Jun 082018
 

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Named “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by BBC, Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), 3-time world heavyweight boxing champion and world statesman, passed away Friday, June 3, 2016 at 74. RIP Champ! As we humbly honor your soul of a Monarch butterfly (as you spoke about to students graduating at Harvard in 1974, wishing people could love one another as much as we loved him) and your sting of a bumble bee (as a conscientious objector) worldwide here on #beBee!

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali leaves behind four wives he loved and nine children, seven daughters and two sons, he adored, who surrounded him as he passed away Friday night.

Muhammad Ali was gifted at making himself a point of interest by people around the world. He made a sensational show out of a sporting event that for the first time made it permissible for athletes after him to speak out openly on social, education, religious, economic and political issues in life. How his freedom of speech fundamentally shaped his legacy as an athlete-statesman on peace and inclusion is specifically addressed herein.

Watch and listen to the simplicity this side of the complexity of the great mind of The Greatest, Mohammad Ali that eloquently frames his phenomenal statesmanship on peace and inclusion in this remarkable answer to a young lads question on British live television in 1974.

I Float Like A BUTTERFLY and Sting Like A BEE!” For Always & Forever, He’s #TheGreatest #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Pictured above is his iconic knockdown punch in the first round against then-heavyweight champion Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida. His ultimate victory over Liston here was widely seen as a stunning upset that earned Muhammad Ali (then just a 22 year old Light Heavyweight Boxing 1960 Rome Olympics Gold-Medalist, Cassius Clay) his first world heavyweight boxing title.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

He was the greatest boxer ever, but his greatest bouts were outside the boxing ring.

A World-Class Athlete Thrusted Into Being A World-Class Statesman on Peace and Inclusion

On March 22, 1967, Ali was stripped of all of his boxing championship titles by the New York State Athletic Commission and all other boxing commissions, and he received a suspension of his boxing license by the state of New York. 

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Three years after gaining his championship, as a social conscientious objector on April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali in Houston, Texas three times immediately refused induction into the United States Army and the Vietnam War. Outspoken Ali was publicly tried in a court tribunal, convicted on a felony charge of draft evasion on June 20, 1967, receiving a mandatory sentenced of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He paid a bond and remained free from prison, as his felony conviction was being appealed through appellate court, and eventually to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Afterwards, Ali was prohibited from securing a boxing license to participate in the sport in any state for the next three years, including having his passport evoked so the world champion boxer could not travel abroad and continue his boxing career and personal livelihood he had been accustomed to at that time.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

During this time also, as public opinion turned against the Vietnam War in 1967 (in the wake of the federalized 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act), Ali’s appeal to the lower appellate court was denied. A much sought after national and international advocate and spokesman, he spoke on college and university campus across the world, criticizing the Vietnam War and advocating African American pride in civil rights, and the great ideas of equality, racial justice, peace and inclusion.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

In a stunning decision on June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned his June 20, 1967 felony conviction of draft evasion and upheld Ali’s conscientious objector exemption on April 28, 1967 in his refusal to enter the armed services and participate in the Vietnam War of which he was publicly protesting against, explosively exclaiming at that time, “No Vietcong ever called me (The N-word),” a constitutional freedom of speech statement that costed Ali dearly at about $40 million over his three years away from boxing, both personally and professionally. Financially broke during this period, one time riding in a car with Joe Frazier the fighter actually lent Ali a couple hundred bucks so he could just feed himself.

He was a man of principle on peace and inclusion, yet remarkably, public opinion was strongly against him. 

Be that as it may, the U.S. Supreme Court saw this by overturning his conviction in an unanimous 8-0 ruling (with Justice Thurgood Marshall electing to abstain from the case).

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Immediately thrusted into the public eye now as statesman, Muhammad Ali also inspired civil rights peace activist turned anti-war activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1964 Nobel Peace Laureate, who had been “reluctant to address the Vietnam War for fear of alienating the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights agenda.” After Ali’s public profile in courage, “King began to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time,” (quotes courtesy of Wikipedia). 

This subsequently ignited the most explosive period of social violence and unrest ever displayed in American history in the 1968 shooting deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 just after 6pm ET on that second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Just a couple months later that year on June 5, 1968 at Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, 1968 democratic U.S. presidential candidate, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded by gun shoots at 12:15am PT, and later died in Los Angeles Good Samaritan Hospital at 1:44am PT, June 6, 1968.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

In speaking of the cost on Ali’s career (between his most powerfully athletic ages of 25 to 28) of his refusal to be drafted, his boxing trainer Angelo Dundee said, “One thing must be taken into account when talking about Ali, he was robbed of his best years, his prime years.” (quote courtesy of Wikipedia).

