Drones – An Rising Threat

With the increased, unregulated, drone activity we are coming up to the point that is not about “how”, is about “when” an accident will happen.


This year, there was a near-miss with an unidentified drone when it came close to hit an Airbus 320 at Heathrow airport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed.
The Airbus A320 pilot reported seeing a helicopter-style drone at 700 feet AGL during its approach to the runway at 1416 GMT on 22 July.

The CAA has not disclosed the airline or how close the drone came to the aircraft.
The CAA has given the incident an “A” rating, meaning a “serious risk of collision”.
Investigators were unable to identify the drone, which did not appear on air traffic control radar and disappeared after the encounter.

In another incident, on May, the pilot of an ATR 72 reported seeing a helicopter drone only 80 feet away as he approached Southend airport at a height of 1,500 feet.
These incidents have prompted a warning from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) that the rapid increase in the number of drones operated by amateur enthusiasts now poses “a real risk” to commercial aircraft.

The association’s general secretary, Jim McAuslan said; “The risk of a 10 kilogram object hitting a plane is a real one that pilots are very concerned about”.
“A small drone could be a risky distraction for a pilot coming into land and cause serious damage if they hit one.”

Sales of drones have increased rapidly, with UK sales running at a rate of between 1,000 and 2,000 every month.

They are expected to be very popular as Christmas presents.

They cost as little as £35 for a smaller model – more advanced drones capable of carrying a high definition camera and travelling at 45 miles per hour cost almost £3,000.
Only a very small minority of people operating drones have attended training courses in how to fly them.

A spokesman for the CAA said it had to depend on people using their common sense when they operated drones.

He said the current level of risk should be “kept in perspective” but warned that breaking laws governing the use of drones could potentially threaten commercial aircraft.
“People using unmanned aircraft need to think, use common sense and take responsibility for them”, he said.

“There are rules which have the force of law and have to be followed.”

Drones may not be flown higher than 400 feet or further than 500 metres from the operator, and they must not go within 50 metres of people, vehicles or buildings.

There are exclusion zones around airports and the approaches to them for drones weighing more than seven kilograms.

Mr McAuslan said there was an urgent need for rules to be tightened before much larger unmanned cargo planes – potentially the size of a Boeing 737 – took to the skies.

Capt. Ivan

Jet Blue A320 Fire Indication and Smoke in Cabin

A Jetblue Airbus A320-200, flight B6-1416 from Long Beach,CA to Austin,TX (USA) with 142 passengers and 5 crew, was climbing out of Long Beach’s runway 30 when the crew reported a fire indication for the right engine, stopped the climb at 9000 feet and returned to Long Beach for landing on runway 30. After the aircraft came to a stop the crew advised the tower they were initiating an evacuation asking whether there was any smoke from the right engine, tower replied: – negative, no smoke, the crew then advised they were cancelling the evacuation but instructed tower to immediately report any smoke. The slides were deployed on all doors and overwing exits and passengers evacuated.

Passengers reported the right hand engine emitted a loud bang, smoke entered the cabin afterwards. The passenger oxygen masks were manually released by the cabin crew.

Smoke in passenger cabin.

Smoke in passenger cabin.

Passenger evacuation.

Capt. Ivan
Photo: Jared West


Air NZ Captain Locks Himself in the Cockpit

Two Air New Zealand pilots hav been suspended after a mid-air drama developed when the Captain locked the First Officer out of the cockpit.


The incident occurred on a B777-200, flight NZ176 from Perth to Auckland on May 21, the aircraft was carrying 303 passengers plus crew.

The captain locked himself inside of the cockpit and did not respond to requests to open the locked door during a period of two minutes, alarming crew.

Apparently an argument developed between the pilots because of a departure delay originated when the First Officer was called for a random drug and alcohol test.

“This departure delay frustrated the captain who prides himself on operational efficiency,” Air New Zealand’s manager of operational integrity and safety, Errol Burtenshaw, told AFP in a statement Sunday.

This incident has sparked calls for a third crew member to be added to flight decks so no one is ever alone in the cockpit.

Air NZ spokeswoman Marie Hosking said the first officer and crew became concerned after the captain did not respond to three requests over two minutes from a cabin crew member to open the cockpit door.

The first officer eventually used an alternative method to access the cockpit. For security reasons, the airline would not say how.

