air on the terrasse. The hotel rooms are quite spacious, which is important when students stay for three weeks twice. There is a wellness area with jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. And the prices are very competitive. First course to be held there will be the basic PANS-OPS course February 9-27 and April 20-May 8, 2009. For those who are interested, let me know, I have made a brochure reflecting all the aspects.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quality Assurance in Procedure Design

The way we are going today in the International Aviation Community will result in a greater safety, I am convinced about that. ICAO has a mission and created guidelines about QA over the last couple of years. That's good. The level of procedure designer will be higher, as the pre-requisites are more stringent, guidelines about periodical review, ground and flight validation are also established. This will lead to the situation that states will have to learn that investing appropriately in an IFP system will certainly pay back. States who will not figure out that it is time to act and keep the pace will simply not be in a position to provide Flight Procedure Design to a standard that is required by ICAO. Bad news for the States. But good news for some companies out there whose mission is to provide safe and efficient Flight Procedures. Some states will simply have to come to the conclusion that it's better not to do everything themselves. I am sure we will witness some paradigm shifts in the future.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

PANS-OPS everywhere :-)

With the right equipment, you can discuss procedure design everywhere, even in a coffee shop, somewhere near Interstate 90 between Seattle and Spokane. When 4 maniacs travel together, that's what happens!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

APV Baro-VNAV launching customer

The Vancouver-based company Direct Approach managed by the experienced Flight Procedure Designer Marinus Waterberg acted as the launching customer for the level 3 e-learning course "APV Baro-VNAV". The course covers the changes in Baro-VNAV criteria due out in Amendment 2 to PANS-OPS (November 08) and gives an introduction of the new RNP APCH specification and LNAV criteria. One of the procedure design experts at Direct Approach has done his whole PANS-OPS training through the ANI online course (See blog entries July-September 2007).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Planning ahead

Hello my friends. Here I am again after the Summer hole-y-day. This week I attended a nice workshop about PBN. It was a group of stakeholders discussing issues that will be faced when implementing the PBN concept. I would be interested to hear what other states are doing and have therefore created a thread in the forum. Please submit your views and thoughts there.
Furthermore, here are some dates to remember for your forward planning.
Basic PANS-OPS courses will take place as follows:

Interlaken/Switzerland February 9-27 (part 1) and April 20 - May 8 (part 2), 2009
Pezinok/Slovak Republic May 25-June 6 (part 1) and July 13-31 (part 2), 2009
Fukuoka/Japan October 26-November 13 (part 1) and November 30-December 18 (part 2), 2009

Furthermore we have scheduled the following:
Geodesy for IFP specialists: February 11-13, 2009
Advanced ILS: August 3-7, 2009
Advanced RNAV and APV: August 10-14

I will also schedule a PBN course, a Flight OPS awareness and an ARINC 424. But for those, the dates are a bit more complicated to coordinate. I'll keep you advised. Furthermore a PANS-OPS amendment course will be necessary early in the year. I am sure I can deliver news in about 4 weeks.

So long!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Low cost carrier era is over

At least that is what I think. And I must admit, I am not so unhappy about it. I observe a tendency that the low cost operators cannot continue to fly profitably like this. So some of the carriers stop offering certain routes. As a result, a quick night out in Riga or a shopping day in Gothenburg are not possible anymore. Good. Because I always shook my head about people flying to the most exotic places but don't even know the area within 30 kilometers of their living place. I recently read in a newpaper that people complained at the airport because economy check-in desks reached their capacity limits, which resulted in long waiting times. How can people think that they can buy a ticket to Santo Domingo from Europe for 650 Dollars and then get all the privileges in ground service? I don't understand. Okay, I am flying a lot and the cost for that might go up. But I prefer to pay a bit more if that means in return that the airports are not full of people who paid 20 Dollars for a flight to London but expect the ground staff to bend over backwards for them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

2009 is around the corner

I do not mean to be pushy, but for those organisations who intend to train new flight procedure designers, it will soon be time to think about the options. Remember, there is an ANI course early in the year, one in spring/summer and one in autumn in Japan. Alternative options are the course at the Singapore Aviation Academy, which is either 8 weeks in a row, or 4 weeks, but without the RNAV bit, which you can then only do a year later (or with me of course...). ENAC has a 3 times three week concept streched over the year.
ANI course dates are published here.
When you click on an event it will reveal information about location etc.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Expensive fuel -> expensive flights, so what?

