Sunday, October 6, 2013

Qantas confident of Dreamliners

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says he's comfortable that new Boeing 787 Dreamliners being delivered to budget carrier Jetstar are extremely safe despite some reliability issues.

Jetstar's first high-tech jet for international routes are due to be delivered to Melbourne on Wednesday, only weeks after budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle demanded Boeing take back a plane and fix a faulty hydraulic pump after only 30 days in service.

Visiting Boeing's factory in Seattle, Mr Joyce said the aerospace giant had worked closely with Boeing engineers to pinpoint possible problems.

"It's important to distinguish reliability from safety. Sometimes in people's minds they can be really concerned," he told Australian journalists.

"Reliability in new aircraft takes a while to get up there. It's not a safety issue.

"We're very comfortable this is an extremely safe aircraft."

Boeing 787 vice president and general manager Larry Loftis said the ambition to build the most technologically advanced aircraft in five decades had been a logistical challenge since production began in 2007.

"From a reliability standpoint ... we're working to make sure the airplane continually improves and becomes more and more reliable," he told reporters.

"We put a lot of new technology in this aircraft and over-estimated the ability to bring this new technology to market in the time frame to which we committed."

The Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than comparable wide-bodied aircraft with about 300 seats. It uses carbon fibre composite graphite instead of traditional aluminum.

But 50 Dreamliner jets were grounded globally in January when lithium-ion batteries caught fire on two Japanese airlines.

They returned to the skies in April but an emergency transmitter on a Boeing 787 caught fire at London's Heathrow airport in July on an Ethiopian Airlines plane.

Qantas has ordered 14 Boeing 787s for Jetstar, which are being delivered until late 2015.

The Dreamliner deliveries will enable Qantas to take 11 Airbus A330s from Jetstar as part of a plan to retire older, fuel-burning Boeing 767s.

Mr Joyce said the lighter Dreamliners would reduce fuel costs in the Qantas group, and help enable the airline to have an even younger fleet than Singapore Airlines "in the next couple of years which we haven't seen in a long time".

Jetstar expects to begin commercial flights abroad the Dreamliner in November, with limited domestic flights for test purposes, following testing by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia.


Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A310-300, AP-BEC, Flight PK-213

ISLAMABAD / STOCKHOLM / ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot safely landed an Airbus A-310 aircraft after one of its engines caught fire minutes after takeoff from Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on Sunday night. 

 The plane carrying 54 passengers and eight crew members departed for Dubai at 10:10pm but just 15 minutes later the pilot informed the control tower about an engine fire and requested permission for emergency landing.

“The pilot of the airplane, Captain Jarar, did a fine job in putting into action all the years of his training,” said Captain Junaid Yunus, the national air carrier’s managing director. “This is exactly what we train on simulators every six months. Landing on one engine is part of the drill.”

The incident was widely reported on national news channels and footage of a burning object in the backdrop of a black sky sent panic waves among people. Sound of a huge blast added to the anxiety.

“We all heard the blast and  rushed to the rooftop. We could see the plane in flames until it disappeared,” said Naseem Ahmed, a retired air force official, who lives near Shahrah-e-Faisal.

The fire, which erupted in the right engine of the A-310, had been subdued even before landing. Every plane has an inbuilt fire-fighting mechanism to deal with such situations.

Junaid Yunus said the huge sound was caused by a sudden vacuum, which was created as the engine stopped working and not because it burst.

“These are high-powered engines. When the engine stalls and air stops passing through, there is a gap in air mass and that is what causes a loud noise.”

Another PIA official said that none of the passengers or crew members was injured. The airline was making arrangements for the passengers on a 1:00am flight to Dubai till filing of this report.

PIA has been struggling to get its A-310s out of operations as it faces difficulty in financing repairs.

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Dubai-bound passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines with at least 54 people on-board made an emergency landing after its engine caught fire shortly after it took off from Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Sunday night, local media and officials said.

An official from Civil Aviation Authority Abid Qaimkhawani said that the incident took place few minutes after the Airbus A310 took off from the Jinnah International Airport of Karachi at 10:20 p.m. local time.

An eyewitness told local media that an explosion was first heard at one of the engines of the plane, followed by a fire.

The huge explosion and the fire spread panic among the residents of the areas nearby the airport.

The pilot of the plane contacted the control tower for an emergency landing following the incident.

The authorities declared emergency at the airport by calling security personnel and rescue teams including medics and fire fighters at the runway.

The PIA plane with flight number PK213 remained hovering over the airport for about five minutes before it was allowed to land at the airport, said the local media.

The pilot discharged part of the plane's fuel before the emergency landing to avoid any further big fire, said local media.

