28 February 2009

Bill Might Improve Flying

Bill Might Improve Flying

By CATHARINE HAMM | Los Angeles Times 

February 22, 2009 

Q: I recently was on a flight that was scheduled to depart from New York's JFK at 6:45 p.m. but didn't take off until 11:45 p.m. We were held hostage on the airplane for several hours, during which no beverage or food service was offered. (Water was available at the back of the plane if you got up and went back there and asked for it.) We were not allowed to buy food nor were we allowed to exit the aircraft. Once we finally took off, we had only one beverage service; food was available for purchase, but it ran out. The whole experience suggests that we need a passenger bill of rights. What's the status of that legislation?

A: Before I answer this question about legislation — and yes, there is news about a passenger-rights bill by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R- Maine — let me say this again: Do not get on an airplane without something to eat, something to drink (which you'll have to buy in the so-called sterile area) and something to take your mind off your troubles, whether it's an iPod, a great book or a pen and pad (or a laptop with a good battery) for writing the modern version of "The Aeneid."

Because let's face it, folks, flying these days isn't exactly poetry in motion.

But it could improve under the Boxer-Snowe bill, introduced in January.

One of the components is a three-hour limit on tarmac-sitting. (There's an optional 30-minute extension.)

As with any legislation, it has its proponents and opponents.

Kate Hanni is executive director of Flyersrights.org, founded soon after her Dec. 29, 2006, flight from San Francisco to Dallas. It was diverted to Austin, Texas, where the plane and its passengers sat for nine hours.

If the bill sounds familiar, that's because it has been tried, and it died. But, Hanni said, this bill contains some of the best provisions of all its other legislative kin, and she thinks with the new makeup of Congress, this one could pass.

And needs to, she says.

"Without some kind of a mandate and penalties, we don't believe that the airlines will change," she says.

But David Castleveter of the Air Transport Association, which represents the airlines, thinks carriers have changed and improved. "So much of what Congress is proposing already is being done," he said in an e-mail. "On the other hand, a mandatory three-hour deplaning rule would have many unintended consequences that would harm — not benefit — the traveling public."

It seems a simple matter that if people are on a plane, they need to get off a plane if they've run out of food and water and the toilets are overflowing. But as with most things in life, what seems simple rarely is. This one involves airport logistics, security, labor issues and more.

But isn't it just common sense that people confined are people unhappy?

And unhealthy, Hanni said. I asked her what it would take to get Congress to act.

"A body bag," she replied.

Police: Traveler got on Miami plane using fake badge

Mark Rimkufski, 49, was charged with falsely impersonating a law enforcement officer. He could also face federal charges.




Carrying a ''Fisher Island Chief of Police'' badge and claiming he was a U.S. air marshal, Mark Rimkufski convinced Miami airline employees to allow him on a flight after the gate had closed, police said.

The ruse landed him in jail, Miami-Dade police said, when he was confronted -- by real air marshals on the plane.

Rimkufski, 49, was later charged with falsely impersonating a law enforcement officer. He was scheduled to appear in Miami-Dade court Thursday but did not because he was hospitalized for unspecified reasons. 

There is no Fisher Island police department.

Rimkufski, a former island resident who also goes by the name Harry Henry Rimm, also faces a federal charge of impersonating an air marshal. When arrested, he was carrying nearly $14,000 in cash and had plans to travel to Los Angeles, Hawaii and Dubai.

According to Miami-Dade Detective Javier Prellezo's arrest report, this is what happened:

On Wednesday night, Rimkufski was rushing to Miami International Airport to catch American Airlines Flight 299, bound for Los Angeles. But the gate had already closed and the plane was departing.

He flashed his Fisher Island badge to employees at the ticket counter, announcing he was an air marshal. Employees stopped the plane and allowed him to board.

But real air marshals inspected his badge and booted him from the plane. Why they did not detain him was unclear but the plane went on its way.

Then, Rimkufski went to the Admiral's Club bar and restaurant and began loudly complaining about not being allowed on the flight.

Miami-Dade airport police came and arrested him.

