Saturday, September 17, 2011

VIDEO: Piper J3C Runs Out of Fuel, Lands in Ditch. Dunkirk, New York.

DUNKIRK, NY - Here in Western New York, there was a small plane crash in the Dunkirk area Saturday morning.

It happened near the Thruway Driving Range. Chautauqua County Sheriff's say the pilot of a small Piper plane, 49-year-old Edmund Coughlin freed himself from the wreck and wasn't hurt.

He was apparently flying from Syracuse to the Mayville airport when he ran out of gas.

He tried to land at the driving range but fell short landing in the ditch.

Aging Philippine Air Force planes claimed lives of 305 pilots - Commission on Audit

MANILA, Philippines - A Commission on Audit (COA) report revealed that the crashes of aging airplanes and helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) have resulted in the death of 305 pilots in the past 20 years.

Quoting an Aircraft Accident Report (AAR) covering the past two decades, state auditors said the pilots died in 156 crash incidents.

COA said the number of casualties does not include other military officers and civilians who were on board the aircraft when they crashed.

Data showed that out of the 156 incidents, 37 or 23.7 percent are attributed to “material” as the reason or cause of the accident.

“The number will amount to more than six squadrons worth of pilots killed using the US standard number of 16 fighter aircraft per squadron and a ratio of 3:1, meaning three pilots for every fighter aircraft,” COA said.

“It cannot be denied that wear and tear, as a consequence of ageing, cause mechanical and engine trouble leading to unwanted aircraft crashes,” the audit report stressed.

COA said the unnecessary loss of lives does not even cover the costs of training the pilots, the expertise and experience lost “which the PAF sorely needs.”

State auditors said wounded soldiers in the battlefield who have the chance to live are also dying due to massive loss of blood as a result of the lack of helicopters that would immediately airlift them to the nearest hospital and could have avoided many otherwise preventable deaths.

Considering that “the Philippines topped the list of countries that experienced the most natural disasters in 2009” and is number three in disaster mortality rate based on a report called the Annual Disaster Statistical Review, COA said the PAF’s weak capabilities for search and rescue could likewise mean the loss of more lives of civilians.

COA, in its 2010 annual audit report for the PAF, emphasized the need to modernize the Air Force.

With only 31 aging airplanes and 54 helicopters left, state auditors said the PAF “virtually has a non-existent air deterrent capability.”

“A modern and well-equipped Philippine Air Force is needed now more than ever if we are to protect our sovereign and territorial integrity,” COA said.

“Considering this abject state of its air assets, which are mostly ageing, the Philippine Air Force is ill equipped to be operationally responsive to national security and development and is hard pressed to efficiently and effectively serve the economic interest and welfare of the nation,” the audit report said.

Airport firefighters practice putting out fiery fuselage at Casper/Natrona County International Airport (KCPR), Casper, Wyoming.

Casper/Natrona County International Airport firefighters and others from around the region participated in Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (AARF) training with the regional training vehicle Sept. 16.

According to airport manager Glenn Januska, the truck was used to put out a small aircraft fire shortly after it was purchased two years ago. It carries up to 1,500 gallons of water and 205 gallons of foam. Because plane fuselages burn at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, firefighters use a foam and water mixture to smother the flames because water alone isn't enough.

Controls in the nearby maintenance building ignite the mock fuselage which sits in a pit of water topped with diesel fuel. According to Januska, the fuel is skimmed off the top for future use after training while the used water goes to the wastewater facility. Airport chief of public safety Mike Hendershot operated the gas controls for the Sept. 16 training. The airport conducts five to six similar live-burn training sessions a year and each firefighter must train annually. Since 1995, the airport has trained more than 1,800 fire fighters from 70-plus different departments.

Delta Airlines B757: Football Fans Get Scare After Commercial Jet Flies Over Michigan Stadium. Many believed it was a no-fly zone

(ANN ARBOR) - A commerical jet flew over the Big House during Saturday's University of Michigan football game, giving a big scare to many fans.

FAA regulations prohibit planes from flying over stadiums, which raised concerns for the 115,000 people in attendance.

An FAA representative told FOX 2 the plane was a Boeing 757 Delta flight, heading to Detroit Metro Airport. The pilot was having some sort of problem and needed to circle during his approach. That route put him over the stadium, but at 4,000 feet, the plane was above the no-fly zone.

The plane landed without incident shortly after.

Residents fighting float plane plan

The Darby Partners-designed golf course at Jacks Point situated on the elbow of Lake Wakatipu and at the foot of the Remarkables mountain range.

Queenstown residents are vowing to fight a controversial proposal that could see float planes landing on picturesque Lake Wakatipu 22 times a day during the busy summer months.

Blenheim couple Brent and Shona Collins have applied for resource consent to operate two commercial float planes on the lake so they can take tourists on scenic flights to Glenorchy and back. They want to make 16 take- offs and landings on the lake per day during winter and 22 per day during the summer.

But they face a wall of opposition from residents worried about how such an operation woud impact on other lake-users and by the prospect of having noisy planes buzzing in and out of Queenstown Bay all day.

"This type of activity will seriously disrupt the peaceful Queenstown experience of residents and visitors alike, " says Laurel Parent, who with husband Phil is spearheading the opposition campaign

"This operation will add to the already congested Queenstown Bay waterborne activities, increase noise and visual degradation and compromise the safety of kayakers, private boat owners and commercial operators. In addition, pedestrians, outdoor diners, beachgoers and other waterfront users will be subjected to low- flying aircraft from 8.30am to 8pm every day."

Phil Parent said since news of the proposal was made public they had been inundated with phone calls and emails from people opposed to having a commercial float plane operation on the lake.

One of the main reasons people were opposed to the idea was the potential dangers of having a plane taking off and landing in a busy stretch of water.

"There's a lot of silly people doing silly things in Queenstown Bay and the last thing we need to throw into the mix is a float plane operation, " he said. "It will be noisy and it will be dangerous."

Chris Bradley, who owns the only parasailing company permitted to operate from Queenstown, is backing the Parents' campaign.

"We have some major concerns and will not be able to operate anywhere close to a float plane with our parasail boat, which would in turn kill our business so we will be objecting strongly to it, " he said.

