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  • October 8, 2009

    Teen Suspected of Stealing, Crashing Plane in Northwest

    Filed under: Airplane,Arrested,Children,Crime,Pilots — anne @ 8:39 am
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    18 year old Colton Harris-Moore is suspected of stealing at least three small private planes – he flies off with them. And then he crashes them. Well, at least one of them, but then, he’s never had a flying lesson so there you go.

    Anyway, he’s got some Facebook fans (quelle surprise) who liken him to “Jesse James – without the murders” (plug time: if you want to read more about the real, murderous Jesse, and learn how you can see his ghost, see Rick’s Halloween post on the subject).

    Where was I? Oh, yeah, the kid – anyway, police consider this kid a fugitive – he was doing time in a juvenile facility for other misdeeds, then walked away from his half-way house – and now he sort of lives in the wilds of the Northwest – out in the woods or in empty cabins.

    Gotta love mothers – Colton’s mother says, her baby hasn’t been stealing any planes, adding “Wouldn’t you need a little bit of training in flying a plane? They’re not easy.”

    No, they’re not, Mom. That’s why he crashed that last one. Allegedly.

    October 7, 2009

    Celebrities on Planes – Minor Drama

    Filed under: Airplane,Celebrities,Vehicles — anne @ 12:56 pm
    Comments (0)

    We told you about Ashton and Demi and their rough landing earlier this summer – now let us tell you about Brooke and Belushi!

    Okay, not much to tell, but that didn’t stop People magazine from blogging about it – anyway, it seems Brooke Shields and Jim Belushi were on a Cessna, which landed at a little private airstrip at Hearst Castle in San Simeon (and, if you haven’t been to this coastal California landmark, you really should go – it’s just beautiful).

    Anyway, the pilot didn’t turn on the brakes (maybe, “turn on” is the wrong expression, but they were not doing their job) and the little plane hit an SUV and – BOOM went the dynamite.

    Okay, maybe not quite “boom” but the plane broke its mirror and gave the vehicle a good scrape, but there were no injuries. Except to the SUV. And it was a rental.

    Why were these celebs there in the first place? “Attending a private function” according to People – and goodness knows what that could mean.

    September 30, 2009

    Found: Air Force Plane Missing Off West Coast for 50+ Years

    Filed under: Airplane,Delays,Mystery,Pilots — anne @ 7:43 am
    Comments (0)

    On Oct. 15,1955, a Lockheed T-33 jet trainer, with two Air Force pilots onboard, went missing.

    The plane was presumed “lost at sea” all these years – and it was – but not very far. According to CNN, members of an aviation wreckage search group called UB88.org, found it in the bottom of the Santa Monica Bay, just west of Los Angeles.

    The searchers did not say if the pilots were still in this wreckage, but apparently their families have been notified, so at least they know – cold comfort that that may be.

    Actually, the divers were looking for a different aircraft altogether – a WWII plane that went down in 1944.

    But apparently it’s not surprising that they bumped into another missing plane; officials say there are about 2,500 aviation crash sites in and around California – many of them still waiting to be discovered.

    It is, after all, a big state.

    September 18, 2009

    Airline Fees: Would You Pay a Voluntary “Green” Fee?

    Filed under: Airplane,Airport,Green — anne @ 1:41 pm
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    Next time you’re in San Francisco International, check out one of the three new “Climate Passport” kiosks there.

    Know what you do with them? You stick your credit card in, and it’ll calculate a fee that will offset the emissions of your flight – it’ll then deduct that amount from your card. Is that genius or what? Even more genius-y – you don’t have to pay this fee. That’s right – it’s voluntary!

    But if you did want to pay, the fee for a flight from SFO to JFK would run you about $23 -money that would be used for reforestation projects.

    If this sounds like something you’d like to do, go for it. The airport has already shelled out close to $200K on these kiosks, and would probably like to know their work hasn’t been in vain.

