TSA + CBP test new facial recognition tech & computed tomography scanners at LAX

A new facial recognition technology screening system will soon be used on some travelers who pass through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Read the rest

Listen to this snippy exchange between an Aer Lingus pilot and New York City air traffic control

Pilot: "It's not my first day in New York. It's not my first day in an aircraft."

From the Irish Times:

The Aer Lingus plane referred to as “Shamrock 104 Heavy” throughout the recording had gone down the runway southwards, and was intending to turn left across the Atlantic and towards Ireland.

The pilot saw a storm upon take off to his left that he deemed unsafe and so carried on straight to await further instructions.

While the pilot thought the storm was unsafe to fly through, the air traffic controller became agitated telling the pilot no other aircraft had deviated from the requested course.

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Watch wingsuiters fly through a cloud cave

This remarkable footage of wingsuit pilots hurtling through a cloud cave may leave you wondering how they got the shot. It's with a technique called overcapture, where 360 video is manipulated in postproduction to allow for panning and other effects. Read the rest

Woman declares she is god, attempts to open airplane door while in-flight

This video shows passengers of a Boise to San Francisco flight subduing a purported GOD.

Questionably a deity, verifiably in need of help, this passenger became agitated and then decided to exit the plane. After being restrained for the rest of her flight, the woman was taken to a hospital. Read the rest

United Airlines denied a woman trying to fly with her emotional support peacock

United Airlines barred Dexter, an emotional support peacock, from boarding a flight at Newark International Airport on Saturday. From the Washington Post:

United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”

“We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” an airline spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday to The Washington Post...

The peacock’s owner, who was identified by the Associated Press as Ventiko, a photographer and performance artist in New York, told the news agency that she bought the bird its own ticket.

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An inflatable pillow to make flying in coach tolerable

This simple, inflatable pillow provides the lower back support I wish a coach airplane seat would. Read the rest

Stabilized wingsuit footage reveals how awesome it is to fly

Graham Dickinson jumped off a mountain in a wingsuit, but the footage of such things is usually chaotic, off-kilter, somehow subtly unlike reality. The joy reported is hard to appreciate: even if we get how amazing it must be, we're replaying a machine's limitations as much as the flight. Read the rest

Why did the Concorde supersonic plane fail?

The Concorde is a supersonic commercial airliner that took people from New York City to Paris in around 3.5 hours. It's heyday was in the 1970s and it finally stopped operation in 2003. Learn why in the Vox video above and in Lawrence Azerrad's magnificent Boing Boing classic feature "Flight of the Concordes!"

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New study: Air rage triggered by walking through First Class

A new scientific study reveals that air rage is much more likely on airplanes where inequality is obvious -- that is, airplanes where there's economy and first class sections. The University of Toronto researchers published their results in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. From CNN:

It found that passengers in economy seating were 3.84 times more likely to have an incident of air rage if they were on a plane that had a first-class section. They were 2.18 times more likely to have an outburst if they had to walk through first class to board the plane, as opposed to boarding in the middle of the plane, directly into the economy section....

"Psychology (research) tells us that when people feel a sense of deprivation and inequality, they are more likely to act out," said Katherine A. DeCelles, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto....

There was also a nearly 12-fold increase in the rate of air rage among first-class passengers on flights where all passengers boarded through the first-class section, compared with flights that had separate entrances for first class and economy.

"When people from higher social class backgrounds are more aware of their higher status, they are more likely to be antisocial, to have entitled attitudes and to be less compassionate," DeCelles said.

"Air rage triggered by walking past first-class seating, study says" (CNN) Read the rest

What do bats and skateboarders have in common?

Bats and skateboarders have something special in common. They both use inertia to land their tricks which, in a bat's case, means landing upside down. Read the rest

WATCH: model plane + box kite + LEDs = glow kite

FliteTest tracked down a father-son team who spent five years perfecting their remote-controlled box kite prototype, a plane/kite mashup. They demonstrate two of them below: Read the rest

Flying bicycle

The XploreAir Paravelo is a flying bicycle. The front is a collapsible bike that docks with a trailer containing a flexible wing and a biofuel-powered fan with an electric starter motor. In the air, it apparently operates like a powered paraglider. The two inventors have a Kickstarter running to develop a commercial model they hope will sell for $16,000. More info at CNN. You can watch a video of it flying below. Read the rest

Foodies and aviation geeks, unite: A380-themed restaurant launches in China

A waitress poses inside an egg-shaped dining booth at an A380 theme restaurant during a media event before its official opening in Chongqing municipality, April 25, 2012. Special Class, the name of the restaurant, is about 600 square metres in size, including the six private rooms, and can serve up to 110 customers, local media reported. The restaurant officially started business on May 1, 2012. (REUTERS) Read the rest

TSA goes through woman's luggage, finds sex toy, leaves pervy note

"Just unpacked my suitcase and found this note from TSA," tweets writer and attorney Jill Filipovic of Feministe. "Guess they discovered a 'personal item' in my bag. Wow."

It was a standard-issue we got all up in your baggagebusiness Transportation Security Administration Notice of Inspection (NOI), but with these handwritten words in pen, overlaid: "GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL."

"Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok," Filipovic writes in a post titled Your Tax Dollars at Work, "but I also just died laughing in my hotel room."

The "personal item" in question, Ms. Filipovic tells Boing Boing, was this $15 "Silver Bullet" vibrator from Babeland. I suppose a case could be made that an airport screener would have a legitimate reason to probe more deeply see what I did there you guys if this sort-of-ammo-shaped sex toy popped up on an imaging display. But the creepy note? Yeah, that definitely didn't have to happen. And TSA agents behaving badly with female travelers' intimate stuff? Not uncommon. Nor are women the only recipients of inappropriate notes from screeners.

So was it still there when she retrieved her luggage, I asked Filipovic?

"Yes, the vibe was still there. No theft, but I'm unsure if they handled it. Given that uncertainty, it's definitely being retired."

Read the rest