Saturday, May 2, 2009
Posted by Hugo at 5/02/2009 05:38:00 PM
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
A flight between Ireland and Crete have been diverted and five people removed by police after a fight broke out on board.
One eyewitness who was on the plane when it was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Venice last night said a man began smashing overhead compartments.
One of the 167 passengers on the Futura Gael flight 2815 from Dublin to Heraklion, Aoife O'Reilly, from Dublin, said those responsible had been drinking.
"We were up in the air and two guys - who were surprisingly a lot older than us - started fights," she said.
"Then we had to be redirected to Venice for a couple of hours. The police came on and had to get them off.
"They had a couple of drinks on them, they were extremely aggressive. One of the guys half-way through the flight stood up and started smashing the overhead compartments."
Italian border police based at Marco Polo airport in Venice said the men were all Irish and aged between 25 and 30.
They were not arrested but put on a plane back to Ireland, the authorities said.
Dublin-based Futura Gael, which runs charter flights to holiday destinations, apologised to passengers who were delayed by several hours.
"The incident occurred in Italian airspace at approximately 10pm Irish time, where a number of passengers were involved in an incident on board," said a spokesman.
"The captain then made the decision, for the safety of all on board, to divert to Venice, where the aircraft was met by members of the Italian police.
"Five people were removed from the aircraft by Italian police and the remaining passengers continued their flight approximately two hours later and have arrived safely in Heraklion."
The airline said it had launched its own internal investigation.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Here is the response to my request to ban all alcohol from U.S. flights:
Dear Mr. Hxxxxxx:
Thank you for contacting me regarding voter registration for our nation’s veterans. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I share your concerns.
Our nation’s veterans have selflessly answered the call to serve, and many have paid a heavy price for their service and now require care at VA facilities. Their ability to register to vote should never be hampered by their need for medical treatment.
With this in mind, I have cosponsored the Veteran Voting Support Act. This legislation allows states to require the VA to make voter registration services available at their facilities and to assist veterans in receiving and using absentee ballots. The legislation would also allow non-partisan groups and election officials to visit VA campuses and conduct voter registration drives.
Additionally, I have written to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, James Peake, and asked him to reconsider the ban on voter registration drives at VA facilities. VA medical centers should serve as a place of civic engagement for some of our most patriotic Americans, not a place where they feel displaced or forgotten. America's democracy rests on the ability of all voters – veterans, soldiers, and civilians alike – to make their voice heard on Election Day.
As you may know, on April 25, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) issued policy Directive 2008-023, which required all Veterans Affairs facilities to develop a comprehensive plan to assist veterans with voter registration. Less than two weeks later, the VHA replaced this policy with a new directive. While still aimed at assisting veterans with voting and registration, this new policy makes one major change from the original – a prohibition on third-party voter registration drives at VA facilities.
I agree that a blanket prohibition on all registration drives prevents a potentially valuable resource from reaching these veterans. The very least our country can do is provide them with every convenience and resource available to cast their ballots on Election Day. Please rest assured that as I continue to work on behalf of our veterans, I will keep your views in mind.
Again, thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
United States Senator
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Yesterday, I contacted the ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) and was promised a call back from Brendan Kenny in their Government Affairs division. My idea must have gone over like flatus in a phone booth. Nothing. No call. No e-mail. Nada.
I would have hoped for backing from the ALPA since it is their pilots who must deal with the drunk passenger and make the decision to divert, if needed. As a private pilot, I want to fly the airplane and not have to deal with emergencies inside the plane. Even a sick passenger can really be distracting. With the lives of hundreds of passengers on board, the stress of a drunk and potentially dangerous passenger would be too much to handle. My hats off to the professional pilots.
I'm still holding out hope for a call or an e-mail today.
Posted by Hugo at 7/30/2008 08:03:00 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I spoke with "Grant" at Senator Gordon Smith's Washington, D.C. office,
Washington, DC Office
404 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
and I got the usual Washington bull@#%!.
"Yes, I see where it would be a safety issue"
"yes, I imagine that the certification results for aircraft evacuation would probably be different with impaired passengers"
Here's what it boils down to:
1) There has to be large grassroots support
2) There has to be local government support (State level - National Governor's Association)
3) There needs to be support from organizations (ALPA, AOPA, EAA, OPA...)
So, here is where we stand. The government cares about our flying safety only if we can drum up the support from some big guns. Anyone willing to go to the mat on this? Maybe you have a contact or an inroad to a politician. Maybe you can get friends or relatives to write to Senator Smith, as he sits on the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.
I'll fight alone if need be, but if we all stand up and take on this challenge, we can make a difference.
Here is the problem with promoting that. New Mexico already passed a law that says no alcohol when in or over their state. What this did to our passengers bill of rights was devastating and here's why.
