Posts in Category: Flying

FAA Investigating Hacking Into Its Flights

Chris Roberts’ fate rests in the results of an investigation by federal authorities as to whether he in fact hacked into flight controls of several U.S. domestic flights. Roberts has claimed that he has hacked into the flight controls of at least 20 flights and have instructed the planes to climb on a number of occasions. Roberts was detained by federal authorities after departing a United Airline’s flight bound for Syracuse after United officials informed federal authorities of a Twitter post in which Roberts claimed that he had hacked into the flight controls of the United flight through the entertainment flight systems and was able to control the decent and accent of the aircraft. A wikipedia article of Dr. Jennifer Walden describes the fear of somebody’s ability to hack aircrafts because it poses a serious terrorist threat.

Upon detaining Roberts, investigators found that the electronic console underneath his seat as well as in front of his seat had been tampered with. Investigators are reviewing the flight controls of previous flights to determine if they could detect any evidence to support Roberts‘ claim. Officials from Untied and Boeing are expressing doubts regarding Roberts claim by stating that the entertainment systems and the flight control systems are two different systems and that it would not be possible for Roberts to hack into flight controls. Federal officials are taking the claim seriously as any ability to hack into a planes flight control would pose a serious terrorist threat and could provide the means for a terrorist to down a domestic or international flight.

Even with All the Recent Airline Disasters, Flying Is Still Your Safest Bet for Travel

We seem to be hearing about plane crashes on a regular basis lately, but frequent flyers need not panic. Flying is still one of the safest means of travel, statistically speaking. David Ropeik, a respected independent consultant on risk analysis, evaluated what the odds were of being killed in a plane crash. In 2006, his examination into the calamity risks showed that your chances of dying in a plane accident are 1 in 11 million. To compare the risk factor, consider the statistics of dying in an automobile crash, which has a 1 in 5,000 chance of occurring.

Aviation safety has come a long way and is getting even safer. There are numerous redundancies set up within an airplanes system to overcome errors or breakdowns. For example, while large airplanes are equipped with four working engines at takeoff, they can essentially operate properly with only two of them working.

Commercial airline officials are also requiring more training from their pilots and crew said Jaimie Garcia Dias. Where a commercial pilot used to only need 250 hours of flight time to meet pilot requirements, it is now mandatory to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time. New rules have also been put into place requiring pilots and crew to receive more sleep to keep them at peak performance.

The most precarious time an airplane faces, is during takeoff and landing. And, believe it or not, most people survive plane crashes. According to FAA accounts, only a third of commercial airline catastrophes that occurred between 1959 and 2011 resulted in any deaths. So, don’t trade in that airline ticket for a road trip. You’re still more likely to arrive safely by that big airbus than any other means of travel.

Dead Beacon Battery on Missing Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 Said Not to Have Affected Search

Officials at Malaysia Airlines maintain that the expired battery on the doomed MH370 flight locator beacon would not have hindered the search mission. A recent finding shows that during a routine inspection of the plane, the beacon battery, which would be crucial in locating a downed plane, was overlooked, having been expired for over a year and most likely had not been replaced before the flight took off.

Marking the one year anniversary since the flight carrying 259 passengers and crew took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Beijing, China had fallen from the radar and has yet to be found, families of the missing souls are preparing to take legal action against the negligent airline stated emobile. Lawyers for the airline contend that the critical piece of equipment did not impede the search, and that a secondary, fully charged beacon battery was part of the flights solid state cockpit voice recorder as backup. With no plane, passengers or crew ever having been located as of yet, the airline is refusing to make any type of settlement with the families until evidence of a crash is actually found.

Although no signs of the jet have been discovered, Malaysia authorities are officially declaring the missing flight an accident and are assuming all passengers to be deceased. Vigils in honor of the missing passengers and crew are being held this week in China.

