The TSA strip searched a grandmother on Mother's Day and now says that she's overreacting because it's no different from a locker room

Last Mother's Day, grandmother Rhonda Mengert was subjected to a pat-down search at Tulsa airport, wherein a TSA agent felt a panty-liner in her underwear; she was then forced to strip down and show her panty-liner to a female TSA agent. Naturally, she filed suit against the TSA. Read the rest

FAA just banned these recalled Apple laptops from flights and cargo

* FAA says some MacBook Pros are unsafe on airplanes • Apple recently recalled certain laptops over battery fire risk Read the rest

The explorer who found the Titanic is off to find Amelia Earhart's plane

Robert Ballard is the oceanic detective who turned up the Titanic in 1985, the lost Nazi ship Bismarck, and many other shipwrecks. Now he's off to to find Amelia Earhart's plane that hasn't been seen since she and her navigator disappeared over the Pacific ocean on July 2, 1937 during their flight around the world. And based on a photo taken just a few months after Earhart disappeared, Ballard is pretty sure he knows where the plane crashed. From the New York Times:

Kurt M. Campbell, who served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs in the Obama administration, invited Dr. Ballard to a meeting. The two had known each other since their days in Naval intelligence.

Mr. Campbell ushered him into his office, Dr. Ballard recalled in a recent interview: “He closed the door, and he said, ‘I want to show you a picture.’”

First, he offered Dr. Ballard a grainy black-and-white photo. “He said, ‘What do you see?’ I said, ‘I see an island with a ship on a reef?’ And he said, ‘No, look over to the left.’”

As Dr. Ballard squinted at the blur, Mr. Campbell handed him a second, digitally enhanced image. Mr. Campbell said the smudge was landing gear from a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. And the reef in the picture was part of tiny Nikumaroro Island, in the mostly uninhabited Phoenix Islands.

There it was, a precise place to look for Earhart’s plane.

“I went, ‘I’ll be damned,’” he said.

Read the rest

All flights in and out of Hong Kong canceled as protesters flood the airport

Flights in and out of Hong Kong's airport have halted as protesters filled the airport; many of the protesters at the airport are new to the protests, who have stepped off the sidelines after being exposed to video of police brutalizing other protesters, which inspired them to choose a side and take action. As I type this, local social media is filled with reports of increased riot police presence on the scene and protesters with young children are evacuating. (Image: Erin Hale) Read the rest

Cathay Pacific's new privacy policy: we are recording you with seatback cameras, spying on you in airports, and buying data on your use of competing loyalty programs

When airline seatback entertainment systems started to come bundled with little webcams, airlines were quick to disavow their usage, promising that the cameras were only installed for potential future videoconferncing or gaming apps, and not to allow the crew or airline to spy on passengers in their seats. Read the rest

The Airbus 350 needs a hard reboot every 149 hours

Two years ago, the EU Aviation Safety Agency warned that some Airbus 350s required a hard reboot every 149 hours to be safe to fly; two years later, most of the affected planes are still being rebooted to cope with the bug. Read the rest

FAA approves tests of new design for middle seats that are more comfortable and speed boarding

The S1 (AKA the "Slip-Slide Seat") is a radical rethink of airline middle seats from Colorado's Molon Labe Designs; it sits a little back of the seats to either side of it, is slightly wider, and has slightly lower arm-rests -- and in some configurations, it allows the aisle seat to be slid over it, temporarily widening the aisles and speeding boarding and unloading. Read the rest

"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:

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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

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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

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