Sunday, October 05, 2014

Eppley Airfield (KOMA) says Ebola patient arrival will be handled away from public areas • Airport says patient will arrive Monday at 8:30 a.m.

OMAHA, Neb. - An Omaha Airport Authority spokesman says at 8:30 Monday morning a private aircraft operator will transport Ashoka Mukpo, the patient infected with the Ebola virus, to Eppley Airfield.

Mukpo will then be transported to the Nebraska Medical Center's Bio Containment Unit. The aircraft's arrival will be handled at a remote location on the airport, not within the terminal or any public area of the airport.

Mukpo will be moved to an ambulance for transport to the Nebraska Medical Center.

Inquiries regarding this event should be directed to the Douglas County Health Department at 402-444-3400.

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Regulation Clips Wings of U.S. Drone Makers • Federal Aviation Administration Ban, Export Controls Weigh Down American Entrepreneurs, Even as Foreign Rivals Fly High

The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas
Oct. 5, 2014 6:07 p.m. ET

BERLIN —  In four years, GmbH has emerged as a promising player here in the rapidly expanding commercial-drone industry. The 20-employee startup has sold more than 400 unmanned aircraft to private-sector companies and currently is pitching its fourth-generation device.

Over the same period, Seattle-based Applewhite Aero has struggled to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration just to fly its drones, which are designed for crop monitoring. The company, founded the same year as Service-drone, has test-flown only one of its four aircraft, and is now moving some operations to Canada, where getting flight clearance is easier.

“We had to petition the FAA to not carry the aircraft manual onboard,” said Applewhite founder Paul Applewhite. “I mean, who’s supposed to read it?” Mr. Applewhite, like many of his U.S. peers, fears the drone industry “is moving past the U.S., and we’re just getting left behind.”

The U.S. introduced drones to the world as machines of war. But as unmanned aircraft enter private industry—for purposes as varied as filming movies, inspecting wind farms and herding cattle—many U.S. drone entrepreneurs are finding it hard to get off the ground, even as rivals in Europe, Canada, Australia and China are taking off.

The reason, according to interviews with two-dozen drone makers, sellers and users across the world: regulation.

The FAA has banned all but a handful of private-sector drones in the U.S. while it completes rules for them, expected in the next several years. That policy has stifled the U.S. drone market and driven operators underground, where it is difficult to find funding, insurance and customers.

Outside the U.S., relatively accommodating policies have fueled a commercial-drone boom. Foreign drone makers have fed those markets, while U.S. export rules have kept many American manufacturers from serving them.

The FAA said its drone policy reflects concern for the safety of people in the air and on the ground. It rejected any comparison to foreign regulators, saying the U.S. has far more low-flying private planes that are at most risk from drones.

In September the FAA authorized six filmmaking companies to use drones, bringing to eight the number of approved U.S. commercial-drone operators. In Europe, there are thousands, including a thriving network of drone middlemen and contractors who use the devices to gather data for clients.

The U.S. is home to at least one commercial-drone success: California-based 3D Robotics Inc. The 200-employee company has emerged as one of three industry giants, along with Parrot SA of Paris and SZ DJI Technology Co. of Shenzhen, China. These companies have captured the vast majority of the global nonmilitary-drone market by selling easy-to-fly devices for less than $2,000.

DJI, which many in the industry consider the world’s biggest consumer-drone maker, has flooded the U.S. and over 100 other countries with its 2-pound, camera-equipped Phantom drones. The four-rotor miniature helicopters cost around $1,000.

Meanwhile, 3D Robotics, the smallest of the trio, can’t test-fly its drones in the U.S., where export rules also have blocked it from shipping its similar devices to many countries, including China, Brazil and Russia.

FAA regulations prompted Google Inc. and Inc. to test their delivery-drone prototypes in Australia and Canada, respectively. In September, Deutsche Post DHL AG of Germany said it would start commercial deliveries of medicine to a North Sea island in a month-long test, aided by cooperation among German agencies that are restricting airspace for drones.

Google, Amazon, 3D Robotics, DJI and several other companies this month unveiled a political-action committee to lobby federal, state and local governments in the U.S. for policies to nurture the nation’s drone market. “We need to get this right,” said Michael Drobac, the group’s director. “The incredible aspirations of our member companies are going to be stunted unless the dialogue [with federal officials] progresses at a rapid pace.”

