Airbus A380 to land at Miami for the first time

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The world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft is set to make its South Florida debut on Friday, June 9, at Miami International Airport when Lufthansa begins daily flights with the plane between Frankfurt and Miami.

The Airbus A380 jet is scheduled to touch down at MIA around 1:40 p.m. June 10.

MIA is the fifth airport in the nation and the first in the southeast United States to obtain A380 service, according to airport officials.

Lufthansa’s double-deck A380 has 526 seats and is configured to accommodate 420 passengers in economy class, 98 in business and eight in first class. In the economy class cabin, all seats are equipped with a video screen and sport a slimmer and more ergonomic design.

The A380 has already landed at airports in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Virginia operated by several international carriers such as Air France and Lufthansa.

“The A380 arrival elevates MIA to an elite group of airports worldwide that can accommodate it,” airport spokesman Greg Chin said Tuesday.

The airport spent about $4 million on terminal modifications, including the installation of a third jet bridge to prepare for the A380. Previously, Lufthansa flew Boeing 747-400 planes on the route.

MIA officials also worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on making the airport A380-ready, which included strict air controller training.

Officials at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said Tuesday that the A380 isn’t likely to land there anytime soon given its size and passenger load.

“Our airfield infrastructure — taxiways, runways and passport control areas — is not designed for it,” said Michael Nonnemacher, the airport’s director of operations.

FLL predominantly caters to domestic and short-haul destinations and not long-haul trips for which the A380 is primarily being used.

South Floridians curious to see this flying behemoth should be able to watch it land from vantage points south of the airport along Perimeter Road, including the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant at 1395 NW 57th Ave., Chin said.

A380 viewers need to be careful when pulling off the road if they plan to park along the roadway, he said.

The landing of the football-field-sized aircraft will be streamed live at and also on jumbo television screens in the South Terminal at Concourse J’s International Greeters Lobby, on the third level.

On Friday, Lufthansa’s A380 will depart Miami for Frankfurt about 7:50 p.m. from Gate J-17. For its regular daily schedule, Flight 463 is expected to depart Miami at 4:10 p.m. for arrival in Frankfurt at 7:15 a.m. local time. The return Flight 462 will leave Frankfurt at 9:55 a.m. for arrival in Miami at 1:50 p.m., according to Lufthansa.

In Wake of UPS Crash, Boeing to Revise Emergency Cockpit Procedures

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Prompted by last month’s crash of a UPS 747 cargo jet with a raging fire in its hold, Boeing is revising emergency procedures intended to help pilots of such aircraft deal with smoke in the cockpit.

According to company and industry officials, Boeing’s new emergency checklist, which is expected to be issued in November, aims to ensure that crews take proper steps to keep air circulating in order to prevent dense smoke from building up in the cockpits of certain 747 cargo planes.

The recommended procedural changes will call for making sure at least one air-conditioning system continues to operate on all-cargo, 747-400 jumbo jets during a fire emergency. Under some circumstances, current checklists require pilots to turn off air-conditioning systems in the event of a fire warning from the cargo hold. Further checklist revisions are under review.

Boeing has distributed interim safety guidelines to operators, pending formal changes to checklists and operating manuals.

Over the weekend, a Boeing Co. spokeswoman said the plane-maker has “taken a number of actions to address issues” raised by the Sept. 3 crash of the United Parcel Service Inc. jet in Dubai, which killed both pilots. Boeing is reviewing changes in “certain flight-crew and environmental control system procedures,” she said.

Meanwhile, UPS officials have declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation, or potential operational changes.

UPS cargo plane crash site

Carrying cargo that included what US regulators described as “large quantities of lithium batteries,” the jumbo jet was about 20 minutes en route from Dubai to Cologne, Germany, when pilots received a fire warning from the main cargo deck. There were two subsequent warnings of a cargo fire, according to investigators from the United Arab Emirates heading the international team conducting the probe.

Investigators haven’t officially determined the cause of the crash, but they already have released details about drama inside the cockpit as the pilots struggled to return to Dubai. Smoke was so dense, according to investigators, that the pilots had difficulty seeing their primary flight-instruments and communicating with each other. They also couldn’t change radio frequencies, so nearby aircraft helped pass on messages from Dubai controllers.

At some point during the emergency descent and return to Dubai, one of the pilots apparently left the cockpit to try to fight the flames but never returned, according to people familiar with the investigation. The crippled aircraft flew over the airport at 4,000 feet, made a right-hand turn and crashed, without killing or injuring anyone on the ground.

