More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Utrecht station’s bike park is now the biggest in the world

DutchNews, August 19, 2019

Photo: CU2030.nl 

A major extension to Utrecht’s railway station bike park opens on Monday, making it the biggest underground garage for bikes in the world, with space for 12,656 two-wheelers. 

The first phase opened in 2017 with space for 6,000 bikes. 

The completed bike park, over three floors, beats the previous record of 9,400 bikes held by Tokyo. It includes 480 spaces for cargo bikes and other bikes which don’t fit into regular spaces. 

The first 24 hours is free to park, after that the cost is €1.25 per day. Cyclists can follow electronic signs to the nearest empty spaces. 

‘The Netherlands is a very mobile country and the bike plus train are a golden combination,’ junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven told the AD. ‘Thanks to this park bike you can cycle practically to the platform. The size of this project shows how many people, primarily commuters, are discovering the bike as a weapon against congestion.’ 

The government’s coalition agreement included a pledge to invest €100m in fast bike lanes and better infrastructure, and this was increased by a further €75m last year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Cathay Pacific shares plunge after China warning on protests

Yahoo – AFP, August 12, 2019

Cathay Pacific shares plunge after China warning on protests

Hong Kong (AFP) - Shares in Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific plunged more than four percent on Monday, after Beijing banned airline staff supporting Hong Kong protesters from flights going through the mainland.

Cathay shares lost 4.37 percent to HK$9.85 by the break in Hong Kong, with the carrier's parent company Swire Pacific Ltd. plunging 5.26 percent to HK$77.50.

The nosedive comes as the airline is caught up in pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for more than two months.

On Friday, Beijing's aviation regulator ordered Cathay to submit a list of the identities of staff working on flights to the mainland or passing through its airspace.

It warned any staff members involved in "illegal protests" would be banned from such flights.

Cathay's CEO Rupert Hogg said in a message to staff on Saturday that the airline was obliged to comply with the new rules set out by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

"Cathay Pacific Group's operations in mainland China are key to our business. In addition to flying in and out of mainland China, a large number of our routes both to Europe and to the USA also fly through mainland China airspace," Hogg wrote.

"We are therefore legally required to follow CAAC regulations and, as is the case with any notices issued by any regulatory authority having jurisdiction over us, we must and will comply."

Cathay appears to have become a target of Beijing's ire after some of its crew joined protests and media reported one of its pilots had been charged with rioting.

The carrier's chairman John Slosar has defended his staff's right to freedom of thought, saying "we certainly wouldn't dream of telling them what they have to think about something".

But Hogg cautioned staff about their behaviour.

"Though people may share different views, it is essential that we all respect each other, our customers and members of the public," he wrote.

Cathay has suspended a pilot who has been accused of rioting after allegedly participating in the Hong Kong protests.

And it said Saturday that it had fired two airport ground staff, without specifying why. Local media reported that they were accused of leaking the travel details of a Hong Kong police football team that was travelling to the mainland.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Is Boeing too big to fail?

France24 –AFP, 4 August 2019

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg was strategic in his picks for the company's board
of directors, such as by naming former UN ambassador Nikki Haley (pictured
November 2018) - AFP/File

New York (AFP) - The grounding of the 737 MAX for more than four months after two deadly accidents has tarnished Boeing's reputation, but it still has the confidence of US policymakers.

This is despite the fact that one of the MAX flight systems, the MCAS, has been cited in both accidents.

Is this an indication that the American aerospace giant is too big to fail?

President Donald Trump, whose mantra is "America first," certainly criticized Boeing early in his administration over the presidential plane, Air Force One, but he has been largely silent about the recent woes.

The wave of negative press about the flaws that caused the deaths of 346 people did not prompt legislators to summon Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg before Congress to inflict on him the kind of humiliation Wall Street bankers were subject to following the global financial crisis.

"Boeing is one of the engines of the US economy, it's way too big and too important for the United States," said Michel Merluzeau, an expert at Air Insight Research.

Political ties

If American politicians were to attack the manufacturer, they would be shooting themselves in the foot, Merluzeau said, because "there are many jobs involved, a very, very numerous supply chain and it cannot be replaced with Facebook or Google that don't produce anything tangible."

