Feb 13, 2009

Flight 3407 Post-Crash Video From WGRZ

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Jan 21, 2009


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Jun 19, 2008

Flip Video Test

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Feb 01, 2007

'Very Important' Doesn't Quite Do It


Can this report be true? From Shweta Jain at IAG, A380 VIP Headed For Gulf:

January 29, 2007 Airbus's first A380 VIP aircraft is expected to land in the Middle East shortly, according to a senior Airbus official.

“We are talking to two potential buyers, one of which is in the Middle East, for the VIP aircraft in the A380 category. That would be the first A380 VIP aircraft in the world. It will be a private aircraft but we cannot share any more details,” Richard Gaona, Airbus vice president for Executive and Private Aviation, told Emirates Today....

Unfreakin'-believably Important Person is more like it if you're planning an A380 for that role, but I guess the acronym wouldn't roll off the tongue.

The video is unconnected to the story--it's Rolls-Royce footage of the aircraft taxiing at Heathrow (those are Rolls Trent 900's hanging on the wings). I just can't believe how large that thing is. When the shot backs up to show trucks on the apron, they look like Tonka Toys.

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Dec 28, 2006

Morning Sweep

Houston Intercontinental Stolen Baggage Found in Dumpster From 9 Airlines (Houston Chronicle); Miami Airport, NTSB Say Runway Markings Were Fine In Tony Blair Overrun (CBC); Frustrated Passengers Storm Runway at Sao Paulo Airport (AP/IHT); Groundbreaking For New Berlin Brandeburg International (UPI); Precision Landing Installation Delays at Gary/Chicago Airport (nwitimes.com); Detained Muslim Couple Detained at Cardiff Will Sue (icwales.co.uk)

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Dec 27, 2006

Virgin America: First Step To Approval Is Rejection

DOT issued a tentative show-cause order rejecting Virgin America's application to operate in the U.S., citing foreign-control issues, prompting the startup to define stiff upper lip:

"The Department of Transportation’s Show Cause Order is a long awaited step in our certification process," said Virgin America spokesman Gareth Edmondson-Jones. "While we disagree with this tentative Order, we respect the Department's decision and intend to use the Order as a roadmap to address the issues raised and to demonstrate to the DOT that Virgin America will meet all ownership and control requirements. "Accordingly, we plan to respond to the Department as requested on January 10 so that we may move forward with DOT certification, launch our airline, and bring new high-quality service and much-needed competition to the marketplace. We remain committed to getting our wings."

The order itself is here, a 27-page .pdf under docket OST-2005-23307; here's the gist from public affairs:

Under the Federal Aviation Act, to be certificated as a U.S. airline, a company must first show that it is actually controlled by U.S. citizens, that the president and two-thirds of the board of directors are U.S. citizens, and that at least 75 percent of the voting interest is owned or controlled by U.S. citizens. The Department recently withdrew a proposed rule that would have amended its interpretation of the statute’s “actual control” requirement so as to allow additional foreign investment.

In its show-cause order, the Department tentatively concludes that Virgin America’s close relationship with the U.K.-based Virgin Group indicates that the carrier is not under the actual control of U.S. citizens. The order cites the Virgin Group’s and its executives’ pervasive involvement in the creation of Virgin America, the funding Virgin Group provided to the carrier, various interlocking financial agreements, and the Virgin Group’s ability to influence decisions of the carrier’s board. The Department also said that the restrictive name-brand licensing agreement between Virgin Group and the airline impedes the carrier’s independent decision-making authority. However, the Department’s tentative decision reflects its review of the specific terms of the Virgin America licensing agreement, and DOT emphasized that properly structured licensing or franchise agreements between U.S. and international carriers are now, and will continue to be, permissible.

The Department also tentatively found that less than the required 75 percent of voting interest in Virgin America is owned or controlled by U.S. citizens, with most of its voting equity held by companies that are majority-owned by non-U.S. citizens.

Airports interested in Virgin America's fate include the following, from the company's website:

Our first route is from San Francisco to New York-round trip, of course. Beyond that, we're thinking initially about cities like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston....

Stories available include those by Bloomberg, The Washington Times and Aviation Daily.

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Hearing Aid Boost At Grand Rapids Gerald Ford Airport

How odd that on this day there'd be a story about "loop" technology being adopted at Grand RapidsFord Gerald R. Ford International, unless it had been out there for awhile and the death of the former president nudged somebody into writing about it. From AP via MSNBC:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Air travelers who use hearing aids will find it easier to learn what's going on at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, beginning next year.

Improvements to the public address system will add technology that lets flight announcements be transmitted directly into hearing aids with a special receiver....

Common in British airports, apparently. No info that I can find at the airport's website, but they do have a special intro homepage set up to mark Ford's passing (image). Rest in peace.

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American: Fares, Loads, Aircraft Refute FAA On LaGuardia

Lga New York LaGuardia's average aircraft size, load factor and fares show the FAA's proposed rules for managing access there are unfounded, according to American Airlines' filing on the issue (32-page pdf) from a few days ago. The document includes brief tables on all three of those claims. The one I'm showing here plants LaGuardia's average aircraft size, measured by seats, in the middle of large and variously congested airports.

American views the FAA scheme as fundamentally incompatible with airline deregulation itself: "Delay reduction and congestion management  do not require the FAA to replace competition with central planning." This is a reference to acts that include imposing an average aircraft size--larger than what's in place today--and taking 10% of an airline's slots for redistribution every year. FAA wants larger aircraft to increase the number of passengers that can use the chronically congested airport, and the slot reallocation to give non-dominant carriers a chance to serve it. But smaller communities as a rule can't support large aircraft operations, and entrenched carriers regard the forced reallocation of slots as "confiscation."

That's the short version.

Here's the Air Transport Association's media brief on the issue, a good quick review as seen by its member carriers including American. Here's a (pdf) filing by the Air Carrier Association of America, which provides a glimpse into the battle by small airlines that fly larger aircraft, though the meat of that filing concerns the earlier request for an extension on the comment deadline.   (docket number 25709)

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Morning Sweep

Denver Post Writes 'Airport Must Do Better' Editorial after 3-foot blizzard; DIA Defends Response (Rocky Mountain News); Luggage Backlog Remains (MSNBC/AP); Centennial Airport Lauded For Snow Recovery (Rocky Mountain News); British Airways Blames Poor Runway Markings For Overrun of Tony Blair Plane in Miami (Reuters); Two Southwest Aircraft Bump Tails At San Diego (LATimes/AP); New Thai Suvarnabhumi Airport Needs $41 Million Fix (Xinhua); and while I was away, Muslim Women Wearing Full Veil Will Now Have To Remove Them On Demand After Murder Suspect Flees Under Cover (Zeenews.com)

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Dec 22, 2006

Denver Back Up

Green But don't get too excited. With just two runways open now, the FAA flight status page  says some arriving flights [are being] delayed an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes.

They've got quite a backlog to clear away--this Denver Post story quotes a gentleman who can't board anything until Dec. 27. When he looked into a car rental, National was happy to oblige, at over $800.

Merry Christmas!

Update: Green!  Situation back to normal, O'Hare, LaGuardia backed up.

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