U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

A P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane conducts flyovers above the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group in the Atlantic Ocean in this U.S. Navy picture taken on February 3, 2012. The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea. China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims. The U.S. Navy said in a statement it demonstrated the capabilities of P-8A in both littoral and open ocean environments, explaining the … [Read more...]

Chilean mountaineers find plane lost in Andes over 53 years ago

After a grueling journey up into the rarefied air of the Andes mountains, an expedition team announced it has discovered the fuselage of a passenger plane that went missing over a half century ago. The LAN Chile Douglas DC-3 twin-propeller aircraft was reported missing on April 3, 1961, near the city of Linares, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the Chilean capital of Santiago. Eight players and the coach of the top-flight Green Cross soccer club as well as three referees were among the 24 passengers traveling aboard the plane. The airline, now part of Latam Airlines Group, the region's largest carrier, was state-owned at the time of the accident. Rescuers found the tail end of the aircraft and some human remains a week after the crash, an official who asked not to be named told Reuters, but the recovery effort was abandoned near the snow-capped peaks due to its dangerous and remote location. The rediscovery of the plane is shedding new light on the tragedy, and … [Read more...]

Joint ODA portfolio performance review meeting

(MPI Portal) – On February 3rd 2015, in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, Chairman of ODA National Steering Committee chaired Joint ODA portfolio performance review meeting between the Committee and 6 banks (ADB, AfD, KfW, JICA, KEXIM, WB). Deputy Minister Nguyen Chi Dung at the Meeting. Photo: Thanh Son (MPI Portal) At the Meeting, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planing and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung gave an overview of attraction, management, usage of ODA and preference loans in 2014. Total ODA and preference loans was signed at US$ 4362.13 million (US$ 4160.08 million of ODA and preference loans and US$ 202.05 million of non-refundable aid). Total value of the agreements signed in 2014 accounted for 68% of 2013, because Vietnamese agencies have focused on project preparation and viability, instrument quality, in order to maintain sustainable public debt. In 2014, ODA and preference loans continued being used in socio-economic infrastructural development, … [Read more...]

At least 23 killed when TransAsia plane crashes into Taiwan river

A Taiwanese flight carrying 58 people banked sharply onto its side, clipped a highway bridge and careened into a shallow river Wednesday shortly after taking off from Taipei, killing at least 23 people and leaving 20 missing, officials said. Rescuers pull a passenger out of the TransAsia Airways plane which crash landed in a river, in New Taipei City, February 4, 2015. Photo by Reuters. Fifteen people were rescued with injuries. More than half of the passengers aboard TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 were from China and the death toll was expected to rise as rescue crews cleared the mostly submerged fuselage in the Keelung River. Teams in rubber rafts clustered around the wreckage, several dozen meters (yards) from the shore. Dramatic video clips apparently taken from cars were posted online and aired by broadcasters, showing the ATR 72 propjet as it pivoted onto its side while zooming toward a traffic bridge over the river. In one of them, the plane rapidly fills the frame as … [Read more...]

15 killed when TransAsia plane crashes into Taiwan river

A Taiwanese flight with 58 people turned on its side in midair, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into a river Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the island's capital of Taipei, killing at least 15 people, local media and officials said. Rescuers pull a passenger out of the TransAsia Airways plane which crash landed in a river, in New Taipei City, February 4, 2015. Photo by Reuters. The death toll in the TransAsia Airways flight was expected to rise as rescue crews cleared the mostly sunken fuselage in the Keelung River a couple dozen meters (yards) from the shore. Teams of rescuers in rubber rafts clustered around the wreckage. The ATR 72 prop-jet aircraft was flying on its side, with one wing scraping past Taiwan's National Freeway No. 1 just seconds before it plunged into the river, local television images showed. It was the airline's second French-Italian-built ATR 72 to crash in the past year. Wednesday's flight had taken off from Taipei's downtown Sungshan … [Read more...]

Pilot of crashed Vietnam chopper tried to avoid residential area: media

The pilot of the Vietnamese military helicopter that went down in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday apparently managed to avoid crashing into a residential area, local media reported Thursday. The UH-1 chopper hit the ground in a plantation surrounded by Melaleuca forest in the outlying district of Binh Chanh, a location that is not on the Ho Chi Minh City – Tay Ninh route it was supposed to fly, according to the Radio Voice of Vietnam. "The aircraft engine could have broken down unexpectedly, and the crew tried to control it out of the residential area," the Hanoi-based radio station quoted Colonel Le Van Hanh, political commissar of Air Force division 370, as saying. But Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that this possibility is unverified. "The chopper was flying on the right path and there is no residential area at the site of the crash," he said. The helicopter, carrying … [Read more...]

French co-pilot flying AirAsia jet before crash-investigators

Rescue team members walk as they carry the wreckage of a seat of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 airliner at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun, January 19, 2015. The French first officer of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed into the sea last month was at the controls just prior to the accident, Indonesia's lead investigator said on Thursday. Data from the black box flight data recorder has provided the accident probe with a "pretty clear picture" of what happened in the last moments of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, but officials offered few details. The Airbus A320 vanished from radar screens in bad weather on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed. "The second-in-command, popularly known as the co-pilot, who usually sits to the right of the cockpit. At the time, he was flying the plane," said head National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) investigator Mardjono Siswosuwarno, referring to … [Read more...]