26 February 2009

Ryanair to Eliminate Check-In Desks

Looking for things to rid themselves of, European low-cost carrier Ryanair, which we never have particularly high opinion of, is planning to eliminate all its check-in desks by year’s end. Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said the airline saw the move as the “logical next step” in its effort to slash costs.

CEO Michael O’Leary is quoted as commenting that they only want one person in five to check luggage, implying a move toward separate luggage transport, as advocated by several freight companies. Despite this, Ryanair recently cracked down on carry-on luggage, Ryanair customers “will now have to pay £28.50 (about $41) to take their duty-free shopping on the plane.” The new on-the-spot charges must be paid at the boarding gate if passengers can’t fit their shopping into their single carry-on piece. People who stock up on cheap alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes will be hit with the fee before they board. Any additional bags, even a bag of newspapers and snacks for the flight, could incur another fee each way.

Ryanair already charges for counter check-in, a fee that fortunately hasn’t made its way to the U.S., and anything else they can get away with, and is successful because their base fares are so low, as are the expectations of their passengers. It has proven though, that there is no depth they won’t sink to. To encourage self-service is one thing. To eliminate all options for assistance is quite another.

25 February 2009

Airline Fee Farewell: US Airways to Bring Free Drinks Back

Airline Fees

After more than six months of charging for soft drinks in the economy class cabin during domestic flights, US Airways has decided that the policy is more trouble than it’s worth. A recent memo to airline employees described the airline’s practice of charging $1 for coffee and tea and $2 for soft drinks as, “a focal point that detracts from all of the outstanding moments.”
Come March 1, 2009, non-alcoholic beverages will once again be free.
The news marks the first major airline fee rollback this year. We wonder if others will follow suit?

If you want to see what the airlines charge you the passenger for in addition to your ticket click on the link below.

20 February 2009

Woman Misses Flight, Throws Tantrum at Hong Kong Int. Airport

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In,

If you don't listen to anything I say trust me this is exactly what not to do if you miss your flight. A woman missing her flight and completely losing it. Airline employees can sometimes be sympathetic and even pull a few tricks out of a hat but if you act like a complete fool and go crazy, they won't help you a bit! It's funny to watch this spectacle but this happens more time than you think but this one of the few times someone caught it on video! Watch and enjoy a good laugh!!!

Remember to "Be Proactive And Not Reactive" and enjoy your flight!!!


This is the hilarious moment a woman throws a massive tantrum in front of stunned airport staff after she is told she has missed her flight.

The Chinese woman runs at Hong Kong Airport staff pushing them out of the way as she screams and sobs hysterically.

As workers try to calm her down she pounds the check-in desk before collapsing to the ground.

She then starts kicking, with her arms flailing, and refuses to get up despite attempts from a male friend.

We just hope she managed to get on the next flight...

Continental Airlines flight demonstrates use of sustainable biofuels as energy source for jet travel

For two hours during the afternoon of January 8, 2009, Continental Airlines undertook the first US biofuel flight test in the skies above Houston. The airline used one of its 737-800s (ship 516) powered by twin CFM56-7B engines. The number two engine will run on a mix of jatropha and algae derived biofuel. This was the first time a twin-engine aircraft was used for a biofuel flight.

Special thanks to Megan Kuhn for the photos of Continental CEO Larry Kellner and the pilots prior to the flight in Houston.

Continental Airlines 737-800 took off from Houston Intercontinental during the afternoon and flew for approximately 1 hr. 45 min. with the No. 2 CFM56-7B powered by a biofuel blend including algae oil supplied by Sapphire Energy and jatropha oil provided by Terasol Energy. The flight follows Air New Zealand's 747-400 test flight last week that featured one engine powered by a jatropha blend (ATWOnline, Jan. 6).

The CO aircraft burned 3,600 lb. of 50/50 mix of jet fuel and biofuel in one engine and 3,700 lb. of standard jet fuel in the other, officials told the Houston Chronicle. Pilots performed a midflight engine shutdown and restart, among other maneuvers. Flight was conducted in partnership with Boeing, GE Aviation/CFM International and Honeywell subsidiary UOP.
The flight will operate with a biofuel blend, which consists of 50% biologically-derived fuel and 50% traditional jet fuel, in the number two engine. This biofuel blend will result in a significant net decrease in carbon emissions relative to traditional jet fuel, as both jatropha and algae consume carbon during their lifecycles.

