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 www.lifenews.ru 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 http://www.lifenews.ru/news/61719):
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."

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