Hong Kong Based Air Crews Are Being Electronically Tagged As Part Of New COVID Mitigation
- While the rest of the world has begun loosening restrictions, Hong Kong is taking COVID-19 quarantine rules to a new level for airline and cargo staff. Those most affected are the staff working at Cathay Pacific.
- For cargo crews based in Hong Kong, electronic tracking bracelets will need to be worn at all times for the first three days upon return to the city.
- A government circular said, “For any out-of-home activity of their aircrew members that cannot be verified, or that is deemed to be disallowed under the exemption conditions, local airlines shall report to the government for potential prosecutions.” Airlines may also initiate internal disciplinary proceedings against aircrew who violate isolation.
- This comes after authorities found crews breaking the “stay-at-home” order. Last month, police arrested two Cathay flight attendants and charged them with violating the city’s disease prevention measures for leaving their homes. They each face a fine of up to HK$5,000 ($650) and six months in jail.
- For the crew on passenger planes who have been in countries with high levels of the virus, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Widespread Ukrainian And Russian Airspace Prohibitions For US Carriers
- A NOTAM issued on Feb 24th 2022 states that “all US carriers… are prohibited from operating at all altitudes in the LVIV flight information region (FIR) (UKLV), Kyiv FIR (UKBV), Dnipro FIR (UKDV), Simferopol FIR (UKFV), and Odesa FIR (UKOV), as well as the KYIV upper information region (UIR) (UKBU), due to safety-of-flight risks associated with the ongoing hostilities.”
- Another NOTAM issued on Feb 24th 2022 states that “all US carriers…are prohibited from operating at all altitudes in the Moscow flight information region (FIR) (UUWV), the Samara FIR (UWWW), and the Rostov-na Donu FIR (URRV) within 160nm of the boundaries with the Dnipro FIR (UKDV), the Simferopol FIR (UKFV), and the Kyiv FIR (UKBV) (includes that portion of the Kyiv upper information region (UIR) (UKBU) airspace within the lateral limits of the UKDV, UKFV, AND UKBV FIRS) due to safety-of flight risks associated with ongoing hostilities.”
- Other countries have also closed airspace along the borders of Ukraine and Russia. Moldova has closed its entire airspace (the LUUU/Chisinau FIR). And Belarus has closed its airspace along the border with Ukraine.
- Operators are urged to factor in contingency plans and review en-route alternates for aircraft flying near the airspace.
Federal Aviation Administration
Profits Over Safety | How The Fertile Ground For The Boeing 737 Max Crashes Was Laid Decades Prior
- After Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged in 1997, Boeing reportedly transformed from an organization known for its pioneering engineering and safety focus into a business that prioritized profit margins, product output, and share prices.
- At the head of this was “expert budget-cutter” Harry Stonecipher. After gathering huge lobbying power, Boeing persuaded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “not only to loosen its rules but stripped the agency of some of its regulatory authority, transferring it to Boeing personnel.” This has been likened to the FDA handing over its meat inspection to pork producers.
- Boeing later used this power to cover up the existence of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) in its new Boeing 737 MAX. This enabled them to market the Boeing 737 Max as an aircraft that required no additional pilot training, which appealed to operators. But the pilot’s lack of knowledge of the MCAS system was a major contributing factor in both the Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 accidents, which killed 346 people.
- “This egregious misuse of regulation would cost loss of lives, the airline’s reputation and its bottom-line on which it was so focused (money in the value of 10’s of billions).”
- Oversight of Boeing products has since been returned to the FAA, and Boeing has paid billions of dollars in settlements. However, Boeing leadership has gotten off scot-free.
- “While many would expect some form of criminal liability like manslaughter to be imposed on CEOs of Boeing, no such thing happened. In fact, CEO Dennis Muilenburg earned a record-breaking salary of $31M including $13M bonus for performance.”
Space Flight | SpaceX Rocket Sends 50 Satellites Into Space, Then Lands Back On The Landing Pad A Mere 9 Minutes Later
- A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with 50 Starlink internet spacecraft lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on February 25th. Less than 9 minutes later, it made a safe vertical touchdown on a SpaceX drone ship off the California coast.
- Musk’s goal is to help humanity colonize Mars, and the billionaire believes that reusable rockets are key to making that happen.
- While SpaceX makes these launches look easy, they do not always go smoothly. On February 3rd, a solar eruption triggered a magnetic storm that increased atmospheric density enough to bring down 49 newly launched satellites.
- SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites to date and has applied for approval to launch 30,000 more.