The aircraft's number one engine will operate on 100% traditional jet fuel, allowing Continental to compare performance between the biofuel blend and traditional fuel. As Continental has worked with Boeing, GE Aviation/CFM and UOP for more than nine months to carefully evaluate and test the biofuel in engines on the ground, no difference in performance is expected.
The biofuel is a "drop-in" fuel, and no modifications to the aircraft or engine are necessary for the flight to operate. The biofuel meets and exceeds specifications necessary for jet fuel, including a flash point and a freezing point appropriate for use in aircraft.

Following the flight, Continental will participate with its partners in post-flight engine analysis to ensure that the effect on the engine and aircraft, in addition to performance, is substantively no different between biofuel and traditional fuel.

"Through their leadership Continental Airlines is helping aviation pioneer a greener, more diverse fuel supply for the future," said Billy Glover, managing director, environmental strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Having a broader, more sustainable fuel portfolio is vital to our industry and demonstrating the viability of these renewable fuels addresses that goal, while potentially helping to further reduce environmental impacts."
"UOP's goal with renewable technology is to produce real fuels that perform as well as or better than their petroleum-based alternatives and that leverage the existing fuel infrastructure and fleet technology to lower capital costs and simplify adoption," said general manager of UOP renewable energy and chemicals, Jennifer Holmgren. "With our proven technology and the commitment of aviation leaders like Continental and Boeing, sustainable biofuels for aviation are a real, near-term option. We believe that production levels could reach hundreds of millions of gallons per year by 2012."

"We still have a lot of work to do in terms testing various biofuels but we are very pleased with, and encouraged by, the results we have achieved to date," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM International. "What we have found is that the second generation fuel being tested today comes closer to simulating the characteristics of traditional jet fuel in terms of engine performance and operability, such as fuel consumption, engine start and other parameters. We have also found that engines running this mix emit less smoke even than those fuelled by traditional jet fuel."

"The simple combination of sunlight, CO2 and algae to produce a carbon-neutral, renewable fuel source has the potential to profoundly change the petrochemical landscape forever," said Jason Pyle, Sapphire Energy CEO. "Today's flight puts us one step closer to moving away from fossil fuels and energy dependency, and with no impact on the transportation infrastructure, food sources or the environment."

"We are excited to be pioneering the development of bio-based jet fuels along with Continental Airlines," said Sanjay Pingle, president, Terasol Energy. "Jatropha is one of several next generation fuel sources that we are working on in order to develop sustainable, scalable and renewable alternatives to petroleum-based products."
About Continental
Continental has a company-wide commitment to environmental responsibility. On average, Continental burns approximately 18 gallons of fuel to fly one mainline revenue passenger 1,000 miles, which represents a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption since 1997. This is due in large part to the efforts of its employees in streamlining operational procedures and to an investment of more than $12 billion to acquire 270 fuel-efficient Boeing aircraft and related equipment.
Continental remains committed to further improving fuel efficiency in the decade to come, including investing in its fleet with orders for more than 50 Boeing 737-900 Next Generation aircraft, and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Continental has also reduced, by 75%, nitrogen oxide emissions from ground equipment at the carrier's largest hub in Houston through switching to electric ground service equipment and other new technology. This technology is now being tested for use in cold climates.
Through these investments and other projects, including the construction of airport facilities in an environmentally responsible manner, the testing of alternative fuels in ground service equipment, offering a credible carbon offsetting programme based on the actual fuel burn of the Continental fleet, and an expansive recycling program, Continental will continue to manage the environmental impact of its business.

Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,500 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 134 domestic and 131 international destinations. More than 675 additional points are served via alliance partners. With more than 43,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 69 million passengers per year.

Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the fifth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the number one World's Most Admired Airline on its 2008 list of World's Most Admired Companies. For more company information, go to continental.com

19 February 2009

Updates to Two Most Recent Continental Crashes

Updates to Two Most Recent Continental Crashes
AirSafe.com just finished updating the status of the 20 December 2008 crash of a Continental Airlines 737-500 at Denver. The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight to Houston's Intercontinental Airport, departed the runway during takeoff and skidded across a taxiway and a service road before coming to rest in a ravine several hundred yards from the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage, including a post crash fire, separation of one engine and separated and collapsed landing gear. There were about 38 injuries among the 110 passengers and five crew members, including two passengers who were seriously injured. Because this did not involve the death of an airline passenger, this is a significant event as defined by AirSafe.com

Below are the audio and video versions of the podcast.

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel at video.airsafe.org.

Additional Information on the Buffalo Accident
The site added a page with fatal and significant events involving the Dash 8 model airliner, the same model involved in the fatal 12 February 2009 crash in Buffalo, NY.

Additional information about both the Buffalo and Denver events is available at http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/cal.htm

George Carlin On Airline Safety

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Here is a video I found of George Carlin explaining the finer points of airline travel. I thought everyone might get a good laugh out of it! I may post a few other funny bits regarding airline travel depending on what I find!

So Enjoy!!!


14 February 2009

The video that got a JetBlue passenger escorted off the plane in handcuffs

By Carlos Miller
The video that JetBlue flight attendants feared would go on Youtube has finally been posted on Youtube.

And only because JetBlue executives have shown a complete disregard towards Marilyn Parver, the passenger whom flight attendants had escorted off the plane in handcuffs after she refused to delete a video of an altercation between two passengers.

The incident occurred on a flight from New York City to Las Vegas on July 26th. The altercation was between the mother of an unruly child and a man who had lost his temper over the child kicking the back of his seat.

Parver, a 56-year-old grandmother from Arizona, was sitting two rows behind the mother and child, using her camera to photograph clouds out the window when she switched to video mode and started filming the altercation.

Flight attendants ordered her to delete the video, accusing her of planning to post the video on Youtube to embarrass JetBlue. As if they have not done enough to embarrass themselves.

Parver says she had no intention of posting it on Youtube. As she stated in her complaint to JetBlue’s top executives, she merely wanted to use the video to show her daughter an example of bad parenting.

I am a grandmother who only wanted to show my daughter that uncontrolled kids really do irritate other people.

But Parver sent the video to Photography is Not a Crime after JetBlue sent her a scathing response to her complaint, accusing her of being “argumentative, condescending and belligerent” towards flight attendants. I, in turn, posted it to my Youtube account, marking the first time the much talked about video made it online.

She has yet to receive a response from the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, both who also received her complaint.

“I have no attorney but wish I did,” she said. “I have not found anyone willing to take it on contingency and that is my only option.”

The video proves that Parver had not stepped out of her seat as she filmed the altercation, which is pivotal considering JetBlue had first accused her of interferance with a flight crew member, a federal crime that carries a maximum penalty of 25 years.

The four-page response from JetBlue is signed by Joanna L. Geraghty, Vice President and Associate General Counsel. In other words, JetBlue’s in-house attorney. Parver calls it a “letter of lies” and asked that it not get published with this article because of its defamatory nature.

One of the main lies, she says, is how Geraghty accuses her of lying about having been lead off the plane in handcuffs.

“The entire plane saw this happen,” Parver says.

The Las Vegas Police Department claims they do not have a record of the incident because they ended up not arresting her.

The letter also claims that Parver continued taking photos of the flight attendants after her initial exchange with them to “antagonize the crew”, which Parver also denies.

But the most dubious claim is that flight attendants told her that photography in an aircraft is forbidden as stated in the Flight Attendant Manual.

“Due to both privacy and security concerns, the F1 (lead flight attendant) asked you to delete the photos and the movie. The F1 also advised you that the Flight Attendant Manual did not permit the taking of photos. However, you refused to delete the photographs.

At this point, the F1 called the Captain who suggested that she show you the relevant section of the manual. The F1 brought the manual to your row. You refused to look at the manual and again refused to delete the photographs.”

“I was never offered any manual,” Parver says. “If there is something in a manual about taking photos inflight…why not put it in the seat pocket?”

