TIME Aviation

JetBlue Launches Direct Flights From New York to Cuba

JetBlue JFK Cuba
Bloomberg via Getty Images Passengers exit a JetBlue Airways Corp. plane at Long Beach Airport in Long Beach, Calif., on July 22, 2013.

First major airline to fly from the Big Apple to Havana since restrictions lifted

JetBlue became the first major U.S. carrier on Friday to launch direct flights between New York City and Havana, Cuba, since the White House eased travel restrictions earlier this year.

The weekly charter flights operate between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Havana’s José Martí International Airport, the carrier said in a statement. The new route, which was announced in May, joins four other JetBlue flights that provide round trips between the U.S. and Cuba, giving the airline an even stronger presence in the Caribbean.

Cuban New Yorkers aboard the maiden flight on Friday celebrated the long-awaited, historic moment, NBC reports, though a smaller airline, Sun Country, has been operating flights between New York and Havana for several months.

TIME Aviation

Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Hawaii After Record-Breaking 5-Day Journey

APTOPIX Solar Plane
Marco Garcia—AP The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, circles the Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei, Hawaii, on July 3, 2015.

Solar Impulse 2 flies without fuel

(KAPOLEI, Hawaii) — A plane powered by the sun’s rays landed in Hawaii Friday after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

Pilot Andre Borschberg and his single-seat aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu. His 120-hour voyage from Nagoya broke the record for the world’s longest nonstop solo flight, his team said. The late U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett set the previous record of 76 hours when he flew a specially-designed jet around the globe in 2006.

But Borschberg flew the Solar Impulse 2 without fuel. Instead, its wings were equipped with 17,000 solar cells that charged batteries. The plane ran on stored energy at night.

The plane’s ideal flight speed is about 28 mph though that can double during the day when sun’s rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs over 5,000 pounds or about as much as a minivan or mid-sized truck.

Borschberg and his co-pilot Bertrand Piccard have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi in March. After Hawaii, it will head to Phoenix and then New York.

The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more than $100 million, is aimed at highlighting the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Solar-powered air travel is not yet commercially practical, however, given the slow travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.

The plane is visiting Hawaii just as the state has embarked on its own ambitious clean energy project. Gov. David Ige last month signed legislation directing Hawaii’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. The utilities currently get 21 percent of their power from renewable sources.

Borschberg took naps and practiced yoga to cope with the long hours.

“Yoga is a huge support for this flight above the Pacific: it positively affects my mood and mindset,” he wrote in a tweet from the plane on Thursday.

TIME Aviation

Germanwings Victims’ Relatives ‘Appalled’ by Compensation Offer

"The reactions ranged from blank horror and rage to despair and bitterness"

MAINZ, Germany — The families of passengers killed when a jet was deliberately crashed in the French Alps are “appalled” by a compensation offer made by Germanwings and parent company Lufthansa, according to their lawyers.

“The reactions ranged from blank horror and rage to despair and bitterness,” Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer representing families of 35 victims, told NBC News.

Lufthansa this week made an offer of 25,000 euros ($27,700) per victim and an additional 10,000 euros ($11,110) payment to each close relative as compensation for immaterial damage. This would come in addition to the 50,000 euros ($55,540) per victim that Lufthansa…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Accident

Plane Crashes Into Massachusetts Home Killing 3 Passengers

Plane into House
Mark Stockwell — AP A firefighter moves a hose into position outside a house into which a small plane had crashed in Plainville, Mass., June 28, 2015.

All 4 people inside the house were able to escape safely

Four people safely escaped after a small plane slammed into their house in Plainville, Massachusetts, but the three people in the plane were killed, state police said Sunday night.

The plane, a Beechcraft BE36 that had departed from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, crashed into the house about 5:45 p.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Massachusetts State Police confirmed that all three people on the plane were killed. The NTSB said it has launched an investigation.

State police said that the house became engulfed in flames before it was extinguished after almost three hours.

But somehow, all…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Accident

Nine Dead in Plane Crash on Alaska Cliff

Alaska-Missing Plane
Taylor Balkram—AP The Holland America Line cruise ship Westerdam sits in dock in Ketchikan, Alaska, on June 25, 2015

The conditions of those on board weren't immediately known

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — All nine people aboard a sightseeing plane died in crash Thursday in southeast Alaska, authorities said, but stormy weather was preventing the immediate recovery of the bodies.

