Saturday, June 30, 2007

Burning car crashes into Glasgow airport terminal

Glasgow Airport fireScotland's Glasgow International Airport has been closed in the wake of an incident in which a sport utility vehicle -- described by some eyewitnesses as a Jeep Cherokee -- crashed into an entrance to Terminal One. The incident happened shortly after 3 PM local time. The airport has been evacuated and all incoming and outgoing flights have been suspended for the rest of the day.

While official statements have not yet verified that this was an intentional act, many eyewitnesses quoted by various news media believe that it was no accident. Reports say that the car was on fire but did not explode. The terminal building subsequently caught fire as well.

Some eyewitness reports quoted by the BBC say that there were two people in the car, one of whom was on fire when he tried to run away after the crash. A bystander tackled the man. Police later arrested both occupants of the car.

Strathclyde police issued an official statement a short time ago, which said:
Statement issued at 1645 (BST): At 1515 hours this afternoon, Saturday 30 June 2007, a car was driven into the front of Terminal One at Glasgow International Airport.

Police and Fire Service were immediately summoned and four people arrested and detained meantime.

It is unclear if any person has been injured.

Local roads have been closed and police are advising members of the public not to travel to the airport.

Incoming and outgoing flights have been suspended until further notice and the airport has been closed.

Strathclyde Police would like to reassure the public that it is unknown at present if this is connected with the incidents in London as enquiries are at an early stage.

However, we would ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.
Of immediate interest to aircrews, the following NOTAM has been issued for Glasgow:

B)07/06/30 15:24 UTC C)07/06/30 19:40 EST AGA (A1534/07)

My translation: Airside operations have had to be suspended because sufficient fire and rescue resources are unavailable for the airfield. They're all occupied with fighting the fire at the terminal entrance.

To be continued...

[Photo Source]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Flight attendant crowned Miss Northern Ireland

Melissa PattonLow fare carrier is proud of cabin crew member Melissa Patton, who recently was selected as Miss Northern Ireland. An announcement on the website says:
19 year old Melissa Patton joined the company in 2006 and has been wowing our customers ever since and always been a winner in their eyes. We would like to wish her huge congratulations on this fantastic achievement.

Melissa rose through the ranks of the competition to be crowned Miss Northern Ireland on Monday evening and was presented with a tiara and sash from current Miss World. Besides picking up the title, Melissa, from Belfast, is now entered in to the Miss World pageant, held in China, on 1st December 2007.

So keep your fingers crossed for our girl and look out for her on your flight soon!
In an interview for the Belfast Telegraph, Miss Patton was asked, "How does [being Miss Northern Ireland] compare to your day job as an air hostess?" Her reply:
I've been working with Jet2 for nearly two years now and I think it's provided me with a really good background for my role as Miss Northern Ireland.

An important part of being an air hostess is grooming and presentation - that comes from having to have hair and make-up sorted for those 4am starts. I'm well used to early starts and meeting and greeting members of the public.

I'm also very punctual. The plane doesn't wait for you if you're not there.

Although I did my A levels in media studies, English literature and religious education, I didn't want to go to university. It was actually through an advert in the Belfast Telegraph that I applied for my job. I sent away my CV and cover letter to Jet2 for an interview and was recruited.
The interviewer also asked the new Miss Northern Ireland what she thought of the "size zero debate." She said:
I think young girls need more responsible role models than some of the women currently in the media. They need real life women who eat and have curves. I'm totally against size zero - young girls should not feel that they have to be a size they are naturally are not meant to be. It's not healthy.
Good luck to Melissa Patton in the upcoming Miss World competition.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BBC reports on UK pilots and fatigue

BBC News has published a report on the issue of pilot fatigue among UK-based pilots. In an article titled Pilots raise fears over fatigue, the BBC says "Airline pilots have told the BBC they are increasingly concerned that fatigue is leading to potentially dangerous incidents in the air."
Following the BBC's inquiries, the UK's largest pilots' union, the British Air Line Pilots' Association, questioned 534 of its members.

Some 76% said their response times had been affected by fatigue, 72% said there had been an impact on decision-making skills and 41% said they would refuse to fly if fatigued.

But 12% said they would not feel able to refuse duties even if exhausted, while a further 33% said they would refuse - but feared disciplinary action.

A total of 63% said they are flying more hours than five years ago.

Overall, some 79% told Balpa the public should be concerned about fatigue.

Balpa chairman Mervyn Granshaw described fatigue is "the single biggest issue facing aviation".

He said: "At the moment we are not seeing it appear as accidents or incidents but we're getting closer to that point."
Click here to read the entire article on the BBC website.

Click here to watch a BBC video about pilot fatigue in the UK.

Monday, June 25, 2007

No. 1 pilot at US Airways retires

McNerlinBefore his retirement last week, Capt. Randy McNerlin had been the No. 1 pilot at US Airways. He had been No. 1 at America West; when that airline merged with US Airways he retained his top seniority position.

During his 24 year career at America West and then US Airways, McNerlin had flown more than 20,500 hours. According to an article in the Arizona Republic:
Pilot numbers at US Airways, which merged with America West in 2005, now extend to more than 3,000. But for 24 years and three weeks, McNerlin held onto the most senior number.

"There's something about P0001," said Elizabeth Graham, an 11-year US Airways pilot, as she waited in the jet way for McNerlin to come out of the plane. "It's just special for us."

In the Friday tribute, two Sky Harbor emergency trucks created a 300-foot water arch for McNerlin's Airbus A320 to taxi through after it landed early from Seattle. Fifteen US Airways employees huddled near Terminal 4's windows to watch his last landing and taxi.
Capt. McNerlin retired one day before his 60th birthday, in compliance with current FAA regulations that require mandatory retirement for airline pilots who reach their 60 years of age. Looks like he's not finished with flying, though. The Arizona Republic notes that McNerlin now plans to go to work for an India-based airline.