The truth is, you will never find the Flight Attendant Manual in the seat pocket because it is not meant to be shown to passengers. In fact, flight attendants are specifically warned against showing the manual to passengers as a security precaution.

Peter Dooling, a Miami-based photographer who spent several years as a flight attendant for United Airlines, says the Flight Attendant Manual is a highly sensitive book that contains all the Federal Aviation Administration regulations, security codes from airports around the world, specific information about every commercial airplane as well as specific company policies.

“It’s something that we always had to keep under lock and key,” he says. “We were not allowed to show it to the passengers for security reasons.”

This is also confirmed by flight attendant Mary Jo Manzanares, who maintains the blog, Fly Away Cafe.

The Flight Attendant Manual (FAM) is our “bible” containing information regarding the various aircraft we work on, the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s), company policies, first aid information, service guidelines and policies, emergency procedures, and a variety of other things that vary from airline to airline.

The FAM is our reference guide. The place we go to look up something that we don’t remember, or to double check on a policy or procedure. It’s big because there’s so much in it.

By the way, the FAM is a private and secured document, so it is not something that is shown to passengers or anyone who hasn’t been qualified to see it. When customers say “show me the rule that says that” we are not going to dig out the FAM to show them. 

So if it is true that the lead JetBlue flight attendant attempted to show Parver the Flight Attendant Manual, she was committing an actual security breach.

The JetBlue letter also states that:

“JetBlue’s policy above 10,000 feet is to request passengers discontinue videotaping or photographing, particularly photographing the cockpit area or inflight procedures.”

So does this mean that JetBlue passengers are allowed to videotape and photograph below 10,000 feet? If that’s the case, then JetBlue is at odds with every other airline in the world which only forbid you to use electronic devices upon landing and departure, not during cruising altitude.

“Maybe things have changed after 9/11, but when I was a flight attendant, photography was not a big deal,” says Dooling, who worked from 1997 to 2001. “It happened all the time. Tourists always carry cameras.”

But if airline policies regarding photography have changed since 9/11, then somebody did not inform the members of the Flickr group Inside the Plane, which states that “any shots inside the plane will work. Cockpits, johns, seats, meals and crew. If it’s inside the plane (on the ground or in the air) - it works!”

More than 500 Flickr members have joined the group since 2007, posting more than 3,000 photos, so it doesn’t seem like there is much of an anti-photography policy inside commercial airlines But granted, none of these photos show two passengers arguing.

However, one photo shows two JetBlue flight attendants posturing for the camera during a flight, specifically a flight attendant named Judy wiping her fellow flight attendant with a maxipad. No, I’m not kidding.

Also, as Photography is Not a Crime reader Dave points out in the comments section, there was the JetBlue Point of View photo contest, which encouraged passengers to take photos outside the window at cruising altitudes. More than 1,700 entries were submitted to the contest last year.

So it’s really difficult to believe the claims outlined in the JetBlue letter.

Logic tells us that the flight attendant never showed Parver the Flight Attendant Manual. Just as the video shows us that Parver never interfered with a crew member. Just as the above photo and photo contest shows us there really is no JetBlue policy forbidding photography in flight.

Logic tells us that this predictament is a result of a flight attendant trying to prevent a video from appearing on Youtube.

You have to love the irony.

13 February 2009

Crash: Colgan DH8D at Buffalo on Feb 12th 2009, impacted home while on approach

Hello Good People, BlkAv8tor2003 checking In!!!

I'm sorry to hear and see we lost a flight in the Upstate NY area. A friend of mine here in AZ is under the command in the U.S. Army of the husband of the copilot on board this flight. so it hit a little close to home and as an aviator we never like to see an aircraft go down with the loss of lives. The incident/accident with US Airways landing in the Hudson we can see the skills of airmanship required to do what we do. I do have a couple a concerns about what was "reported" because I know the source and usually the local and national news agencies are about as qualified to speak about an airplane crash as I am to fly the space shuttle and never seen it before the time I strap in!

I'm not here to bash or bad mouth another pilot but I do have questions against what has been reported and hopefully I will have my answers once the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) have been found and released so I can hear for myself. 

