• Mathematician escorted off flight for doing notepad calculations

    Professor Guido Menzio, an Italian-born economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was escorted off an American Airlines flight after a fellow passenger became suspicious of his mysterious scribbling on a notepad. Menzio was, in fact, working on an equation on price-setting, which was part of a presentation he was going to make in professional conference.

  • Vertical-take-off-and-landing personal aircraft to beat rush-hour traffic

    A German start-up company is developing the world’s first vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for personal use. The electric two-seater will open the door to a new class of simpler, quieter, and environmentally friendly planes available from 2018. The plane is classed as a Light Sport Aircraft for two occupants, with the pilot’s license requiring twenty hours’ minimum training – almost like taking a driving license.

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  • Airflow study to be conducted in NYC Subway

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will conduct a week-long airflow study in portions of the New York City (NYC) subway system to gather data on the behavior of airborne particles in the event contaminants were released. This study poses no risk to the general public and will run from 9 to 13 May.

  • Air rage a product of class difference

    We blame air rage on long flight delays, shrinking seats and a general decline in civility. But the first empirical research study into the phenomenon pegs another culprit — class inequality — for the reason passengers lose it when taking to the so-called friendly skies.

  • Improving detection of concealed nuclear materials

    Researchers have demonstrated proof of concept for a novel low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of “special nuclear materials” — weapons-grade uranium and plutonium — in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports. The method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded radioactive materials inside the containers.

  • Employees in only three U.S. airports subject to security checks

    Only three airports in the United States — Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando — require employees to be subjected to security checks before going about their work at the airport. The disclosure was made by TSA administrator Peter Neffenger in a Congressional testimony.

  • American Airlines cancels all Brussels flights until 7 April

    American Airlines announced it has canceled all flights to and from Brussels until 7 April. The carrier’s decision is in response to the 22 March suicide bombing attack at the Brussels airport. The explosion occurred near the American Airlines counter, and some of the thirty-two people killed in the blast were about to board an AA flight.

  • American Airlines cancels all Brussels flights until 7 April

    American Airlines announced it has canceled all flights to and from Brussels until 7 April. The carrier’s decision is in response to the 22 March suicide bombing attack at the Brussels airport. The explosion occurred near the American Airlines counter, and some of the thirty-two people killed in the blast were about to board an AA flight.

  • Sniffing out a dangerous vapor for detecting fuel leaks, fuel-based explosives

    Alkane fuel is a key ingredient in combustible material such as gasoline, airplane fuel, oil — even a homemade bomb. Yet it is difficult to detect and there are no portable scanners available that can sniff out the odorless and colorless vapor. Engineers have developed a new type of fiber material for a handheld scanner that can detect small traces of alkane fuel vapor, a valuable advancement that could be an early-warning signal for leaks in an oil pipeline, an airliner, or for locating a terrorist’s explosive.

  • Terrorists have been targeting transportation hubs for decades

    More than 7,400 terrorist attacks worldwide between 1970 and 2014 targeted some form of transportation, including airports and aircraft, representing 5.3 percent of all terrorist attacks. More than 460 targets of terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2014 were airports, representing 6.4 percent of all transportation targets. More than 130 targets of terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2014 were subway systems, representing 1.9 percent of all attacks on transportation targets.

  • Islamist militants planning “near-term attacks throughout Europe”: U.S.

    The State Department has issued a warning to Americans planning travel to Europe, saying that Islamist terror groups are planning more attacks throughout the continent. In a warning unusual in its scale, the State Department said people should exercise vigilance when in public places or when using mass transportation.

  • Brussels attacks: a throwback to pre-9/11 terrorism

    By Steve Hewitt

    The terrible scenes in Brussels following a terrorist attack now claimed by Islamic State are a reminder of just how vulnerable airports can be. The most likely and realistic response is increasing security presence around airports with a greater number of random checks. There is no foolproof solution to this security issue, though, and that’s something governments are going to have to admit. Terrorists have the ability radically to disrupt transportation systems, potentially causing loss of life and economic damage in the process, and there is little that can be done to stop them. For some time, terrorists pursued the much more difficult task of attacking aircraft while largely ignoring easier targets. The attack in Brussels shows the reality of renewed efforts against “soft targets” with the potential to bring about chaos to transportation systems.

  • Mathematics helps search and rescue ships sail more safely in heavy seas

    Fast ships deliver all kinds of services in fields such as disaster response, the fight against crime, the provision of supplies for oil and gas platforms, and the transportation of wind farm maintenance personnel. Each year, however, around 100 such ships worldwide are lost or damaged in heavy seas, with around 2,500 casualties in 2013. A unique new computer model built on highly complex mathematics could make it possible to design safer versions of the “fast ships” widely used in search-and-rescue, anti-drugs, anti-piracy, and many other vital offshore operations.

  • NTSB issues safety recommendations for on-flight lithium batteries

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two safety recommendations Tuesday physically separate lithium batteries from other flammable hazardous materials stowed on cargo aircraft and to establish maximum loading density requirements which restrict the quantities of lithium batteries and flammable hazardous materials.

  • Passengers on trans-Atlantic flights will spend more time in the air as a result of climate change

    Planes flying between Europe and North America will be spending more time in the air due to the effects of climate change, a new study has shown. By accelerating the jet stream — a high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic — climate change will speed up eastbound flights but slow down westbound flights, the study found. The findings could have implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.