Flights return to Argentine city after volcanic ash delays

BUENOS AIRES, September 17, 2011 (AFP) - The airport in the tourism-dependent Andean city of Bariloche saw its first commercial flights arriving since early June, when ash from Chile's Puyehue volcano disrupted travel, airport officials said.

The first flight was an Aerolineas Argentinas flight carrying 140 passengers that touched down Saturday morning, a spokesman for the airport told AFP.

On July 18 a charter airline brought 120 tourists from Sao Paulo, and since then the airport has received a handful of smaller private or charter flights.

Before the Puyehue volcano kicked off a winter of air travel mayhem, when it rumbled back to life on June 4, the airport some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) southwest of the Argentine capital was receiving at the least six flights per day.

For the first time in five decades, however, the Chilean volcano belched billowing clouds of dust and ash, and while Bariloche enjoyed a normal amount of snow, tourism officials reported a marked decline in revenue compared to a normal winter season.

Flights across South America -- including from hubs in Montevideo, Santiago and southern Brazil -- had all been hit in previous months as ash clouds swept around the southern hemisphere to linger over Australia and New Zealand.

The Puyehue volcano is high in the Andes mountains, 870 kilometers (540 miles) south of Santiago near the border with Argentina.

Defected Libyan pilots to return to Libya

Two Libyan air force pilots who defected to Malta with their Mirage jet fighter planes last February are to return to Tripoli tomorrow.

The news of the pilots' return to Libya after seven months in Malta, comes a day after Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi announced that he met the pilots on several occasions and discussed the situation in Libya with them.

The two pilots had stunned the country after flying their jets to Malta and immediately requested asylum, after defecting from Col. Gaddafi's air force, refusing to bomb villages which during the uprising.

According to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, the Maltese government did all it could to make the pilots' stay in Malta as comfortable as possible and was working to have them reunited with their families.

Meanwhile, there were various attempts by the Gaddafi regime to take back the fighter jets. These demands were refused by the Maltese government at the time.

VIDEO: Aviation expert weighs in on Reno crash

(FOX 25 / - A local aviation expert is weighing in on the horrible crash that has so far claimed nine lives in Reno, Nev. He says it boils down to one small, but very crucial piece of the plane.

Jim Baker, who has been flying for 60 years, wants to make it clear that this is only his opinion, but he feels confident that when the NTSB concludes its investigation, it will be consistent with his theory.

With the elevator in shambles, the 1940s-model plane pitched into the air, he says, and the lift stalled. It disintegrated without an explosion or fire, which could have made the tragedy that much worse. Baker said mustangs fly with very little weight, therefore very little fuel.

Cascade Warbirds: Washington pair missing after Reno air crash, are feared dead

A Washington couple affiliated with the Cascade Warbirds, a group of vintage military aircraft owners and their supporters in the state, are missing and feared dead from the Friday afternoon crash at a Reno, Nev., air race.

A Washington couple affiliated with the Cascade Warbirds, a group of vintage military aircraft owners and their supporters in the state, are missing and feared dead from the Friday afternoon crash at a Reno, Nev., air race.

A 1940s-era plane, a P-51 Mustang, crashed into the crowd, killing the pilot and at least eight people on the ground and injuring dozens.

The Cascades Warbirds website posted a message from the head of the organization, Greg Anders, saying that the "crash at Reno was very near the Cascade Warbird box."

"The news does not sound good," Anders wrote.

Dave Desmon, a Cascade Warbirds executive officer and Boeing employee, was standing very close to the impact point and suffered minor injuries in the crash. Saturday, he was leading the organization's effort in Reno to account for all the members who were there.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, nearly 24 hours after the accident, Desmon said by phone from Reno that he was "still trying to ascertain" if any of his members are among the dead.

Pete Jackson, another member of the Warbirds in Reno, said "there were a few people who weren't necessarily in their original boxes at the time and no one has managed to make contact with them."

Later, Desmon said that a member of the Warbirds and his wife are still unaccounted for.

Injuries among the rest of the group included minor bruises, scrapes and cuts and also a broken foot, he said.

The Warbirds club, headquartered in Oak Harbor and with about 220 members, is dedicated to preserving World War II-era military aircraft and educating people about the history of the airplanes and to honor their role in winning the war.

Its members regularly fly at air shows, including displays this summer at Paine Field in Everett and in Olympia.

Michele Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Reno police and fire departments, said Saturday evening that in addition to the nine people known dead, at least 17 people were still being treated at area hospitals. At least 24 other people had been treated and released, Anderson said.

Names of the injured and dead will be released by the Reno Police Department and Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office as soon as identifications are certain and next of kin have been notified, Anderson said. Authorities don't know how long that will take, but it could be a matter of days, Anderson said.

Jean Baker, 81, lives in Sacramento but has a summer place on Center Island in the San Juans. He was at the air show with his son, Todd, when the crash occurred. The two were sitting in row 14 of the grandstands.

"He was heading right for us, full-bore," Baker told The Seattle Times. "Then he kind of barely managed to pull it up just a bit, and went right into the box stands. It was just absolutely awful. There were body parts lying all around."

Baker said he was about 75 feet from the point of impact. The plane's debris flew away from the grandstands, with the engine and propeller the biggest parts left, Baker said. "Everything else was just pieces," he said.

Baker, a retired vacuum-tube engineer, said he has been going to the Reno air show for about 30 years. He had previously seen pilots die in crashes, but never before witnessed a plane hitting the spectator stands.

"This is a real tragedy," Baker said. "This is terrible."

John Gogol, a former Warbirds club member now living in Portland, said the historic airplane community is close-knit. Gogol also knew the pilot killed Saturday morning in a separate air show accident in West Virginia.

"I haven't felt this bad since my dad died," Gogol said in an e-mail. "The aviation community is just pummeled."

Photos: Fire at Beijing International Airport.

Around 6pm on September 17th, photos taken by numerous travelers showing thick black smoke outside Terminal 2 at Beijing International Airport began showing up around Weibo.
The first report posted at 5:49pm read only:
Beijing International Airport Terminal 2 is burning, don't know what's the cause. Hope no one is hurt.
According to Beijing Capital International Airport's official statement, at present airport officials are looking into the matter and so far have to report that there have been no casualties and the airport is operating normally again.
The source of the fire is currently being blamed on a construction site accident. Though the fire was in close proximity to the jetways, no aircraft were damaged.
Check back later for more updates and information as we receive it.
Photos from multiple Weibo users: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Loss of power, clipped tree in Ottawa County, Michigan. Hat Field Airport (5N7) Nunica.

