FAA Reviewing Passenger Use of Electronic Devices

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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.

Boeing 737

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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.


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.

Oslo International Airport

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The Oslo International Airport was approved by the Norwegian authorities on 13 November 1992, and the construction of the new airport was completed in 1998. It is located approximately 50 kilometers outside the city of Oslo and is currently the largest and most busy commercial airport in Norway. The Oslo International Airport accommodates international flights, domestic flights and charter flights, with the international flights connecting Oslo Airport to more than 60 international destinations and more than twenty-five domestic destinations. At the end of 2009 it was determined that approximately 18 million passengers used the Oslo International Airport.

Oslo International Airport has two asphalt runways that are 3,600 meters and 2,950 meters respectively. Commercial airlines that operate to and from
Olso Airport include Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Finnair, Coast Air, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM Royal Dutch Airline, Islandair, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Condor and Austrian Airlines. Charter airlines such as Novair, Spanair, Air Europa and SAS Braathens operate from the airport. The Oslo Airport also handles many cargo flights that are run by airlines such as DHL, Korean Air, Lufthansa, SAS Cargo Group, United Parcel Service and TNT Cargo.

Getting to and from the Oslo Airport can be done by taxi, buses (of which there is a night bus service available), trains such as the regional trains or the Airport Express, which is called Flytoget. The subway can also be used to get to the airport, and car rental facilities are available. For travelers that arrive by car, there are over 3,500 parking pays available in the short term parking area, and approximately 7,900 parking bays in the long term parking area which is located outdoors. Shuttle services are available, free of charge, to assist getting passengers and their luggage from the carparks to the airport terminal.

The Oslo International Airport has a variety of passenger facilities available within the terminal, including duty free shops, ATM’s, foreign exchange services, book stores, sweet shops, toy stores, gift shops and clothing stores. Passengers can choose from various cafes, fast food outlets, seafood bars and restaurants. Gourmet Norwegian foods and dishes are also available in the terminal. Disabled passengers have been provided for, through accessibility and spacious, clean restrooms.

Beryl Markham

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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.

Boeing 787

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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

Luis Munoz Marin International Airport

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The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, formerly known as the Isla Verde International Airport, is located in close proximity to the city of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Locals refer to the airport simply as the San Juan Airport even though it was renamed as the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in 1985. The governor at that time was Rafael Hernandez Colon, and he renamed the airport after the first governor who had been elected democratically, namely Luis Munoz Marin.

With the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport being located in the capital of Puerto Rico, it is a very important gateway between San Juan and other domestic destinations such as Ponce, Culebra, Vieques and Aguadilla. It is also of great importance to the traffic that connects Puerto Rico to the United States mainland. San Juan Airport is the hub for the airlines American Eagle and Cape Air. Many other commuter airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, US Airways, Continental Airlines and Air Canada operate from the Luis Munoz Marin Airport.

There are two terminals at the Luis Munoz Marin Airport, one which is used as the main terminal and the other that is exclusively for the use of American Airlines. The terminals are clearly marked to assist passengers in finding their way around, with Concourse D and Concourse E being part of the American Airlines Terminal and Concourse B and Concourse C are part of the Main Terminal. Flights from American Eagle and American Airlines book and check into the American Airlines Terminal. All other airlines and flights need to go through the main terminal. If you are a little impatient to reach your destination, and cannot bear the thought of waiting a moment longer to get there, then you can make use of the services of a local charter service.

The Luis Munoz Marin Airport has two runways. Runway 8/26 is constructed from asphalt and is 3,049 meters in length, while the 10/28 runway is built from concrete and is 2,443 meters in length.

Taxis, busses and car rental companies are available for passenger convenience and the terminals at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport have a variety of facilities, including ATM’s, banking facilities, duty free stores, barbershops, health and beauty salons and gift shops.

Noi Bai International Airport

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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.

A1 Skyraider

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The Douglas A-1E Skyraider entered service in World War II as a replacement for the SBD dive-bomber. The Skyraider‘s original designation was the “AD” and it made its inaugural flight on March 18, 1945. The A-1E Skyraider had a middle compartment which allowed it to be used for carrying passengers, supplies, or heavy cargo. Modifications of the airplane continued years after the aircraft was first placed in service. During the next twenty odd years, the Navy took delivery of 3,180 Skyraiders – a number of those aircraft were placed in service during the Korean War.

