Plane crash in Iran

Sixty-six people are feared to have been killed in a passenger plane crash in the Zagros mountains in Iran. The Aseman Airlines plane, en route from Tehran to the south-western city of Yasuj, came down near the city of Semirom in Isfahan province. The Red Crescent deployed search and rescue teams to the site. The airline has retracted a statement saying definitively that all aboard were dead. Flight EP3704 left Tehran at 04:30 GMT, and crashed about an hour later.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43103192

Engine on United Airlines plane falls apart on flight to Hawaii

Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu had a scary trip over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, after the casing around one of the engines ripped apart, officials said. United flight 1175, with more than 370 people on board including crew members, landed without incident at Honolulu International Airport, United Airlines Inc spokesman Charles Hobart said in an email.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-airlines-engine/passenger-jet-lands-in-hawaii-after-engine-covering-rips-apart-idUSKCN1FY06F

First plane powered partly by mustard seeds

A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on Tuesday. The 15-hour flight used a blended fuel that was 10% derived from the brassica carinata, an industrial type of mustard seed that functions as a fallow crop – meaning it can be grown by farmers in between regular crop cycles. It was a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 which reduced carbon emissions by 7% compared with the airline’s usual flight over the same LA to Melbourne route.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/30/qantas-uses-mustard-seeds-in-first-ever-biofuel-flight-between-australia-and-us

A drone had an apparent call with a jumbo jet

The FAA has launched an investigation after a drone had an apparent close call with a jet near McCarran International Airport. Video circulating online shows the drone hovering as what appears to be a Frontier Airlines jet flies almost directly beneath it. FAA regulations generally prohibit drone operators from flying above an altitude of 400 feet, near other aircraft or in controlled airspace like the area near an airport. There are, however, instances in which pilots can apply to have those rules waived under specific circumstances. It's not clear under which regulations this pilot was flying.

http://abc7.com/technology/drone-has-frightening-apparent-close-call-with-jet/3028857/

The Supermoon on the night of January 31

The January 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit -- known as perigee -- and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/super-blue-blood-moon-coming-jan-31

NASA tests new material to fold aircraft wings

NASA has led a two-day test at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California on a new material that works to fold aircraft wings while in flight. The space agency said Friday the demonstration is part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project, which seeks to determine if a material called “shape memory alloy” provides the capacity to fold outer sections of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to different angles.

https://www.executivegov.com/2018/01/nasa-led-team-tests-new-material-to-fold-aircraft-wings/

The drone racing career of Australia's teenage champion Thomas Bitmatta

Drone racing career beckons for Australia's teenage world champion Thomas Bitmatta. The 18-year-old from Melbourne hit the big time last year when he edged out more than 300 of the world's top drone fliers to win the MultiGP International Open in the US. Bitmatta, from Roxburgh Park in Melbourne's north, has been accepted to study mechatronics but will defer for a year to travel the world — particularly the US — racing drones. Bitmatta will head to Florida this month to compete in the first US competition of the season.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-18/drone-champion-looks-to-turn-talent-into-career/9306908

Emirates saved Airbus from the scrapheap

Emirates Airline has pledged to order up to 36 extra Airbus A380s, and, in doing so, has essentially saved the European firm’s flagship commercial plane from the scrapheap. Airbus needs to make at least six A380s a year in order to maintain an efficient production line, and no orders came in during 2017. A few days ago, the company warned it may have to end production unless a big new order came in soon.

http://fortune.com/2018/01/18/airbus-a380-emirates-order-deal/

Plane skids off runway in Turkey

A passenger plane skidded off a runway and was left stuck precariously on the side of a cliff in northeast Turkey. All 162 passengers and crew on board the Pegasus Airlines' Boeing 737-800 miraculously escaped, with no serious injuries reported, following the incident at Trabzon Airport, on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. Panicked passengers were evacuated from the aircraft early on Sunday after emergency service crews arrived at the scene.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/14/passenger-plane-skids-runway-gets-stuck-cliff-edge-turkey/

Commercial airlines had their safest year ever

Commercial airliners had their safest year ever. There were no fatalities on commercial passenger jets in 2017, according to two groups that track airplane crash data, making it the safest year in modern aviation history. There were two fatal accidents in passenger airliners involving small turbo-prop planes, according to To70, a Dutch aviation consulting firm. These numbers mean that the rate of fatal accidents in commercial flights in large airplanes is one per 16 million flights, according to To70.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/02/575071619/commercial-airliners-had-their-safest-year-ever-flight-trackers-say

Delta flight returned to Atlanta

An unexpected stowaway forced a Delta flight to turn around late Saturday morning. Delta flight 1943 from Detroit to Atlanta had to return to Detroit “shortly after takeoff” because a small sparrow had snuck into the cockpit, airport officials said. The feathered culprit slipped on the plane during boarding and then made its way into the cockpit, where the captain become aware of the nuisance.