Amazon and Google recently drew attention with talk of delivery drones but companies using drones today are more like Wasser-und Verkehrs-Kontor GmbH, an engineering firm in Neumünster, Germany, a city of 77,000 people about 55 miles south of Denmark.

In June, WVK bought an eight-rotor $50,000 Service-drone octocopter that resembles a spider, and began using it to make three-dimensional models of roads, buildings and a powdered-milk factory.

The firm says the drone is transforming its engineering. Before, workers took ground-based measurements for two days to yield a two-dimensional map of a flood-prone intersection with an accuracy of 1.5 meters, or roughly 1.6 yards. The drone required just three 10-minute flights to produce a 3-D model of the intersection with 1-centimeter, or about 0.4-inch, accuracy.

The model looks like a high-definition photo, but it is actually a mosaic of millions of data points, allowing engineers for the first time to accurately simulate how water would collect.

“You can’t compare,” said Manfred Greve, a champion model-aircraft pilot who flies WVK’s drone. “It’s like you’re racing a race car and a bicycle.” He landed the surveying work partly because his company makes the octocopter’s carbon-fiber propellers.

In Europe, Germany has the biggest cluster of drone makers, who say they are generally profitable and operate on cash from sales, not startup money. Most U.S. drone makers and service providers are still embryonic, scraping by on venture-capital funding and customers who use the devices against FAA policy.

The U.S. drone business does have some bright signs. Drone entrepreneurs focused on aerial video, where consumer demand is high and business can be conducted outside the FAA’s view, are flourishing. And some startups are making promising innovations, such as Skycatch Inc., whose drones collect data about a work site autonomously, even swapping out their own batteries.

Industry players also predict the FAA’s recent drone approvals for filmmakers will be the first of many exemptions over coming months from its ban. Widespread use, however, will wait until the agency issues comprehensive rules for the devices.

U.S. export rules are also hampering the nation’s drone makers. AeroVironment Inc., which sells more drones to the U.S. military than any other firm, is now targeting the commercial market. But arms-export restrictions have limited the company to North America, where it has secured just one commercial contract: flying drones in Alaska for oil giant BP PLC.

Export rules prompted 3D Robotics to temporarily halt shipments to 44 countries this spring. It has since secured a new classification from the U.S. Commerce Department, in part because it manufactures its drones in Mexico, allowing it to resume foreign sales.

One of the most successful U.S. drone companies, Trimble Navigation Ltd., doesn’t make or sell a single drone in the U.S. The California-based firm acquired a Belgian drone maker in 2012 and has since expanded sales to most of the developed world—outside the U.S.

DJI sells an black octocopter for less than $5,000 that rivals the far pricier devices made by German companies like Service-drone.

The 2,500-employee company had about $130 million in revenue last year, a DJI spokesman said, and it expects to make three to five times as much this year. With most of its drones priced around $1,000, industry watchers say the company has sold hundreds of thousands of devices.

Steve Klindworth, head of a drone retailer in Liberty Hill, Texas, that caters to hobbyists says sales have nearly tripled over the past several months to more than $25,000 a day. The U.S. is “definitely falling behind,” Mr. Klindworth said. And if rules for U.S. drones don’t arrive soon, “It’ll reach a point of no return where American companies won’t ever be able to catch up.”

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Opinion: Gary/Chicago International Airport could have been great alternative

If  Gary/Chicago International Airport had its runway extension completed, it could have handled a lot of the O'Hare International Airport planes and saved thousands of passengers from the delays they had.

The Gary airport could have been a great alternative and saved the day, but instead it remains an unknown and useless airport with delays of its own.

Just another reason for Illinois to push for its Peotone airport!

Dwayne Durfee, Portage

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Joseph S. Pete, the Times
 Planes fill the tarmac at the Gary/Chicago International Airport in preparation for the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Act on radar safety or I’ll sue: Dick Smith warns Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Millionaire entrepreneur and aviator Dick Smith has threatened the board of the government’s aviation safety body with legal action for failing to implement a ministerial directive on radar protocol.