“Naturally, cabin crew operating the flight were concerned about the inability to contact the captain and became quite anxious,” said the national carrier’s operational integrity and safety manager Errol Burtenshaw.

They were offered the support of the company’s employee assistance programme after the flight.

Both pilots were stood down — the captain for two weeks and the first officer for a week, and given counselling and additional training.

“Both pilots have learned a valuable lesson around the need to communicate better with peers.”

He said the captain did not respond or open the door because he was approaching a navigational waypoint and in his cockpit monitor saw a cabin crew member rather than the first officer ringing.

The airline provided a report on the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority. Spokesman Mike Richards said it was satisfied with Air NZ’s actions.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said the incident showed it was time all airlines put a third crew member in the cockpit. “After [the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight] MH370 there’s definitely questions being asked about whether there should be more than two people on the flight deck.”

Clark said there was no excuse for the Air NZ captain to not immediately respond to calls, given the MH370 mystery and the fate of other flights, including an Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacked by its asylum-seeking co-pilot this year.

“You can push a button and say ‘I’m busy’ … two minutes is an eternity when people reflect on MH370. The transponder can be turned off, the flight co-ordinates changed, the plane depressurised.

“It shouldn’t have happened.”

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Photos: Air NZ



Missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, Presumed Crashed

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday and was presumed to have crashed.

There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. There were no signs of sabotage nor claims of a terrorist attack.image

However, in Europe, news reports and officials said at least two people on board may have been carrying stolen passports.

The Italian foreign ministry said in Rome that an Italian was listed on the flight’s manifest although no national from the country was on board.

The passenger list provided by the airline includes Luigi Maraldi, 37, an Italian citizen. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported that Maraldi’s passport was stolen in Thailand last August. The Italian Interior Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report.

In Vienna, the Austrian foreign ministry said an Austrian listed among the passengers was safe and had reported his passport stolen two years ago while he was travelling in Thailand.

Asked for a possible explanation for the plane’s disappearance, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a news conference: “We are not ruling out any possibilities.”

By late on Saturday night, there were no confirmed signs of the plane or any wreckage, over 20 hours after it went missing. Operations will continue through the night, officials said.

Vietnam said its rescue planes had spotted two large oil slicks and a column of smoke off its coastline, but it was not clear if they were connected to the missing plane.

“We sent two maritime boats and some military boats there to clarify, each boat with about 20 people,” Pham Quy Tieu, vice minister of transportation, told Reuters by telephone on Saturday evening. “The oil spills are about 15km long. Those boats will be there in about three to four hours.”

A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the U.S.-built airliner’s deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago. And it would also mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.

Boeing said it was monitoring the situation but had no further comment.


A large number of planes and ships from several countries were scouring the area where the plane last made contact, about halfway between Malaysia and the southern tip of Vietnam.

“The search and rescue operations will continue as long as necessary,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. He said 15 air force aircraft, six navy ships and three coast guard vessels had been pressed into service by Malaysia.


Vietnam dispatched two navy boats from Phu Quoc island and sent two jets and one helicopter from Ho Chi Minh City to search for the missing airliner. It was readying a further seven planes and nine boats to join the search effort.

Other than Vietnamese and Malaysian search operations, China and the Philippines have also sent ships to the region to help. The United States, the Philippines, and Singapore also dispatched military planes.

China has also put other ships and aircraft on standby, said Transport Minister Yang Chuantang.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing that China was “extremely worried” about the fate of the plane and those on board.

Search and rescue vessels from the Malaysian maritime enforcement agency reached the area where the plane last made contact at about 4:30 p.m. local time (0830 GMT) but saw no sign of wreckage, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told Reuters.

The 11-year-old Boeing, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines, took off at 12:40 a.m. (1640 GMT Friday) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was apparently flying in good weather conditions when it went missing without a distress call.


The disappearance of the plane is a chilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours and wreckage was found only two days later.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, the airline had said people from 14 nationalities were among the 227 passengers, including at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

Flight tracking website flightaware.com showed the plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from the website’s tracking records a minute later while it was still climbing.

Chinese relatives of passengers angrily accused the airline of keeping them in the dark, while state media criticized the carrier’s poor response.

“There’s no one from the company here, we can’t find a single person. They’ve just shut us in this room and told us to wait,” said one middle-aged man at a hotel near Beijing airport where the relatives were taken.

“We want someone to show their face. They haven’t even given us the passenger list,” he said.