“We have nine fatalities,” said Clint Johnson, head of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office.

Rain and wind forced an end to recovery efforts Thursday night in the rugged terrain about 20 miles northeast of Ketchikan. Officials would mount a recovery attempt again on Friday, he said.

There was no immediate indication of why the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter turboprop crashed. It was found Thursday against the granite rock face of a cliff, 800 feet above Ella Lake.

Johnson said it was too soon to know circumstances of the crash, including whether the plane flew into the cliff.

The NTSB was assembling a high-level team to investigate the crash, including three members from Alaska and at least two people from Washington, D.C.

“The initial rescue crew that went in had a very tough time because of the terrain,” Johnson said. “It’s a very steep, mountainous area, and weather conditions caused them to stand down.’

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson said the agency received a report around 2:15 p.m. that the plane was overdue. Troopers said an emergency locator transmitter activated in the Misty Fjords National Monument, and a helicopter pilot spotted the downed aircraft above Ella Lake, about 800 miles southeast of Anchorage.

Promech Air, an airline based in Ketchikan, operated the shore excursion sold through Holland America Line, the cruise ship company said in a statement. The eight passengers were guests on the Westerdam, which is on a seven-day cruise that departed Seattle on Saturday.

“We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the plane and their families,” the statement said. “Holland America Line is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved.”

Promech said that the crash happened about 11:20 a.m., and the plane was one of five Otter aircraft in its fleet.

“There is nothing I can say that can alleviate the pain and overwhelming sense of loss that we and the loved ones of those affected are feeling,” Marcus Sessoms, president of Promech Air, said in a statement. “At this moment, all of us share the pain and anguish of this terrible event. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone touched by this tragedy.”

The Ketchikan Daily News reported the Westerdam had been scheduled to leave the city at 1 p.m., but it remained in port Thursday evening.

The airline’s website advertises tours of the 2-million-acre Misty Fjord National Monument in its float planes.

“Towering granite cliffs, 1,000-foot waterfalls, lush and remote valleys and serene crystalline lakes make up this incredible landscape,” it says.

___

Associated Press writer Kathy McCarthy in Seattle contributed to this report.

TIME Aviation

Nut Rage Redux: Man Diverts Rome-Chicago Plane Over In-Flight Snacks

The incident echoes 2014's "nut rage" case that saw a South Korean airline executive briefly jailed

A man whose behavior is alleged to have caused a United Airlines flight traveling from Rome to Chicago to be diverted to Belfast on Saturday appeared in court Monday on charges of endangering the safety of a plane, being disorderly, and assaulting one of the cabin crew.

According to William Robinson, police constable in charge of the U.K. case, Jeremiah Mathias Thede, an American citizen with a registered address in Berkeley, Calif., is alleged to have stood up during the flight’s ascent, while the seatbelt sign was still on and refused to sit down until he was served nuts and crackers. Ten minutes later, he allegedly again asked for the snacks and became abusive when he was refused, the BBC reports.

Testimonies in court contend that Thede was belligerent with the crew, lifted bags in and out of overhead lockers, and blocked aisles until both passengers and crew felt unsafe. The flight was therefore diverted before it crossed into open water.

Thede said he was the victim of a conspiracy and was being “picked on,” Robinson told the BBC.

The United Airlines flight landed safely in Belfast, dumping more than 13,000 gallons of fuel. The airline estimates the incident could cost as much as $500,000 in compensation.

[BBC]

TIME Aviation

How Did a Man Survive 11 Freezing Hours in a Plane’s Wheel Well Without Oxygen?

A airplane flies on June 19, 2015 past the offices of notonthehighstreet.com, an online retailer in Richmond, London where the body of a dead man was found on the roof on June 18.
JUSTIN TALLIS—AFP/Getty Images An airplane flying on June 19, 2015, past the offices of notonthehighstreet.com, an online retailer in Richmond, London, where the body of a dead man was found on the roof on June 18

The incident has raised concerns over airport security

A stowaway who was found Friday in the wheel well of a British Airways flight that had just arrived at London Heathrow from Johannesburg remains fighting for his life after his 11-hour ordeal.