Founded 103 years ago, Boeing employs more than 150,000 people around the world, the vast majority in the United States.

In addition to direct jobs, its subcontractors -- like General Electric (GE), United Technologies and Spirit Aerosystems -- are large US industrial employers.

The location of Boeing plants resembles a political campaign map, with facilities in Republican strongholds like Alabama, South Carolina and Texas, and Democratic areas like California and Washington, as well as states that helped Trump win the election: Pennsylvania and Arizona.

And Muilenburg has shown political savvy in his picks for the company's board of directors, naming Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, and Caroline Kennedy, ally of former president Barack Obama and daughter of former president John F. Kennedy.

Air Force One

Boeing is a dominant player not just in civilian aircraft but in the defense and space industries, and is a major supplier to the Pentagon.

The company produced the famous B-17 and B-29 bombers of World War II and the B-52 used the Vietnam War. Today it produces a variety of aircraft including the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet, Apache attack helicopters, the B-1 bomber and combat drones.

It also is part of SpaceX, which will manage travel to the International Space Station.

And Boeing manufactures the presidential plane, the iconic Air Force One.

But Boeing also "can be used as a strategic tool," said Arthur Wheaton, a professor at Cornell University in New York.

Chinese purchases of Boeing aircraft are part of trade negotiations with Beijing, according to a source, since that can be a fast way to reduce the US trade deficit.

US civilian aircraft exports fell 12 percent to $20.4 billion in May, due to the MAX crisis, which affected the GDP, according to government data.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The machine that made the Moon missions possible

Yahoo – AFP, Issam AHMED, July 12, 2019

The astronauts would input two-digit codes for verbs and nouns, to carry out
commands like firing thrusters, or locking on to a particular star to re-align
the ship (AFP Photo/Handout)

Washington (AFP) - We've all been there: you're working on something important, your PC crashes, and you lose all your progress.

Such a failure was not an option during the Apollo missions, the first time ever that a computer was entrusted with handling flight control and life support systems -- and therefore the lives of the astronauts on board.

Despite an infamous false alarm during lunar descent that sent Commander Neil Armstrong's heart rate racing, it was a resounding success that laid the groundwork for everything from modern avionics to multitasking operating systems.

Here are some of the ways the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), millions of times less powerful than a 2019 smartphone, shaped the world we live in today:

Microchip revolution

Integrated circuits, or microchips, were a necessary part of the miniaturization process that allowed computers to be placed on board spacecraft, in contrast to the giant, power-hungry vacuum tube technology that came before.

The credit for their invention goes to Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, and Robert Noyce, who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor and later Intel in Mountain View, California.

Integrated circuits, or microchips, were a necessary part of the miniaturization process
 that allowed computers to be placed on board spacecraft, in contrast to the giant, 
power-hungry vacuum tube technology that came before (AFP Photo/HO)

But NASA and the Department of Defense -- which needed microchips to guide their Minuteman ballistic missiles pointed at the Soviet Union -- greatly accelerated their development by producing the demand that facilitated mass production.

"They had these incredible, absolutely insane requirements for reliability that nobody could possibly imagine," Frank O'Brien, a spaceflight historian and author of "The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation," told AFP.

In the early 1960s, the two agencies bought almost all the microchips made in the US, roughly a million all told, added O'Brien, forcing the makers to improve their designs and build circuits that lasted longer than their early life cycles of just a few hours.

Multitasking

Modern computers, such as the smartphone in your pocket, are generally capable of doing a myriad of tasks all at once: handling emails in one window, a GPS map in another, various social network apps, all the while ready for incoming calls and texts.

But in the early era of computers, we thought of them in a fundamentally different way.

"There wasn't a lot they were asked to do. They were asked to crunch numbers and replace humans who would do them on mechanical adding machines," said Seamus Tuohy, the principal director of space systems at Draper, which spun off from the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory that developed the Apollo Guidance Computer.

That all changed with Apollo Guidance Computer, a briefcase-sized machine that needed to juggle an array of vital tasks, from navigating the ship to running its oxygen generator, heaters and carbon dioxide scrubbers.