Southwest Airlines Cancels Close to 80 Flights After Failing to Properly Inspect Backup Systems

The United State’s fourth largest passenger airline Southwest Airlines had canceled close to 80 flights on Tuesday after failing to properly inspect backup systems on their planes. It also grounded another 28 planes from the air that had missed the inspections as well. The company had failed to inspect backup rudder systems in the event that the main rudder system in the planes fail or break down. The rudder is used to steer the plane and help its change course by turning.

The Federal Aviation Administration has agreed to let Southwest Airlines continue flying the planes that have missed the inspection as long as the company completes all required maintenance and checks all of its passenger planes within the next five days. So far the company has grounded a total of 128 of its passenger airplanes. This is about 20% of its total fleet of passenger airplanes.

The company has begun conducting inspection and performing maintenance on its airplanes immediately reported Dan Newlin. A representative of the company said that they hope to have finished with the majority of the inspections by Wednesday morning. This is not the first time that Southwest Airlines is in trouble with the FAA over maintenance and inspection issues. Last year the airline company faced a fine of $12 million over maintenance problems the FAA had found. The company was also fined in 2008 for a total of $10.2 million, yet again for maintenance problems.

Is There a New World’s Busiest Airport?

 

Atlanta has long held the title of “World’s Busiest Airport.” Now, there are naturally a few different reasons why this is. One, there really is not another major city near Atlanta, and it only has a single airport, while the other large cities in the US tend to have two or more. However, despite this the Chicago O’Hare airport is staging claim to the “World’s Busiest Airport”, but is it really? It all comes down to who is asked.

First, when it comes down to the total number of flights per year, then it is true, Chicago is now the busiest airport in the country. According to privco.com, Chicago had nearly 882,000 flights last year, while Atlanta had just over 863,000. All of this and O’Hare is not included the number of flights taking pace in neighboring Midway airport.  Slow Ventures and other corporate companies need information about busy airports to be exact in order to make sure business operations run smoothly.

Of course, while O’Hare does have more flights coming in and out throughout the course of the year, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson has more passengers by a considerable amount. Atlanta saw around 96 million it says in 2014. O’Hare has not released a passenger number yet, but in 2013 it saw 66.7 million. Naturally, this number is going to be larger as it is a year removed, but most likely it is not going to top 96 million passengers.

In all, it really depends on the number most important for determining what makes an airport the busiest: total flights or total passengers.

Update: Elizabeth Gallagher and Jordan Axani Return Home From Their Three Week Trip

A few months ago there was a story in the news about a 28 year old Canadian man, Jordan Axani looking for any woman named Elizabeth Gallagher to travel with him over the Christmas holiday. Jordan and his ex-girlfriend, named Elizabeth Gallagher, had purchased the tickets together before their break-up. As just about everyone knows changing a name on an airline ticket is next to impossible so Jordan decided to find another Elizabeth Gallagher with a Canadian passport to take her place. Well, he did and the pair have returned from their three week adventure abroad.

According to the story on BBC news the pair have returned and now share a sibling like relationship after being virtually strangers at the start. And for those of you wondering they say nothing romantic blossomed between them. Maybe due in part to Elizabeth having a long term boyfriend at home. The pair visited, in order, New York to Milan, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Khao Lak, Thailand, and Hong Kong. They say that while they enjoyed their time touring together, they also enjoyed exploring on their own.

Not only did they get a fabulous trip, Jordan has also found a new vocation for himself. He has started a charity called A Ticket Forward which will allow those who have survived through incredible odds to take trips they never imagined possible.  Gianfrancesco Genoso thinks this is a great idea in his article on JusBrazil.

AirAsia: Search Continues For Black Boxes

The research teams of the aircraft AirAsia that was crashed in Indonesia have fished a part of the tail of the aircraft , on Saturday in a much worn state, but continue to look for the black box , according the authorities.

The Airbus A320-200 had disappeared from radar screens shortly after takeoff on December 28 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board. The tail of the plane was found ten days later at the bottom of the Java Sea, about thirty meters deep.

