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General Aviation News (34)

Enhanced security in effect on international flights to USA

Airlines and security officials warned about tighter screening that went into effect Wednesday for hundreds of thousands of travelers who fly daily to the USA from hundreds of airports.

“Enhanced screening measures are in effect,” the Canadian Air Transport Security Association said in a warning to travelers. If selected for random additional screening, travelers will have to remove electronics from protective cases and turn them on. The association urged travelers to make sure devices are charged before traveling.

Aeromexico warned its passengers to get to the airport three hours before direct flights to the USA for extra screening. The airline said the extra scrutiny is intended to confirm that the object is an electronic device and not a prohibited object. Electronics must be out of their cases and will be reviewed in the presence of the traveler, the airline said.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the measures June 28 to better detect explosives hidden in electronics and to thwart airport workers from smuggling bombs onto planes. John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, called the measures a new baseline for worldwide aviation security.

The measures apply to 180 airlines flying to the USA from 280 airports in 105 countries. About 325,000 people fly to the USA on 2,000 flights daily. If airlines don’t meet the standards, they could face a laptop ban for carry-on and checked bags on flights to the USA. No airlines in the world are under restrictions for electronics because they've all adopted additional security measures, the department said Thursday.

“The quick and decisive action taken by airlines, nations and stakeholders are a testament to our shared commitment to raising the bar on global aviation security," said David Lapan, a department spokesman. "As we continue to secure global aviation in the coming weeks and months, this communication and partnership between the private sector and the U.S. government will be imperative."

The department didn’t detail the extra steps, other than to say travelers might see more 3-D scanners, more swabbing for traces of explosives and more bomb-sniffing dogs at checkpoints.

The measures came after a ban in March on electronics larger than cellphones in carry-on bags aboard nine airlines flying to the USA from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa.


Those airlines were each removed from the ban this month. Extra security was visible for Qatar Airways in Doha, where laptops and their electric cords were swabbed for traces of explosives and sealed in duty-free bags until passengers were aboard their flight.

The greater scrutiny for electronics in carry-on bags began two days after the Federal Aviation Administration issued information warning airlines about personal electronics in checked luggage.

The FAA alert Monday said security measures could encourage more passengers to pack electronics in checked luggage, but that remains a concern because of rare fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries in the electronics.

The FAA Tech Center tested electronics by placing heaters next to electronics in soft-sided bags and found that batteries could spark fires with hazardous materials in the luggage. Crew members and passengers would notice a fire in the cabin, but a fire in cargo might "create conditions beyond what the airplane was designed to manage."


The FAA said that generally, electronics such as laptops and cellphones "should be transported in carry-on baggage and not placed in checked baggage." If packed in checked bags, electronics should be turned off and packed to protect them from damage, the FAA said.



Boeing launches new jet as Macron opens Paris show


Boeing (BA.N) unveiled a new model of its best-selling 737 aircraft on Monday, injecting life into a faltering civil aviation market as French President Emmanuel Macron flew in to open the world's biggest airshow in Paris.

After years of booming orders driven by increased air travel and more fuel-efficient planes, passenger jetmakers are bracing for a slowdown in demand while they focus on meeting tight delivery schedules and ambitious production targets.

But Boeing generated a burst of activity at the Paris Airshow by launching the 737 MAX 10 to plug a gap in its portfolio at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets following runaway sales of the rival Airbus (AIR.PA) A321neo.

The U.S. planemaker said it had more than 240 orders and commitments from at least 10 customers for the new 737, which can carry up to 230 people in a single-class configuration.

"The MAX 10 is going to add more value for customers and more energy to the marketplace," Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at a presentation ceremony.

However, Airbus immediately hit back with an order for 100 of its popular A320neo planes from leasing firm GECAS, and suggested much of the interest in the MAX 10 was from existing Boeing customers switching orders from other models.

"We think the 737 MAX 10 is a competitor to the (MAX) 9 and that's why a lot of people are converting," said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

Industry sources said Airbus would also soon announce a large order for its A321neo, as well as one for 10 of its A350-900 wide-body jets. Sources said on Sunday the European company was close too to clinching a deal worth about $5 billion with low-cost carrier Viva Air Peru.




While demand for passenger jets may be faltering, there are signs interest in military aircraft is picking up after years in the doldrums due to government budget cuts and weak growth.

Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) is in the final stages of negotiating a $37 billion-plus deal to sell 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the United States, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

That would be the biggest deal yet for the stealthy warplane, set to make its Paris Airshow debut this week.

In another boost for a defense project, President Macron flew into the show on an Airbus A400M military transporter in his first official engagement since winning a parliamentary majority in elections on Sunday.

His arrival was followed by a flypast by the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, and France's aerial display team.

The ceremony lent high-level support to two ambitious European aerospace projects tarnished by problems: the A400M because of chronic cost overruns and delays and the A380 because of weak sales that threaten its future.

Airbus said on Sunday it was working on an upgrade of the A380 - called A380plus - with fuel-saving wingtips, confirming plans reported by Reuters in March.

Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier said on Monday the company was in talks with several potential customers for the upgraded plane. But it would only be put into production if it received "a large order", he said, without elaborating.

Four-engined, double-decker superjumbos such as the A380 and Boeing's 747 were once viewed as the future of air travel between international hubs, but interest has waned as airlines have preferred cheaper, more nimble aircraft.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan and Andrea Shalal; writing by Mark Potter; editing by David Clarke)


SOURCE : Reuters

Access codes for United cockpit doors accidentally posted online

United Continental Holdings alerted pilots that access codes to cockpit doors were accidentally posted on a public website by a flight attendant, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company, which owns United Airlines and United Express, asked pilots to follow security procedures already in use, including visually confirming someone’s identity before they are allowed onto the flight deck even if they enter the correct security code into the cockpit door’s keypad.

The Air Line Pilots Association, a union that represents 55,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada, told the WSJ on Sunday that the problem had been fixed.

The notable thing about this security breach is that it was caused by human error, not a hack, and illustrates how vulnerable cockpits are to intruders despite existing safety procedures. The Air Line Pilots Association has advocated for secondary barriers made from mesh or steel cables to be installed on cockpits doors to make it harder to break into, but airlines have said that they aren’t necessary.

For example, United told the Chicago Tribune in 2013 that “security measures have evolved in the years since the secondary barriers were ordered, and many more layers of security now exist.”

The 2015 Germanwings crash, in which a plane was deliberately flown into a mountain by a pilot who had locked his co-pilot out of the flight deck, highlighted the potential drawbacks of impenetrable cockpit doors if additional safety procedures are not put in place. These include not allowing someone to be left alone in the cockpit, a Federal Aviation Administration policy that was also adopted by German airlines after the crash.

TechCrunch has contacted United Continental for more information.


CREDIT : Techcrunch

ICAO Summit Formalizes New Dubai Declaration to Ensure Global Aviation Remains United, Proactive on Cyber Security Preparedness

 ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, receives a special gift from H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board - UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The gold plaque includes an engraving of the commemorative Dubai Declaration emerging from ICAO's inaugural Cyber Summit and Exhibition, which ran from 4-6 April, 2017 in Dubai.

Montréal and Dubai, 6 April 2017 – Underscoring the inherent value in establishing a global cyber security framework for aviation, the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, welcomed a special commemorative Dubai Declaration yesterday which signifies the commitment and unity of the air transport sector towards achieving effective cyber resilience.

The new Dubai Declaration was presented to President Aliu during a special ceremony at the UN agency’s inaugural Cyber Summit and Exhibition in Dubai, which ran from 4-6 April and being conducted in close partnership with the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates.

“New and more sophisticated digital technologies and processes are coming online daily it seems, impacting as they do our network and its relationships with shippers and the travelling public,” President Aliu stressed to the more than 500 experts from 90+ countries attending the ICAO Summit.

 “What this means for cyber security and cyber safety stakeholders is that threats are emerging at an ever-increasing rate.”

At ICAO’s 39th Assembly last October, world governments signaled their awareness and concern on cyber risks and threats through Resolution A39-19 on Addressing Cyber security in Civil Aviation. Concerning variations currently persist among States, air navigation service providers, aircraft and airport operators, and others in terms of the cyber mitigation measures being set out – highlighting the need for improved sector-wide collaboration.

“Some may suggest this points to a role for near-term ICAO provisions to be established,” President Aliu continued, “however we are still at too nascent a stage to determine appropriate and practical standards in the Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.”

