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Flying? The safest form of transport!!

Looking around and looking up, just to keep an eye on the world of aviation and report those obscure findings and happenings.

Plane skids off runway in Lanzarote.
31 October 2008

Spanish officials say an airliner carrying 74 people skidded off a runway on landing in the Canary Islands but no injuries are reported.  Spanish airport authority spokesman Alberto Martin Carvajal says the Air Europa Boeing-737 was arriving from Glasgow and landing on the island of Lanzarote when it left the runway near the end of the landing strip. He says everyone was evacuated from the plane and no-one was hurt in Friday's incident but authorities closed the airport.  The Spanish Interior Ministry office in the Canary Islands said the plane was carrying 74 passengers and crew members.  Carvajal said the aircraft skidded off the runway and ended up perpendicular to it.

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Never be first off the plane.
31 October 2008

Recenly I read in an African newspaper article about a man who got on a flight in Lagos to find it completely full…plus one.  One person was standing in the aisle with no seat.  The flight attendants went through and checked that everyone had a boarding pass, which they did.  (Apparently someone had a forged pass; welcome to Lagos.)  The staff then made an announcement that everyone was going to de-plane and that they were going to check everyone’s boarding pass carefully.  As soon as the first person stepped off the plane, the staff slammed and locked the airplane door, despite the person’s cries and banging on the door.  Problem solved.

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Plane hits tractor.
30 October 2008

A tractor driver escaped injury yesterday when a light aircraft landed on his vehicle, killing one passenger and seriously injuring the other reports the Irish Times. Emergency services were called to Seething Airfield, near Norwich, at about 1.50pm. A spokeswoman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service said the tractor driver, who was working in the airfield, was “shaken” but “unhurt”. She said one of the men aboard the two-seater aircraft died at the scene and the other was airlifted to hospital. According to the airfield's website, it is privately owned and run on a voluntary basis.

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Stuffed Badger on plane.
28 October 2008

Air passengers have gone to the heights of fancy in the choice of things they have left on planes, according to a survey. Underwear, chickens and a stuffed badger have all be mislaid on flights, according to the survey from a travel website. Other left-behind items include an artificial leg, dentures and new and used condoms. So a one-legged, toothless man joined the mile high club - What's wrong with that?

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Air hostess falls from plane.
27 October 2008

NEW DELHI: A Jet Airways airhostess fell down on the tarmac from the aircraft while she was closing its door but escaped with minor injuries. The airhostess, after the passengers were seated and under instruction from the pilot, was closing the door of the Mumbai-bound plane on Friday morning when she slipped and fell down from the plane, an airlines official said on Saturday.... she did not receive serious injuries.

The airlines fraternity does not term this incident as uncommon. Since we have to perform our duties wearing high heels, there are chances that we trip, said an airhostess.

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I guess you can't please 'em all!!
20 October 2008

Clowns and Banner

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Piggyback anybody?
20 October 2008

A light aircraft accidentally landed on top of a plane preparing to take off in a bizarre incident near Dallas, Texas.  No-one was injured in the accident at Northwest Regional airport in Roanoke, Texas on Friday, although both planes were badly damaged.  Reports suggest that the pilots of the aircraft were neighbours and had been talking on the radio just before the crash. It appears they were both under the impression the other would give way before the planes dramatically collided on the runway.  Upon impact the undercarriage of the landing plane, which was being flown by a learner pilot, became wedged in the top of the wing of the other aircraft.  The planes propellors smashed together as they collided, causing considerable damage to both aircraft.

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Drunken United Airlines Pilot Arrested at Heathrow.
20 October 2008

Sky News Claims:
The 44-year-old man was held following a breath test as the plane waited at Terminal One of London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning. He was a first officer for United Airlines and was due to embark on a flight to San Francisco. A police spokeswoman said: "At approximately 9am on Sunday, officers attended an aircraft at Heathrow Terminal One and arrested a 44-year-old man. "The man arrested is bailed to return to Heathrow police station on January 16 pending further enquiries." A police source told PA the man had been arrested on suspicion of "being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit". The legal limit for pilots is nine micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. This is more than three times stricter than the drink-drive limit, which is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

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October 20th 1977, The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.
20 October 2008

On October 20th, tragedy would strike the band as Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines (Steve's sister and one of Skynyrd's back-up singers), and road manager Dean Kilpatrick are killed when the band's rented plane (short on fuel) crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi, while en route to a gig at Louisiana University. Rossington, Collins, Powell, Wilkeson, and Leslie Hawkins, are all seriously injured but survive the crash. Out of courtesy and good judgement MCA Records withdraws the sleeve of the just released album 'Street Survivors,' which pictures the group standing in flames. The album will become the band's second platinum selling album, hitting #5 on the U.S. album chart.

