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Aviation

WNYC News

Investigation into LaGuardia Skid Turns to Airport Operations

Friday, April 03, 2015

Federal authorities say runway was last cleared 20-25 minutes before Delta Flight 1086 landed, during a heavy snowfall.

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Morning Edition

New Standards For Tracking Aircraft In Flight

Thursday, February 05, 2015

After Malaysia Airlines flight 370 vanished over the Indian Ocean, air safety authorities have argued for more frequent contact in order to better locate aircraft in the event of tragedy.

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PRI's The World

US and Chinese warplanes risk a mid-air collision — and an international incident

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Chinese fighter came "within 20 feet" of a US Navy surveillance plane last week in an incident Beijing is denying even took place. But the US says it has photos of the incident, which is just the latest in a series of dangerous mid-air showdowns between American and Chinese planes.

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The Takeaway

When the Skies Are Too Dangerous to Fly

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Less than a week after a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot out of the sky over a conflict zone in Ukraine, the FAA announced that no U.S. flights would be allowed to fly to Israel for a period of 24 hours after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv. What happens when the airspace becomes a war zone? 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Ask The Pilot: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's been a week since Flight 370 disappeared en route to Beijing. Patrick Smith, an airline pilot who blogs at AskThePilot.com, and author of  Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel (Sourcebooks), talks about what is known and unknown about the flight and the search, and takes your calls and questions.

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Transportation Nation

Nose Gear Collapse Under Review in Southwest Airlines Rough-Landing

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WNYC

The Nation Transportation Safety Board is reviewing the data and cockpit voice recorder of Southwest Flight 345 to determine why the front landing gear collapsed upon landing Monday night. 

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Transportation Nation

Plane Scare as Landing Gear Malfunctions on LGA Runway

Monday, July 22, 2013

WNYC

Officials say the plane skidded on its nose down the 7,000-foot runway before coming to a halt on a grassy area.

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Transportation Nation

Feds to Probe Helicopter's Emergency Landing in Hudson River

Monday, July 01, 2013

WNYC

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun gathering information into a helicopter that was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River on Sunday. 

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The Takeaway

The Anniversary of Amelia Earhart's Disappearance

Monday, July 02, 2012

Exactly 75 years ago today, Amelia Earhart disappeared during her historic attempt to circle the globe. Now investigators have evidence that suggests Earhart and her navigator Frederick Noonan were marooned castaways on a deserted island after their plane crashed.

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Strangers

Jennefer Ludwigsen: Big Jim and Smokey Joe

Thursday, March 22, 2012

EXPLICIT CONTENT (strong language): A Hollywood waitress, a former bomber pilot, and a retired railroad engineer from the Midwest take the trip of a lifetime.

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The Takeaway

Boeing To Close Wichita Facility

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Wichita, Kansas has been known as the "Air Capitol of the World" since the 1920s. Building aircrafts for the army and for the jet-set, the city is to airplanes what Detroit is to cars. But, after September 11th, new orders plummeted, and Wichita-based manufacturers cut over 15,000 jobs between 2001 and 2004. The latest blow to the industrial city came on Wednesday when Boeing announced plans to close its Defense, Space and Security facility.

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Transportation Nation

FAA Shutdown Stops Research at Florida Aviation School

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Entrance to Embry Riddle (photo by Aerojimmy via Wikimedia Commons)

(Orlando -- WMFE) The Federal Aviation Administration’s partial shutdown is impacting projects beyond just airports.  Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach has two contracts that have been put on hold -- and several of their staff members are affected.

One is a $20 million dollar project related to general aviation research. The other is a $245,000 contract that covers several projects, including research on the NextGen air traffic control system and helping small aircraft pilots get better weather information.

Embry Riddle spokesman Robert Ross says the $20 million dollar contract is split among research programs at several schools across the U.S. and is distributed by an FAA project called the Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research -- or CEGAR, which is headed up by Embry Riddle.  It includes projects like a $1 million dollar effort to create a GPS-based system to allow airplanes to see each other in real time while flying.

Ross said about 10 people at Embry Riddle and other universities conducting research through CEGAR are affected by the furlough of the FAA’s monitors and grant reviewers. Some Embry Riddle research is monitored by FAA staff who oversee contracts, so those projects are on hold until federal funding comes through.  Ross also pointed out that the university's FAA grant seeking is on hold --  faculty researchers at the aviation school can’t submit proposals to the agency for research funding because of the federal furlough.

The FAA’s funding expired on July 22nd.  FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says stopped  projects won’t restart till Congress passes -- and the president signs -- an extension of the FAA reauthorization bill.

For more TN coverage on the FAA shutdown, go here.

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Transportation Nation

Rep. Mica Goes After TSA on Private Security Screeners

Friday, June 03, 2011

(Todd Zwillich -- Washington, D.C.) House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fl.) took a swing at the Obama Administration Friday for refusing to privatize security screening at more U.S. airports.

Mica released a lengthy report from his committee's investigators concluding that taxpayers could save $1 billion per year if 35 of the largest airports moved to private screening. That's a direct response to a January decision by Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole to reject privatization bids from five airports. Pistole also said he wouldn't expand the program further since privatized screening wasn't saving taxpayers any money.

