Author Archives: Ofonime Essien

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Near Disaster at JFK

Category : News

Near Disaster at JFK

By Ofonime Essien

Volaris at JFK

A Volaris flight traveling Mexico was ordered to go around after lining up with the wrong runway. (photo via Flickr/Tomas Del Coro)

Air traffic controllers reacted quickly to avoid potential disaster at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday.

According to NBC New York, an inbound Volaris flight traveling from Mexico was mistakenly lined up with the same runway that an outbound Delta Air Lines flight was preparing to take off from. The incoming aircraft was approaching Runway 13 right but was supposed to land on the parallel Runway 13 left.

PAF Ordered to Shoot Down Drones Violating Airspace

“Brickyard 4231 cancel takeoff plans,” an air traffic controller was heard saying over the radio. “Brickyard cancel takeoff plans.”

Officials simultaneously ordered the Volaris pilots to perform a go-around. “You’re lined up on the wrong runway,” said another air traffic controller. “Volaris 880 go around, turn left heading 100.”

The Volaris flight eventually reentered the traffic pattern around 1:25 p.m. ET Tuesday and later landed safely on the correct runway.

After aborting takeoff and taxiing off the runway the Delta flight eventually “re-queued for departure and completed the flight to Washington Reagan without incident,” the airline confirmed in a statement to Fox News.

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

“The crew of Delta Flight 4231, operated by Delta Connection carrier Republic Airline, safely executed a low-speed takeoff rejection from New York-JFK Tuesday afternoon at the direction of air traffic control,” the airline said. “Following proper procedures, the aircraft exited the runway.”

In its own statement, Volaris said it plans to investigate what led to the mishap.

“At Volaris, the safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority. Pursuant to our protocols, we will conduct an investigation to determine the factors that led to this event.”

Couple having sex on plane couldn’t control themselves

Tuesday’s incident comes nearly four months after a Delta flight collided with an American Airlines aircraft on the taxiway at JFK. No injuries were reported. However, both planes sustained significant damage and had to be taken out of service.

Last month, an EgyptAir flight clipped wings with a Virgin Atlantic flight while taxiing at the busy airport.

Two planes also came in contact at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this past summer.

(Travel Pulse)



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PAF Ordered to Shoot Down Drones Violating Airspace

Category : News

PAF Ordered to Shoot Down Drones Violating Airspace

By Ofonime Essien

PAF drone order

This announcement comes weeks after a US drone strike targeted a terrorist compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghanistan border, slaying three militants

The head of the Pakistan Air Force has ordered his force to shoot down drones that enter the country’s airspace including ones belonging to the U.S.

The orders from Chief Sohail Aman are a complete turnaround from the air force’s previous position in which it condemned drone strikes on its soil but had never threatened to shoot the unmanned aerial vehicles down.

Near Disaster at JFK

The announcement was made public about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three militants, The Times Of India reported.

‘We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace.

‘I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

The comment was all the more surprising given that the U.S. is supposedly a close ally of Pakistan with it’s own military often complicit in allowing American led missile strikes on militant positions which have been occurring since 2004.

Yet, after each drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office has issued statements condemning the actions stating they will not tolerate strikes on its territory.

This time the Pakistan administration appears to be talking tough by taking a firm line over future drone strikes in its country.

FAA Foresees Millions of Drones Filling the Skies

It’s believed that senior members of terrorist groups have been killed in such attacks but that hundreds of civilians, including women and children has also been killed as well.

There has been no response so far from the White House.

(Daily Mail)



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When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

Category : News

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

By Ofonime Essien

Airplane bathroom

PHOTO: A standard commercial airline toilet. (photo via Flickr/Jennifer Bailey)

A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Montana Saturday night after the plane’s toilets stopped working.

According to The Associated Press, the six-hour Delta flight was on a non-stop journey from New York City to Seattle when the bathrooms on the Boeing 757 ceased functioning, leaving passengers to say they could not hold it any longer.

