Monday, January 16, 2017

Embraer EMB-145LR, ExpressJet / United Airlines, N14904: Incident occurred January 16, 2017 at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (KAMA), Amarillo, Texas 

An aircraft at Rick Husband International Airport slid off the runway early Monday morning while turning onto a taxiway after landing, according to a United Airlines spokesperson.

ExpressJet flight 4276, operated by United Airlines, had landed safely in Amarillo after arriving from Houston and was making a turn from the runway when the plane began to skid, the spokesperson said, resulting in the front wheel going off the pavement and into a grassy area.

The front wheel was the only part of the aircraft to end up off the pavement.

The slippery runway conditions were the result of freezing rain and snow that had been hitting the Amarillo area since Friday.

United Airlines reported there were no injuries during the incident, but later one passenger expressed concerns over general injuries. All 50 passengers on the plane was able to exit safely into the terminal using stairs and ground transportation.

The flight was originally scheduled to land shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday night, but was delayed approximately an hour and a half due to inclement weather in both Houston and Amarillo.

As of Monday morning ExpressJet and airport officials were coordinating efforts to remove the aircraft. The incident did not disrupt any other scheduled flights.

Officials at Rick Husband Airport declined to comment on the incident.


AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -  The Rick Husband International Airport has now reopened after a United Airlines flight slid off the runway during landing in Amarillo.

The aircraft still sits where it came to a stop, although officials say all passengers and crew aboard the late night flight are safe. Everyone was removed from the plane, taken to the terminal.

It was just before 1:00 Monday morning when reports of the accident were made and the airport closed down.

Authorities tell us the FAA was en route around 3 a.m. to investigate the situation.

It's unclear how many passengers were on board the flight.

Officials at Rick Husband tell us the airport is now open, however, all flights with all airlines are delayed. They also tell us the City of Amarillo will be making a statement regarding the incident sometime before noon.


Broad acceptance of drones — and industry growth — depends on smart regulation

Rules generally rub Nevadans the wrong way, but a lack of them in one of the state’s potential growth industries soon could cause problems.

Drone industry leaders and government officials bantered during a CES panel discussion last week on regulation, specifically what needs to be done to create a clear set of guidelines from the federal level on down to the neighborhood streets.

The race, as both sides see it, is against time: one major accident involving a drone could cause public panic and knee-jerk political response before those working on a comprehensive solution can present their case.

“When you look across different industries, we have different socially acceptable levels of safety,” said Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs at China-based DJI, the world’s largest drone company. “A pretty serious car accident doesn’t make the news anymore, but a minor drone accident does. Acceptance will come when that doesn’t happen.”

Industry groups and regulators have talked for close to a decade about how to regulate the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry without stifling innovation. Discussion of domestic drone operation stretches beyond those purchased as Christmas gifts and into those used for commercial purposes such as farming operations and inspection of gas pipelines.

Economic development officials in Nevada see the drone industry as a pivotal piece of the aerospace and defense vertical in their diversification plan, though it largely focuses on larger UAV for military applications. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Nevada as one of six sites in the country for testing the best way to integrate unmanned small aircraft into the national airspace, and the designation was recently extended through at least 2020.

The City of Henderson and Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), a nonprofit arm of the governor’s economic development office, announced last week plans for a small-drone testing range adjacent to Nevada State College. The site will feature a 150-foot runway, four vertical take-off and landing pads, an observation tower, a flight operations control center and a large netted drone area.

Aerodrome also announced last week a partnership with Boulder City for the Eldorado Droneport, touted as the world’s first commercial droneport on 50 acres approximately four miles south of the U.S. 95 exit beyond the Railroad Pass Casino.

“One of the other things that’s going to drive consumer adoption is consumer acceptance,” said Josh Turner, an attorney with Wiley Rein LLP who represents clients before the FAA and FCC. “It becomes much more socially acceptable once you have that first experience.”

The FAA released a fact sheet in June 2016 as initial guidance on the safe operation of drones for both hobbyists and professionals. Comprehensive regulation for drone development continues to plod along at a pace more suited to government than the rapid advancement of drone technology, though. Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, asked industry panelists at CES to provide direction on specifics that would allow the government to provide something that looks more like a framework than a hard set of rules.

“A good regulatory structure helps these products come to market because the insurance industry wants to know,” Lawrence said, referencing that industry’s inability to assess the risk of drones without knowing how they will be built, operated and maintained safely.

One of the primary divides in government is an age-old discussion with regard to technology, as explained by California State Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley.

“A vast majority of my colleagues do not share the same viewpoints as I do,” Low, 33, said. “A millennial from Silicon Valley thinks very differently about drones than a 70-year-old from Santa Barbara.”