The decision rankled Mica, who since the start of the year has railed on the TSA to slim down. "TSA has become a bloated bureaucracy that is too focused on managing its personnel and protecting its turf," he said. "This agency must get out of the human resources business."

Airports were legally allowed to opt out of TSA screening beginning in 2003. But private security contractors that took over had to meet federal screening and oversight standards in order to replace TSA screeners. Today 16 airports have opted for private security contractors. But Pistole got Mica's back up in January when he denied applications from five more. Republicans accused Pistole and Homeland Security officials of bowing to union pressure to suspend the program.

Officials have denied that union pressure was the reason, saying it is cost projections and security concerns that are keeping them from expanding the privatization program.

Friday's report compares screening costs at LAX, which uses TSA screeners, with the cost of private screening at San Francisco's SFO airport. It found that LAX screeners cost an average of $41,208 per year compared with $39,021 at SFO. Perhaps more to the point, it concludes that private screening at SFO costs $2.42 per passenger versus $4.22 per passenger at LAX.

"If we applied those findings to the nation's top 35 airports, we could save over $1 billion over five years," Mica told reporters at press conference on Capitol Hill Friday.

TSA hit back, saying via a spokesperson that it was "unclear" how they did their math on cost estimates. The agency's own estimates say private screening is more expensive. Most recently a GAO report in March of this year pegged private screening as 3 percent more expensive than government-run security.

TSA spokesperson Nicholas Kimball said security was a bigger factor than cost in Pistole's decision to back off private screening at airports.

"While cost is an important factor...Administrator Pistole’s primary consideration is security," Kimball wrote to Transportation Nation in an email. "It is critical that TSA retains its ability to operate as a flexible nationwide security network. TSA’s capacity to push out intelligence information to our frontline workforce and quickly change procedures based on threat and intelligence is paramount to effective security.  Further expansion of privatized screening will increase the complexity of this process," he wrote.

Kimball added that the agency believes private and TSA screeners provide "comparable" security.

That's not good enough for Mica. He said he intends to try and force TSA's hand on the issue. Part of his strategy was on display this week on the House floor. Mica narrowly succeeded in passing an amendment on a Homeland Security spending bill limiting by law the amount of money TSA can spend for screener personnel, salaries and benefits.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Unfriendly Skies

Monday, April 18, 2011

Barbara Peterson, Conde Nast Traveler’s Senior Aviation Correspondent, discusses the trend of air traffic controllers falling asleep, problems with plane maintenance and planes losing their cabin roofs, rising airplane prices, last-minute canceled flights, and other aviation matters. She’ll also be answering questions from callers! If you have a question about air travel, call us at 646-829-3985!

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WNYC News

Stewart Airport Readies for International Passengers

Thursday, September 30, 2010

WNYC

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is taking steps to attract more international passengers to Stewart Airport in the Hudson Valley.

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Transportation Nation

Airlines Face Pressure to Disclose Fees

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich)  Do you know exactly how much an airplane ticket is costing you?

The answer for millions of travelers is, ‘probably not,’ at least not until the last minute, when it’s time to break out the credit card. Now, struggling airlines are facing scrutiny from Congress and the Obama Administration over the fees they charge passengers, for everything from extra bags to window seats.

The Government Accountability Office told lawmakers Wednesday that airlines had cleared nearly $8 billion in passenger fees in 2008 and 2009. Fees for cancellations, reservations and checked baggage alone reached $1.3 billion in the first three months of this year, up 13% from the same period last year, GAO said.

Of course, the Obama Administration already knew that.  The Department of Transportation is busy drafting new regulations forcing airlines to more clearly disclose their extra fees—for soft drinks, “fuel surcharges”, “convenience fees”, etc.--and also limit some of the charges that airlines can slap on customers.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Friday, July 09, 2010

Five flights had tarmac delays of more than three hours in May, the first full month with new, steep federal fines.  (USA Today)

California high-speed rail planners defend ridership estimates, as critics tell them to "do it right." (LA Times)

Duck boats high-and-dry nationwide after Philly fire, crash leaving two missing.  (SF Chronicle)

WSJ publishes letters from INFRASTRUCTURIST, new urbanists, others critiquing its "Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration" piece.

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The Takeaway

Feds Focus on Aviation, but Terror Threats More Likely on Subways

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced changes in its approach to passenger screenings at airports, in an effort to increase security after the failed bomb plot on Christmas Day. However, statistically, it is more likely that a terrorist would target a subway system or public buses than an airplane. And a week after two coordinated bombings on the Moscow subway, many cities are concerned about securing their surface-level public transportation systems. 

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The Takeaway

Modernizing the Airplane: GPS to Replace Radar

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Senate passed a $34.5 billion bill on Monday that will bring in GPS technology to replace radar. This is an attempt to help modernize our country’s dated air traffic control system. Science and aviation reporter Miles O’Brien explains the new system and why it's only happening now.

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The Takeaway

Women in Aviation: 75 Years After Amelia Earhart's Pacific Flight

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today marks the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s successful flight from Honolulu to Oakland, California.She was the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific.  To help update the history of women in aviation we talk to another pioneer who has also participated in many firsts for women pilots: Major Nicole Malachowski is a senior pilot in the Air Force and just five years ago became the first woman to join part of the elite Thunderbird squad, also known as the Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron.

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