Airlines to pay $95m to settle claims security lappses led to 9/11 attacks

As a result, the pilot called for an emergency landing and diverted the plane hundreds of miles south to Billings Logan International Airport. The flight landed safely at around 6 p.m. local time, but the ordeal wasn’t over yet.

Unfortunately, no gates were available for the Delta flight and the plane had to taxi to a cargo area. Ground crews at the facility rolled a portable stairway to the aircraft and passengers were able to “disembark to find relief of built-up pressures,” according to an official statement from Delta.

When Opportunity Knocks, Will You Be Ready?

Billings airport director of aviation and transit Kevin Ploehn told the Billings Gazette the passengers waited inside a terminal while crews repaired the toilets, refueled the plane and prepared the flight for takeoff.

While it doesn’t happen often due to broken bathrooms, Billings airport does deal with diverted planes occasionally.

How to Prevent Lost Luggage

“I’ve heard of flights getting diverted, not here, because toilets overflowed and that blue water was rolling down the aisle,” Ploehn told the Billings Gazette. “That can’t be very pleasant.”

(Travel Pulse)


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Airlines to pay $95m to settle claims security lapses led to 9/11 attacks

Airlines to pay $95m to settle claims security lapses led to 9/11 attacks

By Ofonime Essien

9/11 attacks

394261 14: A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Insurers for American Airlines, United Airlines and other aviation defendants have agreed to pay $95 million to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the September 11 attacks.

Developers of the new World Trade Center buildings had once demanded $3.5 billion from aviation-related companies after hijacked planes destroyed three skyscrapers among five demolished buildings.

Lawyers said the agreement signed last week resulted from ‘extensive, arms-length negotiations’ by lawyers ‘who worked diligently for months’.

Airbus was aware of Software Problems behind A400M Plane Crash in May 2015

The agreement also said the parties make no admissions or concessions with respect to liability for the attacks.

‘The court’s approval of the settlement agreement will bring to a close this hard-fought 13-year litigation on terms agreeable to the parties,’ the lawyers said.

United Airlines was dragged through court (Picture: Getty)

The airlines have settled and will pay millions (Picture: Getty)

Attorney Desmond T. Barry Jr., who submitted the papers to US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

Developer Larry Silverstein and World Trade Center Properties have collected more than $5 billion from other defendants through lawsuits. The money has aided the reconstruction of buildings on the 16-acre lower Manhattan site.

Earlier settlements included $135 million paid to a financial services firm that lost two-thirds of its employees.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the company is pleased to have reached a settlement.

Qatar Airways Buys into Cathay Pacific

‘We will never forget that terrible day and its lasting impact including the tragic loss of 23 members of the American Airlines family,’ Miller said.
United Airlines declined to comment.

Bud Perrone, a spokesman for Silverstein, said the company is ‘pleased to have finally reached a resolution to this piece of post-9/11 litigation’.




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Airbus was Aware of Software Problems Behind A400M Plane Crash in May 2015

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Category : Air Crash

Airbus was Aware of Software Problems Behind A400M Plane Crash in May 2015

By Ofonime Essien

Airbus A400M

Accidental deletion of software governing aircraft engines the cause of Airbus A400M crash, suggest leaks from official investigation

Spanish investigators believe that Airbus and European safety specialists were aware of a software vulnerability affecting the A400M military plane before one of the models crashed during a fatal test flight just months later.

In May 2015, an Airbus A400M crashed in a field in Seville, Spain when three of its four engines failed following take-off. Four out of six members of crew were killed in the accident, causing mayhem for the aviation firm.


Two pilots and two test engineers were killed in the crash

The Airbus military plane, which is used for carrying cargo and troops, relies on data to run its engines. However, it was deleted when engineers working for the firm installed additional software before the flight.

Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

Pilots weren’t given any prior warning that there was an issue with the software and only realized when the engines stopped working. Shortly after, reports began circling indicating the company’s culpability.