The price for flying will go up. So what? Okay, it is a bit annoying for people travelling for business because it will increase the operative costs of the company. But the prices for flights are anyway much too low, especially in tourist class. Why should any idiot be in a position to fly to New York for less than 700 Dollars? It's ridiculous! But when you ask him how to get from here to Arosa he asks if Arosa is a new marmalade. I never understood why holidays in the Dominican Repuplic should be less expensive than holidays in the south of France for example.
Recently I saw a lady in a documetary about some airlines starting to charge check-in fees for each piece of baggage and oversize fees for cabin carry-on. It was a low cost carrier. The lady complained: My flight that was originally 20£ is now 100£ *whine*.
My comment: Yes, and that's exactly what it should have been from the beginning. Or even more.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Communication between guest and room service clerk

"Good evening, I would like to order the special beef burger"
"Certainly sir, and how would you like your burger?"
"I would like it on a plate and fast."

You have to excuse me, I am sure I will post something serious again soon. In the mean time, have a good weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008


We recently did an entry test to see if students meet the pre-requisites according ICAO doc. 9906. Here is one of the test results of the trigonometry test:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modern Airliners

We all know modern airliners are equiped with latest technology. Here is why it is important that electronical devices are switched off for take-off and landing (click the picture to get it full size):

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And who pays??!!

I often hear people complain about the government spending money on something the people do not agree. "And who pays for it? We do! The tax payer!" I can't hear that anymore and my answer is: wrong! The tax payer doesn't pay anything. Well, he pays the tax, but that's it. Paying tax is a law, that's all. It doesn't buy us the right to contribute to how the money is used. It's the same when you stay a couple of nights at a hotel. Is it any of our business what the hotel manager does with the money? I don't think so. So far I never heard: "A new swimming pool? And who pays for it? We do! The hotel guests!"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Can you send me the detailed syllabus?

I always have to smile a bit at potential trainees making inquiries for a course. One of the standard phrases is "can you please send me a detailed course syllabus?". My immediate reaction (which I would never write to these guys of course...) is always: What for? If you consider attending the course, I would assume you don't know much about the subject, correct? If you don't know much about the subject, what do you want with the syllabus then? How can you judge, whether it's adequate or not? How can you judge, whether the course is for you or not? Interesting, isn't it? If you want to know the course OBJECTIVE, that's a different story. Because that is something meaningful. "Oh, in this course I learn how all the APV procedures are designed", that is something a potential student can handle. But if I send him a list like: "day three, GARP definition and Delta offset length, FAS datablock fields and their meaning", what for anybody's sake is a potential student going to do with this information? Impress his boss?
Another one that makes me really angry is: "Can you please inform me on tuition fee, course length and any other information". Hellooooo??!! Everything described on the website, documents for download so you can impress your boss (see above...). Recently I told somebody exactly that: All the info you are looking for is on the website with downloadable documents. Answer: I did not/do not have the time to read all this. My reaction: Ah okay, and I DO have the time to tell you everything again, when I have already made the info available?
Alright, enough complaints now. Maybe I am in a bad mood because of the bad weather and some physical pain that I have. Anyway, I am now off to Tokyo to teach PANS-OPS. Imagine there is a syllabus and nobody follows it? ;-)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Euro 08 hype

Here is a video that I secretly shot in the final practice of the Switzerland team. After their pathetic performance in the eighth of finals in the World Cup 06, they focused specifically on shooting penalties :-)