Mr Smith, a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and renowned civilian pilot, has warned Airservices Australia board members, including its chairman, former commander of the Defense Forces Angus Houston, they face personal legal responsibility for not implementing a 2004 ministerial safety directive relating to radar at 10 airports.

“The failure by AA to take meaningful steps to fulfill its binding statutory duty to comply with a ministerial direction, made over 10 years ago, is extraordinary. It gives rise to real safety concerns,” the legal advice says.

It says there has been a failure to provide the correct level of radar control services at Albury, Alice Springs, Coffs Harbour, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Launceston, Mackay, Maroochydore, Rockhampton and Tamworth.

But AA says “technology has moved on” from 2004 and all “air-traffic control operations throughout Australia, including in the regional airports identified in the ministerial direction, are safe”.

In 2004 the then transport minister John Anderson issued a directive for a change of radar classification at the airports which could have prompted costs of tens of millions of dollars in equipment and services.

Mr Smith, who was the chairman of CASA at the time, disagreed with the decision but now has warned Airservices Australia board members they may be personally legally responsible for any incidents resulting from the directive not being implemented.

But the Airservices Australia chairman, Air Chief Marshal Houston, told The Australian technology had moved on from 2004.

“Airservices has continued to progress technological and operational changes to enhance the safety of our services in regional Australia,” he said.

“ ... there are now advanced technologies which in the near ­future will, to a large extent, replace radar surveillance.”

In September 2011, the Department of Transport told the then transport minister, Labor’s Anthony Albanese, a plan was in place for “enhanced traffic services at regional airports over the next few years”. “In developing the final implementation plan, we have prioritized the enhancement of regional air traffic services and surveillance having regard to the availability and quality of existing services and infrastructure, current and forecast passenger traffic growth and industry comments,’’ the department told Mr Albanese.

In August last year, before the change of government, the department told Mr Albanese the “milestones have been met”, including services outside normal traffic-control hours for airports in Tasmania.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said: “Airservices has reported openly and transparently to successive governments in relation to our plan to deliver improvements to safety and service delivery, and all have endorsed the approach and actions we have undertaken to address the ministerial direction.”

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New airport restaurant hopes to attract 'them people' • Mason City Municipal (KMCW), Iowa

Them People At The Airport Cafe 
"Our group of pilot friends "Liars and Flyers" ... Glad we get to see these awesome guys every Saturday!"
 Photo Credit/Courtesy:  Facebook

MASON CITY | Stacy Rucker, co-owner of the new café at Mason City Municipal Airport, is no stranger to the restaurant business.

The airport restaurant opened Wednesday.

Her parents, Wayne and Mary Howard, ran the Town Pump restaurant in Clear Lake from 1986 to 1996.

"It was just a bar when they first had it," said Rucker. "One day, my dad told me to get up out of bed and start making cheeseburgers. We were going to be giving them away.

"Giving them away," I asked. "Yep, he said, and if people like them, we're going to open a restaurant. And that's how it became a restaurant," she said.

Rucker and her husband, Kevin, have operated a food truck for the past three years and have enjoyed success at events such as Thursday on Main in Clear Lake and Friday Night Live in Mason City. "And especially during RAGBRAI," said Kevin.

They said they've thought about having their own restaurant and decided to try it when they saw there was an opportunity at the airport.

Their goal was to get it up and running prior to Air Choice One beginning commercial air service to and from Chicago on Nov. 17.

They want their place to be distinctive and, if the name of the place is any indication, they're off to a good start. The restaurant is called "Them People at the Airport Café."

"With the food truck, it's pretty common to look for people who placed an order and say 'it's them people over there'," said Kevin. "Them people is our kind of people."

The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

The menu includes typical breakfast items such as eggs, pancakes and cereal. Lunch and evening fare includes steak sandwich, hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries and beverages.

"We have a Facebook page and we encourage people to look at it because the menu will constantly change," said Stacy. "We'll listen to our customers and serve what they want," she said.

Asked what their specialty will be, Kevin smiled and said, "french fries. Most places serve french fries but we make them fresh and we make them special," he said. "People will remember our fries."

