TIME Drones

Amazon Says FAA Proposals Won’t Ground Drone Delivery Plans

Amazone Drone Delivery
AP This undated image provided by Amazon.com shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs.

"We are committed to realizing our vision."

Amazon said Monday it remains committed to developing unmanned aerial devices to deliver products to customers, even as proposed federal regulations seemed to rule out the possibility of a drone delivery service.

The proposed rules governing small drones, released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Sunday, would require that operators pilot the vehicles with “unaided vision” and would prohibit them from flying over people. Both seem to conflict with Prime Air, Amazon’s vision of flying automated drones to the homes of customers.

But Amazon said it would continue to work on drone deliveries while the FAA proposals were under consideration. “The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers,” said Amazon executive for public policy Paul Misener. “We are committed to realizing our vision.”

A press release from the FAA announcing the regulations stressed that the agency “tried to be flexible in writing these rules.” The agency said it still seeking comment on the proposals, which are expected to take up to two years to become law, particularly the potential requirement that operators be able to see the craft they are operating.

“We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Amazon suggested that it would fight a regulation that effectively banned the service.”[We] are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need,” said Misener.

 

TIME Aviation

Expedia To Buy Rival Orbitz in a Deal Worth $1.3 Billion

The Expedia Inc. homepage and logo.
Bloomberg—Getty Images The Expedia Inc. homepage and logo.

The travel site is looking to increase its customer base in a highly competitive industry

Expedia has agreed to purchase rival online travel company Orbitz Worldwide — which owns Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com — for about $1.33 billion, the company said Thursday.

Expedia will shell out $12 a share in cash, representing a premium of almost 25% over Orbitz’s closing price Wednesday.

“We are attracted to the Orbitz Worldwide business because of its strong brands and impressive team,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia’s President and CEO. “This acquisition will allow us to deliver best-in-class experiences to an even wider set of travelers all over the world.”

Expedia is looking to increase its customer base in a highly competitive industry.

Orbitz also has successful business-to-business brands that attracted Expedia, including the Orbitz Partner Network and Orbitz for Business. The deal is subject to approval by the shareholders and other customary closing conditions.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Taiwan

TransAsia Crash Death Toll Reaches 32 With 11 Passengers Still Missing

TransAsia Airways Plane Crashes In Taipei
Ashley Pon—Getty Images Rescuers check the wreckage of the TransAsia ATR 72-600 on the Keelung river at New Taipei City on Feb. 4, 2015

Experts suspect a "flameout" in one of the engines may have been to blame

Taiwanese search-and-rescue teams continued to search for 11 missing passengers from a TransAsia flight that crashed in Taipei on Wednesday morning, as the confirmed death toll from the disaster reached 32.

Flight 235 went down soon after takeoff after banking hard to the left, clipping a taxi driving on an overpass and slamming into Taipei’s Keelung River. Local broadcasters have released a recording of an unidentified crew member uttering “Mayday” three times before losing contact with the control tower.

Speculation as to why the plane ditched has revolved around the possible failure of the aircraft’s left engine that appeared to be malfunctioning in footage posted online.

“Before it hit the taxi, it made a hard left bank that’s indicative usually of the pilot trying to either avoid something or an uncontrolled event,” Mike Daniel, an international aviation-safety consultant based in Singapore, tells TIME.

However, authorities have refrained from commenting on possible causes until the official investigation concludes. On Wednesday, rescue teams successfully recovered the plane’s flight recorders and pulled its fuselage from the Keelung River after nightfall.

At least 32 people were killed during the crash. Fifteen passengers survived with injuries.

“I’m simply amazed that there were survivors,” says Daniel. “It actually speaks well to the construction of the aircraft to have survivors after that type of impact — not only after hitting the bridge but also cartwheeling into the water.”

TransAsia representatives said the ATR-72 turboprop had been in service for less than a year; however, after being delivered, one of the engines was immediately replaced after functioning improperly, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Actually, this aircraft in the accident was the newest model. It hadn’t been used for even a year,” Peter Chen, TransAsia’s director, told reporters at a press conference, according to the Associated Press.

Wednesday’s accident marks the airline’s second deadly crash in less than 10 months. In July a TransAsia flight went down near the airport at Magong on Taiwan’s Penghu Island during a rainstorm, killing 48 people and injuring 10.

TIME Aviation

At Least 26 Dead as Taiwanese TransAsia Plane Crashes in Taipei

Officials say at least 26 people killed during crash

A TransAsia Airways flight departing the Taiwanese capital Taipei on Wednesday morning crashed into a river nearby the terminal after coming into contact with an elevated roadway soon after takeoff.

The ATR-72 turboprop aircraft was bound for the offshore island of Kinmen with 58 people onboard, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. At least 26 people were killed during the crash, the Associated Press reports.

Rescue operations were ongoing and first responders in rubber boats were at the scene trying to enter the aircraft. Rescuers later used a crane to hoist wreckage out of the water.

Wednesday marks the second deadly incident for TransAsia in the past year after a plane crashed July 23 near the airport at Magong on Taiwan’s Penghu island during a thunderstorm, resulting in 48 deaths and 10 injuries.

TIME Aviation

Balloonists Break World Record with Pacific Ocean Crossing

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images A hot-air balloon of the U.S. balloonist Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev soars in Saga, Japan, on Jan. 25, 2015

The U.S.-Russian duo are set to land in Mexico on Saturday after taking off from Japan a week ago

When Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev land in Mexico on Saturday in their large helium balloon Two Eagles, they will have broken at least one and possibly two world records.

After setting out from Japan on Sunday and flying across the Pacific, the duo are on course to set new records for longest distance flown as well as longest duration in a helium balloon, the BBC reports.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev needed to surpass a 1981 distance record of 5,208 miles by 1% (which put their target at 5,260 miles) in order to lay claim to the first record, which they did on Thursday according to a tweet from the team’s account. The record for longest duration, set in 1971, is 137 hours, five minutes and 50 seconds.

The American-Russian pair had originally planned to land in the U.S. or Canada, but bad weather forced them to change course.

[BBC]

TIME Aviation

Co-Pilot Was Flying AirAsia Flight When It Crashed

An Indonesian diver and an official examine the wreckage from AirAsia flight QZ8501 after it was lifted into the Crest Onyx ship at sea, near Indonesia on Jan. 10, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images An Indonesian diver and an official examine the wreckage from AirAsia flight QZ8501 after it was lifted into the Crest Onyx ship at sea, near Indonesia on Jan. 10, 2015.

92 bodies are still missing

The co-pilot of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was controlling the plane before it crashed, according to Indonesian investigators.

This new information comes from the flight data recorder which was recovered from the Java Sea earlier this month, the BBC reports.

The data records that the aircraft climbed sharply before descending, going from 32,000ft (9,750m) to 37,400ft in 30 seconds, then dropping to 32,000ft.

The plane, which crashed en route from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28, had 162 people on board. So far 70 bodies have been recovered. The civilian National Search and Rescue Agency said Wednesday that their search efforts will continue, but could end next week if more bodies aren’t found.

[BBC]

TIME Aviation

Search for AirAsia Wreckage Ends

INDONESIA-SINGAPORE-MALAYSIA-AVIATION-AIRASIA
Adek Berry—AFP/Getty Images An Indonesian rescue helicopter flies over the Crest Onyx ship as divers (R in rubber boats) conduct operations to lift the tail of AirAsia QZ8501 in the Java Sea on January 9, 2015.

Searchers have found 70 of the 162 bodies

Indonesia’s military suspended a search effort for a downed AirAsia flight in the Java Sea on Tuesday, drawing to a close a 30-day effort to retrieve bodies from the wreckage.

“We apologize to the families of the victims,” Rear Adm. Widodo said, according to Reuters. “We tried our best to look for the missing victims.”

Divers with the Indonesian military have struggled against strong currents and murky water conditions to retrieve bodies from the wreckage site, submerged some 100 feet below sea level. Officials said they had retrieved 70 bodies to date from the wreckage site, and no bodies were known to remain in the fuselage, the New York Times reports.

The plane had 162 people on board when it crashed last month.

TIME Aviation

Watch a Pilot Ditch His Plane Into the Sea and Get Rescued by a Cruise Ship

The Coast Guard captured dramatic footage of the rescue

A pilot flying from Tracy, Calif., to Maui, Hawaii, had to ditch his single-engine plane in the Pacific Ocean after the aircraft experienced engine trouble.

Lue Morton radioed the Hawaii National Coast Guard at 12:30 p.m. Sunday saying he was having problems with the fuel tank and would have to ditch his plane, NBC reports.

The Coast Guard directed him to bail near a cruise ship, which was en route to Lahaina at the time.

Video shows the plane releasing a parachute and nose-diving before crashing into the water. Morton can be seen climbing out of the top of the plane and into a life raft where he was rescued by the cruise ship.

Morton says he’s an experienced pilot and has flown to Hawaii before.

[NBC]

TIME Aviation

Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights Due to East Coast Blizzard

APTOPIX Winter Weather Flights
Seth Wenig—AP A plane is de-iced at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Jan. 26, 2015.

Nearly all of the major U.S. carriers have waived the change fee for customers

Major airlines are preemptively canceling thousands of flights scheduled to come into and out of the East Coast of the United States as a potentially historic blizzard is expected to dump as much as three feet of snow and snarl transportation for tens of millions of people.

Flight-tracking website FlightAware.com noted Monday morning that around 4,000 flights have been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday. The post also said that almost all New York City flights will be cancelled Tuesday.

Delta Air Lines said on Sunday it will cancel 600 flights because of the blizzard warning, while United Airlines said it will cancel all Tuesday flights at airports in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Beginning on Monday night, the carrier will limit operations at Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in the New York area, a spokeswoman said.

Southwest Airlines said Sunday evening it would cancel more than 130 of 3,410 flights scheduled for Monday due to the storm, an increase from its earlier plan to cancel about 20 flights.

American Airlines said cancellation plans would not be finalized until Monday morning, but that the airline expected “quite a few” flights to be affected. Flightaware.com showed 637 flights canceled for Monday as of Sunday evening.

Nearly all of the major U.S. carriers have waived the change fee for customers flying from affected cities during the storm, reported USA Today.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report. This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Aviation

The TSA Seized a Record Number of Guns in 2014

TSA: How to Travel by Commercial Airflight With A Firearm
The Washington Post—Getty Images After filling out a brief disclosure form, commercial air flight travelers are allowed to transport unloaded firearms in locked, hard-sided cases as checked luggage only, as can be seen in props provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Dulles International Airport on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Washington, DC.

Security agents found six per day on average

The Transportation Security Administration kept especially busy in 2014: A record high of 2,212 guns were seized from carry-on luggage, marking a 22% increase over 2013 numbers.

The TSA found an average of more than six firearms per day, the agency said Friday, and of those seized, 83% were loaded. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport saw 120 guns seized, the most of any airport.

Passengers who try to bring firearms onto a plane in their carry-on bags can be arrested and criminally charged.

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