Monday, June 02, 2008

New ANI Forum

Hi All,

I have now created a discussion forum page so the flight procedure design world can communicate in a modern form. We can use this to exchange issues in our daily work and I hope it helps that the procedure designer, pilots, coders and whoever will communicate with each other. You need to register to use the forum. When doing so, please make sure you reveal enough info, so the other users know who you are.
The forum page is here

Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Telemarketer Nightmare

I have a multiple phone number line at home. The main number is actually not used at all and is muted. The advantage of that is that should a phone company ever illegally sell data, the buyer would always end up with that number that's never answered. However, it happens that sometimes there is a call on the display. Now, normally Telemarketers call with "number hidden". But unfortunately they cannot do that with me. I have a function, where if somebody calls with a hidden caller ID, my phone simply generates a message "this connection does not accept calls with hidden caller ID". So either the guys give up or they reveal themselves. If they do reveal themselves I can then check, if the number is in the directory. Recently there was a Telemarketing company being extremely patient and I had their number on the display once a day for about two weeks. They would even call at times like 9 o'clock in the evening. So I got angry and did the following: I deviated the phone line they called to their own number :-D Funny enough, their phone terror stopped immediately...

Friday, May 23, 2008

PBN implementation

Many people ask me now, if any states already had already implemented the PBN concept. Switzerland has. Here is a cockpit shot from a PBN certified flight deck ;-). Click the picture for full size image.
(photograph courtesy of Thomas Buchanan, Chairman of the ICAO IFPP)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Airplane Beach

Here is a video that you will like. Maybe you have heard of the crazy airport in St. Maarten in the Caribean Sea. It's just insane!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New course

I am extremely happy to announce a course that I had in mind for a long time, but the necessary instructor didn't exist, or at least I didn't know he existed. Then heaven (or whoever...) made me cross paths with Alex Hartland and there we go.
It's a one week course about flight operations aimed specifically at procedure designers. The background of the idea: many procedure designers are recruited from the non-flying side. That means they actually don't know how their procedures are flown in a moderairliner, what instruments there are, how operators calculate contingency procedures or how visual minima are calculated.
So Alex and me have developed a program together, which I find exciting. I have created a flyer about it and you can download it here.

The course dates are: October 20-24, 2008
Location: Interlaken/Switzerland
Tuition fee: 1500 € (Euro)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New elements on the ANI website

I have added some useful info to the ANI website:
As the basic courses comply with the ICAO doc. 9906 vol. II, I have created a downloadable brochure that explains the training concept, pre-requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes as well as the requirement for OJT. This brochure can be downloaded from this page.

Furthermore I have added the new course "Flight Operations Awareness". Instead of me explaining here, go to the website and download the flyer.

I have also added information about the training locations Fukuoka and Pezinok. For some locations, such as Fukuoka, I have created a link to a photo page, showing you some impressions of the area.

Take a moment to explore. There are some other exciting changes in the training programs in the pipeline. More information, when I have it all worked out. So long!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Interesting court trial