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM)- The owner of an Ottawa County air field says a pilot was practicing take-offs when his plane crashed.

The owner of Hat Field Airport says the plane lost power around 6 p.m. Saturday. On its way down, the plane clipped a tree and flipped.

The pilot, who is from Mason, Michigan, was taken to the hospital with a leg injury.

Video Shows Pilot Jimmy Leeward Discussing Ill-fated P-51D Mustang "The Galloping Ghost"

Sep 17, 2011 by Associated Press

A video posted on Youtube shows Jimmy Leeward, the pilot who died in Friday's air show crash, talking about his ill-fated plane. Leeward and eight other people died in the crash in Reno, Nevada. (Sept. 17)

Minor injuries in takeoff mishap. Hat Field Airport (5N7), Nunica, Michigan.

Hat Field airstrip in Ottawa County, as seen from I-96. 
(Courtesy Google Maps)

NUNICA, Mich. (WOOD) - The pilot of a small plane suffered minor injuries Saturday afternoon after making a mistake on takeoff from an Ottawa County airfield.

Authorities say the pilot suffered a minor ankle injury and damaged their plane after a failed takeoff attempt at Hat Field, off of 120th Avenue in Nunica.

The plane did suffer some damage, but authorities say the pilot's injuries were not life-threatening.

The rural airstrip is not paved and is designed only for small planes.

BMI Pilots Union Asks U.K. Government to Safeguard Members’ Jobs

The union representing pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA)’s BMI unit has written to U.K. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond asking him to try to protect its members’ jobs should the German carrier try to sell the airline.

Hammond should meet with Lufthansa and tell the carrier that any deal should protect U.K. jobs, the British Airline Pilots’ Association said in a statement today. Lufthansa board member Stefan Lauer said Sept. 5 that the carrier hired a bank to “support in the search for a partner” for unprofitable BMI.

“Too often in the U.K., compared to elsewhere in Europe, the human factor is ignored,” said Jim McAuslan, general secretary of BALPA, in the statement. “This is serious. Unemployment is on the increase and British jobs are at risk.”

Lufthansa, based in Cologne, Germany, took control of BMI in 2009 when then-owner Michael Bishop exercised an option to sell it to the German carrier. Lufthansa has since been cutting costs at BMI in an effort to make the business either sustainable or attractive to bidders.

Airports Authority of India officer leaps to death from air traffic control tower.

Kushal Kumar Gupta

Calcutta, Sept. 17: A senior airport official committed suicide by jumping from the air traffic control (ATC) building in Calcutta this afternoon.

Kushal Kumar Gupta, 51, general manager, aerodrome (eastern region), was suffering from “severe depression” for the last three months, his family and colleagues said.

Gupta had wanted to resign recently because of his depression and he was on leave till September 21, airport sources said. He came to the office today without anyone noticing.

Although no one saw him jump, police sources said Gupta leapt from the eighth-floor terrace of the nine-storey building around 2.30pm. The terrace is adjacent to the ATC tower.

He is survived by wife Soma, who teaches in a girls’ school, and daughter Simon, who is a Class XI student.

“I had asked him to quit the job since I am working. I had also asked him not to go to the airport. He didn’t give any hint today that he would be going to the airport,” Soma said, breaking down.

A 1986-batch aerodrome official, Gupta had been looking after ATC operations of regional airports like Port Blair, Ranchi, Patna and Raipur.

Gupta, like other general managers, ranked No. 2 in the hierarchy, below the regional executive director and the airport director who are joint heads.

According to airport officials, Gupta was scheduled to appear for an interview in Delhi today for the executive director’s post.

“He was suffering from severe depression and didn’t want to attend office,” said Tarun Sengupta, Gupta’s brother-in-law.

Family members and colleagues said the symptoms of depression first appeared in July and he went on leave. “He joined in the last week of August but again went on leave for 15 days on September 6,” said Timir Bandyopadhyay, a colleague.

“His job was administrative and not operational, so passenger safety was not hampered by his long absence,” an airport official said.

ATC officials said Gupta was well-behaved, efficient and popular. He was undergoing treatment since July and appeared to have recovered, sources in the ATC said.

“A couple of days ago, I had spoken to him over phone and he seemed normal like before,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Gupta fell on a heap of pillars, iron rods and debris on the airfield side of the building where construction is on. CISF personnel on duty at the airport’s gate No. 4 were the first to spot him.

“He was bleeding very little and died apparently from severe internal haemorrhage. Most of his bones were broken,” said an airport doctor who examined him first.

Officials said they could not recall anyone committing suicide by jumping from an airport building in recent memory.

KOLKATA: A senior Airports Authority of India official jumped off the eight-storey control tower building that houses the air traffic control on Saturday afternoon.

Though the general manager did not leave behind a suicide note, police ruled out foul play and said the act could have been triggered by severe bouts of depression that he had been suffering over the past three months. The 51-year-old is survived by his wife and daughter.

This is the third suicide at the airport in recent years. In 1993, an airport clerk had jumped off the same building. In 2009, an airline ground handling staff had hanged himself in a storehouse located off a remote parking bay at the airport.

Kushal Kumar Gupta, who was in charge of coordinating aerodrome activities at Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Port Blair, Gaya, Raipur and Cooch Behar, entered the tower building around 2pm and is suspected to have taken the elevator to the seventh floor where the aviation safety office, anti-hijacking room and regional training centre are located. He then took the stairs to the terrace that also leads to the air traffic control (ATC) and jumped off it around 2.20pm.

Though Gupta was rushed to a hospital a kilometre away, the 100-ft fall crushed his hip and backbone and ruptured his organs, leading to massive internal and external hemorrhage. According to hospital records, doctors declared him dead at 4.10pm.

Colleagues said Gupta was suffering from depression and was undergoing treatment. According to sources, a family discord had led to Gupta taking up separate quarters. While his wife and daughter lived in Beliaghata, he had moved to a flat at Jessore Road.

