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February 12, 2010

Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport

Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Aviation

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The United Kingdom’s Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has issued two reports today into collisions between jetliners in the same spot at Manchester Airport. None of the 468 passengers caught in the incidents, which were in separate years, were injured.

The first report concerned an incident in 2007 in which a Pakistan International Airways Boeing 777 struck a Flybe Bombardier Q400. The 777 was trying to turn in behind the Q400 onto the taxiway when its wingtip struck the smaller aircraft’s rudder.

The 777’s pilot had been “cautioned about the presence” of Flybe’s plane, according to the AAIB. The pilot stated that he believed he had sufficient room to manoeuvre and that he expected a further warning were this not the case. The aircraft were later able to continue on their journeys.

The second report issued today involves the exact same location, this time scene of a collision in 2008. A Boeing 737 operated by now-defunct Spanish airline Futura was instructed to “give way”; this confused the flight crew of the Tenerife-bound plane and it moved forward, one wingtip striking the tail of a Lufthansa Airlines Airbus A320 destined for Frankfurt.

The Futura flight crew had believed they had an unobstructed path with plenty of space to clear the A320. The AAIB recommended that Manchester’s air traffic controllers stop using the phrase “give way” and instead state “hold position”. Procedures have already been changed at Manchester in light of the collisions.



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January 28, 2008

UK allows corporations to award high school credits

UK allows corporations to award high school credits

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Monday, January 28, 2008

A McDonald’s in Exeter.
Image: Billy Hicks.

The government of the United Kingdom has given corporations like fast food chain McDonald’s the right to award high school qualifications to employees who complete a company training program.

Two other businesses, railway firm Network Rail and regional airline Flybe, were also approved. The decision was made by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which oversees the national curriculum.

McDonald’s said it will offer a “basic shift manager” course, which will train staff in marketing, customer service, and other areas of restaurant management. Completion of this course will be the equivalent of passing the GCSE, the standard exam taken at age 16, or the Advanced Level, taken at age 18.

Network Rail plans to offer a course in rail engineering, while Flybe is developing a course involving aircraft engineering and cabin crew training. Passing Flybe’s course could result a university level degree.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown supports the plan. “It is going to be a tough course, but once you have got a qualification in management you can probably go anywhere,” Brown said. He emphasized the importance of higher education, saying, “Every young person needs a skill and to think about going to college, doing an apprenticeship or university.”

John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, called the decision “an important step towards ending the old divisions between company training schemes and national qualifications” and said it will “benefit employees, employers and the country as a whole.”

However, some people are unsure of the plan’s effectiveness. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said, “We are unsure whether those institutions would be clamoring to accept people with McQualifications,” using a derogatory term for the program.



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September 12, 2007

Scandinavian Airlines System landing gear failures prompt grounding of Bombardier Q400s

Scandinavian Airlines System landing gear failures prompt grounding of Bombardier Q400s

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A file photo of an Augsburg Airways Dash 8-300, with the landing gear deployed.

The second landing gear failure on a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) de Havilland Canada Dash 8 (also known as a Bombardier Q400 following Bombardier’s purchase of de Havilland Canada from Boeing) within the space of a week has prompted the grounding of many of the twin-engined turboprops.

On September 9, Scandinavian Airlines Flight 1209 suffered a right landing gear failure during landing at Aalborg Airport, Denmark. A fire broke out during the crash, and five people sustained injuries. This was followed today by the similar crash of Scandinavian Airlines Flight 2748 at Palanga Airport, Lithuania. No-one was injured.

The accidents have resulted in Bombardier recommending the grounding of all Q400s, which have undertaken more than 60,000 flights, as a “precautionary measure”. This affects leading carriers around the world, including SAS, Alaska Air ‘s Horizon Air subsidiary, Flybe, Japan Airlines, Austrian Airlines Group and Augsburg Airways, and covers around 60 aircraft.

SAS and Horizon Air have grounded 27 and 15 aircraft respectively, while Flybe have grounded six. Another airline, Porter Airlines, which operates the type exclusively against any others, have pointed out that their aircraft have not undertaken enough flights to be affected by the measures.

The landing gear are manufactured in the United States by Goodrich Corporation. One industry analyst, Cameron Doerksen, said that he felt that although the incidents and groundings obviously constitute bad publicity, he feels it would not influence the decision of a carrier considering whether to purchase Q400s. Bombardier declined 17 cents, or 2.7 percent, to C$6.23 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and SAS fell 6 kronor, or 4.8 percent, to 118 kronor in stock exchanging in Stockholm. Goodrich stock rose 19 cents to $64.96 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The groundings have caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded every day. The cost to SAS alone is estimated at 10-15 million Swedish kronor per day.



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July 30, 2007

Aircraft makes emergency landing at Edinburgh Airport

Aircraft makes emergency landing at Edinburgh Airport

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Monday, July 30, 2007

A Q400 similar to the one that made the emergency landing

A Flybe, Bombardier Q400, had to make an emergency landing at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland after it had engine troubles on its scheduled flight from Manchester.

Thirty-six passengers were onboard flight BE7220 when the captain made the Mayday call to air traffic control at approximately 07:40 BST. The captain was forced to shut down one of the plane’s two turboprop engines before finally landing safely at Edinburgh Airport at 07:50 BST.

Upon landing the plane was met by fire engines and other emergency vehicles before taxiing to the terminal building.

Jim Mulhall, a passenger on board the plane said, “When the captain told us they were going to cut an engine everyone went quiet, probably because they were apprehensive.”

Normal operations at the airport have since resumed, while the aircraft is expected to resume commercial flying this afternoon.

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