Union wants action on airplane cockpit smell

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Fumes


Reprinted from and written by: DutchNews.nl


The FNV general workers union has called on the transport and social affairs ministries to launch a far-reaching investigation into smoke and smell problems on board Fokker-100 planes.

TV show Zembla reported on Sunday night that last December KLM Cityhopper planes were twice hit by such severe problems that the pilots were forced to use oxygen masks.

The programme said it is ‘extremely likely’ the problem is due to toxic chemicals entering the air conditioning system following an oil leak.

The transport ministry has confirmed both incidents, Zembla said.

Oil leak?

KLM refused to comment in depth on the reports but said it is taking the incidents seriously.

Union official Leen van der List said he wanted to know what the health risks are to crew and passengers and what action is being taken to stop the leaks.

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Southwest flight makes emergency maneuver Saturday to avoid collision course with another plane [Updated]

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes, Other Events



Reprinted from: LosAngelesTimes.com

Written by: Robert J. Lopez

A Southwest Airlines flight heading to Burbank was on a brief collision course with a small private aircraft Saturday afternoon and had to execute an evasive maneuver, causing injuries to two flight attendants, according to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Southwest Flight 2534, with 85 people on board, was flying at about 6,000 feet and was 20 miles out of Bob Hope Airport about 12:45 p.m when an alert sounded in the cockpit, warning that the Boeing 737 was on a collision course with other aircraft, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

The Southwest pilot made an emergency descent and then climbed, causing one of the attendants to break a shoulder, Gregor said. The flight landed at Bob Hope without incident.

Officials from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.


[Updated at 5:45 p.m.: A Southwest spokeswoman said the flight departed from Las Vegas with 80 passengers and that the two employees were treated for their injuries and released.]


2 dead in plane crash near rural Calif. airport

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


Reprinted from: The Washington Post

Written by: The Associated Press

GROVELAND, Calif. — A small plane crashed in flames in the backyard of a home in rural northern California Friday night, killing the two people aboard but causing no injuries on the ground, authorities said.

The single-engine Piper Saratoga went down near Pine Mountain Lake Airport in Groveland around 7:20 p.m., a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

The aircraft, traveling from San Carlos Airport to Pine Mountain, was destroyed by the impact of the crash and resulting fire.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jeff Wilson said the two people on board the aircraft were killed. He did not have additional information on the victims.

Wilson said the plane crashed on approach to the runway. It was raining when the first emergency units arrived, but Wilson did not know if it was raining at the time of impact.

The plane crashed in backyard of a home. Officials said there were no injuries to anyone on the ground and the home was not damaged.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said FAA investigators were expected to be at the scene Saturday. The National Transportation and Safety Board was also going to investigate

Groveland is 140 miles east of San Francisco and 25 miles south of Yosemite National Park.


20 hurt by turbulence on United flight to Japan

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Turbulence


Reprinted from: msnbc.com

Written by: The Associated Press

TOKYO – About 20 people have been injured by turbulence aboard a United Airlines plane flying from Washington, D.C., to Japan.

Tetsuya Shinozuka, a police official at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, says many of the injuries were bruises, but at least one person may have broken a leg. He gave no further details.

United Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino in Chicago says about halfway into the 13-hour flight, the pilot advised passengers to put on their seat belts. A short time later, the plane “experienced moderate turbulence.”

He declined to discuss any injuries but says United is cooperating with health officials.

The Boeing 747 with 263 people on board landed on schedule Saturday in Tokyo.

For Original article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35519456/ns/travel-news/

20 Onboard United Flight to Japan Hurt by Turbulence

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Turbulence


Reprinted and Written by: USA Today

TOKYO (AP) — Police say about 20 people have been injured by turbulence aboard a United Airlines plane flying from the United States to Japan.

Tetsuya Shinozuka, a police official at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, says many of the injuries were bruises, but at least one person may have fractured a leg. He gave no further details.

He said the Boeing 747 was flying from Washington, D.C., to Tokyo with 263 people on board when it encountered turbulence over Alaska.

The plane landed on schedule Saturday in Tokyo.

Fewer planes crashed in 2009, but more died

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


Reprinted from: The Seattle Times

Written by: Joan Lowry

WASHINGTON — Fewer airliners crashed around the world last year, but more people died in the accidents, an industry group said Thursday.

The number of deaths rose to 685 from 502 the previous year, the International Air Transport Association said. Yet the number of deadly accidents dropped to 18 from 23 the year before, a major accident rate that was the second-lowest on record, the association said.

The good news is that the accident rate is half of what it was in the 1990s, a safety expert said. Better warning systems help keep pilots from flying planes into the ground and help them turn to avoid midair collisions, said Jim Burin, director of technical programs at the Flight Safety Foundation.