The restaurant also includes a corner nook with a wide-screen television, magazines, books and comfortable furniture.

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EDITORIAL: Commercial air service was worth revenue guarantee

By Enterprise editorial staff
Published 4:00 am, Sunday, October 5, 2014

If you think about it, there are really two kinds of places. Those that have a college or university, and those that don't. Those that are on or near an interstate highway, those that aren't. Of course there are other dividing lines for regions that want to compete and win with the heavyweights, including this one: Those that have commercial air service, and those that don't.

Fortunately, Southeast Texas has been on the right side of that boundary since February 2013 after briefly spending some time on the other part. And it happened only because local governments and other organizations put up a $1.5 million revenue guarantee for American Airlines at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

The goal was to generate enough traffic so that the revenue guarantee wouldn't be touched. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. The revenue guarantee has been regularly tapped into and now less than $24,000 remains.

Still, the numbers prove that this effort was a success. Almost 110,000 seats on nearly 3,400 flights have been sold since air service resumed. Because the airport has commercial service, it received $3.1 million in grants for improvements from the Federal Aviation Administration this year and is expected to receive another $1.5 million next year. Without commercial air service, the airport would be limited to a paltry $100,000 per year in FAA grants.

With the deepening and widening of the Sabine-Neches ship channel coming, the region's economy is poised for a major growth spurt. Area petrochemical plants have also invested more than $20 billion in recent years in various expansions. With all that mega-spending going on, commercial air service is vital to keep the momentum flowing forward.

Flights to Dallas will continue at the airport until at least February 2018 due to a separate agreement between American and the U.S. Department of Justice on an anti-trust issue. Every elected official and business leader must do what is necessary to keep the arrivals and departures going. But it's not just them. So can every airline passenger in the region who chooses this airport instead of one in Houston or Lake Charles.

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Theft prevents memorial flight of California balloon

The Rainbow Thru Heaven balloon, which was to take part in this year’s Balloon Fiesta but was stolen sometime early Saturday, police say. 
(Courtesy Of APD)

Marilyn Wallace planned to pilot the Rainbow Thru Heaven balloon every morning of this year’s Balloon Fiesta in honor of her father, Rick Wallace, who died of cancer 10 weeks ago.

Rick had been flying the familiar balloon at the fiesta since 1981 – it’s the baby blue one with a checkered rainbow pattern and an American flag.

“Everybody knows Rick Wallace’s balloon,” said Lucinda Wallace, Rick’s wife. “It’s been all over the place.”

Then, as Lucinda put it, “a horrible thing” happened.

Albuquerque police said someone stole the hot-air balloon from the Nativo Lodge near Interstate 25 and San Mateo early Saturday morning.

The 90,000-cubic-foot balloon was in a trailer attached to a Chevy Suburban with a license plate that reads, “baluner.” The thief broke the glass to get in and drove away with everything between 4 and 4:45 a.m.

“My dad died this summer and we wanted this week to symbolize moving on,” Marilyn said. “Dad would have been thrilled. He loved it every time I launched.”

Instead of taking part in Saturday’s mass ascension, Marilyn and her mother departed Albuquerque the same day on a plane for their home in Santa Monica, Calif. They intend to get Marilyn’s balloon, one designed with horizontal and colored bands, and drive it back to the Duke City. The earliest she could fly at the fiesta is Monday.

“We had to figure out what we could do to salvage Balloon Fiesta,” Lucinda said.

Lucinda hopes the thief or thieves who stole the vehicles realize what they did and leave the trailer with the balloon in it on the side of the road. They won’t be able to launch the balloon, she said, because it’s been reported stolen.

“If they want the Suburban, keep the Suburban,” she said.

Tom Garrity, Balloon Fiesta spokesman, said it’s unusual for balloonists to lose a balloon or equipment. He said it can be tough for a thief to sell or pawn the loot because other balloonists will be on the lookout for the missing items.

“The balloon community is pretty tight in Albuquerque,” he said.

