Friday, October 18, 2013

Brooklyn man arrested for flying drone over Manhattan

  NEW YORK (WABC) -- He's a musician from Brooklyn but he has struck a wrong note with the NYPD who tracked him down after our story aired and charged the inexperienced, drone operator with reckless endangerment.

It's his own video that helped the NYPD nail David Zablidowsky. The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The video recovered by a financial analyst who handed it over to Eyewitness News, after he nearly took a direct hit when the small helicopter drone similar to this one, crashed at his feet while walking near Grand Central.

Days after the video aired on Eyewitness News, Police arrested Zablidowsky for "reckless endangerment" for "flying a remote control helicopter off a balcony, losing control, causing it to crash to the ground from an unreasonable height creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury."

We tried reaching him at his Brooklyn apartment but got no answer. The reckless endangerment charge is a class A misdemeanor which if he's found guilty could lead to a stiff fine.

"The individual was not in control of that vehicle from take off to landing," said former pilot JP Tristani.

Tristani says the FAA has to get a handle on this because drones will grow in popularity and even the small ones pose a threat to aircraft.

"Can it affect the engines of an aircraft, most certainly. Can it penetrate the metal fuselage, most certainly," he said.

The FAA has yet to come up with concrete rules for unmanned aircraft systems, known as UAS or drones, but has said that "UAS operations are currently not authorized in class b airspace which exists over major urban areas".

Chances are Zablidowsky will be hearing from the FAA too for this reckless flight of a drone 30 stories above a congested mid-town.

"It can cause damage to airplanes, property and people . And the uncontrolled us of it has to be controlled," adds Tristani.

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Boeing Plans Further Cut in 747 Jumbo Production: Plane Maker Also Is Working on Ways to Improve the Jet's Range, Fuel Efficiency

By Jon Ostrower

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 18, 2013 3:38 p.m. ET

Boeing Co. is working on improvements to boost the range and fuel efficiency of its revamped 747-8 jumbo jet in the wake of sluggish sales, according to two people familiar with the company's plans.

The company said Friday that it would trim production of the 747-8 to 1.5 a month early next year, having already delivered 56 of the 107 jets on order.

The so-called "Queen of the Skies" has fallen victim to airlines selecting less fuel-thirsty twin-engine jets such as Boeing's own 777 over larger four-engine aircraft; meanwhile, more air cargo is shifting to cheaper ocean-freight options.

Boeing previously had flagged plans to drop 747-8 output to 1.75 a month, from two, but the company remains optimistic it can capture more business.

The company is testing a package of improvements to the jet's General Electric Co. engines that would cut fuel consumption by 1.8%. That package will be introduced later this year and is expected to eliminate a performance shortfall that Boeing has been chipping away at since it delivered the first of the revamped jets in 2011.

It also is evaluating a host of other small improvements—an effort dubbed "Project Ozark"—to stretch the jet's range to 8,200 nautical miles, which are due around late 2015 or in early 2016. However, two people familiar with Boeing's planning say the company aims to boost the jet's range as far as 8,500 nautical miles to lure airlines requiring ultra long-range missions that last as long as 17 or 18 hours.

A Boeing spokesman said the company hasn't yet identified a specific date for its move to producing 1.5 747s per month.

The new rate will run through 2015 in a move that "aligns us with near-term demand while stabilizing our production flow," according to a statement from Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program.

"Although we are making a small adjustment to our production rate, it doesn't change our confidence in the 747-8 or our commitment to the program," he added.

The plane maker has secured five orders so far this year for the jumbo, offset by five cancellations.

Boeing reports third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.


FBI Investigating Following Recent Laser Attacks On Pilots: New York-Area Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The FBI has assigned its Joint Terrorism Task Force to lead its probe of laser attacks on the cockpits of two planes approaching LaGuardia Airport this week, inviting help from the public as well to fight a growing threat.

The FBI said Friday a reward is available for anyone providing information leading to arrests in the Tuesday attacks.

The FBI said the first attack occurred when a Shuttle America cockpit was illuminated by a green laser on its final approach to LaGuardia at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday. The FBI said the crew reported that the laser originated about a half mile west of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

The second incident occurred three hours later when a private aircraft reported a green laser two miles southwest of LaGuardia.

