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16 year old escorted off Silver Airways flight by police for taking pictures

A Silver Airways Saab 340. Photo Credit: Alan Wilson

A 16 year old passenger got escorted off a Silver Airways flight by police… for taking pictures.

The ‘incident’ occurred earlier this month, on March 7th, when the Passenger was about to fly on board the small American regional airline from Fort Myers to Orlando and then taking a connecting flight to New York Newark with JetBlue.

I had to fly to New York as soon as possible due to my Grandmothers impending cancer surgery.

Matt, the Passenger, showed a letter he sent a to Silver Airways, explaining what happened before and during the flight. You can find the full letter on ‘One Mile at a Time‘.

While boarding the aircraft and upon sitting in my seat, I took three pictures with my phone of the plane wing and also of the ramp when walking to the plane. […] It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t excited to be flying the SAAB 340 for the first time that day, so naturally I took a few pictures onboard the plane, as any tourist, business traveler, etc. can and does.

After he took pictures and called his mother in her native language, Polish, to update her about the one hour delay of the flight, another person on board reported him to the crew as a ‘suspicious passenger’. A few minutes later, two police cars sped up to the aircraft and police officers boarded the aircraft. They ordered Matt to ‘get up immediately’ and to exit the aircraft.

The amount of confusion I experienced at that moment was indescribable. I am not the type of person to give up my rights as a citizen of the United States by getting up to disembark an aircraft for no reason or have my person searched with no probable cause, however, I was so fearful of getting kicked off the only flight that would allow me to make my connection.

Matt was travelling with his 21 year old sister. The crew initially prevented her from exiting the aircraft, but she was finally allowed to, when the police ordered the crew to let her off because Matt was a minor. She says she was extremely confused and didn’t know what was happening.

Photo taken by the sister, after she was finally allowed to exit the aircraft.

The police officers brought Matt to a K9 vehicle, where they questioned him and ‘violated his rights’ by searching through his phone (including messages, email & social media).

I was being treated as a “dangerous person” by the police. […] I stood on the hot tarmac the entire time with a cop who had no idea what was wrong himself. Apparently, a female passenger witnessed me taking a single photo on my phone and quietly told the Flight Attendant that I was taking pictures and plotting to do something dangerous aboard the plane. This is all Sgt. Taylor told me.

He was finally allowed to board the aircraft again.

Before I could ask another question, [Silver Airways] ground crew members began shouting for me to get onboard as to not “hold up the plane even more”.

Matt and his sister were not allowed to sit in their originally booked seats, but instead were ordered to sit in the first row, ‘inches away from the flight attendant’.

[The flight attendant] did not take an eye off of us the entire hour long flight.

He says the passengers looked at him and his sister, shaking their heads and making crude comments.

Silver Airways made me feel like a criminal. I came into the airport excited to fly to see my Grandma but went out feeling discriminated, victimized, and violated as a human being. All ethical guidelines possible were ignored by [the Silver Airways] crew. […] There was no announcement to the other passengers clarifying of the unfortunate miscommunication. […] No one apologized.

The aircraft on flight 3M87 departed Fort Myers Airport with a total delay of more than two hours.

Ten days after the flight, the airline still has not responded to Matt’s complain, nor his letter. It did not take any steps to prevent an occurrence like this from happening again in the future.

Silver Airways has also not answered requests by and One Mile at a Time for an official statement. The airline has only issued a statement to local news station NBC-2 Fort Myers:

The safety and security of everyone on board our flights is our number one priority. As such, our crew members are trained to take any necessary precautionary measures to protect the safety and security of everyone on board our flights. When a passenger reported a possible security threat, they advised our crew who in turn followed the proper safety and security procedures and called law enforcement. The situation was resolved and the flight continued.

Ben Schlappig from One Mile at a Time comments: “I can appreciate that the number one priority for an airline crew is the safety of the passengers onboard, and that can be a tough balance. I feel like it hasn’t been as bad lately, but a year or two back, there was a story just about every week of Muslims getting kicked off US airlines because other passengers thought they were suspicious [see: ‘Muslim couple removed from Delta flight from Paris‘]. In a vast majority of those cases, the passengers were just being racist, and the only “crime” being committed was “flying while Muslim.

Lufthansa Group presents record financial results

Photo Credit: TJDarmstadt

Lufthansa Group has presented its best ever financial results on Thursday.

The airline’s adjusted EBIT profit jumped around 70 percent to almost 3 billion Euro.

Total Lufthansa Group revenues in 2017 amounted to 35.6 billion Euro, an around 12 percent increase on 2016.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says:

Our endeavors of the past few years are paying off. Our modernization has a sustainable impact. We have achieved the best result in the history of our company. 2017 was a very good year for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.