His office had also been relocated last month. His office was earlier located in the VHF building away from the other administrative offices housed in either a section of the international terminal or the control tower. On August 1, it had been shifted to the swanky new administrative building along with offices of the airport director, regional executive director and other senior officers.

At 112 ft, the eight-storey tower building with a double-height ground floor is currently the tallest building at the airport. That is perhaps the reason Gupta chose to jump from it though he had no business being their on Saturday. Though some officers engaged in operations drop by on weekends if needed, most of them, including Gupta, never attended office on weekends. Besides, Gupta was on medical leave from September 11 to 21. Furthermore, he should have been in Delhi on Saturday as he was scheduled to appear before the departmental committee on promotions.

Being an off day, there was hardly anyone at the tower building on Saturday, other than emergency staff like controllers and engineers. The CISF personnel at the gate did see the officer enter, but no one spotted him either in the elevator or at the staircase leading to the terrace at the ninth level. It was only when ground staff heard the thud that they rushed out.

"At first, I thought one of the workers engaged for construction on the roof of the building had slipped and taken the fatal fall," said a ground staff. Another feared that the person lying in a pool of blood was a controller who had taken the extreme step, unable to cope with the high-pressure job. It was only when paramedics checked the identity card that speculations ceased.

Post women constables at Juhu airport: Airports Authority of India.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has written to the city police asking them to deploy women constables at the Juhu airport. The existing security staff at the Juhu airport, which caters to private helicopter companies and charter flight operators, comprises only men. “The men cannot frisk women passengers. Therefore we have asked the city police to deploy some women constables,” added the official.

On Tuesday, central intelligence agencies had issued a nationwide security alert stating that terrorist could use small planes or choppers to orchestrate aerial strikes in the state.

About 60 security guards from the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at the Juhu airstrip in the past two days.

A requisition by the AAI for the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards most airports in the country, to man the Juhu airport is pending because no housing facilities have been provided for CISF personnel at the site.

Following the terror threat, flight operators have also been asked to submit a list of their equipments stored in the hangers. In another precautionary measure, the Juhu airport officials on Thursday asked helicopter and charter flight operators to unplug the batteries of aircraft. In an aircraft, battery power is used to start the engine.

“It takes at least ten minutes to connect aircraft batteries. The aircraft engine won’t start without the battery connection,” said a senior airport official at Juhu.

Airport authorities had earlier directed charter firms to accept bookings only from their regular clients.

It had also asked operators to load fuel in the aircraft only 30 minutes before every sortie.

Sources said that a team of officials from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) would be visiting the Juhu airport on Friday to check the security arrangements.

Last month, the AAI had written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation asking them to remove encroachments from the AAI land adjoining the Juhu aerodrome. However, no action has been taken. Airport officials estimate that about 29 acres of its land has been taken over by people staying in the neighbouring Nehru Nagar slums.

“About 200 hutments are barely located 100 metres from the main runway,” said an airport official.

The airport boundary wall is also broken making the airfield easily accessible for locals.

Aviation security asks Juhu airport to get its act together

The bureau of civil aviation security (BCAS) had a meeting with chopper operators from the Juhu airport on Saturday. BCAS laid down a series of guidelines for the operators, asking them to take up measures to allay a terror attack hinted at by a recent intelligence bureau (IB) alert.

The alert indicated that a truck of explosives might enter gate number eight, which is near the general aviation (GA) terminal, of the Juhu airport, and also that terrorists might target smaller aircraft. But it doesn’t seem to have been taken seriously by the airport management. BCAS, which lays down rules pertaining to civil aviation security, had a meeting with operators at Juhu airport specifically, because the security there is nil. “The operators have been told not to fuel the choppers completely. This is to lessen the damage in case an explosive-laden truck tries to crash into a chopper,” says an official from Juhu airport. Operators have also been asked to not attach the ground power unit (GPU) till the aircraft is ready for take-off, to make sure no terrorist can infiltrate any of the aircraft,” the official says.

But the operators feel that not fuelling the chopper tanks completely could prove fatal. “It might affect the aircraft in the long run. About the GPU, we don’t attach it till the pilot boards the aircraft,” says a chopper operator. While the security at the general aviation terminal has been strengthened, and one CCTV been installed at gate number eight, the security is still quite lax.

“We have been asked to frisk passengers who come onboard. There is no security hold at Juhu, nor any CISF official to do the checking. So it is our responsibility to frisk the passenger and check his baggage,” says a charter operator on condition of anonymity.“We also have to give a copy of the passenger manifesto along with a copy of identity proof to BCAS. New passengers (those who aren’t regulars) have to get police verification done before we fly them around,” he says.

Operators have also been asked to ensure old employees go through appropriate verification, and to be extra careful while employing new people. “We have officials from the Maharashtra security guards’ board who are not that well versed with aviation security. So 100 more cops are likely to be deployed there. Thirty two cops have been posted at Juhu on Saturday.The central industrial security force (CISF), which was present at the meeting, has also promised to deploy more people by next month,” he said.

The operators, however, feel that more needs to be done. “The slum encroachment around the airport is a big threat and we pointed that out.But some government officials present said that it was not possible to remove them due to political pressure,” says another operator.

Catch 'em young: Air India.

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. No one knows this better than the battered Maharaja. Air India is hiring younger cabin crew to attract more passengers in a bitter battle for airspace that has seen rivals forging ahead. But will pretty faces be enough to woo back passengers?

"No," says Subhash Goyal, chairman of STIC Travel Group. "If youth and good looks mattered so much, Kingfisher would be ahead of the race instead of running into losses." Similarly, Indigo without any overt glamour, is doing very well, says Keyur Joshi, COO of, a travel portal.

Could efficiency then be the one thing that really matters? International airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa and American Airlines have middle-aged cabin crew who are efficient , says an ex-CMD of Indian Airlines who didn't want to be identified. "Younger cabin crew cannot be a panacea for an airline's problems. But, yes, Air India does need more cabin crew."

More important than a pretty face is a well-turned-out , efficient stewardesses with a natural smile and demeanor, says Prabha Rani, a veteran air hostess who retired in 2007. "Even a grouch will be put to ease by her.