By 1963, and after many modifications, the Skyraider had evolved from the AD-5 to the A-1E and the United States Air Force used the airplane heavily during the Vietnam War. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the propeller-driven A-1E was well-suited for missions in Vietnam because of its ability to perform close-support operations. Specifically, the A-1E Skyraider had the ability to absorb lethal ground fire and fly at low altitude with large bomb loads, essential tasks during the Vietnam War.

On March 10, 1966 the A-1E Skyraider played a major role in the rescue of a downed pilot in enemy-held territory by pilot Maj. Bernard Fisher for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Though the airplane suffered major damage in combat, Maj. Fisher’s A-1E’s Skyraider is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The A-1E Skyraider has dual controls and side-by-side seating for the pilot and assistant pilot. Both crew members have an ejection seat. Each wing has two 20 mm guns and the Skyraider can accommodate a variety of mines, gun pods, bombs, rockets, and other armament. To enable the A-1E Skyraider for long strike capability, it can be fitted with external or internal auxiliary fuel tanks. Here is some critical data for aircraft enthusiasts:

Maximum speed: 325 mph
Cruise speed: 240 mph
Range: 1,500 miles
Ceiling: 26,200 ft.
Length: 40 ft.
Wingspan: 50 ft. 1/4 in.
Height: 15 ft. 9 5/8 in.
Maximum weight: 24,872 lbs.
Engine(s): Wright R-3350 of 2,700 hp
Crew: One
Armament: Four 20mm cannons and a wide assortment of bombs, rockets, mines, grenades, flares and gun pods
Contractor: Douglas Aircraft Company

If you are a current or former military pilot and would like to submit an article about your experience or a story about the A-1E Skyrider then please contact us at airplanes.com and we would like to hear from you.

Domodedovo International Airport

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Domodedovo International Airport can be found 35 km south of the center of Moscow, Russia. In total Moscow has seven airports of which Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo International Airport were rated as the main two in Russia in a review carried out in 2006. However, in terms of international and domestic passenger traffic, Domodedovo is clearly ahead of Sheremetyevo with a record turnover of 15.3 million passengers in 2006 alone.

Domodedovo was officially opened in mid 1965 as an airport that would eventually be able to handle all of the USSR’s long-distance domestic traffic as it would be expanded over the years. Eighteen months after the first runway had been put in place a second one was built parallel to the first one. Domodedovo is the first airport in Russia to have two parallel runways operating at the same time. The recently new air traffic control tower has been redeveloped and can now handle as many as 70 take offs and landings every hour.

Beginning in 1996, the East Line Group had given the Domodedovo Airport a 75-year lease while still under state control. The East Line Group has undertaken a number of reconstruction and renovation projects to make the customs area more easily accessible to the passengers, providing visitor facilities, and making it easier to maintain high standards of cleanliness.

Within the airport terminal are five-business departure lounges, each designated to and cared for by individual airlines. Passengers can go to and from Moscow to the Domodedovo International Airport using the Aeroexpress train taking them to the Paveletsky Rail Terminal. The journey lasts approximately 40 minutes and airline passengers have the luxury of being able to check in for their flight at the station.

The EAST LINE’s goal is to establish Domodedovo as one of the major international airports while being able to provide various transportation options for passengers. The airport has benefited immensely from being so close to the Russian capital of Moscow. It also has approximately 13,600ha of land around the actual airport that has been kept for further development and can allow another seven runways to be built for the future.

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport

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Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, also commonly known as Fiumicino International Airport, is one of the largest public airports found in Italy with more than 30 million passengers having flown from there in 2006 alone. The airport was named after the famous Leonardo da Vinci and can be found in Fiumicino from where it serves the whole of Rome.

From the historic city center of Rome to Leonardo da Vinci airport is about 34 kilometers or 21 miles by car. It is also accessible by train, which is available at the airport terminal, as well as by cab but that can be quite expensive. The Leonardo Express trains run twice an hour for twenty-four hours to the Termini Station in Rome. The regional trains leave the station every fifteen minutes but will stop at all the train stations between the city center and the airport, making the journey so much longer.

There are four runways used at the Leonardo da Vinci airport all of which are asphalt and are between 3,309 and 3,900 meters long. Aeroporti di Roma provided all the ground handling services for the airport up until 1999 when it formed the Aeroporti di Roma Handling, which was later sold to Flightcare.

Terminal areas in the airport were upgraded between 1991 and 2008. This included the construction of Terminal 5, particularly for the American carrier flights check-in and it deals with some 950 000 passengers per annum. The Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is a major hub for Alitalia, Air Alps and Blu-Express.

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