"Welcome to the birthplace of MIRCE Science - body of knowledge for probabilistic prediction of the time evolution of expected measurable performances of a given functionable system".  Dr  J. Knezevic, Founder, 1999


MIRCE Science observed events

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Category: General

3 May 2021 Morocco Seeks Bids For A New Aircraft Boneyard

Morocco has a fast-growing industry supplying parts and services to the aircraft builders and the wider airline industry. Now the country is looking to add end-of-life facilities to its portfolio of aircraft-related services. Plans are underway to construct an aircraft boneyard outside Oujda in north-eastern Morocco. Angad Airport is around 12 km north  of Oujda and 600 km northeast of better-known Casablanca. Domestic airline Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia Maroc are the airport’s biggest users. A variety of mostly low-cost European airlines also jet in, several on a seasonal basis only. Oujda’s two sealed runways are 3,000 meters in length, meaning the biggest planes destined for the boneyard can safely touch down. Oujda ticks a few of the aircraft storage business boxes with its proximity to Europe and aircraft-friendly dry low-humidity climate. Whether Oujda becomes a parking facility as distinct from a true boneyard is less distinct. There are many unwanted widebody planes around these days, but the market for second-hand widebodies is small. Most unwanted Boeing 767s and Airbus A340s from Europe are unlikely to find a second life flying for another carrier.

30 April 2021: Bad weather delays SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts' return to Earth 

SpaceX's Crew-1 Dragon capsule and its crew of four were scheduled to undock from the station today (April 30) and splashdown just before midday on Saturday (May 1). Their departure had already been delayed from Wednesday (April 28) due to weather. NASA and SpaceX mission teams have not yet agreed on a new return date. There are 11 astronauts are currently on the space station, the highest number since the space shuttle era when up to 13 astronauts had to cohabit inside the orbital outpost, about the size of a five-bedroom home, during crew hand-overs. The crew members keep themselves busy inside the overcrowded space station with scientific experiments, lab maintenance and emergency gear training, NASA said in the statement. On Thursday, the crew collected urine samples and conducted experiments to study how space affects grip and movement. They also swapped fuel bottles supporting combustion experiments and installed new hardware to activate a high-performance space computer study. NASA said some of the astronauts have had to find alternative sleeping arrangements as the space station currently only has seven proper crew quarters, or personal spaces for astronauts to sleep: four inside the U.S. Harmony Module, one in the European Columbus module, and two in the Russian module Zvezda.  

27 April 2021 Airbus Retires the World’s First Beluga

As Airbus introduces more of the modern A330-based Beluga XL to its fleet, the original five are set to leave. The first to take retirement was Beluga number two, F-GSTB, which last flew on October 6th, 2020, from Airbus’ Toulouse home to Bordeaux for storage. The first-ever Airbus Beluga transport aircraft, F-GSTA, has left Broughton (UK) for the last time. Beluga number one departed the Airbus factory in North Wales on its way to Hamburg for storage. It’s the second of the original fleet of five A300-600ST transporters to be placed in storage. Beluga number one, took to the skies on behalf of Airbus Transport International, in October 1995. During the 26.6 years of service  it had been fairly busy for Airbus. In the last 12 months, she’d flown some 458 flights, with an average monthly utilisation of 57.1 flight hours. Airbus has its own facilities in Hamburg to remove useful parts or otherwise do some decommissioning work with the aircraft. 

27 April 2021: Weather has delayed NASA, SpaceX return to Earth for Crew-1 astronauts

NASA's four Crew-1 astronauts were scheduled to return to Earth on Wednesday, April 28, on their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, making a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. However, high winds have forced NASA and SpaceX to delay the landing to Saturday (May 1). Splashdown is targeted for 11:36 a.m. EDT (1536 GMT).  However, NASA stated “Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of Friday's planned undocking." SpaceX's Crew-1 mission for NASA launched on Nov. 15 to mark the first operational crewed flight on a commercial Crew Dragon spacecraft. It arrived at the station a day later to ferry NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the orbiting laboratory. SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience is expected to splashdown in one of seven sites off the Atlantic coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico, the exact site is dependent on weather, when it returns the Crew-1 astronauts to Earth. 

23 April 2021: Jetbridge Damaged Brand New KLM Boeing 777 During Pushback

The Boeing 777-300ER  aircraft, PH-BVV, , was delivered to KLM in March 2021. However, it was damaged while pushing back at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. The aircraft was struck by a jetbridge that was in too low a position due to a malfunction. This caused minor damage to the wing of the aircraft. It’s reported that the aircraft sustained minor damage. 

21 April 2021: Major damage of  SriLanakan Airlines A320neo in ground vehicle collision

The 4-year-old A SriLankan Airlines Airbus A320neo, 4R-ANB, was parked on the tarmac at Male Velana International Airport, Maldives, after performing flight UL115 from Colombo, Sri Lanka arriving at 13:13 local time after a one hour flight. It was scheduled to operate the return flight UL116 departing at 15:05, when sustained major damage to its left horizontal stabiliser, after being hit by a ground vehicle. According to Airlines, the SriLankan Engineering team based in Malé is working to replace the affected parts and return the aircraft to service.

20 April 2021 Suspected pilot’s stroke prompts ANA Boeing 787 diversion

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was operating flight NH216 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) through to Tokyo Haneda (Japan). After flying north-east over Germany and the Baltic Sea, the aircraft crossed into Russia for the long flight east. The aircraft (JA814A) spent the majority of the flight cruising between 11,500 meters and 12,500 meters. Eight hours into the flight, the plane was just west of the Yenisei River, around 660 kilometres north-east of Novosibirsk when the Captain “showed indications of a stroke with sudden headache and facial asymmetry.” The First Officer declared an emergency and decided to divert to the nearest airport with a runway capable of handling the Dreamliner. There were no passengers onboard the flight; just seven crew on a ferry flight. The B787 turned towards Novosibirsk, where the Dreamliner landed safely. A specialist neurological resuscitation team met the flight, and the ANA Captain was conveyed to hospital. After 23 hours on the ground, JA814A departed Novosibirsk and was tracking east towards Japan. As yet, All Nippon Airways made no available an information regarding the Captain’s wellbeing. 

