Pointing lasers at aircraft can cost pilots their lives. The FAA has decided to increase the penalty. This prank is to cost the offenders a hefty fine – up to $11,000. Some pen-shaped laser pointers have been reported around a thousand times in the USA in 2011, and 2,836 incidents were reported last year.
It may seem a harmless prank. However, when a laser pen user aims at an aircraft, it turns into a dangerous hazard as the laser light is reflected everywhere. When the beams re reflected into the pilots’ eyes, the can get blind, and cause a crash.
The Airbus flagship A380 had a winglet clipped off by a building while taxiing or parking:
Moreover, the brand new Airbus A400M military cargo aircraft got an engine failure. The A380 would have flown back to Toulouse so that it can be fixed, and take part to the Paris Air Show again. As far as the A400M is concerned, it is likely to remain grounded unless the engineering team find a solution to repair the gearbox.
This is the brand new project being designed by EADS, and supported by Japan as well as the French DGAC (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – FAA or CAA equivalent). The European consortium has just unveiled its ZEHST project as the Paris Air Show 2011 is opening. ZEHST stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation.
This aircraft would be both a commercial airplane, and a rocket. It could cruise at « flight level 1056 » i.e. 20 miles or 32 kilometers above the mean sea level… The ZEHST specifications feature a speed of Mach 4 but according to the video below, it might reach Mach 4.5 i.e. 5,500 km/h or 3,000 kts through the stratosphere. It would use two independent turbojets for taking off, then it would gain speed thanks to two cryogenic rocket engines, finally two ramjets would propell the aircraft to hypersonic speeds.
The ZEHST is supposed to pollute far less than the Concorde as it would have a main cruise stage in the stratospheric layers, and according to EADS, its carbon footprint should be very low. There could between 60 and 100 passengers on board who could join Tokyo from Paris in 2.5 hours instead of 11.5, and New-York in 1.5 hours instead of 8! The prototype is expected to fly by 2020, and the first passengers might enjoy stratospheric flights around 2050.
Airbus has just unveiled a revolutionary concept through images of a transparent airliner design.
This aircraft of the future will use the latest technology – bionic structure; blended airframe; enhanced laminar flow and noise reduction; blended V-tail; biomorphing seats; leading-edge relaxation systems; human body thermal recycling; dramatic panoramic view; round of golf; etc.
Airbus will showcase their project called Concept Cabin during the Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport. A movie – Airbus Future of Flight – will also be shown in a 360° planetarium at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace from 20 to 26 June 2011. Watch what travelling by plane could be… 40 years ahead:
Special thanks to Thierry HERMAS – Aeronautical English teacher at the French Air Force Academy (EOAA, Salon de Provence) – who passed the video link on. Thank you very much indeed.
12:4808/06/2011Russian air transport regulator Rosaviatsiya noted on Wednesday an increase in cases of pilots being blinded by laser pens during landing at Russian airports, with 30 such incidents registered this year.>>