Friday, July 20, 2012

One-of-a-kind Piper Cub


Roger Meggers gives the Gazette a first-hand look at his recently restored 1949 Piper Super Cub Serial #1.

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Prince Rupert airport manager discusses meeting with Westjet

 With Westjet weighing their options for a regional airline service, representatives from Prince Rupert were invited to Calgary to make their pitch to the company for a stop on the north coast.

YPR manager Rick Reed was joined by economic development officer Derek Baker and others to the meeting, with only 35 airports across Canada being invited. According to Reed, the meeting was a very productive one.

“They asked a lot of questions about the community, the demographics, age, income, traffic numbers for the past several years, ticket prices and the catchment area being served,” he said.

“I think if anyone has a chance, we do. We presented them with a business case developed by a consultant to develop a Prince Rupert to Vancouver flight which, using the same aircraft, carries on to Victoria. Other than Vancouver, the next biggest market people travel to is Victoria, and we showed them the business case that would support that route.”

So far this year, numbers at the airport are up 2.64 per cent compared to last year, excluding private flights using the airport, and Reed says the projection is for a three to five per cent increase by the end of the year.

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Sixteen Memphis area mayors map strategy to build air service

 Greater Memphis mayors formed a united front Friday against further declines in passenger service at Memphis International Airport.

In a rare example of regional cooperation, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton convened 15 other mayors from eight counties to map strategy to preserve the airport's viability as an economic development tool.

After a closed-door luncheon with Wharton's aviation economics consultant, Wharton described the meeting as a starting point and said others would follow.

"We need to realize what the market forces are and see if we can get together and do something about the market forces," Wharton said.

Brian Campbell, chairman of Campbell-Hill Aviation Group LLC, outlined a strategic action plan that ranges from preserving what's left of Delta Air Lines' service to recruiting additional low-cost carriers.

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard said it was unprecedented for so many mayors to come together, and it reflected the airport's importance as a regional economic engine.

  "It's not just a Memphis issue. It affects all of us," Rikard said.

The airport was found to have a $28.6 billion annual impact on the region's economy in a study five years ago, largely owing to FedEx's cargo hub.

Mayors from Millington, Tunica, Bartlett, West Memphis, Oakland, Collierville, Germantown, Arlington, Southaven, Senatobia, Holly Springs, Coldwater, Atoka and Hernando also participated. Many of them attended a press briefing after the luncheon, lining up behind Wharton and Campbell.

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority president and CEO Larry Cox and board chairman Arnold Perl, Greater Memphis Chamber president John Moore and Delta Regional Authority co-chairman Chris Masingill also attended the meeting.

Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson said strong passenger service at the airport is vital to a friendly competition among Greater Memphis's communities for new businesses, nonprofits and investment.
"There are some things that we have to come together on as a region, and this may be at the top of the list," said Johnson, who said he's particularly interested in attracting more low-cost carriers to the airport.

Campbell suggested pursuing status quo operations by Delta, which has announced plans to reduce from about 150 flights a day down to about 125 this fall.

"The first thing you have to do is support the Delta service you have," Campbell said.
He pointed out that Memphis is smaller and less prosperous than 17 out of 18 hubs that have previously failed or substantially declined. "The market is small, and there's nothing you can do about it."

The consultant also repeated an industry maxim, unpopular among Memphis consumers, that hub service and low-cost service are for the most part mutually exclusive. "If you're going to have a large scale of hub services, you're going to have a higher rate to support those hub operations," Campbell said.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald was the only mayor who spoke up when a reporter asked how many mayors had driven to Little Rock to catch a flight. McDonald said fares out of Memphis were prohibitive when a large family group traveled to an out-of-state wedding.

"I think the decision we need to make is do we want to be a hub or not," McDonald said.

Campbell also recommended surveying businesses about air travel and making sure international service is preserved. Delta has reduced the airport's flight to Amsterdam to seasonal. Campbell said the most successful hubs going forward will be those giving airlines access to lucrative international business.

Campbell said he doesn't think bashing Delta does any good, but he sees value in a public appeal such as the new campaign. Launched Thursday with the support of Wharton, it is using the Internet and social media to promote an email campaign to attract Delta's competitors to Memphis.

"Every grass roots effort can have an impact," Campbell said. "Sometimes it's the weight of the evidence and it needs to come from all quarters."