19 April 2021: The threat of decompression panels disengaging on B787 checks registered 

Decompression panels separate the cargo area from the passenger area. They can open to act as pressure relief vents and allow a larger quantity of airflow into the cargo compartment. The concern is a leak in the bilge area could result in insufficient Halon  (a liquefied, compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion) concentrations to adequately control any fire in the aircraft’s cargo area. In March 2021 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its first airworthiness directive concerning the 787’s decompression panels. That directive mandated repetitive visual inspection of the bilge barriers located in the forward and aft cargo compartments to look for disengaged or damaged decompression panels. Any disengaged panels were to be reinstalled. Damaged panels were to be replaced.  This first directive targeted around 220 Dreamliners. The FAA estimated that each inspection cycle would cost US$56,610. Since then, the FAA has received fresh information that more 787 aircraft may have problems with their decompression panels. With this latest airworthiness directive, the FAA expands to inspections from a certain number of 787 Dreamliners to all 787 Dreamliners registered in the United States. Boeing notes no imminent safety threat posed, welcomes FAA directive Boeing notes the flagged potential problems with the decompression panels do not pose an immediate safety hazard.

14 April 2021: Failure of flight control software postpones the first flight of  NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity 

The main task of Ingenuity helicopter to demonstrate that powered flight on Mars is possible, potentially opening up a new mode of exploration on the Red Planet. If Ingenuity's month-long flight campaign is successful, future Mars missions could commonly include helicopters as scouts for rovers or as data gatherers in their own right. NASA had originally aimed to conduct its first Red Planet flight, the first-ever powered flight on a world beyond Earth, on 11 April. After powering up, Ingenuity began going through a series of pre-flight checkouts. The chopper sailed through all of these tests except the final one, which aimed to get Ingenuity's two rotors up to 2,400 revolutions per minute, the same rotational speed they'll reach during flight. However, during the test, "the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration. This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from 'Pre-Flight' to 'Flight' mode. The analysis shown that "that minor modification and reinstallation of Ingenuity’s flight control software is necessary, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which manages Ingenuity's technology-demonstrating mission. Validating the software change and beaming it to the helicopter, via NASA's Perseverance rover, will take some time. Ingenuity remains healthy and stable, and its vital systems such as power and communications are working properly. Perseverance and Ingenuity landed together inside Mars' 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater on Feb. 18. On April 3, the solar-powered helicopter deployed from the rover's belly. Perseverance is supporting Ingenuity's test campaign, the mission team must route communications to and from the helicopter through the rover, and will attempt to capture high-resolution imagery of its flights as well. 

10 April 2021: Electrical flaw grounds selected 737 MAX jets 

Carriers including Southwest, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United scrambled to organise replacement aircraft on Friday; a combined 67 of their aircraft were grounded, to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system. Boeing has grounded selected 737 MAX jets over electrical issues, just months after their return to the skies. The manufacturer has advised 16 airlines to address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAXs, prior to further operations. Boeing could not provide an estimate regarding the length of disruption. The FAA stated that the issue “could affect the operation of a backup power control unit.

24 March 2021: SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink internet satellites, nails latest rocket landing at sea

The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:28 a.m. EDT (0828 GMT). Approximately nine minutes later, the reusable rocket's first stage returned to Earth for its sixth successful landing. SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" was stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean, standing by for the catch. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink internet satellites. This flight was the fourth Starlink mission this month for SpaceX  that is inching closer to filling its initial internet constellation of 1,440 strong. Eventually that constellation could be tens of thousands of satellites strong as SpaceX has permission to launch as many as 30,000, with an option for even more. This was the first rocket that the U.S. military allowed SpaceX to recover, a switch from its previous military launches where the company would discard the booster after it delivered its payload. NASA recently followed suit, permitting SpaceX to reuse its rockets on crew missions. Having a fleet of flight-proven rockets at its disposal, allows SpaceX to keep up with its rapid launch cadence. However company officials have stressed that while booster recovery is a bonus, the main objective is to deliver whatever payload the rocket is carrying to space. 

24 March 2021 Tire Damage Departing on B777 while departing Doha

The Boeing 777-300, registered as A7-BAE, had been assigned to operate flight QR832 between Doha’s Hamad Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. During the take-off the pilots heard a noise “similar to the impact onto the lower fuselage when departing.” The pilots thought it might be a bird strike or a nose wheel tire bursting.  As there was no abnormal tire pressure indicators showed up, the pilots decided to keep flying. However, during a runway inspection, that tire debris was discovered. When the pilots were notified the plane had crossed into India and cruising at 37,000 feet just north of the Gulf of Kutch. The Boeing 777-300 had been in the air for nearly two and a half-hours, covering over 2,000 km. The pilots decided to head back to Doha.  This incident was the first recorded incident among the 233 strong Qatar Airways fleet this year

22 March 2021: First fully commercial mission of Russian Soyuz rocket 

A Russian Soyuz rocket sent 38 satellites into space. This was the first time the company sent a fully commercial space mission aloft, according to media reports. The rocket lifted off from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:07 a.m. EDT (0607 GMT or 11:07 local time). It was painted blue and white in honour of the cosmodrome's long history of sending people into space (60th anniversary of the first-ever human spaceflight that sent Gagarin into space on 12 April 1961). The launch had been delayed two days due to a detected problem in the upper Fregat stage of the rocket, according to Space News. Eighteen countries participated in the rideshare. The Fregat upper stage was expected to send the various satellites into three sun-synchronous orbits, which gives consistent lighting conditions of each satellites' viewpoint of Earth. The company confirmed all satellites were deployed on Twitter on Monday, and said it is "awaiting confirmation from customers about establishing contact with the spacecraft." Each customer will then take over operations of its own spacecraft. The largest satellite of the bunch was the CAS500-1 remote sensing spacecraft from the Republic of Korea. The various other satellites have mandates such as scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, Earth observations and solar observations. Notably, the Italian-led Unisat-7 mission will release six nano-satellites, largely for technology, educational and research purposes. (source: space.com)

21 March 2021: Gear collapses on Trigana Air B737-400 in Indonesia

A Trigana Air Boeing 737-400 freighter, PK-YSF, was conducting a cargo operation between the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Makassar today when it faced gear problems. The plane was climbing out of Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport’s when the crew stopped the climb at approximately 3,000 feet amid issues with its right-hand main gear. When landing back at the departing airport, the plane skidded, and all of its gear collapsed. It had four crew members on board the aircraft. When they noticed the issue while climbing, they entered a hold while attempting to sort it out and returned. However, as the jet touched down, it skidded on the runway on its left main gear, nose gear, and right engine pod. Subsequently, in the final periods of the rollout, it skidded off the runway before coming to a stop. Notably, all of the gear collapsed in the process. No injuries have been reported from those on board. 

