FAA

Calling From the Air

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Want to have a loud debate with family and friends this holiday weekend? Ask what they think of making cell phone calls at 35,000 feet.

Think debating politics or religion is tough; try getting folks to agree on letting passengers make unlimited cell phone calls while traveling well above the Earth. The FAA decided last week to seek input on the idea of doing just that.

The immediate response was mostly negative. One flight attendants union said it was a stupid idea that would compromise safety, and cause heated arguments between those making the calls and who thought it an intrusion on their privacy.  read more »

Flying Is For the Birds

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More commercial and private planes are taking flight worldwide than ever before. Unfortunately, so are large birds such as geese and pelicans. And if you don’t think they can harm planes, check out the pictures I found for this article. As a private pilot and airplane owner, these pictures and a recent article in USA Today shocked me.

USA Today reports that bird populations are increasing, according to Richard Dolbeer, a retired Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist who created the Federal Aviation Administration's database tracking system for bird strikes in 1990. "In most cases it's going to be these large birds that are going to cause a catastrophe or a significant strike event," Dolbeer said.  read more »

Flying modern jets with WW II navigation

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Flying may be the safest way to travel, but it certainly is not as fast and fuel efficient as it could be. That’s because while teenage drivers use GPS systems in their cars, air traffic controllers use World War II-era radar to guide jumbo jets. And while the newest commercial, private and charter aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art navigations systems, they are interacting with the antiquated equipment being used by the government’s air traffic system.  read more »