The bad news is that the accident rate improved mainly in the first half of the last decade, Burin said.

“The last half we basically haven’t improved at all,” he said. “It’s been pretty static.”

Three accidents accounted for most of the deaths:

• Air France Flight 447 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Brazil to France with 228 people aboard on June 1. (French authorities announced Wednesday that they will begin a new $13 million search for the remains of the Airbus A330.)

• A Yemenia Airways Airbus A310 crashed into the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands on June 30, killing 152 people on board. A 12-year-old girl clinging to debris survived.

• A Russian-made jetliner bound for Armenia crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from Tehran on July 15. All 168 people on board were killed.

The annual number of deaths has fluctuated over the past decade, peaking in 2005 at 1,035, the association said.

The major accident rate for 2009 — 0.7 accidents per million flights — was the second lowest ever and is more than a third lower than the rate 10 years ago, the association said. The rate is based on Western-built jets destroyed, substantially damaged or written off as losses by air carriers.

Burin, whose aviation safety organization is based in Alexandria, Va., said pilots flying planes into the ground were once the top cause of airline crashes, but those kinds of accidents have been all but eliminated by better warning systems. Another improvement was replacement of many cockpit gauges with computer screens that are easier for pilots to read and give them quicker to access more information, Burin said.



Kevin Smith Oversized? Ejected From Flight

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Discrimination


Reprinted from: The New York Times


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Smith says he’s ”way fat,” but that shouldn’t stop him from flying.

The director and actor says a pilot ejected him from a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Burbank, Calif., saying he didn’t fit properly in a single seat.

Smith raised a stink about the incident on his Twitter page Sunday, saying ”I’m way fat, but I’m not there just yet,” and ”If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air.”

He posted a picture of himself sitting on the plane with his cheeks puffed out.

Southwest says it ”Customer of Size” policy require travelers must be able to fit safely and comfortably in one seat or make other arrangements.

After a storm of angry online comments from Smith and his fans, the airline issued an apology first from its own Twitter account and later in a statement on its Web site titled ”Not So Silent Bob,” a jovial jab at the Silent Bob character Smith plays in many of his films.

”We would like to echo our tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you,” the statement said.

The airline said it also accommodated Smith on a later flight, gave him a $100 voucher and apologized by phone.

Both Smith and the airline acknowledged that he had bought two seats for his original flight from Oakland, where he had spoken at the Macworld Expo conference.

But he was flying standby in order to catch an earlier flight, and only one was available.

Smith insisted that he was still able to put both armrests down and buckle his seat belt, which is Southwest’s standard.

Smith is the director of the new Bruce Willis movie ”Cop Out,” and previously directed the films ”Clerks” and ”Chasing Amy.”

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Victims ID’d in Fatal New Jersey Plane Crash

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


Reprinted from: NBC.com

Written by: Brian Thompson

Evidence that a part of a Cessna 337 that fell off the plane before it crashed Monday at Monmouth Executive Airport suggest the possibility of a bird strike — as the names of those killed were released.

Five people, including a father, his son and nephew, died in the crash. They have been identified as Andrzej Zajaczkowski, 38, his son Patryk Zajaczkowski, 14, and nephew Filip Zajaczkowski, 6, as well as pilot Wojciech Nykaza, 46, of Lodi, NJ, and owner of the plane Jacek Mazurek, 45, of Kearny, NJ.

Mazurek was a friend of the Zajackowski family.

Meanwhile, one experienced pilot familiar with the area believes that birds may be to blame for the crash.

“I fly in and out of this airport quite frequently — birds are an issue,” said pilot Peter DeLisa.

DeLisa said a picture of the part lying on the runway appears to come from a wingtip of the doomed plane, and the NTSB admits witnesses saw something come off.

“Something flew off, separated the aircraft as it was flying over,” said NTSB investigator Jose Obregon.

“Airplanes are made to fly with all their parts,” said DeLisa, explaining that with the wing tip gone, “It changes the whole aerodynamic structure of the aircraft as well as the weight and the balance and the aircraft becomes uncontrollable.”

DeLisa said he talked to several people at the airport when the crash occurred, and they told him the pilot had gone up for a picture-taking opportunity with another family member in a small helicopter nearby taking the pictures.

The NTSB would not confirm that, but Obregon did say the plane had taken off from the airport located in Wall, NJ and had made one pass around the property when the tragedy occurred.

DeLisa said if the plane had been flying slower, several of those on board, or all, may have survived.

But there was a huge debris field several hundred feet away from the part that landed on the runway.