20 March 2021: Volga-Dnepr Flies IL-76s Successfully To Antarctica

Volga-Dnepr Airlines was tasked with operating charter flights from Cape Town (South Africa) to Novolazarevskaya runway in Antarctica. and delivered a total of 200 tons of general cargo to the research stations on the continent. It has successfully flown five IL-76 flights to Antarctica as part of the Dronning Maud Land Air Network Project (DROMLAN). This project is a co-operative agreement for transportation between eleven nations that have research stations in East Antarctica. According to the International Polar Foundation regardless of where researchers come from, all team members fly into Cape Town, South Africa. It is here that they gather for the latest briefings and fine-tunings before heading off to Antarctica. Flights delivering general cargo cover a distance of over 4,200 kilometres. Volga-Dnepr’s expertise, experience, aligned procedures and capable fleet of five IL-76TD-90VD freighters, the company was able to accomplish landing and take-off on a glacial blue ice runway that requires great skill and competence from the crew members. The airline has been participating in these missions since 2015 and reports that it has accomplished over 150 charter flights to/from Antarctica. To date, it has delivered over 1,700 tons of general and special cargo.

20 March 2021: Volcanic eruption disrupted Iceland Air Travel 

Following weeks of increased seismic activity, a volcanic eruption has begun disrupting travel to the North Atlantic island nation of Iceland. All flights into or out of Keflavik International Airport (KEF) were cancelled on Friday following the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, 25 miles from the capital Reykjavik. Scientists first warned of a possible eruption on March 3 after seeing an uptake in seismic activity in the area. Since last weekend, the tremors kept increasing, leading experts to warn that an eruption was imminent. On Friday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) announced that an eruption had occurred at 21:10 local time and that people should avoid the area. It was an effusive eruption, unlike the explosive eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 that caused air traffic havoc all over Europe due to the massive amount of volcanic ash, effusive eruptions produce a steady flow of lava. For an effusive eruption to occur, the magma must have a low, low ascent velocity (Reynolds Number), a dimensionless number in fluid dynamics. When the magma ascent rate is higher, an explosive eruption occurs, spewing ash clouds high into the sky. There are presently no reports of ashfall, although tephra and gas emissions are to be expected. Given the nature of the Fagradalsfjall eruption being effusive rather than explosive, it is not expect Keflavik International Airport to remain closed for too long. 

18 March 2021: Front landing gear Failure on Viva Aerobus A320 

A Viva Aerobus A320, registration XA-VAZ, suffered an incident while lined up to depart to depart from Puerto Vallarta, en route to Monterrey, in Mexico. This was the first time Viva Aerobus suffered a landing gear failure in its history. The 127 people onboard exited the aircraft safely, and currently, Puerto Vallarta’s airport is closed due to the incident. The airline immediately activated all safety protocols, and no one was injured. The aircraft is 15 years old and arrived with Viva Aerobus back in 2016. Previously, it flew with Kingfisher Airlines, ZestAir, and AirAsia Zest.  As of February 2021, it was averaging 4.8 flight hours per day and operated 40 flights in the month. 

16 March 2021: Laser attack forces Virgin Atlantic B787 Dreamliner Emergency landing

A Virgin flight, VS453 from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion, Israel had departed as planned at 21:30 GMT. However, the cockpit of the B787-9 Dream Liner, G-VDIA, was hit by a laser beam causing a distraction to the pilots and a danger to the flight.. The captain was becoming ‘increasingly challenged’ following the attack. Out of caution, the pilots decided to head back to London. The flight declared a ‘pan-pan’ to ATC and turned about over Paris to return to its origin. All passengers were offered overnight accommodation, and all steps were taken to ensure that they are able to continue their journeys as soon as possible. As is standard procedure for a laser incident, Virgin swiftly notified the police and remain in close contact with them and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

15 March 2021: Flight attendant injured on American Airlines B777 Flight

American Airlines flight AA1601, from Cancun, Mexico to Dallas, Texas, was cruising on the altitude of 38,000 feet, at the beginning of the two-and-a-half-hour journey. Then the aircraft encountered strong turbulence prompting the slightly increased of its speed and increase altitude to 40,000ft, when flight attendant reportedly suffered serious injuries due to turbulence. The flight continued on a straight course for Dallas and landed safely.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) described the incident as “aircraft encountered turbulence on final, Dallas, TX.” This means it is unclear if the altitude increase earlier in the flight was due to turbulence and when exactly the accident occurred. The serious nature of the flight attendant’s injuries means the FAA has classified the event as an “accident”. While turbulence does not usually cause severe structural flaws to the aircraft (though it can affect wear), it can impact those inside the cabin. If a crewmember or passenger is not wearing their seatbelt when the flight encounters turbulence, the risk of injury can be extremely high. Cabin crew is also at a higher risk of injuries from turbulence since they are usually working around the cabin rather than being seated for most of the flight. Depending on the category of turbulence severity, the impact is likely to be higher on those inside the cabin.

11 March 2021 2.9-ton of space junk jettison from International Space Station

"Exposed Pallet 9," (EP9) is a 2.9-ton (2.6 metric tons) pallet of used batteries on the International Space Station (ISS). It came to the station last year on a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), as part of the effort to replace the orbiting lab's old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion ones, an extended process that has required a number of spacewalks over the past five years. The orbiting lab jettisons the pallet, the most massive object it has ever discarded, by 57.7-foot-long (17.6 meters) robotic arm. The space junk is expected to fall back to Earth in two to four years, by burning up "harmlessly in the atmosphere".  However, Tiangong-1 was China's first prototype space station, 7500 kg [kilograms], which hosted astronaut crews in 2012 and 2013. The school-bus-sized craft ended up crashing back to Earth over the southern Pacific Ocean in April 2018. Previously, the old batteries were packed into the disposable HTV, which carried them down to their doom in Earth's atmosphere. But the October 2018 launch failure of a Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin disrupted this pattern. The  EP9 came up on the ninth and final HTV, meaning it was left without a doomsday ride. According to the European Space Agency, researchers estimate that Earth orbit is cluttered with about 34,000 debris objects at least 4 inches (10 centimetres) wide and 128 million pieces that are 1 millimetre across or larger.