He also noted that civil aviation should continue to appreciate and reinforce the inherent mitigation capabilities of pilots and air traffic controllers, aviation’s traditional ‘first responders’, and highlighted that the sector’s increasing connectivity to external networks, and the use of public communication infrastructure for transmitting data and exchanging information, represent further risks which must be carefully managed.

“The basic interconnectedness we have all grown accustomed to in our day-to-day digital lives is now also a basic characteristic of on-board and ground-based aviation systems,” he remarked.

“This makes them potentially vulnerable to outside cyber-attack, and explains why the logical or physical segregation of safety critical systems is a crucial first step for global aviation.”

The conclusions and commemorative Dubai Declaration emerging from the ICAO/UAE Summit will help to establish near-term prioritization of suitable back-up systems and procedures, cyber resilience steps, and security overlays, in addition to the more intensive collaboration needed and clarity on roles and responsibilities.

Much of this strategic planning and guidance will be enshrined in ICAO’s new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), the development of which is being fast-tracked after calls for its accelerated development by world States. The GASeP is expected to be launched by the end of 2017, following a State consultation period.

Source: ICAO


Chinese passenger plane to rival Boeing and Airbus tipped to be in skies by July

China's first homegrown passenger plane is to take to the skies before July this year, according to state media.

A China state-owned manufacturer first unveiled the C919 in November 2015, leaving analysts wondering whether it can compete with major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing.

The single-aisle aircraft, which can seat 168 passengers, has now installed its on-board system and undertaken a series of load tests.

The People's Daily Online said Tuesday that test results confirm "that the framework of the jetliner is strong enough to support future navigation."

The plane, produced by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), was originally scheduled to make its debut journey in 2015, but the date was pushed back to satisfy additional testing.


COMAC designed the C919 plane to compete with other single aisle jets such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing's 737.

In 2015 Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said that he would have "no hesitation at all in buying Chinese airplanes," as long as they were made to the standard that he wanted.

"There is nothing wrong with buying Chinese. You use an iPhone, which is made in China. Designed by somebody else, but made in China. I think it would be good for this (Boeing/Airbus) monopoly to be broken," Al Baker told CNBC at the Dubai Airshow.


ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
The 'iron bird' test platform, a plane-like fuselage simulator, for the C919


The state manufacturer told media in November 2016 it has received 570 orders for the C919 from 23 customers, including government run firms Air China, China Southern and Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines.

Chinese demand for new airplanes is proving a key battleground for passenger plane makers. Airbus estimated in its 2016-2035 forecast that the Chinese airlines will need nearly 6,000 new planes worth US$945 billion over the next two decades.

COMAC has also developed a smaller regional jet, the ARJ21, which took to the skies in June 2016.





World's longest non-stop commercial flight lands in New Zealand

Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Auckland arrives after 14,535-kilometre trip which took 16 hours 23 minutes

The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New Zealand on Monday with the arrival of Qatar Airways’s 14,535km (9,032-mile) Doha-Auckland service.

“We’ve officially landed in Auckland,” the airline tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 7.25am (6.25pm GMT on Sunday), five minutes ahead of schedule after a flight lasting 16 hours and 23 minutes.

The long-range Boeing 777-200LR crossed 10 time zones on its marathon flight.

Qatar Airways noted the flight was longer than the entire “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies which were filmed in New Zealand.

There were four pilots on board as well as 15 cabin crew who served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals during the flight.


In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said the estimated economic impact of the new service “will be well in excess” of NZ$50m (US$36m) with the increased freight capacity provided.

In March last year, Emirates airline launched what was then thought to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, with a service from Dubai to Auckland, spanning 14,200kms (8,824 miles).

Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight claims the world’s longest by flying distance but when measured on the surface of the earth Doha and Auckland are further apart.


CREDIT: The Guardian

MH370 Search Ends to Leave Aviation’s Biggest Mystery Unsolved

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was called off Tuesday after almost three years of fruitless toil.

The Boeing Co. 777 aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014, on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. According to satellite data, the jet headed south over the Indian Ocean for about six hours before plummeting into the water at up to 25,000 feet a minute.

The last vessel left the 120,000 square-kilometer (46,000 square miles) area in the southern Indian Ocean without finding the jet, transport ministers from Malaysia, Australia and China said in a joint statement. Australian investigators put the cost of the operation at A$180 million ($135 million). The scouring for the jet is the longest search for a missing plane in modern aviation history.