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Three Epic Boxing Battles of Coronations and Comebacks

Ali is known the world over as #TheGreatest for these iconic boxing exhibitions. First, there was his greatest upset fight against Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida, which he earned a surprising defeat over Liston for his first title as world heavyweight champion. 

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Later, there were three battles with rival Joe Frazier. The first fight, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 8, 1971, was dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” mainly because it brought to the global sporting stage two undisputed world heavyweight undefeated boxing champion sports icons, each claiming their legitimate claim to be crowned the single undisputed heavyweight boxing champion. A phenomenal media sensation at the time, this Rocky-like global spectacle sporting event of Olympiad proportions was broadcast to 35 countries around the world.

Underscoring the epic battle in the boxing ring was an ongoing explosive American domestic agenda of social injustice, class warfare, and race. This revealed in particular how blacks and “black-pride” socially, educationally, economically, and politically shaped ourselves as an evolving black community at the dawn of the seventies. Such evolutionary societal change was demanded by blacks just coming off an emotionally-wrenching King-Kennedy dual assassination and its aftermath of brutally destructive riots across the American social fabric in 1968.

Symbolically, Ali portrayed Frazier as a “dumb tool of the white establishment … Frazier is too ugly to be champ,” Ali said. “Frazier is too dumb to be champ.” Ali also frequently insulted Frazier by calling him an Uncle Tom. Dave Wolf, who worked in Frazier’s camp, recalled that, “Ali was saying ‘the only people rooting for Joe Frazier are white people in suits, Alabama sheriffs, and members of the Ku Klux Klan. I’m fighting for the little man in the ghetto.’ Joe was sitting there, smashing his fist into the palm of his hand, saying, ‘What the f**k does he know about the ghetto?'”

After an epic 15-round brutal beating of both Ali and Frazier, Ali lost to Frazier by unanimous decision by the judges, his first professional defeat.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

It is in fact 45 years ago March 8, 1971 that the sports history-making #MuhammadAli vs. #JoeFrazier bout (shown above) was dubbed “The Fight of the Century” in a 15-round showdown!

Here’s whereupon the rivalry between the iconic boxers began. “Ali’s characterizations of Frazier during the lead-up to the fight cemented a personal animosity towards Ali by Frazier that lasted until Frazier’s death. Frazier and his camp always considered Ali’s words cruel and unfair, far beyond what was necessary to sell tickets. Shortly after the bout, in the studios of ABC’s Wide World of Sports during a nationally televised interview with the two boxers (with iconic Howard Cozell), Frazier rose from his chair and wrestled Ali to the floor after Ali called him ignorant,” according to Wikipedia.

Subsequently, a second Ali-Frazier rematch at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 1974, resulted in an unanimous decision for Ali recapturing his undisputed heavyweight boxing title from Joe Frazier—who had recently lost his undisputed heavyweight boxing belt to a huge younger 1968 Olympian Gold-Medalist “Big George” Foreman.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Dubbed as a “Rumble in the Jungle, Ali at 32 years old was considered extremely outmatched by the imposing figure of George Foreman, who was then a much younger opponent than Ali by ten years. After earlier in the year defeating Joe Frazier, Ali went on to defeat George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974 in a stunning upset strategy he used in the bout called “Rope-A-Dope.” 

Ali was wildly popular in Zaire, with crowds chanting “Ali, bomaye” (“Ali, kill him”) wherever he went in the African nation, which cemented his iconic global status as a world-class athlete-statesman.

Ali worked the media, like a magician and a poet, as he waved the rhyme and rhythm of his magical prose to English interviewer David Frost, “If you think the world was surprised when Nixon resigned, wait ’til I whup Foreman’s behind!” 

He further crafted his impromptu poetry, like Miles Davis’ jazz improvisatio, across the world media, “I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

The “Rope-A-Dope” strategy was simply a brilliant militarist strategic approach used by Ali inside the formidable Foreman boxing ring. 

Such a strategic approach is when your opponent is angry, irritate them, when you’re physically outmatched, evade them, and when you’re overwhelmingly outgunned, leave them, and live to fight another day.

Ali laid on the ropes, resting much of the match, and tiring the more aggressive Foreman, swinging endlessly at Ali and pounding damaging body blows, but not critical knockout punches to Ali’s “pretty face,” as he oftentimes referenced in the media about himself. Ali simply covered up and counter-punched, landing judges’ point-mounting blows on Foreman—as he also hugged him often to rest and verbally taunt Foreman, messing with his head and actually psyching him out of the bout.