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/12/31/bird-flies-into-cockpit-forces-delta-flight-to-turn-around.html

Small drone registry to be reinstated

The FAA’s authority to compel owners of small drones to register them is about to be reinstated, thanks to a provision in the NDAA, which passed Congress last week and is awaiting the President’s signature. Specifically, the provision enables the FAA to reinstate the registration requirement for unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and more than 0.55 pounds. That requirement was struck down by a federal court of appeals ruling in July.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2017-11-21/faa-small-drone-registry-be-reinstated

India and Japan plan to explore the Moon

India, Japan aim for joint Moon mission. India and Japan will collaborate to send a joint mission to the moon, which includes landing a rover and bringing samples back to the earth, a feat that was last achieved over four decades ago. An implementation agreement for the collaborative mission will be finalised within the next two months. This is the second time that Japan and India are teaming up for a moon mission.  Team Indus, which is aiming by March next will be the first private firm to land a rover on the moon and will carry a Japanese rover by team Hakuto on its spacecraft.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-japan-look-at-joint-moon-mission-will-bring-samples-to-earth-117111701151_1.html

Is it OK to shoot down drones?

Teen Mom 2 Asks an Important Question: Is It OK to shoot down drones? The segment in question begins as (former) teen mom Jenelle prepares for her wedding to David, a very cool and normal dude who we will return to in a moment. David, stalking the property like an ornery bison, calls Jenelle, informing her that “some girls” were attempting to take pictures of the event before it began. “Now they’re, like, flying drones over the house, and driving by taking pictures. Jenelle, indignant, almost immediately settles on a solution. “We will shoot it”. It is technically a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 32 to shoot down a drone. According to the statute, it’s illegal to damage, destroy, disable, or wreck any aircraft. And because the Federal Aviation Administration treats drones as aircraft, even the most annoying quadcopters should fall under the law’s protections.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/11/22/teen_mom_2_s_jenelle_debates_the_legality_of_shooting_down_a_drone_on_private.html

Drone and satellite images of Rohingya refugees

The Rohingya refugee crisis is an age-old tale of displacement and suffering, but technology is providing new tools to tackle it, rights groups and charities said on Wednesday. Powerful drone and satellite images are bringing to life the urgent needs of more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, while also providing strong evidence of abuses, which could be used to lobby for justice. The UNHCR is using videos and photographs shot with drones to show the scale of the displacement crisis and bring it to life to spur action from the public and donors.

https://www.voanews.com/a/a-picture-or-a-thousand-words-drone-satellites-expose-myanmar-pain/4095973.html

Program to prepare students for drone pilot licenses

Bristol County Agricultural School will soon have its own drone air force with 20 of the craft being purchased. School officials said the equipment will expand its natural resources management program to prepare students for drone pilot licenses. The school is creating a drone program to enable students to take advantage of the job market for operators. There is expected to be a 400 percent increase in the need for employees with commercial drone licenses in the coming years.

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/education-drones-on-at-bristol-aggie/article_e55aa56f-42e9-58fe-bb53-0462725de4e1.html

Drone may have captured slope damage

Drone pix may have captured slope damage. A buyer of the Tanjung Bungah project that was hit by a landslide may have recorded early signs of trouble months ago. High-resolution drone pictures he took of the construction site on July 12 show signs of damage at the lower slope where the landslide occurred. He said the hole was strewn with boulders, and there was a large puddle of water at the bottom.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/10/23/drone-pix-may-have-captured-slope-damage-tanjung-bungah-project-buyer-photographed-site-months-ago/

Drone footage of California's fires

Drone Footage of California's Devastating Fires. Here are a number of videos taken by drones showing the scope of the wildfires that have ravaged Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties. The view of an unspecified residential area shows how one neighborhood was burned to the ground, with mounds of gray ash being all that remains of the destroyed homes. Additionally, the footage captures store and businesses completely demolished by flames, surrounded by empty parking lots.

http://fortune.com/2017/10/13/drones-california-fires-footage/

Hagerstown consider drones for emergency services

Washington County, Hagerstown consider drones for emergency services. Drones could help emergency responders find a lost victim or a fire on a mountain. The county's concept plan for a consolidated Washington County Public Safety Training Center, south of Hagerstown, includes a drone-flying area. A drone-response system in the county for emergency responders is wanted.

https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/local/washington-county-hagerstown-consider-drones-for-emergency-services/article_fa37bf04-0ce4-516a-b068-06fd54b56ff5.html