Margaret Hamilton led the team that programmed Apollo's flight computer; their code
allowed the machine to prioritize crucial tasks over non-essential ones (AFP Photo/HO)

Instead of a computer operator giving a machine a set of calculations and leaving it for hours or even days to work out the answer -- all of this needed to be done in a time-sensitive fashion, with cut-offs, and the ability for users (astronauts) to give it commands in real time.

NASA felt it required an onboard computer to handle all these functions in case the Soviets tried to jam radio communications between ground control in Houston and US spaceships, and because Apollo was originally conceived to go deeper into the solar system.

All of this required a software "architecture," much of which was designed by engineer Hal Laning.

Real-time input

It also needed new ways for man to interact with machine that went beyond the punch-card programming of the time.

The engineers came up with three key ways: the switches that you still find in modern cockpits, a hand-controller that was connected to the world's first digital fly-by-wire system, and a "display and keyboard" unit, abbreviated DSKY (pronounced "dis-key").

The astronauts would input two-digit codes for verbs and nouns, to carry out commands like firing thrusters, or locking on to a particular star if the ship, which relied on an inertial guidance system to keep its pitch, roll and yaw stable, had begun to drift off course.

"The way that computer handled the overload was a real breakthrough" said Paul Ceruzzi,
a Smithsonian Institution scholar on aerospace electronics (AFP Photo/Issam AHMED)

O'Brien used the metaphor of a tourist who visits the US and is hungry but doesn't know much English, and might say "Eat pizza" to convey the basic meaning.

Passing the test

Apollo 11's most tense moment came during the final minutes of its descent to the lunar surface, when the computer's alarm bells began ringing and making it seem as though it had crashed.

Such an event could well have been catastrophic, forcing the crew to abort their mission or even sending the vessel spiralling out of control to the surface.

Back in Houston, an engineer realized that while the machine was temporarily overloaded, its clever programming allowed it to automatically shed less important tasks and focus on landing.

"The way that computer handled the overload was a real breakthrough" said Paul Ceruzzi, a Smithsonian Institution scholar on aerospace electronics.

O'Brien noted that while the AGC was puny by modern computing standards, with a clock speed of 1 Mhz and a total of 38Kb of memory, such comparisons belied its true caliber.

"With that terribly small capacity, they were able to do all the amazing things that we now think of as completely normal," he said.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Albert Heijn trials driverless robot that delivers groceries to your door

DutchNews, July 15, 2019

Coming soon: fresh ‘bezorgde burgers’. Photo: Albert Heijn

The largest Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, has begun a trial of a ‘delivery robot’ that sends groceries out to its customers without the need for a driver. 

The electric vehicle, which has a range of eight kilometres, is being tested within the confines of Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus as it is not allowed on the open road. The Aitonomi robot has been developed by the Swiss-German technology firm Teleretail. 

Staff pack the groceries into the ‘bezorgrobot’ before the vehicle makes its way to the delivery address using cameras and sensors. Customers will still need to step outside to collect their shopping. 

Andre ten Wolde, of pizza chain Domino’s, told NOS that previous test runs with delivery robots had been successful, although the vehicles struggled to get over high kerbs. 

Ten Wolde said the biggest challenge was finding a legal way to enable the vehicles to travel on public roads without compromising safety. 

‘Lawmakers will have to think carefully about it, I accept that,’ he said. ‘You don’t want accidents such as we’ve had with the Stint. Once legislators are ready for it, we’ll see them in the streets here.’

Saturday, July 6, 2019

No cause found for fatal Stint crash, says public prosecutor

DutchNews, July 5, 2019

Two stints in action. Photo: Stintum.nl 

Dutch public prosecutors have said that the woman who was driving an electric Stint vehicle when it crashed into a train at Oss, killing four young children, apparently did everything she could to stop the vehicle. 

Menno Buntsma, a laywer who is representing the 33-year-old woman from Heesch, told Oproep Brabant that she was ‘relieved and emotional’ at the announcement. 

The OM prosecution service said in a news release that nine months after the fatal accident, it has not been able to find a specific cause. It said that witnesses confirmed that the driver ‘had done everything possible to stop the Stint in order to stop a collision.’ 

A technical investigation has found no clues about what went wrong and the NFI Dutch forensic institute is currently investigating the vehicle’s motor controller. 