“Is that all you got, George? They told me you could hit,” Ali verbally abused into Foreman’s head in the game.

By an eighth round, Ali had exhausted Foreman with a flurry of blows causing Foreman to stagger to the floor of the center ring, as he couldn’t rise to his feet again when the referee finished his countdown. Against the odds, the “Rumble in the Jungle” was over and Ali had regained his third heavyweight boxing title by knockout.

Reflecting on Ali’s brilliant strategy in the epic battle, George Foreman poignantly and humbly said: “I’ll admit it. Muhammad outthought me and outfought me.”

Ali not only had regained his third world heavyweight boxing championship, but also finally got fully recrowned his previous boxing titles that were stripped seven years before as a result of his 1967 conscientious objector and subsequently overturned felony conviction on draft evasion by the highest legal court in the land. But just as important, Ali favorably captured the global court of public opinion that now saw Ali as a world-class athlete-statesman of peace and inclusion.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

The following year, Ali agreed to a third rematch bout with rival Joe Frazier in Manila, the capital city of The Philippines. The bout, known as the “Thrilla in Manila”, was held on October 1, 1975 in temperatures approaching 100 °F (38 °C). The intense Southeast Asia heat made the pounding by each of these much older boxing rivals extremely brutal to a point of near death for each of these longstanding stellar athletes. 

Emotionally-wrenching to watch for millions of viewers around the world, the brutal fight, going down the stretch through 14 brutal rounds, as each competitor tore into each other, never succumbing to the other in the name of history, “was eventually stopped, when Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, refused to allow Frazier to answer the bell for the 15th and final round, despite Frazier’s protests. Frazier’s eyes were both swollen shut. Ali, in his corner, winner by a technical knockout (TKO), slumped on his stool, morbidly exhausted,” Wikipedia summarizes.

Ali had retained his third heavyweight boxing championship, a triple-crown title held until he retired. 

Both boxing Titans later required extensive hospitalization, exhibiting the magnitude of the beating each of these rivals gave each other in the “Thrilla in Manila” on October 1, 1975. 

After this bout Ali called Frazier “the greatest fighter of all times, next to me.”

This epic boxing battle of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier, just two years later had inspired actor Sylvester Stallone to create the groundbreaking dramatic intensity of the boxing scenes in the enormously popular Oscar-winning film, Rocky in 1977, which was not previously achieved in cinematic portrayals of boxing matches in the ring. 

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Athlete-Statesman Muhammad Ali’s Conscientious Objector Legacy of Peace and Inclusion

So, here we are today reflecting on what a world-class athlete-statesman has left us upon his passing, as we look at ourselves through his mirror – more distrusting of others, and more closeted in our views. 

For Muhammad Ali’s conscientious objector profile in courage to work today, we must allow ourselves in the age demography shift and heightened engagement on rapid-fire digital communication devices to discuss our true feelings and biases, and not be chastised for what we believe.

We must evolve as a society where we can relegate those who harbor views of what can be described as racist, to the commonly viewed and reasonable point of distaste or disdain. 

Yet, along the way on the course to this new destination of societal norms and conventions, Ali’s legacy compels us to ask ourselves what have we done to understand why we feel this way?

Has diversity divided us into divisiveness to mask us away from the real problems in social injustice, equality, racial tension, peace and inclusion we see when we face the nation inside Ali’s mirror?

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

According to Scientific American on September 16, 2014 (later edited October 1, 2014), “The first thing to acknowledge about diversity is that it can be difficult. In the U.S., where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, even the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and conflict. Supreme Court justices disagree on the virtues of diversity and the means for achieving it. Corporations spend billions of dollars to attract and manage diversity both internally and externally, yet they still face discrimination lawsuits, and the leadership ranks of the business world remain predominantly white and male.”

What has a world-class athlete-statesman’s conscientious objector polemic on freedom, diversity and inclusion, accomplished by Muhammad Ali in the late 1960s through the 1970s, that has nowadays truly permeated across the social fabric in an age now generationally dominated by Millennials?

Ali’s magically poetic polemic today would perhaps pose that America is suffering inside its biggest bubble ready to explode. 

If we don’t focus our attention on the most immediate concerns of building roads and bridges to schools and hospitals that need rehabilitation and healing, then the country may become “technically bankrupted” for our children and grandchildren.

Muhammad Ali’s conscientious objection poignantly would ask why aren’t we still not quite truly diverse in our boardrooms, in our C-suites, in our colleges and university leadership and faculty ranks, and in our highest ranking public-sector and private-sector charitable institutions or other bastions of real power and influence.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

With all of the time, infrastructure and resources allocated to making us all more accepting of our differences, here we are reflecting upon Muhammad Ali’s legacy upon us 16 years after the start of the millennium with racial tensions, LGBT issues, women’s rights, pay equity, economic disparities, political divisiveness, voting rights and civil rights dominating our daily lives. There seems to be a rising plethora of racially-charged incidents of late coming from multiple segments of our society.

