Aircraft Goes Missing In The Antarctic

A Twin Otter aircraft like the one missing in the AntarcticA small aircraft carrying three crew members has gone missing in the Antarctic. The plane, which is operated by Kenn Borek Air, was flying from the South Pole to Terra Nova Bay when it went down, immediately setting off its emergency locator beacon. There is no word on the condition of the three men at this time.

The Twin Otter aircraft that the crew was flying is used to make routine supply runs and shuttle scientists, explorers and adventure tourists to various research stations and camps in Antarctica. The plane was on its way to an Italian base when it went down over a remote mountain range.

Poor weather in the area is preventing search and rescue teams from mounting any kind of operation at the moment. The region where the plane crashed is being hit with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour and heavy snow is expected to fall there as well. The locator beacon indicates that the aircraft is in a zone that is under New Zealand’s SAR jurisdiction, but Canadian, American and Italian teams are standing by to lend assistance once the weather improves.

Kenn Borek Air operates with a motto of “anytime, anywhere” and is known for flying explorers, adventurers and scientists to very remote corners of the globe. Their fleet of aircraft includes a number of Twin Otter planes, which are highly regarded for their versatility and reliability, even under the most challenging of circumstances. Kenn Borek pilots and crew are also very experienced professionals who are accustomed to dealing with bad weather in challenging environments.

The aircraft that went down is equipped with survival gear for extreme conditions and enough food and water to last at least five days. With a little luck, the crew managed to put the plane down safely and are now simply waiting for assistance.

[Photo Credit: Kenn Borek Air]

American Airlines’ New Look Just One Part Of Master Plan

American AirlinesAmerican Airlines is still sorting out options for how it will operate, if a merger makes sense and other restructuring-related issues in a tentative financial future. But when it comes to what they do in the air, the course has been charted and is well underway.

American’s current fleet numbers almost 900 aircraft. As part of a 2011 order for an additional 550 new aircraft, 60 will go into service this year, positioning American Airlines to be one of the most modern fleets in the air.

“Since placing our landmark aircraft order in July of 2011, we’ve been building anticipation toward a moment in time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we’ve made to modernize our airline on the inside,” said Tom Horton, American’s Chairman and CEO in a press release.

American Airlines unveiled a new logo and exterior for its planes recently, including the already delivered Flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft set to fly on Jan. 31.

“You’ve been hearing a lot about how the modern travel experience is going to feel, ” says American Airlines President and CEO Tom Horton in this new video, “and today we’re going to show you how it’s going to look.”




What else is new for American Airlines?

Expanded International Service to more destinations worldwide, including more international and domestic routes from Dallas/Fort Worth, more European and domestic service from Chicago O’Hare, new service to Europe from New York, and new service from Miami to Latin America and the Caribbean.

An Airport Technology Update for flight attendants, pilots and maintenance workers brings real-time tablet devices to increase efficiency. Next year, passengers too will see the result of increased technology that promises to make the travel experience more enjoyable.

On-board Enhancements in premium class cabins on international routes with new china, menu choices, and restaurant-style, personalized service. Increased availability of Samsung Galaxy tablets for entertainment use in the premium cabins is coming too.

[Photo Credit- American Airlines]

China Airshow To Feature Acrobatic Team

china airshow

Airshow China 2012 is scheduled to run from November 13 to 18 and will feature over 600 exhibitors from 39 countries. Promising to be bigger and better this year, the show hopes to become more recognized by the international aviation and aerospace community. To help make that happen, the show will feature a variety of airborne daredevil fliers.

Officially titled the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, Airshow China is the only international aerospace trade show in China that is endorsed by the Chinese government. That’s significant because China is looking for 5,400 new passenger aircraft between now to 2031. To get that many aircraft, China wants to make its own plane, the C919, which has attracted international aviation manufacturers to the show.

