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Self-Flying Planes And The Future Of Air Travel

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Since the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes were discovered to have been partly caused by software and automated systems, many people have wondered how safe automated air travel really is. Although some older commercial airliners still use good old fashioned pilots in the cockpit, a growing majority of commercial airliners have automated systems. These systems are capable of replacing pilots; controlling the aircraft and even complete safe landings.

Despite worries by consumers, it seems inevitable that the future of air travel will be self-flying planes. Self-flying planes used to be in the realm of sci-fi, but with innovations in technology, and the prospects of reduced costs for airliners, planes that self-fly aren’t as far-fetched as they once seemed.

In recent times technological companies have heavily invested into self-driving cars. And airline companies have also followed this trend, albeit with less fanfare.

Airbus

Aviation industry giant, Airbus, is currently developing an air taxi. This taxi, dubbed Vahana, is a tilt-wing, multi-propeller aircraft capable of takeoff and flying about 50 miles. Although meant for urban transportation, it is not hard to imagine Airbus taking the leap to larger, more efficient aircraft.

Boeing

Despite the Boeing 737 Max disaster, Airbus’s main rival, Boeing has revealed that plans for self-flying airplanes might be on the way sooner rather than later. The company’s vice-president of Product Development, Mike Sinnet, at the 2016 Paris Air Show that “the basic building blocks of the (self-flying) technology clearly are available”.

Effects of Automated Flying Systems

Self-flying aircraft come with different effects both positive and negative.

First of all, automated air systems can cause pilots to lose concentration. Since most of the work is done by the computer system, the pilot tends to be lax. This is reportedly what happened in the Air France Flight 447 crash in 2009. The autopilot switched itself off and the pilots were unable to figure out the course of safety.

Aside from losing focus, spending a lot of time flying with automated systems is reported to dull the ability of pilots to fly planes without help. Airplanes rely more and more on automated systems now. For example, a pilot of a Boeing commercial plane reportedly only manually flies the plane for 3-6 minutes.

The Aviation Industry’s Stance

Despite some of the misgivings and effects, the aviation industry fully supports automated systems and is actively looking for ways to manufacture completely automated aircraft.

This stance is due to a couple of reasons.

Airliners claim that they would save money and solve the problem of a few qualified pilots in a single stroke with automated systems. By changing the design of the cockpit, and the front of the aircraft, they would save power expended and the cost of using such power.

As pointed out earlier the big players in the industry are actively testing out fully automated systems. Aside from Airbus and Boeing,  delivery agencies Amazon and UPS are developing their own crafts to help with automated deliveries.

The German company Volocopter has gone further by testing out air taxis since 2016. From Google to Uber to Bell, all the big players are actively interested in these vehicles.

The Consumer’s Stance

The excitement in the aviation industry is not fully matched in the consumer market. Although many folks do not recognize the extent that automation plays in flying aircraft, reports suggest that most people are more comfortable with having a driver in the cockpit, instead of a computer.

The reason for this apprehension is mostly due to a lack of information about how much safer and efficient automated systems really are. If more people realized how much safer it is, they’d be more willing to adopt it.

The Future of Air Travel

The cold, hard truth is that automation is here to stay. As technology continues to grow and giants in the industry continue to pump money into funding, the automated system will continue to be used and developed.

Despite misgivings by the public, automated systems are the safest means of traveling. Air travel is statistically the safest means of travel, and most accidents have been as a result of human error, not machines.

Large airplanes might adopt fully automated systems later than smaller air taxis because of the cost and technology required, but we are convinced the future of air travel will be self-flying crafts sooner rather than later.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Dogger-Lust: Finding Places to Stay for You and Your Dog

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Travelling with your pets is rewarding but like all adventures, can be an expedition into the unknown. Whether it’s navigating quarantine laws or finding a pet sitter for a night out, getting sorted with a pet in tow on the road, air or ocean can take time. However, the good news is that as the digital economy matures there are countless resources to assist you. Pet sitters? Plan ahead and Skype interview them for piece of mind before you arrive at your destination. Need a recommendation on pet friendly dining options? Most review sites will have a selection of places for you and pup to frequent. And perhaps most importantly, there is the ability to locate online the closest (and open) veterinary clinic. This can be vital in an emergency situation.