Two children of four, one of six and another of eight died in the accident in September last year. An 11-year-old and the driver were seriously wounded. 

Transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen immediately banned the electric wagons – used by hundreds of daycare centres to ferry children around. New tough safety regulations agreed by MPs this year mean Stints will need technical upgrades and will then be allowed back on the roads in autumn, carrying eight children rather than 10. 

The OM says, however, that until the investigation is fully complete, it has made no decision about whether or not to pursue a prosecution.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bombardier sells regional jet division to Mitsubishi for $550 mn

Yahoo - AFP, June 25, 2019

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier is selling its CRJ Series regional jet program
to Japan's Mitsubishi (AFP Photo/Eva HAMBACH)

Canadian manufacturer Bombardier announced Tuesday the sale of its CRJ Series regional jet program to Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for US$550 million, effectively exiting the commercial passenger aircraft sector.

The deal with Mitsubishi, which has been seeking to break into aviation, comes after Bombardier recently sold a majority stake in its new medium-range C Series jetliners to Airbus, which has been renamed A220, and its Q Series turboprop line to a Canadian investment fund.

The sale of the 75- to 100-seat CRJ line -- along with its service and support networks in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto; Bridgeport, West Virginia; and Tucson, Arizona -- is expected to close by the end of 2020.

In a statement, Bombardier said Mitsubishi will also assume liabilities totalling $200 million, and take over all maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing and sales activities for the aircrafts.

Mitsubishi president Seiji Izumisawa said the CRJ will compliment the development and production of its SpaceJet family of commercial jets as it pursues future growth in this sector.

"This transaction represents one of the most important steps in our strategic journey to build a strong, global aviation capability," he said.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare, meanwhile, said the transaction represents "the completion of Bombardier's aerospace transformation."

The Canadian company, he said, would now focus on its global rail business and its last remaining aircraft -- business jets.

Its CRJ production facility in Mirabel, Quebec will remain with Bombardier, and the Canadian company will continue to supply components and spare parts for the CRJ as well as assemble the current CRJ backlog on behalf of Mitsubishi until the sale is concluded in the second half of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Four charged over MH17, Russia slams 'unfounded allegations'

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte VAN OUWERKERK with Danny KEMP in The Hague, June 19, 2019

The Joint Investigation Team named the four suspects who they said would be tried
for murder next year (AFP Photo/Robin van Lonkhuijsen)

Nieuwegein (Netherlands) (AFP) - International investigators on Wednesday charged three Russians and a Ukrainian with murder over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the first people to face justice over the tragedy five years ago in which 298 people were killed.

The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals.

Moscow slammed the "absolutely unfounded accusations" over the downing of the plane, which was travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels.

The Dutch-led inquiry team said international arrest warrants had been issued for Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are suspected of roles in the separatist Donetsk People's Republic.

Graphic showing previously established details about the shooting down of 
Malaysia Airlines MH17 in 2014. (AFP Photo/John SAEKI, Adrian LEUNG, Gal ROMA)

Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said the four were to be held responsible for bringing the BUK missile system from Russia into eastern Ukraine "even though they have not pushed the button themselves."

"We won't demand their extradition because Russian and Ukrainian law forbids the extradition of their nationals. But we ask Russia once more to cooperate -- many of our questions remain unanswered," he told a press conference.

The same investigation team said in May 2018 that the BUK anti-aircraft missile which hit the Boeing 777 had originated from the 53rd Russian military brigade based in the southwestern city of Kursk.

'Waiting for five years'

Relatives of those killed aboard MH17 welcomed the news.

"It's a start. I'm satisfied," Silene Fredriksz, whose son and daughter-in-law were killed in the disaster, told reporters. "I am happy that the trial is finally going to start and that the names have been announced."

Relatives of passengers and crew have waited for five years for a trial (AFP Photo/
MOHD RASFAN)

Asked if she personally blamed anyone for the crash, Fredriksz said: "Mr (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. Because he made this possible. He created this situation. He is the main responsible person."

Piet Ploeg, president of a Dutch victims' association who lost three family members on MH17, told AFP that it was "very important news".

"The relatives of the victims have been waiting for this for nearly five years," he said.

