Obama Orders Probe Into Airport Security

Barack Obama has ordered an urgent review of airport screening after a former London student was able to take explosives on board a transatlantic airliner headed to the US on Christmas Day.

An urgent investigation is under-way to find out how Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab evaded security checks to board the plane carrying 278 passengers on Friday.

Authorities had apparently been warned about the 23-year-old Nigerian’s extremist views by his own millionaire father.

A spokesperson for the Obama administration said the probe targeted the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Transportation Security Administration.

He said the US President was “interested in learning how the explosive material was brought on board the aircraft and steps that can be taken to enhance the ability of airport screeners to detect and interdict such materials in the future”.

Abdul Mutallab was charged in hospital on Saturday night with attempting to destroy the aircraft during its final approach to Detroit airport.

Read the rest here…

Detroit: British student in al-Qaeda airline bomb attempt

Delta Airlines in Detroit hi-jacking

Detroit: UK student in al-Qaeda airline bomb attempt Credit: Reuters

The 23-year-old attempted to ignite an explosive device strapped to his leg as a Northwest Airlines flight carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew came in to land in Detroit, according to US security officials.

He suffered second degree burns before being overpowered by other passengers including one who jumped on him and was also burned.

Mutallab, whom US security sources said was a student at University College London, claimed to have picked up his device in Yemen and to be an agent of al-Qaeda.

The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism, and that stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. It did not specify what those were.

President Barack Obama was notified of the incident and discussed it with security officials, the White House said. It said he is monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates from his vacation spot in Hawaii.

Continue reading…

How to survive a plane crash – well, a plane that slid off a runway while landing in torrential rain in Jamaica

Jamaican plane American Airlines crash slid off runway

An American Airlines flight carrying 154 passengers slid off a runway while landing in torrential rain in Jamaica, Tuesday. Credit: CNN

On Tuesday, an American Airlines flight carrying 154 passengers slid off a runway while landing in torrential rain in Jamaica, stopping just short of the Caribbean Sea. The impact severely damaged the aircraft — which broke into three separate pieces — and caused the Boeing 737’s engines to shear off the wings. Thankfully, there were no fatalities; 91 people were taken to hospitals where they were evaluated and most were released.

On Wednesday, a Ryanair flight skidded off the runway in Scotland, coming to a stop 30 yards from a busy road. Amazingly, there were no injuries.

These incidents bring to mind a series of high-profile commercial aviation accidents that occurred earlier this year.

In January, the world watched in awe of the U.S. Airways “Miracle on the Hudson.” In February, the nation mourned the fatal crash of a Continental Airlines flight over Buffalo and took note of a Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam where nine were killed and dozens more injured.

Read the rest at www.cnn.com

Boeing 787 Dreamliner has new high tech features

Boeing 787 Inside

Dreamliner First Class seating Credit: Boeing Company

The successful test flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner this week marks not only the introduction of a next generation aircraft, but is also a technological milestone. For example, the aircraft makes extensive use of composite materials, making its airframe lighter, stronger, and more fuel efficient. But that’s just the start of many new innovations.

The larger, eye level windows have no sliding plastic shades for a reason. There is an electrostatic film sandwiched internally that can adjust the level of light which passes through them, individually controlled by passengers, as well as the flight crew. They act the same way as tinted windows, but with multiple levels of adjustment.

See the rest of the article here…

Boeing 787: ‘Green’ aircraft takes to the skies

More than two years later than originally planned, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has taken to the skies for its maiden test flight.

The aircraft is constructed in large part of plastics, making it lighter, quieter and greener, the company said.

The plane – powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines – took off from a runway in Washington State.

Pilots Michael Carriker and Randall Neville kept the Dreamliner in the air for around three hours before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

They took the aircraft to an altitude of 15,000 feet and an air speed of 180 knots, or about 207 miles per hou

Read more…

KLM Claims First Biofuel Airline Passenger Flight

Boeing 747 biofuel KLM royal dutch airlines

Dutch airline KLM has made the latest step in what appears to be a rush by airlines to demonstrate the use of alternative fuels. The airline made what it is calling the first passenger flight using biofuel.

KLM completed the flight with one of its Boeing 747s using a 50 percent biokerosene mix to fuel one of the airplaneā€™s four engines. On board during the hour long flight over the Netherlands were about 40 people including journalists, politicians, and the Dutch director of the World Wildlife Fund. The flight was not a scheduled flight, just a demonstration of the ability to use of biofuels.

Read the rest here…