Disabled veteran says airline kicked his service dog, insulted him


United Airlines Employees Abuse Disabled Veteran and His Service Dog


One New Mexico disabled veteran said his service dog was kicked twice by airline employees this week and he was called a slur.

Jim Staneck said he reached his breaking point earlier this week. He's the founder of Paws and Stripes, which pairs disabled vets with service dogs.

In the course of 48 hours at Dulles Airport, he said his service dog, Sarge, was kicked twice by United Airlines works -- once at the ticket counter and then on a shuttle.

"(He) kicked her so hard on the rib cage, that she flew into my lap… He said he was afraid of dogs," Staneck said.

Staneck was dealing with a canceled flight and delays. He served three combat tours in Iraq and has PTSD and a brain injury. He said the stress was overwhelming, and asked a customer service representative for help because he had trouble reading a reservation email.

"He said, 'Just read it' and I said, 'Sir I can't read it,' and he said, 'What are you retarded?'" Staneck recalls. "Prior to this I told him I have a brain injury and PTSD, I'm a disabled vet, this is my second night here; I need help."

Staneck and Sarge eventually sought refuge in a corner.

"Honestly I thought I was done. I thought I would have to get another training dog," Staneck said.

Staneck said he has a challenge for the CEO of United Airlines.

"Call me. I'd be glad to talk to you. This is all about education," Staneck said.

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China: Small airports to ride construction boom

82 more to be built in five years covering most parts of China 

 China plans to build more feeder airports, although many small airports continue to lose money, according to the aviation authorities.

Li Jiaxiang, head of Civil Aviation Administration of China, told a news conference on Friday that a guideline on the industry, issued by the State Council this month, has highlighted civil aviation as "a national strategic industry".

According to the guideline, China will build 82 new airports during the 2011-15 period, and construct a national air transport network that will cover 89 percent of the total population by 2020.

Recent reports suggested that about 130 airports in China registered a total loss of more than 2 billion yuan ($314 million) last year, and some have suggested that no more should be built as losses continue.

But Li disagrees, saying the role of small airports is indispensable to local economic development. Feeder airports mainly serve cargo planes and smaller flights.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Finance, investment in an airport can produce an output eight times of that amount for a local economy.

Li cited Mohe, the northernmost county in China, as an example.

The county — popular with tourists who travel there particularly to see the famous natural light display in the sky, the aurora borealis, or northern lights — was difficult to reach for many tourists until an airport was opened to traffic in 2008, he said.

The airport, with fewer than 60 employees and annual operating costs of 20 million yuan, has also become an important link for local business traffic as well as tourists.

Li cited local government officials as saying that the airport was the reason the county gained more than 300 million yuan of annual income.

Airport: Demand for flights soars in China

Huang Min, director of the infrastructure department under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that the social benefits of local airports cannot be counted on an airport's financial profit and loss account.

"Most of the new airports to be built are feeder airports in central and western regions as well as in remote areas," Huang said.

He added that by the end of 2015, there will be 230 airports for passenger and cargo transport open to traffic, up from the current 182.

And, 80 percent of China's population will be able to use an airport within 100 kilometers by then, he said.

China lags behind many other major countries in terms of the total number of airports.

The United States, for example, has about 19,000 airports, while Brazil has about 700.

Another problem is that many airports built years ago are now deemed too small, he said, and plans are in place to expand and rebuild 101 airports from 2011 to 2015 to meet the soaring demand.

China's civil aviation industry has been developing at an average double-digit growth over the past three decades. It is now the world's second-biggest air transport network, according to Li.

Last year, a fleet of 1,853 planes carried 290 million passengers and 5.52 million metric tons of cargo.


Rapid City Regional (KRAP), South Dakota: Tanker dumps slurry at airport, two planes diverted

A air tanker delivering slurry to the Myrtle Fire was forced to dump its 18,000-pound load as it was taking off from Rapid City Regional Airport at about 11:13 a.m. Friday morning.

Airport director Cameron Humphres said the multi-engine air tanker was just lifting off from the primary commercial service runway when it experienced a loss of power in one engine.

The aircraft emptied its load of water, dye and fertilizer just after rotating off the runway. Part of the load fell on the commercial runway, but slurry also landed on the crosswind runway and a taxiway, Humphres said.

After dumping the weight, the aircraft circled and made a successful landing.

Airport crews used a fire truck and broom to clean the slurry off the runway, Humphres said. The runways were closed for about 40 minutes.