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Captain Doron: Let's talk about pitot-static system • Cessna 185 - Florida to New York

Published on October 5, 2014

All Nippon Jetliner’s 2011 Nosedive More Dangerous Than First Thought • Investigators’ Final Report Likely to Refocus Industrywide Interest in Similar High-Altitude Incidents

The Wall Street Journal

By Andy Pasztor

Oct. 5, 2014 3:09 a.m. ET

An All Nippon Airways Co. co-pilot who accidentally put his plane into a violent dive and roll in 2011 came closer to losing control of the Boeing Co.  737 than previously believed, according to data released by investigators.

The Japan Transport Safety Board’s final report about the serious incident over the Pacific Ocean reveals there were multiple warnings of an impending aerodynamic stall, while the plane carrying 117 people exceeded its maximum operating speed a number of times. The jet also exceeded its structural load limit.

An earlier report disclosed many of the co-pilot’s errors and the plane’s excessive speed. But it suggested there was only a single activation of the “stick shaker,” a last-ditch safety alert that the plane is about to lose lift and may be on the verge of a crash.

Investigators found that the plane’s excessive-speed warning was also activated more than once during the episode.

The report is likely to refocus industrywide interest in high-altitude upsets, or incidents in which jetliners slow dramatically or end up with the nose or wings at unusually steep upward or downward angles.

After the co-pilot mistakenly operated a rudder-control switch at 41,000 feet, instead of a different switch that unlatched the cockpit door, the jetliner plummeted 1.2 miles in slightly more than 30 seconds and briefly flew nearly upside down. The recently released report provides some new details about the extent of the danger.

Two flight attendants were pinned to the cabin floor slightly injuring them. One attendant told investigators that after she felt “earthquake-like vertical shaking,” she slumped to the floor on her knees from downward forces so strong she couldn’t raise her arm.

The 100-page document also highlights the 38-year-old co-pilot’s delayed and confused response, which investigators attributed to gaps in training, undue reliance on automation and seeming anxiety to let the captain back into the cockpit. According to the report, “excessive dependence on autopilot” exacerbated “lack of full awareness about the need to monitor” flight controls.

The co-pilot couldn’t recall the stick shaker’s activation, according to the report, which describes his reaction to the emergency as “partially inappropriate or insufficient.”

He failed to recognize there was a problem for 17 seconds, and then alternately pushed forward and pulled back on the controls. The captain, returning from a bathroom break, was locked out of the cockpit while the plane nose-dived and executed back-to-back rolls in opposite directions. The maneuvers lasted about 90 seconds, though passengers may not have fully realized what was happening because it was dark outside.

ANA said it “took action following the incident to prevent any recurrence, and we are continuing to take additional measures in line with the report’s recommendations.”

Japan’s safety board urged the carrier to ensure compliance with single-pilot operation protocols and enhance training to cope with high-altitude stall warnings.

The report should get a lot of attention in the industry since it details “a real poster child event about complacency” and an inappropriate response after being started, said Rory Kay, an ex-737 captain and former senior pilot-union safety official who now works as a training captain on Boeing jets. Pilots should “treat high-altitude stalls totally differently than those at low altitude,” he said. Thinner air up high means jet engines take longer to rev up power and a sudden upward nose command is more likely to create control problems.

Once the plane was back on the correct course and altitude, neither pilot disclosed the extent of the problem to air-traffic controllers, who in turn never pushed for answers. The jet, en route to Tokyo’s Haneda airport from Okinawa, made a normal landing.

The crew’s failure to promptly alert mechanics about the specifics of the event, according to the report, meant the plane continued to carry passengers for four more flights before all required inspections for possible structural damage were conducted. The checks didn’t detect any problems.

The nose of the ANA jetliner was pointed 35 degrees down from level flight, a much steeper angle than passengers typically experience. The plane was subjected to forces nearly 2.7 times the force of gravity.

The co-pilot, who hasn’t been identified, remains an All Nippon employee but isn’t currently assigned to flight duties, according to the carrier.

The report, among other things, determined that the co-pilot’s training didn’t include dealing with high-altitude flight upsets or any “upset recovery training accompanied with a stall warning.”

Before the upset, the ANA co-pilot failed to follow company procedures requiring him to put on his oxygen mask when he was left alone at the controls.

Investigators found that the co-pilot’s initial preoccupation with opening the cockpit door prevented using “calm judgment” to continue monitoring controls and then to fly the plane manually. Upon returning to the cockpit, according to the report, the captain took over the controls because he found the co-pilot’s condition “fairly unsettled.”