    September 16, 2009

    Guinness’ 250th Celebrated by Tipsy Family Member on Plane

    Filed under: Airplane,Celebrities,Drunk,Romance — anne @ 7:09 am
    Comments (1)

    It’s always fun seeing the words “drunken socialite” in print, and thanks to the New York Daily News, we can.

    Witnesses in a court proceeding say Clare Irby, “a descendant of the Guinness brewing family” got a little frisky on a flight from Bangalore, India to London on Kingfisher Airlines (a five star airline, naturally). She allegedly got extra-friendly with a male passenger – in between bouts of screaming at flight attendants and ignoring her two year old child.

    And at least some of the passengers started complaining about the PDAP’s (Public Displays of Affection on Planes).

    The most shocking thing? Not the alleged thong-baring, but the fact that Socialite Irby – who admitted to being tipsy – was not lapping up stout. She was drinking red wine – and I’m sure there’s a Guinness or two rolling over in the Old Sod as we speak.

    And…speaking of Guinness – did you know the Dublin-based brewery is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year? Raise a glass – and keep your undies out of sight.

    August 28, 2009

    Why Reporting is Fun – You Can Pretend to Control Planes

    Filed under: Airplane,Airport,Gadgets,News — anne @ 8:08 am
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    Just read a “reporter’s notebook” item in the LA Times that made journalism sound — for a moment, anyway — fun again.

    It seems LAX – the nation’s third busiest airport – is now using a $600,000 simulator to help train air traffic controllers.

    It sounds pretty cool: it’s got computer screens with planes on them, and you can program the simulator to make the planes do anything – taxi, land, crash – or just follow realistic patterns, but it’s up to the trainee to get all safely on the ground.

    Apparently, reporter Dan Weikel and other scribes and newsies on hand who worked the simulator did a pretty good job – as they say, “safety was never compromised”. I guess reporting has changed since I left – I wouldn’t have trusted us with anything more than pen and paper.

    August 20, 2009

    Dear Amy – I Can’t Tell if My Seatmate is Alive or Not

    Filed under: Airplane,Drugs,Sleep — anne @ 7:33 am
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    We get letters…

    Unfortunately, we don’t get any near as good as “Dear Amy” gets – like the one from the woman who believed her sleeping seatmate on a recent flight was in a “near-coma”. Even worse, just before take-off, the Dozing One was seen taking a pill!

    Boy did that get the letter writer worried:

    “I tried several times to politely rouse her, but the only time she woke up was for the meal. I’ve been thinking that maybe it was a potential safety issue. Should I have asked her what she was taking when I saw the pills? Should I have told the flight attendants?” -from Dear Amy, 8-19-09

    Amy responded by saying, if the woman actually was in a “near-coma” or had to get up, then yes, a flight attendant should have been notified.

    Really? Raise your hand if you can tell the difference between “near-coma” and drool-leaking sleep. I didn’t think so. Here’s my response:

    “You tried several times to ‘politely rouse her’ and she didn’t take a swing at you? Count your blessings, lady. Besides, she got up for a meal – I’m pretty sure the nearly-dead don’t do that. And – you wondered if you should have asked ‘what she was taking’ when you saw the pills – why, were you hoping she’d share? I doubt she would have, not after all that ‘polite rousing’. And sure, you could have ‘told the flight attendants’ – but I suspect they wish all their passengers were near-comatose, and would have chastised you for the ‘polite rousing’.” -Standard Upright Position, 8-20-09

    June 23, 2009

    Passengers Asked to Move to Balance Plane. Unhappiness Reigns.

    Filed under: Airplane,Frustration,Passengers,safety — anne @ 4:32 pm
    Comments (0)

    Well, would you be happy?

    As Gadling tells it, 70 passengers “refused to board their Thomas Cook plane in Mallorca, Spain this week because the airline had asked them to all sit in the back of the plane.”

    Essentially, they were to act as ballast – a counterweight, if you will, for all the luggage that was stacked up in the front of the cabin. Why was it stacked there? Because the workers on the ground couldn’t get the rear cargo door open. I guess they lost the manual.

