Archive | Aviation

Crew Uses Hand-held GPS to Land Plane

MOSCOW, March 25 (UPI) — The crew of a plane that made a belly landing while approaching Moscow used a pocket GPS device instead of the airport’s navigation system, an official said.

The plane, a Tu-204 operated by the state-controlled Aviastar, was returning from a flight to Egypt Monday when it made an emergency landing, crashing in the woods near Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport during heavy fog.

All eight crew members were injured and the aircraft was heavily damaged.

The plane, a modern Russian airliner, had carried more than 200 passengers to Egypt but only the crew was aboard when it crash-landed.

An official told a Russian business daily investigators are focusing on the navigation method used by the crew, the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

The business daily Kommersant said Domodedovo is equipped with a special navigation system that allows a plane to land during the most difficult weather conditions.

The crew of the Tu-204 failed to notify air traffic control, as required, that they were switching to manual guidance for their landing, the official said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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450 Evacuated After Iceland Volcano Erupts

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, March 21 (UPI) — The first eruption of a volcano in southern Iceland since the 1820s forced the evacuation of 450 people, authorities said Sunday.

Officials warned of possible flooding after the volcano erupted next to the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the fifth largest in Iceland, 100 miles southeast of the capital, Reykjavik.

Authorities reported no injuries or major property damage.

The Daily Telegraph reported a state of emergency has been declared in areas surrounding the 100-square-mile glacier, and three Red Cross centers were set up for evacuees in the village of Hella.

With heavy volcanic ash in the skies, the Icelandic public radio station RUV reported three Iceland-bound Icelandair flights had been ordered back to Boston, Orlando and Seattle.

The Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration ordered aircraft to stay 120 nautical miles away from the volcano area and all domestic flights were canceled until further notice, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reported.

Because of the risk of ash getting into planes’ engines, Keflavik international airport, Reykjavik airport and Akureyri airport were closed.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Countdown Under Way for Weather Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 2 (UPI) — The countdown is under way at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for the launch of the latest in a series of U.S. meteorological satellites.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P — nicknamed GOES-P — is set for lift off atop a Delta IV rocket Thursday during a 6:17 p.m.-7:17 p.m. EST launch window.

The spacecraft is designed to observe storm development and weather conditions on Earth, officials said. It will also detect ocean and land temperatures, monitor space weather, relay communications and provide search-and-rescue support.

GOES-P was built by Boeing Launch Services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under NASA’s technical and project management, officials said. The launch is being managed by the United Launch Alliance under a Federal Aviation Administration license.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Atmospheric Science, Aviation0 Comments

China Shrub Shows Biofuel Promise

BEIJING, Feb. 23 (UPI) — China’s poisonous jatropha shrub is showing promise as biofuel and could boost the country’s efforts to reduce dependency on imported crude oil.

In the past, farmers planted the poisonous perennial only as a barrier to ward off animals from their fields. But Hong Kong-invested Shenyu New Energy Co. Ltd. sees the lush green shrub as a great moneymaker, with the potential to generate $59 million in annual sales.

“We are very confident about the biofuel industry. Many countries, including China, have realized the renewable energy industry would become a new engine for economic growth,” Gou Ping, Shenyu’s general manager told China Daily.

China, the world’s second largest oil importer, aims to include 2 million tons of biodiesel in its annual fuel consumption by 2020.

According to a report issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s annual crude oil demand is forecast to be more than 400 million tons this year and increase to 563 million tons by 2020.

By 2008, Shenyu had 49,445 acres of jatropha in the province of Yunnan. The company hopes to develop 82,410 acres of the shrub in 2010, Gou said. To help reach that target, Shenyu has enlisted 320 households in the Yunnan town of Yongxing to plant 3,303 acres of jatropha.

Each jatropha seed produces 30 to 40 percent of its mass in oil, which can be processed to produce biodiesel for diesel-running cars. The remaining residue can be further processed as biomass feedstock to power electricity plants or as fertilizer.