1. It's been reported that the copilot was the flying pilot and the captain was working the radios and when the plane really got into trouble the captain took over control which is normal. My question is as the aircraft was making its approach the copilot called for "gear down" well before the flaps were extended. Now I don't or have ever flown the Dash 8 but what I do know on most aircraft (jets or props) if you lower the landing gear before the flaps you get a very loud warning horn to let the pilots know that the aircraft is not configured correctly for landing. Why was this done if it's true? Just a question.

2. Is there an aerodynamic reason during flight in "known icing conditions" to extend the gear before the flaps? This one is puzzling to me so I will be looking forward to finding someone who is qualified currently or has flown it for a bit to help decipher this one.

These are just a couple of questions I had that I would like to get answered. I'm sorry that it happened and I offer my condolences to the families involved in the tragic accident but hopefully we will learn from it and continue to have safe airline travel in the future.

As I always say "Be Proactive, Not Reactive" so that you can enjoy your flight!


Updated 18 Feb 2009

By Simon Hradecky, created Friday, Feb 13th 2009 07:29Z, last updated Friday, Feb 13th 2009 15:20Z

N200WQ impacted a home at Buffalo (Photo: AP/David Duprey)

A Colgan Air de Havilland Dash 8-400 on behalf of Continental Airlines, registration N200WQ performing flight 9L-3407/CO-3407 from Newark,NJ to Buffalo,NY with 44 passengers, one off duty pilot and 4 crew, crashed into a home in a suburb of Buffalo about 5 nm from the airport and burst into flames while on approach to Buffalo's Niagara Airport at about 10:17pm local time (03:17Z).

All 49 occupants and one person on the ground died. Pinnacle Airlines, parent company of Colgan Air, released the names of people on board changing the number of occupants from 48 to 49. An additional off duty pilot was on board as well. The post impact fire is not just caused by the fuel leaked from the airplane, but there is a source of natural gas within the accident scene fueling the fire. Firefighters do not expect to be able to extinguish the fire before noon Friday (about 14 hours after the crash). The airplane was on the approach frequency, had been cleared down to 2300 feet, guided via radar vectors (heading 330 then heading 310) and cleared for an ILS approach to runway 23 and had just been handed over to the tower. The crew confirmed the frequency change, but didn't contact the tower anymore and could also not be reached on the approach frequency about one minute after hand over. A following Delta flight 1998 could not see the Dash 8 due to being in cloud, but also could not see the plane on their TCAS.The home 6050 Long Road is reported to be completely destroyed (reduced to rubble).

Twelve homes along Long Road, Goodrich Road and Clarence Center Road near Clarence Town Hall in Clarence Center had to be evacuated, two more residents on the ground, which escaped the destroyed building, were treated for minor injuries and brought to a hospital. Fire fighters were on the scene within seconds with their fire house on Clarence Center Road just next to the crash site.A witness on the ground saw the airplane flying low with the left wing slightly low before it impacted ground. The tower controller reported, that the airplane dropped off his radar without any anomaly beforehand.Following the recognition, that the airplane was on the ground, the tower checked the ILS equipment of the airport sending Delta 1998 into a hold, found the ILS working correctly according to indications in the tower but transmitted a warning to all aircraft on tower and approach frequencies.

Delta 1998 coming from the North reported upon request by the approach, that they were not building any significant ice, however reported a quarter of an inch. Another airplane, Cactus (US Airways/America West) 1452 coming from the South like the crashed Colgan Air, reported that they were picking up some ice for about 10 minutes for about 20nm however. Subsequently Delta 1998 was commanded to not perform an autoland for possible localizer fluctuations. When Cactus 1452 reached 7nm from the runway, the crew reported the ice started to come off the windscreen (out of icing). Ground elevation at the crash site is approximately 633 feet MSL.The NTSB has arrived with 5 investigators on scene, a total of 14 investigators are expected. Due to the hot fire still burning on scene, the NTSB could not yet access the crash site except for the tail of the plane, where attempts are currently made to retrieve the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