Girkin, 48, is the most high-profile suspect, having previously been the self-proclaimed defence minister in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine before apparently falling out with the Kremlin.

Girkin, who is thought to be living in Moscow, denied the separatists were involved. "I can only say that rebels did not shoot down the Boeing," he told Russia's Interfax news agency.

Dubinskiy, 56, who was formerly in the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, was head of the intelligence service of the Donetsk People's Republic, while Pulatov, 52, an ex-soldier in the GRU's Spetznaz special forces unit, was one of his deputies.

MH17 was travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a missile 
over part of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels (AFP Photo/Menahem KAHANA)

Kharchenko was a military commander in Donetsk at the time, the Dutch prosecutors said.

During the press conference by the investigators, number of telephone intercepts were played that they said showed the four were involved.

'Absolutely unfounded'

Russia vehemently denied all involvement, and complained that it had been excluded from the probe.

"Once again, absolutely unfounded accusations are being made against the Russian side, aimed at discrediting Russia in the eyes of the international community," the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

Russia insisted last year that the missile was fired by Kiev's forces, adding that it was sent to Ukraine in the Soviet era.

The war in eastern Ukraine and the MH17 disaster continue to plague relations
between Russia and the West (AFP Photo/Alexander KHUDOTEPLY)

Despite claims by Ukraine's government and Dutch media that senior Russian officers would also face charges, none were named by the prosecutors on Wednesday.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the attack includes Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, representing the countries hardest hit by the disaster.

The Netherlands and Australia said in May last year that they formally "hold Russia responsible" for the disaster. Of the passengers who died, 196 were Dutch and 38 Australian.

Australia said Wednesday's announcement was a "significant step" towards achieving justice, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said it was "an important milestone in the efforts to uncover the full truth".

A serial number on a part of the BUK missile that was fired (AFP Photo/Robin
van Lonkhuijsen)

Ukraine's foreign ministry urged Russia to "acknowledge its responsibility", while the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky's said he hoped to see "everyone who is to blame for the murder of innocent children, women and men" go on trial.

The war in eastern Ukraine and the MH17 disaster continue to plague relations between Russia and the West.

Since 2014, some 13,000 people have been killed. Kiev and its Western backers accuse Russia of funnelling troops and arms to back the separatists. Moscow has denied the claims despite evidence to the contrary.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Boeing apologises for 737 MAX crashes as Paris Air Show opens

Yahoo – AFP, Joseph Schmid, June 17, 2019

If the aviation market continues to soften, Airbus and Boeing could face a
disappointing year (AFP Photo/ERIC PIERMONT)

Le Bourget (France) (AFP) - A top Boeing executive apologised Monday for two crashes of 737 MAX jets that together killed 346 people, disasters which have pushed safety to the top of the agenda as aerospace firms gathered for the opening of the Paris Air Show.

The US aerospace giant is battling to regain the trust of passengers, pilots and regulators after a 737 operated by Indonesia's Lion Air flight crashed last October, followed by an Ethiopian Airlines jet in March.

"We are very sorry for the loss of lives as a result of the tragic accidents... our thoughts and our prayers are with their families," Boeing's head of commercial aircraft Kevin McAllister told journalists at the air show.

"Our priority is doing everything to get this plane safely returned to service. It is a pivotal moment for all of us," he said.

But McAllister and other executives faced a barrage of questions over Boeing's handling of the 737 MAX disasters, thought to be caused by a faulty MCAS anti-stall system.

Boeing's Kevin McAllister apologised for the 737 MAX crashes, but questions
remain (AFP Photo/ERIC PIERMONT)

Critics accuse Boeing of failing to sufficiently test a system that used just one sensor to determine if the 737 was at risk of stalling, and of failing to adequately inform and train pilots.

Reports also suggest that US safety regulators allowed Boeing engineers to self-certify the system, prompting worries of insufficient oversight at the planemaker.

McAllister said a planned fix for the anti-stall software would use two sensors, but it has yet to submit its proposal to regulators, who have grounded the plane indefinitely.

"We are very confident that the three layers of protection we are planning with the software update will prevent anything like this happening again," he said.

Europe's new fighter jet

Several executives at the Paris Air Show vowed to improve transparency over plane safety in the wake of the 737 MAX crashes, while also pledging to reduce emissions for an industry increasingly in the public spotlight.

