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June 19, 2010

Russia\’s main airport faces high danger from dump birds

Russia’s main airport faces high danger from dump birds

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

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Moscow Sheremetyevo 2 International Airport airfield

It has been unveiled that aircraft operating at or near a major Russian airport, the Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport, have for about four years been at high risk of bird strikes because of a high number of birds nesting nearby on a large, illegal landfill site. Prominent Russian social activist Alexey Navalny, whose anti-corruption campaigns are nowadays largely discussed on the Internet in Russia and general press, on Friday published a LiveJournal post with the details on the case.

Navalny, among other things, references the recent writings in the LiveJournal blog of the airport’s Director General Mikhail Vasilenko, who has publicly expressed concerns about the birds near the airport. He says that, since the landfill came into existence, there have been 141 instances of planes hitting birds while flying near the airport and 21 instances at the airfield during takeoff and landing operations. Bird strikes are a common problem in aviation that can lead to equipment damage and human casualties.

The damaged fan blades on this engine clearly demonstrate the potential danger from bird strikes

It has been reported that, for a long time, airport administration and groups of local citizens concerned with the landfill have been appealing to different Moscow Oblast and Russian Federation authorities to address the problem, but almost nothing has been done to close the landfill due to obstacles in local governing and commerical systems. It has been emphasized that the existence of the landfill in question is not officially permitted, and as such, the landfill is operating illegally.

As reported by Navalny, the only thing state authorities could recently accomplish, was a temporary suspension of trash transportation during May 7–12, when many world leaders came to Moscow through Sheremetyevo—historically the state’s main civil airport—to celebrate Russia’s 65th Victory Day. That was made possible only with the interference of Federal Protective Service, the state service which protects top Russian officials.



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May 4, 2010

Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

Investigation into US Airways river ditching in New York completed

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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Passengers stand on the jet’s wings or climb into life rafts as the plane begins to sink

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River. The fifteen-month probe began after the Airbus A320 performed a water landing when bird strikes damaged both engines in a move dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” by the media. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB’s final report, adopted after a board meeting today, concluded that a combination of safety equipment better than the mandatory minimums and good reactions by the crew were the main reasons the 150 passengers and five crew survived. The board stated that the aircraft’s equipment met the standards required for “extended overwater operations”, equipment that was not needed for the January 2009 flight.

The aircraft was equiped with escape slides that doubled as water rafts at the front and aft emergency exits, but the aft ones were rendered unavailable. Airbus assumed when designing the aircraft that only one engine would be inoperative during an emergency ditching, and current emergency checklists assume plenty of prior warning for dual-engine failure since the aircraft would be at a high altitude. The A320 was at just 2,700 feet when the incident occurred, having just taken off when it collided with a flock of Canada geese, almost completely removing the engines’ ability to generate thrust.

The final report has blamed a number of factors for extensive fuselage damage caused in the impact, which cracked a rear bulkhead and caused the aircraft to flood, as well as taking the rear slides out of action. The board said standards aircraft should meet in ditchings – set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) – were inadequate, training in industry was not sufficient for ditchings and the high level of tasks the crew had to focus on made it difficult for the pilot to maintain his airspeed. The pilot’s decision to ditch was credited as being the best possible solution to the emergency.

The NTSB noted that while the rear rafts failed, 64 people climbed into the forward rafts, and said many of these people would have been immersed in the frigid river. The board claimed that this could induce “cold shock”, which can lead to drowning within minutes.

The airliner is removed from the icy waters

The report found that the good visibility, calm water, nearby ferries which provided rescues within twenty minutes and good cockpit resource management, allowing the crew to maintain control, were further factors that contributed to the survival of those on board. However, it also found that “more creative and effective methods of conveying safety information to passengers” are required after learning that most passengers had not paid attention to the in-flight safety announcement. It also noted that many passengers had difficulty putting on the life vests supplied under the seats.

The report further stated that the accident was hard to predict due to the fact that bird strikes tend to occur much lower, usually below 500 feet. It considered the possibilities of fitting engine screens or redesigning engines to mitigate bird strike risk, but these proposals were rejected after consideration since they were deemed unfeasable.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman described the circumstances as “a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” She further discussed the safety recommendations the report will contain when it is released. “I believe the safety recommendations that have come out of this investigation have an extraordinary origin – a very serious accident in which everyone survived. Even in an accident where everyone survives, there are lessons learned and areas that could use improvement. Our report today takes these lessons learned so that, if our recommendations are implemented, every passenger and crewmember may have the opportunity to benefit from the advances in safety.” A total of 35 recommendations have been made seeking improved checklists for emergencies, better certification standards for aircraft and their engines, advances in crew training, better safety equipment and improved safety briefings to passengers.

One result of these findings is that the board will likely ask the FAA to require emergency equipment for water landings on all commercial aircraft. The FAA has until now held that such a move would place a disproportionately high cost on airlines.



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February 5, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: February 5, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: February 5, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: February 5, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, February 5, 2009.

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Flight 1549 transcript released

The United States Federal Aviation Administration has released a transcript of the conversations that went on between Flight 1549 and the control tower at La Guardia before the airplane crash landed in the Hudson river. All 155 passengers and crew survived and were rescued by a flotilla of boats.

The transcripts reveal that the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, realised that both engines had been disabled by bird strike and that the airplane was about to crash. Controllers attempted to clear runways at nearby airports but Sullenberger had to put down immediately, telling them “we’re going to be in the Hudson”.

The transcript, in PDF format, can be read here.

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UK house prices rise despite recession

The average price of a house in the United Kingdom rose by 1.9% in January, according to a survey by the mortgage lender Halifax. This takes the average price to £163,966 – a rise, according to The Daily Mail, of £100 a day, although their headline and story do not agree on the figure.

Year-on-year figures show that prices fell 17.2% since January 2007, and 5.1% over the last three months. A similar survey by the Nationwide Building Society said that prices fell 1.3% in January. The Daily Mail says 1.2 million households now have “negative equity”, where the mortgage on their property is more than the property is actually worth.

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Bank of England cuts interest rate; European Central Bank waits

The Bank of England, the UK’s central bank, has cut interest rates to their lowest level since the bank was created in 1694. The new base rate is to be 1%, down half a percentage point.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank, which governs rates in the Eurozone, has left its rates unchanged at 2%, but has hinted that a half point cut is possible in the next review in a month’s time.

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U.S. new unemployment at 26-year high

The U.S. Department of Labor says that initial jobless claims in the country have gone up 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 626,000. The figures for the last week of January are the highest since 1982. The four-week average, which removes anomolies like strikes and holidays, were up 39,000 to 582,250. America now has 4.788 million people unemployed and claiming welfare. Bloomberg believes that 7.5% of the working population will be unemployed in figures to be released tomorrow.

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December 23, 2008

Report blames 747 crash at Brussels on bird strike

Report blames 747 crash at Brussels on bird strike

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A file photo of a Kallita 747 landing in Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport

Belgian official Etienne Schouppe has announced that the final report into the wreck of a Kalitta Air Boeing 747 cargo plane crash at Brussels Airport will blame a bird strike.

Kalitta 747 N704CK, bound for Bahrain, was taking off from Brussels and was four seconds past V1 speed when a bird strike occurred in engine #3. Two seconds after the bird strike the decision was taken to abort takeoff, but the jet was unable to stop in the distance left to it. V1 is the maximum speed at which takeoff can be safely aborted.

The plane exited the runway and broke into three main pieces. None of the five crew members was injured.

The investigation also confirmed that there was no structural failure prior to impact. The remnants of a kestrel were found in the engine. Flight K4-207 was carrying mail for DHL at the time, and severely damaged the Instrument Landing System during the crash, taking the equipment out of action for repairs. Both the runway and a nearby railway line were closed.

Earlier this month, Kalitta announced cost-cutting measures in response to the current financial crisis. A quarter of the 800 workers are to be laid off, and eight or nine of the airline’s fleet of 21 747s are to be taken out of service.



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