The incident delayed the departure of an Allegiant aircraft that was on the ground.

Two aircraft, a United Airlines and an Allegiant aircraft, were in a holding pattern above the airport. Both diverted to Casper to refuel before returning to land at Rapid City, Humphres said.

Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft carrying 23 passengers, plus a crew of 19, landed at Peter O Knight Airport (KTPF), Tampa, rather than at the planned destination of MacDill Air Force Base, about 4 miles away – USAF statement

Air Force Cargo Jet Lands at Wrong, Smaller, Airport 

 TAMPA | A military cargo plane that typically requires 3,500 feet for takeoff landed unexpectedly Friday at Peter O. Knight Airport, where the longest runway is 95 feet short.

Work began immediately to lighten the load of the 174-foot-long aircraft so that it might leave Davis Islands safely.

The drama ended at 8:27 p.m., when the C-17 Globemaster III took a hop over Hillsborough Bay to MacDill, the original destination. It landed just a few minutes later.

It was unclear why the plane, headed to MacDill, made an unscheduled landing at the small airport near downtown Tampa. Master Sgt. Bryan Gatewood, a spokesman for MacDill Air Force Base, said authorities are investigating.

Hillsborough County Aviation Authority spokeswoman Janet Zink said the plane landed "inadvertently" at Peter O. Knight Airport.

The plane, arriving from U.S. Central Command operations in southwest Asia with 23 passengers and a crew of 19, touched down on Davis Islands about 1:20 p.m., authorities said.

"It was so loud, it woke up my sister who was sleeping at the time," said Chelsea Alper, 23, a Stetson University College of Law student who was in a convenience store on E Davis Boulevard when she heard the roar of the engines.

Minutes later, witnesses saw a caravan of military vehicles respond to the runway, retrieve the crew and begin to haul away cargo.

According to an Air Force fact sheet, the bulky plane has a wingspan of nearly 170 feet.

At 55 feet high, it appeared twice as tall as a nearby hangar, and from certain angles it eclipsed two blue-and-white buses that pulled onto the runway shortly before 5 p.m.

Peter O. Knight is a general aviation airport operated by the Aviation Authority.

It has two runways, including a smaller one that is 2,688 feet and a larger one that is 3,405 feet. The longest runway at MacDill is 11,421 feet.

Over time, the runways of MacDill, Peter O. Knight and Tampa International Airport have occasionally been confused with one another, though unscheduled landings at MacDill have most often made the news.

One week in 2004, two planes mistakenly landed there.

In 1984, a commercial pilot mistook the base for Tampa International Airport and landed a jet loaded with passengers.

This time, all the excitement happened at Peter O. Knight.

"This is the second time this has happened," said spectator Gary Garrett, 71, who has a real estate office on Davis Islands.

"The last time, it was a 727 in the '80s," he recalled, "and they took that plane apart to get it out of here."

All traffic at Peter O. Knight Airport was grounded for seven hours.

"I was supposed to leave about five minutes after that plane landed," said Ryan Gucwa, 29, a corporate pilot from Tampa. He was scheduled to pick up passengers at Tampa International and get them to Georgia on Friday afternoon. Instead, he caught a cellphone video of the C-17's amazing landing.

"It stopped about 6 feet from the end of the runway; any farther and it would have been grass," Gucwa said.

Hours later, Alper thought the takeoff would be impossible.

"It was going so slow I didn't think it was going to make it," she said.

Dozens of people stood outside the gated perimeter, forming an impromptu tailgate party, as the engines roared and the plane inched toward the sky. With about 400 feet to spare, the nose pulled up and the C-17 was back on course.

Marti Smith, 58, a nurse from Tampa, came just in time for takeoff.

When he started moving, I started praying out loud," she said. "It was quite a show."

TAMPA (FOX 13) – Residents of Davis Island got an unusual sight Friday afternoon: A large military cargo plane “inadvertently” landed at Peter O. Knight Airport instead of MacDill Air Force Base.

The C-17 Globemaster roared in around 1:20 p.m., surprising many in the downtown area.

“I see this big guy coming over the top of the hangars there. And I knew, him being that low, that he was at the wrong airport,” recalled corporate pilot Ryan Gucwa, who provided the video footage of the landing seen here. “He touched down probably about a third of the way down the runway and as soon as they did they slammed on those brakes. I thought for sure they were going to go off the end of the runway.”