Congratulations to Capt. Randy McNerlin on a long and successful career in the U.S. airline industry, and best wishes for the next phase of his career as an ex-pat pilot.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

FedEx will base pilots overseas

FedExSome pilots flying for FedEx soon may be calling Paris or Hong Kong home, according to a recent article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The article says that FedEx is preparing to open pilot domiciles in both Paris and Hong Kong, and that the company is currently in discussions with its pilots' union about necessary contract amendments, including cost-of-living stipends and which planes the carrier will be flying in each market.

The article goes on to offer these details:
For pilots, particularly young pilots, an overseas base can offer chances to move up the pay scale with promotions not available in larger bases. For instance, a first officer in Memphis who lacks seniority to fly in the captain's seat could be senior in a smaller domicile.

Promotion from first officer to captain normally carries a 35 percent raise. A 15-year first officer moving to the most senior captain's seat would make an added $60,000 to $70,000 a year.

Traditionally, FedEx has agreed to pay moving costs to and from a domicile for pilots who stay three years.

Setting up foreign bases could save it millions in commuting costs. For instance, for June, FedEx has 31 flights to Europe to get 64 pilots in place. FedEx can expect to spend $330,000 on their tickets -- an annual rate of $3.9 million.

Figures are based on round-trip, first-class tickets that average $5,200, according to the company's flight operations Web site.

When domiciles are established, pilots who choose to commute from the United States, or from anywhere else, will have to pay their own fares.
FedEx currently has bases in Memphis, Los Angeles, Subic Bay and Anchorage. Memphis is the largest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

United Airlines will hire new pilots

UALThis summer United Airlines will begin to accept applications from pilots. This will be the first time that United has hired pilots since 2001.  According to an  article published in Business Week, up to 100 new pilots will be hired, and the first of the new-hires are expected to be flying by December of this year.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Boeing 787 Dreamliner parts delivery and virtual assembly

The initial rollout of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from the Boeing plant in Everett, WA will be July 8, 2007. (7/8/7 -- get it?). Blogger Jonathan Ostrower over at Flight Blogger has put together a great video about the deliveries of all the major structures to the plant during April and May of this year. The video winds up with a very clever 'virtual assembly' of all of the main components.

Jonathan posted the video on YouTube so that all of us can enjoy it:

Tip of the hat to Jonathan Ostrower, who goes by jostrower on YouTube. For more interesting aviation stuff, go visit his blog, called Flight Blogger.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mesa CRJ has APU fire in flight

MesaAccording to a preliminary report by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a Mesa Airlines CRJ-200 experienced an APU fire on June 3, 2007. The crew declared an emergency, but the fire was extinguished prior to landing. Flight 2844 landed safely at Phoenix and taxied to the gate without further incident. No injuries were reported. Damage to the aircraft was listed as "unknown" in the FAA incident report.

Friday, June 15, 2007

SpiceJet Boeing 737 lands on wrong runway at Delhi

SpiceJetEarlier this week, a Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by low fare carrier SpiceJet landed on the wrong runway at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. The incident happened on the afternoon of June 12, 2007 as SpiceJet Flight SG851 was arriving from Jammu in northern India. According to news reports, the aircraft had been directed to land on the airport's main runway, but instead landed on a runway that was closed at the time. No one was injured.

An article about the incident in the Times of India reports:
"During the initial probe, the Air Traffic Controller's tapes were played. The tapes revealed that SpiceJet was given an instrumental landing approach for the main runway.

They also showed that the pilot acknowledged the instructions but he opted for visual approach and landed on the secondary runway. The wrong landing endangered lives of both passengers on board as also people on ground," said a highly placed source.

Moreover, both the pilots are Indians and supposed to be more well versed with airports here. "The cockpit voice recorder will also be examined to check if there were any sounds that could have distracted the plots' attention. We'll also see if there was any communication gap," said the source. is reporting that the two pilots have been temporarily grounded while India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation carries out its investigation of the incident.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Southwest Boeing 737 emergency landing at Oakland

Southwest B737The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published a preliminary report regarding an emergency landing at Oakland by a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 on June 3, 2007. The aircraft, which had departed Sacramento en route to San Diego, diverted to Oakland International Airport after reporting a landing gear problem. According to the FAA report, the aircraft's nose gear retracted during the landing roll. None of the 119 persons on board Southwest Flight 3050 were injured, and the FAA report listed damage to the aircraft as "minor."

Various news reports about the incident mentioned that the plane was removed from the runway about nine hours after it landed.

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Continental Airlines No. 1 flight attendant celebrates 50 years service

Continental AirlinesCongratulations to Norma Heape, the number one flight attendant at Continental Airlines. Today she celebrated 50 years of service with the airline.

According to a press release, published on and elsewhere:
Continental will honor Heape's 50 years of service in a brief ceremony on June 13 prior to her departing on flight CO99 from Newark Liberty to Hong Kong. Risoli will present Heape with a specially designed necklace in recognition of her lifelong dedication to the airline.

With the most seniority among nearly 9,000 flight attendants at Continental, Heape sets a great example for her peers. Not once in her career has she missed a scheduled trip due to calling in sick.
Ms. Heape first signed on with Continental in June 1957, before the airline had jet-powered aircraft in its fleet. During the course of her career, she has flown over 26 million miles on 27 different aircraft types to nearly all of Continental's more than 100 destinations worldwide. She has been based in Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Newark.

Among the "firsts" to her credit: she worked the inaugural flight of the Viscount aircraft in 1958, Continental's first military air charter in 1964, and the first Boeing 747 flight to Honolulu in 1970.

Best wishes to you, Norma. May you have many more happy landings!