Shenyu is building a $9.5 million jatropha oil processing plant expected to be online by the middle of this year. Initially, the factory will produce 3,000 tons of biodiesel annually. Gou said the site has the potential to produce 100,000 tons annually at full capacity but there is not enough jatropha to process just yet.

Yunnan aims to produce 500,000 tons of biodiesel annually by 2015, according to a development plan issued by the provincial government in September last year.

Gou said about 20 companies are involved with jatropha plantations and associated processing businesses. But most of them are small enterprises and many companies are dealing with financing issues and lack processing and quality-control technologies.

“China has tremendous resources and could be a very important player in the world’s research and commercialization of biofuels,” David Wang, president of Boeing China, said at the World Route Conference in Beijing in mid-September.

Wang noted that if China could transform 12.4 million acres of the country’s wasteland into jatropha plantations by 2020, the country’s biofuel production could replace 40 percent of the current global aviation jet fuel demand.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Biofuels & Biomass, Cars, Consumption, Electricity1 Comment

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Using New Bird Radar for Passenger, Plane and Animal Safety

SEATAC, Wash., Jan. 14 (UPI) — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport demonstrated an advanced bird radar Thursday that provides “as-it-happens” data to improve flight safety, officials said.

The avian radar provides wildlife managers with real-time displays of bird airport activity in overlays on a Google Earth map, said University of Illinois researchers, who developed the system.

Airport Managing Director Mark Reis said the avian radar is intended “to minimize bird-strike incidences.”

Bird strikes are a continuing problem to aviation, with more than 7,000 strikes across the United States voluntarily reported annually to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 successfully landed in New York’s Hudson River 6 minutes after takeoff after a collision with a flock of Canada Geese resulted in an immediate and nearly complete loss of thrust from both engines.

All 155 occupants safely evacuated the airliner, which was still virtually intact, though partially submerged and slowly sinking. The occupants were quickly rescued by nearby watercraft.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Aviation, Birds1 Comment

Aircraft Recycling & Salvage Companies are Having a Big Year

LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) — Airplane salvage companies, which operate much like junk yards for cars, are having a banner year in Britain and elsewhere, an international trade group said.

Sky News, a British news service, said airlines are rushing to recycle equipment as funds are scarce in an industry hit hard by the recession.

“The industry is in turmoil and airlines are struggling to manage their costs,” said International Bureau of Aviation President Phil Seymour.

A used jet engine can be worth as much as $4.8 million and times are tough. “If you are an airline trying to cut costs do you really want to be buying new parts from Boeing?” Seymour asked.

Air Salvage International, a British firm that has salvaged 25 planes this year, had “our best year in the 15 years we’ve been operating,” said managing director Mark Gregory

About 80 percent of a salvaged airplane can be re-sold. Breaking one down can take as long as two months, Sky News said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Aviation, Cars, Consumer Waste, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Reduce & Reuse, Transportation0 Comments

Aviation Safety Group Adds Birds to Priority List

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — A U.S. government-aviation industry safety group added birds to its list of priority issues at the behest of two government entities, officials said.

The Commercial Aviation Safety Team elevated birds to its priority issues after reviewing bird-aircraft incidents, including January’s Hudson River landing of a US Airways jet that hit geese and engine damage caused by birds on a Frontier Airlines plane departing Kansas City Nov. 14, USA Today reported Monday.

The team was asked to urged to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agriculture Department.

“This is a big flashing beacon,” says Carla Dove, head of the Smithsonian Institution’s bird identification lab. “It’s time to wake up.”

Since the Hudson River accident, the FAA improved bird strike reporting and is writing new, tougher requirements for how airports should combat birds and other wildlife, Kate Lang, FAA’s acting associate administrator for airports, told USA Today.

Airline officials believe the risk from bird strikes remains relatively small but still deserving of more attention, said Basil Barimo, vice president for safety with the large-airline trade group, Air Transport Association.