The two recent attacks brings the total for the year to 54 at LaGuardia alone, WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell reported.

“Laser pointers can be extremely destructive,” said CBS News aviation and transportation safety analyst Mark Rosenker, also a former head of the NTSB. “They don’t realize that the actual beam itself can be magnified going through the cockpit glass.”

“People that are using these devices in an inappropriate way don’t really understand the implications and the dangers that they’re doing when shining these devices into a cockpit,” Rosenker added.

The FAA has reported a 17 percent increase in laser attacks for the year in the New York area, Haskell reported.

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Endangered Whooping Cranes Depart On Aircraft-Guided Flight To Florida


Eight young whooping cranes began their aircraft-led migration on October 2, 2013 from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wi. This is the 13th group of birds to take part in a project led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, an international coalition of public and private groups that is reintroducing this highly imperiled species in eastern North America, part of its historic range. 

 WCEP partner Operation Migration will use two ultralight aircraft to lead the juvenile cranes through Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia to reach the birds’ wintering habitat at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge along Florida's Gulf Coast.

“Despite the fact that we have done this before, each year we learn something new about these wonderful birds,” said Joe Duff, CEO of Operation Migration and leader of the ultralight team. “This year's flock seems more attentive, and we hope to make better progress. Our target is to arrive in Florida before Christmas.”

In addition to the eight cranes being led south by ultralights, biologists from WCEP partner, International Crane Foundation, are currently rearing nine whooping crane chicks at Horicon NWR in Dodge County, Wis. The birds will be released later this fall in the company of older cranes from whom the young birds will learn the migration route south. This is the ninth year WCEP has used this Direct Autumn Release method.

Whooping cranes that take part in the ultralight and DAR reintroductions are hatched at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis. Chicks are raised under a strict isolation protocol, and to ensure the birds remain wild, handlers adhere to a no-talking rule and wear costumes designed to mask the human form.

The 17 aircraft-led and DAR chicks are joining one wild-hatched chick in the 2013 cohort. The wild-raised chick will follow its parents on migration. In addition to the eightenn juvenile cranes, 101 whooping cranes are currently in the eastern migratory population.
The public is invited to follow the aircraft-guided Whooping cranes on Operation Migration’s live CraneCam, which broadcasts daily during flights and while the cranes are at each stopover location along the route to Florida. Visit: to watch the video stream or for daily website postings.

Whooping cranes were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s. Today, there are only about 600 birds in existence, approximately 445 of them in the wild. Aside from the WCEP birds, the only other migratory population of whooping cranes nests at Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, Canada and winters at Aransas NWR on the Texas Gulf Coast. A non-migratory flock of approximately 20 birds lives year-round in the central Florida Kissimmee region, and an additional 17 non-migratory cranes live in southern Louisiana.

WCEP asks anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild to please give them the respect and distance they need. Do not approach birds on foot within 200 yards; remain in your vehicle; do not approach in a vehicle any closer than 100 yards. Also, please remain concealed and do not speak loudly enough that the birds can hear you. Finally, do not trespass on private property in an attempt to view or photograph whooping cranes.

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership founding members are the International Crane Foundation, Operation Migration, Inc., Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and National Wildlife Health Center, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.

Many other flyway states, provinces, private individuals and conservation groups have joined forces with and support WCEP by donating resources, funding and personnel. More than 60 percent of the project’s budget comes from private sources in the form of grants, public donations and corporate sponsors.

To report whooping crane sightings, visit the WCEP whooping crane observation webpage at:


Investment in aviation will provide more lift-off for economy: The Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas -- With The Bahamas moving closer to enhancing its existing aircraft registry to meet or exceed standards of successful offshore registries, the most vocal proponent of creating a Bahamas international aircraft registry today congratulated government on "moving so quickly and deliberately" on both the registry and action to safeguard FAA approval of the nation's air safety ratings. 

"The timing for the initial phases of creating a framework for the establishment of an international aircraft registry could not be better," said Llewellyn Boyer-Cartwright, a former commercial pilot and now a partner at Callenders law offices where he specializes in aviation law. "The global forecast for business and corporate jets which would form the basis of The Bahamas International Aircraft Registry has never been stronger. If you look at the projections for the coming decade, nearly one in every three owners -- corporate, partnership or individual -- plans to replace or purchase new aircraft in the next five years. That is an amazing figure. And over the next 10 years, it's projected that there will be some 10,000 deliveries of new business jets worth some $250 billion. Every one of those new builds or deliveries has to be registered somewhere."

