Tag Archives | Air Travel

Amazing Northern Lights Show Over Erupting Iceland Volcano (Photo)

Major props to “ice,” an Icelandic photographer with one very cool collection of photos of the current volcanic eruption in Iceland. Not so cool is that the volcanic ash in the air over northern Europe has stopped all UK air traffic, so for anyone planning to meet the disinformation crew at the London Book Fair next week, stay tuned…

Here’s the pick of the crop of photos, showing the Northern Lights a/k/a Aurora Borealis:

(c) 2010 Ice - shown here in reduced size as fair use.

(c) 2010 "Ice" - shown here in reduced size as fair use.

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Mega Shark Attack on Airplane Explained by Physics

Now this is entertainment. But here's the real life physics behind it (click here). Stephen Tauban writes on his blog:
Last year, I discovered the wonderfully cheezy and sharky movie: Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. While it certainly appealed to a more straight-to-DVD niche market of creature-feature enthusiasts, it wasn’t half bad. Pretty laughable in parts … well actually, in most parts when you consider the wooden acting and crap computer animation. However the most ridiculous scene has to be when Mega Shark takes down a commercial jetliner that is cruising over the middle of the ocean. It was this moment that took the movie from being a little ho-hum to “holy shit, did that shark just eat a plane!?” Check out the clip: It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I mean, how the hell did it do that? What would it require for a shark the size of a plane to launch itself out of the water and take down a moving aircraft? After reviewing some of my basic physics calculations I came up with some pretty startling figures. However, it didn’t feel like I would be doing such an epic event justice with just a basic blog post, which meant it was time to do what I love most: an infographic! I had been itching to do one for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with all that said, check out the resulting design below. Oh, and just click on the image to download the full size PDF version for the smaller details.
Megashark
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Pregnant Woman Kicked Off Airplane For Asking For Water

There's no justice for famous chubby directors, or it seems now, the thirsty on airplanes. Huffington Post reports:
It's not just famous directors who are getting kicked off planes for bizarre reasons. A New York doctor claims that he was booted from a Spirit Airlines flight for asking for water for his pregnant wife on Sunday.

Spirit Airlines

Mitchell Roslin, the Chief of Obesity Surgery at Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital, says that after being grounded at LaGuardia Airport for two hours in a hot plane his attempts to get water for his 7-month pregnant wife were repeatedly refused. Roslin informed the New York Post that flight attendants told him that it was "against corporate policy" to give him water before the plane was in the air.
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Where’s Your Flying Car (and Your Jetpack)? (Video)

Via h+ magazine:
This article lists three real flying cars that are already in development — and provides video of each one! MIT engineers are already taking deposits for next year's roll-out of a "Roadable Aircraft" that can fold and stow its wings in less than 30 seconds — and then drive like a regular car. And NASA's electric-powered flying suit will even take off vertically like a helicopter before converting into a propeller-driven airplane. Though it accelerates up to 300 mph, one NASA engineer reports it has zero emissions, and "It's a 10 times reduction in noise from the quietest helicopters today."
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Director Kevin Smith Thrown Off Oakland Flight Over Weight

Kevin SmithReports CBS13:

OAKLAND, Calif. ― A cult-favorite movie director has claimed that he was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight out of Oakland due to a dispute over his weight.

Kevin Smith, the creator of movies like Clerks, Dogma, and the upcoming Cop Out, posted a series of angry, sarcastic messages on his Twitter feed (@ThatKevinSmith) blasting Southwest Airlines for allegedly throwing him off a flight at Oakland International Airport after he had already been seated and buckled in.

According to Smith, a flight attendant told him the flight captain had deemed him a safety risk and requested that he leave the flight.

“I broke no regulation, offered no ‘safety risk,’ (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?),” he wrote. “I’m way fat … But I’m not THERE just yet.”

Smith’s followers (numbering more than 1.6 million) flooded Twitter with support for the filmmaker and insults for Southwest Airlines’ official Twitter page.

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How to Fall 35,000 Feet — And Survive

Parachute On FireDan Koeppel writes in Popular Mechanics:

You’re six miles up, alone and falling without a parachute. Though the odds are long, a small number of people have found themselves in similar situations — and lived to tell the tale.

6:59:00 AM, 35,000 Feet: You have a late night and an early flight. Not long after takeoff, you drift to sleep. Suddenly, you’re wide awake. There’s cold air rushing everywhere, and sound. Intense, horrible sound. Where am I?, you think. Where’s the plane?

You’re 6 miles up. You’re alone. You’re falling.

Things are bad. But now’s the time to focus on the good news. (Yes, it goes beyond surviving the destruction of your aircraft.) Although gravity is against you, another force is working in your favor: time. Believe it or not, you’re better off up here than if you’d slipped from the balcony of your high-rise hotel room after one too many drinks last night.

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TSA Agent Plants White Powder on Passenger as ‘Joke’

Daniel Rubin writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In the tense new world of air travel, we're stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile. The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener — particularly one this stupid. Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations. She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense. What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.
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The Growing Price Of Obesity: Buy Two Seats To Fly Air France

 This picture, on the aviation news website Flightglobal, reignited debate about obese passengers on planes.  Photo: FLIGHTGLOBAL  Air France now requires that obese passengers must purchase two seats to fly on its airplanes. I once flew from Charlotte to New York with half of my upper body covered by just such a passenger, who couldn’t have been nicer and more apologetic, but I was still pretty upset by the experience, so personally I hope other airlines take note (United does have a similar policy). From the Telegraph:

From next month seriously overweight flyers will be asked to pay for two seats, or not be allowed on board for “safety reasons”, the airline announced yesterday.

“People who arrive at the check-in desk and are deemed too large to fit into a single seat will be asked to pay for and use a second seat,” said Monique Matze, an Air France spokesman.

“They will be charged 75 per cent of the cost of the second seat, which is the full price excluding tax and surcharges, on top of the full price for the first.

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Twitter Joke Led to Arrest and Lifetime Airport Ban

Mark Hughes and Jason Walsh write in the Independent:

When heavy snowfall threatened to scupper Paul Chambers’s travel plans, he decided to vent his frustrations on Twitter by tapping out a comment to amuse his friends. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

Unfortunately for Mr Chambers, the police didn’t see the funny side. A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat. After he was released on bail, he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and has, he says, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life. “I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post,” said Mr Chambers, 26.

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Homeland Security Study Proves You Can Find Weapons If You Believe in Them

Cyriaque Lamar writes on io9.com:

Looking for something you’re sure you won’t find? Even if the item you seek is close by, a doubtful attitude reduces your chances of finding it, claims a new study funded by the US Department of Homeland Security.BagScanResearchers simulated the conditions of an airport security checkpoint and instructed subjects to search for weapons. LiveScience reports that the monotony of the searches and increasing rarity of the weapons decreased subjects’ attention spans:

They asked subjects in the lab to look at X-ray scans of checked baggage, as if they were airport screeners. In one trial, 50 percent of the scans showed a gun or knife in the bag. In this test, subjects did fairly well, only missing the weapons about 7 percent of the time.

In another trial, the guns and knives appeared much more infrequently — in only 2 percent of bags. This time, subjects missed the weapon 30 percent of the time.

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