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United Airlines Jumbo Jet and Small Cessna Plane near miss

United Airlines Jumbo Jet

Awhile after takeoff from San Francisco International Airport, a United Airlines jumbo jet came wildly close to colliding with a small size Cessna Airplane. It was so close that it set off the United plane’s collision avoidance alarm system. The National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation Tuesday and said it was too early to suggest who or what was at fault.

But an FAA spokesman pointed at possible controller error, saying the controller should have noticed the Cessna earlier.

According to the FAA account, as the United flight departed San Francisco International Airport, the controller scanned a radarscope and spotted the Cessna flying southbound at 1,500 feet about two miles west of the airport.

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U.S. Navy aircraft crashed in the Persian Gulf region

Radar Plane

One of the four crew members is still missing, the military said in a statement. Search and rescue efforts are under way for the missing fourth crew member, the U.S. Navy’s statement said. It called the crash a “mishap.”

The E-2C Hawkeye, which is primarily used to detect incoming aircraft with its 24-foot diameter radar, crashed in the North Arabian Sea after the it “experienced mechanical malfunctions.” The plane was used for command and control functions on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as surveillance. The Navy is investigating the incident, said the statement.

The E-2 Hawkeye is a twin engine and turboprop aircraft plane that can carry up to five crew members.

The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, in addition to surface surveillance, combat coordination and search and rescue operations. The aircraft uses computerized radar and electronic surveillance sensors to provide early warning and to identify potentially hostile air and surface targets

Read More Norfolk-based plane crashes in north Arabian Sea; 3 rescued

Predator drone aircraft suspected of firing two missiles into Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Tuesday

US drone strike in Pakistan ‘killed key al-Qaeda man’ killing six militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

United States Predator Drone RQ-9 Reaper

The United States has stepped up its attacks by pilotless drones in Pakistan since a suicide bomber killed seven Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives at a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan on December 30. The drone strikes are a source of friction between the United States and its ally Pakistan, which says they are a violation of its sovereignty.

U.S. officials say the missile strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to decry the attacks in public. Islamabad denies this. The latest drone strike targeted a house in a village in the Datta Khel district, 35 km (20 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, a region known as a hotbed of Taliban and al Qaeda militants. “One missile hit a compound and the other hit a vehicle outside it. Six militants were killed,” one of the Pakistani officials said. The death toll had initially been put at three.

Last Thursday, a U.S. drone targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border but it was known if he was among 12 militants killed. The Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting the Islamabad government, later issued an audio tape purportedly from Mehsud, denying he had been killed. Mehsud appeared in a farewell video sitting beside the bomber, a double agent, who killed the seven CIA operatives. The video was released 10 days after the brazen strike. The video created the impression his Taliban movement had helped organize the attack.

Most of the recent U.S. missile strikes have been in North Waziristan, opposite the eastern Afghan province where the CIA were attacked, and a […]

Autonomous helicopter designed to fly into cities blasted by a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb

Autonomous helicopter to investigate nuclear disasters

Project Leader Kevin Kochersberger and the autonomous helicopter designed to fly into cities blasted by a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb (Image: Virginia Tech)

Students at Virginia Tech’s Unmanned Systems Laboratory are perfecting an autonomous helicopter they hope will never be used for its intended purpose. Roughly six feet long and weighing 200 pounds, the re-engineered aircraft is designed to fly into American cities blasted by a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb. Its main mission would be to assist military investigators in detecting radiation levels, mapping and photographing damage after such an attack.

The Virginia Tech team re-engineered a remote-controlled Yamaha-built Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RMAX helicopter to fly in fully autonomous mode. They also created flight control software algorithms that will direct the helicopter to radioactive sources on its own accord and allow missions to be changed mid-flight.

As the vehicle’s weight capacity is limited the researchers outfitted the helicopter with various “plug-and-play payloads” to allow it to carry out a variety of missions. The payloads are easily loadable and unloadable boxes that fit snugly under the helicopter’s main body, carrying devices that would detect radiation levels in the atmosphere and on the ground, and take video and still images of damage.

One of the payloads consists of a miniature tray-like robot on treads that can be launched via a tether wire from the helicopter to collect evidence. A student team is building this robot, which will boast not only “chunk” sampling capability, but also a miniature vacuum to suck up dust and dirt. The helicopter would hover over the robot, and pull it back via the wire.

The robot is expected to easily maneuver any terrain, including expected bomb craters, as part of its investigation, said Michael Rose, a […]

Maiden flight for micro UAV aircraft Indonesia

First flight for micro aircraft

The RM1.5mil UAV, designed and built by Unmanned Systems Technology Sdn Bhd (UST), was launched from a specially built two-man launch catapult. It spent almost an hour flying some 500m above ground. READY TO FLY: The firm’s staff members getting the SR08 Fulmar fixed on the catapult for its maiden flight at the Sungai Rambai Microlight Airstrip in Jasin recently.UST general manager Mohd Khalizi Mohd Razak said the Fulmar SR08 was part of the company’s ongoing effort to tap the growing international UAV market.

He said the composite-body Fulmar SR08 had a 2m wing span, a range of 50km and eight-hour flight capability.

“It can easily be fitted with sensors including night vision cameras to allow use for commercial and security surveillance purposes.

INTERESTING: Hasan (centre) taking a closer look at the ground command station.

“When one mentions UAV, most think it is used only by the military, like the model known as Predator.

“We hope to create awareness that UAVs are not used solely by the military but can be used by the commercial sector,” he said at the airstrip here.

The UAVs could be used by the agriculture sector to monitor tracts of plantation and farm land, he said, adding that it could be fitted with sensors to gauge the moisture content of an area.

“It can even be used by highway operators such as PLUS to monitor traffic flow along highways instead of relying on helicopters which are expensive,” said Mohd Khalizi.

UAVs could also be used by enforcement agencies in surveillance on smuggling or illegal logging, he said.

Besides testing the Fulmar SR08, UST showed off its smaller 3kg single-camera Aludra UAV that can cover a 15km radius on a maximum 90-minute flight duration.

Mohd Khalizi […]