Unfortunately, Indian men prefer younger cabin crew. So why don't they change their wives every five years?" she asks indignantly.

But the fact remains that an air hostess is the face of the airline. The committed cabin crew of the '60s have all retired, says Jitender Bhargava, former executive director of Air India. "They would notice simple things - the speck on the glass, the scrap of paper on the carpet...They were genuinely attuned to the needs of the hospitality sector. Today, for most, it's just a well-paying job."

That shows in the attitude , attests a senior AI commander. "The body language of some air hostesses is all wrong - no energy, no punctuality, no adherence to procedures... Some even say to me, 'Sir, today the flight is full.' Instead of complaining about the additional work, shouldn't that be a matter of joy?" he says, aggrieved. "Let them try this in private airlines ..." Service also means the little things, such as carrying sachets of Sugar Free, says D Sudhakara Reddy, president of the Air Passengers Association of India.

As for being fit, that's strictly for the birds. With no stringent weight checks in Air India , some air hostesses have ballooned. In a competitive environment, that's troubling. In an emergency, where agility is needed, it's suicidal. One commander after being served tasteless coffee by an overweight airhostess is said to have remarked in disgust, "She serves no purpose except changing the CG (centre of gravity) of the plane." Harsh words, no doubt, but then, this is the hospitality sector But, the two most important factors for an airline are on-time performance and pricing. Directorate General of Civil Aviation figures show Air India lagging behind others (see 'Matter of Stat' ). There's been an improvement in passenger revenue, though, this August as compared to the same period last year - it increased from Rs 889 crore to Rs 998 crore. From the time a passenger books a flight, there are many chinks - weather, technical issues, baggage, crew - and if even one malfunctions, it has a snowballing effect, says the ex-CMD . "And the passenger remembers that one chink and forgets the good things." The real mantra of an airline, says Joshi, is reliability and consistency. "No one expects a foot or a shoulder massage.

But they do expect the plane to leave on time, be told about delays... " Figures for June show Air India has the second highest cancellations after SpiceJet. Check-in is another important cog in this wheel. Though it has younger people after it was outsourced in some places, service has suffered. Many can't speak proper English, are befuddled by the systems and can't handle complaints . Last but not the least, is interference from Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan (aviation ministry ). The government should only set policy and get equity for the airline, say aviation watchers. "They should not get involved in the dayto-day running of the airline . If a CMD has been appointed , let him do his job," says the ex-CMD . Even the management, among the smartest in the industry, isn't allowed to function as it wants, adds Joshi. "While profitable routes which have been given away to competitors cannot be taken back, other routes can be found. Delhi-Melbourne , for example, is among the most profitable as it connects Europe to Australia. Also, let Air India be run professionally like the ONGC," he says.

Bahrain’s Gulf Air reinstates 79 sacked employees

Gulf Air reinstated 79 employees who had been dismissed for unauthorized absence from work following guidance from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and instructions from Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan, Bahrain’s state-owned airline said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

This brings the total number of reinstated staff to 136, the company said. The 79 employees will be notified from next week and may return to work before the end of the month, the statement said.

The state-backed carrier said earlier this month it was prepared to reinstate 122 staff that it dismissed due to absence during anti-government protests and was in legal talks with employees.

“There are still a few legal things going on but, yes, we are evaluating cases and, depending on the facts and the figures, hiring back. We dismissed people not because of the political events but because of absent days,” Karim Makhlouf, chief commercial officer at Gulf Air, told Arabian Business.

Bahrain in March imposed martial law and called in troops from its Gulf neighbours in a bid to quell weeks of unrest amid mass pro-reform demonstrations.

The Ministry of Labour said Aug 18 that 2,463 employees had been dismissed since the start of the anti-government uprisings. More than 1,000 dismissal cases remained pending with no agreement on their legal status with their employers, the ministry said.

Bahrain’s Labour Law allows a firm to dismiss a worker if he or she has been absent “without reasonable cause" for more than 20 days in a year, or more than ten consecutive days.

Gulf Air in August announced a trio of new routes to Rome, Entebbe and South Sudan and said it would increase its flights to the UAE in a bid to grow its local business.

Gulf Air plans to increase the number of weekly flights to Dubai from Bahrain to 14 and add an additional seven flights to Abu Dhabi.

The airline said it had been forced to push back its break-even point to mid-2013 from 2012 after political unrest in Bahrain slowed tourism to a trickle.

“February and March we had a passenger drop - a significant one – of about 15-20 percent, which is normal if you stop flying to two countries,” said Makhlouf. “We were hit but we compensated as of May, June and especially July quite impressively.”

Airshow: Watching until the end. Crowd stunned by pilot’s death. North American T-28C Trojan, N688GR. Martinsburg, West Virginia.

MARTINSBURG - Thousands of people went silent Saturday afternoon because there was little to be said in the moments after the Trojan Horsemen aircraft, flying so near the ground and the crowd on a passing maneuver that you could see the pilot, quickly rolled and crashed into a nearby runway during the Thunder over the Blue Ridge airshow.

There just wasn't any chance the pilot had survived. We had all just witnessed a man's death. We didn't know his name, weren't sure which of the six planes - all uniquely decorated - he had flown, but we all knew we had seen the end of his life in a brief and sudden explosion.

In the moments before his plane struck the ground and burst into in a ball of flames, we had been "oohing" and "aahing" at the aerial maneuvers of the T-28 Trojan Horsemen and the other planes featured at the airshow.

Cooler temperatures and a cloudy, threatening sky had put something of a damper on the afternoon crowd, which was certainly more laid-back than boisterous. The applause was polite and steady at best as the emcee announced the acts and spoke about the planes and pilots.

Even in the VIP section, with its refreshments and special seating, the mood wasn't really festive. After watching morning coverage of fatal air race crash in Reno, Nev., on Friday afternoon, the inclement weather almost forebode tragedy. There wasn't a lot of conversation - or, if there was, it was quiet and private - about Friday's crash of a World War II-era plane into the VIP seating section at the airfield in Reno.

Still, being seated in the VIP section at Saturday's airshow as planes flew just hundreds of yards away, it was impossible not to think about the ease with which such accidents can occur.