8 March 2021: Lightning Strike impacted Sao Paulo runway 

Sao Paulo’s runway 09R/27L was closed after a lightning strike impacted the asphalt, at around 15:38 local time. The lightning strike left a hole in the runway. It’s unusual, but it is not the first time something like this has happened worldwide.


Batik Air Airbus A320-200, with registration PK-LUT, was performing flight ID-6803 from Jambi to Jakarta (Indonesia), during the climb at 3000 feet the pilot decided to return to the airport of departure (return to base / RTB) because there is an indicator in the cockpit (which notifies or shows), that there may be a technical problem (technical reason) problems with the nose gear. The aircraft returned to Jambi and landed 25 minutes after departure, it came to a stop on the runway with the damaged nose gear turned 90 degrees sideways. Witnesses confirmed that there was a  fire, sparks and smoke all coming from the nose gear. The 117 passengers and 6 crew disembarked safely onto the runway via stairs. As result of this incident, 3 flights were cancelled. 

4 March 2021: Satellite Based Condition Monitoring of Gas Pipelines’ Leaks

Development of satellite technology enabled condition monitoring of the leaks of gas production pipelines from the space. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, second only to carbon dioxide in its overall contribution to climate change. The energy sector is one of the largest sources of methane emissions.  Thanks to powerful technologies, such as high-resolution satellite data, scientists are now able to underline the impact of frequent and intentional methane releases, also known as ‘venting.’ Scientists, using satellite data from the European Space Agency Copernicus Sentinel missions, are now able to detect individual methane plumes leaking from natural gas pipelines around the world. By combining data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P and Sentinel-2 missions, along with artificial intelligence algorithms, Kayrros scientists detected 13 methane emission events, with rates up to 164 tonnes per hour in 2019/20, along the Yamal-Europe pipeline (a 4196 km pipeline running across Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany). Another 33 emission events, with rates up to 291 tonnes per hour, were detected over the same period on the shorter, Brotherhood pipeline. When contacted, operators confirmed that these events were related to planned maintenance and have been duly reported to the relevant authorities. Kayrros has two satellites equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radars that revisits the same location on its orbit every 12 days. However, if both satellites are tasked to acquire an image for a given location, the revisit time is reduced to 6 days.  Ability to detect methane hotspots in real-time is not only a major technical achievement but is hugely beneficial for the management of planet.  Source: https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-5P/Monitoring_methane_emissions_from_gas_pipelines (accessed 04.03.2021)

3 March 2021: SpaceX’s SN10 Starship prototype explodes 8 minutes after landing

SpaceX is developing Starship to get people and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations. It consists of two elements: a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft called Starship and a giant rocket known as Super Heavy, both of which are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable. The final Starship will be brawny enough to get itself off the moon and Mars, but it will need Super Heavy's help to get off our much more massive Earth. After launching Starship to Earth orbit, the huge booster will come back down to Earth for a vertical landing, as Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy first stages already do. The big stainless-steel SN10 (short for "Serial No. 10") launched from SpaceX's South Texas site at 6:15 p.m. EST (2315 GMT), rose 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) into the sky and then came back to Earth for a smooth touchdown 6 minutes and 20 seconds after lift-off. It was the third high-altitude test flight for a Starship vehicle but the first to feature a successful landing. SN10's two immediate predecessors, SN8 and SN9, flew well during their jaunts, on Dec. 9, 2020 and Feb. 2 of this year, respectively, but both hit the ground hard and ended up in pieces. However, the vehicle didn't manage to hold itself together, exploding about eight minutes after landing. Some flames were visible near SN10's base shortly after landing, and that was a sign of things to come: the vehicle exploded on the landing pad at about 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT), rising up and crashing down again in a huge fireball.

1 March 2021: Boeing’s Commercial Operation pays heavy penalties For Ongoing Non-compliance

Boeing failed to meet its obligations in five of 12 areas specified in a 2015 agreement with the Federal Aviation Authorities (FAA) that required various safety and quality-control improvements in its Commercial Airplanes division and will pay $5.4 million in new penalties. It also will pay $1.2 million to settle two separate but related enforcement cases that involved putting undue pressure on employees. The FAA faulted the manufacturer for missing some “improvement targets” linked to the agreement, “and because some company managers did not sufficiently prioritise compliance with FAA regulations”. The 2015 agreement stemmed from two issues FAA investigated Boeing’s use of non-compliant fasteners and not meeting deadlines on providing instructions for installing fuel tank inerting systems. The agreement called for Boeing to pay $12 million in fines and make a series of process improvements in 12 general areas or face additional penalties. The manufacturer is dealing with a series of quality and non-conformance problems on the 787 program within its facilities and supply chain. The issues led to post-production inspections and re-work that have kept Boeing from delivering any 787s for more than four months. Also, Boeing had several problems with the 737 MAX unrelated to the recent, 21-month grounding, including installing unairworthy slat tracks despite knowing that the parts being supplied did not meet its specifications.

1 March 2021: Ryanair Continues to Operate Ghost Flights

Ryanair is continuing to operate ghost flights to cope with the impact of COVID-19 schedules. Such flights see the airline’s planes flying with no passengers, often landing back from where they departed. The airline has been operating such flights in order to ensure our aircraft are serviceable for both passenger repatriation flights and essential flights for the transportation of urgent medical supplies, some of our crew and aircraft must remain available and serviceable in line with Boeing requirements and EASA regulations. Ghost flights are nothing new. Many airlines have operated such flights to protect precious slots during quieter months or to move an aircraft between A and B. However, the COVID-19 crisis has led to a new type of ghost flight. They are keeping both aircraft and pilots current. Airlines can’t leave aircraft to gather dust at the side of an airport. They must be prepared for storage if the carrier won’t fly them. This meant that many airlines were wrapping their aircraft engines in plastic. However, Ryanair saw a different solution. If it doesn’t stop flying its planes, it doesn’t need to store them. This is behind the airline’s ghost flights to nowhere. However, they also serve another purpose. Pilots must complete a certain number of take-offs and landings within a specific time frame to remain current.