Following the crash, Spanish military investigators started working on a confidential report to determine the causes of the accident. Completed in the summer, it shows the role Airbus played in causing the crash.

According to extracts seen by Reuters, the engineers were affected by faulty software, which the engine manufacturers had apparently warned Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency about in October 2014.

Qatar Airways Buys into Cathay Pacific

They were told that a software fault could render the engines of the A400M useless, and that crew onboard may not receive prior warning when such a problem occurs. That was the scenario, claim the investigators, in the A400M crash in May 2015.

Developed for the militaries of Spain, Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, Turkey and Luxembourg, the project has been plagued with delays and smashed its original, not inconsiderable budget of $23bn. It’s been slapped with a plethora of restrictions.

Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

Reuters contacted Airbus to clarify its position on the crash.

It responded by saying that the crash was caused as a result of “multiple, different factors and contributory causes”. However, it wouldn’t comment on the leaks from the investigation. An Airbus spokesperson said that the company has since reviewed its systems.

“The mitigation measures derived from that report were not sufficient,” the investigators wrote in the report.




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Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

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Category : News

Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

By Ofonime Essien


Finnair has started weighing passengers in order to better estimate its fuel requirements for flights. Photo: Alamy

Finnair has started weighing its passengers before they board flights in Helinksi, but it’s not an exercise in fat-shaming.

The Scandanavian airline is gathering data in the hopes of slashing operating costs, so it can better estimate fuel requirements. Currently, like most other airlines, Finnair uses average weight estimates from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – a report compiled eight years ago.

This data may be in need of an update, Finnair reckons, so it’s collecting its own.

Qatar Airways Buys into Cathay Pacific

The program, carried out during check-in at Helinski Airport, is entirely voluntary and so far the carrier has got 180 passengers to step onto the scales. The target is 2000, after which it hopes to have a more streamlined approach to fuel estimations.

“Airlines know what the aircraft weighs, what the check-in luggage weighs, but not what passengers weigh,” Finnair’s communications director Paivyt Tallqvist told the BBC.

What are the current figures?

The EASA estimates that the average male weighs 84.6kg, a female 66.5kg and an under-12, 30.7kg.

That’s pooling the entirety of Europe, however. Reliable up-to-date figures for Finland are hard to come by, but according to Channel News Asia, the average Finnish man weighs 85kg and the average Finnish woman weighs 70kg.

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And this isn’t taking into consideration the varying seasons. Big coats and heavy boots during winter add to the load, whereas during the summer the opposite is true.

Has this happened before?

Yes. Last October, Hawaiin Airlines carried out a six-month survey of the same nature.

A Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman told Telegraph Travel: “Over time our fuel burn on Pago Pago flights was consistently much higher than projected, indicating that our weight assumptions were inaccurate.

“We review weights on any flight within our route network that demonstrates such a discrepancy. For example, we surveyed our Japan and Korea flights in 2015 and our new Narita flight earlier this year.”

In August 2015, Uzbekistan Airways did the same thing.

“According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged to carry out the regular procedures of preflight control passengers weighing with hand baggage to observe requirements for ensuring flight safety”, the company said at the time.

In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline in the world to charge passengers according to their size. Those flying on the South Pacific carrier, which is no longer in operation, were asked to pay one Samoan tālā (about 50 cents) for each kilo that they, combined with their luggage, weighed.

This Too, Shall Pass

It is worth noting that Samoa, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, has one of the highest rate of obesity in the world. More than two-thirds of its adult population are considered obese, it says, which might have been the reason behind Samoa Air’s then-controversial system.

Why is weight so important to airlines?

The total weight of a plane, including all its passengers and cargo, is estimated before every flight to work out how much fuel will be required. Naturally, the heavier the plane, the more expensive the journey in terms of fuel, but safety comes into it too.