Quang Ngai officially announced to expand Dung Quat Refinery

​A ceremony of announcing the project of expanding Dung Quat Oil Refinery was held on Jan 23 with a participation of various leaders from Quang Ngai province, Petro Vietnam (PVN) and hundreds of local residents. Planed works The project is to increase the capacity of Vietnam's first 3-billion US$ Dung Quat Refinery's capacity from 6.5 million tons to 8,5 million tons of crude oil per year, being equivalent to 192,000 bpd. The total investment is released to be 1.8 billion US$ coming from loans (70%) and capital contribution (30%). The project will add the some newly-built units to the refinery; upgrade some workshops; and build one more SPM, meeting the loading of Aframax with capacity of 300,000 DWT. A part from that, the project will also upgrade two Offsite wharfs under the Jetty port for receiving the 50,000-DWT vessel and some onshore wharfs for the 30,000-DWT vessel. In addition, the investor is to newly build some crude oil tanks and product tanks. The upgraded progress … [Read more...]

Indonesia’s military halts recovery efforts for crashed AirAsia jet

Indonesia's military on Tuesday halted search and recovery efforts for an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed last month killing all 162 people on board, navy officials said. "The operation has been ongoing for 30 days so the joint team has been pulled out," Rear Admiral Widodo, head of the navy's western fleet, told reporters. "Our apologies to the families of the victims. We tried our best to look for the missing victims." Seventy bodies have been recovered. Days of rough weather and poor visibility have hampered navy divers' efforts to find more bodies and recover the fuselage of the plane. The Airbus AIR.PA A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-biggest city, to Singapore. There were no survivors. The flight recorders have been recovered and are being analyzed. A preliminary report into the crash will not include an analysis of the black box flight recorders, an Indonesian … [Read more...]

AirAsia crash report won’t include black box data: investigator

Indonesian soldiers hold the cockpit voice recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 at Iskandar airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan January 13, 2015. A preliminary report into last month's crash of an AirAsia passenger jet that killed 162 people will not include an analysis of the black box flight recorders, an Indonesian investigator said on Tuesday. The National Transportation Safety Committee will submit its initial findings this week to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on AirAsia's first fatal crash. The Airbus AIR.PA A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-biggest city, to Singapore. There were no survivors. A multinational search and recovery operation has recovered 70 bodies so far and hoped to find more after locating the fuselage of the plane. But days of rough weather and poor underwater visibility have hampered navy divers' efforts. The preliminary report, which the ICAO … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s Crazy House among the world’s most unique hotels

VietNamNet Bridge – The Hang Nga guesthouse, also known as Crazy House, in the resort city of Da Lat in central Vietnam has been named among the 25 coolest hotels in the world on boredpanda.com. The house was built in 1990 on a plot of land of nearly 2000 square meters at 3 Huynh Thuc Khang Road, by architect Dr. Dang Viet Nga. The house was initially called the Hang Nga villa (villa of the moon) and then Crazy House. Described as a "fairy tale house", the building’s overall design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. Its architecture, comprising complex, organic and non-rectilinear shapes, has been described as expressionist. Nga has acknowledged the inspiration of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the building’s design, and visitors have variously drawn parallels between it and the works of artists such as Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney. Since … [Read more...]

AirAsia jet climbed fast then stalled

An AirAsia plane that crashed into the Java Sea last month with 162 people on board climbed faster than normal and then stalled, the Indonesian transport minister said Tuesday. Rescue team members walk as they carry the wreckage of a seat of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 airliner at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun, January 19, 2015. The flight lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather on December 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. Flight QZ8501 went down on December 28 in stormy weather, during what was supposed to be a short trip from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. Indonesia's meteorological agency has said bad weather may have caused the crash, and investigators are analysing the data from the jet's black boxes before releasing a preliminary report. Just moments before the plane disappeared off the radar, the pilot had asked to climb to avoid the storm. He was not immediately granted permission … [Read more...]

Indonesia says no evidence so far of terrorism in AirAsia crash

Indonesian policemen and rescue members carry a coffin of a passenger, who was onboard AirAsia Flight QZ8501, into a CN2950 airplane belonging to the Indonesian airforce at the Iskandar airbase in Pangkalan Bun, January 19, 2015. Photo credit: Reuters Indonesian investigators said on Monday they had found no evidence so far that terrorism played a part in the crash of an AirAsia passenger jet last month that killed all 162 people on board. Andreas Hananto told Reuters that his team of 10 investigators at the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) had found "no threats" in the cockpit voice recordings to indicate foul play during AirAsia Flight QZ8501. The Airbus A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors. When asked if there was any evidence from the recording that terrorism was involved, Hananto said: "No. Because if there were terrorism, … [Read more...]