Safety concerns coming from the public include what is being filmed by drones, the odds that they can be hacked and what happens if one crashes from as high as 400 feet, the max altitude for hobbyist drones. And that doesn’t factor in those hobbyists who won’t know the rules and might fly their machines in ways that endanger people and the future of the tech’s growth in the consumer market.

“Any one of these things could be a death blow to the industry in a particular place,” Turner said.

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Spare Engine For TU154M Coming From Cuba

Jolted by a re­cent top manage­ment shake-up and problems with its only jet aircraft, the State-owned Guy­ana Airways has said that it is moving to have its TU-154M aircraft back in ser­vice at the end of the week or early in the next.

A top management spokesman told ‘Stabroek News’ that ar­rangements are being made to lease an en­gine from Cuba to be installed in the Soviet-built aircraft, while negotiations are con­cluded for the Corpora­tion to obtain another engine from the manu­facturers.

The aircraft, just over one year old, has re­cently been the centre of controversy follow­ing two separate inci­dents of engine pro­blems on flights out of the United States.


The first occurred on October 26 last when the crew reportedly noticed that the Num­ber Two engine was malfunctioning. A quick decision was taken to return the air­craft and passengers to the John F. Kennedy Airport where repairs were effected.

Just two months after that incident, another engine failure hit the three-engine airliner after it had left Miami International Airport on Boxing Day.

Reports confirmed both by the corpora­tion and Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of­ficials indicated that it was decided to con­tinue the flight on two engines until the craft reached Piarco Airport in Trinidad and Tobago where the stricken plane touched down and passengers were allowed to disem­bark.

This is the incident that caused regular pas­sengers and local Civil Aviation officials to really focus their atten­tion on the perform­ance of the national airliner.

One passenger told ‘Stabroek News’ that he was extremely con­cerned about the latest incident, bearing in mind that it is not a case where it was the same “Number Two engine giving trouble, but this time it was another one.”

Clearly, he feels, something needs to be done about the aircraft which flies to North America, the Carib­bean, Suriname and Brazil. “Who knows… the next time it could be Numbers Two and Three or Numbers One and Two engines.”

Director of Civil Avia­tion Anthony Mekdeci has acknowledged that his department is in­vestigating the inci­dents.


Asked whether man­agement is concerned about the aircraft’s per­formance, a top spokes­man said only that “we are looking at it.” He would not com­ment on the cost of the replacement “Tarom’’ aircraft which has been operating the schedules while the TU154M re­mains grounded at Timehri.

The October incident embarrassed GAC of­ficials who were forced to switch to the re­placement TU154B al­most at the last mo­ment when the Cor­poration inaugurated its weekly jet service to Brazil. Special permis­sion had to be sought to land the plane and its all-Romanian crew at Boa Vista Interna­tional.

The passengers who were stranded in Tri­nidad as a result of the last incident, were brought home by HS 748 flights the next day.

Informed sources say that engine failure in modern jet aircraft is unusual.


In Our View: Make real penalty for drone violations

By The Herald Editorial Board

Another day, another landmark hit by a drone. Ho-hum. If we didn’t get overly concerned when a woman was hit in the head and knocked unconscious by a drone during the 2015 annual Pride Parade in Seattle, a report complete with video from drone hitting the Space Needle — again — won’t cause a fuss.

State and federal laws already prohibit what happened, (legislators this session are focused on how to limit drones on private property) but perhaps the punishment isn’t tough enough, since incidents keep happening.

The most recent incident at the Space Needle happened at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, as pyrotechnicians were preparing for the fireworks display later that night. Footage from the drone shows some panoramic views, then it speeds up and crashes into the roof of the Needle, where the workers are setting up the fireworks. So, as they say, it could have been much worse. Seattle Police are investigating and have alerted the Federal Aviation Administration.

If a drone is over 55 pounds, federal law requires it be registered with the FAA, making it easier to track down scofflaws. Approximately 600,000 people have registered in the agency’s online system that began last year. On the other hand, about a 2.8 million drones were sold in 2016, about 1.2 million over the holidays, NBC News reported. But there’s no breakdown on how many of those weighed more than 55 pounds, requiring registration.

Seattle Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb told the Seattle Times the New Years Eve crash marks a “proliferation” of drone incidents, and the third time the Space Needle has been hit. Federal law requires a 400-foot ceiling for drones; the Space Needle roof is 575 feet high. Drones are not to be flown near airports, over groups of people, near sporting events, near emergencies such as fires, and not while the pilot is intoxicated, GeekWire reported. Additionally, the FAA forbids, “No careless or reckless operations,” which pretty much covers everything.

Additionally, the prohibition against flying drones “over groups of people” also covers just about every violation that has ever occurred. Of course people are standing below the Space Needle; just as people are often on the roof. The law is just common sense; something, unfortunately, many drone pilots seem to be sorely lacking.