The Aviation Herald has prepared a 5 minute excerpt (630kB) of the ATC recording (Courtesy LiveATC.net) containing just the relevant communications between tower, approach, 9L-3407, DL-1998 and US-1452 at: http://avherald.com/files/colgan_dh8d_n200wq_buffalo_090212_atc.mp3


KBUF 130552Z 31010KT 1SM R23/5000VP6000FT -SN BR BKN007 OVC013 00/M01 A2985 RMKAO2 CIG 003V010 P0000KBUF 130454Z 26014KT 3SM -SN BR SCT011 OVC021 01/00 A2983 RMK AO2 SLP109 P0004 T00060000 401060000

KBUF 130354Z 24011KT 3SM -SN BR SCT011 OVC021 01/M01 A2981 RMK AO2 SLP103 P0002 T00061006KBUF 130254Z 24015G22KT 3SM -SN BR FEW011 BKN021 OVC027 01/M01 A2979 RMK AO2 SLP097 P0001 60004 T00061006 51015

KBUF 130154Z 24015G23KT 3SM -SN BR FEW011 OVC021 01/M01 A2978 RMK AO2 SLP092 P0001 T00061006KBUF 130111Z 23014KT 2SM -SN BR OVC017 01/M01 A2977 RMK AO2 P0001KBUF 130149Z 24015KT 3SM -SN BR FEW011 OVC021 01/M01 A2978 RMK AO2 P0001KBUF 130050Z 23017G23KT 1 1/4SM -SN BR OVC015 01/M01 A2977 RMK AO2 SLP088 P0002 T00061006

KBUF 130005Z 24013G20KT 2SM -SN BR BKN013 OVC017 01/M01 A2975 RMK AO2 P0000

Detail Road Map of

Clarence Center:

ILS 23 approach chart:

Still smoldering scene of destruction in daylight 
The NTSB reported, that the airplane's heading was not southwest towards the runway, but into the opposite northeast direction. The airplane came down in a flat attitude (not in a nosedive attitude), documented by the distribution of cockpit, wings, engines and tail of the airplane. Both engines were working normaly according to a cursory visual examination supported by data from the flight data recorder.

It will take 3-4 days to separate the victims' remains from the wreckage.

The airplane had been delayed to depart from Newark by high winds, not for any mechanical issue.

Authorities have heavily secured and cordoned off an area of 2 miles around the crash site on Saturday making clear, they only want people within that area that have absolutely to be there. Even residents have been moved out of their homes and are asked to not come into the perimeter while a search for clues into the crash is underway.
By Simon Hradecky, created Friday, Feb 13th 2009 21:29Z, 

10 February 2009

Southwest begins testing Internet access

updated 11:10 a.m. MT, Tues., Feb. 10, 2009

DALLAS - Southwest Airlines Co. has started testing wireless Internet access aboard one of its jets with plans to expand the test by early next month.
Southwest said Tuesday that the test will last a few months and eventually include four aircraft.
During the test, passengers will be able to log on free using their own laptop or smart phone — cellular technology won't work.

Southwest is waiting for approval from the Federal Communications Commission to offer service beyond the trial.
Airlines are rushing to add Internet service on flights to raise revenue and give passengers something else to do.

Dallas-based Southwest is using technology from Row 44, which provides Internet service through a satellite link. American Airlines and other carriers are using technology that connects Internet users through ground-based signals.
Southwest said it is working with Yahoo Inc. to offer a homepage with “destination-relevant content” during the flight.

05 February 2009

Airline allegedly doesn’t allow deaf passengers to fly alone

Airline allegedly doesn’t allow deaf passengers to fly alone

Posted by fookembug on April 12, 2008

By Rod McGuirk
Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — Ludwig van Beethoven would not be allowed to fly alone on a Tiger Airways flight if he were alive today because of the Singapore-owned airline’s purported policy on deaf passengers, a government minister said Friday.

Bill Shorten used the example of Beethoven — who famously continued composing until his death in 1827 despite losing his hearing — in condemning the treatment of deaf passengers by the Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways.

The policy bars deaf passengers from flying unless accompanied by a fare-paying adult care provider, a Tiger Airways reservations agent who said she goes by only one name, Jinky, told The Associated Press.