All aircraft have a maximum take-off weight. A Boeing 747’s maximum, for example, is in the region of 443 tonnes, depending on the model. The weight of a plane can then be affected by a number of other factors, the weather being one of them.

In June of this year, around 40 flights were cancelled at Phoenix Sky Harbour International airport after the mercury soared to 49C, making some planes unable to take to the skies. Hot air, being thinner than cold air, throws off the calculations relating to weight and climb gradient, rending some of the planes too heavy to take off safely.





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Qatar Airways buys into Cathay Pacific

Qatar Airways buys  into Cathay Pacific

By Ofonime Essien

Qatar Airways - Cathay Pacific

A file image of Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900 A7-ALH. (Ryan Hothersall)

Qatar Airways has bought a 9.61 per cent stake in Cathay Pacific, citing the Hong Kong-based carrier’s “massive potential” for the future.

The Doha-headquartered airline has acquired the 378,188,000 shares in Cathay Pacific from Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Kingboard Chemical said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange on Monday it sold its shares in Cathay Pacific for HK$5,162,266,000 (A$865.3 million), or HK$13.65 per share. Cathay Pacific shares were at HK$12.68 in morning trade in Hong Kong on Monday.

Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline was pleased to have bought a stake in Cathay Pacific.

“Cathay Pacific is a fellow oneworld member and is one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry and with massive potential for the future,” Al Baker said in a statement.

The transaction is Qatar Airways’ fourth investment in a foreign airline group. It holds 20 per cent in International Airlines Group (the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling), 10 per cent of LATAM Airlines Group and 49 per cent in Italian carrier Meridiana.

Earlier in 2017, Qatar had planned to buy into American Airlines, but the idea was dropped after the US carrier expressed little enthusiasm for the deal.

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Qatar would be the third-largest shareholder in Cathay Pacific once the transaction is completed. The bulk of Cathay Pacific stock is held by two major shareholders – Swire Pacific Ltd owns about 45 per cent, while Chinese flag carrier Air China owns about 30 per cent.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg described Qatar as “one of the world’s premier airlines.

“We already work together closely as fellow members of the oneworld alliance and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship,” Hogg said in a statement on Monday.

Qatar and Cathay Pacific have worked together previously on the Hong Kong-Doha route.

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Cathay Pacific began flying to Doha from its Hong Kong hub in March 2014, joining Qatar Airways on the route. The two carriers codeshared on each other’s services between the two cities, with Cathay also placing its CX airline code on Qatar-operated services beyond Doha to points in Europe, the Middle East and South America and Qatar adding its QR airline code on selected Cathay-operated flights to Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

However, Cathay discontinued its Doha service less than two years later, saying at the time it was for “commercial reasons”. It also removed its CX code from Qatar-operated flights beyond Doha.

Cathay is currently working through a transformation, or cost-cutting drive as part of efforts to turn around a first half loss for calendar 2017.

Cathay, and others, have battled the rapid international expansion of Chinese airlines and the ongoing rise of Middle East carriers offering long-haul to long-haul connections through their hubs, which have bitten into previously lucrative markets.

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In particular, the rapid growth of Chinese carriers on international routes has reduced the number of passengers from China transiting through Cathay’s Hong Kong hub.

And at the budget end, Asian-based low-cost carriers have won passengers happy to pay lower fares for a no-frills product on short- and medium-haul routes.

Further, the economic slowdown – both in China and elsewhere – had led to a significant reduction in premium corporate travel in business and first class, particularly on long-haul routes.

Under new chief executive Rupert Hogg, Cathay has sought to regain lost ground through an overhaul that included a reorganisation of the business, hundreds of staff layoffs and other cost reduction efforts.

Kingboard Chemical, an investment company with interests in the manufacturing of laminates, printed circuit boards, chemicals and magnetic products, as well as property development and investment, said it would book a HK$800 million gain from the sale to Qatar.

