FAA Reviewing Passenger Use of Electronic Devices

May 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

With electronic devices firmly entrenched as part of daily lives for many travelers, airlines are under pressure to allow passengers to use their tablets, laptops, smartphone, e-readers and other devices without restriction during flights. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working on a set of regulations to govern the use of these devices on airplanes, but is reportedly far from ready to put any new rules into action, with the delay being attributed to the authority’s desire to put into place a concise set of regulations to deal with current, and even future, technology.

A year ago, the industry working group set up by the FAA noted that, faced with evolving electronic technology, the FAA was reviewing the use of personal electronic devices, excluding the use of cellphones, on aircraft. A full year later the FAA appears to be no closer to resolving the issue and this has drawn sharp criticism from some quarters. Among the critics is Senator Clair McCaskill (D-MO) who recently announced her plans to circumvent the FAA and introduce legislation allowing passengers the freedom to use their electronic devices throughout a flight.

The increasing number of different types of electronic devices brought by passengers onto airplanes is adding to the difficulty of drafting a set of standard regulations. The FAA working group needs to include all these devices and take into account the different modes of operation they offer. Currently a number of electronic devices include an “airplane mode” option, which generally means that they do not send or receive wireless signals, but this is not necessarily standard across all devices with this option. Also, there is concern that FAA’s desire to have rules that will apply to devices of the future may not be realistic given the speed at which technology is developing. The group has apparently also noted concerns over expecting already busy flight attendants to police the use of various devices.

The initial concern with the use of electronic devices on flights addressed, among other things, the issue of possible interference with electronic signals pilots rely on for safe flight. To date, the FAA reportedly has no record of aviation accidents caused by interference from personal electronic devices. Flight attendants note that their main concern is that passengers should not be using electronic devices when the safety measures are presented at the beginning of the flight, as they need to hear and understand what should be done in the event of an emergency.

The FAA anticipates a final report from the working group later this year, with rule changes being implemented by the end of 2013.

Seletar Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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Seletar Airport (IATA: XSP and ICAO: WSSL) is a relatively small airport situated near the Lower Seletar Reservoir. Located just 13 km out of downtown Singapore, the airport is convenient to reach. Interestingly, Seletar Airport in Singapore was constructed by the British forces in the area at the time. It was built prior to World War II for use as a military base. Britain retained the airport until 1968. Thereafter, it came under the management of Singapore’s Department of Civil Aviation. Today, Seletar Airport is a public airport for joint military and civil use operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

There are 27 aircraft hangars at the airport, with a single asphalt runway for landing and take-off. The runway stands in a 03/21 direction and measures in at 5,223 feet, or 1,592 meters. Navigational Aids at Seletar include Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), Aerodiomel Beacon and Visual Flight Rules (VFR). The airfield is a fire category 6/4 and has a fire service as well as medical evacuation facilities. No training operation or circuit flying is permitted at Seletar between 14:00 and 23:00 UTC.

The majority of flights handled at Singapore’s Seletar Airport are made by several flying schools. Other activities include charters, maintenance and repairs. The 3 airlines operating at Seletar are Berjaya Air, Airmark Aviation and Batam Logistics. The airport also deals with cargo and has a warehouse area measuring 100m squared with the capacity to deal with 840t a day.

Passengers making use of Seletar airport are well catered for with 2 check-in counters, credit card telephones, VIP lounge, passenger service, disabled amenities, a vending machine and a canteen nearby. Airport parking at Seletar is plentiful and there is a convenient pick-up/drop-off point. There are many options for traveling to and from Seletar airport. A taxi stall is situated outside of the Arrival hall and operates 24 hours a day. Passengers can also use buses or the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit line.

The Singapore Youth Flying Club operates from Seletar Airport. This club was created by the country’s Ministry of Defense with the purpose of promoting an interest in aviation amongst the youth as well as to provide flight training. Youths who join the club can earn their Private Pilot’s License and enjoy aeromodelling courses.

Boeing 737

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Boeing 737 jets are the most popular commercial airplanes in the world. Boeing’s “Original” 737 models are the 737-100 and the 737-200 variations. The “Classic” 737 models are the 737-300, 737-400, and the 737-500.

Boeing‘s most recent line of 737 jets is the 737-600, 737-700, 737-800, and the 737-900, all known as “Next Generation” 737s. These jets incorporate the latest technology, some of which is under constant development and testing. Next Generation features include wingtip extensions known as blended winglets that create added lift, making it possible to carry more weight. They help to minimize engine maintenance and extend the airplane’s range while also saving on fuel costs.

