Tag Archives | Air Travel

Scottish Authorities Baffled By Balloon-Like UFO Spotted By Jet Pilots

jet pilots

STV Glasgow reports on untraceable blue and yellow orbs as new hazard of air travel:

A passenger plane was involved in a near miss an unidentified flying object, two pilots have reported. The blue and yellow UFO came within 300ft of the Airbus 320 on December 2 as the plane approached Glasgow Airport.

The UK Airprox Board – which investigates near misses in the skies – heard the incident had taken place at around 3500ft. Both pilots on the flight reported seeing the UFO “loom ahead”.

The board heard the object appeared blue and yellow or silver in colour with a small frontal area but that it was “bigger than a balloon”.

The board said: ““Investigation of the available surveillance sources was unable to trace any activity matching that described by the A320 pilot. Additionally there was no other information to indicate the presence or otherwise of activity in the area.

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A New Bermuda Triangle Off The Coast Of Venezuela?

Fancy a trip? The Guardian reports:

The as-yet-unexplained disappearance last Friday of the plane carrying six passengers and crew, including Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni, has prompted some to blame the “Los Roques curse”.

There have been a series of mysterious plane crashes and “vanishings” over the past decade or so between the Caribbean archipelago of Los Roques, where Missoni’s plane disappeared mid-air, and the Venezuelan capital Caracas, 140km to the south. Inevitably, comparisons have been made with the infamous Bermuda Triangle, the area between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico that has long had a reputation for unexplained disappearances of ships and planes.

To date, no wreckage of Missoni’s plane has been located since it took off from Los Roques for Caracas. Venezuela’s civil aviation authority said the aircraft’s last recorded position was 18km south of the Los Roques.

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Increased Airline Security Has Killed Far More Americans Than 9/11

Businessweek points out a staggering study suggesting that the delays and hassle caused by post-9/11 TSA airport screening procedures encouraged travelers to go by car rather than the far safer choice of flying  – resulting in thousands of extra road fatalities which would not have otherwise occurred, a death toll dwarfing that of the attacks on the Twin Towers:

Created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Transportation Security Administration has largely outlived its usefulness. These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant.

The inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day.

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The First US Jet Flight

Bell P-59B Airacomet at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Exactly seventy years ago the first U.S. jet flight took place. Designed and built by the Bell Aircraft Corporation, the XP-59A was first flown at Muroc Dry Lake, California, on October 1, 1942, by Bell’s chief test pilot Robert M. Stanley. The next day Col. Laurence C. Craigie became the first U.S. military pilot to fly a turbojet aircraft. In October 1943, Ann Baumgartener Carl of the Women Airforce Service Pilots flew a YP-59A and became the first American woman to fly a jet airplane.

The XP-59A was powered by the first American jet engine, the General Electric I-A, which was based on the W2B design of Sir Frank Whittle. The clip below shows the very first flight of Frank Whittle’s jet turbine at Cranwell, England, courtesy of Shelter Island Films.

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Future Planes Will Burn Sawdust & Straw

Airbus A380 blue skySounds too good to be true, but apparently this is a real possibility. From Reuters:

Passenger jets could be chomping on straw or flying on fuel extracted from sawdust in coming years as the search widens for cleaner alternatives to kerosene, French scientists say.

The “ProBio3″ project, started in early July and co-financed by a French government economic stimulus program, aims to use traditional horse-bedding materials to develop a new kind of biofuel that can be used in a 50/50 blend alongside kerosene.

“Tomorrow, planes will fly using agricultural and forest waste,” said Carole Molina-Jouve, a professor at Toulouse’s National Institute of Applied Sciences (Insa), who is coordinating the ProBio3 project.

“We already know how to set up a basic production line but we must move towards an industrial line,” she said. “We need to translate what is done in laboratories to the real environment while improving its profitability and efficiency.”…

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Canadian Airports Being Wired With Cameras and Microphones To Eavesdrop on Travelers’ Conversations

Reports Ian MacLeod in the Ottawa Citizen:

Airports and border crossings across Canada are being wired with high-definition cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on travellers’ conversations, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

A CBSA statement said that audio-video monitoring and recording is already in place at unidentified CBSA sites at airports and border points of entry as part of an effort to enhance “border integrity, infrastructure and asset security and health and safety.”

As part of the work, the agency is introducing audio-monitoring equipment as well.

“It is important to note that even though audio technology is installed, no audio is recorded at this time. It will become functional at a later date,” CBSA spokesman Chris Kealey said in a written statement. But whenever that occurs, the technology, “will record conversations,” the agency said in a separate statement in response to questions from the Ottawa Citizen

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The Personal Flight Vehicles That Never Became Popular

Did you know that hovercrafts could be this adorable — why did the U.S. military the kibosh on them? In a parallel, tidily retro-futuristic universe, we are all riding our X-Jets and WASPs to work. Via Retronaut:

Nicknamed “The Flying Pulpit”, the Williams X-Jet It could move in any direction, accelerate rapidly, hover, and rotate on its axis, staying aloft for up to 45 minutes and traveling at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. It was evaluated by the U.S. Army in the 1980s, and was deemed inferior to the capabilities of helicopters and small unmanned aircraft.

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Senator Rand Paul Detained By TSA

Rand PaulThe TSA is denying this, here is what Tim Mak reported on the Politico below. This kind of reminds me of when the late Senator Kennedy was placed on the “no-fly” list, however, in Senator Paul’s case, given his vocal criticism of the TSA, this incident makes great political theater. (I wonder if his father will bring up in the next Republican presidential debate …)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was blocked from boarding a flight Monday by the Transportation Security Administration in Nashville, Tenn., after refusing a full body pat-down, POLITICO has confirmed. “I spoke with him five minutes ago and he was being detained indefinitely,” Paul spokesperson Moira Bagley said. “The image scan went off; he refused patdown.”

Paul’s father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), tweeted out news of the incident, saying that there had been an “anomaly” with a body scanner. “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville.

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TSA Recruiting ‘Junior Officers’ at Airports

TSA Junior BadgeVia InfoWars:

Remember when you were growing up and wanted to be a police officer, fire fighter or other public servant?

Now the TSA appears to be tapping children as future recruits for airport checkpoints, as evidenced by this novelty “Junior Officer” badge handed out at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Not only are young, impressionable fliers indoctrinated by the unconstitutional checkpoints themselves, but now by a subtle driver to join the team someday when they can get the power to conduct their own pat-downs and body scans.

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EU Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners Over Health Concerns

TSA ScanReports Julia Whitty on Mother Jones:

Citing health concerns, the European Union banned from European airports this week the same kind of X-ray scanners used by TSA in airports across the US. Here’s the EU’s wording:

In order not to risk jeopardising citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at EU airports.

In How Safe Are TSA’s Porno Scanners? I wrote about the risks of using ionizing radiation in routine airport screenings. Concerned scientists have noted the health risks of X-ray scanners, where even low levels of radiation increase cancer risks. They also note that TSA’s safety testing is flawed, since:

  1. testing is not done on the skin, which receives most backscatter X-rays
  2. the devices used for testing airport scanners are not designed for testing airport scanners

Worse, as Pro Publica points out, TSA’s safety tests are strangely obtuse:

The researchers’ names have been kept secret, and the report on the tests is so “heavily redacted” that “there is no way to repeat any of these measurements.”

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