But what about accommodation? Some hotels are finally cottoning on the burgeoning market of travelling with pets and some accommodation sites are adding ‘pet-friendly’ filters to their search criteria. Of course, good old fashioned word-of-mouth and online reviews will also enable you to find less obvious pet friendly lodgings as well. However, we have had the most success by finding our ideal accommodation and then contacting the owner/management to make our case for allowing a pet to stay. In this case, developing a slick looking Pet CV may seem a tad twee, but it is generally only seen in the case of long term rentals – rather than travellers and those on holidays – so it’s worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that in dire circumstances many private or hotels will allow pets – at a price. 

For the ultimate in pet friendly accommodation, there are several destinations that should be on bucket-list. In Europe, see Le Bristol in Paris and The Hoxton in Amsterdam. Dogs even stay for free at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva. Leading the way in Asia is Japan’s KAI Kinugawa, a sumptuous onsen lodging with a Japanese-style pet friendly room. If you’re heading Down Under, check out The Langham in Sydney and Somerset on Elizabeth in Melbourne who both willingly welcome your pets. Worldwide, large chains such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Best Westerns, Fairmont Hotels and Ace Hotels (selected properties) all offer pet friendly accommodation of luxurious quality and an array of services from doggy spas to fine dining pet menus. 

Another way to ensure you and your dog are always welcome is to take your home with you – wherever you go. While Tiny Homes are making their mark in sustainable living, the humble caravan is ultimately more portable and your ticket to travelling with pets. 

Best of all, when you’re back on home turf, just park your caravan and protect it until you’re ready for your next adventure. We recommend the Adco motorhome cover for its durability and zippered panels meaning you don’t have to completely remove it to get your vehicle. Bonus points for breathable, premium fabric that filters 99.8% of UV rays that over time damages your caravan’s paintwork. Happy travelling! 

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6 Tips to Choose a Good Tent and More [Infographic]

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Probably one of the best ways to get away from it all is to return to a simpler existence, with just a handful of needs to cover. If you are looking for something like that, outdoor life and camping can be a good option, whether in a campsite or in the countryside.

If you need to buy a tent for the first time or if it has been a long time since the outdoor experiences, you should take into account some basic concepts due to the large number of models and new materials. The following are some tips that will help you in the choice.

>> Camping essential – a personal GPS tracking device that would work without cell service.

1. How many people will sleep in the tent?

Although normally each model of tent indicates the maximum occupancy that it tolerates, this number does not take into account the storage of equipment, the size of people, pets or the sleeping habits of each, for example, if they move or turn much. Then it is not bad to consider the team as an extra person and if you want to be standing inside it you will have to find out the maximum height.

2. Do you have to transport it long distances?

Not all tents are designed to be super light and, at the same time, shelter six people with all their equipment. If you are going to carry it in a backpack, you are clearly looking for the first, a small tent, with limited capacity and made with lightweight fabrics, but if you are looking for the second, then you should focus on heavier fabrics and materials that allow larger spaces.

The backpackers’ tents are less spacious than the family ones that are normally transported by car and usually offer very little height.

3. The weather should not be set aside

In the case of strong winds, freezing rain, excessive sunlight or insects and bugs that bite the best will be a good and solid tent. That means polyester / nylon and mesh panels to provide protection and ventilation. Water resistance is indicated by a number that ranges between 400 and 2,000 (2,000 is the most waterproof).

Anyway do not overdo it, it is not the same an expedition to Aconcagua than a weekend a couple of hours from home. For a summer camp with 400 it will be fine.

4. With or without rooms?

Some tents offer divisions to create separate “rooms” inside, which is ideal for families with children. There is also the option of a porch area with waterproof windows that allow you to create an indoor / outdoor space in a tent, which helps keep annoying insects at bay and prevent entry with wet or muddy slippers. It is best to have an eave or apse, something very useful for storing equipment, cooking, changing wet clothes.