On Tuesday, police were still waiting to speak to the 24-year-old, who has not been named and remains hospitalized in critical condition, to determine whether he is connected to the body of a man found on a roof of an office building in southwest London, the Guardian reports.

A postmortem on the body of the second man will be carried out Tuesday but investigators believe he fell from the undercarriage of a flight that was preparing to land.

Unlike the risky sea crossings currently occurring in the Mediterranean, stowaways on airplanes aren’t common, and most of those who attempt such journeys perish from hyperthermia and frostbite.

“When they hide up in the wheel well, either they are crushed by the wheel or [succumb to the] high altitude and the extreme temperatures,” Michael Daniel, an international aviation-safety consultant, tells TIME. “The lack of oxygen will kill.”

In April 2014, a 16-year-old boy made headlines after he survived five hours in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from California to Hawaii, somehow enduring altitudes of 38,000 ft. and subzero temperatures.

Aviation experts were astounded as to how the teen was able stand up and walk away from the plane. “That is very, very rare,” says Daniel. “Most of the time people die and they literally fall out of the wheel well when the aircraft pilot lowers the landing gear.”

During takeoff, a person clinging to the undercarriage of the aircraft risks being hit by spinning debris from the tires as they rotate at about 180 knots (207 m.p.h.).

Once in the air, they must endure temperatures as low as –76°F (–60°C) and the lack of oxygen at that altitude can take immediate effect, sending the body into a comatose state.

However, it’s actually the low temperatures that slow the body’s vital functions and so allows them to survive without oxygen. “It’s ironic that it’s the coldness that actually would help the person survive such an event,” Daniel says, adding that the tiny amount of heat generated from hydraulic pumps or the landing-gear mechanisms could also help stowaways survive. “That might lower the temperature enough to where they literally don’t freeze solid.”

But while aviation and health experts marvel at simply surviving the grueling 8,000-mile (13,000 km) journey, more serious questions are being asked regarding airport security.

According to the Guardian, checks are being ramped up at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport, where the flight originated, as officials investigate how the man was able to board the plane.

To get anywhere near a plane on the tarmac, a person would have had to deceive several layers of airport-security system, including CCTV and wire fences, as well as to go unnoticed during preflight checks by the first officer and avoid detection from the ground staff.

Adds Daniel: “If a stowaway can get to the aircraft, so can terrorists and that’s very scary obviously.”

TIME

Stowaway Falls to Death From Plane Flying Over London

The man landed on a building in West London while another man was found in the undercarriage of a plane

A stowaway, who clung to the undercarriage of a British Airways plane departing Johannesburg, South Africa, has fallen to his death in London, the airline announced Friday.

A second stowaway managed to hold on to the plane. The body of the man was found on a building, reported the BBC. The survivor, who is believed to be a 24-year-old man, is now in critical condition in hospital. He was discovered in the undercarriage of the flight, after enduring an 8,000 mile journey and freezing temperatures.

“We are working with the Metropolitan Police and the authorities in Johannesburg to establish the facts surrounding this very rare case” said British Airways in a statement.

TIME Aviation

United Airlines Customers Outraged After Being Put Up in Military Barracks

The flight staff stayed in hotels and was nowhere to be found

United Airlines passengers expressed frustration on social media Saturday after their flight to London was diverted to Canada — and they were put up in army barracks for more than 20 hours.

According to outraged passengers, their flight from Chicago to London was diverted to Goose Bay, in Newfoundland, Canada, where they were put up overnight at a military base, while the flight staff stayed in hotels and was nowhere to be found.

“Once we landed there was nobody at all from United Airlines to be seen anywhere,” passenger Lisa Wan told NBC News once she landed in London, 48 hours after her trip began…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Aviation

Watch Boeing’s Commercial Airliner Perform Crazy Stunts

Not intended for commercial airliners

When you’re on a commercial jet, the last thing you want is for your pilot to decide to get creative and start doing tricks. At the Paris Air Show, though, with your feet planted firmly on solid earth, seeing a huge jet fly incredibly close to the ground is pretty cool.

That’s what visitors to this years show were treated to, as the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner put on a pretty spectacular show in preparation for its big moment. The Dreamliner seats 280 passengers, so it’s not like this is a plane designed to do the tight, low turns you see above.

The Paris Air Show, a hotbed of international aviation business deals, runs June 15-21.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

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