According to airport authorities, all the 54 passengers remained unhurt and were taken out of the plane safely.

Engineers of the Civil Aviation Authority were called in to examine the plane while an inquiry was also launched to know the reasons of the incident.

PIA,the flagship airline in Pakistan, has been suffering for years due to the lack of funds. According to the reports, two- thirds of the planes run by the company have reportedly been in service for more than two decades and faced frequent problems.


Cardinal Fans: Airplane enthusiasts hold their convention at Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport (KBWG), Kentucky

About 50 Cardinals descended on the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport.

It wasn’t a group of birds that arrived in town, but Cessna 177 Cardinal airplanes.

The planes brought more than 80 people from across North America to Bowling Green for last week’s annual convention of the Cardinal Flyers, a group of owners, operators and flyers of the Cardinal aircraft.

Cardinal Flyers member Bob Pitchford of Scottsville has attended many of the group’s conventions and suggested Bowling Green as this year’s destination. He contacted event organizer Debbie Peterson, who visited Bowling Green and agreed it would be a wonderful place to have the convention.

“It’s an active aviation community, and we want to support that,” she said.

The event is a great way for Cardinal enthusiasts to socialize and learn from one another, Pitchford said. “If you own one of these, you’re constantly trying to figure out how to work on them,” he said.

Cardinals were only built between 1968 and 1978, he said. They were meant to replace the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, but the company never stopped making Skyhawks, so Cessna ended the production of Cardinals after 10 years.

“They are a gem,” Pitchford said. “They have almost attained cult status. You don’t see many Cardinals for sale because when someone buys one, they keep it.”

He bought his 1975 Cardinal about 14 years ago, when his adult children were living in different places across the southeast. “Getting the airplane was the only way I could see them all in the same weekend,” he said.

The Cardinal Flyers arrived for the convention Wednesday and spent two days exploring Bowling Green sites such as the Aviation Heritage Park, Lost River Cave and the National Corvette Museum. On Saturday, members showed one another their Cardinals, which were lined up at the airport. Most of the group planned to fly out this morning, after the convention’s final banquet Saturday night at the Kentucky Museum.

Palmer Gehring of Winter Haven, Fla., showed his fellow aviation enthusiasts the 1975 Cardinal he’s flown more than 4,000 miles since buying it in 1986. “I don’t think there’s any state except for Hawaii and Alaska I haven’t been to in this plane,” he said. “It’s a great plane. It’s a great family airplane.”

He was attracted to the Cardinal because of its streamlined design with wide doors and no strut, or support beam. “There’s not an airplane you can get in and out of as easily as the Cardinal,” Gehring said.

He enjoys the camaraderie among Cardinal owners and had a great time in Bowling Green during the convention. “The people are very friendly,” he said. “There’s a lot to do and a lot to see.”

Woody Beck of Athens, Ga., brought his 1978 Cardinal, which he uses during volunteer flights for Pilots N Paws, an organization that provides air transport for rescue animals.

“It’s got plenty of room to put dog cages,” Beck said of the Cardinal.

He also volunteers with SouthWings, an organization that brings awareness to environmental issues by flying policymakers and other individuals over forests, watersheds and landmarks.

“I just love watching how we use our land,” Beck said. “I just find it infinitely fascinating.”

This was his first Cardinal Convention, and he enjoyed meeting people who share his interest in flying.

“Basically, it’s an education experience,” he said.

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International Group of Pilots in Bowling Green This Weekend

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- One passion.

"It's a sense of freedom. It's liberating -- being up there in the sky," said 22-year-old pilot, Courtney Copping.

That's built around one type of plane.

"The Cessna Cardinal," said one of the organization's founders, Keith Peterson.

That creates a group of more than 3,000 people -- almost 100 of which are in Bowling Green this weekend.

"From airline pilots to first-time pilots that own Cardinals and they come from all directions," said Bill Woods, who flew in from Canada.

They're the Cardinal Flyers -- an international organization that comes together to share stories, advice and travel fun.

"We have members in Africa and the Philippines and China, you know, the oddest places. We have fly-ins in Australia. We have fly-ins in Europe. It's truly a global community of people who own this kind of airplane," Peterson said.

So why the Cardinal?

"The Cardinal is particularly nice for a family to own. Four seats and it has a big enough engine and enough range, you can fly anywhere in the country or outside the country," Peterson said.

People of all ages are involved with the flyers, including Copping, who started flying at 15 and now has her grandfather's Cardinal.

"They know so much about it, and I'm just benefitting being here and asking all the questions, stuff I didn't know about the plane. I'm just learning from them, so it's a great experience to learn all the stories from all these older, great pilots and learn more about the plane so I myself can become a better pilot," she said.

