Monday, January 16, 2017

Widerøe orders Embraer E2 aircraft

Embraer has signed a contract with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, for up to 15 E2 jets. The contract consists of three firm orders for the E190-E2 and purchase rights for 12 further E2 aircraft. This flexible mix of purchase rights for E175-E2, E190-E2, and E195-E2 will give Widerøe the ability to grow their fleet with a family of aircraft from 80 to 130+ seats.

The order has a potential list price value of up to $873 million, if all orders are converted. The three firm orders for E190-E2s were included in Embraer's fourth quarter 2016 backlog.

"It's always an important moment for Embraer when we add a new airline to our family of operators. Our next generation E190-E2s will also be the first jets in Widerøe's fleet,” said Arjan Meijer, chief commercial officer, Embraer Commercial Aviation.

Widerøe will configure the E190-E2s in a comfortable single-class layout with 114 seats. Deliveries are scheduled for 2018. This deal brings the E-Jets E2 backlog to 275 firm orders plus Letters of Intent, options and purchase rights covering another 415 aircraft giving a total of 690 commitments from airlines and leasing companies.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Video: Drone flight over Purcellville, VA

Aerial views of Purcellville, Va., captured by a DJI Phantom 4 drone.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Groundbreaking study on near-death experiences

Clinical psychologist and author Liz Dale is asking anyone who has had a near-death experience (NDE) to participate in an online survey regarding the experience and its consequences – especially those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Survey results will inform a groundbreaking study and a new book to be published by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House. The survey is live now at

Dale's official site ( has become an important resource for those with academic or personal interests in the NDE phenomenon. It includes access to over 1,300 books about NDEs. Dale anticipates that her new survey will make important contributions to the literature, as well as pave the way for future investigations.

Survey respondents can remain anonymous if they wish. Likewise, Dale asks that anyone who submits stories only use their first names and avoid sharing confidential personal information. Examples of questions from the survey include:
  • "Were there any changes in your personality since your NDE?"
  • "Were there any changes in your religious or spiritual beliefs since your NDE?"
  • "Were there any distressing aftereffects from your NDE?"
The forthcoming book on NDE aftereffects will not be Dale's first; in 2000, she published "Crossing Over and Coming Home: Twenty-One Authors Discuss the Gay NDE as Spiritual Transformation." The following excerpt from the book captures the essence of this research and the intensely personal and profound nature of the stories people have shared with her: "And then I felt the presence of Jesus Christ all around me. And I asked him, 'Do I really have to go back?' Then Christ said that he would send me guardian angels to aid me in my healing, and to guide and protect me. I awakened to find two men kneeling over me, with expressions of apprehension and concern on both their faces. For some reason I felt that they might be gay men. I felt very strongly that both men symbolized what would prove to be a succession of 'angels' that Christ had promised to send me."

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Anti-drone market worth $2 billion by 2024

The global anti-drone market is anticipated to be worth $1.85 billion by 2024, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The increasing use of drones has resulted in the commencement of another market that focuses on a solution for rogue unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), complete with net-firing bazookas, electromagnetic shields, and anti-drone death rays.

The steep rise in the adoption of drones for commercial as well as recreational purposes has increased concerns regarding aerial attacks and threats. Detection and identification of these unmanned aircraft systems have become a vital factor for the maintenance of the security. Various institutions across the world are increasingly deploying counter drone measures to address the ever-growing need for safety and security.

As UAVs become deadlier, stealthier, faster, agile, smaller, sleeker, and cheaper, the nuisance and threats posed by them are expected to grow at numerous levels, ranging from personal/domestic privacy to national security. With that in mind, there is significant effort both in terms of money and technology being invested in the development of anti-drone technologies.

Various national security agencies across the world have started to precisely understand the potential threats from drones and increasingly considering commercial as well as consumer drones as the new major threat to the world. It is only a matter of time before redundant and reliable methods of countering drones become mainstream and widely available.

Several busy airports and hubs across the world are seeking defense measures and regulations to protect their airliners and harbored aircraft from drones straying into commercial airspace and posing innumerable threats of a collision.

AT&T and NASA are researching the development of an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management solution that would support the safe and highly secure operation of drones in the national airspace. A key element AT&T and NASA are researching is the potential impact of cybersecurity threats. The vast availability of drones -- and their many current and potential uses -- could increase their risk of cyberattacks. AT&T advocates cybersecurity protections designed into the system from the outset.

Further key findings from the report suggest: 
  • Manufacturers across the world are increasingly developing innovative solutions to detect smaller recreational drones through their acoustic signature and visually.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth over the forecast period owing to increasing government spending in the expansion of aerospace and defense infrastructure across emerging economies.
  • Electronic countermeasures are anticipated to emerge as a lucrative segment over the next eight years as these measures involve the use of high power electromagnetic and high power microwave weapons to prevent successful transmission and reception of drone signals.
  • Various drone manufacturers, including DJI, have already started integrating "no fly zone" restrictions directly onto the onboard firmware in some of their products.
  • Numerous reports of drone sightings have been coming from various members of the airspace system, which in turn is presumed to propel the adoption of counter-UAV systems in commercial venues.

Hong Kong Airlines cleared to land in Vancouver

Commencing on June 30, Hong Kong Airlines will operate daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Vancouver by Airbus A330 aircraft.

Li Dianchun, chief commercial officer of Hong Kong Airlines said, "This new route service is Hong Kong Airlines' debut in North America. The new route will also open up more opportunities for travelers worldwide to leverage our connectivity in Asia, hence bringing more diverse and convenient travel options for travelers from Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta region, Oceania and North America."

Established in 2006, Hong Kong Airlines has grown remarkably in just ten years with a wide destination network covering 36 major cities across the Asia Pacific region, including Gold Coast, Auckland, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Sapporo, Seoul, Bangkok, Bali and Okinawa. The current operating fleet is made up of 34 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 29 passenger aircraft and five freighters.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Southwest Airlines begins Cuba service from Florida

Southwest Airlines inaugurated service between South Florida and Cuba on Sunday with the scheduled 11:00 a.m. EST departure of Flight 3914 to Varadero from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Over 140 passengers and a crew of five Southwest employees donned Cuban-style hats as the aircraft departed to an orchestra playing Caribbean music.

Steve Goldberg, Southwest Airlines' vice president of Ground Operations, announced the airline intends to begin daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba, on Dec. 15, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government. "By the end of this year, we'll offer six daily round trips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities as the work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse in Fort Lauderdale next summer,” Goldberg said.

On Oct.13, Southwest announced its flight schedule of new nonstop service between Florida and both Varadero and Havana. Cuba is the ninth country served by Southwest. Service between Havana and both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport begins Dec. 12, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government.