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Airline flight paths.
19 October 2008

For those of you who like to know exactly what you are doing and where you are going I just found a website that shows flight paths from any airport to any other airport along with distances, airport plans and loads of other techy stuff. Take a look at The Great Circle Mapper here

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The Reign in Spain stays mainly on the plane.
16 October 2008

Spain’s King Juan Carlos looks at paratroopers as they jump from a Spain’s Air Forces Hercules C130 aircraft during their flight on October 14, 2008. "Rather you than me!!" He thinks. Little did he know the one in the middle was the pilot!!

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Virgin 747 sent off course on purpose.
15 October 2008

A Virgin Atlantic passenger plane was sent several miles off course and into oncoming thunderstorms as part of a test for a trainee air traffic controller. Virgin Atlantic officials are investigating the incident in which a Virgin Boeing 747 was rerouted at least 70 miles out of its way over the southern part of the USA. An American air traffic control union official said the Virgin plane, and three others, were sent into an area where there were storms. But the USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assures there were no thunderstorms in the area over the Florida-Georgia border and that the planes were directed only 33 to 50 miles out of their way. The FAA also said that passengers were not endangered. The other aircraft were reported to be a Delta Boeing 757 and two Boeing 737s flown by American airline Southwest. A union official said the four planes were travelling en route to Orlando airport in Florida when they were rerouted inland on orders from an air traffic control supervisor who wanted to test the skills of a trainee.  The planes were directed at least 60 to 70 miles out of their way into an area of airspace known as the 'Alma sector' where there were storms on Saturday, the official said.  He said pilots would have had to 'zigzag' to avoid the storms, adding extra miles to their trip. The official said that besides rerouting the flights, the supervisor also ordered a veteran controller to leave the four flights 'stacked' at varying altitudes above 30,000 feet rather than bringing them all down to 30,000 feet and stringing them out in a line, as would be the normal practice before reaching the Alma sector. It is believed the supervisor told controllers he wanted to leave the planes stacked so the trainee could practice unstacking them. The supervisor also ordered a veteran controller to tell one of the four pilots to report an incorrect altitude to see if the trainee would catch the mistake. A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic in the UK said: 'We are investigating this incident with the FAA. 'The safety and welfare of our crew and passengers is Virgin Atlantic's top priority and at no point during this flight were passengers put at risk.'

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BA reduces fule surcharge tonight.
15 October 2008

British Airways said it was cutting fuel surcharges on newly-purchased plane tickets by up to £13 sterling per leg of a journey, as oil prices fall sharply.  'British Airways will drop its fuel surcharge by as much as £13 from midnight', the carrier said in a brief statement. The announcement follows a similar move by BA's British rival Virgin Atlantic yesterday.

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Plane stuck in Mumbai city center.
15 October 2008

Residents of the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) are wondering how long it will take to remove a disused Boeing 737 that has been abandoned in a busy road.

The decommissioned aircraft was being driven through the city at the weekend when the driver got lost and then abandoned the plane.  The Boeing used to belong to the private company Air Sahara.  Some locals are angry that no action is being taken to move the plane. Others say it is a tourist attraction. It appears that after taking a wrong turn, the driver found himself facing a flyover that was too low for him to take the plane under. The driver has not been seen since and no-one is assuming responsibility for the 737.

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What are the least essential items on a plane?
14 October 2008

Faced with historically high fuel costs, airlines have become obsessed with lightening their loads, ditching everything from magazines to pillows to life vests.  Here are a few ideas as to what can be dumped, feel free to add your own thoughts.