Bird experts said efforts must be undertaken to develop new technology to track birds and study other ways to lower bird hazards.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Aviation, Birds, Other, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

First Passenger Flight Powered by Biofuel Soares Over Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Biofuel made a significant headway in aviation as a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing aircraft using the renewable energy source flew over the Netherlands with about 40 people on board.

KLM said it was the first time a passenger aircraft using sustainable biofuel took flight anywhere in the world.

The test flight used 50 percent kerosene fuel and 50 percent biofuel in one of the jet’s four engines and circled over the Dutch airspace for about an hour before landing at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, a major European hub for air transport.

Analysts said the test was an important step toward a future switch in aviation fuel use from the current jet fuel to biofuel, but progress depends on greater accessibility of sustainable oils needed to produce the new aircraft fuel.

Aviation fuel is seen as a major factor in global carbon dioxide emissions and is believed to add up to 4 percent of the total recorded gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The biofuel used on the KLM flight is believed to emit up to 80 percent less carbon dioxide than conventional kerosene, and further research aims to secure greater efficiencies critical to fighting climate change.

Boeing has already set projections that predict widespread use of biofuels in aviation within the next two years.

KLM Chief Executive Peter Hartman said the test flight proved that governments and the private sector could join forces to hasten projects that bring biofuel into wide usage in aviation.

Concerns over a perceived air travel role in climate change have spawned pressure groups worldwide that want air transportation greatly reduced and air travel discouraged in favor of more sustainable modes of travel — yet to be found.

KLM said the biofuel was manufactured in Seattle from the camelina plant and imported for the purpose. The airline said it had taken into account the carbon footprint created by the dispatch of the biofuel from the United States to the Netherlands for the test flight.

Doubts about the feasibility of biofuels persist, however, because of the sheer scale of the feedstock requirement. Although most biofuels do not require modification to the aircraft engines, because they are a direct replacement for kerosene, producing biofuels will involve vast quantities of biomass as biofuel feedstock.

The airline industry burns about 85 billion gallons of kerosene each year. Producing those quantities of biofuel, estimates the Guardian newspaper, would require the equivalent of Europe’s land mass to be under cultivation for a renewable source such as soybeans.

Boeing is also looking into developing fuels produced from algae.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Aviation, Energy, Transportation0 Comments

Bowling Ball Sized Ice Ball Blasts Through Roof and Intp Colorado Woman's Home

BRUSH, Colo., Nov. 18 (UPI) — Aviation officials say they’re investigating why a piece of ice fell from the sky and into the kitchen of a Brush, Colo., woman.

DaNelle Hagan says she was lucky she wasn’t sitting in the wrong place in her home Saturday morning when the bowling ball-sized ice chunk came crashing through her roof with a loud bang, KUSA-TV, Denver, reported Wednesday.

“It was just bizarre,” Hagan told the broadcaster. “I heard a huge explosion, couldn’t figure out if something had crashed in or exploded out and (it was) just complete chaos after that.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said that while it’s rare, ice can form on the outside of airplanes because of a leak or weather conditions, then fall to the ground.

“My head is spinning from everything that’s gone on the last few days. I’m just hoping for a good outcome soon,” Hagan told KUSA.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Aviation0 Comments

Air Pollution at Small Airports a Concern

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 (UPI) — Air pollution is well-recognized problem at major airports, but air pollution near smaller regional airports may be overlooked, U.S. researchers say.

Suzanne Paulson of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues said smaller regional airports are becoming an increasingly important component of global air transport systems.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that officials should pay closer attention to these overlooked emissions, which could cause health problems for residents. Paulson and colleagues note that scientists have known for years that aircraft emissions from fuel burned during takeoffs and landings can have a serious impact on air quality near major airports.

The scientists measured a range of air pollutants near a general aviation airport for private planes and corporate jets in Southern California — Santa Monica Airport — in the spring and summer of last year.

The researchers found that emissions of ultrafine particles, which are less than 1/500th width of a human hair, were significantly elevated when compared to background pollution levels.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Pollution, Aviation, Pollution & Toxins, Regional, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

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