 28 February 2021: SpaceX aborts launch of Falcon 9 rocket carrying Starlink satellites

A SpaceX the Falcon9 rocket was less than 90 seconds away from launching 60 Starlink satellites into orbit from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida when it experienced the automatic abort. The night's launch abort is the latest delay for this particular Starlink mission that was originally scheduled to fly earlier in February, but was delayed due to hardware issues and poor weather. SpaceX currently has more than 1,000 Starlink satellites in orbit as it builds a mega-constellation capable of providing global high-speed internet coverage, particularly to remote or undeserved locales. Overall, the vehicle and payload are healthy and remain in good health and the next launch opportunity is tomorrow, March 1, at 8:15 Eastern time.

28 February 2021 Bird Strike causes KLM B777 six-hour flight to nowhere

Three hours after leaving Amsterdam, the crew of a KLM B777-200ER, registered as PH-BQD, made the decision to turn around after reporting a bird strike. The aircraft was on its way to Tanzania but turned around over the Sea of Crete just after flying over mainland Greece. Diversion flights that return to the origin airport are often nicknamed ‘flights to nowhere.’ This incident was one of these flights, spending about six hours in the air only to return to Amsterdam Schipol airport. Data shows that the cruising altitude was around 35,000 feet, going up to 36,000 at one point. With little information available, it’s difficult to know exactly what happened but it is against experiences related to this type of accidents, as most bird strikes tend to take place just after take-off and just before landing, while aircraft are at the same altitude as local birds. However, some birds are indeed capable of flying at the cruising altitude of aircraft. For example the bird of prey known as Rüppell’s vulture (Gyps rueppellii) is reported to have a maximum flight height of 11,300 meters, or 37,100 feet. However, it appears that this particular high-flying creature is only found in North and East Africa. Also, the common crane (Grus grus) and bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) have been recorded flying as high as 33,000 feet and 29,000 feet, respectively. What’s more, the migratory patterns of the common crane do cover the area where the KLM 777 turned around over Greece. Some think that the strike took place in Amsterdam, and there was some time spent on the discovery and decision-making process. However, this has not been confirmed.

 22 February 2021: Suspected fuel leak forces Emirates B777 to diverts 

A B777 on Emirates flight EK201, from New York to Dubai was diverted to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport due to a suspected fuel leak. The plane was about 250 nautical miles north-west of Amsterdam over the North Sea when the incident occurred. The pilots descended to a lower altitude and went into a holding pattern before heading to Amsterdam. The aircraft landed safely there without further incident at 14:10 local time. Ground crews greeting the plane on arrival did not see any obvious signs of a fuel leak. The aircraft, A6-EQJ, is a three-year-old B777-300ER. This is the first recorded incident involving this aircraft.  Just hours after landing at Schiphol Airport the aircraft departed Amsterdam at 18:01 local time and landed in Dubai in the early hours of the following day.

22 February 2021: After United Engine Failure Boeing Recommends Grounding some B777s

Boeing has recommended that airlines ground their 777-200 and 777-300 fleets equipped with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. The move will impact 69 aircraft that are currently in service and another 59 that are in storage. The decision comes as the NTSB investigates the Denver incident. The FAA has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive to inspect all 777s with the same engines. However, even before Boeing’s decision, airlines and regulators moved to ground the classic 777 series. United grounded its fleet of 24 affected 777s following the incident and Japan’s aviation regulator ordered ANA and Japan Airlines to do the same. South Korea remains the only country yet to ground its affected 777 fleet. The sudden groundings came after United flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu suffered an engine failure over the city. The failure caused parts of the engine, large and small, to fall over areas of Denver, endangering residents on the ground. Dozens of residents posted images of engine pieces landing in their yards, nearby streets, or their houses.

21 February 2021 Engine Failure forced United Airlines B777 to return to Denver International Airport 

Departing from Denver International Airport United Airlines Flight UA328 was due to fly to Honolulu. This flight was expected to last seven hours and 30 minutes. However, the flight ended up lasting just 30 minutes after the aircraft’s number two engine suffered what appears to be an uncontained engine failure around five minutes into the flight at 13,400 feet. According to the airline, the Boeing 777 had 231 passengers on board, accompanied by ten members of crew.  N772UA is 26 years old. It was actually one of the first Boeing 777 aircraft delivered to an airline, having flown with United Airlines since it was delivered on September 29th, 1995. The aircraft has been busy throughout the past year, completing 2184.5 hours over 530 flights in the past 12 months. 

20 February 2021: Fist Fight onboard of Donghai Airlines flight

On February 20th, Donghai Airlines was delivering flight DZ6297, flying from Nantong to Xi’an in China. According to details shared on Chinese social platform Weibo, the flight was only around 50 minutes away from landing when a pilot decided to make use of the first class restroom. A passenger in the premium cabin knocked on the door to request access, but was advised by the pilot to return to his seat and wait. When the pilot emerged from the bathroom and saw that the passenger had not returned to his seat, and was instead hovering outside the door, he became enraged. He shouted at the flight attendant looking after the first class cabin, saying that he wasn’t doing his job and that he had endangered the safety of the flight. The dispute got ugly, leading to physical violence and both men walking away with bodily injuries. Reportedly, the flight attendant had a broken arm, while the pilot lost a tooth. Passengers onboard lay the blame for the argument with the pilot, but the airline has not commented on this. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has enacted strict punishment on Donghai Airlines by not allowing the airline to apply for new routes, or to add flights or capacity to its existing routes, for an unspecified period. Even further, the pilot and flight attendant have also had the harshest of punishments enacted. The pilot has had his flying license revoked, and the flight attendant has been barred from flying following the brawl. Other members of the crew are also said to be receiving flying bans due to their involvement in the scuffle.

 15 February 2021: SpaceX lost a rocket in the ocean 

The loss occurred during the launch of 60 Starlink internet satellites, SpaceX. The booster, B1059, was making its sixth flight and successfully delivered its payloads to orbit. However, it missed touching down on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You”, which was deployed in the Atlantic Ocean to support the launch. The anomalous engine shutdown during the launch happened because hot gas seeped through a worn-out engine cover. The covers, known as "boots," are installed around certain parts of each Merlin 1D engine that powers the Falcon 9.  According to SpaceX, “one of the boots had a tiny hole in it that allowed hot gases produced by the engine to seep through into other engine parts. A little bit of hot gas got to where it's not supposed to be, and it caused that engine to shut down. A great thing about Falcon 9 is that we have engine out capability, as the rocket delivered a payload to orbit even if it loses one of its nine engines. The vehicle got to orbit and put the satellites where they needed to be." Also, SpaceX has always said that its primary objective each launch is to deliver whatever payload it's carrying to space; recovering boosters is a bonus. 