Indonesia investigators say no evidence so far of terrorism in AirAsia crash

Indonesian investigators said on Monday they had not found any evidence so far that terrorism was involved in the crash of an AirAsia passenger jet last month that killed all 162 people on board. Andreas Hananto told Reuters that his team of 10 investigators at the National Transportation Safety Committee had found "no threats" in the cockpit voice recordings to indicate foul play during AirAsia Flight QZ8501. The Airbus A320-200 vanished from radar screens on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors. When asked if there was any evidence from the recording that terrorism was involved, Hananto said: "No. Because if there were terrorism, there would have been a threat of some kind." "In that critical situation, the recording indicates that the pilot was busy with the handling of the plane." Investigators said they had listened to the whole of the recording but transcribed only … [Read more...]

AirAsia cockpit voice recorder found – Indonesian officials

Divers in the Java Sea have retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501, say officials. The retrieval comes a day after the first piece of the so-called black box, the flight data recorder, was also found and brought to shore. The aircraft with 162 people on board disappeared between Surabaya in Indonesia and Singapore on 28 December. The two devices will help investigators understand more about what went wrong. Forty-eight bodies have been recovered so far, but most of the victims are believed to still be inside the fuselage, which has not been found. Pilot conversations The voice recorder was retrieved from underneath heavy wreckage of a wing from a depth of about 30 metres (98 feet) early morning on Tuesday, said Tonny Budiono, sea navigation director at the Transportation Ministry. "This is good news for investigators to reveal the cause of the plane crash," he said. Santoso Sayogo, from the National Transportation Safety Committee, also … [Read more...]

Indonesia confident AirAsia fuselage discovered, zero in on black box

he tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the Indonesian Search and Rescue (BASARNAS) ship Crest Onyx after it was lifted from the seabed, in the waters of Kumai, Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan January 11, 2015. Photo credit: Reu Indonesian search teams believe they have found the fuselage of an AirAsia airliner that crashed in the Java Sea two weeks ago, and divers hope calmer waters on Monday will allow them to retrieve the black box flight recorders. Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. None of the 162 people on the aircraft survived. Searchers have also been hearing pings, believed to be from the aircraft's two black boxes near where the tail of the Airbus A320-200 aircraft tail was raised on Saturday. Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency, said on Sunday a sonar … [Read more...]

Indonesian searchers believe crashed AirAsia’s fuselage found

The tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the Indonesian Search and Rescue (BASARNAS) ship Crest Onyx after it was lifted from the sea bed, in the Java Sea January 10, 2015 Indonesian search teams believe a sonar scan has detected the fuselage of an AirAsia airliner that crashed two weeks ago with the loss of all 162 people on board and divers were on Sunday checking the find, a senior official said. Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control during thundery weather on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. There were no survivors. Searchers have also been hearing pings, believed to be from the aircraft's black box flight recorders, near where the tail of the Airbus A320-200 aircraft tail was raised on Saturday. Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency, said a sonar scan had revealed an object measuring 10 metres by four metres by 2.5 … [Read more...]

Indonesia trying to lift up crashed AirAsia jet’s tail structure

Ignasius Jonan, Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, speaks to journalist after press conference on search efforts for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at the crisis centre of Juanda International Airport Surabaya in Surabaya, Indonesia, on Dec. 29, 2014 Indonesian authorities are stepping up efforts to lift the tail structure of the AirAsia Bhd. jet that crashed into the Java Sea while the search for the plane’s black boxes continues for a 12th day. "We will try as soon as we can to lift up the black box and try to analyze it," Minister of Transportation Ignasius Jonan said in an interview with Bloomberg TV today. Yesterday, authorities found the tail of the plane, which houses the cockpit-voice recorder and the flight-data recorder. "We are pulling resources to do the lifting of the black box and tail." There will be 84 divers from several ships looking for the black box, F.H. Bambang Sulistyo, head of the national search and rescue agency, said today. Searchers may have … [Read more...]

United attendants say 13 fired for protesting ‘menacing’ jet

A United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. planes at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Thirteen former United Airlines flight attendants say they were improperly fired last year after refusing to work on a Boeing Co. (BA) 747 jumbo jet that had "menacing" images drawn below its tail. The attendants say they had a right to disobey orders to make the July 14 San Francisco-to-Hong Kong trip after the words "bye bye" were found written in an oil slick on the fuselage, according to a complaint to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Two faces, one smiling and one "devilish," were drawn nearby, according to the complaint. At issue is the extent to which the images represented a security risk, as alleged by the attendants. According to the complaint, the workers saw a "serious" threat, while United inspected an auxiliary power unit near the drawings, found nothing suspicious and trivialized the incident as a "joke." United, a unit of … [Read more...]

Qantas rated World’s Safest Airline for 2015

AirlineRatings.com, safety and product rating website, has announced its top ten safest airlines and top ten safest low cost airlines for 2015 from the 449 it monitors. Top of the list again is Qantas which has a fatality free record in the jet era. Making up the remainder of the top ten in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. AirlineRatings.com's rating system takes into account a variety of factors related to audits from aviation's governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airlines' fatality records. AirlineRating.com also examined airlines' operational histories, incident records and operational excellence to arrive at its top ten safest airlines. According to AirlineRatings.com editor, Geoffrey Thomas, "our top ten safest airlines are always at the forefront of safety innovation and launching new planes." "These … [Read more...]