The Paris Air Show kicked off with a markedly less self-congratulatory
mood (AFP Photo/BENOIT TESSIER)

Few blockbuster products or orders are expected at the world's biggest aerospace show, which brings together nearly 2,500 firms from 49 countries, and 290 official delegations, including government leaders and military chiefs.

But with passenger traffic slowing this year, the atmosphere at the fair, where arch-rivals Boeing and Airbus usually vie for aircraft orders, was markedly less self-congratulatory than in recent years.

President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the event at Le Bourget airport after flying in on a hulking grey Airbus A330 refuelling tanker operated by the French Air Force.

He then attended the unveiling of a full-size model of the new fighter jet that France and Germany are promoting as a symbol of their efforts to bolster European defence autonomy at a time of fraying ties with the United States.

The stealth plane is part of the ambitious Future Combat Air System (FCAS) that includes next-generation drones and missiles, which would help reduce the EU's long reliance on US planes and equipment.

At an airbase near you in about 20 years: The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) 
jet (AFP Photo/ERIC PIERMONT)

The cooperation framework was later signed by the defence ministers of France, Germany and Spain, so far the only other EU nation to join the project, which aims to have its new plane in operation by 2040.

Macron then toured the vast exhibition halls at Le Bourget, where dozens of companies are touting their efforts to make flying cleaner amid criticism of airlines' carbon emissions.

Airbus officially unveiled its A321 XLR jet, the latest iteration of its hugely popular single-aisle A320, which can now cross the Atlantic thanks to increased fuel efficiency.

That makes it an option for airlines which currently have to use bigger, fuel-hungry twin-aisle planes on longer routes.

The US-based Air Lease Corporation has signed a letter of intent to buy 27 of the planes, with deliveries to start in 2023.

France and Germany hope to reduce their reliance on US equipment (AFP Photo/
BENOIT TESSIER)

Clouds on horizon

Both Airbus and Boeing have suffered a wave of order cancellations as airlines grapple with slowing passenger traffic growth since the start of this year.

And air cargo shipments, often an indicator of passenger traffic trends, have been slumping so far in 2019, reflecting the trade tensions prompted by US President Donald Trump's move to impose tariffs on several European and Chinese imports.

If the aviation market continues to soften, Airbus and Boeing could suffer their first disappointing year after more than a decade of solid growth driven in particular by the soaring numbers of people flying in Asia.

The two industry leaders can take comfort from jam-packed order books after hefty revenue growth last year, when their combined deliveries exceeded 1,600 planes.

Analysts say nearly 40,000 planes will be in service by 2038, double the industry's current fleet.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Paris bans electric scooters parking on pavement

Yahoo – AFP, June 6, 2019

Around 20,000 electric scooters have appeared on the French capital's streets
since last year (AFP Photo/JOEL SAGET)

Paris (AFP) - Paris authorities announced Thursday a ban on parking electric scooters on the pavement, in a new crackdown on the fashionable two-wheeled contraptions as pedestrians complain of growing safety risks.

Scooters "must be left in parking spaces designated for cars and motorised two-wheel vehicles", the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a press conference.

She also banned scooters from parks and gardens in a string of measures which will start coming into force from next month.

Apps such as Lime, Bolt, Wind and Flash -- whose scooters have invaded streets in recent months -- should also cut speed limits to 20 km/h (12 mph) around the capital, or 8 km/h (5 mph) in pedestrian areas, Hidalgo said.

Around 20,000 electric scooters have appeared on the French capital's streets since last year, causing tensions that have also been seen in cities worldwide from Madrid to Los Angeles.

Fans have embraced scooters as a quick and cheap way to get around, since the "dockless" devices are unlocked with a phone app and can be left anywhere when a ride is finished.

That is exactly the problem, critics say, pointing to scooters strewn across the city's stately squares or abandoned in piles littering narrow sidewalks, to the bane of people hauling groceries or pushing prams.

Paris has already introduced fines of 135 euros ($150) for riding electic scooters on the pavement.