She has it to help finish out the 1,000 flying hours she needs to work toward becoming a commercial pilot.

Peterson said people often think of flying as an unattainable hobby, but anyone can do it and they won't regret it.

"It's a different rhythm of life. You don't drive to a campground and then sit and have a campfire. You fly to some far away place and it's a different far away place every weekend if you choose," Peterson said.

The organization started as an online community in 1997.

The Cessna Cardinals were made from 1968 to 1978, and what makes them different is that they don't have wing struts.

They can cost up to $80,000, and members said a new plane like it can cost up to $225,000.

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Fort Myers, Florida, pilot flies to Georgia to rescue pups from kill shelter

NAPLES, FL - 400 dogs from all across the Southeast are getting a second chance at life. 25 dogs landed in a new home, 11 cuddling together in Ellen Herrs singe engine Cirrus. 
"They go to sleep! Usually within ten minutes everyone is asleep," said Herrs.

Herrs is just one of nearly 50 volunteer pilots who gave up their Saturday to help rescue abandoned dogs from a kill-shelter in Georgia.

Herrs donated her plane and gas to make this happen.

"It's a volunteer thing. I find that I can always use some time flying. Although, my husband may not agree since he pays the gas bill," said Herrs.

Herrs is part of a group called Pilots n' Paws.

"We help to move pets that are abandoned or have been rescued from shelters that are overcrowded to areas here in Naples, where the humane society is gonna help find these dogs a good home," said Herrs.

The group of dogs headed to the Naples Humane Society where they are expected to be adopted in less than two weeks.

"Since there are so many condos and stuff, it's a small dog community. So they are sending smaller dogs down here to get adopted," said Matt Miller with the Naples Humane Society.

All of the dogs would have been euthanized had it not been for people like Herrs.

"I wish people would consider spay and neutering their pets. A lot more dogs could be saved if there weren't so many unplanned pregnancies for dogs," said Herrs.

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Air show, Autumn in the Park offers something for everyone this weekend in Vero Beach

VERO BEACH — A morning stroll in the park and then an afternoon air stunt show kept TCPalmSocial busy Saturday as Vero Beach welcomed one longtime arts event and a past aerial favorite. 

Crisp, clear skies over Riverside Park helped bring steady foot traffic to the 26th annual Autumn in the Park. Morning crowds filtered in early and remained steady throughout the day as many browsed booths featuring soaps, artwork, jewelry and more.

“I come to this event every year,” said Vero Beach resident Marci Wills, 58. “It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning.”

Shady trees throughout the park offered relief to the crowds of attendees as the temperatures heated up. No official crowd estimates were available. The free event starts up again Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As the temperatures heated up Saturday, so did the skies over the Vero Beach Municipal Airport as the Vero Beach Air Show returned from a 16-year hiatus to excite attendees with civilian air demonstrations. Although the scaled-down event was light on air stunts and the finale ended an hour before the gates closed, airplane enthusiasts still got a kick out of the planes’ swooping barrel rolls and tight turns.

“I’m so glad the show’s back in my backyard,” said Jim Bloom, 62. “I always take the trip down to Stuart for its air show, but I couldn’t pass up this event.”

Parking was easier than he had expected, Bloom said, but hopes next year’s Vero Air Show attracts a larger crowd.

It’s estimated Saturday’s air show attendance was more than 10,000, said Molly Magowan, event media coordinator.

All proceeds from the nonprofit event go to the U.S. Veterans of America and to the prevention of child abuse, according to a flier from The Exchange Clubs of Vero Beach, Indian River County and the Treasure Coast along with the Veterans Council of Indian River.

An encore performance of the Vero Air Show will start Sunday at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Warbirds take flight in Elkhart, Indiana

ELKHART — Inclement weather in and around Elkhart put a damper on the Warbirds Fly-in Saturday, Oct. 5, but hundreds of people still turned out to see some of the vintage war-era planes.

Organizers were expecting upward of 40 planes to participate in the fly-in, but stormy weather to the east, north and west prevented more than half of the pilots from arriving for Saturday’s fly-in at Elkhart’s municipal airport.

Pilots were still able to perform some formation flying stunts and participated in the traditional flour bomb contests in the afternoon, but low cloud cover delayed the morning’s formation flying for about 90 minutes, according to Chuck Marshall, a co-founder and organizer.

Organizers estimated the event attracted several hundred people, many of whom provided a donation of $10 per person or $30 a car load.

At one point, a volunteer estimated more than 200 cars had filled the grass parking area of the airport.

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