(Australian Aviation)




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Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

Category : News

Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

By Ofonime Essien


Emirates B777-300ER | Tis Meyer

Emirates announced Sunday it will reinstate its second daily service to Lagos and resume operations to Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, with four weekly flights from 15 December 2017.

Similar to the current daily service between Dubai and Lagos, the added frequencies to Lagos will be operated with Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The reinstated service to Abuja will be served by a 360-seat Boeing 777-300 in a three-class configuration.

D.B. Cooper, the mystery who jumped from an Airliner

“Nigeria is a key market for Emirates and its importance is reflected by the fact that we will add 11 weekly flights between Dubai and two major cities in Nigeria, Abuja and Lagos. This is great news for both our business and leisure customers and highlights our commitment to providing travellers in Nigeria with not only the very latest in aircraft innovations but also increased connectivity,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Africa.

“We thank the Nigerian authorities for facilitating the reinstatement of our flights to Abuja and Lagos which will, in turn, greatly benefit Nigerian tourism, trade, investment and economy at large.”

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By operating a double daily service to Lagos and four weekly flights to Abuja, Emirates will offer travellers in Nigeria very convenient and comfortable access to Dubai, and onwards to other destinations on the Emirates network, including more than 35 destinations in the Middle East and Far East, 18 destinations in South Asia and over 20 destinations in the Americas and Australia. Many of these destinations are served by Emirates’ iconic A380 aircraft.

Apart from the increased passenger capacity, the new flights will provide up to 23 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight, giving businesses and traders more opportunities for increased imports such as electronic goods, construction equipment and pharmaceuticals, and exports such as fresh produce and perishables.

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The added Lagos flight EK781 will depart Dubai every day at 0355hrs and arrive in Lagos at 0905hrs. The return flight EK782 will depart Lagos at 1240hrs and arrive in Dubai at 2255hrs. The Abuja flight EK785 will depart Dubai every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 1035hrs and arrive in Abuja at 1535hrs. The return flight EK786 will depart Abuja at 1855hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. The arrival of the flight in Dubai is conveniently timed to enable a shorter transit period for customers connecting to Emirates’ early morning flights to popular destinations such as New York, Houston, London, Beirut, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Delhi and Sydney, amongst others, which are popular cities for Nigerian travellers.

Emirates launched services to Nigeria on 2 January 2004 with four flights per week from Dubai to Lagos linked with Accra in Ghana, using an A330-200 aircraft. Just over a year later Emirates increased its services from four to six flights a week, and following further demand, it became a daily operation in October 2005. On 1 January 2006, Lagos was delinked from Accra and became a direct service to Dubai. Emirates operated a second daily service to Lagos between February 2009 and June 2016 and daily flights to Abuja between August 2014 and October 2016. From 15 December 2017, Emirates will operate 18 weekly flights between Dubai and Nigeria.

(Aviation Tribune)



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D.B. Cooper, the mystery hijacker who jumped from an airliner and changed commercial plane design

D.B. Cooper, the mystery hijacker who jumped from an airliner and changed commercial plane design

By Ofonime Essien

Northwest Airlines

Cooper leapt from a Northwest Boeing 727 similar to this.

Reality can sometimes blow fiction right out of the water, and so it is with the strange case of D.B. Cooper, the first hijacker to jump from an aircraft and into criminal mythology.

On the afternoon of November 24, 1971, a soberly dressed man in business attire approached the Northwest Orient Airlines counter at Portland International Airport and paid $20 for a one-way ticket to Seattle, Washington, using the name Dan Cooper.

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He boarded the aircraft, a Boeing 727, ordered a bourbon and soda, and lit up a Raleigh cigarette. One of Raleigh’s advertising slogans at the time was “Raleigh gives you both rich, mellow tobacco taste plus wonderful free gifts”, which would prove oddly prescient.

DB Cooper

The FBI sketch of the mysterious D.B. Cooper.

