Items tagged with airplanes

We have electric scooters, electric bicycles, and electric cars, even ones that go insanely fast. Thanks for Harbour Air, North America's biggest seaplane airline company and a proponent of electrical aviation, we can add add electric commercial aircraft to the growing list of transportation options that are entirely battery operated. By way of a six-passenger DH-2 de Havilland Beaver, Harbour Air completed a successful flight of the world's first all-electric commercial aircraft. The achievement took place above the Fraser River at Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in Richmond, with a 750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system making the magic happen. Here's a short clip of highlights from... Read more...
Passengers on commercial airplanes will not be making phone calls from their smartphones while in-flight anytime soon. Technological barriers notwithstanding, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is withdrawing a proposal introduced in 2013 by his predecessor that would have allowed air travelers to use their handsets for voice communication at high altitudes. Pai called the proposal "ill-conceived," adding that it was not in the best interest of the public who would rather have peace and quiet rather than listen to others chatter on their phones while taking to the skies. "I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest," Pai said in a statement.... Read more...
It is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, right? Luckily no one was injured during a Virgin America flight on Tuesday when the crew suspected one of the passengers of bringing a recalled Galaxy Note 7 on board the plane. There was no Galaxy Note 7 (our full review, pre-explosion events) handset to be found, only a wireless SSID (Service Set Identifier) indicating the presence of one, presumably as a prank gone wrong. Back in October, the U.S. Department of Transportation banned Galaxy Note 7 devices from flights going into or flying out of the United States after multiple reports of the troubled handset overheating and catching on fire. That includes carry-on and checked baggage.... Read more...
While it's of little consequence to Samsung at this point, Galaxy Note 7 phones will no longer be allowed on airplanes in the United States. The outright ban goes into effect today at noon ET and covers all Galaxy Note 7 handsets, including replacement devices that were originally thought to be immune from overheating and catching fire. It turns out that they weren't. The U.S. Department of Transportation met with officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to issue what they're calling an "emergency order." Anyone who owns or possesses a Galaxy Note 7 is not allowed to bring it on a flight going to or coming... Read more...
While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration considers banning Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 handset outright from passenger aircraft, three airlines in Australia—Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia—have decided to continue letting the potentially explosive gadget on board, so long as passengers don't use or charge them during flight. The usage ban stems from reports of Galaxy Note 7 devices overheating while charging and exploding into flames. In one recent incident that made headlines, a Galaxy Note 7 caught fire in a hotel room, causing $1,400 in damage in burned bed sheets, charred carpet, and other things that needed replaced. Samsung agreed to replace the handset and pay the full hotel bill,... Read more...
Drones aren't the only thing taking flight with Amazon's Prime branding plastered on the side. The world's largest online retailer now has its first ever branded cargo plane, a Boeing 767-300 that's operated by Amazon's air cargo provider Atlas Air. Amazon unveiled the aircraft during Seafair's Air Show in its hometown of Seattle. The airplane is named Amazon One. It's one of 40 that Amazon committed to leasing through air cargo partners Atlas Air and ATSG. As of right now there are 11 dedicated airplanes taking flight for Amazon with more to roll out over time. "Creating an air transportation network is expanding our capacity to ensure great delivery speeds for our Prime members for years to... Read more...
There's been a lot of focus on electric cars over the past few years, but roadways aren't the only place companies and organizations are putting effort into. Over at NASA, researchers are testing a new propulsion technology using an experimental electric airplane that's now been designated the X-57, or Maxwell, if you prefer to use its nickname. We'll stick with X-57 from here on out to avoid confusion with NVIDIA's prior generation GPU technology. The X-57 takes to the sky with 14 electric motors tasked with turning propellers. Each one is integrated into a uniquely designed wing that's longer and skinnier than the original one found on the Italian-designed Tecnam P2006T, a twin-engine light... Read more...
British authorities continue to investigate an incident in which the pilot of an Airbus A320 for British Airways said something struck the front of the aircraft as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport last Sunday. The pilot said he thought it was a drone, though now there's speculation that it might have actually been "a plastic bag or something." Transport minister Robert Goodwill downplayed the notion that drones might pose a safety threat to aircraft or that stricter regulations are needed. Goodwill feels that the current rules in place are strong enough, adding that it would be a lot easier for terrorists to attack airports on the ground with things such as car bombs rather than coordinate... Read more...
British authorities are investigating an incident in which they believe a drone struck a British Airways jet as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport around 12:50 PM on Sunday. None of the 132 passengers on board the Airbus A320 were injured, and it's not even clear if any were even aware that something had hit the plane when it happened. It was the pilot who indicated he thought it a drone struck the front of the aircraft. British Airways spokesman Michael Johnson said the Airbus A320 was thoroughly inspected by engineers and deemed safe to continue flying passengers as scheduled. Metropolitan Police added that no arrests have been made. This latest incident is part of a disturbing trend and... Read more...
In another generation or two, fliers who take to the skies will take for granted Wi-Fi access on airplanes. For JetBlue, that reality will come a lot sooner as it aims to be the only U.S. carrier to offer high-speed wireless Internet access on every aircraft by around this time next year, if everything goes to plan. JetBlue said it's already completed installation of its cleverly named Fly-Fi service on its fleet of more than 150 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. In addition, its first Fly-Fi enabled E190 lifted ground this week. That leaves 59 more E190 aircraft to go, and JetBlue expects to have them all equipped with Fly-Fi by fall 2016. "Soon every JetBlue customer will step onboard knowing... Read more...
To quote the Guinness brothers, rewarding security researchers with frequent flier miles in exchange for rooting out system bugs is "brilliant!" That's what United Airlines is doing, and it's already given out two of its highest awards available -- one million miles -- which is enough to redeem for dozens of domestic flights (or less if flying first class). United is the only airline to offer such a program. It was unveiled back in May only weeks before technical woes forced the company to ground its planes on two separate occasions. One was due to an inability to access United's reservations system, and the second incident involved software needed for flight plans. "We believe... Read more...
Thanks to a new technology partnership with ViaSat Inc., Virgin America is about to upgrade its in-flight Wi-Fi service in a big way. How big? In vague terms, Virgin America says the partnership will bring "significantly faster" wireless connectivity that will allow its passengers to stream video content from the web. Good stuff, though let's talk numbers. Virgin America will pull Wi-Fi service from the ViaSat-1, the highest capacity Ka-band satellite in the world offering 140 gigabits per second. What this means for passengers soaring 35,000 feet about ground is the ability to enjoy Internet service that's typically 8 to 10 times faster than any other in-flight Wi-Fi system currently available.... Read more...
Extreme weather, air traffic congestion, equipment maintenance issues, late arrival of connecting flights...and now iPad software glitch can be added to the list of flight delay causes. On Tuesday evening dozens of American Airlines flights were temporarily grounded due to problems caused by an issue with the software in iPads used in cockpit by AA pilots. The problem apparently struck randomly across the airline's fleet, affecting an app that serves as a navigational aid. In a statement, American Airlines said, "Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads. In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a Wifi connection to fix the issue."... Read more...
Gogo raked in record revenue of $104 million for its fiscal third quarter of 2014, up 22 percent year-over-year, however the company has also been spending a great deal on expanding its in-flight Wi-Fi service to more airlines. As a result, Gogo ended up posting a $24.9 million loss for the quarter, or $0.29 per share, compared to a loss of $18.7 million, or $0.22 per share a year ago. Though the company couldn't manage to climb out of the red, Gogo President and CEO Michael Small was pleased with the performance as he keeps an eye towards long-term growth. In order to set the company up for that, Small has to make investments into getting Gogo's service offered on more airlines. "We announced... Read more...
Google today announced a new flight search feature that makes it easy to look up specific flight schedules. If you have the urge to march on down to the the airport on your lunch break and hightail it out of town -- maybe to the Bahamas? -- you can easily see a list of all the flights going where you want to go, as well as other helpful information. "If you have a particular destination in mind, you can now quickly find out which airlines serve that specific route and when they fly. For example, if you search for [flights from san francisco to minneapolis], you’ll see a selection of non-stop flights and the airlines that offer them. To see a full timetable, click on 'Schedule of non-stop... Read more...