Saudi Arabia's official news agency Monday denied remarks from a
British member of Parliament, who said Sunday that Saudi
intelligence agents had foiled a plot involving general aviation
Patrick Mercer (right), the opposition spokesman for British
Homeland Security, told the Sunday Globe and Mail that Saudi
authorities had arrested several terror suspects -- among them, two
men who were planning to use general aviation aircraft packed with
explosives to dive-bomb a British Airways 777 at King Khalid
Airport in Riyadh.
“My understanding is that they were found on the flight line
and that the plan was to fly them into a passenger jet, either
about to land or take off,” said Mercer, quoted in the
A tragic midair collision near the highly respected Turf Soaring
School, of Peoria AZ (West of Phoenix) has killed all four persons
aboard the aircraft involved -- a Piper Cub and a 1983 Schleicher
AS K21. Both aircraft are two seaters and were fully
While the FAA and NTSB have yet to complete an investigation,
published reports suggest that the AS K21 was engaged in an
aerobatic maneuver (reported as a loop) when it collided with the
J-3 over Pleasant Valley Airport. The aircraft impacted just North
of the runway and all four were reported lost at impact.
After six Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were
grounded by terror threats last week, Britain's Home Office has
decided to go ahead with deployment of armed sky marshals on
domestic and foreign flights "where and when we believed it
A joint statement issued by Home Secretary David Blunkett and
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling hastened to add that it's
still safe for the public to fly. It called the increased security
precautions in the US in recent days meant the UK should propose a
"proportionate and appropriate level of response."
Two Islamic terrorists had already packed their GA aircraft with
explosives and were intent on diving them into a British Airways
777 before they were nabbed by authorities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
That word comes from a senior member of Britain's parliament, who
says he'll provide more details after the legislative assembly
reconvenes from Christmas break.
Patrick Mercer, a Tory spokesman for British Homeland Security,
says 380 people were on board the BA flight from Riyadh. He says
the terrorists intended to crash their small planes into the
jetliner as it taxied for takeoff. Mercer quoted "unimpeachable"
Saudi sources in telling the story.
Six armed sky marshals will soon be deployed on Qantas flights
between Sydney and Singapore, according to the Australian
government. The deal was reached Christmas day after lengthy talks
between the governments of Australia and Singapore and executives
from the airline.
A similar deal involving Qantas flights to the US is also in the
works, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But
money is said to be a problem.
An American Airlines flight from Chicago to Indianapolis was
evacuated just after landing Friday, when a flight attendant
reported a suspicious package on board the MD-80.
Flight 1103 landed safely at Indianapolis International Airport,
arriving at 1:35 pm CST. All 62 passengers and crew slid down the
emergency egress chutes to safety. They were rounded up and bused
to the international terminal, where they were questioned.
Lebanese divers have reportedly found the last of the wreckage
from the Christmas day crash of a Boeing 727 just off the coast of
Benin. In the meantime, Benin's foreign minister said the death
toll from the watery crash rose to 113. Of the 151 passengers and
10 crew members on board, 26 are still unaccounted for.
More than a dozen Bangladeshi peace keepers from nearby Sierra
Leone were among the dead.
The six people killed when a Beechcraft B-36 crashed near
the runway at North Las Vegas Airport (NV) Christmas day were all
members of the same family. A relative Saturday said
Henry and Vivienne Waldman, their daughter and son-in-law Susan and
Steven Maini, and two grandchildren -- 12-year-old Jack and
6-year-old Michele Maini -- all died when the Bonanza crashed
shortly after takeoff.
The NTSB has released its initial report on the crash of a Cessna 414 in
Tennessee that left four people dead and one seriously
injured. It happened December 11th near the
Greenville-Greene County Municipal Airport in VFR conditions,
according to the bureau.
This is NOT the way to win friends and influence people. Not
A 35-year old Dallas man is in some serious trouble after he was
arrested last week on a flight from Dallas to New Orleans. Larry
Thirstrup is charged with verbally abusing a flight attendant on
board the Southwest Airlines flight. Even worse, he's charged with
assaulting her by grabbing her shoulders.