The ANA event occurred two years after the crash of Air France Flight 447, a widebody Airbus A330 that stalled at high altitude. That crew’s failure to understand and counteract a rapid descent ended in the death of all 228 people aboard. The crash was seminal event that sparked world-wide emphasis on stall recovery training, particularly at cruise altitudes.

Many airlines quickly revised simulator training to include lessons learned from the Air France accident.

There have been more recent instances of high-altitude upsets. An American Airlines Boeing 757, cruising at 35,000 feet over Venezuela on August 30, lost some 7,500 feet in about one minute. There were no injuries and the flight continued on to Brazil. An American spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Japanese investigators said the ANA co-pilot, who was relatively inexperienced, had less than 2,800 flight hours in another 737 version and only 197 hours in the Boeing 737-700 involved in the incident. As previously reported, the cockpit-door unlock switch on his earlier aircraft was similar to the location, size and shape of the rudder switch on the 737-700 model.

--Megumi Fujikawa contributed to this article.


Opinion: Caribbean Airlines has a monopoly and has been able to push up its air fares

Dear Editor,

In a condescending SN letter of Oct 2, captioned ‘Caribbean Airlines has remained loyal to Guyana,’ Mr Vishnu Bisram attempted to portray Caribbean Airlines (CAL) as a benevolent regional air carrier which he claimed “has always been there to help Guyanese” and not itself as it benefits from a profitable market.

Despite Minister Benn’s assertion that other carriers offer competitive and better prices to Guyanese, CAL is a monopoly since there is no other scheduled airline flying the entire Guyana-Trinidad-North America routes.

Therefore without any competition it has been able to push up its fares sharply, making certain specific routes it serves from Guyana very profitable, generating handsome profits to subsidize the low fares paid by Trinidadians for the same destinations.

Mr Bisram is off the mark when he states that CAL has been investing millions of US$ in the Guyanese economy to meet its development needs, since there is no evidence in the country to support this wild claim.

Guyana has a small population, largely poor with not much discretionary income for them to fly overseas for pleasure or to conduct business. Therefore the passengers are just not there to support more than one carrier profitably, and the many fly-by-night airlines who came and went did not have deep enough pockets for the long haul to make them profitable.

CAL was able to survive because it is state owned and receives considerable subsidies. However, it faces serious financial and management problems with its acquisition of Air Jamaica and payments for its fleet of leased aircraft. These issues could impact negatively on its operation in Guyana as it strives to become a viable carrier.

Guyana despite the government’s claim is not an attractive tourist destination, as the country’s infrastructure leaves much to be desired. Tourists are not be attracted to a country with no potable water supply, regular black-outs, roads full of potholes and garbage piling up everywhere.

The proposed new airport with its six elevated boarding gates would hardly be an attraction for tourists or a prime selling point for potential investors as claimed. It is more likely to be a white elephant for years to come.

The runaway could benefit from an extension but it already accommodates long haul aircraft such as the Boeing 767, 757 and 737, and it is unlikely Guyana will have the volume of air traffic any time soon to support aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus 380.

The humbling and indifferent service meted out to Guyanese transit passengers at Piarco on their journey to North America is not a US security issue, as Mr Bisram would make us believe, but a callous disregard for their well-being. Sitting in a poorly ventilated aircraft for over two hours while it is being cleaned, re-stocked and searched is nothing short of belittling.

Unfortunately CAL will have to be the flagship air carrier for Guyana for the foreseeable future as the number of passengers needed to make another scheduled airline viable is far from coming. Hence Guyanese will have no alternative but to depend on CAL to fly them to their overseas destinations on its terms and conditions.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Sohan

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Spanish fighter jets illegally invade British airspace over Gibraltar

The incident, being investigated by the Foreign Office, happened as the Monarch flight carrying passengers from Manchester was making its delicate approach on to the Rock, one of the world’s trickiest landings.

Last night a senior Tory MP called on Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to send Spain’s Ambassador to Britain, Federico Trillo, “packing back to Madrid”.