Another relative, trying to evade a throng of reporters, muttered: “They’re treating us worse than dogs.”

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines told passengers’ next of kin to come to the international airport with their passports to prepare to fly to the crash site, which has still not been identified.

About 20-30 families were being kept in a holding room at the airport, where they were being guarded by security officials and kept away from reporters.

Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

It identified the pilot of MH370 as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who joined the carrier in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of flight experience.

Source: Reuters

Photo Credits:  Reuters


PIA Pilot Lands Aircraft at London Heathrow Despite Being Refused by the Control Tower

London (Online): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot Tariq Ranjha put the lives of 70 passengers at stake on Sunday as he landed the aircraft at LondonHeathrowAirport in London despite being refused by the control tower.

According to sources, the control tower denied the request of landing the aircraft in the city due to the weather conditions. However, Ranjha kept insisting on landing the aircraft in London as the medical condition of a passenger, named Qasim Abu Bakar, was deteriorating.

He kept flying the aircraft in the skies of London despite the bad weather and also wasted fuel worth of millions. The control tower kept sending the message to the PIA pilot to divert the aircraft towards Manchester and Leeds.

However, the pilot’s request was finally accepted after an hour and was allowed to land the plane in the rough conditions.

After the landing, the aircraft was searched for 40 minutes by London Metropolitan Police and the passengers were finally allowed to leave the plane after being cleared.

Britain’s Civil Aviation has warned PIA to hold a proper investigation against the pilot of the fact that why he landed the aircraft despite the rough conditions. They added that the medical care could have been provided in Manchester and Leeds if the pilot landed the plane there.

Source:  Pakistan Today

And this time….The Dreamliner, almost landed at the wrong airport.

The incident occurred last Jan 14th, with an Air India Boeing 787-800 performing flight AI-301 from Sydney to Melbourne – Australia.  The Dreamliner was descending towards Melbourne when the crew requested a VOR approach to runway 34 but was cleared for a visual approach to runway 34. The aircraft aligned with Melbourne’s Essendon Airport’s runway 35 (1,500 meters/4930 feet length) and descended towards that runway when the air traffic controller interevened instructing the crew to turn left and subsequently telling the crew their runway was in their 2 o’clock position, they were still cleared for the visual approach runway 34. The aircraft turned towards the correct runway, climbed slightly from about 1300 to 1500 feet and landed safely on Melbourne’s runway 34 (length 3660 meters / 12.000 feet).

Following the Air India, air traffic control repeatedly asked approaches whether they were able to see the aerodrome beacon.

The ATSB did not open an investigation stating the system worked as it was supposed to do.


Source:  The Aviation Heraldymml_lizzi7_u_v_star

FAA to increase Take Off and Landing Separation at U.S. Busiest Airports

The FAA – Federal Aviation Administration is implementing changes in landing and takeoff procedures at more than a dozen big airports, including six of the 10 busiest U.S. fields to reduce the hazards of mid-air collisions.

The idea is to increase takeoffs and landings separations between aircraft simultaneously cleared for takeoff on one runway and those planes arriving on another.

Pilots and air-safety experts support the changes, recommended last summer by the National Transportation Safety Board, but said they could worsen delays at peak times or in bad weather.

The rule change comes after an investigation of five near-miss incidents over the past several years with US air safety investigators at the NTSB judging that the current rules created hazardous situations and unnecessary risk of collisions because pilots were not necessarily given clear guidance when conducting go-around maneuvers.

The NTSB issued a recommendation letter in July, following the investigation of five incidents in which commercial jetliners came within ‘hazardous proximity’ of other aircraft while arriving or departing at major US airports.

According to the new rule, tower controllers will have to delay issuing takeoff clearances regardless of weather conditions to make sure landing aircraft have touched down or taxied away from any potential conflict’.

The initial rule change affects 16 airports, many of which have already implemented the changes. Others have until February or April to comply, and an additional set of airports will be subject to the revised rules in July. Among the airports currently covered under the new rule are JFK in New York, McCarran in Las Vegas, O’Hare in Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as the airports in Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and “a handful of other locations.”

Source’s:  The Wall Street JournalAir Traffic Management

AVIATE, AVIATE, AVIATE!! – Illinois Pilot Lands Safely After Goose Strike

Illinois pilot Keith Baird was climbing into blue skies, with no inkling of trouble until a flight of four Canada geese suddenly appeared dead ahead, heading in the opposite direction.