13 February 2021: Main Cargo Door Opened After Take-of and DHL B757 Returns to Leitpzig

The Boeing 757F, registration G-DHKZ, was performing flight QY-126 from Leipzig to Frankfurt/Main (Germany) for DHL when during the initial climb out of runway 26L, at about 5300 feet, the crew stopped the climb due to the main cargo door opening completely. Several parts separated from the airframe and were distributed over the ground around the Schkopau coal power plant, located about 10km west of Leipzig Airport. The aircraft touched down on runway 08R about 15 minutes after departure, it then stopped about 1500 meters down the runway. The aircraft remained on the runway for about 40 minutes before it was moved to the tarmac. About 12 hours after landing the affected aircraft is still on the ground and has sustained substantial damage, although it has also been reported that nobody was injured and no freight was ejected from the aircraft.

10 February 2021: World First: 100 % Of Etihad Operational Crew Are Now Vaccinated

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the aviation industry to stumble. With a few exceptions, such as aircraft graveyards, most businesses in the industry felt a severe negative effect due to the virus. However, the vaccine is widely seen as the answer to reopening the world, with some countries already exempting vaccinated individuals from quarantine. Etihad Airways today revealed that 100% of the operational flight crew have been vaccinated against COVID-19. This means that any pilots and flight attendants on an Etihad flight have now received the vaccine. Non-flying pilots and flight attendants may not yet be vaccinated.  The airline pointed out that it had become the first airline in the world to do so by achieving this feat. Working with the UAE’s health authorities, the airline managed to secure front line staff access to vaccines. This has led to the airline’s medical centre being turned into an accredited vaccination centre. The airline has been vaccinating employees and their loved ones since December 2020.  As an organisation, Etihad Airways is already well ahead of the UAE Government’s targets. The country hopes to have vaccinated half of the population by the end of March. However, Etihad revealed that 75% of its entire workforce have already received their first dose so far. The airline’s vaccination program remains optional for employees. Around the world, differing approaches are being taken with regards to the COVID-19 vaccine. Policies within countries can differ. Take the United States, for example. Last week the United Airline’s CEO Scott Kirby reaffirmed his position supporting mandatory vaccines. Meanwhile, according to Airways Magazine, Delta Air Lines has started giving vaccines to older staff members. However, unlike United Airlines, they will not require staff to get vaccinated. In Asia, Singapore Airlines is seeking to become the first airline to vaccinate 100% of its workforce. One week ago, it revealed that more than 90% of its colleagues across its three airlines had already signed up to be vaccinated. Again, Singapore Airlines does not require crew to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with the decision being taken by the employee.

8 February 2021 C919 Goes to Canada For Cold Weather Tests

Chinese narrowbody passenger aircraft C919, which has been over a decade in making, is set to make its first flight outside of China since 2017. The aircraft will head to Canada for natural icing flight tests. The testing is due to begin in March in London, Ontario, Canada. However, ongoing global travel restrictions may mean the tests don’t occur until fall. The aircraft has already completed cold-weather testing in Inner Mongolia, China, in December of last year. The upcoming natural icing test flights are some of the final test flights to take place before certification of the aircraft. They determine that the proposed aircraft can fly under certain weather conditions. If the tests go well, C919 will be on track for certification and delivery this year. Unlike cold-weather testing, natural icing testing examines what happens when a build-up of ice occurs on aircraft parts. Aircraft also undergo simulated icing testing in which icy clouds of created in tunnels specifically for testing. All aircraft must show they can withstand and then shed layers of ice without any impact on performance. The C919 will be testing for engine power and performance, flap manoeuvrability, radar checks, as well as checking the movement of moving parts such as rotor blades. A check also take place to examine where ice can build up due to condensation and identify potential areas of damage as ice forms and expands, putting additional stress on some parts. Further testing shows the effect of freezing, melting, and then refreezing on seals. With 305 firm orders, C919 is hoping to get certification over the coming months with the aim of delivering the first aircraft to launch customer China Eastern Airlines later this year.

8 February 2021: Earth's Magnetic North Pole Continues Drifting Crosses Prime Meridian

Earth's magnetic field is produced by the churning of the planet's iron outer core, which produces a complex, but largely north-south magnetic field. As of February 2019, magnetic north was located at 86.54 N 170.88 E, within the Arctic Ocean, according to the NCEI. (Magnetic south similarly does not line up with geographic south; it was at at 64.13 S 136.02 E off the coast of Antarctica as of February 2019.) For reasons not entirely understood but related to the planet's interior dynamics, the magnetic field is currently undergoing a period of weakening. That's why magnetic north is drifting. Magnetic north has been lurching away from its previous home in the Canadian Arctic toward Siberia at a rate of about 34 miles/year over the past two decades. The latest model of the Earth's magnetic field, released on 10 December 2020 by the National Centers for Environmental Information and the British Geological Survey, predicts that this movement will continue, though likely at a slower rate of 25 miles (40 km) each year. Scientists release a new version of the World Magnetic Model every five years, so this 2020 update was expected. In February 2019, though, they had to release an update ahead of schedule due to the fast clip of magnetic north's movements. The 2020 model shows the "Blackout Zone" around magnetic north where compasses become unreliable and start to fail because of the proximity of true north. The new maps also show magnetic north east of the prime meridian, a boundary the pole crossed in September 2019, according to Newsweek. The prime, or Greenwich, meridian is the meridian that was set as the official marker of zero degrees, zero minutes and zero seconds in 1884. It runs through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in England. It's currently unclear whether Earth's magnetic poles are headed for a flip-flop,  switching north and south, or whether the magnetic field will soon strengthen again. Both events have happened in Earth's history without any notable effect on biology. However, modern navigation systems rely on magnetic north and will have to be recalibrated as the poles continue to wander. Already, for example, airports have had to rename some of their runways, which have names based on compass directions. 

1 February 2021: Two KC-46 Deficiencies fixed by Boeing  

The two deficiencies with the brand-new tanker’s APU are maintenance related, according to the Air Mobility Command. The first problem was with the APU’s duct clamps, which are used to join sections of the APU bleed duct, the APU supplying air, and the ducting inside the aircraft to the main engine, fuel system and cooling/heating system. The problem was manifested in the way that the duct clamp was moving and was “causing some problems,” . Boeing found the fix and tested it, but about 70% of the fielded fleet have already been retrofit and the rest will be done very shortly. The second problem was with the APU’s drain masts, which are used to clear out condensation, fuel and oil from the aircraft. There were quality issues with the spot weld that could potentially cause a piece to break off the aircraft. Boeing has redesigned the drain masts and is working with the Air Force through the retrofit programme. 