Even repeated analysis of the data, aimed at zeroing in on the most likely crash zone, failed to turn up any clues.

“Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft,” the ministers said. “We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future, the aircraft will be located.”


The first debris from MH370 was found on Reunion Island in July 2015. Four other pieces that turned up on Africa’s eastern seaboard and in Mauritius almost certainly belong to the doomed jet, according to investigators.

Search teams had battled ferocious winter weather and waves more than five stories high as they dragged sonar devices across the seabed. The ocean floor itself, up to 6 kilometers (4 miles) below, was peppered with trenches and submerged peaks.

The search was “an unprecedented challenge,” the ministers said.

Air-traffic controllers lost contact with MH370 less than an hour after takeoff as it approached Vietnam. Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak has said the plane was deliberately steered off course.


American Airlines plane engine flung debris in rare failure

By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher

An American Airlines (AAL.O) jet engine that failed seconds before takeoff in a fiery runway accident at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport flung broken turbine parts as far as half a mile from the scene, a federal investigator said on Saturday.

Disclosure of the "uncontained" failure," in which internal engine parts breach the protective housing designed to keep them safely enclosed, even in a breakdown, came a day after a mishap that authorities said neared the point of disaster but caused no serious injuries.

Shrapnel escaping from the engine's outer cover can tear through the cabin or rupture fuel tanks in the wings.


Such engine failures are extremely rare, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were looking for clues as to whether the fault lay with the engine itself, with its manufacture or a freak event such as debris on the runway entering the engine.

The General Electric (GE.N) engine that powered the plane was a workhorse model known as the CF6, introduced decades ago, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy told Reuters on Saturday. The American Airlines plane engine dates from the 1980s or 1990s, and had been serviced by the airline, he said.

American Airlines Flight 383, a twin-engine Boeing (BA.N) 767 bound for Miami with 161 passengers and a crew of nine, was headed down a runway for departure when the right-side engine failed, forcing the crew to abort takeoff, authorities said.

Leaking jet fuel caught fire under the wing, as the crew evacuated passengers via emergency exit chutes from the left side of the plane, and fire crews arrived to begin pouring foam on the flames within minutes.

One flight attendant and 19 passengers suffered minor injuries in their escape.

NTSB investigator Lorenda Ward told reporters at O'Hare on Saturday that while flames never breached the plane's cabin, some smoke did, though city fire officials have said no one suffered from smoke inhalation or burns.

City fire department officials said on Friday the plane was 15 to 20 seconds from becoming airborne, fully loaded with 43,000 pounds of jet fuel. Ward said the aircraft stopped about 3,000 feet from the end of the runway. "That's a lot of runway to have left," she said.



In a sign of the intensity of the engine breakdown, at least two pieces of a stage-2 high-pressure turbine disk were flung from the scene.

One was found at a United Parcel Service warehouse nearly 3,000 feet (915 meters), or about half a mile, south of the accident site. Another was found three-tenths of a mile to the north on airport property, NTSB investigator Lorenda Ward told reporters at O'Hare on Saturday.

She said the escaped engine parts would be shipped to a lab for examination, and the crippled right engine would be sent to a GE facility to be dismantled and examined there for clues to what caused the failure.

American on Saturday declined to provide details about the aircraft, engine or maintenance, referring questions to the NTSB.

Officials from GE Aviation, Boeing and American Airlines were on the scene at O'Hare assisting in the investigation, GE's Kennedy said.

The CF6 was introduced in the 1970s, and more than 4,000 are currently in service on seven different wide-body jetliner models, including the Boeing 747 and 767, and Airbus A300 and A330, according to GE. The engine has racked up more than 400 million flight hours and has a record of "industry-leading levels of reliability," Kennedy said.

The O'Hare incident marks the third uncontained GE engine failure in little over a year, following a British Airways Boeing 777 in September 2015 and a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in August. Both aircraft used different engines, the GE90 and CMF56, made by a joint venture of GE and Safran of France.

