Lockheed Martin and Airbus take another run at aerial tankers for the US Air Force, air marshals behaving badly, a Brazilian court blocks the Boeing-Embraer deal, airport biometric identity checks, a pilot and a pickup app, AOPA’s STEM program, an Antonov An-124 stationed at Houston, the Boeing 777X BBJ, and Voyager 2 in interstellar space.
Also, a aviation events Max plans to attend in 2019, his Eat at the Airport project, who flew controlled powered flight first, and more on ion drives and aircraft noise.
In 2008, Airbus and Northrop Grumman won the contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. But the award for A330-based tankers was overturned and in 2011 Boeing won the contract for 179 tankers based on the 767 aircraft, the KC-46. Since then, Boeing has been beset with difficulties and has failed to be on time or within budget. Now, Airbus and Lockheed Martin have signed a memorandum of agreement on aerial refueling and are willing to “provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.” See the press release: Lockheed Martin And Airbus Sign Memorandum Of Agreement On Aerial Refueling.
On August 20, 2018, there was some confusion aboard a Republic Airlines flight operating as United Airlines flight 3531 from Newark to Minneapolis. Two armed air marshals were aboard the flight, and the flight and cabin crews were unaware of the marshal’s presence, one of whom identified himself by flashing his gun. The pilot reported a possible hijacking attempt and when the plane landed police arrested the two marshals.
Federal Air Marshals accused of more than 200 gun mishaps: Air marshal mishap led to concerns of possible hijacking at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (KMSP) control tower
The TSA’s Office of Inspection has documented more than 200 cases of air marshals allegedly misusing firearms or misbehaving with guns between 2005 and 2017, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Embraer likes the proposed tie-up with Boeing. Four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party not so much. They sought an injunction which a Brazilian federal court granted. The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control.
Delta Air Lines and Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport now have the first U.S. curb-to-gate biometric terminal using facial recognition. The camera-based system compares scans of travelers’ faces to a database of verified ID photos curated by US Customs and Border Protection.
A passenger received a message sent inflight from the pilot via an online dating service. What should pilots do and not do with their time in the cockpit?
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) created a four-year STEM aviation curriculum. Classes are offered to ninth grade students and involve a mix of theory and hands-on projects. Eighty U.S. public, private, and charter schools are participating.
Volga-Dnepr Group will base one of its 12 Antonov AN-124-100 planes at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The company will provide crews, technical support teams, as well as special loading equipment.
Boeing Business Jets announced it is launching the BBJ 777X, which can fly more than half-way around the world without stopping, farther than any other business jet. Customers have a choice between two models: the BBJ 777-8 and BBJ 777-9. The BBJ 777-8 offers the longest range of 11,645 nautical miles and a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin. The BBJ 777-9 has a 3,689 sq. ft. cabin and an 11,000 nautical mile range.
The Voyager 2 spacecraft has now left the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun – and crossed into interstellar space. This follows Voyager 1, which left the heliosphere 2012. In July 2015, NASA uploaded the audio contents of the golden records to SoundCloud.
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Outtro by Bruno Misonne.