Friday, September 28, 2012

Sita Air crashed at Katmandu

A plane carrying trekkers to the Mount Everest region hit a bird and crashed just after takeoff Friday in Nepal's capital, killing the 19 Nepali, British and Chinese people on board, authorities said.

The pilot of the domestic Sita Air flight reported trouble two minutes after takeoff and appeared to have been trying to turn back, said Katmandu airport official Ratish Chandra Suman. The crash site is only 500 meters (547 yards) from the airport, and the wrecked plane was pointing toward the airport area. Suman said the plane hit a vulture just after it took off, causing the crash.

Suman said he could not confirm whether the plane was already on fire before it crashed. Cellphone video shot by locals showed that the front section of the plane was on fire when it first hit the ground and that the pilot apparently had attempted to land the plane on open ground beside a river.

The fire quickly spread to the rear, but the tail was still in one piece at the scene near the Manohara River on the southwest edge of Katmandu. Villagers were unable to approach the plane because of the fire, and it took some time for firefighters to reach the area and bring the fire under control.

Soldiers and police sifted through the crash wreckage looking for bodies and documents to help identify the victims. Seven passengers were British and five were Chinese; the other four passengers and the three crew members were from Nepal, authorities said.

Large numbers of local people and security forces gathered at the crash site. The victims' charred bodies were taken by vans to a hospital morgue.

Relatives of the Nepalese victims cried as they gathered at the Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital in Katmandu, where all the victims' bodies were taken.

The weather in Katmandu and surrounding areas was clear Friday morning, and the plane was one of the first of the day to take off from Katmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport. Other flights reported no problems, and the airport remained open and operated normally after the crash.

The plane was heading for Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest. Thousands of Westerners make treks in the region around the world's highest peak each year. Autumn is considered the best time to trek the foothills of the Himalayan peaks.

Airline officials identified the British crash victims as Raymond Eagle, 58, Christopher Franc Davey, 51, Vincent Kelly, 52, Darren Kelly, 45, Timothy Oakes, 57, Stephen Holding, 60, and Benjamin Ogden, 27.

The Nepalese passengers were identified as Kumar Marshyangdi Magar, Lakpa Noru Sherpa, D. Rai and M.K. Tamang. The crew members were pilot Bijay Tandukar, co-pilot Takashi Thapa and hostess Ruju Shakya.

China's government-run Xinhua News Agency identified the Chinese victims as Wu-Hui, Qian-Mingwu, Wu-Lin, Wang-Jhihua and Yang-Chen.

Nepal, with its poor-quality mountain roads and network of little airports, has a long history of small plane crashes. Including Friday's crash, there have been at least six crashes of small planes since October 2008.

The crash follows an avalanche on another Nepal peak Sunday that killed seven foreign climbers and a Nepali guide.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

18 survive MH3516 crash-landing in Lawas

The front landing gear of a MASwings Twin Otter (DHC6) aircraft broke off upon landing at Lawas Airport, Malaysia about 3.30pm yesterday.

All 16 passengers and two crew – pilot and co-pilot – were lucky to escape unscathed as their aircraft skidded to a stop a short distance from the river at the end of the runway.

According to one of the passengers, the plane stopped just 5metres short of the river.

Fine weather was reported at the time of the incident.

The MH3516 aircraft, belonging to Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASwings took off from Miri Airport at 2.45pm.

MASwings ,in a statement emailed from Kuching yesterday evening, said that following the incident, the Lawas terminal was temporarily closed to traffic to facilitate investigation.

“The aircraft is being guarded by MAB airport security and police.

MASwings meanwhile is sending an investigation and recovery team from Kota Kinabalu by land to remove the aircraft from the site. For the time being, Lawas Airport is closed for all flight operations until the airfield is cleared,” the statement added.

It said the airline would extend its full co-operation to the Department of Civil Aviation which is investigating the incident. This is an isolated incident and that safety remains a high priority in the company.

MASWings makes six flights daily from Miri. In a week it makes 17 flights to Lawas from Miri, three from Ba Kelalan and one from Kota Kinabalu.

The 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft is one of four used by MASWings for its rural air services (RAS) in Sarawak.

via BorneoPost

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic glider failed high speed test

Falcon HTV-2
An unmanned experimental aircraft designed to fly at speeds of 13,000 mph (20,900 kph) went out of control and crashed in the Pacific on Thursday in the second failed test of a military program to deliver a warhead anywhere on Earth in an hour.

The Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic glider was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:45 a.m. PST (1445 GMT) and successfully separated from a Minotaur IV rocket in the upper atmosphere several minutes later, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said.

Initial information about the flight was first circulated on the Internet via Twitter. About 10 minutes after the flight began, DARPA tweeted that the mission was "on track, entering glide phase."

But about 26 minutes later, the agency tweeted that its monitoring stations had lost contact with the glider.

Separation of the arrowhead-shaped aircraft from the rocket was confirmed by an on-board camera, and the glider began a descent aimed at reaching 20 times the speed of sound, the agency said in a statement later.

But nine minutes later an "anomaly" caused a loss of signal between the aircraft and monitoring stations. The plane evidently crashed into the Pacific along its planned flight path, the agency said.

"Here's what we know," said Air Force Major Chris Schulz, an aerospace engineer who manages of the hypersonic flight program. "We know how to boost the aircraft to near space. We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight.

"We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It's vexing. I'm confident there is a solution. We have to find it," he said.

The glider is attempting to become the fastest aircraft ever built, with the ability to fly anywhere in the world within an hour. To do that it has to achieve speeds of 13,000 mph (20,900 kph) and endure temperatures in excess of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,926 degrees Celsius).

It was the second time the aircraft had been tested. In April 2010 tracking stations lost contact with the aircraft after just nine minutes.


