Posts Tagged ‘flight’

You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #97

May 4, 2014

NBC News

A relic from the Cold War appears to have triggered a software glitch at a major air traffic control center in California Wednesday that led to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.

On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Calif. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region’s major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.

The computers at the L.A. Center are programmed to keep commercial airliners and other aircraft from colliding with each other. The U-2 was flying at 60,000 feet, but the computers were attempting to keep it from colliding with planes that were actually miles beneath it.

Though the exact technical causes are not known, the spy plane’s altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed.

As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to stop accepting flights into airspace managed by the L.A. Center, issuing a nationwide ground stop that lasted for about an hour and affected thousands of passengers.

At LAX, one of the nation’s busiest airports, there were 27 cancellations of arriving flights, as well as 212 delays and 27 diversions to other airports. Twenty-three departing flights were cancelled, while 216 were delayed. There were also delays at the airports in Burbank, Long Beach, Ontario and Orange County and at other airports across the Southwestern U.S.

In a statement to NBC News, the FAA said that it was “investigating a flight-plan processing issue” at the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center, but did not elaborate on the reasons for the glitch and did not confirm that it was related to the U-2’s flight.

“FAA technical specialists resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem on Wednesday, and the FAA has put in place mitigation measures as engineers complete development of software changes,” said the agency in a statement. “The FAA will fully analyze the event to resolve any underlying issues that contributed to the incident and prevent a reoccurrence.”

Sources told NBC News that the plane was a U-2 with a Defense Department flight plan. “It was a ‘Dragon Lady,’” said one source, using the nickname for the plane. Edwards Air Force Base is 30 miles north of the L.A. Center. Both Edwards and NASA’s Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, which is located at Edwards, have been known to host U-2s and similar, successor aircraft.

The U.S. Air Force is still flying U-2s, but plans to retire them within the next few years.

Gary Hatch, spokesman for Edwards Air Force Base, would not comment on the Wednesday incident, but said, “There are no U-2 planes assigned to Edwards.”

A spokesperson for the Armstrong Flight Research Center did not immediately return a call for comment.

Developed more than a half-century ago, the U-2 was once a workhorse of U.S. airborne surveillance. The plane’s “operational ceiling” is 70,000 feet. In 1960, Francis Gary Powers was flying a U-2 for the CIA over the Soviet Union when he was shot down. He was held captive by the Russians for two years before being exchanged for a KGB colonel in U.S. custody. A second U.S. U-2 was shot down over Cuba in 1962, killing the pilot.

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You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #94
December 21, 2013
By FoxNews.com

Sometimes a man just needs a sandwich.

On Sunday, a New York-bound flight was reportedly delayed for more than two hours as the pilot waited for a sandwich to be delivered to him.

Pakistani newspaper The Nation reported that Pakistan International Airlines pilot, identified as Flight Captain Noushad, refused to leave Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore until his sandwich arrived from a five-star hotel in the city.

Noushad reportedly stated that he “needed sandwiches at any cost”– after learning that the inflight menu did not include the gourmet treats and had only peanuts, chips and cookies. The pilot continued to demand the sandwich even after he was informed that it could take as long as two hours to get one from the hotel.

Flight 711 from Lahore to New York, via Manchester, was all set for an on-time departure at 6:45 on Dec. 15. Due to the pilot’s food craving, the flight did not leave until 9:15 a.m. — a two-and-a-half hour delay.

Airline spokesman Mashhood Tajwar told The Nation that “management had taken a serious notice of the delay of an international flight” and an investigation has been ordered and action will be taken against those responsible for it.

Although, from the looks of it, it seems to be a pretty open-and-shut case of a man and his sandwich.

You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #84

October 7, 2013

By ALEXIS SHAW | Good Morning America

A “very street smart” nine-year-old boy managed to pass through a security checkpoint at a Minnesota airport and hop on a flight to Las Vegas without a boarding pass, authorities said.

The boy arrived alone at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday morning, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told ABC News.

He was screened by TSA officials and then headed to an airport concourse, where he boarded an 11:15 a.m. flight on Delta to Sin City.

The flight crew became suspicious of the nine-year-old’s travel circumstances and called the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, who took the boy into custody upon landing, Hogan said. He was then transferred into the care of child protective services.

“The fact that the child’s actions weren’t detected until he was in flight is concerning,” he said. “More than 33 million people travel through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport every year, and I don’t know of another instance in my 13 years at the airport in which anything similar has happened.

“Fortunately, the flight crew took appropriate actions to ensure the child’s safety, so the story does have a good ending,” Hogan said.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Bill Cassell told ABC News the boy was “more worldly than most nine-year-old kids.”

