"Just don't have a face": what it's like to opt-out of US airports' "optional" face recognition

Privacy advocate Allie Funk was surprised to learn that her Delta flight out of Detroit airport would use facial recognition scans for boarding; Funk knew that these systems were supposed to be "opt in" but no one announced that you could choose not to use them while boarding, so Funk set out to learn how she could choose not to have her face ingested into a leaky, creepy, public-private biometric database. Read the rest

FAA just found a new safety risk on 737 MAX

Boeing must address the issue before grounded jets fly again.

A grandmother is suing the TSA for strip searching her to get a look at her panty liner, on Mother's Day

Back in 2012, Jon Corbett made headlines by showing that he could easily get metal through TSA checkpoints' full-body pornoscanners: his experiences fighting the TSA convinced him to get his law license and hang out a shingle, and now he has his first client: Rhonda Mengert, a grandmother who was illegally strip-searched by the Tulsa TSA because they felt a panty-liner when they patted down her crotch. On Mother's Day. Read the rest

European regulators: 737 Max won't fly again until we approve it

Boeing's 737 Max won't fly in European skies until the Aviation Safety Agency completes an independent review of its flightworthiness, reports Bloomberg, underscoring a loss of confidence in its U.S. counterpart, the Federal Aviation Authority.

“The FAA’s status as an undisputed global leader is seen as ‘at risk,”’ Carter Copeland, an analyst at Melius Research said in a note prior to EASA’s comments. “EASA has asserted a strong and independent posture and despite pressures from Max operators in Europe, is expected to move slowly in its efforts to recertify the Max.”

The FAA is conducting a Joint Authorities Technical Review, which consists of eight other countries and EASA, that will review the Max’s original certification. That work is expected to take three months with initial meetings held in Seattle last week. The U.S. agency has also called for a separate summit of aviation authorities later this month to discuss the FAA’s safety analysis of the aircraft that it says will “inform its decision” on allowing the Max back into service.

After two 737 Max jets crashed in similar circumstances, killing hundreds of travelers, the FAA was conspicuously slow to act and it later emerged Boeing was permitted to approve its own work. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Justice Department subsequently opened an investigation into the FAA. Read the rest

Hilarious cockpit transcript of the Navy pilots who drew a giant penis in the sky over Washington

On November 16, 2017, the crew of a Navy EA-18G Growler jet delighted sixth graders, launched a meme, and pissed off prudes everywhere by drawing a penis in the sky with their engine exhaust over the state of Washington. Their prank caused quite a stir in the Navy, even leading to an "official information dispatch" to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. It's still unknown how much trouble the pilots got themselves into but the Navy Times has just received a copy of the full report thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The cockpit transcripts are fantastic. From the Navy Times:

“You should totally try to draw a penis,” the (pilot's cockpit partner, an electronic warfare office [EWO]) advised.

“I could definitely draw one, that would be easy,” the pilot boasted. “I could basically draw a figure eight and turn around and come back. I’m gonna go down, grab some speed and hopefully get out of the contrail layer so they’re not connected to each other....”

“Balls are going to be a little lopsided,” the pilot advised.

“Balls are complete,” he reported moments later. “I just gotta navigate a little bit over here for the shaft.”

“Which way is the shaft going?” the EWO asked.

“The shaft will go to the left,” the pilot answered.

“It’s gonna be a wide shaft,” the EWO noted.

“I don’t wanna make it just like 3 balls,” the pilot said.

“Let’s do it,” the EWO said. “Oh, the head of that penis is going to be thick.”

Read the rest

Delta targets its workers with anti-union apps that push deceptive memes

Aviation is one of America's most concentrated industries, and workers have steadily lost ground to shareholders and execs, who have enriched themselves with tactics like flying planes to South America for maintenance by non-union technicians who do not speak the language that the maintenance manuals are written in. Read the rest

Footage from inside crash-landing Russian plane

An Aeroflot jet crash-landed while returning in flames to Moscow's Sheremtyevo airport Sunday, and only 37 of the 73 passengers and crew escaped with their lives. One took this video from inside the cabin, showing the engine fire and smoke. The video ends as the plane comes to a halt and fire starts to engulf its rear end.