    I suppose I would have been disturbed, too – but these folks then paid hundreds of dollars to fly other airlines home. Now that would have given me pause.

    June 19, 2009

    Biggest Airbus Customer of the Year So Far? Wizz Air. You Heard Me.

    Filed under: Airlines,Airplane,Destinations,Did You Know — anne @ 9:18 am
    Comments (0)

    So you’ve never heard of Wizz Air?

    Airbus has – and I’m sure they love Wizz Air, especially since the airline said it plans to buy 50 Airbus A320′s – for nearly $4 billion (at least, that’s the total according to list prices, but maybe those Wizzards cut a deal).

    Wizz Air who? It’s a Hungarian budget airline that flies all over Europe – including places like Kyiv, Timisoara, Poznan as well as London, Paris and more. The CEO of Airbus calls it the “EasyJet of Central and Eastern Europe” and notes that it’s growing at a rate of 30% despite the fact that these are dog days for airlines.

    Maybe they really are wizards.

    June 18, 2009

    Driver on Tarmac Apparently Didn’t See Plane About to Squash Him

    Filed under: Airplane,Airport,Pilots,safety,US Airways,Vehicles — anne @ 3:54 pm
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    Nobody’s quite sure why the driver of a construction vehicle at Boston’s Logan airport failed to stop at the runway like you’re supposed to, and why he failed to radio the control tower for permission to cross, like you’re supposed to.

    He just headed on across runway, happy as can be – as US Airways Flight 27 was taking off for Phoenix. They came within seconds of an intense, fiery meeting. Near total fail.

    Fortunately, the plane missed him, but this driver may be in a spot of trouble. The FAA is involved and nobody’s happy – I’m guessing the pilot who saw his life flashing before his eyes (and the lives of his 84 passengers) was probably unhappiest of all.

    No word yet on why Mr. Oblivious drove where he drove, but one report says they will be looking into cell phone use. Or was he reading “Driving for Dummies” on his Kindle?

    June 10, 2009

    Smoking in the Bathroom Forces Emergency Landing

    Filed under: Airplane,American,Europe,safety — anne @ 7:59 am
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    Dude! Whatta ya doin’ in there? Oh…never mind.

    Apparently, a cigarette had nothing to do with it – but something was smoking on the Boeing 767 – and officials think it was actually the bathroom fan.

    The American Airlines jetliner had been heading from New York to Zurich but made an emergency landing in Nova Scotia when smoke got in the cabin.

    This was Tuesday night. I’d like to think that all 210 passengers are now happily yodeling in the Alps by now.

    April 22, 2009

    Turbulence Paralyzes Woman

    Filed under: Airplane,Passengers,Tips,Weird — anne @ 1:29 pm
    Comments (2)

    Terrible, terrible story about a woman who was on a flight from Houston to McAllen, Texas on Saturday when the plane encountered severe turbulence – and the woman broke her neck.

    Yes, the seatbelt sign was on – but she was in the restroom.

    Two others were sent to the hospital – a crew member and a passenger – they were treated and released. The unidentified woman underwent six hours of surgery -it’s not known at this point if her paralysis will be permanent.

    Two things: When you’re in your seat, always keep your seatbelt buckled. And stay in your seat. Seriously. Use the restroom before you board – use it after you land.

    February 26, 2009

    Dudes: Ride Pow & Sleep in Inflatable-Hood Jacket (good for planes!)

    Filed under: Airplane,Gadgets,Sleep — anne @ 8:39 am
    Comments (0)

    I got all excited when I saw this jacket at left – featured on Gizmodo.

    You self-inflate the hood, and – wham! — instant pillow. Sweet.

    Unfortunately, actually buying the thing seems somewhat problematic – no prices, sizes, etc. on the designer’s site.

    Also problematic – the name of the jacket — the aforementioned designer calls it, “Never Stop a Rolling Stone”. Let’s see – Mick Jagger – inflatable hood – no, I’m not quite getting it.

    No matter -you can’t buy it. But hold on – Burton has a jacket with an inflatable neck! I’m told it’s good.