The last couple of week, there was a court trial regarding the CFIT accident of a Crossair airplane on November 24, 2001 in Zürich/Switzerland. You can find a brief description of the accident here.
The full report of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau can be downloaded from their website.
Now the two top executives of Crossair, CEO Moritz Suter and his Deputy at the time, André Dosé (later became the CEO of Crossair and Swiss International Airlines) were accused for negligent homicide in 24 cases. Personally I don't like to see that tendency in general: People who have absolutely nothing to do with the event whatsoever, are taken under fire with the goal to find somebody to blame. Excuse me, it was an accident! So if somebody's son kills somebody in a car accident, the parents will be blamed for it because they let him use their car or what??
Anyway, the sentence was: free of all charges, which I appreciate. When you read the final report you will find out that the pilot wasn't quite up to his task and you could question whether he should have been in an airliner cockpit at all. But what's that got to do with the CEO? Can it be Steve Ballmer's (CEO Microsoft) or Steve Jobs' (CEO Apple) problem, if some programmer is not up to his tasks and makes errors over and over again? I don't think so, for that there are executives on a lower level. I have to say "thank you USA" for this ridiculous legal system, where McDonalds can blamed for not warning the people that hot coffee is indeed hot.
However, now that Suter and Dosé are free of the charges, every idiot comes out of his corner and assumes himself to be qualified to comment about it (including myself as you can see *wink*). Comments like: "Of course, you just need to be able to pay expensive lawyers", "I knew, they won't be blamed, it's a shame", "those judges are useless" and alikes can be read on the Swiss TV's website. Oh really? So those judges are not up to their task? You would be better, right? And who do you want to blame for appointing such terrible judges? The President? God almighty? The gardener (the gardener is always guilty...)?
Again, people misunderstand the term "democracy" here. Democracy means, we are ALLOWED to have an opinion. It doesn't mean we MUST have one. In other words. He who has not a clue, should shut the f* up!
And when it comes to aviation, my view is: Nobody has a clue, except eventually the people in aviation themselves-

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Singapore moves to 8 week concept

The Singapore Aviation Academy, one of the world's famous institutions for Procedure Design/PANS-OPS training has changed their concept to an eight week training program. Their program is split into two consecutive models of 5 weeks and 3 weeks. In the first module they cover the basics, conventional ground based navigation including ILS. The second module covers RNAV and RNP. So you can get either trained fully within 8 weeks in a row (watch out when you get back, make sure your wife remembers you...) or you can get a non-RNAV training in one year and add-on the RNAV bit the year after.
With this change of concept, the SAA reacts to the increasing quantity and complexity of the material contained in PANS-OPS.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The sickest industry

What is a sick industry? According my definition, an industry where people are not really paid what they are worth. Of course there will always be people, who can sell themselves better than others in all industries. But I recently spoke to a good friend of mine and she is constantly struggling income wise. Her profession? She is a Concert Pianist. Concert Pianist means two graduate studies at University level. First the Diploma as a professional Musician, which is literally a Masters Degree and then four more years of studies to get the Concert diploma. And she has to teach pupils for an hourly price that makes me laugh and cry at the same time. 8 years of Music Academy drill and she works for HALF the price as for example the gardener who overhauls my garden twice a year. HALF the price as the painter who recently painted 3 walls in my house.
This is crazy. Would somebody who studied law ever work for that price? An engineer? And more importantly: Would people EXPECT a lawyer to be that cheap? I don't think so. On the other hand people are prepared to pay 250 Dollars for a ticket so see Barbara Streisand. But when people want their kid to learn the piano, they think it must be dirt cheap. I don't understand and it makes me a bit sad...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Next PANS-OPS course started

We have started the next PANS-OPS basic course for 2008 in Pezinok/Slovakia. We have a nicely mixed class with students from Poland, USA, Abu Dhabi, Romania, Slovak Republic and Tanzania. They are already sweating with the turn protection calculations, not being aware that it gets worse tomorrow with the reversal procedures :-)

2 weeks ago we have successfully completed the first course of the year in Switzerland with participants from Portugal, South Africa, the Netherlands and Turkey. In the second pert, the weather was playing some games with us, but we survived. Right now, the weather is nice here in Pezinok, but I don't think last year's heat record (39.2°C) will be broken...