The Sunday Express has learned the passenger jet’s captain reported seeing the two aircraft less than half a mile away and air traffic controllers at Gibraltar International Airport noticed “two dots” on their radar just before 10.30am on September 19.

Both jets, thought to be Eurofighter Typhoons, were clearly in Gibraltar airspace without permission but attempts to communicate with them were ignored.

Last night Gibraltar’s outraged government said the “intolerable” incident marked a new phase in Spain’s deliberate flouting of British sovereignty.

A government spokesman said: “Spanish vessels already regularly violate the sovereignty of our waters. It is intolerable that Spanish military aircraft are now not only infringing our airspace but also behaving in a reckless and dangerous manner.”

While no commercial airliner has ever crashed while landing at Gibraltar, it is widely regarded as having one of the world’s top 10 most challenging runways, with pilots having to contend with strong winds, the 1.400ft Rock of Gibraltar and the tight envelope of British airspace.

Last night retired pilot Chris Hammond said: “I used to go there quite regularly. It’s a restricted airfield, which means only specially cleared pilots are allowed to fly there.

“It presents a challenging approach, especially when wind conditions mean pilots have to make an easterly approach.

“You need to go inside the harbor and only half if it is British airspace and you are not allowed to stray into Spanish airspace. Then you have to make a last-minute sharp 90 degree turn to the right. That happened less than a mile and half from landing.

“All your attention is focused on the approach and the last thing you need is to see two unexpected jets where they’re not supposed to be. The real question in the pilot’s mind would have been what they were going to do next.”

Andrew Rosindell MP, chairman of the parliamentary Overseas Territory group, said: “My committee is completely shocked by the weakness of the Foreign Office in addressing the Spanish issue and its failure to tackle what Madrid is doing. We are pussyfooting around while Spain is running rings around us. It is outrageous that Spain continues to behave in such an irresponsible and bullying fashion.

“Spain refuses to let British military jets fly over Spanish airspace on the way to Gibraltar even though they are partners in Nato, yet they think it’s fine to enter British airspace illegally and potentially distract an airliner as it is trying to safely land on the Rock.

“It’s time that the British Government sent the Spanish Ambassador packing back to Madrid. We are fed up with the bullying and intimidation from Spain, and it’s time we showed we are no longer prepared to put up with it.”

Mr Trillo, Spain’s ambassador to Britain since 2012, has been formally summoned to the Foreign Office on three occasions in the past 12 months over repeated Spanish incursions into British waters around Gibraltar and massive delays for drivers at the border caused by heavy-handed Spanish frontier guards.

Last night a Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident on September 19. We are reassured that there was no risk to safety caused by the activity of the jets.

“We are continuing to examine the incident to ascertain whether it was within the lawful right of passage.”

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Bogged Down by Heavy Schedule, Dreamliner Plays Catch Up on Singapore Run

CHENNAI: Ever since a technical snag delayed Air India's Dreamliner by six hours ‎at Singapore airport on Friday, the plane's crew have been playing catch up. For the third day running, the Chennai-Singapore route that the plane is scheduled to make at 11.30 am, has been rescheduled to 6.30 pm.

And the reason is fatigue. Every single day, the Dreamliner leaves early from Mumbai and flies to Singapore, from where it makes a run to Chennai. From here, the plane returns to Singapore and makes one final trip to Mumbai before calling it a day. "The flight has been rescheduled temporarily because it has such a full schedule that it is unable to make up for that lost time. We will have to put out a spare flight to make up the time lost and only then resume normal flight patterns," said an Air India official.

The large-bodied Boeing 787 Dreamliner that was inducted into AI's fleet two years ago, was reintroduced to Chennai on October 1 - as it was tasked with handling the Chennai-Singapore daily flight.‎ Given that the delays are anticipated, Air India's call center has been trying to keep all its passengers posted on the rescheduled time.

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Muscat-TVM flight caught in air gutter; 3 injured

Thiruvananthapuram: Three persons were injured when the Jet Airways flight from Muscat to Thiruvananthapuram was caught in air gutter.

The plane has to make an emergency landing and the injured were taken to a hospital immediately.

Sivan from Mavellikara and Biju from Neyyatinkara are being treated in a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram while the third person was given first aid and discharged.

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