Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boeing Readies a Secure Smartphone: Device Designed for Defense and Security Clients Has Self-Destruct Feature

The Wall Street Journal
By Jon Ostrower and Will Connors

Updated Feb. 26, 2014 7:44 p.m. ET


The world's biggest aerospace company is jumping into the business of making high-security smartphones.

Boeing Co. filed plans this week with the Federal Communications Commission for a smartphone dubbed Boeing Black, which is designed for defense and security customers and won't be available to average consumers. The phone is based on a modified version of Google Inc's Android operating system. It takes Boeing beyond the jumbo jets, fighter planes and satellites for which it is known.

Boeing is being stealthy about the project.Without publicly announcing the product, the company posted a description on its website. It said the modular construction of the phone's 5.2-inch-tall body would allow users to attach devices that add such features as advanced location tracking, solar charging, satellite transceivers and biometric sensors.

In Monday's FCC filing, Boeing detailed plans to keep the phone's technology secret, saying it will be sold "in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public."

The filing documents also said the phone, which is about 50% heavier than Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5s and twice as thick, is designed to effectively self-destruct if tampered with: "Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable."

It often is impossible to declare anything is truly secure, especially in an era of government snooping. Since Boeing hasn't made technical details of its design available, security researchers can't test its claims. But Western companies have a long history of making hardened communications gear for government clients. President Barack Obama, for example, has special encryption software on his Blackberry.

Boeing, whose Defense, Space & Security unit accounted for about 38% of its $86.6 billion in 2013 revenue, didn't discuss pricing, but said it will start selling the phone "soon." but did not elaborate. A person familiar with the device said it is expected to be ready by fall.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the Black will be assembled in the U.S.

The Boeing foray is part of a trend toward more-secure phones and software. Last month, Washington-based software firm Silent Circle and Madrid-based Geeksphone teamed up to launch the Blackphone, which they tout as a highly secure device that doesn't run on any traditional telecom carriers or operating systems. The Blackphone is available for order online for $629.

Other, more established players in the smartphone industry like BlackBerry Ltd.  and Samsung Electronics Co. are working to improve the security of their products to win customers in the government sector. BlackBerry is setting up a technology center this year in Washington to work more closely with the Pentagon.

Rival defense companies also are working on related products, at a time when spending on cybersecurity is one of the few growth areas in the Pentagon budget. Northrop Grumman Corp., for example, has developed a smartcard to secure communications from phones and tablets, as well as apps aimed at defense clients.

— Doug Cameron and Danny Yadron contributed to this article.

Boeing Black Specs 

Boeing has provided few details about its planned secure phone, here are some:

    Display: 4.3 inch (540x960pixels)
    Weight: 170 grams
    Networks: LTE, WCDMA, GSM
    Chip: 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9


Carolyn Berryman: Time for Sale



Most of us will never fly on a private jet or even notice the 35 million dollar jets flying in and out of Scottsdale airport.

Carolyn Berryman spends all day inside private jets. Berryman owns a successful jet detailing company called Time for Sale, cleaning corporate jets for WalMart and Petsmart her clients are celebrities, successful businessmen, and sports team owners.

Carolyn graduated from ASU and started off as a personal assistant until a pilot changed her life. "He asked one day after about 10 to 12 years of knowing him. "You ever clean an aircraft before?" I said no. "Would you like to?" I said sure," said Berryman.

"One aircraft became three, became five, became 10, and it was all referrals" said Berryman.

Carolyn and her staff now clean 4 luxury jets a day she says the main thing they notice is the fingerprints. In order to keep these jets clean Carolyn says she can be a little obsessive compulsive. "Alphabetizing the snacks making sure all the labels are all one way," she said.

Her clients are incredibly wealthy and she won't talk about them but simply said, "what happens on the ramp so to speak stays on the ramp,".

Berryman did share some stories about celebrites that aren't her clients. "That is Brett Michaels the rocker. Poison. He charters a bit and one day I finally had enough nerve to ask him for his autograph and I couldn't find anything else for him to autograph so I lifted my foot and he said sure ill sign your shoe,".

"We did a Gulfstream that was a chartered aircraft for Justin Bieber and I found a lot of hotel key cards and gummy bears seriously? I did," said Berryman.

Carolyn also had a memory from the time she cleaned M.C. Hammer's plane, "M.C. Hammer had a carpet shampooed on a chartered aircraft that stopped here."

Carolyn's referrals come from clients and also come from the pilots who are hired to fly these jets. It may seem like a lot of fun and it is but it's also hard work.

During the summer she works when it's 115 out and even hotter inside the jet as the engines are not running so there's no air conditioning. "You feel like your in a steam bath I always laugh and go ah, there goes a spa day," she said.

Still she's incredibly grateful for business she's built. "You never take it for granted it's quite a lifestyle I'm very fortunate to have been able to get into this business, really," said Berryman.

Carolyn says with TMZ, celebrities are pretty cautious and don't leave anything too crazy on the jets.