They have also been used as makeshift weapons by protesters who have hurled them at police in the weekly "yellow vest" protests which erupted last November.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

KLM to invest in major sustainable aviation fuel plant in Delfzijl

DutchNews, May 27, 2019

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Dutch flag carrier KLM is to invest millions of euros in the first European industrial plant to produce sustainable aviation fuel, also known as bio-kerosene. 

The production plan will be located in Delfzijl, in the north of Groningen, and will specialise in producing sustainable fuels using waste products such as used cooking oil as feedstock. 

The plant will open in 2022 and is a ‘concrete step towards fulfilling KLM’s sustainability ambitions and contributing to the broader industry plan,’ the airline said

The plant will be owned and operated by SkyNRG, which claims to be the global market leader in sustainable aviation fuel and was set up by KLM with partners in 2010. 

SHV Energy, global leader in LPG distribution, will invest in the facility and will purchase the bioLPG which the plant produces. Amsterdam’s state-owned airport Schiphol will also be investing in the development of the factory, KLM said.

‘By joining hands with other parties, we can build a plant that will accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel,’ KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said. 

From 2022, the plant will produce 100,000 tonnes a year, of which KLM will purchase 75,000 tonnes. This, Elbers said, will reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year, which is equal to the emissions released by 1,000 KLM flights between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Boeing acknowledges flaw in 737 MAX simulator software

Yahoo – AFP, Luc OLINGA, May 19, 2019

Boeing has acknowledged for the first time that there was a design flaw
in software linked to the 737 MAX (AFP Photo/Jason Redmond)

Boeing acknowledged Saturday it had to correct flaws in its 737 MAX flight simulator software used to train pilots, after two deadly crashes involving the aircraft that killed 346 people.

"Boeing has made corrections to the 737 MAX simulator software and has provided additional information to device operators to ensure that the simulator experience is representative across different flight conditions," it said in a statement.

The company did not indicate when it first became aware of the problem, and whether it informed regulators.

Its statement marked the first time Boeing acknowledged there was a design flaw in software linked to the 737 MAX, whose MCAS anti-stall software has been blamed in large part for the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.

According to Boeing, the flight simulator software was incapable of reproducing certain flight conditions similar to those at the time of the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March or the Lion Air crash in October.

The company said the latest "changes will improve the simulation of force loads on the manual trim wheel," a rarely used manual wheel to control the plane's angle.

"Boeing is working closely with the device manufacturers and regulators on these changes and improvements, and to ensure that customer training is not disrupted," it added.

Southwest Airlines, a major 737 MAX customer with 34 of the aircraft in its fleet, told AFP it expected to receive the first simulator "late this year."

American Airlines, which has 24 of the aircraft, said it had ordered a 737 MAX simulator that will be delivered and put into operation in December.

"As a result of the continuing investigation into both aircraft accidents, we are looking at the potential for additional training opportunities in coordination with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and Allied Pilots Association," it added.

Certification process

The planes have been grounded around the world, awaiting approval from US and international regulators before they can return to service.

Only Air Canada has a MAX simulator, industry sources told AFP.

Currently, there is only one flight simulator specific to the 737 MAX in the United States, and it is owned by Boeing, according to FAA documentation.

US airlines train their pilots flying the MAX on a simulator built for the 737 NG, the version preceding the 737 MAX in the 737 aircraft family.

Southwest said that's because during the certification process for the MAX, Boeing stressed that there were only minor differences with the NG and simple computer and online training could accommodate for the differences.

The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and Canadian regulators had approved those recommendations, Boeing stresses.

However, the 737 NG lacks an MCAS, specially designed for the MAX in order to correct an aerodynamic anomaly due to its heavier motor and to prevent the plane from stalling.

Pilot training will likely be at the heart of the meeting of international regulators in Forth Worth, Texas on Thursday when the FAA will try convince its counterparts of the robustness of its certification process for the modified 737 MAX.

The American regulator has maintained that training pilots on a simulator is not essential, a position with which pilots and its Canadian counterpart disagree.

Boeing said Thursday that it completed its software update on the 737 MAX.

The proposed fix, which addresses a problem with a flight handling system thought to be a factor in both crashes, must now win approval from US and international regulators before the planes can return to service.

US airlines have targeted August as the date they expect to resume flying on the 737 MAX.
Related Article: