Aviation and Airport

  • Budget cuts force the FAA to shut down 149 control towers

    The FFA will have to cut $637 million before 30 September. It plans to do so by give 47,000 employees two week furloughs, shutting down 149 control towers, and cutting overnight shifts at seventy-two different traffic facilities. Some worry about the impact these measures will have on air travel safety.

  • Lawmakers call on TSA to reverse knife rule

    Two leading lawmakers have called on TSA to reverse its ruling which would allow passengers to bring some types of knives with them on board. “The attacks on September 11, 2001, demonstrated that in the confined environment of an airplane, even a small blade in the hands of a terrorist can lead to disaster,” Rep. Ed Markey (S-Mass.) — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by John Kerry – wrote TSA director John Pistole.

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  • Airports yet to be affected by sequestration-related cuts

    Since sequestration went into effect last Friday, both  airport authorities and DHS have been saying that that passengers should prepare themselves for  longer wait times at security checkpoints. So far, airports in major cities have reported no discernible increase in wait time at security lines.

  • TSA would allow knives on planes beginning 25 April

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) yesterday announced that, starting 25 April, the prohibition against carrying knives on board would be lifted. TSA would also allow other items banned since 9/11, such as lacrosse sticks, ski poles, and small, souvenir baseball bats. The flight attendants union was quick to condemn to move, calling the decision “dangerous” and “designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer.”

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  • FAA investigates on-board dance

    Last month the Colorado College ultimate frisbee team, along with other passengers, took part in a YouTube sensation known as the Harlem Shake during a packed flight on Frontier Airlines from Colorado Springs to San Diego. The FAA is now investigating whether safety regulations were violated.

  • Increasing the sensitivity of airport security screening

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

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  • Revealing full-body scanners to be removed from airports

    One of the more controversial post-9/11 security devices, the ubiquitous and uncomfortably intrusive full-body scanners, will be removed from service by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On Friday, the agency announced it would begin to remove the scanners from U.S. airports this summer. The anatomically revealing backscatter scanners are being replaced by the ore discreet millimeter wave devices.

  • TSA hits new record in gun collection at airports in 2012

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set a new record by confiscating 1,500 weapons in 2012, with 1,295 of the weapons being loaded; most of the confiscated weapons at airports are guns, but TSA has also caught passengers trying to board planes with grenades, stun guns, axes, and throwing stars; one passenger tried to board a plane carrying a bazooka, and another passenger was trying to bring a rocket launcher on board

  • Experts warn of growing threat to aviation: pilot fatigue

    Safety expert criticizes EU proposals to relax flight-time limits; his study of pilots’ work found that over 20 percent of them said that by the time they completed their shift, they had been awake for twenty-eight hours or more

  • GPS technology helps track, monitor airfield anomalies

    When we hear the term “airfield anomalies,” we may think of something serious such as a fire on a runway or a terrorist plot’ most of the time, however, the term could mean something as minor as birds on the runway; a new reporting system makes it easier to track and record such anomalies

  • Terahertz waves for explosives detection

    The chips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, which fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum — between microwaves and far-infrared radiation — and which can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays; when incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming

  • Improved technology to detect hazardous chemicals

    Scientists have developed a system quickly to detect trace amounts of illegal drugs, explosives, pollutants in rivers, or nerve gases released into the air; the new system can pick out a single target molecule from 10,000 trillion water molecules within milliseconds, by trapping it on a self-assembling single layer of gold nanoparticles

  • Mathematicians offer new way for aircraft boarding

    Air passenger transportation in China has increased to 200 million in 2010 from less than 10 million in 1950; the increase of the supply of air transportation, however, is much slower than that of its demand; thus, in practice, conflicts between supply and demand often occur, leading to airline congestions, passenger-luggage congestions, and mixed traffic problems; researchers offer a solution to the problem

  • Improving the sensitivity of airport security screening

    Scientists are reporting a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations; scientists concluded that swab fabrics could be improved to collect smaller amounts of explosives by peppering them with hydroxyl, phenyl and amine functional groups

  • Face-recognition e-Gate at Amsterdam airport moving passengers at rapid pace

    E-Gate, the automated border control system developed by Accenture and Vision-Box for the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs, is on target to process its one-millionth passenger at Schiphol Airport  in December