Monday, May 05, 2008

The hard life of a Stewardess :-)

I am sorry! Flight Attendant they are called. They are responsible for the well-being and the safety on board. Safety? You mean if my plane hits the ground with a wingtip (see video further down in the blog), she will make sure I don't get hurt?
Anyway, sometimes I have to smile about the English that is spoken especially by Swiss and German Stewa... uuuh Flight Attendants. Recently, a young FA asked me "DO you like a cheese or ham sandwich?" I said: "I actually like both". She said: "Oh I am not sure we have enough right now!" My answer "oh, right now I don't want a sandwich, I never eat on planes when it's a short haul" totally confused her: "But you just said wou wanted both?!" "No, I didn't. I just answered your question, which was do I like cheese or ham. Fact is I like both, but I don't want one now!"
She probably still thinks that I am totally nuts, not noticing the subtle difference between the correctly phrased "WOULD you like a cheese or ham sandwich" and the not so correctly phrased "DO you like a cup of coffee?"
Yes, first thing in the morning I do! But not now ;-)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Interesting Procedure Discussion Forum

I was always highlighting the importance of communication between the different parties involved in procedure design. I think it is crucial that designers, pilots, ATC and database coders and cartographers understand each other's problems. A friend of mine provides such a forum on his website. http://www.asap.sk/discussion/
Check it out, maybe you'll find some interesting info or maybe you have to say something about a question posted.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Crosswind landing

Maybe you have heard about it, here is a video. LH44 was trying to land in strong crosswind at Hamburg Airport on March 1, during storm "Emma".

Monday, March 10, 2008

Little free goodie online

Dear all,
Those who know me will know that I have a degree in education. Over the years attending conferences here and there I always felt a bit sad about the level of the presentations given by about 98% of the speakers. They all make some essential things wrong when presenting and unfortunately everybody was copying each other and the level never improves. I thought I'll do something about it and put a little e-learning lecture about presentation technique online. It's free, and I hope many people will download it. So go ahead and use it, copy it, distribute it, the more people who see it,the better.
You'll find the link on http://www.airnavigationinstitute.ch, bottom left.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why does everything have to be a "solution"?

I see advertisements for software solutions, my bank is praising their banking solutions, insurances are trying to sell their insurance solution. Interesting, but I am not their target market then. I don't need a software solution, as I haven't got a software problem. I might want a piece of software, though. But not as a solution, not because I have a problem. Only because I like the kit. Same for the insurance. I don't have an insurance problem, I just want to be insured, that's all. Get lost with your solutions, we don't want them. We need them as little as we need an "insurance partner" or a "software partner". We just want to buy a product, that's all. So don't call yourself our partners, because you're not, and don't call your products "solutions", because we don't have a problem. Or do we have to invent a problem for all your solutions?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pictures from the Geodesy Course

Alain and Maurizio did a good job once more in the Geodesy course in Zürich, February 13-15. The picture shows Alain explaining the Theodolite and Maurizio supervising the explanations :-). We shall have another Geo course early next year. If you are interested in doing the course let me know early enough please. The knowledge aquired in the course becomes more and more important. With the widespread use of computers, databases and DTEDs, knowing how to handle different geodetic datums are a must and can be safety critical.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Only 2 more places for the summer course

The PANS-OPS course in Pezinok/Slovakia in May and July this year sells out quickly. We can take two more places and that's it. So, if somebody wants to join, hurry up :-) Ian is already getting the grill ready for the barbecue on the weekends. And the sandwich shop around the corner from the training center is desperately waiting for our lunch time business :-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Busy times ahead

Okay Folks, that was the Christmas-New-Year-and-a-little-time-thereafter Season. Looking back at the best year in the 12 year history of the ANI. But more importantly, here is what is coming up: Next week I look forward to running a full level 3 RNAV course in London, followed by another full PANS-OPS update course in Geneva, followed by a PANS-OPS basic part one here in Thun. Right after that I'll go to Montreal to attend the IFPP and when I am back I will be busy preparing the move of my domicile and the ANI headquarters. Having done that, the guys in the basic PANS-OPS course will return for part 2...

So, why am I telling you all this? To show off? Yes of course. But also to let you know what's happening and to have an excuse if I don't post many blog entries over the period.

By the way, for those procedure designers out there who are a bit slow: The latest version of PANS-OPS is fifth edition including Amendment 1 PLUS Corrigendum Nr. 1.

So long!