Shortly after take-off Cooper called flight attendant Florence Schaffner over, handed her a note saying he had a bomb and asked her to sit beside him. He opened his attache case to reveal a glimpse of wires and red tubes and demanded that she write down what he told her. On the note that Schaffner delivered to the captain, Cooper said he had a bomb and would blow up the plane and everyone in it unless he was provided with four parachutes and $US200,000 in $20 bills, worth about $1.2 million today.

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The flight landed in Seattle-Tacoma Airport, the passengers and most of the crew left the aircraft which was refuelled, the money and parachutes were handed over, then Cooper made a couple of unusual requests. He asked that the aircraft take off and the pilot set a course for Mexico City flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet and maintaining an airspeed of 100 knots, roughly 185km/h, or just above stall speed. Advised that Mexico City was out of the question due to the amount of fuel the aircraft would burn in that configuration, he agreed that the destination would be Reno, Nevada. He also asked that the landing gear be left down and the cabin unpressurised.

The aircraft took off at about 7:40pm with just the pilot and co-pilot, a flight engineer and a flight attendant on board, all told to remain inside the cockpit with the door closed.

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About 20 minutes after take-off, a warning light in the cockpit indicated that the rear airstair had been deployed and the crew observed a change in air pressure. This airstair extends downward from the belly of the aircraft and in line with the fuselage. Some 13 minutes later the Boeing’s tail made a sudden upward movement, requiring a trim adjustment to return to level flight. This was later shown to be consistent with a human exiting the aircraft via the airstair. Two hours later the plane landed at Reno, where it was surrounded by state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and the FBI, but no sign of Cooper.

The area where Cooper was thought to have landed was somewhere south of Mount St Helens in south-west Washington State, although the precise location could have been anywhere within an area of more than 200 square kilometres of rugged mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. What followed was the most expensive and elaborate manhunt in US history. FBI agents and sheriffs’ deputies combed large areas of the mountainous wilderness on foot and by helicopter. Patrol boats scoured rivers and a submarine searched the depths of Lake Merwin. Following the 1972 spring thaw, FBI agents, 200 soldiers, Air Force personnel, National Guard and civilian volunteers spent more than a month searching the ground for clues, and drew a blank. No trace of Cooper, no parachute nor anything else related to the hijacking was found.

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Despite enormous publicity and rewards offered by the media and government authorities, Cooper remains a mystery man, the man who never was. No missing persons have fitted Cooper’s description, no friends, family members, employers or colleagues have come forward with a positive identification. No parachute schools have ever seen or heard of anyone matching Cooper’s description. The initials “D.B.” were appended to the name “Cooper” by the press, there never was any reason to suspect this was the hijacker’s real name.

In almost five decades since the hijacking just two pieces of evidence have emerged. In 1978, a deer hunter found a placard printed with instructions for lowering the aft stairs of a Boeing 727 about 15 kilometres west of Mount St Helens, still within the potential drop zone.

Two years later an eight-year-old boy on a family holiday raked a sandy riverbank along the Columbia River to build a campfire and turned up three packets of $US20 notes, later proven to be part of the ransom money, but was it washed there or buried? And why were 10 bills missing from one of the packets, which was secured with rubber bands, just like the others?

This Too, Shall Pass

None of the remaining 9710 remaining $US20 bills have turned up anywhere in the world. Various websites offer checks for possible matches, and any notes with matching serial numbers would be worth many times more than their face value.

Cooper had done his homework. The Boeing 727 he chose for his mission was ideal for the purpose. The aft stairwell could be deployed inflight, and by a switch from inside the cabin, which could not be overridden from inside the cockpit. The aircraft’s three engines are located around the tail, allowing a fair chance of a safe jump without being incinerated in the jet exhaust. The aircraft also has a low stall speed, giving Cooper a greater safety margin. He timed his jump for the evening of Wednesday  November 24. The following day was Thanksgiving, the start of a four-day holiday weekend in the USA. If you wanted to disappear for a few days and be back at work after the holiday, no questions asked, the timing was impeccable.