The small waterfront airport usually handles commuter planes and other general aviation aircraft. Its longest runway is 3,400 feet; Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer, says the 164-foot plane can land in as little as 3,000 feet.

The giant plane needs almost 8,000 feet of runway to take off when it’s fully loaded, but a lot less when it’s empty. Worst-case, the plane might have to be unloaded before it takes off, depending on what’s on board.

A Boeing spokesperson told FOX 13 the plane should be able to take off from the short runway, but deferred further comment to the Air Force.

For comparison, the main runway at MacDill Air Force Base — which is oriented the same direction as the long runway at Peter O. Knight — is 14,000 feet long.

Weight is another concern. The plane weighs roughly 400,000 lbs. but is sitting on an airstrip designed to hold only 20,000 lbs.

The airport will remain closed until the plane can be moved, but officials stressed that it does not pose any threat to downtown residents.

“The Air Force is working to reposition the plane as soon as possible,” Tampa International Airport spokesperson Janet Zink said.

Full USAF statement:

An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft carrying 23 passengers, plus a crew of 19, landed at Peter O. Knight airport near Tampa, rather than at the planned destination of MacDill Air Force Base, about four miles away.

The aircraft, flying in support of U.S. Central Command, was apparently

undamaged and there were no injuries. There appears to be no damage to the airfield. In concert with airfield officials, the Air Force is planning to move the aircraft to allow Peter O. Knight airport to re-open.

The incident is under investigation.

 The military cargo plan landed Friday afternoon at Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands.


 Officials from MacDill Air Force Base are trying to figure out why an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III landed at Peter O. Knight airport shortly after noon Friday, according to Master Sgt. Bryan Gatewood, spokesman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Gatewood said officials were headed to the small municipal airport on Davis Islands to find out why the military jet landed there.

The landing surprised people who work in downtown Tampa office towers.

Frank Kilgore, a pricing manager for Hapag-Lloyd, an international shipping firm with office in the SunTrust tower, said he heard someone in his office yell that the plane was on a final approach to the Davis Islands facility.

"I knew immediately that it was not right," Kilgore said.

Commercial real estate broker Jason Donald was looking out his office window in a downtown skyscraper and saw the plane pass low over the fuel tanks in the Port of Tampa, then turn south toward the airport.

"I face directly over the bay and saw that plane come in so fast and thought to myself, 'Never in a million years is he going to make it,' " Donald said. "I was waiting for flames."

There seemed to be a moment when the pilot realized the mistake, Donald said.

He said the plane needed every inch to stop.

"He was carrying so much speed, I thought, 'This is not going to happen,' " he said. "If his front tire was not in the grass at the end of the runway, he was darn close."

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PHOTO/J. Stonierd
The military aircraft is a C-17 Globemaster, according to officials at the airport.

PHOTO/J. Stonierd
 The military aircraft is a C-17 Globemaster, according to officials at the airport.

A large military cargo plane has made a landing at the relatively small Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa.

The military aircraft is a C-17 Globemaster, according to officials at the airport. The airport is at the southern tip of Davis Island, south of downtown. Officials have not stated why the plane landed at the airport.

According to the Boeing company's website, the "C-17 can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh terrain anywhere in the world day or night. The massive, sturdy, long-haul aircraft tackles distance, destination and heavy, oversized payloads in unpredictable conditions. It has delivered cargo in every worldwide operation since the 1990s."

The plane can take off from a 7,600-foot airfield and land in 3,000 ft. or less on a small unpaved or paved airfield in day or night, according to Boeing.

Flying low: India’s flag carrier is in big trouble

WELL-TO-DO Indian graduates used to line up to join Air India. The national carrier was founded in 1932 and nicknamed the Maharajah. Singapore and Malaysia sought its advice when setting up their state airlines in the 1970s, as a former director recalls. “This was a temple of modern India,” he sighs. 

 Today the Maharajah is looking shabby. Air India made an estimated loss of $1.45 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a consultancy. That was nearly three-quarters of the losses made by all Indian carriers combined. Air India has not made a net profit for six years. Its losses have ballooned since a disastrous 2007 merger with Indian Airlines, its state-owned counterpart for domestic routes (see chart). The union has sparked spats—the latest pilots’ strike, which ended on July 3rd, cost almost $120m. The government bailed out the merged firm with $5.8 billion in April, after a $3.5 billion debt restructuring last year.