1 February 20221: After 4 Months In Maintenance NASA’s SOFIA 747 Returns To The Sky

NASA operates a rare Boeing 747SP as a stratospheric observatory. Named SOFIA, for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, this aircraft is the only airborne observatory in the world. When combined with an increasingly rare airframe and the copious amounts of laboratory equipment onboard, SOFIA is one of the most valuable aircraft on the planet. The Boeing 747 typically flies from PMD for around eight hours, heading up to around 40,000 feet to get uninterrupted views of the cosmos. According to flight data SOFIA has operated 42 flights in the last 12 months, flying for around 337 flight hours in total. It has arrived in Hamburg in September 2020 for heavy C check. Lufthansa Technik is usually the partner of choice when it comes to maintenance for SOFIA, having completed her C check in 2014 and another heavy maintenance check in 2017. It is these technicians’ responsibility to keep this awesome bird airborne until at least 2034. After four months of extensive work by the team at Lufthansa Technik, SOFIA is ready to get back to her very special missions. From 4th February it will reposition to Cologne in Germany to conduct scientific research over 20 flights during a six week period.

25 January 2021: Delta Bird Strike Leads To Emergency Landing with a 4.5 Hour Delay

Airbus A319, N318NB, of Delta Air Lines was forced to make an emergency landing after hitting one, if not two, birds on departure from Tampa, Florida. Morning flight to Raleigh Durham had to return to the airport, with passengers delayed for more than four hours as a replacement aircraft was dispatched. At the take off the Airbus  ingested as many as two birds damaging the engine. The aircraft’s crew declared an emergency, and returned immediately to the airport. It touched back down at approximately 20 minutes after taking off, with all passengers and crew safe and sound.  As the damage to the engine appeared to have been significant, the aircraft could not complete its operation. Local media outlets are reporting that the engine may. A replacement A319 was dispatched to pick up waiting and the flight was completed with a delay of around four and a half hours. N318NB has been on the ground since the incident. Delta has a fleet of 57 Airbus A319, with an average age of 19 years. N318NB is one of the older models, having been delivered from Airbus in 2000. In the future post-COVID environment, the A319 is going to be a key asset for the airline. Its small size and relatively low operating costs make it a great aircraft for small city hops, something which Delta is keenly aware of, and likely what has saved it from being phased out. However, available data shows that Delta still has 15 of its 57 A319s parked up. Depending on the status of these airframes, the airline could choose to bring back a parked model rather than undertaking the expensive repair of this damaged engine. 

20 January 2021: West Atlantic Cargo Boeing 737 Damaged Landing In Exeter

Boeing 737-400F, G-JMCY, was operating a regular rotation from East Midlands airport to Exeter in the morning of 19th January, a route it runs daily shuttling post and goods up and down the country. The short 35-minute flight took off from EMA at 02:01, arriving into Exeter at 02:36. However, the plane touched down very hard indeed, causing significant damage to the fuselage. According to reports, the cargo was unable to be unloaded due to the creased door preventing access to the cargo bay, but the pilots were unhurt. A post-accident inspection showed significant creasing to both sides of the airframe. Just hours after the incident, West Atlantic dispatched another Boeing 737-400F to Exeter to complete the evening mail rotation. G-NPTX, which usually looks after the East Midlands to Edinburgh service, arrived at EXE at 20:51 yesterday evening. It has so far completed one and a half rotations between the airport and looks set to be the new south-west service for the time being. A team of inspectors from the Air Accident Investigation’s Branch (AAIB) is investigating the incident. It’s doubtful that this 26 years old aircraft will be back in service for West Atlantic, as the damage of this extent usually leads to a hull write off. It entered service as a passenger plane in 1994 with Alaska Airlines. After 15 years of service with Alaska, it headed off to Russia, where it was used by Aeroflot and Donavia until 2014. In 2015, it was converted to carry cargo and arrived with West Atlantic in March 2016.

19 January 2021: Keep this surface dirty on Board of ISS

Bacteria are a big problem in space as they tend to build up in the atmosphere of the International Space Station (ISS) that is constantly recycled. For the six astronauts living in humanity’s habitat in space, keeping the Station clean is an important part of their life to avoid bacteria and fungus. Thus, every Saturday is cleaning day, when the whole crew wipe surfaces, vacuum and collect waste. Designed to test the antibacterial properties of hydrophobic (or water-repelling) surfaces on the Station, the sample holders of the upgraded Matiss-2.5 experiment have done their work for roughly a year on board and are now back on Earth for analysis. Matiss or Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the ISS, driven by French space agency CNES, in collaboration ENS de Lyon and CEA-Leti, and commissioned in 2016 by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, examines the performance of five advanced materials in preventing illness-causing microorganisms from settling and growing in microgravity. The experiment consists of plaques each containing the five materials to be tested plus a glass control surface. The units are open on the sides to let air flow naturally through and collect any bacteria floating past. The first set of the Matiss experiment, known as Matiss-1, provided some baseline data points for researchers. Four sample holders were set up in three different locations within the European Columbus laboratory, where they remained for six months.  Once these samples were returned to Earth, researchers characterised the deposits formed on each surface and used the control material to establish a reference for the level and type of contamination expected over half a year. A continuation of the experiment, known as Matiss-2, saw four identical sample holders containing three different types of material installed in a single location in Columbus. This study aimed to better understand how contamination spreads over time across the hydrophobic and control surfaces. The upgraded Matiss-2.5 aimed to study how contamination spreads, this time spatially, across the hydrophobic surfaces using patterned samples. The materials are a diverse mix of advanced technology – from self-assembly mono-layers and green polymers to ceramic polymers and water-repellent hybrid silica. The smart materials should stop bacteria from sticking and growing over large areas, and effectively making them easier to clean and more hygienic – but which one works best? Understanding the effectiveness and potential use of these materials will be essential to the design of future spacecraft, especially those carrying humans father out in space. The findings could also lead to the development and greater use of anti-microbial surfaces on elevator buttons and door handles, in bars, on public transport and in other high-traffic areas. Source ESA