Duty-free carts: They weigh half a ton and are more of an inconvenience to passengers than an amenity.
In-flight magazines: Some airlines are cutting these magazines down to size, but why not just get rid of them entirely?
Flight attendants: Why not install a vending machine at the back of the plane?

Over to you!!

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Free-To-Pee.... For now...
14 October 2008

It’s the final frontier for fees.

But according to most major U.S. carriers, it’s not going to happen. Every time reports appear on new fees levied by the airlines, a goodly number of tongues predict that in-flight pay toilets must be next.  Well, even though it may cost you on the way in, go ahead and drink that extra glass of water with confidence. For now, we are not living in a pay-to-pee world. After an exhaustive investigation, MOST airlines have no plans to charge you to hit the loo.

On the same subject, did you know that there are actually no rules that state an aircraft must fly with a certain number of bathrooms? So you never know, in a bid to cut costs you may yet get Ryanair "Cross-Legged" specials.

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82 year old flies unlicensed plane.
14 October 2008

TOKYO (The Japan Times), October 14, 2008

An 82-year-old man in Hokkaido was arrested Monday on suspicion of flying an ultralight plane without permission, police said.  The police also raided the town office of Kami-Shihoro, Hokkaido, on suspicion that the local authorities allowed Tatsuo Yonekura to use a runway under the control of the municipal government despite knowing he was flying illegally. The municipal government is suspected of violating the aviation law, the police said.  Yonekura allegedly took off from the runway on August 18 in an unlicensed ultralight plane, according to the investigation. The plane has not undergone an inspection by the authorities.  He has obtained a license for flying an ultralight plane but has not received the medical checkups required to receive permission to fly for five years.

(C) The Japan Times

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Are you my Mummy?
13 October 2008

Fourteen young cranes are scheduled to take off Friday from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, barring inclement weather. Ultralight pilots there have been leading the impressionable birds who think the ultralights are their Mother on longer and longer training flights. They'll head to wildlife refuges on Florida's Gulf Coast, passing through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The project is part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership's efforts to reintroduce a migratory flock of whooping cranes to the eastern United States. This will be the partnership's eighth ultralight-led migration.

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Always the trucks get in the way!!!
13 October 2008

The pilot of a single-engine plane walked away from a crash Saturday night after he flew into the side of a furniture truck while trying to land at an airport.  There were no injuries. Damage to the plane looked extensive, and the roof of the cargo area of the truck was sheared off.  Debris from the accident was scattered for hundreds of feet alongside the crash site.  The plane hit the ground about 25 feet short of the runway at Sierra Sky Park. Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Chuck Tobias said it looked like the landing gear of the plane hit the truck and "sheared off a good portion of the roof." "The plane then continued for a very short distance, but crashed short of the runway."

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Boeing to cut production rates.
11 October 2008

Although The Boeing Co. has a record backlog of orders and had been raising production rates to get more planes to customers, the global financial crisis and credit crunch will result in many of those orders being canceled or deferred, a Wall Street analyst said Friday.  Another analyst predicted that because of the ongoing Machinists strike and other factors, the first 787s won't be delivered to airlines until early 2010, rather than in the third quarter of next year.  Boeing can be expected to update the status of its 787, and provide analysts with a better understanding of the impact of the credit crunch on its customers and its delivery schedule, when it reports on third-quarter earnings Oct. 22. "We believe that the inability to obtain financing will cause customers to defer or cancel orders," Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Safran wrote in a note to clients. "As a result, we believe (Boeing) will lower production rates."  Boeing will have to drastically cut deliveries in 2010, he predicted.  Safran lowered his estimate of how many planes Boeing will deliver in 2009 to 462, down from 489. But in 2010, he said, Boeing will deliver only 392 planes. That's well off Safran's previous estimate of 524.

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Faulty flaps on Spanair flight.
10 October 2008

The Spanair plane involved in a crash that killed 154 people in Madrid in August attempted to take off without opening its flaps and slats, according to the 12-page preliminary report on the accident released in Madrid by the Spanish Public Works Ministry.  The document said that the wreckage of the MD-82 showed the malfunction, but the pilots would not have known there was a problem because the alarm signal did not go off.  The report said "no sound related to the warning system about an inadequate configuration of take-off" could be heard on the plane's black box flight recorders.  The investigation showed that the plane's two engines behaved as they should have.