Story and video:

NBC 5 Investigates: Love Field Still Looking For Bird Strike Solutions Months After FAA Warning - Despite efforts, birds continue to roost in airport flight path

  • Wild Birds, Big Jets and Potential Trouble at Dallas Love Field

    NBC 5 Investigates continues to track a serious threat to airplanes over Bachman Lake, on the north side of Dallas’ Love Field Airport.  

    Five months ago, NBC 5 Investigates was first to report that the Federal Aviation Administration raised concerns about flocks of birds that could damage or bring down an aircraft.

    Last summer, video shot around the lake showed groups of pigeons sitting on the landing lights and huge flocks of ducks and geese roosting around the lake.  On video, one large bird even darted right in front of a Boeing 737 on final approach to the airport.

    Since the first NBC 5 Investigates report, Love Field has been testing high-tech solutions they hope will help get rid of birds that could cause a bird strike.  But recent observations around the airport and an interview with a bird strike prevention expert indicate the airport might benefit from the addition of more low-tech tools to deal with the problem.

    According to a federal database last year, on average, at least one plane per week hit a bird at the airport.  Since 1990, more than 400 Southwest Airlines jets have hit birds or other wildlife while Love Field has never had a comprehensive program to deal with them.

    Terry Mitchell, assistant director of aviation at Love Field, said the NBC 5 Investigates video showing birds in the approach path got his attention.

    “Anytime you raise public awareness to things it draws more attention, and the more attention we’ve paid to it the more we’ve learned,” said Mitchell.

    Since then, Mitchell said the airport’s search for solutions has taken off including using pyrotechnics and even high-tech noisemakers to scare birds away.

    However, NBC 5 Investigates recently witnessed pigeons paying no attention to one high-tech device.

    That’s no surprise to Nick Carter, a bird-strike consultant for the U.S. Air Force and airports all over the world.

    “They want to put out some fancy machine that's going to theoretically get rid of the birds — the problem is these aviation folks tend to be very technologically savvy but they don't tend to be very low-tech savvy,” said Carter.

    Carter said birds get accustomed to noise.  After all, they're not scared away by jets screaming over their heads.  Instead, he recommends using trained dogs and falcons to chase birds away day after day.

    “So basically you're giving the birds a choice to be here, where there's a predator, or a wolf in their eyes, or to be somewhere else where there's no predator, and you simply shift that,” said Carter.

    The airport said it's now willing to consider the use of dogs and has tested a falcon.

    But they're not using either on a daily basis right now and huge groups of ducks, gulls and pigeons still swarm the area.  Despite new warning signs at Bachman Lake, people are still feeding them.

    The airport is seriously considering asking the City Council to pass a law that would allow police to ticket people for feeding birds along the lake.

    NBC 5 Investigates went back out to the lake and it looks a lot like it did months ago. Large groups of ducks gather on the banks of the lake.  And on one recent morning gulls swarmed around the landing lights.  The airport said they plan to relocate the domesticated ducks in the near future, the ones that don't fly, but act like decoys attracting wild ducks.

    The airport still believes the biggest threat is pigeons, a flock of which could knock out an airplane engine. Plans to install metal spikes to keep them from landing on landing lights is on hold over concerns the spikes could injure workers who climb the lights for repairs.

    Carter suggests using simple plastic zip ties instead, pointing the end of the zip tie in the air and making it harder for birds to land while removing the threat to airport workers.

    The airport now said it will consider the idea after NBC 5 Investigates brought it to their attention.

    “We continue to be very interested in discovering anything that would help with the situation,” said Mitchell.

    Ultimately, Carter said the birds will stay unless the airport does something to physically chase them off day after day.

    Until then, the danger remains.

    “You know, it's rolling the dice every day they don't mitigate this risk,” said Carter.

    Story and video:

    U.S. Durable Orders Fall in January ... Orders Rise Excluding Volatile Transportation Category

    The Wall Street Journal
    By Josh Mitchell And Ben Leubsdorf
    Updated Feb. 27, 2014 8:44 a.m. ET

    WASHINGTON—A drop in aircraft purchases tugged down overall durable-goods orders in January, but underlying figures suggested firms are slowly moving ahead with investment plans.

    Orders for durable goods—products from kitchen appliances to bulldozers designed to last three years or more—fell a seasonally adjusted 1% from December, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That followed December's 5.3% tumble in overall orders.

    But excluding the volatile transportation category, orders rose 1.1% last month, the strongest rise since May. Defense spending on capital goods was up sharply. Orders for computers and electronics climbed, but demand for machinery, primary metals and autos fell.

    Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast overall durable-goods orders to fall 2% in January.

    Durable-goods orders can provide a clue about the direction of the economy, but the data can be choppy from month to month and are often revised. Broader trends suggest orders are rising modestly. From a year ago, overall durable-goods orders were up 2.4%.

    The latest slide largely reflected a drop in civilian aircraft demand, with aircraft maker Boeing Co. seeing a big decline in orders last month from December. Aircraft orders tend to swing from month to month and can mask underlying demand in the economy.