For that, Thirstrup faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000
European scientists refuse to give up on Beagle 2. But they
admit, there's not a lot they can do to spur it into speaking to
them until its mothership, Mars Express, enters a low polar orbit
"That is the communication line that has been tried and tested,"
said Gill Ormrod, spokeswoman for the British government's physics
and astronomy research agency. "Until they have tried that several
times, they will not give up."
It's a big step for Boeing -- farming out the bulk of wing
construction on its 7E7 Dreamliner to a firm in Japan. But then,
the aircraft itself is seen by the company as a truly international
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Boeing has never allowed a
contractor to take the lead in building wings for its commercial
aircraft. But it could be a big marketing ploy in a world where
America isn't viewed with the same benevolence that it was in
Two men escaped with relatively minor injuries when their Beech
Baron 58 went down in a field near Missoula (MT). The airport was
closed briefly as rescue crews responded to the accident.
It happened Monday night in dense fog, according to local
authorities. The aircraft was leased by the National Forest Service
from RidgeAir, Inc., a Jacksonville (TX) company. Officials said
the Baron had just dropped off two pilots at the Missoula airport.
Both of those remaining on board were employed by the Forest
Service. The aircraft had departed Redmond (OR) and, after its stop
in Missoula, was returning there, according to a spokeswoman for
the Forest Service. "What I can tell you is that both people aboard
were Forest Service employees and they work out of Redmond fire
center," Paula Nels
It was the first American spacecraft ever to dock with another.
Twenty-eight years later, Gemini 6 is back in the shop at a Kansas
museum, on its way to its final repository in Oklahoma.
The capsule looks tiny when compared to the Apollo relics of the
1960s and 1970s, or the space shuttles in the current NASA fleet.
But getting it ready for permanent display has been a grueling,
painstaking task for Jim Remar at the Kansas Cosmosphere in
Hutchinson (KS). Remar and two other restorers have spent about 200
hours over the past few months, carefully cleaning the spacecraft's
The NTSB is investigating last week's crash of a Lear 24-B in
the California desert near Chino, but there's little to go on. The
high-speed impact claimed the lives of both crew members on board,
dug a deep crater in a San Bernardino County ridge and spread
debris for a quarter-mile. The aircraft had been on a flight from
Chino to Idaho, according to the FAA.
"The captain said he needed to return to Chino," Federal Aviation
Administration spokesman Donn Walker said. "The pilot then declared
an emergency. He was at 24,000 feet when we lost radar and radio
contact with him at ... 9:11 am."
AmeriCares, one of the nation's largest international
humanitarian relief organizations, is dispatching an emergency
response team to southeastern Iran, where a quake measuring at
least 6.3 on the Richter scale has killed an estimated 20,000 and
The quake struck near the ancient fort city of Bam on Friday at
approximately 5:30 am local time. Bam is located roughly 600 miles
southeast of Tehran. More than 90 percent of the Old City of Bam
(dating back 2,000 years) was destroyed. Officials estimate 70
percent of the homes in the surrounding region have been flattened
along with local hospitals.
An Iranian Navy helicopter went down near the city of Bam, just
after delivering much-needed relief supplies to the victims of a
massive earthquake there.
"An Iranian helicopter, which belonged to the Iranian navy, crashed
on its way to Bandar Abbas, once it delivered its relief items to
Bam," the Iranian news agency ISNA quoted local official Asadollah
Iranmansh as saying.
Three Israeli Air Force cadets -- all women -- will earn their
wings at the winter pilots' graduation ceremony Thursday. One is
set to become a combat jet weapons systems engineer (navigator) and
two are headed for helicopter squadrons.
In the 149th graduating pilots' course, 56 percent are from cities,
19% from communal villages, 15% from moshavim, and 10% from
kibbutzim. Six percent are religiously observant. Some 58% are from
the center of the country, 34% are from the North, and 8% are from
the south. A majority (58%) belonged to youth movements, and 27% of
those belonged to the Scouts.
"A hijacked plane into the Vatican. An attack from the sky, is
that clear? The threat of terrorism is very high in this instant. I
passed Christmas Eve in Rome to deal with the situation. Now I feel
Source: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,
describing what he says was a terrorist plot to crash a hijacked
airliner into the Vatican. Berlusconi says, working with the United
States, Italy averted the plot.