Add new deliveries to the existing body of jets and the opportunity, he says, is great.

"In our discussions about establishing an international aircraft registry, we have stressed the need for a quality registry with stringent standards, modeled after our successful ship registry," said Boyer-Cartwright. "We do not want to be a flag of convenience. We must aim for a name that symbolizes security, prestige, a premiere registry supported by all the economic opportunities for local businesses from aircraft financing to security services, insurance, legal work, maintenance and repair, fueling, catering, chartering, FBOs operations and more."

Boyer-Cartwright's comments came on the heels of the Ministry of Transport & Aviation's positive news.

"The Minister of Transport & Aviation's announcement that a threatened FAA downgrade that could have crippled air traffic had been averted with officials, including Captain Patrick Rolle, taking efficient and effective action was greatly welcomed news," he said. "And I think because of the planned creation of a Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, The Bahamas will be in the strongest position in its civil aviation history. I honestly believe we are entering a new era in air traffic safety, security and operations."

Touting the friendly skies of The Bahamas has taken Boyer-Cartwright from one conference to another this year, several on an invitational basis. Next week, he heads to Germany for a conference and in December, he's been invited to address the world's leading business and corporate jet owners, financiers and attorneys at the Aruba Aeropodium Offshore Aircraft Conference. It will be his fifth this year and Boyer-Cartwright estimates he's logged well over 20,000 miles promoting The Bahamas as a great place to live, do business and vacation.

"The government worked diligently to avoid an imminent threat to downgrade our civil aviation sector from Category 1 to Category 2," he said. "They have successfully managed to raise the nation's aviation standards to meet and comply with FAA and ICAO standards."

At the same time, he noted, the FAA's and US Department of Transportation policy changes as they relate to non-citizen trusts will no doubt make offshore registries more appealing. In addition to this, a few months ago, the FAA announced that Stage Two business jets will no longer be able to operate in the US after December 2015. That, says Boyer-Cartwright, may force those aircraft owners to register their aircraft elsewhere.

"In short, Stage Two relates to the noise level a jet aircraft produces particularly on take-offs and landings. The majority of the airports in The Bahamas are not in the midst of cities but tend to be situated in low density areas, we may be able to decide whether or not to accommodate these aircraft, including many of the manufacturer names that only a decade ago were associated with the glitz and glam of the skies. The implementation of this new policy could force as much as 60 percent of all related aircraft to register elsewhere. Many of these aircraft, considered top of the line not long ago, are now aging with large numbers failing to qualify under new standards.

"Naturally, this creates an opportunity for The Bahamas, with owners looking for an alternative jurisdiction," he continued. "In fact, other jurisdictions are already preparing for the exodus of some 600 aircraft that are affected by the rule. However, we must act with prudence. While it is important for us to capitalize on opportunities, we must be selective.” Other countries in the region have established registries with much success. Bermuda currently has more than 700 aircraft registered, the majority of those commercially operated. Isle of Man is currently ranked the number one offshore aircraft registry in the world.

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Textron 3rd-Quarter Net Drops on Lower Cessna Deliveries

Textron Inc.'s  third-quarter profit slid 34% as the aircraft and industrial product maker delivered far fewer Cessna planes than a year ago, and as labor disruptions hurt profitability at the Bell helicopter business.

The maker of Cessna planes, Bell helicopters and E-Z-Go golf carts has reported muted sales from prior-year levels, and the company's top line has missed Wall Street's expectations for five consecutive quarters.

Profit in the latest quarter also was muted, leading Textron to trim its full-year estimate. The company now sees a profit of $1.75 to $1.85 a share from continuing operations, down from the prior view of $1.90 to $2.10.

Chairman and Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said the reduced guidance was due to lower margins for the Bell business due to labor disruptions, as well as lower aircraft deliveries at Cessna.

Overall, Textron posted a profit of $99 million, or 35 cents a share, down from $151 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 3.2% to $2.9 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 47 cents a share on $2.97 billion in revenue.

