Turkey: Plane skids off Istanbul runway and breaks up, 120 injured

Breaking News: There's been an air disaster in Turkey. No deaths reported.

A Pegasus Airlines plane that was heading into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport for landing skidded off the end of a wet runway, and broke into three pieces after landing on Wednesday. Read the rest

US Interior bans Chinese drones and UAVs with made-in-China parts over espionage concerns -- with few exceptions

Order says data collected ‘could be valuable to foreign entities’

The United States Interior Department today introduced a no-fly rule that covers pretty much all Chinese drones, and all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made with Chinese parts, with some narrow exceptions. The big fear is espionage. Read the rest

The case for replacing air travel with high-speed sleeper trains

One of the best work trips I ever took was the overnight train from London King's Cross to Edinburgh: I had a comfortable berth, went from city centre to city centre, arrived rested and refreshed, and did not have to endure the indignities and discomforts of air travel. Read the rest

Wuhan virus puts airlines on high alert around the world

Here’s a good explainer from Reuters on the airline industry’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak so far. If the virus spreads becomes a pandemic, this could impact world financial markets as did SARS in 2003. Read the rest

Boeing to resume 737 MAX production before mid-year, unclear what will change

Wow, really? So soon? Read the rest

Boeing indefinitely halts 737 Max production

Boeing's cursed 737 Maxes are no longer in production. Read the rest

'Highly likely' Iran shot down Ukrainian airliner that killed 176 people, U.S. officials say — and probably an accident

U.S. intelligence officials are telling news agencies today they are confident that Iran painted the Ukrainian airliner with radar, then fired two surface to air missiles that brought down the aircraft, killing all 176 people aboard. Read the rest

Technical problems — not missiles — may have downed Ukrainian airliner in Iran, say some intel experts

All 176 people on board died.

The Ukrainian airliner that went down just after liftoff in Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, probably suffered a technical malfunction and was not brought down by a missile -- that's what various Western intelligence sources are now saying.

The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 dropped from about 8,000 feet to earth in a fireball shortly after take-off from Tehran. Read the rest

Woman whose vulva was probed by Burbank TSA "officers" who ignored her refusal sues

Last September, Jessica Lundquist passed through a body-scanner at Burbank airport and was told by a TSA screener that they wanted to conduct a "groin search" on her. Read the rest

Using the Challenger Disaster to illustrate the 8 symptoms of groupthink

When Yale research psyhcologist Irving Janis coined the term "groupthink" in 1972, he identified eight symptoms of the pathology: the "illusion of invulnerability"; a "belief in the inherent morality of the group"; "collective rationalization"; "out-group stereotypes"; "self-censorship"; the "illusion of unanimity"; "direct pressure on dissenters" and "self-appointed mindguards." Read the rest

Veteran Boeing manager was transferred to 787 production; based on he saw there, he won't fly in a Dreamliner and begs his family not to

John Barnett had a three-decade career as a Boeing quality manager, but after he was transferred to the Charleston, SC production facility for the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner," he became a whistleblower -- now he's been forced out of the company and is waiting for various federal agencies to rule on the complaints he brought against the company. Read the rest

Medallion Status: comparison is the thief of joy, and John Hodgman is the thief-taker

John Hodgman's last book, Vacationland, was a kind of absurdist memoir of a weird kid who'd grown up to the kind of self-aware grownup who really wanted to dig into how he got to where he was, with bone-dry wit and real heart (I compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, but for adults who'd outgrown it); in his new book, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms, Hodgman offers something much more uncomfortable (if no less funny), a series of vignettes that explore the hollowness of privilege, the toxicity of comparison, and the melancholy of accomplishment. Read the rest

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

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