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Latest Theory Puts Renewed Focus on Pilots

But no red flags emerge about lives of Malaysian pair

(Newser) - The new theory that the missing Malaysia jet was deliberately flown for hundreds of miles off its intended course is putting new scrutiny on the plane's two pilots. Malaysian authorities say they are at least examining the possibility that one or both might have been involved in whatever happened,... More »

Pilot Shortage Hits, and It's Worse Than Predicted

And it has regional airlines canceling flights

(Newser) - Reports have long warned that America's airlines were on the verge of a pilot shortage, but the Wall Street Journal proclaims that it has arrived "sooner and more severely than expected." Regional carriers are canceling flights—last week, for example, Great Lakes Aviation said that "due... More »

What It's Like to Pilot a Drone

Heather Linebaugh says she was always afraid she'd killed the wrong people

(Newser) - When politicians and military officials make the US and British drone programs sound like an expert, high-precision affair, Heather Linebaugh has the urge to ask some questions. Like: Why do they feel the need to deliver false , limited , or misleading statistics about civilian casualties? "How many women and children... More »

Pilots Have Become Too Reliant on Computers

Robert Mark: Asiana crash proves the point

(Newser) - Computers do pretty much everything these days when it comes to flying planes, all but reducing the role of airline pilot to "systems monitor," writes Robert Mark at CNN . This is a dangerous trend, he argues, as this week's public hearings into the July crash of an... More »

Teen Begins Quest for Solo Flight Record

Australian Ryan Campbell, 19, is flying around the world

(Newser) - A 19-year-old Australian aims to become the youngest person to go solo around the world and could break a world record set just a month ago by a 21-year-old Californian. Ryan Campbell left Wollongong, Australia, on June 30 and wants to finish his trip by Sept. 7. He took off... More »

Drone Pilots Get Same Stress as Combat Pilots

Pentagon study sees evidence PTSD, even from afar

(Newser) - This won't go over well with vets who think drone pilots don't deserve the same kind of medal as war-zone troops: A Pentagon study finds that those who operate drones from afar suffer combat-related stress at the same rate as pilots who fly into battle themselves, reports the... More »

Hidden Danger Aboard Planes: Lithium Batteries

Shipments suspected in 2 jet crashes

(Newser) - The new year brings new shipping standards for lithium batteries—and though they're designed to improve safety, the new rules may not be enough to protect us. The Wall Street Journal explains that the batteries can "spontaneously ignite" if they're damaged or overheated, which is exactly what... More »

Huge Airline Pilot Shortage Looms

Hiring crisis expected to be worst in 50 years

(Newser) - America's airlines are going to run out of pilot to fly their planes very soon unless action is taken, experts warn. More than half of American pilots are over 50 and there are not going to be enough qualified candidates to replace the thousands of pilots who will reach... More »

Jets Scramble After Planes Violate UN Airspace

Incident occurred around the time of Obama's speech

(Newser) - Two fighter jets scrambled today after two small aircraft violated airspace restrictions in place for the UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders close to the time President Obama was speaking. North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman John Cornelio said the F-22s intercepted the small planes during two separate incidents... More »

India Checking All Pilots' Licenses After Finding Fakes

At least four found to be using fake documents

(Newser) - Indian authorities have begun checking the licenses of all 4,000 commercial airline pilots in the country after at least four were found to be flying using fake documents, a top civil aviation official says. Two pilots were arrested last week for using fake certificates to gain licenses, including a... More »

Pilots Get to Skip TSA Checks

The rest of you? Not so lucky

(Newser) - Pilots can now pass through airport security with their dignity and privacy intact: The TSA has agreed to let on-duty, uniformed pilots skip the full-body scans and too-close-for-comfort pat-downs that are enraging passengers across the country, reports the Washington Post. The rest of you: Don't hold your breath for a... More »

200 Chinese Airline Pilots Faked Resumes

Over half linked to airline in deadly crash

(Newser) - An investigation following a deadly plane crash in China last month has found that at least 200 Chinese pilots lied about their flying experience. More than half of the pilots work for the parent company of Henan airlines, which was involved in the recent crash, the worst in the nation... More »

Spirit Airlines Pilot Strike Strands Thousands

Florida-based discounter cancels all flights

(Newser) - Spirit Airlines is canceling all of its flights tomorrow after its pilots went on strike. Pilots walked out this morning in a pay dispute with the Florida-based discount airline. The strike has already stranded thousands of travelers. Spirit says it is refunding tickets and trying to get passengers onto flights... More »

FAA Lifts Ban on Antidepressants for Pilots

Advocates say change in decades-old policy will improve safety

(Newser) - The FAA will change a 70-year-old rule that bars pilots taking medication for depression from operating planes. The new policy, which takes effect Monday, allows pilots who have been successfully treated for a year with the patented or generic versions of Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, or Zoloft to request a waiver... More »

Co-Pilot Blames Captain for Missing Airport

Airmen fight to get back their licenses

(Newser) - The battle between the two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their airport by over an hour is getting ugly. Co-pilot Richard Cole is insisting captain Tim Cheney is primarily responsible for the blunder. Cole says he deserves less punishment because a co-pilot should be able to trust the captain. The... More »

2 US Pilots Die in Iraq Chopper Crash

'Hard landing' north of Baghdad yesterday

(Newser) - A chopper's "hard landing" in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad took the lives of two US pilots yesterday, bringing the total count of Americans killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 to at least 4,361. The military released no further details about the crash, but... More »

Northwest Pilot: We Weren't Sleeping

But he won't offer more details on why they overshot airport

(Newser) - One of the pilots of the infamous Northwest flight that missed the airport says neither he nor his co-pilot were napping. "I can assure you none of us was asleep," says Richard Cole, who gave separate interviews to ABC and the AP. "It was not a serious... More »

Flight Attendant: 'I Have No Idea' When We're Landing

Investigation continues into errant Northwest flight

(Newser) - The passengers aboard the Northwest flight that overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles—possibly while the pilots napped—didn't have a clue anything was amiss beyond a nagging sense that the flight was taking a long time. One tells the Star Tribune that he asked about it, and a... More »

Pilot, Crew Slug It Out on Air India Plane

Fisticuffs erupt over sex harassment complaint by flight attendant

(Newser) - Pilots and crew members on an Air India jet came to blows mid-flight in an argument about sex harassment. Stunned passengers watched grappling staffers spill out of the cockpit into a galley. The fight erupted when a flight attendant complained about harassment by the pilots en route from Pakistan to... More »

Air France Union Urges Crews Not to Fly Airbus

(Newser) - A French airline-workers union has urged Air France crews to boycott long-haul Airbus jets until new speed sensors are installed, the Times of London reports. “To prevent a repeat” of the Flight 447 disaster, the Alter union said, “we call on flight deck and cabin crew to refuse... More »

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