Yet the government is unlikely to give up on the combined carriers, whose share of the domestic flight market has dropped from 42% to 16% over the past decade. It would be hard to attract a buyer. Air India spends over a quarter of its operating revenue on employees’ pay and benefits; Jet Airways, a domestic rival, spends a tenth. The board approved a voluntary-retirement scheme for 5,000 staff this month, but needs the government’s approval. The Maharajah is even thinking of selling its art collection.

Air India keeps ticket prices uneconomically low. When it slashed prices last year, it forced others to follow suit. That, and India’s high taxes on aviation fuel, make it hard for any airline to earn money. Only one of India’s six carriers, Indigo, a budget airline, is expected to post a profit this year. Some blame the rise of Gulf airlines on international routes. “Emirates is now the national airline of India. That’s what people say,” sighs the retired Air India man.

Argentina Military Sabreliner

Delivered new in 1974 to Ejército Argentino (Argentina Army), left main gear would not lock, aircraft exhausted it's fuel - landed with 9 on board -  gear collapsed causing the Sabreliner to spin out - no injuries - occurred July 4/12 El Palomar Airport (Military) in suburbs of Buenos Aires.

(Thanks Rob "Biz Jets")

Hawaii Island Air Enhances Inter-Island Service; Launches New Brand And Rolls Out New Fleet Of Efficient Jet Prop Aircraft

Courtesy: Island Air

HONOLULU, July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Island Air, one of Hawaii's most respected regional carriers, revealed today their new business model featuring a complete image and brand overhaul. This new brand coincides with the arrival of the airline's new common fleet type, the ATR in August.

 The comprehensive rebranding touches every aspect of the airline; from an enhanced website to a newly inspired aircraft livery design, including an exciting new logo mark and identity.

Along with the new look, Island Air is upgrading its fleet with ATR42 and ATR72 aircraft. The new aircraft are more fuel efficient, and carry more passengers than the Dash 8 aircraft that are being replaced. "We've been working on our new business model for well over a year and today, for the public's first time viewing, we're delighted to unveil our new look marking our new beginning," said Lesley Kaneshiro, CEO of Island Air. "We will be the first to operate this comfortable ATR72 Jet-Prop aircraft in Hawaii and with additional aircraft delivery on the horizon, we'll be Hawaii's fastest growing inter-island carrier."

Charles Willis IV, Chairman of Gavarnie Holding LLC, the parent company of Island Air, said "this affirms our ongoing dedication to commercial aviation in Hawaii and our focus on innovation coupled with steady growth. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I congratulate and thank our entire Island Air team. They have been working hard on this for a long time, we're excited with our new look and the efficiencies promised by flying the ATR family of aircraft."

Mark Neely, Vice President Marketing and Sales, ATR North America commented, "We are pleased to support Island Air with their plan to introduce the ATR product into the Hawaiian Islands. With the complete family of ATR42 and ATR72 aircraft, Island Air will be able to serve any major airport, with the lowest cost and greatest level of passenger comfort. We congratulate Island Air on their accomplishment."

For over 30 years Island Air has been a leading regional airline serving both residents of Hawaii as well as inbound tourists alike for all their inter-island travel needs. Island Air has always maintained an un-wavering commitment to its strategic partners, investors, over 250 employees and, most of all, the local community and sees this as a golden opportunity to expedite a business plan it has had in the works for some time.

The changes and additions to Island Air's brand will take place incrementally with the complete rebranding targeted for completion in the fall. For a sneak peak of the livery and rebranding, visit our brand launch website at .

Founded in 1980 to provide scheduled service between Princeville and Honolulu, the airline now offers 352 weekly flights between the islands of O'ahu (Honolulu International Airport), Maui (Kahului Airport and West Maui's Kapalua Airport), Molokai (Ho'olehua Airport), Lana'i (Lana'i City Airport), Kaua'i (Lihue Airport), and the Island of Hawai'i (Kona International Airport). For reservations, flight information, and free membership in Island Air's Cloud 9 Customer Rewards Program, visit our website.

For more information on Island Air:Brand Launch Website: Islandairgroup.comWebsite: IslandAir.comFacebook: Twitter:

SOURCE Island Air

Bird strikes on the rise at Haneda Airport

The number of bird strikes--birds colliding with aircraft--at Haneda Airport in 2011 increased to 237, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, 1.4 times higher than the previous year. 

 Airport officials said the increase was partly because all four runways at the airport started full-scale operations in October 2010.

This spring, the ministry began a trial of the world's first bird-detection equipment at an airport. The system uses a combination of radar and cameras, but its effectiveness is unclear as there have been instances where the equipment has failed to detect birds or made erroneous detections.

Ministry data shows the total number of bird strikes nationwide in 2011 was 1,599, with Haneda Airport accounting for about 15 percent.

Bird species around Haneda Airport include gulls, kites, sparrows and little terns--a migrant bird species.

The airport's arrivals and departures increased from about 300,000 to 390,000 after the fourth runway began operating in October 2010.

Bird strikes rose from 143 instances in 2009, to 171 in 2010, and increased by 66 in 2011.

The airport plans to expand its arrivals and departures to about 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2013.

Because operation troubles at Haneda Airport affect other airports nationwide, reducing bird strikes is an urgent task that is necessary for securing air traffic safety.

The airport has implemented an around-the-clock patrol to detect birds.

However, patrol cars are sometimes unable to locate the birds and prevent a bird strike. Some birds flee after they are detected by the patrols, but then return to the areas, creating a cat-and-mouse routine.

The ministry spent 930 million yen by the end of fiscal 2010 to create the advanced equipment detection system. It uses radar to detect birds approaching the runways at all times of the day, and cameras that automatically take pictures in all directions.

The cameras were placed in three locations at the airport so that all four runways can be watched.

The system detects birds with the radar and then uses the cameras to identify the species.

While the system can detect birds, workers are then needed to drive them away.

In test operations, airport officials used blanks and fireworks to scare away birds after they were detected.

But the system has had errors, such as when the radar mistakenly recognized sea waves as birds and failed to detect birds that flew in complicated patterns.

Airport officials said the system's method of using the radar and cameras needs to be improved.

During bird strike incidents, birds hit the bodies of aircraft or are sucked into the engines, which could lead to an accident if the plane is damaged.

In 2009, a U.S. Airways plane made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York, and the accident highlighted the danger of bird strikes.

In May, a Japan Airlines plane was forced to return to Haneda Airport after a bird hit its engine.

Haneda Airport installs bird strike prevention equipment

TOKYO — The operator of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has installed radar equipment to track birds which may be drawn into airplane engines and potentially cause them to stop, according to officials from ministry of transport. 

 The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said the rise in bird strike incidents is due to the increase in night flights at the airport since it opened its fourth runway and moved to a 24-hour timetable in October 2010, Fuji TV reported.

Airport authorities have difficulty keeping track of bird movements at night due to poor visibility. In order to help Haneda identify bird flight patterns and gathering spots, the radar—similar to one used at JFK International Airport in New York—is designed locate their positions up to 300 meters high. A loudspeaker system can then be used to disperse the birds using popping sounds.

Haneda airport officials say the system has been in use for almost three months and is the first in the world to utilize both horizontal and vertical radars in combination with surveillance cameras, Fuji TV reported. The system is intended to enable users to identify the number, size and even species of birds in the vicinity.

Meanwhile, NHK reported that the transport ministry said there was a total of 240 bird strike incidents at Haneda last year, and this year the number has reached 176 cases. The ministry added that there were around 1,600 cases at airports nationwide last year.

Until now, Haneda has relied on staff armed with guns loaded with blanks to search for and scare off birds. It is hoped that the new system will provide a more effective means of dispersing flocks.

Ministry officials added that there are provisional plans to introduce similar technology at other airports in Japan if the equipment proves to be effective, NHK reported.

American Eagle Canadair CRJ-700, N502AE, flight MQ-3773: Caught on video – Dramatic emergency landing for Denver passengers

PEORIA, Ill. — It was a dramatic emergency landing for more than 50 passengers on board a flight from Denver to Chicago.

53 passengers and 4 crew members took off on the American Eagle flight Wednesday night. The flight was diverted to Peoria, IL due to bad weather, but things managed to get worse.

Passengers said after the landing gear was lowered, smoke started coming from the ceiling. The plane landed with fire trucks on standby. The passengers then jumped off the plane one by one. One passenger caught the whole thing on cell phone video. You can see it in the video clip above.

“This is how we just off of this freaking plane,” he said on the video. “No joke.”

Everyone on board made it out safely, though American Airlines reports one passenger injured an ankle. A charter bus took the passengers to Chicago, which is about a three hour drive. The airline is still investigating the cause of that smoke.

