The intrinsic comedy of a self-inflating airplane emergency escape slide

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People are flying around in these jumbo personal drones in China [VIDEO]

Between this and Starman's Tesla in space, it's a weird week.

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Plane lands safely

Even by the standards of "storm-buffeted planes landing without incident", this is astounding: a small jet turboprop all but spinning in circles as it comes in, only to plop perfectly onto its wheels at the last moment. According to the video, there were 110 km/h (68 mph) crosswinds.

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Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

The DHS has illegally stuffed America's airports full of $1B worth shitty, malfing facial-recognition tech

More than a dozen major US airports are now covered in facial-recognition cameras, installed by the DHS to scan people departing on international flights without the legally mandated federal review process. Read the rest

The fascinating history of the first commercial jetliner

The de Havilland Comet, unveiled in 1952 to great acclaim, was beset with technical problems that grounded the entire fleet by 1954. One of the big design flaws? Square windows. Read the rest

Behold! The astonishing mental gymnastics of TSA apologists explaining why rich people don't need to be screened

The project of making planes secure from terrorist attacks is an inescapable nonsense: nonsense because there's no way to screen millions of people to prevent a few dedicated ones from bringing down a plane (no, really); inescapable because no lawmaker or policymaker will ever have the courage to remove a measure that has previously been described as "essential for fighting terrorism" even if it was only ever security theater intended to assuage low-information voters. Read the rest

Navy admits its pilot sky-wrote a giant cloud-wiener

A spokesman from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Ault Field, WA, said of the unnamed crew behind the giant sky-dong, "we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable." Read the rest

Someone dropped a USB stick containing a bunch of sensitive security data about Heathrow

A London man found a USB stick on a pavement in west London and (unwisely) plugged it into a computer, only to discover that it contained 76 folders with at least 174 documents full of sensitive information on the security arrangements at Heathrow airport, including "the types of ID needed to access restricted areas, a timetable of security patrols and maps pinpointing CCTV cameras" as well as the measures used to protect the Queen when she flies through LHR. Read the rest

Family on overnight BA flight refused seat switch as they were gnawed by bedbugs

A family of three (including a 7 year old girl) on a British Airways overnight from Vancouver to London spotted bedbugs crawling on their seats and alerted the crew, but the crew said the flight was sold out and wouldn't move them, so they spent 9 hours getting gnawed by bedbugs, arriving with their skin "absolutely covered" in bites. Read the rest

Two of the Chicago airport cops who beat up Dr David Dao got fired for lying about it (but not for the beating)

Two of the four Chicago Department of Aviation Security officers who beat United Airlines passenger Dr David Dao until he was unconscious, concussing him, breaking his nose and then dragging him off the plane, have been fired -- but not for administering the beating. Rather, they were fired for lying about it. One of the other two officers involved has quit and the final one got a two-day paid holiday ("suspension"). Read the rest

Last Friday, a white dude tried to blow up a plane to "fight a war" in America and no one cared

Last Friday, a white guy named Michael Christopher Estes walked into Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina, dressed in black and carrying an AN/FO chemical explosive as well as sharp nails and bullets, used to create shrapnel in such bombs. Read the rest

The world's shortest commercial flight is just 80 seconds long

People visiting Scotland's Orkney Islands wanting to travel between Westray and Papa Westray -- islands a mere 1.7 miles apart from each other -- will most likely take a flight on an eight-seater plane. Clocking in at 80 seconds, the hop from island to island is the shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world.

The Scottish regional airline Loganair has been flying this route since 1967 and charges approximately £21 one-way ($28) for the service.

In this Great Big Story video, its head pilot Colin Mcallister says, "The flight is used almost as a bus service."

(reddit)

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Trump's cutback-crazed health secretary loves billing private jets to the US taxpayer

Obama's cabinet secretaries flew commercial or took the train, with a few, rare exceptions that were approved at the highest level, but Trump's aptly named Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sure loves to charter private jets and bill them to the US government. Read the rest

Calgary airport regrets converting disabled parking spaces into "Lexus only" parking spaces

The Calgary airport authority has apologised for a botched marketing campaign in which it sold Lexus on the idea of designating some of its parking places as "Lexus only" and then, unbeknownst to the car company, used disabled parking spots for the purpose (presumably, they were luxuriously spacious). Read the rest

EU's highest court strikes down passenger data-sharing arrangement with Canada

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the 2014 EU-Canada passenger name record (PNR) agreement was "incompatible with the fundamental rights recognised by the EU," because the records ("names, travel dates, itineraries, ticket and contact details, travel agents and other information") were used for purposes "beyond what is strictly necessary for the prevention and detection of terrorist offences and serious transnational crime." Read the rest

TSA says it doesn't know why United thought comics were banned from checked Comic-Con luggage

People flying home from San Diego Comic-Con yesterday got a rude surprise when they spotted signs at the United check-in warning them not to put comics in their checked bags -- and most assumed it was the TSA's doing, a reasonable assumption given that the agency has been repeatedly trialling programs to search passengers' literature for exploding words for some months. Read the rest

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