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We all remember back in early November of 2010 when Qantas flight 32 was climbing out of Singapore's Changi Airport and, due to an oil leak, blew an A380 engine. The engine explosion pierced fuel tanks, created a hole in the wing and damaged wiring. Parts of the engine even rained down on a small Indonesian island as the pilot called for an emergency landing back in Singapore.
The resulting blame game was intense, between the engine manufacturer, the maintenance crews and the plane design itself.
Fast forward over 1.5 years later and the plane is still stuck in Singapore undergoing much needed repairs and a full investigation. An airplane, especially a massive A380, grounded for that long costs beaucoup bucks no airline wants to fork over, but no airline wants to risk an accident. We get it.
Museum Travel / Aviation / Miracle on the Hudson / North Carolina Travel / Flight 1549 / US Airways / Chesley Sullenberger / Accidents / → All Tags
North Carolina’s state motto is “First in Flight,” and the state that once hosted the Wright Brothers’ first flight now houses an aviation museum. While the Wrights’ plane flew in Kitty Hawk, the Carolinas Aviation Museum is located in the more convenient—and booming—city of Charlotte, just down the road from the airport. The location wasn’t just chosen for proximity, though—the planes live in a retired airplane hangar.
Among the aircraft you’ll see are a military jet that rescued American soldiers in Vietnam, a plane from now-defunct Piedmont Air, and one of the planes used in Top Gun. (They’re pretty sure Tom Cruise never sat in it, but that could be a plus.) However, the star of the show is a US Airways Airbus 320, otherwise known as the "Miracle on the Hudson" plane.
In case you need a refresher, it was in January 2009 that this plane left New York-LaGuardia airport en route to Charlotte, suffered bird strikes and failures of both engines, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Piloted by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane and its passengers escaped almost-certain disaster and became a worldwide news story, with the plane’s crew invited to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration and to greet the crowd at the Super Bowl.
Silver Shadow in happier times.
Okay. Cruise shipsget your act together and stop running into things. PLEASE.
Just this morning it was announced that the Silversea Silver Shadow had T-boned a Vietnamese cargo ship while sailing in heavy fog off the coast of Vietnam. Though neither ship sank and no Silversea passengers were killed, the incident still piles on negative news to an industry already suffering following the Costa Concordia disaster and the fire/stuck-at-sea drama of the Costa Allegra. And all this comes in a year that cruise lines had hoped to raise prices to make up for the money lost during the deep discounting of the last two years of recession. Whoops.
Despite the fact that the Silver Shadow ripped a hole in the hull of the cargo ship, the cruise liner made it to its next port of Ha Long Bay on schedule, only in need of repairs. CNN has an harrowing firsthand account from passenger Andrew Lock, who pointed out that passengers had only around 5 seconds to brace for impact, as the cargo ship emerged from the fog within spitting distance.
Travel Hell / Accidents / Cruise Travel / Costa Cruises / Costa Concordia / Travel Rants / → All Tags
Late Friday night, The Costa Cruises ship Costa Concordia sailed from the Italian port of Civitavecchia near Rome, beginning what would be a nice Mediterrnean cruise. Shortly thereafter, it went off course and struck a reef, eventually listing and coming to rest off the island of Giglio.
The weekend brought new stories, new shocks and new questions of what exactly happened that night, and how it could even happen. Even the death tool is fluctuating. So until some concrete facts emerge, we're returning to a story we know to be the firsthand account from a friend who survived a cruise ship accident (though it didn't end up sinking).
Kathy, who was kind enough to share her story with us, was stuck onboard a crippled cruise ship for three days, albeit a couple decades ago.
Here's her story:
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Okay, so everyone and their moms are posting this video, but we can't get enough of it and we want to make sure you're seeing it too. Here's the deal: last night, a Delta jet, operated by Comair (a little Bombardier CRJ700), was taxiing to its gate at New York-JFK Airport, having just arrived after a short flight down from Boston. There were 62 passengers and four crew onboard.
Meanwhile, an Air France superjumbo double-decker A380, with 495 passengers and 25 crew onboard, was taxiing to a runway to begin a flight to Paris, when its left wing totally smacked the rear fin (ah hem vertical stabilizer) of the Delta jet. No one was hurt, but as you can see in the video above, the A380 sure gave the regional jet a heck of a slap.
Flight 1549 / US Airways / Miracle on the Hudson / Chesley Sullenberger / New York City / Accidents / → All Tags
Technically tomorrow is the exact anniversary, but tonight's a Friday night and we're looking for an excuse to toast a shot of Grey Goose.
Do you remember where you were when US Airways Flight 1549 from New York-LaGuardia to Charlotte only made it as far as the Hudson River, ditching into the water after bird strikes took out both engines? We dowe were working, but then threw on our boots and walked about a mile in the 10-degree air and slush to get as close to it as possible, just to see the Airbus A320 still floating and being slowly tugged over to the side of the river.