    February 4, 2009

    50-Years Ago: The Day the Music Died

    Filed under: Airplane,List,Music,News — anne @ 1:12 pm
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    Actually, it was 50-years ago yesterday since the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, 22, the Big Bopper, 28, and Richie Valens, 17 (plus the poor pilot who nobody remembers – for the record, he was 21 year old Roger Peterson).

    All of which was memorialized by Don McLean in “American Pie”.

    Which reminds me: Blender magazine has a list of the 10 worst rock & roll plane crashes – see it here.

    Such a waste – or, as Blender put it: “What is it about famous musicians that makes them believe it’d be a swell idea to charter a small, unreliable aircraft through inclement weather?

    I dunno, but we still miss you, Buddy. All you guys.

    December 3, 2008

    Why buy her diamonds when you can get her a book about airline cabins?

    Filed under: Airplane,Leg Room,Seats,Tips — anne @ 3:47 pm
    Comments (0)

    Okay, Christmas is coming — and you need a gift for that “aviation or travel enthusiast”.

    Here’s the solution: a book called “Jetliner Cabins” by Jennifer Coutts Clay. It’s about — jetliner cabins. According to the press release, “readers will find in the 16 chapters information about everything from safety, seat design, and fabric selection to meal service, accessibility and maintenance in first-, business- and economy-class cabins.”

    Fabric selection — fabulousity! I will leave you with some final thoughts from the author:

    “What do passengers get for their money? How are new products, such as sleeper seats and lounge bars, integrated into existing floor plans? Why do some cabin environments feel more welcoming than others? This book is where readers will find answers to some of these difficult questions.” –Jennifer Coutts Clay, “Jetliner Cabins”

    I can answer one difficult question — according to the press release, the book goes for $55.

    October 23, 2008

    Two Planes Collide in Mid-Air, and – No Big Deal!

    Filed under: Airplane,safety — anne @ 12:02 pm
    Comments (0)

     

    Now, here’s a happy ending for you:

    Two small planes collided yesterday, about 10,000 feet in the air near Grand Junction, Colorado and – no deaths, no injuries, no big deal.

    The sheriff called it a “miracle” and while I believe that word has been so over-used as to be rendered meaningless, I must say that this situation is, well, okay…miraculous.

    A minor note: one of those plans was transporting a couple of prison inmates. Once they figured out they were in fact going to live through the collision, I suppose escape was on their minds (would be on mine) but apparently all pilots and passengers have been accounted for.

    So for some, not a totally happy ending.

    August 29, 2008

    Ex-Baggage Handler: Will Work 4 Haggis

    Filed under: Airplane,Frustration,Haggis — Rick Seaney @ 2:03 pm
    Comments (0)

     

     

    A baggage handler at Glasgow’s airport performed a remarkable feat recently; he ripped a 5-foot wide hole in the side of a Boeing 757.

    Unfortunately, details were hard to come by on precisely how this gaping wound was created: was our hero was having a bad day? Did he spot some luggage containing anvils and decide to toss it about? I could nae say.

    This much is certain: he was unceremoniously sacked.

    August 15, 2008

    Who Will the VP Candidates Be? It’s All in the Planes

    Filed under: Airplane — mike @ 12:26 pm
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    While pundits, Washington insiders, and the general electorate do their best to figure out who Senators Obama and McCain will choose to be their Vice Presidential candidates, we might be better off just keeping an eye on airplane hangers.

    After all, that’s what gave things away last time around when an US Airways mechanic caught a glimpse of a John Kerry campaign plane:

    “Around 6 that evening, I peeked in and saw they were putting John Edwards’ name on the airplane…They concealed it rather quickly — they taped paper over the logos. I just happened to peek in at the right time.” — mechanic, from the Los Angeles Times

    So, why not turn the talking heads off and just wait for a wily airline employee to break the big news?