“He was able to get onto an airline where he didn’t have a ticket and made it five states across the U.S.,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for alert airline employees on our end, he probably never would have been discovered.”

Cassell did not know if the boy had been reunited with his family, but said that the boy’s mother, child protective services and Delta Airlines were working to develop a plan to bring him home after the incident occurred.

A spokesman for Delta Airlines said the incident was under investigation, but would not elaborate on the details of the case.

You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry # 62

August 18, 2012

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — An emergency layover in Syria’s capital was bad enough. Then passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel.

The plane, heading from Paris to Lebanon’s capital, diverted amid tensions near the Beirut airport on Wednesday. Low on fuel, it instead landed in Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, where a civil war is raging.

An Air France spokesman explained Friday that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a “precautionary measure” because of the “very unusual circumstances.” Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel.

He said Air France found a way to pay for the fill-up without tapping customer pockets, and apologized for the inconvenience. He wouldn’t say how the airline paid, or how much.

One woman aboard said the passengers had rounded up 17,000 euros.

“The pilot asked the passengers in first class to get their cash together. Everyone started to collect money, and they managed to collect 17,000, but the pilot in the end didn’t take anything. They resolved the problems with the Damascus airport,” said a passenger speaking on France-Info radio identified as May Bsat.

The Boeing 777, carrying 185 people, took off for an overnight layover in Cyprus then landed safely in Beirut on Thursday.

Lebanon is a volatile mix of pro- and anti-Syrian factions, and a series of hostage-takings has raised worries about Lebanon being dragged deeper into Syria’s unrest. Mobs supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad blocked the main airport highway in Beirut on Wednesday, before Lebanese military units moved in.

The layover was awkward for Air France, the flagship carrier for a country whose government toes a hard line against Syrian President Bashar Assad — and warns all its citizens to avoid or leave Syrian soil.

France, which once ruled Syria and Lebanon, championed European Union-wide economic sanctions on Syria — including its national airline, Syria Air. Air France operated regular flights to Damascus until suspending them amid violence earlier this year.

While it was the first time Air France said it had resorted to a request for passenger cash, it wasn’t the first airline to do so.

Hundreds of passengers traveling from India to Britain were stranded for six hours in Vienna last year when their Comtel Air flight stopped for fuel, and the charter service asked them to kick in more than 20,000 pounds ($31,000) to fund the rest of the flight to Birmingham, England.

You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #56

July 17, 2012

By  RICHARD ESPOSITO and MARK SCHONE ABC News

Two passengers suffered minor injuries from needles found in the meat of sandwiches served aboard four Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States Sunday, federal officials report. And the FBI is now investigating those incidents.

The sandwiches were served to business class passengers, crew members and government employees flying from Amsterdam to the United States.

At least one batch of 17 sandwiches appeared to be made by a U.S. company based at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Those sandwiches were served board Delta’s flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul Sunday afternoon.

Two passengers aboard the flight found needles in their sandwiches, officials confirmed. The sandwiches were turned over by Delta to Customs and Border Patrol.

Two passengers sustained minor injuries after biting into the sandwiches and CBP officials found a third needle after confiscating the sandwiches, according to an official report.

According to Delta, the contaminated sandwiches were turkey sandwiches that were served in the business elite cabin to a small number of passengers. Since the incident, turkey sandwiches have been removed from flights out of Amsterdam and have been replaced by pre-packaged pizza, Delta said.

“Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident,” Delta spokeswoman Kristin Bauer said in a statement to ABC News. “Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft.”

Delta told authorities that Gate Gourmet, a U.S. company operating in Amsterdam, made the sandwiches.

Gate Gourmet said it is treating the incident “as a criminal act.”

“Gate Gourmet immediately launched a full investigation to determine the root cause of this disturbing incident, and we are treating this as a criminal act,” Gate Gourmet spokeswoman Christina Ulosevich said in a statement. “Nothing is more important to Gate Gourmet than the safety and well-being of the traveling public. The company also is cooperating fully with investigations by local and federal authorities and by our customer.”

Although federal air marshals were aboard the flight, they were not notified of the incident by the crew, authorities said, until deplaning. At that point the air marshals turned the incident over to the FBI, which was working with CBP and local police to investigate how the needles were put in the meat.

In addition to the Minneapolis flight, a needle was discovered by a teenage passenger aboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta. The teen would not surrender the needle to authorities, who noted he told them that he planned to use it as evidence in a lawsuit.

In a federal report on the incidents, it was noted that the teen was the son of a passenger aboard the flight to Minneapolis who also found a needle in his sandwich.

Additional needles were reported found on two other flights, one by a crew member and another by a federal air marshal.