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July 2, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Next time you get snowed in at the airport, you might want to blame the planes. A new report has found that planes flying through certain kinds of clouds can seed ice crystals and create additional snowfall. Conditions that allow this seeding effect occur up to 6% of the time at six airports assessed in the study, which was published in the journal Science. The extra snowfall is associated with odd-looking gashes and gaping holes seen in certain clouds — called "hole-punch" and "canal" clouds — that are formed by airplanes flying through them.
April 27, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Two small planes collided Sunday afternoon over a northern area of the San Francisco Bay, sending one crashing into the water, according to the Coast Guard. The collision involved a Cessna 210 and a Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20, which collided over San Pablo Bay about 4:05 p.m., said Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration. The Hawker landed safely at a Northern California airport and its pilot was reportedly not injured, Gregor said. The Cessna fell into the water, spurring the Coast Guard to launch four rescue boats and a helicopter to search the waters, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Loumania Stewart.
September 8, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
If you worry about picking up a funky bacteria on your next airplane trip, fear not: the GermFalcon is on the way. GermFalcon, an idea that was unveiled last month at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Los Angeles, looks like an airplane snack cart with retractable arms that stretch out over the airplane seats. Built into the arms are ultraviolet lights, which the GermFalcon shines on the plane's seats while it rolls down the aisle. The UVC light is designed to kill 99.9% of all surface germs.
April 27, 2014 | Times Editorial Board
The recent revelation that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department secretly conducted aerial surveillance of the entire city of Compton for nine days in 2012 prompted outrage from the city's mayor, its residents and civil liberties groups. The Sheriff's Department justified the surveillance by saying it was only a brief test of a program provided by a private security company. A small, manned Cessna plane equipped with an array of cameras flew six hours a day and only in daylight, beaming video information back to the local sheriff's station.
May 30, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Betting on the continued growth of international travel, Singapore Airlines ordered 60 new jets in a deal worth $17 billion, the airline announced. The airline has split its order, calling for 30 Boeing planes and 30 Airbus jets, with delivery of the aircraft beginning in 2016. Quiz: What can't you take onboard a jetliner? The order is the latest example of an industry investing big in the future. In 2011, American Airlines ordered 460 new planes and confirmed the order several months later after its parent company AMR Corp.
April 25, 2013
Re "Change allowing knives on planes is delayed," Business, April 23 On many airlines, metal knives are given to premium passengers during meal service. Back when I was traveling on business, those knives were stainless steel, with three-inch blades and serrated cutting edges. They were potentially more deadly than my Swiss Army pocketknife. I once had two-inch gaming darts confiscated at an airport. Then I got on the plane and was issued a knife for my meal. Talk about the death of common sense in this country.
September 22, 2011 | By Jim Forsyth, Reuters
Southwest Airlines is investigating mysterious markings that began appearing on the bellies of its jets earlier this year and have been described as “similar to Arabic writing,” an airline spokeswoman said Thursday. However, law enforcement officials have said that the markings do not present a threat. “The markings have no affiliation to any known group or activity,” said Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King. “The markings at this time are being considered vandalism, and Southwest is conducting an internal investigation to determine who is responsible.” She said the markings have been appearing on the airline's signature 737 jets the past several months and vary in appearance.
April 22, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The Transportation Security Administration will temporarily delay a policy change that would have allowed passengers to carry small folding knives onto planes. In a letter to TSA employees, TSA chief John Pistole said he decided to maintain, at least temporarily, the ban on knives on planes after a meeting Monday with an aviation security panel. The changes were scheduled to take effect Thursday. Pisotle's letter did not say when he might reconsider easing the knife ban. TSA officials declined to comment.
October 5, 2001
Police officers on planes aren't a good idea. IDs can be forged, cover letters the same. The airlines aren't going to call each police agency that an officer may belong to and verify the ID and permission of the chief for that officer to fly with a gun. As a retired deputy sheriff who has had jail experience, I can tell you the outside gate opens for no inmate with a hostage, period. I've never seen an escape tried in L.A. County this way because every inmate knows this rule. The same should be the rule with airplanes.
March 31, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
Five airline pilots reported that their planes were struck by lightning as rain fell in the Bay Area, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday night. The strikes were reported around San Francisco International Airport during a roughly half-hour period that began at 12:15 p.m. Monday, said Ian Gregor, FAA spokesman in Los Angeles. None of the pilots reported damage or requested special assistance, he said. The planes were from Alaska, Horizon, United and United Arab Emirates airlines, the agency said.
April 23, 2014 | By Angel Jennings, Richard Winton and James Rainey
To the 96,000 residents of Compton, the little Cessna would have looked like scores of other small planes that flew over the city each day. But anyone paying close attention might have noticed the single-engine craft kept circling the city in a continuous loop. What they could not have known was that it packed unusual cargo - a bank of a dozen wide-angle industrial imaging cameras. They recorded low-resolution images of every corner of the 10.1-square-mile city. For nine days in early 2012, the small plane beamed the images to the local Sheriff's Department station, where deputies observed fender benders, necklace snatchings and a shooting.