But airline spokesman Matt Hobbs denied that the airline had such a policy, and said he was investigating why air crews and call center staff in the Philippines were telling passengers otherwise.

Shorten, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children’s services, said he telephoned the airline Friday to tell them that barring deaf people from flying alone was wrong.

“Under this, Beethoven would never have been able to catch a plane” on his own, Shorten told Sky Television. “Just because people are deaf doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.”

A group of four deaf adults has lodged a complaint with the Australian government’s anti-discrimination watchdog agency after a representative of Tiger Airways Australia told them last month that they could not make an interstate flight without a care provider who could hear, the Herald Sun newspaper reported Friday.

The group was eventually permitted to take their seats on the March 4 flight but a flight attendant told them they would not be allowed to fly alone again on the airline, the newspaper said.

Hobbs, Tiger Airways Australia’s head of corporate communications, said the cabin manager had written the four a note saying: “In future, so you know, you’ll need to travel with a carer for safety reasons.”

“We’re clarifying with all staff that deaf people do not require a carer to travel with them,” Hobbs said, adding that he could not explain the widespread misunderstanding within his company.

“We are apologetic and very sorry that the people involved in this feel in any way that they’ve been discriminated against or upset by this in any way,” he said.

Hobbs said his company’s sister airline, Tiger Airways Singapore, had changed its policy that once required deaf passengers to be accompanied by a care provider.

The Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based Tiger Aviation entered the Australian domestic aviation market last November. Its Australian competitors allow deaf passengers to fly alone.

Passenger pays for everything: US Airways charges for pillow and blanket

Passenger pays for everything: US Airways charges for pillow and blanket

First the food, then the bags, then no-pretzels, then the beverages and now pillow and blankets ($7 in-flight and online)? US Airways seem to be moving to a charge for everything. Gone are the days when US Airways was headquartered in Arlington VA and was one of the nicer legacy carriers.

Though, there are some advantages to charging for everything for US Airways - 

The pillow and blankets will be cleaner and of better quality (JetBlue started it)

The beverage service is much faster

Coffee and Tea are $1 each and with unlimited refills.
Flight attendants are much nicer (and so much better dressed!!!)

Earlier I use to justify these charges on fuel prices but now the economy? It is true, airlines are still losing money, same as I am losing money on my house. But my problem is once, the economy turns around, will these changes be rolled back? Or there will be another reason not to?

I think most of the airlines pray for the following - 

Seats are filled more than 100% times without the change in airfare.

Crude oil stays low at around $40 or lower

Economy booms back for high paying corporate clients

Weather never hits their hubs - maybe come up with a weather machine  

People keep flying to exotic places, maybe even make some week as “Exotic Travel Week”.

Add a couple of more long weekends (they make a killing with most of them).

02 February 2009

Continental and the strandees

Laws? We don't need no lousy laws....Continental Airlines president Jeff Smisek is staying couple of steps ahead of the legislators, those wise women and men of Congress who are taking yet another stab at a 'Passenger Bill of Rights' that would guarantee flyers that they could get off a plane after a three-hour delay on the runway.
During Continental's earnings call the other day, Smisek said that the carrier is "implementing a new internal policy for 2009, whereby we will give customers the opportunity to get off an airplane during tarmac delays in excess of three hours, subject of course to making sure we can do that safely." We're not sure how this will work in real life (you know - the realities in which airlines operate every day) but the reaction has been interesting
The ever-outspoken Kate Hanni, the leading bill of rights proponent and FlyersRights.org president, said she was pleased to hear of Continental's new policy: "We applaud ... We hope they will stipulate to these rights in their contract of carriage and that the language is enforceable by the passenger."

But to judge by the web, others have a more tempered reaction. Our friend Terry Maxon made a post on his Dallas Morning News blog, Airline Biz, and one anonymous poster commented: " As an airline pilot, I would like to go one further. After three hours, if one passenger wants to get off the airplane, we return to the gate and everyone gets off. The airline cancels the flight and the crew flies the empty aircraft to get it into position for the next flight. Makes our decision much easier and eliminates any bad press from a delayed flight."