Both men reflexively ducked as the goose blasted into the cabin about 39 seconds into the flight, roughly 400 feet above the ground. The impact, captured by a GoPro camera that Baird had just received as a Christmas present, punched a large hole in the windscreen and doused Baird and Frees in feathers and blood. In the very next instant, even before the facts of the situation began to sort themselves out in his head, Baird’s training kicked in.

“Aviate, aviate, aviate. That’s all you need to do,” Baird said. “Just fly the airplane.”

First things first: He had a positive rate of climb, and the airplane was still flying. The wind, with no exit available, was not rushing through the cockpit. “It’s not a wind tunnel by any stretch,” Baird recalled. He noticed his hands were covered in blood. Baird did not know whether some of it was his own, or how badly injured he was. (He was uninjured, though the video footage, watched later in slow-motion, captured the impact of the flying compass against Baird’s head.)

“I don’t know how much useable consciousness I have left,” Baird said of the seconds following the impact. As it turned out, neither Baird nor Frees were hurt, and Baird set to work making sure the goose was the only casualty. He lowered the gear and reduced power to avoid speeding up and testing the strength of what was left of his 1968 Cessna 210’s windscreen. He prepared to return to Brookeridge Airpark in Chicago’s western suburbs, from where they had just departed.

Aviate… Navigate—there was no decision to be made there, Baird noted: He just needed to return to the runway and land. Communicate—the unicom call could wait, though he would announce his return in due course, lest another pilot take the runway unaware of the returning Cessna. Baird said a more pressing concern was making sure the prop had not been damaged and thrown out of balance, a condition that would require a power-off landing.

In about 2,700 hours of flying over nearly three decades, Baird, 56, had never hit a bird before.

“The plane actually flew no differently,” Baird recalled. “It was just loud.”

A clinical psychologist whose practice includes counseling patients with a fear of flying, Baird said pilot training (including many years of using Air Safety Institute training products) made his responses virtually automatic.
The mantra of “aviate, navigate, communicate” worked as intended.
“The amazing thing, though, is when you over-learn it, it shows up in your head when the [expletive] hits the fan,” Baird said. “It was right there… in an emergency it overpowers brain lock.”

The balance of the flight was as routine as a flight can be under the circumstances.

Baird’s YouTube video, posted Jan. 10, had surpassed 250,000 views by Jan. 16, and Baird has given interviews to a growing list of media outlets, taking pains to make sure reporters get the message that general aviation pilots train and prepare for such emergencies, and the outcome was a product of that training and preparation, a series of nearly automatic responses. Baird said Frees looks forward to another sightseeing flight.

Baird said his future flying will be informed by a couple of lessons learned on Dec. 28. For one, he is accustomed to scanning for traffic at typical pattern altitudes, not skeins of geese approaching the departure path at 400 feet. That scan, Baird said, will be adjusted, along with his longtime practice of flying below 3,000 feet on VFR sightseeing trips. Research since that day has informed him that about nine in 10 bird strikes happen below 3,000 feet, Baird said.

For all of that, Baird said he is not particularly anxious about future encounters, despite the fact that the outcome could have been much worse. The bird hit near the center of the windscreen, and that was a lucky break: A few inches to the left, and Baird would have suffered a direct hit that could have injured or killed him. He has watched the video many, many times, marveling at his good fortune.

“That really was a little closer than I thought to injury,” Baird said. “We just were fortunate where it struck the windscreen.”

Baird said he has no lingering anxiety over the bird strike, no concern about future flying (though he will be a bit more careful about scanning for unusually low traffic, and maintain higher altitudes). As for the video, Baird said it is likely to be more useful to pilots—reinforcing the need for caution and the value of training for emergencies—than to patients who fear flying.

“I’m not sure how this video is going to work in that scheme,” Baird said with a chuckle.


By Jim Moore – AOPA

Photo Credits:  Keith Baird


British Airways hits a building at OR Tambo, South Africa

imageA British Airways Boeing 747-400 bound for London crashed last night into a building at OR Tambo Intl. in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Images obtained from Twitter show the aircraft was taxiing when its right wing sliced a brick building next to the taxiway.

An airport ‘s spokesman confirmed the airplane has been damaged an that there were no injuries among the passengers and crew.

The flight was cancelled.

Capt. Ivan

  •   GDL 39