The results of the investigation had largely been leaked to the media weeks earlier, causing controversy in Spain. Relatives of the victims further complained that the media broadcast a video of the crash.  The definitive report on the crash is not expected for one or two years, and the investigation is ongoing.  The plane was leaving for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands when it crashed and caught fire just after take-off at Madrid's Barajas airport.  Only 18 people survived the accident - the most serious in Spain in 25 years - and they were badly injured.

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Nose Wheel Drops Off.
09 October 2008

Mumbai/New Delhi, October 9 A Delhi-bound Go Air flight with 117 passengers on board made an emergency landing at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) this afternoon after the aircraft developed a technical snag in its landing gear. All 123 on board, including six-member crew, were safe.

According to officials at Mumbai airport, one of the two nose-wheels of the plane came off when it was taking off. It was the bird watchers at the airport who first saw the nose-wheel fall from the plane, they said. “Our safety officers and bird scarers played a crucial role in alerting the Air Traffic Control and airline officials in time so that necessary action could be taken,” a spokesperson of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) said.  An airline official later said in Delhi: “The pilot noticed the problem mid-air and immediately informed the ATC. After consultation with both Mumbai and Delhi airports, it was decided that emergency landing conditions would have to be put in place.”

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Did laptop cause Qantas plunge?
08 October 2008

PASSENGERS will be quizzed on whether they were using computers or electronic equipment before a Qantas aircraft plunged hundreds of metres this week.  One has told of how he heard a loud bang followed by the screams and groans of passengers being thrown about the cabin and slammed against the roof as the Airbus went into a steep dive off Western Australia on Tuesday.  Safety officials yesterday began investigating how the aircraft travelling from Singapore to Perth suddenly shot up 300 feet before pitching earthward after signalling to its pilots "irregularities" in its elevator control system.  The possibility passengers using electronic equipment including computers affected the aircraft's navigation system has not been ruled out.

A passenger clicking a wireless mouse mid-flight recently sent a Qantas jumbo jet off course on a three-degree bank, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report revealed.  "Certainly in our discussions with passengers that is exactly the sort of question we will be asking – 'Were you using a computer?'," an Australian Transport Safety Bureau spokesman said yesterday.  Director of aviation safety investigation Julian Walsh said: "We don't know, and we don't fully understand the dynamics of this event.  "Certainly there was a period of time where the aircraft performed of its own accord."

Up to 40 passengers and crew were injured when the plane was cruising at 37,000 feet about 177km north of Carnarvon.  The injured, including about 20 suffering serious spinal injuries, broken bones or lacerations, were taken to hospital after the pilot sent out a mayday distress call then made an emergency landing at an old military strip at Learmonth about 40km from Exmouth.  SES volunteer Jackie Tapper, 30, was one of the first to start treating the injured passengers on the aircraft, "Inside the plane it was like a tornado had gone off," she said.  "On the ceiling where people had hit their heads there was chunks of hair still there. There were a lot of people bleeding so we had to bandage them."

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Keep your seatbelts fastened.
07 October 2008

About 30 passengers and crew have been injured after turbulence forced a Qantas Airbus to land at Learmonth Airport about 1.45pm, near the northern WA town of Exmouth 1200km from Perth today.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau spokesman Ian Sangston said 15 of the passengers and cabin crew had suffered serious injuries, including broken bones and lacerations, after a "sudden in-flight upset" on QF72, which was due to land in Perth at 2.10pm.

This is twice in as many weeks this kind of thing has happened and it shows that seat belts should remain fastened at all times.

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Shut that door!!
06 October 2008

A British flight crew wrestled an unruly German passenger after he assaulted two fellow passengers and tried to open the plane's door mid-flight, the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper reported today.

The incident began on an Easyjet flight from Naples to Berlin, when the German passenger fought with two British passengers, biting one and punching the other in the face.  After the three were separated, the passenger got up and tried to open the cabin door.  The Aviation Herald reported that he also tried to get into the cockpit. He was then wrestled to the ground and handcuffed by the Easyjet crew.  Authorities said the 31-year-old passenger, who was later found to be intoxicated, will face charges of assault and endangering the safety of an aircraft.  I should think so too!!