The person thought responsible for striking the Pride Parade goer with a drone has been charged with reckless endangerment, the Seattle Times reported.

The FAA receives more than 100 reports a month from pilots who complain that drones have flown too close to their aircraft, an agency spokesman said. Drones have injured people and caused power disruptions, NBC reported.

Those pilot drones dangerously seem akin to all those distracted drivers who insist that other people are the problem. Despite what drone enthusiasts claim, as citizens of the United States, we don’t have an inherent right to fly dangerous objects anywhere we desire. It’s another case of technology, specifically the selling of it, before regulations are in place.

It’s necessary to make the penalties for drone airspace violations/collisions carry real consequences. It might also make sense to require a pilot license of some type, determined by a test, because these are not toys. It would also make sense to require companies to equip their drones them with a signal that lets pilots know when they have hit the 400 foot ceiling for flying, and to not go higher, lest they break the law, and crash into the Space Needle.


Boeing 747-400, MyCargo Airlines on behalf of Turkish Airlines, performing flight TK-6491, TC-MCL: Fatal accident occurred January 16, 2017 near Bishkek-Manas International Airport (FRU), Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan—The health ministry in Kyrgyzstan says a cargo plane crashed in a residential area just outside the Central Asian country’s main airport, killing at least 32 people.

On Monday, the ministry said the Turkey registered Boeing 747-412F crashed just outside the Bishkek-Manas International Airport.

Local emergency services are working on the scene.

Until 2014, the U.S. military operated a military installation at the Manas airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan.

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Jake's View: Private jet owners bemoan shortage of landing slots in Hong Hong - but I say let ‘em moan’; Tell me how big a contribution this kind of convenience brings to our gross domestic product and I might change my opinion

A lack of take-off and landing slots for private jets at Hong Kong International Airport is harming business and has at least two companies trying to sell their aircraft, according to an industry veteran.

 by  Jake Van Der Kamp

There are a few things that the private jet lobby does not tell you about its business when it regularly bemoans the shortage of landing slots in Hong Kong.

The first is that you probably have the wrong impression of the business if you think private jets are owned by rich individuals for the exclusive use of themselves or a few occasional friends whom they might graciously take along for the ride.

They are instead mostly owned by companies formed to operate private jets as a commercial business and, even if owned by individuals, are usually made available by their owners through agents for commercial use when not immediately wanted.

Nor are they all that exclusive. Just search for private jets Hong Kong on whatever digital device you favor and you will find a long list of websites and phone numbers you can contact for a flight on a private jet. It will cost you more than a commercial flight but they are available to everyone.

They are also not so very exclusive once you get on board. You will commonly find yourself sharing the flight you booked with strangers going to the same place.

So what makes a flight on a private jet all that different from a commercial flight and why should our airport give these so-called private jets any special consideration that we do not offer a regular airline?

The private jet lobby, for instance, complains that its members cannot fly in and out whenever they want but must book landing and take-off slots. That’s exactly what we require commercial flights to do. The best times of day are in big demand. Why should private jets be allowed to jump the queue?

It’s a particularly appropriate question as our airport approaches saturation and we are looking at a bill of HK$135 billion for a third runway.

The departure tax to pay for this runway is now set at HK$180 a passenger and the average commercial flight on the runway carries 200 passengers, thus HK$36,000 per departing flight. That would be an appropriate passenger departure fee for private jets. They use just as much runway as commercial flights do.

The private jet lobby also does not tell you that until summer last year the available landing slots granted to private jets were mostly bought by landing slot speculators who then marked up their prices on resale to the actual users.

I grant you this gave the users some flexibility in arrival and departure times. All they had to do was call up the speculator and pay him the price for the slots they wanted.

But the airport authority took a dim view of others making money out of the airport this way. It resolved to grant private operators more slots but required that each be tied to a parking space and could only be used for the specific flight for which it was booked.

This got rid of the speculators. Unfortunately, it also got rid of the flexibility. Personally I think it was a bad move. The airport should itself have taken up the role of the speculator by auctioning these landing slots.

It is an idea I have long favored. It will bring the airport both more income and flexibility in apportioning slots. But it should apply to both private and commercial flights.

The fact is that the real trip on which private jet flights are marketed is the ego trip. It’s a vanity thing. You cannot fly non-stop to Europe and America on them and you can already get commercial flights almost every hour to major destinations in Asia.

Get an upgrade on a commercial flight and you get as much convenience in scheduling and service as on a private jet. You also get a much less bumpy ride.

Where private jets come in handy is getting to more remote resorts or yacht harbours without three changes of flight and long times spent in the waiting lounge.

And now will someone please tell me just how big a contribution this kind of convenience brings to our gross domestic product?

Let ‘em moan.

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