On a course headed for what might have been the worst disaster in aviation history, two Boeing 747 aircraft came within 100 feet of each other in a near-miss event over Scotland.
It happened in June of this year but the report is just now being released by by the UK Airprox Board, which examines near misses in UK airspace. The planes were 30 miles north of Glasgow when an air traffic controller noticed they were moving closer together. Ordered to fly in different directions, cockpit crews apparently got the instructions reversed and wound up flying towards each other.
“It was apparent that both crews had taken each others’ instructions, and the board found it hard to determine why this had occurred,” noted the Airprox report, a reported in a SkyNews article.Odds are all four pilots in the two aircraft probably were not paying a lot of attention to ground control, already having received clearance to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Compounding the problem: both planes had been ordered by air traffic control to fly at 34,000 feet.
The really scary part: A crash was only prevented because two pilots on each aircraft saw each other. Taking evasive action avoided collision with one plane climbing and the other diving.
Back in 2010, we reported that the birthplace of Ringo Starr was threatened with demolition. The rowhouse, located at 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, England, has fallen into disrepair. As you can see from this photo, it hasn’t been lived in for some time and is all boarded up.
It’s not alone. The BBC reports that many of the homes in the neighborhood are abandoned and crumbling. The city government approved a £15 million ($24.4 million) plan to rework the neighborhood, building 150 new homes, knocking down 280 others, and restoring 37, including Ringo Starr’s. There have been calls to preserve the home as a bit of music history. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.
Now the city’s plan has been put on hold by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has called for a full review. That’s bad news for the few people still living in the area. They don’t know whether they should move, or pay their own money to restore their homes, or do nothing. It all depends what happens with the government funding, and nobody can answer that at the moment.
So will the homes be knocked down or will Ringo’s birthplace become yet another of England’s historic homes? We’ll just have to wait and see.
It may be a long wait.
Even though we’re all aware that auto-pilot is flying our aircraft the vast majority of our trip, it’s always reassuring to know that there’s a pilot sitting behind the controls, ready to spring into action in case something goes wrong. Even better, there are usually two pilots up in the cockpit prepared to take charge. So news that a packed airplane heading to the UK was left on auto-pilot as both pilots fell asleep is a little unsettling.
The British Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that the pilot and co-pilot flying an Airbus A330 on an unnamed airline had decided to take turns napping. However, at some point during the flight, one pilot woke from his nap to discover the other pilot was fast asleep. The pilots voluntarily reported the incident which happened in mid-August this year. It’s believed the pair had only gotten about five hours of sleep over the two nights prior to the flight.The incident has sparked debate over pilot fatigue and mandatory rest periods between flights. Proposed changes in Europe would actually mean pilots could go even longer before getting a break, and includes rules like allowing pilots to land a plane after having been awake for 22 hours. The UK pilot’s association, Balpa, is fighting the changes.
Stories of executives abusing travel expense accounts is nothing new, but a British boss has certainly got many people scratching their heads after expensing an outrageously expensive taxi ride for a cat.
The executive, who works at a taxpayer funded nuclear power plant in the UK, billed £714 ($1,128) for a taxi journey for the animal, which enjoyed a luxurious ride in a chauffeur-driven vehicle.
The crazy expense claim is just one of many made by executives at the nuclear plant, according to an audit. Other inappropriate claims include $4,419 spent on flights to the U.S. Masters golf tournament and a gourmet dinner in France that cost $130 per head.While news of the cat cab ride has sparked outrage in the UK, it’s certainly not the most costly business deduction ever filed. According to CNN, one executive expensed $6000 on a new wardrobe after leaving his luggage in a one-night stand’s hotel room, while in another case, a group of Fortune 100 executives racked up a $150,000 claim by turning what was supposed to be a research trip into a company-funded vacation.
In 1953, the BBC filmed a train trip from London to Brighton. They did it again in 1983, thirty years later. And now, they’ve filmed it a third time and spliced all three recordings together, side-by-side. It’s fascinating to see what’s changed in sixty years — and moreso, what hasn’t.
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