Losing a door in flight is not fun. Doing so with a planeload of
prisoners is outright scary. This is exactly what happened when the
main cabin door of a Beechcraft King Air E-90 (file photo of type,
right) fell right off in flight over Galesburg (IL) on Thursday.
The turboprop -- Tidewater Aero LLC of Norfolk (VA) -- was headed
for Marion (VA) and four prisoners and two guards onboard when the
pilot reported hearing "a loud bang" after departing the Galesburg
Municipal Airport at 2:20 p.m.
Pilots in Washington State and Oregon can now enjoy a slight
sigh of relief, now that some of the region's more intrusive TFR's
have been relaxed. Imposed after the September 11th terrorist
attacks, the flight restrictions affected a wide area covering
airspace in Oregon and Washinton state
It looks more and more like the ESA Mars lander "Beagle 2" has
been lost for good. Beagle's mothership, Mars Express, continues to
orbit the Red Plant in "listening-only" mode, hoping for signs of
life from the Beagle lander. So far, its attempts have been met
with only silence.
Beagle 2 hasn't been heard from since it was ordered by controllers
in Germany to begin its landing sequence on Mars. Attempts by
NASA's Mars Odyssey failed to pick up any indication that the
Beagle had survived the plunge into the Martian atmosphere.
Powerful radio telescopes on Earth listened and heard nothing. They
even scanned the Martian surface, hoping to spot signs of faint
radiation emanating from Beagle. But those attempts were not
Working aircraft in wintery conditions can be tough, but recent
problems with icy runways caused a mess at Chicago's Midway
airport. The controllers claim the airport was a "zoo" on Wednesday
when more than 40 flights were delayed because of ice accumulation
on two runways. The controllers say the ice was there because city
crews failed to clear snow that was leftover from Sunday's winter
storm. Chicago aviation officials disagree with the chilly details
and claim they were unaware of any major traffic delays at the busy
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) concurred late
Friday with calls to suspend a number of airspace restrictions that
were implemented when the national terrorist threat level rose to
"orange" before the holidays. TSA and FAA has rescinded notices to
airmen (NOTAMs) that put in place
Gateway procedures at the Maryland 3 airports, suspended waivers in
the National Capital Region (NCR) and suspension of waivers for
sporting event stadium overflights and created a temporary flight
restriction (TFR) in downtown Chicago (IL).
Master Sgt. George Sims spends his day removing debris from the
runway. That's not an easy or cut-and-dry job at the coalition's
Tallil Air Base in Iraq. More than 1,600 pounds of debris has been
removed from the airfield since November. Sergeant Sims is the
332nd Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron airfield manager,
deployed to Tallil from Langley Air Force Base (VA).
Sims works as aircraft come and go at Tallil. But without him, the
aircraft will not come, and the aircraft will not go.
"I think the only thing I can say to the whole team at this
stage is -- play to the final whistle. It only takes a fraction of
a second to score a goal."
Source: Professor Colin Pellinger, chief scientist
on the ESA's Beagle 2 Mars mission. Once again, the Beagle has
failed to show any sign of life during the most recent overflight
of its mothership, Mars Express. The next -- and perhaps last --
chance for Beagle to bark comes early Monday morning, when Mars
Express flies overhead again.