The accident has revved-up pilot-union and regulator concerns about fire hazards posed by cargo shipments of such rechargeable batteries. In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration recently issued a safety alert urging cargo airlines to take special precautions when transporting such shipments. The FAA warned that some lithium-battery fires may spread in spite of onboard suppression systems, reaching high temperatures and “creating a risk of a catastrophic event.”

The Department of Transportation is moving to issue additional restrictions on battery shipments. But a broad coalition of industry organizations – from battery suppliers to cellular phone makers to retail industry groups — objects to such controls and has appealed to White House officials to stop the new rules under review.

For Boeing and numerous large international cargo operators that rely on 747 jumbo jets, an equally high-priority issue is how to most-effectively combat the spread of smoke from a blaze in the main cargo hold, where there typically is no fire-suppression system.

UPS plane crash in Dubai killed two pilots


A UPS B747 plane

A UPS cargo plane crashed Friday evening after takeoff near Dubai, United Arab Emirates killing two pilots in the package delivery giant’s first fatal aircraft accident. The company confirmed the identities of the victims on Saturday as Capt. Doug Lampe, 48, of Louisville, Ky., and First Officer Matthew Bell, 38, of Sanford, Fla.

The company said the crew members were flying a Boeing 747 to Cologne, Germany, when the plane went down near the Dubai International Airport shortly after takeoff. The National Transportation Safety Board has been dispatched to the scene to assist the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE. Officials said the GCAA will take lead on the investigation.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and all of us at UPS extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both of these crew members,” said UPS CEO Scott Davis. “Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with them during this difficult time.”

A statement posted Friday on the UPS website said that at approximately 12 p.m. Eastern Standard time (8 p.m. local time) UPS flight number 6 from Dubai and headed to Cologne, Germany—a Boeing Co. 747-400—crashed after takeoff.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear, but it appeared to have been preceded by a fire on board. The plane took off around 7 p.m. local time, and, according to a person familiar with the situation in the U.A.E., the crew reported trouble shortly after becoming airborne and alerted air-traffic controllers, who eventually diverted the plane to a government-owned landing facility in the desert.

Some preliminary reports indicated that the pilots ultimately may have been forced to try to land at the government-owned facility after struggling with an onboard emergency that may have obscured their view of some cockpit instruments.

Neither UPS nor local authorities were commenting on the precise sequence of events. After saying that the plane crashed on takeoff, a UPS spokeswoman later Friday confirmed there was an hour gap between its takeoff and the crash.

“We will … release more information as it becomes available, in cooperation with government authorities. We will not speculate about the cause,” said UPS’s airline and international operations manager, Bob Lekites, according to the statement on the UPS website. “Until then, we ask for your patience in this difficult time.”

It was the first fatal plane crash for UPS, which has been an industry leader in promoting and using advanced navigation aids to enhance safety and efficiency at its primary U.S. hub airport in Louisville, KY. The company has had four other aircraft incidents since 1985, most recently in February 2006 when a DC-8 that had a fire onboard burned after landing in Philadelphia, according to the Aviation Safety Network.


Bomb hoax cause Air France plane to land in Brazil

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Air France Flight 443

The Air France Flight 443, a Boeing 747-400 passenger jet, bound for Paris emergency landed at Recife Airport in Brazil last July 10 after receiving a bomb threat.

AF Flight 443 took off from Rio de Janeiro and later received information from Rio’s International airport control tower that someone called thirty minutes after the plane took off, saying that there was a bomb on board. The mysterious caller had a female voice.

The 405 passengers and 18 crew members were unhurt and safely evacuated according to Recife Airport authority spokesman Jorge Andrade. They were ushered in nearby hotels while a five-hour search for the bomb was conducted on the B747 passenger jet. This resulted to the 30-minute closing of the Recife airport. No bomb was found after the search and resumed its flight to Paris.

The flight was on the same route as Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which crashed last year off Brazil’s northeastern coast. 228 people were killed. There were no survivors. Until now, authorities have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

Air France Flight 447 which crashed on June 1, 2009

Red Jumbo flies with Jumbo

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Biggin Hill Air Fair, Harris HospisCare and Virgin Atlantic are all 25 years old this year and celebrations to mark the anniversary. The Red arrows were joined in formation by a Virgin plane to celebrate the airlines 25th anniversary. The performance of a nine-ship team flypast in V-formation with a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400.

Other highlights include the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and an aircraft from the Royal Navy Historic flight marking its 100 years of naval aviation.