5. With a roof – much better

Tents that have an over-roof to the floor retain heat better and protect more from rain. It is important to keep in mind that a light color of the over-roof absorbs less solar radiation and warms its interior less, although it has a disadvantage that it allows the light to pass through a lot. On the other hand, if it is dark, and the tent is located in the shade, it will be cooler and less bright.

6. What material?

A minor aspect is the fabric. It must have cross ventilation so that condensation does not occur. The rips top or anti-tear fabrics are better than those of aluminized nylon and, obviously, those of common nylon since they are lighter and do not wear out.

The following infographic gives more tips for camping tent, including preparation, how to pitch a tent, pest control, etc.

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Travel Tips

Here’s What Your Travel First Aid Kit Should Look Like

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first aid kit

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times: do not travel away from home without at least a basic first aid kit. That is good advice. And if you frequently travel to remote locations where emergency help is hard to find, you might need more than just a basic kit. Plan to take a few more items with you – just in case.

As a benefit to readers, this post will explain just what a basic travel first aid kit should look like. It will also explain how to use your kit should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. It goes without saying that first aid is often the determining factor in how well a patient recovers from accident related injuries.

Contents of a Good Kit

Basic, travel approved first aid kits are pretty common. You can buy them online and in all sorts of brick-and-mortar stores. A good kit suitable for a couple of days of hiking or camping in an area fairly close to civilized society would include all of the items listed below:

  • Strip Bandages – These are small, adhesive bandages ideal for small cuts and lacerations. They are also great for blisters and boils. Covering a small wound with a bandage helps keep out dirt and prevent infection.
  • Gauze Bandages – Whether your kit has gauze patches or a roll of gauze strips, this material is suitable for deeper wounds. Gauze is a material designed to absorb blood and promote clotting simultaneously.
  • Medical Tape – Gauze pads and strips are more easily held in place when you have medical tape. A high-quality medical tape will hold up even under wet conditions. It resists perspiration as well.
  • Antibiotic Ointment – Preventing a wound from getting infected is the purpose of antibiotic ointment. A decent tube of ointment can be very helpful without taking up a lot of space in your kit.
  • Pain Medication – A bottle of over-the-counter pain medication goes a long way toward making an injured patient more comfortable. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are all good choices for pain relief.
  • Scissors – A good pair of scissors will be useful for cutting medical tape, trimming gauze pads, and safely removing skin from an open wound.
  • Tweezers – You might need a pair of tweezers to deal with splinters and small objects embedded in open wounds.
  • Thermal Blanket – It is a good idea to include a thermal blanket in your travel first aid kit. Though a lot of similar articles don’t mention the blanket, the need for one becomes obvious when you understand how easily shock can set in following an accident. A thermal blanket is critical to keeping someone who is in shock warm.

The items listed here are the starting point for a basic first aid kit. If you plan to travel into remote areas for any length of time, you might want to consider some additional items such as water purification tablets, antidiarrheal medicine, rehydration salts, butterfly bandages, and a quick clot medication.

How to Use Your First Aid Kit

By now you should understand just how important it is to have a first aid kit with you when you travel. But there is more to first aid than simply assembling the supplies you need. You also have to know how to use them. There is no better source of knowledge than a first aid class offered by a qualified organisation.

Anyone who travels away from home regularly could benefit from taking a first aid class. A typical class teaches basic first aid techniques including wound dressing, stabilising fractured bones, performing CPR, and even dealing with a variety of animal and insect bites.

One of the things you quickly learn in first aid class is that the care you provide to an injured patient is not intended to be a substitute for comprehensive medical care. First aid is really just to stabilise an injured person until he or she can be transported to a medical facility.

The take-away here is that it is a good idea to learn how to use the supplies in your first aid kit to render emergency care for the purposes of stabilising an accident victim. If you do not know how to properly dress an open wound, for example, your patient could end up with a serious infection before he or she ever makes it to the hospital.

A travel first aid kit, even if it is just a basic kit, should be non-negotiable for people who frequently travel away from home. Good first aid kits can be found online and at brick-and-mortar retailers. You can make your own kit as well, by starting with a weatherproof container and filling it with the sorts of things listed in this post.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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