17 January 2021: Virgin Orbit Conducts Second Launch Demo Flight Using A Boeing 747

Virgin Orbit has successfully completed its second launch demo using its modified Boeing 747-400, Cosmic Girl, as is used as a rocket launcher platform designed to launch small satellites into orbit. This flight was Virgin Orbit’s second attempt to prove its plane has what it takes to carry satellites into space. The B747 (registered as N744NG) took off from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port at 10:50 (local time) on Sunday morning. After heading out over the Pacific, it flew for four hours, at around 35,000 feet, deployed the rocket - released, ignited, the fairing halves separated, and reached orbit. The rocket performed as planned and was on track to deploy the satellite payloads - and touched down back in California mid-afternoon. Onboard were nine small satellites. Each was designed and built by universities across the United States. NASA sponsored the payloads via the Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) program. The Pilot in Charge was Kelly Latimer, Virgin Orbit’s Chief Test Pilot with more than 6,500 flying hours under her belt, the rest of the crew were: Todd Ericson and Eric Bippert. Three launch engineers, Bryce Schaefer, Sarah Barnes, and Jason Panzarino, were also onboard. Later, it was confirmed that the Virgin Orbit successfully deployment all of its nine small satellites in their target orbit. With this flight Virgin Orbit demonstrated that it is ready to start “the democratisation of space.” Traditionally, launches by state-owned agencies like NASA focused on budget-busting payloads and launches. Private entities like Virgin Orbit are cheaper, nimble, and more responsive to the private sector. 

13 January 2021: Windscreen fare causes Saab 340 to land in Anchorage 

On Thursday, a Saab 340A registration number N907RA, operated by Ryan Air Services was in trouble when its right-hand windscreen heating element caught fire. The aircraft was flying between the Alaskan airports of Kodiak and Anchorage when the incident occurred. Two crew members were on board the plane when approaching Anchorage’s runway 07R. In response to the fire, the crew used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The plane continued for a safe landing on its intended runway. Moreover, the staff maintained routine communication and taxied to the airport’s FedEx hangar.

12 January 2021: Singapore Airlines Asks Crew To Wear Tracking Devices On Layovers

Airline crew are prohibited from moving freely in many places in the world. Singapore Airlines crewmembers are forbidden to leave their hotel rooms on layovers. To make sure they comply with regulations, Singapore Airlines now requires its crew to wear tracking devices on layovers. This is reportedly to make certain that they comply with a rule requiring them to remain in their hotel rooms at all times. They are also prohibited from physically interacting with one another during the layover period. There has been an array of incidents with airline crew as a result of COVID precaution regulations. A KLM flight attendant was arrested in Singapore for leaving their hotel room in mid-December. An EVA Air pilot was fired after bringing the virus back to Taiwan from the US and failing to comply with the authorities’ track-and-trace efforts just before Christmas.  Onboard social distancing regulations come on the heels of a package of rules for airline crew from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) that came into effect just before the New Year. To adhere to the social distancing requirements, Singapore Airlines flight attendants must not congregate in the galleys, stagger mealtimes, and remain in their allocated work area of the aircraft. They must also keep apart during pre-flight briefings and their dedicated transportation from and to the airport. Beyond the mandatory in-flight face mask, goggles and gloves are prescribed for interaction with passengers. On flights from the UK and South Africa, full PPE – including N95 masks and protective gowns, are mandatory.  When returning to Singapore, crew must head straight to their homes following an initial PCR test. If arriving from a high-risk area, they must isolate while for at least seven days. They must then take three separate PCR-tests – one when arriving, another after three days, and the final after a week. Thus far, only two cases have been reported where Singapore Airlines crew have tested positive for the virus. The first instance was a cabin crew member returning from New York on December 16th, and the second a pilot returning from London on December 22nd.

11 January 2021: Bad weather on Earth delays SpaceX Dragon's return from space station

The CRS-21 mission of Cargo Dragon was launched on 6 December 2020 and made SpaceX's first autonomous supply ship docking at the International Space Station (ISS) about 24 hours later. This is the first time that the Canadarm2 robotic arm was not used to berth a Cargo Dragon to the space station. On 11 January poor weather on Earth forced a SpaceX supply ship to delay the first successful autonomous undocking from the ISS. The upgraded Dragon cargo ship, hauling 2,500 kg of scientific experiments and other supplies, was supposed to depart the orbiting complex at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT). However, NASA and SpaceX decided to abandon the attempt at 9:53 a.m. EST (1453 GMT) due to poor weather at the craft's splashdown site in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Daytona, Florida. SpaceX's upgraded Cargo Dragon capsule can carry 20% more cargo (and experiments) compared to its predecessor and can splash down in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Pacific, making for a faster turnaround time on science since experiments can arrive at the nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center in as little as four hours. The new Dragon can also remain on station twice as long as previous cargo Dragon types, allowing for longer science investigations. This mission also marks the first time two Dragon spacecraft were docked at the space station simultaneously, NASA said on NASA TV, since a Crew Dragon is currently parked at the orbiting complex after ferrying four astronauts to the station in November. In a statement, NASA officials said the CRS-21 Dragon will bring "significantly more science back to Earth than possible in previous Dragon capsules" due to upgrades in the cargo spacecraft. Dragon's return near NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida will also be the first time such an event has happened since the agency's space shuttle fleet retired in 2011, allowing the science to be processed there. After a SpaceX boat scoops the capsule out of the water, a waiting team pulls time-critical science out of the spacecraft and loads it onto a waiting helicopter," NASA said in the same statement. "The helicopter will deliver this science to shore a few hours after splashdown. Any remaining scientific cargo will come back either in a second helicopter load or stay aboard the boat and be removed at the port."

8 January 2021: Boeing Agrees to $2.5 Billion Settlement Over 737 MAX Fraud Probe

Boeing has reached an agreement exceeding $2.5 billion with the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) to settle criminal charges that two of its employees defrauded the FAA’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) about safety issues connected to two fatal 737 MAX accidents. The $2.5 billion includes $1.77 billion in compensation payments to 737 MAX operators and criminal penalty charge $243.6 million. It also includes the establishment of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund to compensate the families of the 346 passengers who died in the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The DOJ concluded two Boeing 737 MAX Flight Technical Pilots specifically deceived the FAA AEG about the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a flight control system modification that later became central to the MAX accident investigations. “Because of their deception, a key documen