Boeing’s newest 737 jet is the 737-900ER, an extended range variant of the 900 series. The 737-900ER incorporates a number of high-tech features, some of which were originally developed for the United States military.

One example is the Heads-Up Display (HUD) that displays relevant information onto the pilot‘s field of vision, as well as the Enhanced Vision System (EVS), which uses infrared, or thermal, imaging to visually enhance objects that may be difficult for the pilot to see, such as terrain or other airplanes when flying in darkness or bad weather.

The Quiet Climb System (QCS) is another feature of the 737-900ER. The QCS reduces engine noise and gives operators the option of loading more cargo or passengers. It also allows airplanes to operate within local noise restriction airspace.

Here are some fast facts about the Boeing 737-900ER model.

737-900ER

Maximum speed: 261 mps (Mach 0.79)
Cruise speed: 0.78 Mach
Range: 3,200 nautical miles with a two-class layout and two auxiliary fuel tanks. 2,700 nautical miles with a one-class layout.
Length: 138′ 2″
Wingspan: 112′ 7″
Tail Height: 41′ 2″
Maximum weight: 187,700 pounds
Empty weight: 94,579 pounds
Engine(s): Two CFMI CFM56-7 with 27,300 maximum pounds of thrust
Crew: Two
Passengers: 180 in a typical 2-class configuration, and 215 in a typical 1-class configuration.

Beryl Markham

February 9, 2009 by  
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In 1933, Beryl Markham was the first woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license in Kenya. This adventurous British woman flew passengers, cargo, and mail through the most remote and inhospitable regions of Africa, in most cases landing and taking off using empty fields because of the lack of runways. In 1936, Markham became the first woman to fly solo from east to west across the Atlantic.

West with the Night, Beryl Markham‘s memoir about her life as a bush pilot, became an international best seller.

Eindhoven Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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Eindhoven Airport is an international airport that can be found in the fifth largest city of the Netherlands, offering all visitors a traditional Brabant welcome. Although Eindhoven is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands it is also a city that has adapted to the modern era, making it quite a young and dynamic city to welcome any traveler coming in or going out of the country. The Eindhoven Airport contributes greatly to the city as well as to the country by improving the regions accessibility by airplane. The airport is the second largest in the country, dealing with 1.6 million passengers annually.

The airport feels strongly about respecting all different aspects of the social and physical environment in and around the airport as it continues to achieve excellence in its commercial and developmental operations that it is involved in. The Eindhoven Airport continues to grow and develop as an international airport to keep up with the increasing flow of passengers and at the same time provide all the necessary facilities and services needed to keep an airport running smoothly. The airport provides scheduled flights to various places all over the world as well as to all Europe’s main airports where passengers will be provided with additional services once they have reached their desired destination.

Over the years there has been a continuing demand, specifically by leisure passengers, on the Eindhoven Airport to provide increasingly more stops at more countries and holiday places. With that the airport has taken up the challenge and continues to expand the route network and keep up-to-date with technology. More and more holidaymakers are finding out about the convenience and hospitality that the Eindhoven Airport tries to provide and so a definite increase of this type of passenger is being realized.

Eindhoven Airport has a single tarmac runway, measuring 3 000 meters in a 04/22 direction. Situated just off the A2 motorway, the airport is easily accessible. Other forms of transport to and from the airport include buses, and the Line 401 and Line 145(bus rapid transit).

Cape Town International Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Cape Town International Airport is managed and under the control of the Airports Company South Africa, or the ACSA. The Airports Company of South Africa is in charge of all the vital airports that are located across South Africa. Being the second largest airport in South Africa, it shares the international and domestic air travel load, with the O.R. Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg. Cape Town International was formerly known as the DF Malan Airport, but changed its name in the 1990’s due to its apartheid-era connotations.

Annually, Cape Town International deals with approximately 95,000 flights and just over 7.8 million passengers, as reported for 2009. The traffic growth has been so phenomenal that it is expected that the airport will accommodate almost 14 million passengers by the year 2015.

Renovations and extensions have been an ongoing project, with new terminals being constructed in 2001 and in 2003. The most recent terminal, opened in 2003, is 21,000 square meters in size and has the capacity to process 1 million passengers annually, and 1,300 during rush hours. The Cape Town Airport operates from five terminals namely the International Arrivals, Domestic Arrivals, International Departures, Domestic Departures for South African Airways and a terminal for Domestic Departures for all other airline services. Airlines that fly to and from Cape Town International include Lufthansa, Air Mauritius, Mango, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Air Namibia, South African Airways, British Airways, Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air Botswana and LTU International. The Cape Town International Airport has two paved runways that are 3,195 and 1,699 meters in length, respectively, and are used for take offs and landings.