In a full-power ground test situation in 2006, an American Airlines 767 with GE CF6 engines suffered an uncontained failure, according to a summary produced by the Aviation Safety Network, a service of the Flight Safety Foundation, an international nonprofit based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The high pressure turbine of the CF6-80A engine used on the 767 has been cited in six regulatory actions by the Federal Aviation Authority since 1986, FAA records show. The most recent, in 2009, required airlines to remove an engine rotor within 30 days and reduced the allowed lifespan of an engine disk, conditions that could lead to cracks and uncontained engine failure, according to FAA records.


(Writing by Steve Gorman and Frank McGurty; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mary Milliken)

Credit :

FAA reiterates warning that no Galaxy Note 7 phones may be turned on or charged in flight

The FAA has reiterated its position that airline passengers should power down and not use or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices on airplanes, or put the phones in checked luggage. The statement comes after Samsung halted global sales of the Note 7 following a series of fires in purportedly "safe" phones after a recall last month.

In response to a statement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and following a recent decision by Samsung to suspend global sales of all Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration urges passengers onboard aircraft to power down, and not use, charge, or stow in checked baggage, all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices, including recalled and replacement devices.

In addition to stopping sales of new Note 7 devices, Samsung also instructed current owners of the phone to immediately "power down" the phones and return them for a refund or for another phone.

The wording of the FAA’s statement is similar to one released when the Note 7 recall was first announced, and the FAA again stopped short of banning the phone entirely — the restrictions are on using or charging the Note 7, not bringing it on the plane.


Credit : THE VERGE

Southwest Flight Evacuated After Samsung Phone Catches Fire, Airline Says

A Southwest Airlines flight scheduled to leave Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday morning was evacuated on the runway after a passenger’s Samsung cellphone caught fire, passengers and the airline said.

Southwest said in a statement that passengers and airline employees were taken off Flight 994, which was scheduled to leave for Baltimore, after a customer reported “smoke emitting from a Samsung electronic device.”

The Verge identified the passenger as Brian Green and his phone as “a replacement Galaxy Note 7.”

A Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement on Wednesday that the company was unable to immediately confirm which device was involved in the episode.

“We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause,” the statement said. “Once we have examined the device, we will have more information to share.”

The company, which is the world’s largest smartphone maker, announced last month that it would replace 2.5 million of the smartphone model because of a flaw in the battery’s cell that could result in the devices bursting into flames or exploding.

Mr. Green told The Verge that he had picked up the new phone on Sept. 21, after the recall. The episode could be damaging for the company, because the replacement devices were thought to be safe. The new models had been approved by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which on Wednesday said it was investigating the episode.

In a statement, the commission chairman, Elliot F. Kaye, encouraged owners of the smartphone to turn it off and immediately participate in the recall. He also said staff members had reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration, Samsung and Mr. Green, noting that the agency is “moving expeditiously to investigate this incident.”

Christine Sundman, 65, a retired teacher who was planning to return home to New Hampshire after visiting her daughter’s family in Louisville, was one of the passengers evacuated from the flight. She said that a woman sitting near the phone’s owner had told her that the device had just been powered down when it caught fire.

The owner quickly dropped the device on the floor, Mrs. Sundman said in a phone interview.

Mrs. Sundman said she had been sitting in the seventh row of the plane and did not notice any commotion until a flight attendant rushed to the front to consult with her colleague. As they exchanged urgent whispers, Mrs. Sundman said, “I did hear the word ‘smoke.’ ”

The two flight attendants went into the cockpit, Mrs. Sundman said, and within seconds the captain came out and calmly told passengers that the plane had to be evacuated. She said he did not need to use the loudspeaker to make his voice heard.

As the passengers disembarked, the smell of smoke began to permeate the plane.

“I did not see any of the passengers lose control,” Mrs. Sundman said. “One woman was kind of buzzing around a lot, but nobody lost control. The airline was working as hard as it could.”

Mrs. Sundman said the passengers were eventually told that a hole had burned through the floor. After about two hours, she said, the flight was canceled and passengers were allowed back on the plane to recover their baggage.

“This could have happened moments after we took off, or in the air,” she said. “It could have been catastrophic.”

Earlier this year, Qantas banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from its flights because of instances in which they caught fire when business-class passengers dropped their devices into the electronically activated seats, crushing the phone and damaging the battery. Air France also said it had several in-flight smoke or fire events that were set off in the same way.

The Federal Aviation Administration strongly urged owners not to use the phones on planes, before the recall was ordered.

Credit to New York Times




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