After watching several single-plane performances, the appearance of the six T-28 Trojan Horsemen notched up the excitement. Seeing those planes in formation, circling in the distance, had the crowd pointing and paying attention.

There had been several passes of the Horsemen before the two planes passed belly-to-belly. The emcee had changed before that performance, and now a woman's voice told about the planes and the maneuver. The two aircraft, one coming east and the other going west, rolled to a vertical position and passed belly-to-belly in front of the crowd's center. As the eastbound plane rose into the sky, and the crowd gave a collective wow, the westbound plane rolled and crashed into the ground.

For moments after the sound of the crash and the explosion, a few people moved closer to the fence while most questioned each other about what had happened and expressed disbelief and sadness while wiping tears.

And then it went silent. The entire crowd moved about slowly in silence, perhaps mumbling a few words, but the shock of it all seemed to make the air thick and unresponsive to sound. We watched emergency crews and National Guard personnel quietly hurrying about.

And then it was over. There just wasn't anything else to say or do, but go home. People began picking up their belongings and moving toward the exits long before the announcement or the polite young National Guard members started encouraging everyone to clear the base.

A man had died and we had watched.

With two fatal crashes on consecutive days, it's hard not to wonder about the future of such airshows.

Oddly enough, shortly before the T-28 Trojan Horsemen performance, I had been on the telephone leaving a message for a friend, telling him that next year, he and his wife would have to come to Martinsburg for the airshow. On the trip from the airfield, we called and left another message: There had been a crash and we had not been hurt.

That's true, but I doubt anyone who was at the airshow Saturday will ever be quite the same.

Piper J3C Cub: Fuel exhaustion. Pilot uninjured after emergency landing in ditch near Dunkirk - upstate New York.

A Syracuse-area pilot escaped injury when his small, single-engine plane crash landed this morning near the Thruway in Dunkirk.

Edmund T. Coughlin, 49, of Manlius, told authorities he was en route from the Syracuse area to Dart Airport in Mayville when the Piper J3C ran out of gas, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office said.

Coughlin tried to land the plane on the Thruway Golf Range on Bennett Road, adjacent to the Thruway.

Richard Kullberg, owner of the golf range, was giving a golf lesson when he noticed the low-flying plane.

"That propeller isn't turning," Kullberg told the golf students. "This plane is going to crash at the end of the golf range."

Instead, the plane just missed the range and crash landed in a drainage ditch along the north edge of the property at about 11 a.m.

"He almost made the range," said Kullberg, noting that the plane also missed the wooded area abutting the property. "If you were ever going to try to ditch your plane, this is a perfect spot."

Kullberg jumped into a golf cart and called 911, as he drove to the crash site at the edge of the range. Three of the people taking lessons at the time happened to be medical students, and ran to the crash scene, as well.

Coughlin, meanwhile, was able to free himself from the plane. He was not injured, officials said.

"He was actually OK," Kullberg said, "a little shooken up, but OK."

Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies, State Police, Dunkirk fire and emergency medical personnel responded to the crash. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were also at the scene today.

No charges are pending, officials said.

Coughlin apparently was having trouble with his gas gauge, Kullberg said.

"He's just so lucky," Kullberg said. "It was amazing. I told him, "Do you realize how lucky you are?'"

VIDEO: Press Conference - NTSB and Deputy Chief Police. 9 People Killed in Air Crash. National Championship Air Races and Air Show, Reno Stead Field, Reno, Nevada.

Sep 17, 2011 by AssociatedPress
Reno police say a total of nine people have died in a crash of a World War II-era plane at an air race. The deaths include seven who were killed on the tarmac, including the pilot, and two others who died at hospitals. (Sept. 17)

Airbus sees Asian market, led by China, as recession buffer

Demand for new airplanes from China and Asia will provide Airbus with a buffer for growth in the event of a global recession resulting from Europe’s debt crisis, the company’s chief operating office has said.

“So far we have 1,000 net orders (from Europe) at the end of August and the air traffic is still good,” Fabrice Bregier said in an interview.

“However, we might well expect some adjustments in the future. This is very different from 2008-2009. In this case we see a problem of some European states with excessive debt but the real economy is very good,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian.
The euro area debt crisis has contributed to increasing concerns in financial markets that the world economy could slip into another recession. Billionaire investor George Soros said the crisis could trigger a Great Depression.

Bregier said it may be a “challenge” to avoid another recession that would bring about less air traffic and slower growth for airlines. But he said he expected growth in Asia and especially China to provide a suitable growth buffer for Airbus, a unit of aerospace group Eads.

“If there is a big recession there will be less traffic and so the airlines will not generate the cash to buy new aircraft,” Bregier said.

“Now we are in the global market, so we don’t sell exclusively to Europe or America and in our order book our biggest share comes from Asia, and China plays a big role,” he added.

Bregier said Airbus will deliver its first superjumbo to mainland carrier China Southern Airlines in a few weeks and the aircraft will be made operational in November.

Boeing , Airbus’s main rival, said on September 7 that China will need 5,000 commercial aircraft worth $600bn over the next 20 years, a 25% increase on the company’s previous estimate.

Airbus, which currently has 46% market share in China, is due to publish its global forecasts on Sept. 19. Bregier said the firm’s market share in China will exceed 50% in the next few years.

“We plan to deliver about 90 aircraft in China next year and about 100 this year,” he said.

In June, China placed an order for 88 Airbus A320 planes putting aside a bubbling trade row with Europe over a proposed emissions scheme as it sought to fuel economic growth.

The deal, worth $7.5bn at list price and with deliveries slated for 2012-15, was signed by China Aviation Supplies and Industrial Commercial Bank of China.

Although China plans to start competing with Airbus and Boeing by building its own narrowbody passenger jets from the second half of this decade, it has ordered large volumes of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s to feed traffic growth.

Airbus began assembling planes for the Chinese market at a factory in Tianjin, outside Beijing, in 2009. Bregier said he expects to make inroads into the China markets with sales of the new A380 superjumbo aircraft.

“I think they (other Chinese airlines) will be very interested in A380s when they see the success of China Southern... We expect other top players in China to progressively order A380s,” he said.

“The trend is clear, China will need bigger aircraft in the future and so we think with the A380, we really have a trump”.