The airline says the strong increase of EBIT includes the positive 582 million effect from a labour agreement with Germany’s pilot union for the pilots of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings, which was recognized in December last year.

Lufthansa Group invested almost three billion Euro 2017, around one billion more than in the previous year. “This is partly due to investments of some EUR 900 million into aircraft from the Air Berlin flight operations. […] Despite the higher capital expenditure, free cash flow almost doubled in 2017 to EUR 2.3 billion.

But the airline warns that an expected fuel cost increase of around 700 million Euro in 2018 may reduce this year’s total profit, although it will be largely compensated by an ‘improved operating performance’.

GE completes first flight test of the world’s largest jet engine (video)

The GE9X engine lifted off on March 13 under wing of GE Aviation’s 747 flying testbed in Victorville, California, for its first flight test.

The engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft took to the air around 10:40 a.m. Pacific standard time and flew for more than four hours on its first flight.

During the flight, the aircraft and engine completed the entire test card and validated key operational and functional characteristics enabling the test campaign to progress in subsequent flights.

Certification testing of the GE9X engine began in May 2017. Beyond flight testing, the engine recently completed icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and continues crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. Engine certification is expected in 2019.

Controversy over Air New Zealand’s new safety video


Air New Zealand is known for it’s unique and funny Air Safety Videos. It has come under fire for it’s latest video. The video is set in Antarctica and features actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier.

Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Antarctica’s Mt Erebus in 1979. All 237 passengers and 20 crew on board were killed. The crash of the DC-10-30 remains New Zealand’s deadliest peacetime disater. Mt Erebus isn’t shown in the video, but families of those on board TE901 say the video is insensitive and want it removed immediately.

David Ling, a son of one of the passengers on TE901, told the New Zealand Herald, “For many of us flying with Air New Zealand can be a very difficult reminder of the past and how this changed our lives. To be on board and confronted by a safety video you’re obliged to watch set in Antarctica is beyond ironic. It is the ultimate insensitive insult to the families, both immediate and wider. How they could possibly think that this is a good idea – mixing some sort of PR story with a safety video, set in the area where they lost so many lives – is beyond us. In its cruellest moments even Monty Python couldn’t have scripted such a gross idea as this.”

Mr Ling’s sister, Sue Miles, also told the Herald, “I am angry and distressed. I don’t want them to show it. I know my daughters feel very angry at the insensitivity of actually putting this up as a safety video which has been filmed in the bit of Antarctic where they actually managed to kill 257 people.”

Air New Zealand said, “It was important to us that immediate family members of those lost on Mount Erebus were among the first to be told about the filming project in Antarctica and we have reached out to family members registered in our database directly to share details of our upcoming safety video and the rationale behind this,” and that several families had given positive feedback and were appreciative of efforts to keep them informed.

Both Mr Ling and Ms Miles said that they had not been contacted.

Air New Zealand has apologised to families it may of missed contacting.

Nicholas Bennett has also been critical saying Air New Zealand “seemed to have a very dismissive attitude to concerns being voiced by families.” Mr Bennett’s father was the chief purser on TE901. He was only invited to see the final video the night before it went live on domestic flights (went live 1 March).

Pat Gilberd’s father was also on-board TE901 and told Radio NZ, “I think it’s very inappropriate considering that’s I think the worst crash Air New Zealand’s ever had, I can’t understand why they would choose that as a place. I think it would be a good idea if they canned the whole idea and did something more appropriate.”

The head of the Erebus National Memorial Advisory Group, Reverand Richard Waugh, told Radio NZ he had at least 12 families upset by the video.

Philipa Lewis’s brother, John Broad, and niece, also named Philipa were also onboard TE901. She told Radio NZ, “You never forget them, you never will – but time does go by and we can’t let that grieving keep us back – we’ve got to move on. The video itself I think it was very tastefully done. I think it’s quite original and I love the way the children were engaged in it too.” She was informed by Air New Zealand’s chief pilot before the video was released.

Phillip Keenan’s sister was on board TE901. He told Radio NZ, “The only thing that one could possibly take offence from was the location. I don’t think in anyway it’s using the Erebus tragedy or disrespectful…to the people who lost there lives in it.”

The video has also raised the ire of environmentalists. Lewis Pugh, The UN Patron for the Oceans, told media, “It portrays Antarctica as the next great adventure playground. Let’s be very clear, it is not. Antarctica is a unique eco-system and it’s very precious. It has already been heavily impacted by climate change and pollution. We have a duty to protect this continent and all the incredible animals that have live there for thousands and thousands of years undisturbed. We have to remember that in Antarctica we humans are guests.”