Although I think you are probably right, especially because air rage increases where alcohol is involved, the airlines argument about State Laws to regulate passengers Safety and Health is that they don't want a "Patchwork Quilt" of State legislation.
There is no way we will get the federal Government to pass this type of law. Too many drinkers in Congress would disagree. So we have the States who can legislate this, however the airlines figured out a way to make it a problem for us with our first piece of legislation.
I wish I could be more effective, but we need to get our first piece of legislation passed so it can be amended later with laws like yours suggest would be good.
Have you called your Congressman and Senators? Fax them letters? That's the best first step.
Opinion in rebuttal: When smoking was banned, there were naysayers and it began as a patchwork. From 1986 and the no-smoke.org website:
February - The U.S. Department of Transportation rejects the recommendation of the NAS to make domestic commercial flights smokefree. Secretary Elizabeth Dole states that no new regulations are necessary because the market will accommodate demand.
July - By a vote of 198 to 193, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Durbin Amendment to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, making domestic flights of two hours or less smokefree. ANR's swift national grassroots campaign plays a critical role in securing the passage.
September 27th - California Governor George Deukmejian signs S.B. 1067 into law, making all in-state flights, trains, buses and other forms of public transportation 100% smokefree. State Senator Nicolas Petris (D-Oakland) authored the measure after reading about the adverse health effects of passive smoking exposure in the 1986 U.S. Surgeon General's Report.
Southwest Airlines buys out Muse Air and revokes 100% smokefree policy. Smoking is permitted on Southwest Airline flights, exposing airline employees and passengers to secondhand smoke again.
In 1986, a grassroots effort to ban smoking on flights was initiated and the politicians listened. Barely 2 years later, smoking on flights was a thing of the past. This was done to protect the health and safety of the other passengers aboard the aircraft. Was it rough? Yes, I am a smoker and it was tough, but it didn't stop me...or the other millions of fliers from boarding aircraft and taking to the skies.
In the last week, there have been two incidents where a drunk passenger has attempted to open an aircraft door, at altitude. As flying passengers we cannot tolerate this! Now is the time for us to protect ourselves against a threat to our safety, the intoxicated passenger. First, some background:
For an aircraft design to be certified, it must be demonstrated that all passengers and crew can be evacuated in less than 90 seconds. Here is a video clip of the certification for the Airbus A380.
As you can see, it happens quickly, efficiently and safely. All of the passengers were sober, alert and ready to get out of that airplane. I would like to see the same certification done with passengers who have been drinking for, say...4 hours (a typical cross-country flight).
Now, ask yourself, "What if there were 1...or 2...or 10 people who had a drink (or 2...or 3...or...) before the emergency?" Would they be reacting quickly? Efficiently? Safely? What if you and your children were behind this individual? Or, maybe your Mom and Dad are flying out to meet their new grandchild? You or they may only have seconds to live. The intoxicated passenger stumbles, they get confused, they block your way. You and your children are now all dead...your Mother and Father are dead. Everyone behind that intoxicated passenger is dead.
Most aviation safety experts say that the difference between life or death is sometimes measured in mere seconds. Do you want those seconds wasted because someone wants to drink? Drinking is a LUXURY. There is no requirement for drinking on flights or in airports.
So, what can we, as citizens and passengers do? Well, I'm glad you asked. Get your pen and paper ready. Got them? OK, take down this information:
Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee
Call one of these numbers and demand that alcohol be banned from flights and from airports. A list of the members of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation can be found here. Call or write!
If smoking can be banned from flights by average citizens rallying against it, then why can't we rally against something that threatens our safety every time we fly? Make your voice heard and make a difference.
Update: I got a call from Rich Swayze (202-224-9000) and he says that we need to contact our local legislators and demand that they move to have alcohol banned from flights. The FAA wants it banned, but until they get requests from outside, they really can't do much. He still wants a grass roots effort and he wants to be a part of it.
He suggested a possibility that the Coalition for a Passenger Bill of Rights group may also be able to help to get this going. Rich is e-mailing me the information and I'll post it, here, as soon as it is received. We really can do this!
I just checked my e-mail, and here is what Rich sent:
Below is the contact information for the Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights I spoke to you about over the phone. Kate has been a very effective spokesperson for passengers, and may be able to help you.
The Committee takes safety very seriously and shares your concerns about passengers that consume too much alcohol.
Please feel free to contact us in the future as you try to garner more support for this issue.
Professional Staff Member
Senate Aviation Subcommittee
Director & Spokesman
Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights
Monday, July 28, 2008
The next kit component available for the RV-12 is the fuselage kit. At $4600 it is just slightly more than the RV-6 kit. There is no word as to ship times for the kit.
The RV-12 is shaping up to be an overall great priced aircraft. Unlike other kit manufacturers, Vans doesn't give you the "basic kit" and then nickel and dime you to death on "options". Once they get a steady supply of kits available, I predict that the RV-12 will outsell all other kits, by far.