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.
NEWS ALERT – The South-Korean Marines would have fired 99 rounds from Gyodong island at an Asiana airliner flying over the border area.
Happily, the soldiers did not manage to shoot down the plane, a South-Korean Airbus A321 on which 119 passengers had departed from Chengdu Airport in China. Thanks to its flight altitude, the aircraft could not be reached. Measures shoud be taken so that the soldiers can recognize a North-Korean bomber from a civilian commercial aircraft.
The French Dassault RAFALE multirole fighter aircraft should be omnipresent at Le Bourget PAS 2011 as it has been shortlisted as a final competitor versus the Typhoon Eurofighter for the Indian MMRCA tender which will make a decision on the purchase of up to 126 multirole jetfighters. Furthermore, the French aircraft is still a contender in the Brazilian bid request, and it has been shortlisted in the Swiss NAC tender.
Nonetheless – and maybe « thanks » to some media always « forgetting » to state the outstanding results of the RAFALE in theaters of operations as well as in exercises and evaluations – this state-of-the-art fighter has never been exported so far… Watch the video – First comments in French, then in English: