Increased air turbulence from climate change, national aeronautics science and technology priorities, a sleeping Delta pilot is raided, international passengers skip immigration, prison time for shining a laser at an airplane, responsibility for aborting a takeoff, and flying with children.
Paul Williams, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading in England, says that there is evidence that wind shear above 15,000 feet is becoming more frequent. This can produce unpredictable “clear-air turbulence” where there are no clouds or bad weather. Williams believes that the jet stream is being impacted by rising temperature levels. The NTSB has said that air turbulence causes the most common types of accidents aboard aircraft. From 2009 to 2022, the NTSB recorded 163 “serious injuries” resulting from air turbulence. Flight crews incurred 80% of the injuries.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has released a National Aeronautics Science & Technology Priorities [PDF] document. It offers three strategic priorities: Achieving Sustainable Aviation, Transforming the National Airspace System, and Promoting Connectivity and Speed. Across all priorities, the U.S. Government’s efforts will be guided by seven principles: (1) Safety, (2) Environment, (3) Economic Competitiveness, (4) Innovation, (5) Security, (6) Workforce, and (7) Equity.
U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the FBI conducted “essential military training” at a Boston hotel. The plan was to enter a hotel room and interrogate a role player. Unfortunately, the team was “mistakenly sent” to the wrong room “based on inaccurate information.” There they woke a sleeping Delta Air Lines pilot, hand-cuffed him, placed him in the shower, and interrogated the “suspect” for 45 minutes.
Passengers deplaning a Norse Atlantic flight at JFK’s Terminal 7 were directed through a doorway leading to the terminal, not through the doorway to customs. After the error was discovered, passengers received an email from the airline saying they must return to New York JFK airport the next day at a specific time to be cleared by immigration.
After pleading guilty to aiming a laser at a Delta Air Lines jet in 2021, a federal judge sentenced the man to two years in prison. James Link, 43, of Rochester, Minnesota, lit up the cockpit with a blue laser three times. ATC then contacted a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft, which flew to the area. Link then flashed the State Patrol aircraft. The pilots spotted Link and worked with local police to apprehend him.
Australia News Desk
Accents?? What accents?? It may well be a matter of perspective of course, but following on from last week’s discussion of Aussie accents vs American accents, we take a quick look at some of the challenges that can sometimes pose, from an aviation standpoint.
In the news, Virgin Australia has resumed flights this week to the Pacific paradise of Vanuatu, following a three-year, covid driven break. As you’ll hear, the crew received a warm welcome upon arrival in Port Vila.
Virgin are also expecting the delivery of their first 737 MAX aircraft; something also delayed, and obviously not only by the covid years. The airline had originally placed their orders prior to the type’s well-publicised issues, and hence put those plans on hold pending a solution. At any rate, we expect to see the first MAX in VA colours here in June.
And being Easter, we see the yearly reportage of massive queues and delays at many of Australia’s larger airports, as people flock to get away on the last holiday break before the Australian winter sets in.
The Airlines Confidential podcast is hosted by Ben Baldanza, the former CEO Spirit Airlines, and Scott McCartney, the former WSJ columnist “The Middle Seat.” Episode 181, published on April 5, 2023, touches on lap babies at 7:07 into the program.
Airline Family Seating Dashboard from the DOT.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. Contributions by Grant McHerron, Steve Visscher, and Brian Coleman.