Posts with the tag ‘airports’


WestJet Denies Close Call Caught on Camera at St. Maarten

March 9, 2017

Air travelers to St. Maarten expect a thrilling view approaching Princess Juliana International Airport. But thrills turned terrifying for passengers and observers of WestJet Flight 2652 from Toronto on Tuesday. When the Boeing 737 descended through the clouds it went well below the minimum descent altitude. The scene of the jet skimming the surface of Maho Bay was captured by aviation photographer Christine Garner,  shooting from the roof of a nearby building. She said she thought the plane was going to crash. “When this plane came out of the cloud, I was so shocked,” she said. “The surprising thing was he was lower than me. Normally they pass… Read More…


Third World Bathrooms in OneWorld Terminal

January 18, 2016

Warning to readers:  Photos of toilets appear in this post. Travelers at the airport hail from many countries and speak many languages but women arriving on oneworld flights into New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have one word for the condition of the bathrooms in Terminal 8, “Ewwww.” Kisha Burgos stopped at the bathroom in the baggage claim area and was shocked to see paper-strewn floors, filthy toilets and empty and broken paper dispensers in the stalls. “It’s bad,” she told me comparing it to the airports she visited in Bangkok, Vietnam and Laos on her recent five week trip. “Everything was really clean,” she said of the bathrooms… Read More…


Aviation Year in Review Has a Star Wars Sci-Fi Feel

December 29, 2015

Star Wars dominated the end-of-the-year entertainment news. Harrison Ford, the ageless superstar most associated with the ageless film franchise also arrives on my list of top aviation news stories as I wrap up the year with a look back at 2015. It was March (and the movie was already in the can) when Ford, a pilot for nearly a quarter century, lost the engine on his Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport. He crash landed on a golf course about 800 feet from the airfield. The NTSB determined a carburetor malfunction allowed too much fuel to flow into the engine causing… Read More…


Science Shows Metrojet Crash Triggered by a Bomb

November 13, 2015

The blast that took down a Russian Airbus A321 over the Sinai last month, had to be triggered by a bomb, an experienced explosives expert said today. “If the information about the plane being at 31,000 feet is reliable, it’s not a fuel air explosion,” Merritt Birky, a former safety investigator with the NTSB told me. Lacking any indication that a missile hit the airplane, Birky’s conclusion eliminates the other possible scenario, that the plane came apart mid flight due to an explosion in the plane’s center fuel tank. >Birky (L) in 1996 Birky, now retired, was the principal explosion and chemical expert in the… Read More…


Prudence and Probable Cause Not the Same Thing in Metrojet Crash

November 5, 2015

>UK Prime Minister Cameron Government photo All over the news today is the story of the UK and Irish governments canceling flights out of Sharm el Sheikh. British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters “ a bomb was more likely than not” to have brought down the Airbus A321 flown by the Russian charter airline, Metrojet. But be cautious about drawing conclusions based on the reaction of government officials concerned about protecting the lives of citizens flying out of the Egyptian resort town. It is the job of Prime Ministers and other political leaders to be prudent and investigate what could have happened to determine if a… Read More…


Passion but Few Tears in Amsterdam for Airliners That Fly into the Past

October 10, 2015

Too often air travel is an antiseptic experience for the passenger as we sit in tile-floored, waiting rooms, our heads down and our minds in cyberspace. It is so rare and so thrilling to actually smell the jet fuel and hear the whine of the engines at the few airports that still encourage a love of the journey. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is one of them and it’s the perfect place to reflect on commercial aviation’s first century since KLM Royal Dutch is, at 96 years old, the oldest airline still in operation under its original name. (And what a nice name it is.)   Schiphol Airport… Read More…


Aviation Reveals the Mystery of Human Resiliency

August 19, 2015

One month before Orville Wright’s birthday (which we remember today on National Aviation day) he was injured in a plane crash while demonstrating the Wright Flyer to the U.S. Army in Ft. Myers, Virginia with Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge on board. On their fifth circuit of the field, the Flyer’s right propeller broke unleashing a cascade of other problems that caused the plane to nose dive. Selfridge, a pilot and airplane designer was killed. There is little doubt in my mind that these aviation pioneers understood the risks associated with taking to the sky. Of the uncertainties for aviation pioneers, Wilbur Wright wrote this beautiful warning; “If… Read More…


Growth, Profitability and Timing Lifts Airline Industry

June 9, 2015

Tyler addresses the executives Photo by IATA Writing from Miami – It seems strange to me that under the guidance of the soft spoken and urbane Tony Tyler, the airline industry should be experiencing its strongest growth and profitability but there you have it. Just four years after the former chief of the International Air Transport Association, Giovanni Bisignani nominated himself the best director general of the association ever in the pages of his book, Shaking the Skies, in waltzes his polar opposite and actually sees much of  Bisignani’s big wish list getting accomplished. Yes, it’s a happy group of global airline bosses here in Miami… Read More…


Drive in the Country or Tumble Through the Sky; Acrobatic Pilot Rob Holland’s Flying Lessons

May 15, 2015

I made the one hour drive on the beautiful back roads of New England, rounding the curves and ascending the hills. Distracted by spring in full bloom, I struggled to concentrate on the road ahead. By the time I arrived at Westfield Municipal Airport and introduced myself to acrobatic pilot Rob Holland I was exhausted and we had yet to fly. That’s what sustained focus will do to you. I’d been invited to go up with Rob during a practice session for this weekend’s Great New England Air Show in Western Massachusetts and to write about the experience for a chain of Connecticut newspapers. We… Read More…


Government Helps Airlines Shift Security Costs to Passengers

February 16, 2015

Airlines got a $373 million dollar gift from the government when it eliminated the Aviation Security Infrastructure Fee last year. What with the slide in fuel prices, these 37 U.S. and 71 foreign airlines have to be feeling pretty flush right now. The fee, called ASIF was imposed after 9-11 so that airlines would contribute to the government takeover of airport security – which up until the terror attacks was the airlines’ responsibility. In exchange for getting out from under the ASIF fee, I am told, airlines agreed to drop their opposition to doubling the security fee that air travelers pay.   For each one… Read More…


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