Harvard Business Review blog argues that diversity training can promote prejudice.

“Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it,” the prestigious college periodical cites.

The blog, citing a study of 829 companies over 31 years, showed that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same.

It gets worse. The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota — concluded that “In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.”

The solution proposed by the Harvard Business Review for the divisiveness of diversity initiatives is rather than engaging people through the lens of race, gender, age, heritage, religion, disability, sexual orientation and parenting, we need to engage people as people.

This kind of engagement of people is what the conscientious objector Mohammad Ali pledged as an athlete-statesman in principle.

“Stop training people to be more accepting of diversity. It’s too conceptual, and it doesn’t work,” says the Harvard Business Review. “Instead, train (people) to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. [Just as] People.”

Mohammed Ali actually engaged in difficult conversations with a global public during the turbulent late 1960s and seventies.

“Teach (people) how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals. Teach (people) how to manage the variety of employees who report to them. Teach (people) how to develop the skills of their various employees,” argues the Harvard Business Review.

“Move beyond similarity and diversity to individuality.”

Athlete-statesman Muhammad Ali was definitely one of a kind. He was indeed about individuality and that was his true freedom to be just as the people who loved him around the world.

At its core, “diversity”, as it is used in relation to the workplace, is a divisive and rather weird concept, reports The Guardian (U.K.). “In claiming certain groups into its fold, it suggests that some people are “diverse” and some are “not diverse”. It suggests, in other words, a nucleus of normal and goes about classifying everyone off-centre into check-box categories that can be totted [or totaled] up and turned into tables for the annual report.”

“What’s more, definitions of diversity tend to be skin-deep, about differences you can see […],” The Guardian (U.K.) concludes.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

Photo Credit: Muhammad Ali hugs U.S. President George W. Bush (above), in a White House Ceremony in 2005, awarding Statesman #Ali, who “defined the terms of his public reputation,” as a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, both in 2005.

It appears that whenever a high profile and potentially racially divisive incident occurs, the battle lines are drawn. Even if the incident or issue (albeit health, human services, housing, education, energy, sports, entertainment or environment) itself has nothing to do with race, it quickly turns into a racial issue, when racial stereotypes surrounding those involved come into play.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

We all tend to speak over each other and not with each other so fast nowadays in which conventional wisdom spreads with such exponential virility, like a brush fire, that no containment or quarantine of information, knowledge or understanding is possible.

We have seen countless instances that demonstrate that we are much less tolerant of others, much more outspoken in our politically incorrect views, and with very little to show for all of the dollars spent on conferences and programs aimed at making us more diverse and more racial and gender tolerant.

Take the explosive case of Paula Dean. She honestly answered a question that was asked of her. Yet, she was slaughtered in the press alongside her food empire being attacked. Blacks surprisingly came to her defense. For them, what she said and did was troubling of course. But also blacks see in her own, southern charming way, this woman, who grew up in the height of racial segregation, simply told the truth. Some could say she was too naïve to know better. However, her naivety is what endears her to us. She admitted what she said and felt. Since then, she has taken steps to face her inbred prejudices.

Contrast the case of Paula Dean’s comments, to what takes place in corporate offices, where discussions about the racial makeup of the leadership teams surely take place.

Some would say, “We have become a very diverse nation and diversity, due to its very nature, breeds disagreement. People have always had trouble getting along with each other, but in our day we find ourselves in a divided country.”

In part, “we are a nation divided because of two things which are mutually exclusive – liberty and government. While some people seek a government that passes binding laws that infringe on personal freedom, others seek a more libertarian form of government. While one group sees the government as the solution to our problems, another sees it as the cause of our problems,” some would add.

Yes, America, we have a long way to go before we truly accept each other and our differences so as “to run so as to win,” much as Muhammad Ali did (in his foggy morning training photo below). We need to learn how to fully appreciate the rainbow of colors, ideas, lifestyles and philosophies in each other. We must learn not to judge others, because they hold views and opinions quite dissimilar to ours. It is only then will we be a society that truly appreciates our differences, and values those perspectives that we all have.

Our long and winding road across our risky and uncertain world is no longer the same without the conscientious objection spirit and voice of peace and inclusion from The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, leading among us.