Cape Town International is approximately 22 kilometers from the center of Cape Town, and transport to and from the airport is serviced by car rental agencies, shuttle services and taxis. Passengers can safely park their vehicles in the parking areas at the airport and there are more than 2,000 parking bays to choose from. A shuttle service between the parking area and terminals is available for passenger convenience. Facilities at the Cape Town International Airport includes ATM’s, banks, postal services, foreign exchange services, bars, restaurants, cafés, various shops and stores and a medical facility. All facilities at the airport are modeled bearing in mind the limitations faced by disabled people, and ensuring that public amenities are easily accessible to all passengers and visitors.

The Cape Town International Airport has proved itself to be one of the leading airports in South Africa, by winning the award for ‘World Travel Awards’ consecutively from 2001 to 2004. In 2005 it came in second for the award, behind the O.R. Tambo International Airport, but secured the ‘Skytax Best Airport in Africa’ award in the same year.

Boeing 787

February 9, 2009 by  
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As the Boeing 787 Dreamliner took to the air from the Boeing Field in southern Seattle for its maiden flight on December 15, 2009, no doubt there was a collective sigh of relief from all those who have been involved in the development of this mid-size, twin-engine jet airliner, which is anticipated to be the company’s most fuel-efficient airliner yet. Making use of composite materials for most of its construction, the Dreamliner was a collaborative project involving numerous suppliers around the globe, and by the time the airplane made its appearance at a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, the anticipation was so great that Boeing had reportedly secured close to 600 orders.

Unfortunately, a series of unforeseen problems and delays resulted in the scheduled date of delivery being altered several times, with the original date of May 2008 becoming a distant memory and the anticipated date being pushed forward to the fourth quarter of 2010. It would seem that the delays were primarily due to the collaboration of suppliers, with some not being able to meet their commitments in time. Despite the delays, Boeing is confident that the innovative features of the 787 Dreamliner will be well worth waiting for.

These features include an airframe that is 80 percent composite by volume, resulting in lighter weight and improved fuel efficiency. With a cruising airspeed of Mach 0.85, the 787 can cover a distance of between 8,000 and 8,500 nautical miles, allowing non-stop flying between Los Angeles and Bangkok, or Taipei and New York City, to give just two examples. Flight systems feature Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet, to transmit data between the Dreamliner’s flight deck and aircraft systems. The flight deck itself boasts LCD multi-function displays using a GUI widget toolkit with two head-up displays and a yoke.

The Dreamliner has the capacity to seat between 210 to 330 passengers, depending on the variant and seating plan. To enable passengers to maintain a view of the horizon, cabin windows have been made larger with a higher eye level. Moreover, windows make use of “smart glass” technology facilitating a reduction in glare while retaining transparency for viewing. Another feature that has been developed with passenger comfort in mind is the adjustment of cabin pressure from the average equivalent of 8,000 feet to the equivalent of 6,000 feet. The increase in cabin pressure is made possible partly because of the superior properties of composite materials.

There are three variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the 787-8 slated to enter service in 2010, followed by the 787-9 in 2013 and an, as yet, undetermined date for the 787-3.

787-3 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 186′
Wingspan: 170′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 364,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 290 to 330

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 186′
Wingspan: 197′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 484,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 210 to 250

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 206′
Wingspan: 203′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 540,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 250 to 290

Noi Bai International Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Noi Bai International Airport in Vietnam is a situated roughly 45 kilometers from downtown Hanoi. It is the biggest airport in the northern part of the country and enjoys a light and airy feel as well as wonderfully modern interiors. Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and while the airport is relatively small when compared to the country’s other two international airports, it is the newest and most modern so many people prefer it over the other two.

When you arrive at Noi Bai, you might notice that there are some military aircraft in the vicinity. That is because the airport caters to both military and public aircraft. It is operated by the Northern Airports Authority (NAA) and is situated at an elevation of 39 ft (12 m). The Noi Bai Airport has two runways both with concrete surfaces. The 11L/29R runway measures 10 497 ft (3 200 m), while the 11R/29L runway measures 12 466ft (3 800 m). There is only one terminal building, although there are seven different boarding gates and the building is fairly large and well utilized. There are several lounges to cater to the various classes of passenger and all are well furnished and freely available for use to those with the required boarding pass. The airport is serviced by two Hanoi city buses, which provide transport to the city center. These buses run from five in the morning to 10 in the evening and the trip takes approximately one hour. You can also arrange to have a taxi collect you or use the airport minibus which may take a while to get ready for departure.