All 155 passengers and crew survived, with only 5 bad injuries despite the fact that they glided on no power, then freaking landed in a freezing river. Last year on the anniversary, they all came back to the city and took a boat out to the spot where they faced one of the most harrowing moments of their lives. There they enjoyed a little party, celebrating the fact that they were alive, thanks to the actions of their calm and quick-thinking pilot Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger. Since there's no such shindig this year, let's look back on what's happened since that historic day:
Emergency Landings / Delta / Accidents / Airplane News / COS / → All Tags
Some Delta passengers had something to be thankful for this holiday season as 2010 ended, as their flight had to make an emergency landing in Colorado Springs last Thursday. Obviously any landing that isn’t on the scheduled runway at the scheduled time is an emergency one, but this detour was pretty calm and orderly.
Pilots noticed a light indicating that one of their engines was probably not working like it was supposed to, so they made the decision to land in Colorado instead of Arizona. However, once safely on the ground the overheated brakes created a fire danger, so the call was made for all passengers to Steven Slater their way out of the plane and onto the runway.
Tragedies / Accidents / United / TWA / Vintage Travel / Airplanes / Brooklyn Travel / → All Tags
Although it's never nice to talk about past air incidents when they have the possibility of freaking you out before flying, but it's important to note that today marks the 50th Anniversary of one of the most tragic airplane accidents in history. At the time, in 1960, it was the deadliest, killing 128 people in the sky and 6 on the ground. Here's what happened:
In the morning of December 16, 1960, a TWA Constellation carrying 44 was heading to land at LaGuardia Airport while a United DC-8 Jet with 84 on board was on its way to land at Idlewild Airport (now JFK). Because of lower-tech air traffic control systems of the time, and because the United jet wasn't in the spot it thought it was, the two planes collided over Staten Island. The TWA prop plane was sliced into three pieces and fell straight down onto a military field in SI, while the United Jet managed to continue as far as Brooklyn, where it eventually fell into a church and intersection in the Park Slope neighborhood, killing 6 on the ground and setting buildings on fire.
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The remembrance stone in Roissy, France
Just over ten years after the deadly day, a French court has found Continental Airlines guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the July 2000 crash of the Air France Concorde, which took the lives of 109 passengers and crew and another 4 on the ground. So just how did this come to be, that another airline is convicted of murdering the entire flight of another airline? It all goes back to a small piece of metal.
The tragedy of the Concorde AF Flight 4590 is well known, but here's a sentence to refresh your memory: a Continental Airlines DC-10 flew out of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The plane wasn't properly maintained, and a 12" x 17" piece of titanium (that shouldn't have been on the plane anyways) fell of it onto the runway at CDG. The Concorde took off next, and the metal strip burst a tire, pieces of which then ruptured a fuel tank, which then did all sorts of damage and turned the Concorde into a flaming projectile that crashed into a motel outside the airport. The structural fragility of the areas damaged in this crash caused all Concordes to be grounded for the time being, and all Concordes ceased flying in 2003.
Airplane News / A380 / Qantas / Airplanes / Airline News / Airbus / Accidents / → All Tags
Over the busy weekend, flight 31 took off from Sydney to London with no issues, and the airline’s head honcho—Alan Joyce—even hopped aboard to ensure passengers that these planes and his airline are totally safe.
Travel Hell / Accidents / Cruise Travel / Carnival Cruises / Carnival Splendor / Travel Rants / → All Tags
Supplies being dropped to the Carnival Splendor
On Monday, the Carnival Splendor cruise ship suffered a small engine room fire, which caused the shipwhile some 200 miles off the coast of San Diegoto loose power and call in tugs from the mainland. The ship is now operating on auxiliary power and its 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members have been subsisting on Pop Tarts, croissants, Spam and other relief groceries dropped to the ship by Navy helicopters.
With no phone signals, internet connection or even properly working toilets, the "conditions on board the ship are very challenging."
Although we can't hear the tales of misery from the Splendor guests quite yet, we do know someone who has experienced a similar situation. Kathy, who was kind enough to share her story with us, was stuck onboard a crippled cruise ship for three days as well, albeit a couple decades ago.
Kathy's three days of hell, at sea:
Airplane News / A380 / Qantas / Airplanes / Airline News / Airbus / Accidents / → All Tags
The news surrounding the "uncontained engine failure" onboard a Qantas A380 flight last Thursday hasn't gotten any better over the weekend; the planes remain grounded, after more oil leaks were discovered in other engines. Although they had hoped to have the double-decker superjumbos back in the skies by today, there is now no telling when the issues will be fixed (although we're hoping pretty soon).
The A380s currently grounded belong to Qantas and Singapore Airlines, as they are the airlines operating the plane with the Rolls Royce Trent 900 problem engines. Lufthansa's few A380s also fly with the Trent 900s, but they've only grounded one just to check. The other A380s still flying, from Emirates and Air France, instead have Engine Alliance GP7200s so they aren't necessarily at risk of this same issue.