DARPA said achieving separation of the glider from the rocket was a critical step in maneuvering the craft into hypersonic flight.

Researchers also collected nine minutes worth of telemetry data that they hope will help them learn to fly at super high speeds.

"In the April 2010 test, we obtained four times the amount of data previously available at these speeds. Today more than 20 air, land, sea and space data collection systems were operational," said DARPA Director Regina Dugan. "We'll learn. We'll try again. That's what it takes."

Schulz said three technical challenges exist in HTV-2 flight -- aerodynamic, aerothermal, and guidance, navigation and control.

"To address these obstacles, DARPA has assembled a team of experts that will analyze the flight data collected during today's test flight, expanding our technical understanding of this incredibly harsh flight regime," Schulz said. "As today's flight indicates, high-Mach flight in the atmosphere is virtually uncharted territory."

The Falcon HTV-2 glider is part of the Defense Department's Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, an effort to build a system that can deliver a conventional warhead anywhere in the world within an hour.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moroccan C-130 military plane crashed near Guelmim

A plane crash in southern Morocco killed 78 people Tuesday, the state news agency reported.
The Moroccan C-130 military plane crashed in the southern part of the country, state-run Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse reported.

The aircraft, belonging to Morocco's Royal Armed Forces, crashed into a mountain as it attempted to land at a military airport about eight kilometers (five miles) away, the news agency said.

Three people were hurt.

The plane was flying from Agadir to Al-dakhla and was carrying 81 people -- 60 military, 12 civilians and nine crew members, Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse reported, citing a military statement.

The plane crashed at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. ET), 10 kilometers away from the city of Guelmim, the statement said.

Local news agency, citing sources with knowledge of the event, said rescue efforts were ongoing.

Ali Anozla, managing editor of Lakome, said local sources told him the cause of the crash was bad weather.

Monday, June 20, 2011

RusAir Tupolev-134 plane crashed in Karelia, Russia

At least 44 people were killed when a passenger plane broke up and caught fire on coming into land in heavy fog in north-western Russia, an Emergency Ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The Tupolev-134 plane, carrying 43 passengers and nine crew, crashed near a road about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the runway at the Besovets airport outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk at about 11.40 p.m. local time (1940 GMT) on Monday.

"The preliminary information is that 44 people were killed," the spokeswoman said by telephone. "Eight people were injured." She said nine crew were on board; officials had earlier said there were five crew on board.

Photographs on the Internet news website showed firemen battling with fires among the wreckage of the plane, which crashed about 700 km (430 miles) north of Moscow.

The news site, which posted a full list of the passengers, said a 10-year-old boy named Anton had survived the crash but gave no details about his condition.

The crash comes on the eve of the Paris Air Show which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due to attend.

The plane, operated by the private company RusAir, was traveling from Moscow's Domodedovo airport. RusAir, which specializes in charter flights, declined immediate comment.

Most of the passengers were Russian but a Swedish national was also on the aircraft, Interfax news agency said.

The Tuploev-134 is a Soviet aircraft whose maiden flight was in 1967. It was unclear when the plane which crashed was made.

The aircraft's black boxes have been recovered.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has swapped his Tupolev for a French-made executive jet, in April criticized flaws in domestically-built planes and the nation's poor safety record.

One of the most high-profile Tupolev air disasters in recent times occurred in April 2010 when Polish President Lech Kaczynski's official Tupolev Tu-154 plane crashed near Smolensk airport in western Russia, killing 96 people including Kaczynski, his wife and a large number of senior officials.

List of survivors (list from
Anna Nazarova
Sergey Eremin
Julia Skvortsova,
Sergei Belgesov,
Anna Terekhina - 27 years
Alexander Kargopolova.
Vladimir Stepanov - 40 years
Anton Terekhin, 10 years old.
All the other people who were on board the crashed airliner, died.

via Reuters

Friday, June 3, 2011

Qantas jet grounded because of rats

Qantas has been forced to ground one of its jets after rats were found on board.

Flight attendants discovered five rats in the cabin of a Boeing 767 Monday as they were preparing for take-off from Sydney Airport, Sky News reported.

The rats were found in emergency medical equipment just before passenger were due to board.

The passengers, who were bound for Brisbane on the 5pm flight, were moved to another flight while the rats were killed and engineers checked if they had damaged any wiring.

Qantas is unsure how the rats got onboard.

"We still don't know how they got on board but it is obviously not a common occurrence,'' a Qantas spokesman said.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the airline was currently investigating how the rats came to be in the plane but described the incident as "unusual''.

Engineers who inspected the plane on Monday found no damage had been caused to the plane's wiring systems.

The aircraft was due to return to service this morning, the spokeswoman said.

While not a common occurrence, it's not unheard of to find rats or other pests on planes. In April health inspectors found rodent droppings "too numerous to count" near a Delta Airline jet's food and drink storage area.

In February last year hundreds of passengers were ordered off an Air Canada flight bound for London from Ottawa after a huge rat was discovered on board.

Rats aren't the only creatures to invade jets - a colony of cockroaches was discovered in the first class section of an American Airlines flight last March

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Martin Jetpack closer to commercial use

Jetpacks, once thought to be the future of travel, seemed to go the way of the flying car, but if Glenn Martin, founding director and inventor of Martin Jetpack, has his way, anyone will be able to buy one for about US$100,000 within the next 18 months.

Martin Aircraft Co., located in New Zealand, passed a crucial milestone this month when it tested its Jetpack at 1,500 metres, before it deployed an emergency parachute, allowing the flying machine and its dummy pilot to drift down to the ground.

"This successful test brings the future another step closer," said Martin in a statment.

"This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a Jetpack as an unmanned aerial vehicle, which will be key to some of the Jetpack's future emergency/search and rescue and military applications."