    June 20, 2008

    Drink, Smoke, and Get in a Fight on JetBlue

    Filed under: Airplane,Passengers — mike @ 10:47 am
    Comments (0)

    If you’re looking to get loaded, light up, and throw down, can’t you just find a local bar or something? I mean, do you really have to take it to the skies? Apparently, if you’re Christina Szele, you do:

    “An unruly JetBlue passenger from Queens who lit up a cigarette mid-flight Tuesday forced the 145-passenger flight to be diverted after she became violent and uncooperative when asked to stop smoking…” (from wcbstv.com)

    The Queens native was arrested for assault and is being held in Denver. There are questions surrounding the number of drinks the passenger had consumed before the incident. Some say one, some say three, and some say the airline is “covering up” the number of drinks flight attendants served the passenger.

    It’s still unknown if passengers on the JetBlue flight were able watch the events unfold on the news on their in-flight TVs.

    April 16, 2008

    First Class Movie News!

    Filed under: Airplane,Movies — mike @ 3:11 pm
    Comments (0)

    Ever wonder what those fancy types up in first class are watching on their personal entertainment systems during long haul flights while you’re forced to re-do the crossword puzzle for the third time or watch some Val Kilmer movie from the mid-80s on a screen that’s half blocked by the seats of the 12 rows in front of you?

    Well, truth is, you might not be missing much. Take a look at our first class travel blog to see how the other half is living (movie wise, anyway), and old Val might not look so bad.

    March 18, 2008

    Bizarre Flights, Bizarre Passenger: our WORST story ever

    Filed under: Airplane,Crime,Passenger Rights — mike @ 8:10 am
    Comments (0)

    Disclaimer: This post is NOT appropriate for the kids…

    In the time we’ve been covering the airline industry, we’ve seen our share of strange flights and bizarre occurrences.

    There have been drunk passengers, drunk flight attendants, miniskirts, and ladies who dubbed themselves “too pretty to fly.”

    But NONE of that prepared us for THIS story that ran on Sky Talk today.

    Keep reading to see what can happen while sleeping on a plane…

    (more…)

    January 14, 2008

    Green? “You Betcha!” says Virgin Atlantic.

    Filed under: Airplane,Green,Virgin — anne @ 10:24 am
    Comments (0)

    Virgin Atlantic is going to make a very special test flight next month: the tanks of one of their 747s will be filled with biofuel.

    Supposedly, this is the first commercial airline to ever do this. According to the shy and retiring Richard Branson, this demonstration “will give us crucial knowledge that we can use to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.”

    Fine. But I notice that this “test flight” will have no passengers on board. Hmmm.

    [Liked this story? Then check out "The Virgin Empire"]

    January 2, 2008

    Odd Uncle = D.B. Cooper?

    Filed under: Airplane,D.B. Cooper — anne @ 12:53 pm
    Comments (0)

    About 36-years ago, a man known as D.B. Cooper parachuted out of a plane over Washington state, and was never heard from again.

    But the FBI would still like to hear from him, if he’s alive (though most think he died in the jump); Cooper made off with $200,000 in ransom money. (BTW, Cooper was a pseudonym: the suspect actually went by DAN Cooper, but a reporter misheard and reported it as “D.B. Cooper”).

    Anyway, the Feds need our help; said one agent,maybe someone just remembers that odd uncle.” I can see it now: millions of Americans coming forward to implicate their “odd uncles”.

    November 27, 2007

    Goodbye, Steve?

    Filed under: Airplane,Rememberance — anne @ 2:05 pm
    Comments (0)

    The missus is giving up on Steve Fossett. No, we’re not being snide. And we don’t blame Peggy Fossett, either. She’s asked a court to have her adventure-loving spouse of 38-years declared dead.

    Fossett, you will remember, took off in a small plane in early September; just for a short flight, he said, over the rugged Sierra Nevadas.

    And no one’s seen him since.

    November 8, 2007

    Plane Lands Minus Engine

    Filed under: Airplane,Passengers — mike @ 2:26 pm
    Comments (0)

    What would you do if you saw one of the engines of the plane you were on plummet through the sky towards the ground below?

    Perhaps you would turn to a fellow passenger to see if you were imagining things:

    (more…)