Caribbean Airlines owes 500 million to Jamaican aviation authorities

Caribbean Airlines, CAL, has racked up more than half a billion dollars in unpaid fees to local aviation authorities since its take over of Air Jamaica. 

The sum represents fees owed to the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, and the Airport Authority of Jamaica.

Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies explains that the debt has been growing for just over a year.  

He adds that following yesterday's meeting with representatives of the Trinidadian Government, a plan is being drafted on when and how the debt will be cleared.

Pilot turns flight around

Cayman Airways experienced some flight delays today following the return to the gate of flight KX600 destined to Kingston from Grand Cayman, due to a landing gear-position-indicator light which illuminated shortly after take-off. 

 “Although Captain Basil Hamaty verified that the indicator light itself was malfunctioning, he chose to return the aircraft to Owen Roberts International Airport as a precautionary measure and for maintenance rectification,” CAL spokeswoman Olivia Scott Ramirez said.

The flight landed at 7:42 a.m. without incident. All passengers and flight crew were transferred to another aircraft, which departed Grand Cayman at 8:53 a.m. and arrived in Kingston at 9:50 a.m.

Subsequently, the following flights were delayed by approximately an hour: flight KX601 from Kingston, flight KX852 to Panama, and flight KX200 to Tampa. All other flights remain on schedule and Cayman Airways expects no further delays for the day.

“Once again we commend our captains for their strict adherence to the airline’s safety measures as we continue to put the safety of our passengers and crew first at all times,” commented Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms.

“We sincerely thank our customers and the public for their continued support and understanding.”

Pilot swims for hours in Borneo river after crash

A German pilot whose helicopter crashed in a river in deep jungle in Borneo swam for four hours through crocodile territory before being found by fishermen, it was reported locally. 

A search operation was launched for his three passengers after he was found and managed to tell officials what had happened, the Malaysian Star newspaper reported online.

The helicopter crashed on Friday around 150 kilometres from the city of Kuching, in the Malaysian part of Borneo. The paper said it went down at around 9:20am local time in the Batang Lupar river mouth.

It identified the German pilot as a 35-year-old, but did not seem to have a correct name.

A local police official told news agency AFP that the pilot, who was flying a privately-owned helicopter, was being treated at a clinic but did not specify what injuries he had picked up.

The dense jungle which covers much of the Sarawak state is full of leeches, while the rivers are often home to large crocodiles which have been known to attack local fishermen.

The other X-45A

The year 2002 saw the U.S. Air Force directing an investigation into the potential for unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) tasking for the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) — a mission category previously known more descriptively as “Iron Hand”, back in the day. 

Northrop Grumman and Boeing coordinated in the effort producing a scaled composite aircraft — the X-45A — along with the electronics and computer software for autonomous missions. Yes, program the machine to fly, attack, identify/address threats/targets of opportunity, and return to base — all with little to no human interaction during the mission. As I have said in a previous post, this seems so very Skynet — á lá Terminator — in the machine vs. man SciFi genre film. No exciting name for the X-45A, though its development is historic, its name is the acronym J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems).

Read more and photos:

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (KBWI), Baltimore, Maryland: Airport gets $12 million grant to improve runways

LINTHICUM - The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $12 million grant to improve runway safety and upgrade runways at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. 
The grant will be used for the first phase of improvements to bring Runway 10-28 up to Federal Aviation Administration safety standards, including a improving the pavement, expanding the shoulder and erecting new signs.

The project is part of a $350 million effort to bring all of BWI’s runways into compliance with federal safety standards by 2015. This phase of the project is expected to cost $40.3 million and support more than 500 jobs.

The Maryland Aviation Administration will oversee construction, which is scheduled to begin in August and be completed by September.

Greenbrier Valley (KLWB), Lewisburg, West Virginia: Grant to help with airport renovation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A $1 million federal grant will go to help pay for improvements at the Greenbrier Valley Airport. 

The Greenbrier County Airport Authority received the grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to improve and expand its terminal building and acquire equipment to help during inclement weather.

The grant reimburses the airport for additional expenses incurred during its renovation. The grant also will be used to modify public rest rooms and install new flooring, ceiling and interior walls in public areas and provide for enhanced handicap accessibility.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says the funding helps the airport keep pace with the Greenbrier Valley's progress.

The airport saw a 300% increase in passenger traffic over the last several years. On Aug. 1, it will begin offering daily flights to Atlanta and Washington.