    Other data showed firms stepped up investment plans, which could lead factories to ramp up production in coming months. A closely watched measure of business spending—orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—climbed 1.7% in January, nearly reversing December's 1.8% fall. Orders in that category have climbed for two of the last three months—though from a year earlier, they were down 1.7% in January.

    Businesses have maintained a cautious posture for much of the economic recovery since 2008 amid subdued consumer spending and weak demand overseas. Now, cold and snowy weather—along with a rise in borrowing costs—are presenting new hurdles to increased business investment.

    An earlier report also hinted at factories hitting a lull after growing at a healthy pace late last year. The Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers index fell sharply in January to a level indicating factory-sector activity barely expanded that month.

    It is unclear how much the latest data reflect a fundamental weakness in the U.S. economy versus a temporary slowdown due to the cold weather. Other components of the economy, such as retail sales and the labor market, have also slowed recently after registering healthy growth in the second half of 2013.

    Economists expect business spending, along with the broader economy, to pick up in the spring as the weather warms.


    'Non-standard Airport Caused Mangalore Crash'

    Captain Samir Kohli

    Captain Samir Kohli is a familiar figure on airfields and airports around the world, investigating air accidents. In April, 2012, Kohli began an independent inquiry into the crash landing of Air India Express Flight IX 812 from Dubai to Mangalore on May 22, 2010, killing 158 of 166 people on board.    

    “I was approached by the 812 Foundation (formed by the victims’ families) to provide an independent opinion on the reasons for the mishap at Bajpe Airport. The official inquiry had returned with a standard ‘pilot error’ verdict. In the course of my investigations, I found that the government had focused only on the errors of the pilot. In fact, the pilot is like a goalkeeper in a soccer match and can neither be held responsible for the entire team nor can he correct a situation in the event of an accident,” Kohli reveals.

    Kohli faced many hurdles in studying the situation at Bajpe Airport in detail and recapping the events leading to the crash. He obtained records and statements by filing more than 30 RTI petitions in Delhi and Mangalore.

    “It took me almost one year to get all the facts from the authorities as answers were evasive,” he says and adds, “I found out that the reason for the crash was that the Mangalore Airport was built in a non-standard method with a concrete structure that was non-frangible and just 200 metres from the runway. The entire wing of the plane was sheared off when it hit this concrete structure and this led to the explosion”.

    The post-mortem reports of the victims clearly indicate that only six out of 158 had fatal injuries while the rest died of burns from the fire. “My investigations have revealed shocking failures, gross negligence at every level of the government machinery, including the managements of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, Air India and Mangalore Airport. The poor pilot was blamed for their shortcomings. Based on my report, the families have now filed a petition in the Supreme Court,” Kohli adds.

    Away from home

    Alas! This one and only aircraft accident investigator, certified by International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal, has not been able to find a job in India.

    “There are very few (investigators) in India, none on the civil side. You can find a few in the Indian Air Force. The Indian aviation industry, controlled by the politicians, does not have a job for me as they do not recognize or understand the need for an investigator,” Kohli laments.

    Decorated Deck

    Taking a peek into his professional life, City Express found out that he has 30 years of experience, with 21 years in the Indian Navy and nine years in civil aviation.

    Kohli has won the Nausena Medal for gallantry (1988), Commendation for Chief of Naval Staff (2006), President’s Silver Medal First in Order of Merit in Naval Training, the Chief of Air Staff Trophy for best in Air Traffic Management training and a host of other awards.

    “Flying is my only passion. The sticker on my car reads ‘I would rather be flying’. I have left my family in Bangalore to pursue my passion outside India. This is with a tinge of sadness as I learned a lot in India but unfortunately, our civil aviation industry fails to recognize what I do,” Kohli rues.

    Stopover in Bangalore

    On quitting the navy, Kohli joined the Bangalore International Airport Limited as a civil aviation expert building and designing runways and formulating safety and operating procedures for Bangalore. “Concentrating on airport infrastructure, I worked in BIAL from 2006-09 and everybody here recognizes my contribution to the development of this airport,” he says. Kohli has designed and built a flight academy and also re-designed the Thumamah Airport, 40 kilometres from Riyadh. Presently, he is serving as an aviation adviser to Agip Oil Ecuador company in Ecuador.

    Story and photo:

    NTSB Identification: DCA10RA063
    Accident occurred Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Manglaore, India
    Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
    Injuries: 158 Fatal,7 Serious,1 Uninjured.

    This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

    On May 22, 2010 at about 6:10 am local time (0040 UTC), Air India Express flight 812 (VT-AXV), a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM56 engines, overran the runway into a valley during landing at the Mangalore International Airport, Mangalore, India. Of the 166 passengers and crew on board, there were 158 fatalities and 8 survivors. The airplane was substantially consumed by post-crash fire. The flight originated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    The investigation will be conducted by the Indian Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and the NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the DGCA as the State of design and manufacture.

    All inquiries should be directed to:

    Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation
    DGCA Complex
    Opposite Safdarjung Airport
    New Delhi 110003