DeLisa said that told him “He was at the top end of his speed range and that’s what caused a large scattering of debris and made it so difficult for officials to recover the remains.”

DeLisa added that something other than a bird strike may have happened to cause the wing tip to fall off. NTSB investigators take great pains not to leap to conclusions until they’ve had a chance to study all the evidence, and Obregon admitted their probe could last anywhere from six months to a year and a half.

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3 dead in small plane crash into California home

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


Reprinted from: Seattle PI

Written by: Brooke Donald and Sughin Thanawala, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. — A small plane crashed Wednesday in a residential neighborhood shrouded in heavy fog, killing all three aboard, igniting fires and scattering debris onto a house where a children’s day care center operated, authorities said. There were no reports of injury on the ground, and fires caused by the crash were soon extinguished.

The Cessna 310 crashed around 7:55 a.m. shortly after takeoff from the Palo Alto Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash site is one mile northwest of the airport.

Identities of the victims aboard the aircraft were not immediately known.

Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the plane either struck a 100-foot electrical tower or clipped its power transmission lines and broke apart, sending debris raining down on the working-class Silicon Valley neighborhood.

A wing fell onto one house, where the children’s day care operated, and the rest of the plane struck the front retaining wall of another house down the street before landing onto two vehicles on the street, Schapelhouman said. Debris also struck two neighboring houses, he said.

The occupants of the homes have been accounted for, although authorities can’t be sure of the fatality count until crews begin clearing the wreckage, Schapelhouman said.

“Either by luck or the skill of the pilot, the plane hit the street and not the homes on either side,” he added. “That saved people in this community.”

Kate McClellan, 57, said she was walking her dog when she saw a plane descend from the foggy sky and strike the tower, causing power lines to swing wildly in the air.

“It burst into flames, and then it kept flying for bit before it hit some houses and exploded,” McClellan said.

Pamela Houston, an employee of the day care in the house struck by the wing, said she was feeding an infant when she heard a loud boom that she initially thought was an earthquake until she “saw a big ball of fire hit the side of the house.”

Houston said she screamed to the others in the house – the owner, the owner’s husband and their three children – and the group safely escaped before the home went up in flames.

“There are not even words to describe what it felt like,” she said. “I am very thankful to God that he allowed us to get out.”

The plane is registered to Air Unique Inc. No one answered the phone number listed for the Santa Clara company Wednesday morning. The plane was headed to the Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Southern California, the FAA said.

Calls to the Palo Alto Airport also were not immediately returned.

The city of Palo Alto, which provides power through a municipal utility agency, said most of the city and surrounding area had lost power due to Wednesday’s plane crash. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Hospital both were operating on backup generators and canceled elective surgeries for the day, according to hospitals spokesman Robert Dicks.

“We have multiple crews on scene investigating,” said Joe Molica, a spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric, which owns the transmission lines used by the city. “The crash appears to have affected three transmission lines that serve the city of Palo Alto’s municipal utility.”


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Tesla Employees Killed in Plane Crash

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


Reprinted from: The New York Times

Written by: Claire Cain Miller

SAN FRANCISCO — A small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in East Palo Alto Wednesday, killing three employees of Tesla Motors, the California electric car company, and causing widespread power disruptions, officials said.

The plane, a twin-engine Cessna 310, crashed in foggy weather shortly after takeoff from Palo Alto Airport about 8 a.m., said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. It either struck or clipped three transmission lines, disabling a 100-foot electrical tower, said Joe Molica, a spokesman for PG&E.

The crash set two homes and several vehicles on fire. There were no reported injuries on the ground, said Doris Cohen, crime analyst at the East Palo Alto Police Department.

The plane was bound for Hawthorne Municipal Airport, which is near the Los Angeles International Airport. One of the Tesla employees was piloting the plane, according to a source briefed on the incident who requested anonymity because Tesla had not yet publicly confirmed details of the crash. The headquarters of SpaceX, Mr. Musk’s spaceship company, is in Hawthorne, and Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, uses space in the SpaceX building.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s high-profile chief executive, said in an e-mail message that the names of the three employees would be withheld until their families could be notified. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Mr. Musk said. “Tesla is a small, tightly knit company, and this is a tragic day for us.”

Mr. Musk, 38, co-founded PayPal and made his fortune when it sold to eBay. He has invested heavily in both the car and spaceship companies.

According to F.A.A. and state records, the plane was registered to a company called Air Unique, which is owned by Douglas Bourn, who is a senior electrical engineer at Tesla. It was not clear whether Mr. Bourn was on board. In his Stanford alumni profile, he listed his interests as flying and motorcycling.


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