As with all airports, certain baggage restrictions apply at Noi Bai International Airport. Only one bag may be carried on board with you and this should not be placed in the isle or by your feet but rather under your seat or in the overhead compartments. It is suggested that valuables are not packed into checked luggage but rather carried on your person and, of course, all sharp objects are prohibited in the passenger cabin and should be packed into your checked luggage. You should also note that use of electronic equipment, such as radios and cellular phones, is prohibited once you have boarded your flight.

Auckland Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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As the largest airport in New Zealand, Auckland Airport is also the busiest. It sees roughly 13 million passengers pass through its doors each year and this figure is likely to increase steadily in years to come. Its cargo port contributes the second largest amount to New Zealand’s economy each year and it carries about 70% of the country’s international travelers. Though the site was used as a runway by the Auckland Aero Club long before the time, the Auckland Airport was officially opened in 1966. Its geographical location was preferable to that of Whenuapai and it soon took over from this older airport in the north-western side of the city. Today the Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s major economic contributors as it provides thousands of jobs and is one of the biggest employers in the region.

The Auckland Airport is located in Manukau City in Auckland and it mainly serves the nearby Auckland city center. It is a public airport and it is operated by Auckland International Airport Limited. The airport is situated at a very low elevation of 23 ft (7 m), though this does not negatively affect the aircraft in any way. It is also used as a central hub for Air New Zealand and most of the flights leaving from the airport are related to this company. The airport has two runways. The first is 11 926 ft (3 635 m) in length and has a concrete surface. The second is 10 197 ft (3 108 m) in length and features an asphalt surface. The airport building itself is very modern and clean, though it should probably be noted that the airport collects an ‘Airport Improvement Fee’ from its passengers in order to keep the building in tip-top shape.

Many visitors arriving in New Zealand do so with the intention of mountain-biking across the country. For those that bring their own bicycles, there is an assembly and dismantling facility located in the arrivals area just outside the international terminal. All cyclist should keep in mind that it is illegal to cycle without a helmet in New Zealand. The Auckland International Airport also provides several other great services such as an inter-denominational chapel, a baby-changing facility, a variety of children’s entertainment facilities and Internet kiosks. Visitors can also make use of restaurants, shops, a massage service, showers and a first aid service. Flight announcements are both displayed and announced on facilities located throughout the terminal.

OR Tambo International Airport

February 9, 2009 by  
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When it was built in 1952, the OR Tambo International Airport was known as the Jan Smuts International Airport. At that time, it was named after Jan Christiaan Smuts who was the Prime Minister of South Africa between 1919-1924. Not long after the end of apartheid, a number of new governmental policies came into effect, one of which was the policy of not naming airports after politicians. Hence, in 1994 the Jan Smuts Airport was renamed the Johannesburg International Airport. However this policy soon fell out of favor and in 2006 the airport was renamed OR Tambo International Airport after Oliver Tambo who was a prominent South African politician. The OR Tambo International Airport is one of the country’s largest airports and it is situated near the city of Johannesburg in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. It also has the distinction of being Africa’s busiest airport, handling close to 20 million passengers a year.

The OR Tambo International Airport is a public airport operated by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). While it mainly serves the nearby cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it is viewed as the country’s primary airport for both domestic and international travel, so many people arriving at OR Tambo are not necessarily planning to spend much time in Johannesburg, but are moving on to other destinations. The airport has quite a high elevation of 5,512 ft (1 680 m) which makes it a ‘hot and high’ airport. This basically means that the air is thin at this altitude which affects the performance of the aircraft. Those aircraft which have to travel a long distance will usually have to stop off elsewhere to refuel since the high altitude and thin air limits the amount of fuel that the aircraft can carry at takeoff. Currently the airport has six terminals but these can be easily divided into three major areas – an international terminal, a domestic terminal and a transit terminal. Extensive renovations have ensured that the airport remains world-class and have included an extra terminal, a multiple story parkade and an international trade bureau. The airport also has two runways – one measuring 14,495 ft (4,418 m) in length and the other 11,119 ft (3,389 m). Both have an asphalt surface. Both run north-south and there is also a disused cross runway. The western runway is regarded as being one of the longest international airport runways in the world. The extra length is necessary because of the altitude in Johannesburg.

The OR Tambo International Airport is built in such a way that those waiting for the arrival of passengers or the departure of flights will be able to keep themselves entertained. There are shops and restaurants available as well as the normal facilities such as money changing operations, ATM machines and ticket booking facilities. The South African Airways Museum is housed on the grounds for those who are interested in the country’s aviation history.

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