Opinion/Editorial: Only pretty girls can fly. (Air India)

Behind the glamour: It's a hard grind... 
Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

By Kalpana Sharma

Why is it that our national carrier continues to have separate rules for men and women who work as flight attendants?

“AI may go for younger cabin crew to lure flyers”, read a headline on September 12 (Times of India). The first paragraph of the story could not have been more blatantly sexist: “Flight attendants on Air India could soon stop reminding you of the elderly and portly headmistress who rarely smiled at you in school. And they could be more nattily dressed.”

So while the rest of the world moves ahead, our national carrier remains stuck in a time warp. At a time when it cannot pay its 30,000 employees their salaries on time, when the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has castigated it for going ahead and ordering additional aircraft when it carried an incredible Rs. 40,000 crores debt burden, Air India believes that nicer looking ‘air hostesses' — a term that Air India continued to use long after the rest of the world had adopted the gender neutral term, ‘flight attendant', will somehow make thousands of passengers rush towards the floundering airline.

Persisting story

The story of the ‘Maharaja' and its women employees is an old one. Ever since Air India became India's national airline in 1953, when the airline owned by the Tatas since 1932 was nationalised, women flight attendants have had to fight against the different set of rules applied to them. From a time when they could be employed only up to the age of 35, and would have to quit if they became pregnant, it has been a long and tough journey to get the airline to acknowledge that there is something called gender equity. The legal battles have raged over decades, making their way up to the Supreme Court. Some were won. Some lost.

Whatever one might think of Air India, its service, its performance or its crew, the gender battles in the airline illustrate the struggle women in the service industry have to wage to be recognised as equals. For instance, in Air India, while women had to be a certain weight for a certain age, the same rule did not apply to the male employees. Why? Women, regardless of the years of service they put in, could not be promoted beyond a certain point. Men could. Why? Women had to retire at a certain age or take up ground jobs while men could continue to serve in the cabins up to the age of 58. Why? These are some of the questions that were at the heart of many of the battles fought within Air India.

Performance, not looks

And most of all, why do those who run airlines believe that their airline will be considered more attractive if they have pretty women serving the passengers? People's choice — and now in India we have a choice — of the airline they fly depends most of all on the airline's safety record, then its on-time performance, the cleanliness of the craft, the comfort of the seats, the quality of the food served and, of course, the quality of the service on board. Is the crew responsive, efficient, kind to older people and children and trained to deal with emergencies? How they look is the last on this list. These criteria apply equally to the men and women who work as flight attendants. Yet, only women's looks are constantly emphasised.

What are the attributes needed to qualify for the job of flight attendant? Here is a description posted on a job website:

“The aspiring candidates should have a few exceptional qualities within them — sense of responsibility, pleasing personality, presence of mind, initiative, good physique, patience to work long hours, systematic approach towards duty, good appearance, communication and interactive skills, language proficiency, pleasant voice, team spirit, positive attitude, sense of humour and so on.” And, “Apart from the physical and other attributes mentioned above, the candidate should also have a lot of stamina, patience, common sense, presence of mind and the strength to keep her poise in the face of a crisis. An outgoing personality and a bit of luck always help.”

The majority of the requirements have to do with attitude and with qualities such as “patience”, “systematic approach, “positive attitude”, “sense of humour” and “pleasing personality”. In the middle of all this is also “good physique” and “good appearance”. In fact, behind the glamour, the job is a hard grind and requires a high level of fitness. But should this be translated into every candidate for the job, particularly if she happens to be a woman, looking like an aspiring model?

In 2004, when Air India decided to recruit 400 new flight attendants — and 32,000 people applied — those with pimples or scars on their faces were turned away and not given a chance to prove that they might have “a pleasing personality” or even common sense and patience. Two years ago, when Air India dismissed 10 women flight attendants for being “too fat to fly”, according to a newspaper headline, one of them, who had worked for 27 years with the airline pointed out, “This is not a modelling job; we are not working a catwalk” and added, “weight is not an infectious disease”.

Furthermore, no matter how good-looking your staff, your company cannot survive just on that. This too should be obvious, particularly in the case of Air India. It is not the weight or looks of its cabin crew that have steered it into this current crisis; it is the quality of management that has. Indian Airlines, before it merged with Air India, had the same rules for men and women. And regardless of the age of its crew or how they looked, the airline remained afloat.

Looking smart and having a “pleasing personality” are necessary requirements for anyone who is in the service industry, including those who manage front offices and have to deal with people. But none of this means there should be separate sets of rules for men and women. Air India needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

One dead, one injured in Quebec floatplane crash

LA TUQUE, Que.—  One man is dead and another critically injured after a floatplane crashed in Quebec.

The accident occurred shortly after 7 p.m. Friday on a lake near La Tuque, about 300 kilometres north of Montreal.

Witnesses reported the pilot tried to land the aircraft on several occasions without success.

The passenger, a 54-year-old man from Candiac, Que., died from his injuries.

The 48-year-old pilot from Montreal remains in hospital.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the crash.

Boeing 747-8 Hits ‘Horrendous' Setback on Buyer's Refusal

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. had to postpone next week's inaugural delivery of the 747-8 freighter, a jet already two years behind schedule, after its initial customer refused to accept the first two planes.

Boeing had to cancel three days' worth of ceremonies and events yesterday because of “unresolved issues” with Cargolux Airlines International SA, said spokesman Jim Proulx. The carrier was scheduled to fly its first load of freight on the new plane out of Seattle on Sept. 19 and take delivery of a second jet two days later.

Proulx declined to comment on the reason for the dispute, and Cargolux would only say today that there had been “contractual issues” that compelled its board, which met yesterday, to reject the planes.

The clash mars the arrival of the newest and biggest version of the jumbo jet that, with its iconic hump, has been Boeing's marquis model since its inception in the 1960s. It also comes after numerous struggles at the company, including a three-year setback to its 787 Dreamliner, inroads into its customer base by Airbus SAS and a shift in its new-jet strategy.

“It's horrendous,” Ken Herbert, an analyst with Wedbush Securities in San Francisco, said in an interview. “Just when you finally thought they were going to turn the corner, this happens.”