The NZ Herald’s travel editor, Winston Aldworth, wrote, “This is a rare and very distasteful mis-step on the marketing front for an airline that usually manages its messages very well.”

Opinion of the video on social media has been mixed.

The official report into the crash concluded it was the result of pilot error. After a public outcry a Royal Commission of Enquiry headed by Justice Peter Mahon was instituted. The report from Justice Mahon cleared the crew and blamed the crash on Air New Zealand changing the flight plan the night before and not informing the crew. Justice “Mahon also claimed that the airline’s executives and management pilots had engaged in a conspiracy to whitewash the enquiry, accusing them of covering up evidence and misleading investigators through ‘an orchestrated litany of lies’. He ordered Air New Zealand and CAD to pay the costs incurred by the consortium representing the estates of deceased passengers, the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association, and the estates of the pilot and co-pilot. He also ordered the airline to pay $150,000 towards the government’s costs.”

Air New Zealand appealed for a judicial review of the report to the Court of Appeal. The Court found, “that [Justice] Mahon had breached natural justice by not allowing those accused to respond to the allegations and that he had acted outside his jurisdiction. His order of costs against the airline was quashed. Mahon subsequently resigned from the High Court bench.” The Court’s review declined to set aside Justice Mahon’s “finding that members of the management of Air New Zealand had conspired to commit perjury before the Inquiry to cover up the errors of the ground staff.”

Justice Mahon appealed to the Privacy Council which reluctantly sided with the Appeals Court.

Most of the wreckage is still at the site of the crash. In 2009 the then CEO, Rob Fyfe, apologised to the families for not offering enough support and compassion.

BREAKING Military helicopter crashes in Iraq killing seven US service members

According to CNN, seven US service members were killed Thursday in a helicopter crash in western Iraq, a US military official said.

There were no survivors in the crash, the official said, adding that the crew of a second helicopter flying alongside did not report seeing signs of hostile fire when the helicopter went down.

Multiple US defense officials told CNN the aircraft was a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter, a Black Hawk variant. They said the helicopter was not on a combat mission at the time.

Ryanair announces flights from Dublin to Turkey

Ryanair has announced its first flights to Turkey with two new routes.

The airline said it will operate two new routes weekly from Dublin and Bratislava to the southwestern Turkish resort of Dalaman from June.

Both routes will operate once a week from June, as part of the airline’s summer 2018 schedule, and go on sale on Thursday.

Tickets are now on sale from €39.99 each-way on

Virgin Atlantic adds second London Heathrow-Johannesburg flight with new Boeing 787-9 aircraft

Virgin Atlantic has announced a second daily service between Heathrow and Johannesburg for winter 2018.

The new flight will add an additional 180,000 seats on the route on board a new Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic’s new service will begin flying in winter 2018 with the first flight departing on October 28th.

The additional daily flight will depart London Heathrow at 16:45 and land into Johannesburg at 05:40 local time.

The return flight will leave Johannesburg at 22:20 landing back into Heathrow at 07:30.

“Look at that thing!!!” Declassified military footage shows fast moving UFO tracked by US Navy pilots

A newly declassified video obtained by a research company shows a fast-moving UFO off the East Coast as it was tracked by two U.S. Navy pilots in 2015.

It’s unclear what the object is, and the pilots are heard laughing and shouting as they attempt to track it.

“Wow! What is that, man?” one of the pilots says in the video. “Look at that flying!”

The footage was released late last week by To The Stars Academy Of Arts And Science, a private research and media firm, which also provided analysis of the clip.

The company said:

“This footage was captured by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet using the Raytheon ATFLIR Pod that was being operated by a highly trained aerial observer and weapons system operator whom the government has spent millions of dollars to train.”

The organization notes that the object has no wings or tail, and leaves no exhaust plume.

To The Stars Academy Of Arts And Science was founded by Tom DeLonge, the rock star formerly of Blink 182 and currently in the band Angels & Airwaves. Other co-founders include Jim Semivan, formerly a senior intelligence member of the CIA, and Hal Puthoff, who has advised NASA and the Defense Department.


Russian Antonov An-12 loses its $368 million cargo of silver, platinum and diamonds on takeoff from Yakutsk airport

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The plane with ten tons of silver, platinum and diamonds lost part of its cargo after taking off from Yakutsk airport today.

The Nimbus Airlines Antonov An-12 cargo suffered problems during takeoff. Part of the cargo fell out of the hold all over the runway.

The plane then dropped some bars of silver as far as 26 kilometres from the airport.

The crew decided to land at the nearby airport of Magan, some 26 kilometres north-west of Yakutsk.

Police sealed off the runway and a vast search is underway.

Technical engineers at the Yakutsk airport who prepared the plane for takeoff have been detained.