Cessna revenue fell 24% as the company delivered 25 new Citation jets in the quarter, down from 41 a year ago. The unit swung to a loss of $23 million, reflecting the lower jet deliveries.

Bell revenue climbed 8.1%, though the segment's profit declined $34 million, hurt by labor disruptions.

Industrial and Textron systems revenue jumped 4.1% and 1.3%, respectively.

Shares, inactive premarket, closed Thursday at $27.52. The stock has risen 11% in 2013, underperforming the broader market. 

$250-million runway at Los Angeles International Airport falling apart, lawsuit contends

The city has filed suit against companies responsible for building the 6-year-old runway, saying the concrete is cracked and steel bars are exposed.

A $250-million runway at Los Angeles International Airport, rebuilt six years ago, is riddled with construction defects, including cracks, exposed steel reinforcing bars and deteriorating concrete, according to city officials.

The mounting problems, including the runway's failure to meet Federal Aviation Administration construction standards, could disrupt future flight operations at the nation's third-busiest airport, according to a city lawsuit filed against companies responsible for the work.

The city says it will be forced to prematurely reconstruct the 21/2 miles of pavement, a potentially complex and disruptive undertaking that would require rerouting air traffic to other runways. Typically, a commercial runway has a life span of 20 to 25 years.

Located on the south side of the airport complex near El Segundo, the runway continues to be used for takeoffs and landings. LAX officials said Thursday it poses no immediate danger.

"Maintenance, engineering and airport operations staffs will continue to monitor the condition of the runway to ensure it remains safe for aircraft operations," said Nancy Castles, an airport spokeswoman. FAA officials said they also were monitoring the condition of the runway, known as 25 Left, which handles up to 500 arrivals and departures a day.

In the lawsuit filed last week in state court, the city attorney's office alleged the runway "is unfit for its intended purpose and the city will incur ongoing consequential property damage and economic losses as a result of the deficiencies."

Some pieces of concrete have flaked or broken off, according to the lawsuit. One LAX source familiar with flight operations, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said he has noticed unusual amounts of debris being stirred up on the runway by landing aircraft.

Jon Russell, a safety expert with the nation's Air Line Pilots Assn., expressed concern that material from the runway, should it continue to deteriorate, might break loose and be sucked into a plane's jet engine, causing serious damage.

The contractors named in the lawsuit are R&L Brosamer, HNTB Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and a joint venture involving Tutor-Saliba Corp. of Sylmar and O&G Industries Inc.

Public works contracting executive Ron Tutor, who headed the Tutor-Saliba construction firm that performed part of the runway work, now leads the firm Tutor-Perini, which was recently hired to construct the first Central Valley section of track for the California high-speed rail project. Brosamer, a highway builder, is now part of Walsh Construction.

Officials with the Tutor and Walsh firms could not be reached for comment. HNTB, which provided consulting and engineering services, and CH2M Hill, the project's construction manager, said they do not discuss pending litigation.

Officials for Los Angeles World Airports also declined to elaborate on the allegations in the lawsuit. However, airport Commissioner Jackie Goldberg, a former state assemblywoman and onetime Los Angeles City Council member, said she hoped the lawsuit could be settled relatively quickly. The city is seeking unspecified damages, attorneys' fees and costs of litigation.

The runway opened in April 2007, part of a $338-million package of safety enhancements that included a new south area taxiway to help reduce runway incursions by planes moving about on the ground. From 2000 to 2003, LAX reported the highest number of incursions in the nation.

To make room for the taxiway, the south runway was demolished and rebuilt 55 feet closer to El Segundo. About $108 million in FAA grants helped pay for the project.

In addition to improving safety, airport officials said the reconfigured layout would allow LAX to better handle the next generation of large aircraft, such as the giant Airbus A380.

The lawsuit alleges that construction and concrete defects also are present in other parts of the south airport complex, including improvements to the runway overpass at the Sepulveda Boulevard Tunnel.

City attorneys contend the concrete mixtures did not meet contract specifications or conform to acceptable methods for placing and finishing concrete. Typically, concrete is inspected, sampled and tested throughout the construction process to ensure that mixtures are correct and dry properly.