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However the impression of a crack parachutist – possibly a former elite military paratrooper – doesn’t quite gel with the facts. Cooper rejected the military parachutes that were initially offered to him in favour of sport models, even though military chutes are designed to be used at night as well as day, and in adverse weather conditions, both of which applied on that night. Cooper chose the older of the two primary parachutes supplied to him rather than the technically superior professional sport parachute. He was jumping on a cold, dark night into mountainous wilderness, with forests, water hazards and few roads. He was wearing loafers and a trench coat and the reserve parachute he took with him was a dummy used for training purposes, a fact that would have been immediately obvious to an experienced parachutist.

Weighing up the odds, speculation persists that Cooper might not have survived the jump, possibly never even deployed his chute. That same year however, among the numerous copycat hijackings that followed Cooper’s, Robb Dolin Heady, a paratrooper and Vietnam veteran jumped from a United Airlines 727 near Reno, Nevada in darkness and landed safely but was apprehended the following morning as he returned to his car.

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Doubt lingers. If Cooper didn’t survive, why has no trace ever been found, and what about the cash bundles in the sandbar with the missing notes? The mysteries have attracted many curious and credulous minds, and theories abound.

The distinctive tie pin worn by Cooper was analysed by amateur sleuths and found to contain minute traces of titanium, a material used in the advanced sector of the airline industry at the time. This pointed the finger at a potential link to a Boeing employee, however Cooper’s intimate knowledge of the Boeing 727 would have indicated the same thing, and no Boeing employee was ever implicated. Also, given the precise details of Cooper’s physical appearance provide by air crew, any Boeing employee with the slightest resemblance to Cooper would immediately have been a suspect.

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Tom Colbert, another would-be detective who maintains a website,, claimed to have found a frayed, 45cm piece of what was possibly fire-retardant fabric in a mound of dirt in the potential drop zone, leading to suggestions this might be from a military parachute. Media outlets jumped on this “ground-breaking discovery” with unbridled enthusiasm, yet linking this so-called “new evidence” with Cooper taxes all credibility, not to mention the inconvenient fact that Cooper did not jump with a military ‘chute.

In July 2016, the FBI announced that it was closing the book on D. B. Cooper, with the option to re-open the case should any legitimate physical evidence come forward. Its 60-volume case file compiled over the 45-year investigation has been preserved for historical purposes.

One outcome of the Cooper hijacking was a couple of changes in aircraft design. One was the “Cooper vane”, an aerodynamic wedge that uses wind pressure to prevent an aft stairwell from being deployed inflight. The other was a mandatory peephole in the cockpit door.





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British Airways Sacks Air Hostess over Racist Chants against Nigerians

British Airways Sacks Air Hostess over Racist Chants against Nigerians

By Ofonime Essien

British Airways cabin crew racist chants

British Airways has sacked 23-year-old air hostess, Joanne Wickenden, who shot a racist video where she was seen ranting and insulting Nigerian passengers.

She sparked outrage after the video in which she was seen in her British Airways uniform before flying from London Heathrow to Abuja on Friday night.

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According to MailOnline, Ms. Wickenden told officials at British Airways that the video which she uploaded via her Snapchat was ‘just a joke’, adding that she was set up by a British Airways colleague who recorded her and shared the clip.

In a statement on Tuesday, British Airways said Wickenden no longer works with the airline as their staff were expected to be of utmost professionalism when representing the airline.

“She no longer works for British Airways. We expect the utmost professionalism from our staff when they are representing British Airways,” it said.

When Opportunity Knocks, Will You Be Ready?

Meanwhile, Ms. Wickenden, who wants to be an actress, told journalists that she is not a racist.

“I am not a racist.

“I have been framed by another British Airline employee. They were encouraging me, egging me on to say things. They were recording me and sent it around to our friends, she said I don’t want to fly anymore,” she said.