April 17, 2014 | By Los Angeles Times staff, This post has been corrected; see note below for details.
A Korean Airlines plane struck some light poles at Los Angeles International Airport, causing slight damage to one of its wings, authorities said Thursday. The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, airport officials said, according to L.A. Airspace, a Daily Breeze news blog. The Associated Press reported: The plane's right wing was scratched, but no one was injured. Two 30-foot light poles were bent. The A380 is the world's largest commercial airliner, carrying passengers in a double-deck configuration.
April 14, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Investigators looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have put away their towed pinger locator and are about to call off searches for surface debris. Now, it's all up to a little yellow robotic submarine to find the missing Boeing 777 in an area bigger than the city of Los Angeles. Technicians aboard the Australian ship Ocean Shield on Monday afternoon deployed the Bluefin-21 underwater autonomous vehicle in the Indian Ocean, sending it almost three miles down to the seabed and using its side-scanning sonar arrays to look for wreckage from the plane.  “It is time to go underwater,” retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search from Perth, Australia, said in announcing the new phase of operations.  Unless the robot sub gets lucky, the process could take a while: The U.S. Navy, which lent the Bluefin-21 to the search team, said mapping the area where the plane most likely disappeared could take six weeks to two months.  The 16-foot, 1,650-pound sub moves at a walking pace and will be searching an area of about 600 square miles.
April 14, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Ken Dobson, a retired police officer, said he received quite a welcome when he landed his single-engine Cessna in Detroit two days after leaving his home in Palm Desert. Five sheriff's cars surrounded the plane and deputies got out with guns drawn. Then a helicopter arrived with four federal agents and a drug-sniffing dog. They demanded to see Dobson's pilot's license, asked about the flight and mentioned that his long trip from Southern California was suspicious. Fearing he would lose his flight credentials if he didn't cooperate, Dobson consented to a search of his plane.
April 11, 2014 | By Hector Becerra
A pilot was killed Friday when his small, custom-built plane crashed in Central California at the foot of the Sierra. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the single-engine, amateur-built Bowers Fly Baby 1A crashed just after 10 a.m. "under unknown circumstances in rugged terrain" about three miles north of Mariposa-Yosemite Airport. The pilot, whose name has not been released, was the only passenger in the plane. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
April 10, 2014 | By Paul Whitefield
Was that an earthquake, or an ordinary sonic boom, that rattled Southern California on Wednesday afternoon - or was it the return of Aurora, the nation's long-rumored, never-confirmed, some-say-mythological super-secret, super-fast spy plane? Whew. Steady now, X-Files folks. First, here's what The Times reported : About 1 p.m. Wednesday, folks from Malibu to Orange County felt what many assumed was an earthquake. For example, Scott Conner, who lives in Malibu, said the shaking was so intense that it almost toppled one of his computer monitors.
October 4, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
If you were looking forward to the day airlines eased the restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices on planes, you will have to wait a bit longer. A panel of representatives from the aviation and electronics industries submitted a plan Monday to the Federal Aviation Administration for lifting the limits on when you can power up electronic readers, tablets and other gadgets during commercial flights. But the FAA says it can't begin to work on adopting the recommendations because key FAA staff have been furloughed by the partial government shutdown.  "The FAA staff that would advise the Administrator on this report, as well as work on the potential execution or implementation of the guidance, are furloughed, with remaining staff, including the Administrator, focusing their time during the shutdown on issues related to life and safety," the agency said in a statement.
May 19, 2013 | By Hugo Martin, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
The pressure continues to mount on the Transportation Security Administration to prohibit passengers from bringing small pocket knives into the cabins of commercial planes. Opponents of allowing knives on planes unveiled a survey last week that found 90% of likely voters don't want the TSA to lift the ban that has been in place since 9/11. “You'd be hard-pressed to find another issue in today's discourse that so many people agree on,” said Laura Glading, president of the Assn.
April 6, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
Under pressure from lawmakers and flight attendants, the Transportation Security Administration backed off last year on a plan to allow knives on commercial planes. But flight attendants want to make sure that the ban that began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks stays in place indefinitely. The Assn. of Flight Attendants is backing a bill to prevent the TSA from ever lifting the knife ban. “A permanent ban would ensure that we never again have to fight this common-sense issue,” said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the association, which represents about 60,000 flight attendants.
April 2, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
The cast of the Australian production of "The Lion King," in a buoyant mood, gave it their all in a flash-mob performance aboard a Virgin Australia flight. Buyi Zama, who plays Rafiki, led her fellow cast members, who were occupying the front three rows of the aircraft, in Elton John's "Circle of Life. " They were on their way from a promotional visit in Brisbane to Sydney,  where the production is now playing to sold-out crowds. CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat Cast member Toni Ann Stewart first posted the video on YouTube, the Daily Mail noted.
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