The survivors were all out in less than a minute, according to the BBC's sources. Survivor Mikhail Savchenko posted video that shows how quickly the fire progressed:

View this post on Instagram

Ребят, со мной все хорошо, жив и цел. Успел выскочить. Это рейс Москва-Мурманск 17.50. Остальное смотрите в новостях. Огромные соболезнования семьям погибших. Upd - моя фамилия в списке раненых фейк. Либо ошибка. Я здоров. Спасибо вам всем за тёплые слова и за поддержку

A post shared by Mikhail Savchenko (@mikkentosh) on May 5, 2019 at 8:51am PDT

Read the rest

A smaller jet cowling chair, made from a less-cursed plane

Back in 2017, Andrea wrote about Plane Industries gorgeous chairs made from the cowling of the (now notorious) Boeing 737's jets; now, the company has followed up with a smaller, more practical chair, this one fashioned from a BAe-146's jet cowling, still featuring the company's "high gloss shell and dark Alcantara interior." Read the rest

TSA admits that its pornoscanners flag Black women and others with curly hair for humiliating, invasive searches

Black women have long complained that they get flagged for secondary screening at TSA checkpoints after passing through a full-body scanner; after years of complaints, the TSA has admitted that its scanners struggle to with curled hair, and are prone to flagging anyone wearing an afro, twists, locks, braids, or other hairstyles predominantly found among Black travelers (though white travelers with long curly hair have also reported being flagged for secondary screening). Read the rest

After fatal crash, Boeing reverses sales policy that locked out some safety features unless airlines paid for an upgrade

The Boeing 737 Max is out of service around the world, following a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines and an Indonesian Lion Air flight and there is intense investigation and speculation as to the cause of the crash. Read the rest

Feds to audit Boeing 737 MAX's FAA certification

U.S. Transportation Secretary Chao told DOT inspector general to conduct an audit of the FAA's certification process for the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Schadenflying: the super-rich are getting ripped off like crazy on their private jet billings

Private jet companies generate a flurry of impenetrable invoices for their customers, with separate bills for crew, catering, fuel, airport fees, etc, and these represent a bonanza for scammy invoice-padding (like billing $5,300 to deliver 240 nonexistent sushi boxes to an empty plane). What's more, the gougers victims are so rich the often don't even notice the overbillings: a third of private jet owners are worth $500,000,000 and up. Read the rest

A service to help airline passengers get compensated for lost bags, delays, cancellations and overbookings

Airhelp is a service that helps airline passengers in 30 countries file claims (for delays, lost bags, overbookings, and cancellations) structured to increase the likelihood of paying out; the bots have made $930m in successful claims to date, and the company behind it only collects a commission when a claim succeeds. Read the rest

Trump's shutdown: LaGuardia shut, Philadelphia and Newark airports limping

LaGuardia is closed and PHL and Newark are facing major delays because there aren't enough TSA workers willing to work without pay to keep them open. I'm supposed to be flying from Burbank to Oakland today for the Grand Reopening of the Public Domain at the Internet Archive and I'm getting really nervous. Read the rest

TSA agents, unpaid for 30 days, are blasting explicit hip-hop in airport terminals

Say you work at the government agency with the lowest morale of any Fed job and then Cheeto Hitler decides to treat you like a casino contractor and not pay you, for thirty days, and recommends that you do chores for your landlord to stop from getting evicted -- what do you do? Get musical: playing Sicko Mode or No Sleep Til Brookly or Misery Business or perhaps the theme from Halloween? (via Reddit) Read the rest

Bug in reservation system used by 140+ international airlines exposes passenger data and allows for manipulation

Noah Rotem got an intriguing error message from El Al's reservation system ("PNR: https://fly.elal.co.il/LOTS-OF-NUMBERS-HERE*) and by tugging at the loose thread it revealed, he was able to view any "Passenger Name Record" in El Al's system, allowing him to "make changes, claim frequent flyer miles to a personal account, assign seats and meals, and update the customer’s email and phone number, which could then be used to cancel/change flight reservation via customer service." Read the rest

Drone sighting closes Heathrow

Last month, London's Gatwick airport (the second busiest airport in the UK) was closed for several days after drones were sighted in its airspace. Read the rest

More posts