The runway lawsuit is not the first time Tutor-Saliba has been embroiled in an airport controversy. In 2003, Los Angeles World Airports threatened to remove the firm from a $34-million FlyAway bus project in Van Nuys, saying that the company failed to fix defects found by city inspectors in a five-story parking garage. FlyAway buses shuttle passengers from various locations to LAX.

The firm ultimately removed several concrete columns, reinforced other beams and replaced substandard concrete, resulting in project delays.

The company has handled numerous projects successfully but also has been accused of fraud and shoddy workmanship related to the Los Angeles subway, San Francisco International Airport and public works projects in New York. Those matters have cost the builder tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments, settlements and penalties.

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AMR Swings to Profit on Lower Costs, Record Revenue -- Government Shutdown Doesn't Seem to be Sapping Travel Demand: CEO

By  Susan Carey and  Ben Fox Rubin

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 17, 2013 11:31 a.m. ET

American Airlines parent AMR Corp.  swung to a third-quarter profit on record revenue and cost savings achieved in its bankruptcy restructuring, and doesn't see much effect on travel demand due to the government shutdown that just ended.

AMR Chief Executive Tom Horton said in an interview Thursday that bookings in the current quarter "appear to be quite strong," compared with the level achieved at this time a year ago. "Demand for travel is outpacing our capacity increases, which is good news."

While he said the nation's third-largest airline by traffic continues to keep an eye on the effects of the government shutdown, oil prices "have been fairly tame" and the industry "has been disciplined with respect to the supply and demand balance." This is leading to a fourth-quarter outlook about which "we feel pretty good," Mr. Horton said.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company posted net income of $289 million, compared with a year-ago net loss of $238 million. But if $241 million in special items related to its bankruptcy reorganization, financings and expenses related to its pending merger with US Airways Group Inc. are stripped out, the latest quarterly profit would have been $530 million, a company record. A year ago, AMR reported a profit of $110 million, excluding $348 million for such items.

AMR, which hopes to leave its nearly two-year stay in bankruptcy-court protection via a merger with US Airways, first must prevail in an antitrust trial slated to begin on Nov. 25. The Justice Department in August sued the companies to stop the combination, contending it would drive up ticket prices and deprive consumers of choices in air travel. The airlines disagree, saying the combination—which would form the largest U.S. airline by traffic—would give fliers new choices and act as a counterweight against United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., two carriers that recently bulked up through mergers.

Several state attorneys general joined the Justice Department in the complaint. Mr. Horton said the airlines "are talking" to them in the hopes of changing their minds. The Texas attorney general recently withdrew his opposition, something Mr. Horton said was "the result of a lot of hard work."

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress recently wrote President Barack Obama to show their support for the combination. "I don't know what helps and what doesn't," the CEO said of that letter. "But there is overwhelming support for the merger."

Until the trial is over, AMR must remain in bankruptcy-court protection, which is costing it about $50 million per quarter in professional fees. "It's a lot of money, which is why we think it's important to get the company out of restructuring as soon as possible," Mr. Horton said. Moreover, some vendor and supplier contracts that were redone in the bankruptcy case to reduce costs won't kick in until AMR leaves Chapter 11, he said. If AMR and US Airways lose at trial, the larger carrier is expected to have to craft a new plan or reorganization and poll its creditors on their support before it can emerge.

AMR said it expects to increase its fourth-quarter capacity by 3.5% year-over-year. Much of that growth will come from flying its planes longer distances and by adding new destinations in Latin America and Asia. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase just 1.5% compared with all of 2012.

Revenue in the third quarter was $6.83 billion, up 6.2% from a year ago and marking the highest quarterly revenue figure in the company's history. Unit revenue, a key metric of the amount of money taken in for each passenger flown a mile, rose 3.4% in the quarter, compared with a year earlier, and reached a company record. AMR said it filled 84% of its seats. The quarter was the seventh consecutive three-month period in which the company improved its pretax margins.

Consolidated unit costs, excluding fuel and special items, were down 5%, primarily driven by AMR's restructuring efforts.

AMR is the first U.S. airline to report its third-quarter results. Other carriers will release their numbers in the coming days and the general expectation is for strong profits, based on robust unit revenue gains for most of them and the fact that the third quarter seasonally is the strongest of the year.