Aviation and Airport

  • DHS finds no racial profiling at Logan Airport

    An August 2012 allegation of racial profiling by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers sparked an investigation into the screening practices of TSA officers at Logan International Airport. DHS has recently concluded an investigation into allegations, and concluded that there was no evidence that TSA officers in Boston have been targeting minorities for additional screening to meet quotas.

  • Bomb-detecting lasers to improve security checkpoints

    Research has put the possibility of bomb-detecting lasers at security checkpoints within reach by developing a laser that can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals on clothing and luggage. The laser not only detects the explosive material, but it also provides an image of the chemical’s exact location, even if it’s merely a minute trace on a zipper.

  • Boob bombs: breast implants suicide bomb a threat to aviation

    Security checks at Heathrow Airport have been beefed up this past week following “credible” intelligence that al Qaeda operatives may use a new method to attack airlines flying out of London: explosives concealed in breast implants. This would not the first time Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has sought to use the human body as a hiding place for explosives. In September 2009, al-Asiri sent his younger brother on a suicide mission in Saudi Arabia. He built a bomb which could fit in his brother’s anal cavity, and sent him to kill the Saudi deputy interior minister, who at the time was in charge of hunting down al Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia. The worry about medically implanted explosives has already led airports to use behavioral analysis to augment detection methods already in use to screen people. Body scanners are good at identifying things outside the body but not inside.

  • Molecule “scanner” uses terahertz radiation to identify single molecules

    Molecules could soon be “scanned” in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to the world’s smallest terahertz detector, developed by University of Pittsburgh physicists. The scanner has the ability chemically to identify single molecules using terahertz radiation — a range of light far below what the eye can detect.

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  • TSA to promote PreCheck program for travelers

    In an effort to make airport security lines shorter and move faster, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow passengers to apply for expedited airport screenings. TSA says the plan is for 25 percent of U.S. travelers to be eligible for the system by the end of this year, and 50 percent by 2014.

  • FAA to toughen co-pilot qualifications requirements

    In the aftermath of a 2010 crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo, New York, which killed fifty people, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed new standards for co-pilots. These new standards will now be imposed.

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  • New program whisks passengers through airport security

    A new system has been introduced to get passengers through airport security faster. The program, called Global Entry, was developed by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and it offers a new way to avoid customs and immigration lines.

  • FAA wants pilot convention to pay for air-traffic control services

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) that it – the EAA – would have to pay for air traffic control services during the EAA’s big AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The EAA asked a court for a judicial review of the FAA request, arguing that the FAA’s demand amounts to imposing a user fee on the pilots who take part in the event – pilots who already pay fuel taxes which fund the national air-traffic control system.

  • Study shows TSA security screeners are methodical, not slow

    A study by Duke University, partially funded by DHS, found that TSA screeners may be slower than amateur screeners when it comes to performing visual searches, but the TSA screeners are better at detecting contraband.

  • NTSB recommends changes to FAA aborted landing rules

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended changes to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rules for aborted landings after investigating five near-misses between commercial jetliners at major airports, three of which occurred at Las Vegas’s MaCarran International Airport.

  • FAA investigating use of Michigan state-owned planes

    The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA)is looking into the State of Michigan’s practice of leasing its passenger planes to athletic officials at Michigan State University(MSU).

  • Radiation dose passengers receive from airport scanners is low

    An independent task force examining X-ray backscatter scanners at LAX airport determines that that people absorb less radiation from airport X-ray backscatter scanner than they do while standing in line waiting for the scan.

  • FAA to relax in-flight electronics ban

    A federal advisory panel debating whether to allow passengers on planes to use electronic gadgets during takeoffs and landings reached a consensus last Friday to lift some of the current restrictions.

  • Airport screener union says TSA is violating contract

    In January, 45,000 airport screeners and their union reached an agreement with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the first collective bargaining agreement since the agency was created after 9/11. The American Federation of Government Employees union now says TSA management has violated the terms of the January agreement in several areas.

  • Former investigators pushing for new look into TWA flight 800 crash

    Former investigators want to reopen the case of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash off the coast of Long Island. They say that new evidence points to a missile strike that may have hit the jet. Theories of an errant missile being fired from a U.S. military vessel – advanced, among others, by Pierre Salinger, who was JFK’s press secretary in the early 1960s — were refuted, but a separate theory of shoulder-fired missile fired by terrorists has lingered.