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Too heavy for take off.
03 October 2008

Alan Coupe and his wife Jan were approached by a stewardess while their plane was still on the runway and asked to move to help the aircraft get off the ground.  Mr Coupe, who weighed 20 stone, moved to the front of the aircraft to help to even out the weight so the plane could take off.  The embarrassment of the incident, which took place in Southampton in April 2005, led the couple to begin a drastic diet and the pair have since lost 12st 7lb between them.

The couple were on their way to Guernsey for a week's holiday with their son Chris when the incident happened.  Mrs Coupe, 49, who runs a bed and breakfast business with her husband in Stubbington, Hampshire, said: "The stewardess asked one of us to get up and move to the front, so Alan volunteered to move which I was thankful about as I was so embarrassed I just couldn't look up.  "We couldn't believe that we were too heavy for the plane to take off."  "It was a decent-sized plane full of holidaymakers so it was devastating to be told that even a big plane like that couldn't cope with all our weight being at the back."

Following the ordeal, Mrs Coupe joined a popular slimming club.  She persuaded her husband to attend and in the first week Mrs Coupe lost 8lb and Mr Coupe lost 9lb. The couple, who had settled into a routine of having takeaways and eating very late at night, turned instead to pasta, vegetable curries or steak salads.  Now Mrs Coupe, who also sufferes from multiple sclerosis, has lost 6st 5lb and her 54-year-old husband 5st 13lb.  She has since dropped six dress sizes to a size 14 and says that her and husband feel much more confident about travelling now.  She said: "I don't feel embarrassed about getting on a plane anymore - we all feel so great we could fly around the world now without a hitch."

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Pilot must have thought it was a nudist beach!!
02 October 2008

This picture was taken by Ludovic Aubert, Imapress/Globe Photo and was published in Life magazine. The location where the picture was taken is Simpson Bay, St. Martin a Dutch and French island, and is so tiny that its Juliana International Airport abuts one of the famed Caribbean beaches."

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Barcelona to Russia belly flop.
02 October 2008

A Russian-operated passenger plane crash-landed at a provincial airport late on Wednesday after its landing gear failed, national news agencies reported, raising fresh concerns about the country's chequered air safety record.  None of the 108 passengers or six crew onboard the KD-Avia Boeing 737-300 flying from Barcelona was injured when the plane was forced to land on its fuselage at Kaliningrad airport, the state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported. "The fuselage was not destroyed, and the passengers were evacuated through regular ramps. None of them was hurt," KD-Avia Executive Director Leonid Itskov told Interfax news agency.  The fuselage and engines were damaged after the plane came down at 11.10 p.m. local time in the Russian enclave situated between Lithuania and Poland, and the airport was forced to close, reported Interfax. The Transport Ministry was quoted as saying the crew first reported problems controlling the plane's flaps, which were rectified, but the landing gear then failed to operate, forcing the crew to make the emergency landing. KD-Avia is a 100 percent privately owned airline based in Kaliningrad which began operations in 2005, according to the company's website.

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Dodgy Landings.
02 October 2008

Rollercoaster by hartlandmartin.

An Emirates Boeing 777 catches a gust that dips the starboard wing moments before touchdown forcing the landing gear hard into Birmingham's runway 15. Great to watch, not so much fun for the passengers and crew methinks. 

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Cocaine carrier dies of mid-air heart-attack.
01 October 2008

 A Nigerian man suffered a heart attack after cocaine capsules burst in his stomach, forcing a plane flying from Senegal to Spain to make an emergency landing in Morocco, airport officials and police said Tuesday.  The man was taken ill during the flight on Sunday with a "heart condition caused by a drug overdose," airport authorities said, with police confirming that a subsequent X-ray had revealed 62 cocaine capsules inside his stomach -- two of which were found to be empty.  "We believe that the contents of the empty capsules provoked the overdose and the heart attack," the police source added.  The plane, belonging to Spanish carrier Iberia Airlines, set off again for Madrid after its unscheduled stop, and the victim's body was transferred to the morgue in Casablanca.

Also on Tuesday, a Dutchman died in the French port of Calais when a two-kilo (four-and-a-half-pound) bag of cocaine exploded in his stomach as he attempted to smuggle it into Britain, police said.

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