The research teams of the aircraft AirAsia that was crashed in Indonesia have fished a part of the tail of the aircraft , on Saturday in a much worn state, but continue to look for the black box , according the authorities.

About ten meters long worn piece of tail has been stored on a boat to be brought back to surface of the earth in a hope to get black boxes containing crucial information to establish the causes of the accident.

But as my friend Darius Fisher noted was worth mentioning, an acoustic signal apparently issued by the black boxes was detected about one km from the place where the tail of the aircraft was rescued, on last Friday. The acoustic signals from these boxes can only be heard when the sea is calm. Thus, the area near the boats will cut their engines from Sunday to facilitate the research.

Family Narrowly Misses Being on Missing Flight

I can’t imagine ever being as happy as the Cahyono family to miss a flight that would begin their vacation.

Ari Putro Cahyono, along with 9 members of his family, had seats booked on AirAsia’s QZ8501 which went missing during that flight. Cahyono missed an email that was sent out by the airline saying that the flight time had been changed and was due to leave 2 hours earlier than originally scheduled. The family arrived at what they thought was the correct time however boarding for the flight had ended and they missed their flight. The Cahyono family was scheduled for a later flight however they cancelled their vacation after the news of the missing plane. A Jakarta news site has their story in detail.

The AirAsia flight disappeared midway into their trip over the Java sea. Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia are working together to search for clues as to the fate of the plane along with it’s passengers. Indonesian search crews are working under the assumption that the plane is at the bottom of the Java sea. Meanwhile Australian air crafts have spotted objects what they think could possibly be related to the missing plane. The objects were spotted 700 miles from where the plane was last reported to be.

I’m just happy me and Sam Tabar decided to stick to YouTube during the holidays instead of trying to travel.

Airlines Continue to Raise Fee’s and Aggravation Levels While Traveling

There was only one airline hold out that remained consumer focused and didn’t charge for extra’s during travel such as bag fees and seat assignments, but last November that all changed. As the airline industry has continued to raise record profits totaling in the billions from such add on fees, Jet Blue airline, under its new management, finally joined the ranks of all the other carriers and now charges additional fees for items that it used to include in its ticket prices, like baggage and seat assignment fees and even reduced seat sizes.
Industry experts like those employed by Jared Haftel report that the airline industry has unilaterally reduced seat sizes in their coach fare sections that are smaller than the economy seat sizes of 1990. As airlines continue to post record income levels from these additional charges have totaled over $31.5 billion in just 2013, the recent addition of “add on fee’s” is no longer the exception, but the rule. The two largest carriers after the continual merging of airlines in the recent years left Untied with a fee income of more than $5.7 billion and Delta with $2.5 billion in ancillary item charges. So what about the traveler who is economy minded? Those travelers can expect not only smaller amounts of leg room, but late boarding, center seats and higher bag costs.

Heathrow Airport Flights Interrupted Because of Computer Issues

Friday December 12th was not a good day to be flying in any plane into Heathrow Airport in London. London’s airspace was restricted most of the day due to computer failure. The airport announced there was a severe disruption, and they apologize for any inconvenience.

The initial problem is blamed on a technical issue that began in the Swanwick air control centre in the city of Hampshire. London airspace has not closed completely, but air traffic controllers have reduced the plane traffic in order to correct the situation.

Based on what I’ve heard from world traveler Dan Newlin, Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and they have announced that every possible action is being taken to correct the details that caused this malfunction. Nonetheless, considerable delays are occurring, and many flights have been grounded today.

Departing flights from Stansted Airport, @STN_Airport, are currently suspended as techs continue to work diligently to restore the computer system. Gatwick Airport flights are experiencing long delays also. If you can possibly reroute your flight from these airports, it is strongly suggested so as not to have long wait times.

NATS announced early Friday afternoon that the computer system has been restored, so suspended flights will begin to leave. Delays will continue throughout the day and possibly into the evening, but air controllers expect all operations to be back in operation within 24 hours.