“We had to close for entries last month as we did not have any space for more,” said Yang Xiangang, vice general manager of Zhuhai Airshow in a South China Morning Post report.Airshow China, held in Zhuhai, features a display of aviation products, hosted trade talks, a technological exchange and a flying display of acrobatic teams from Europe.

This year, the Breitling Jet Team, Breitling Wingwalkers and Yves “Jetman” Rossy are scheduled to participate.

To get to China, they will fly through Eastern Europe, into Russia passing through Siberia, then on to Mongolia and down through China to reach their destination as we see in this video.




[Photo Credit: Flickr user doniphon]

Lost WWII Planes Discovered In Mint Condition In Myanmar Jungle

A Spitfire Fighter Plane Like Those Found In the Myanmar JungleTwenty-five years ago a British farmer by the name of David Cundall overheard a group of American World War II vets discussing how they had buried a squadron of unused Supermarine Spitfire fighter planes in the jungles of Burma. The plan was to leave them there until the RAF needed them, at which time they could be dug up and pressed into service. But as the war ground to a halt and newer planes replaced the Spitfire, there was never a need to retrieve the hidden aircraft. So, they’ve stayed there, buried under 40 feet of soil, ever since. That story struck a chord with Cundall, who was a farmer at the time, and for some reason felt compelled to go looking for the lost planes. Two-and-a-half decades, and $210,000 later, he has found them, and the discovery has exceeded his imagination.

Cundall started his search about 15 years ago, making regular trips to Burma, which is now known as Myanmar, to comb the jungles there. Earlier this year, he finally found what he had been looking for but while he expected to locate about 20 planes, he has actually discovered nearly 140. All of them are still stored, wings folded back, in their original crates and are wrapped in wax paper and covered in grease. That has kept them in near mint condition, even after being buried in the jungle for nearly 70 years.

After the discovery, Cundall petitioned the government of Myanmar for permission to begin excavating the vintage planes. They have recently granted him that permission, and he is now free to start the process of digging them up and shipping them home. And why exactly would he want to dig up all of those old planes? Because each of the Spitfires is estimated to be worth about $2.5 million when sold to a collector. That makes the entire find worth roughly $350 million.

It seems this lost cache of British fighters may not be the only one either. According to the “Business Insider” story linked to above, there are rumors that more than 230 Spitfires were buried somewhere in Queensland, Australia, as well. To date, none have been found, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from searching.

[Photo credit: RAF via WikiMedia]

United Airlines Puts First North American Dreamliner In The Air

Over the weekend, United Airlines put the first of 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the air. Said to be the most technologically advanced aircraft ever built, the 787 will initially be used by United on international flights to Asia, Africa and Europe. But first, a series of domestic flights will showcase the aircraft around the United States.

“As the North American launch customer, we are delighted to be getting our first 787 Dreamliner,” said Jeff Smisek, president and chief executive of United in a Seattle Post Intelligencer article.” As we continue to build the world’s leading airline, we are excited for our customers and co-workers to experience this game-changing aircraft.”

And experience it they will. After an October filled with proving/validation flights and training activities, the new Dreamliner will fly out of United’s Houston (IAH) hub with daily service to San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN) and Newark (EWR). Six times a week, the new aircraft will fly to Chicago (ORD) with special one-time flights to Washington (IAD) and Cleveland (CLE).In addition to unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions, the Dreamliner has a host of passenger-friendly features too. Passengers will notice 30 percent larger windows and larger overhead storage bins for today’s roll-aboard bags. Improved lighting, cabins pressurized at 6,000 feet rather than the 8,000-foot mark typical for commercial passenger aircraft and higher humidity levels will help with fatigue, headaches and jet lag.

“United now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner,” said Smisek, “the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built.”

Here is video of that first 787 Dreamliner being rolled out of the paint shop at Boeing late last week:

Want to see inside the new Dreamliner? Go with Gadling’s Zach Honig Inside United’s First 787 Dreamliner At Boeing HQ

Photo- United Airlines