The 747-8 freighter won certification last month from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to enter commercial service, capping a two-year, $2.04 billion delay for Boeing's biggest plane ever. Luxembourg-based Cargolux was to be the first to receive the jumbo jets, which feature new engines and a stretched upper deck and wings.

“We continue to work with Cargolux and look forward to delivering its airplanes,” Boeing's Proulx said yesterday from Everett, Washington, where the jets are built.

Financing, secured through JPMorgan, has been put on hold, Cargolux, Europe's largest freight-only carrier, said today.

“In the event that the issues cannot be resolved in a timely manner, Cargolux will source alternative capacity to fully meet customer demand and expectations ahead of the traditional high season,” the company said in a statement.

Qatar Airways Ltd. took a 35 percent stake in Cargolux in June and said it planned to start converting 20 Airbus SAS A330 jetliners into freighters next year to accelerate its expansion into logistics.

Trials Continue

Trials continue on Boeing's 747-8 Intercontinental passenger model as crews test different systems than on the freighter, including climate control and airflow balancing. The first version of that plane is due to be delivered by the end of this year, and the model is scheduled to begin commercial service in early 2012 with Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The setbacks to the model are due in part to the 787 Dreamliner. Engineers were diverted to work on the composite- plastic Dreamliner as struggles with the new materials and its production system caused what amounted to seven delays. Boeing now expects to deliver the first of that plane to Japan's All Nippon Airways on Sept. 25.

Flight tests then revealed other problems with the jumbo jet, including flutter in the wings and buffeting around the wheel wells, which had to be resolved. And work on the new flight-management computer extended the length of testing, eventually forcing Boeing to scale back the system to avoid further delays. A software upgrade is planned later.

Leadership Issues

The 467-seat, $317.5 million 747-8 Intercontinental competes with Airbus's 525-seat A380, which entered service in 2007, while the $319.3 million freighter has no commercial rival. Boeing has 114 orders for the plane.

In July, Boeing abandoned its preference to develop an all- new, narrow body jet and said it would instead offer new engines on the current 737. That mirrored a similar move by Airbus the year before that had helped the European planemaker rack up more than 1,000 orders for its upgraded A320neo in seven months.

The decision came as Airbus broke an exclusive arrangement between Boeing and American Airlines dating back to 1987 by selling the A320neo to American. Boeing announced the following month that it was replacing its top salesman and putting Ray Conner back in the post, in an expanded role.

“Clearly, there's leadership issues all across the board,” Herbert said. “It's been a very difficult couple of years. There's so much capital on the sidelines waiting to get into the stock, and they just need to deliver these airplanes, but it's always ‘next month, next month.'”

Seaplane pilots, boaters and anglers: Biscayne National Park plans spark heated debate. (Florida)

At a public meeting, officials presented five options for park management, and then passionate comments started to fly.

Boaters, anglers and even pilots were passionate in offering their opinions at a packed public meeting Tuesday in Miami on the proposed general management plan to guide Biscayne National Park over the next 15 to 20 years.

Park officials posted maps in the rear of the meeting room detailing each of five alternatives, which include new no-motor and slow-speed zones and a marine reserve where fishing, spearfishing and lobster catching would be prohibited. The park’s preferred alternative calls for a 10,500-acre no-take zone covering coral reefs just north of Caesar Creek and east of Hawk Channel out to the park boundary where waters are 60 feet deep. Anglers, divers, paddlers, boaters and conservationists gathered at the maps, pointing and asking questions.

Then park superintendent Mark Lewis opened the public comment portion of the meeting with a defense of the marine reserve.

“If we had been doing a good job, when you go out on the reef today, you would see the same fish you saw 25 years ago. And you don’t see that today,” Lewis said. “This is our draft plan of how we can do it better.”

Predictably, recreational anglers assailed the plan for shutting down access to a public resource.

“I just caught a world-record mahogany snapper in the [proposed marine reserve] and submitted it to the IGFA for review,” said Ovidio Verona of Miami. “The fish are on the reef. You are closing a large part of the reef where the fish are. You close it, it’s gone. We won’t get it back.”

Captain Russell Kleppinger blamed poor water quality in the bay and a lack of enforcement of current fisheries laws for the park’s condition.

“You look at the reefs, they’re dead. The water is crap. The grass isn’t healthy,” he said. “I think it’s water quality. All closing off a bottom fishing area is going to do is hurt the economy and local businesses. The key is education and enforcement. Make us pay for a license to use the park and less people will screw it up.”

Added Kathleen Elliott of the Mahogany Youth Corps: “We need some limits on commercial fishermen. We have to do the law enforcement. We have too many people out there harvesting anything that moves. We need to pay for the rules and regulations we already have to be enforced.”

Personal watercraft riders took to the podium to plead for lifting the decade-long ban on their craft in park waters in the name of safe travel.

“We’re not asking to fish or go inside the park,” Jeffrey Thomas said. “We just want to go through the Intracoastal Waterway. Banning us is like prohibiting motorcycles on the Turnpike.”

A similar request came from several seaplane pilots, who want a zone where they can take off and land.

“We draw six inches of water. We’re much safer than most boaters, but yet we are restricted from being able to land in Biscayne National Park. We have to sight-see from the air,” pilot Luis Otero said.

Several speakers asked park officials to adopt the most restrictive management alternative, which would double the size of the marine reserve and add an access-by-permit-only area in shallow waters north of Black Point.

“Alternative five should be the chosen alternative,” said Lee Buckner of the South Florida Wildlands Association. “You are managing a collapsing ecosystem. The park can support larger fish and more types for all users to enjoy.”

David Puittinen, a former commercial shrimper and lobster trapper from Cutler Ridge, urged an even larger marine reserve than proposed in any of the alternatives.

“That marine zone should be everything on the north side of Elliott Key for five years,” he said. “Right now, people coming through the park are not educated.

“You need to close it out, get the shrimpers and lobster guys out of there. Where’s the hog snapper? Where’s the red grouper? You need to take it farther than you have.”

Two more public hearings were held on the plan last week in Key Largo and Florida City. The public comment period is open through Oct. 31. Park officials said they expect to have a final document ready by early 2012. Comments can be mailed to Biscayne National Park, Attn: General Management Plan, 9700 SW 328 St., Homestead, FL, 33033, or submitted online at