A Soul of a Butterfly with a Sting of a Bee, #RIPMuhammadAli (1942-2016)

__________

Oliver G. McGee III is a teacher, a researcher, an administrator, and an advisor to government, corporations and philanthropy. He is professor of mechanical engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University. Dr. McGee is former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc. He was Professor and former Chair (2001-2005) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science at Ohio State University. He is the first African-American to hold a professorship and a departmental chair leadership in the century-and-a-quarter history of Ohio State University’s engineering college. Dr. McGee has also held several professorships and research positions at Georgia Tech and MIT.

McGee is the former United States (U.S.) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and former Senior Policy Advisor (1997-1999) in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a NASDAQ certified graduate of UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’s 2013 Director Education and Certification Program, and NYSE Governance Services Guide to Corporate Board Education’s 2003 Directors’ Consortium (on corporate board governance).

McGee is a 2012-13 American Council on Education Fellow at UCLA Office of the Chancellor Gene Block. He is a 2013 University of California Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education (BIHE) graduate. He is also an Executive Leadership Academy Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley Center of Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), Inc. McGee is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Fellow – educational leadership and management development programs for prospective university chancellors and presidents.

Education Background: Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Masters of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace Engineering (Minor), The University of Chicago, Booth School, Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy – Certificate of Fund Raising Management (C.F.R.M.).

Partnership Possibilities for America – Invested in STEEP Giving Forward, founded by McGee in 2010, is based in Washington, DC.

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Feb 182018
 
 
 
 
In memoriam  
 
February 15, 2018
 
“Seventeen people died on Wednesday when a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire. As the community and the country grieve, names and details of the victims are gradually emerging. Here is some of what is known about the students and administrators who were killed in the tragedy.”
 
 
Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Parkland, Florida
 
THE WHITE HOUSE

February 15, 2018

Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on February 14, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, February 19, 2018.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”

DONALD J. TRUMP

Our Holy Bible inside the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 says:
“He Gives Life’s Order of Events:
There’s an appointed time for everything. And there’s a time for every event under heaven — 
 
A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what’s planted. 
 
A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 
 
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 
 
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 
 
A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 
 
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 
 
A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.”
 
And now, Here’s our time to speak.
 
Americans have some hard choices to make about gun control and constitutional rights to bear arms in the emotional wake of “a 19-year-old man who had been expelled from his Florida high school was held on 17 counts of murder on Thursday, February 15, 2018, the morning after authorities say he opened fire at the school, unleashing one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, recounts also Reuters. “Amid continued string of mass shootings, gun control is going nowhere in Congress,” reports CNN, as here are ten things the Parkland school shooting won’t change.”

 

 

Or, in the horrific wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, or in the stunning wake of U.S. House Majority Whip (R-La.) Steve Scalise’s recount of the harrowing moments within a minute from death after he was shot at a 7 o’clock in the morning congressional baseball game recently back in June 2017 in northern Virginia.

America’s hard choices in the wakes of these emotional tragedies are not merely to support or oppose gun control, but to make the hard choices in the ongoing debate on who can own which guns under what conditions to protect ourselves, our families, our schools, our churches, our businesses, and our government (comprised of and representing us).

Historically speaking, total numbers of firearm-related incidents have actually fallen through the decades. Before 1993, the number of people killed or wounded by firearms skyrocketed. Thereafter, America has seen a precipitous drop in deaths due to firearms, including fatal firearms accidents reduced to approximately 40 percent in the last decade, and nowadays reduced to as high as 49 percent, according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conservative think-tank, with such fatal firearms accidents statistics resting now at their lowest levels ever chronicled. 

Of the 31,224 people who died from gun violence, according to recent data reports on TIME.com, 12,632 people died from murderous gun violence, and the difference of 18,592 people died from self-inflicted suicide by gun fire, mostly by white men statistically.

Source: TIME.com

I’m at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, where this small, very conservative community still holds onto its constitutional second amendment rights and liberties.

“The right to bear arms” was bestowed to the American citizenry by the framers of the constitution, who guarded against an over-reaching government. And, the framers included that right in the constitution before many other bills of rights, such as “the right to trial by jury, and the prohibitions against illegal search and arrest.”

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Why Own a Gun? Protection Is Now Top Reason,” www.people-press.org, Mar. 12, 2013

Be that as it may, the issue of gun ownership has remained one of the most contentious debates in this country. Given there are over 250 million guns across the American social fabric today, there are currently over 35,000 gun-control laws on the books in this nation, which attempt to control a right that the constitution says “shall not be infringed,” and many of these laws include total gun bans in many American cities (not inclusive to several states as Texas).

Source: FactCheck.org (2013), Top 10 States with lowest gun-related death rates (in blue); Top 10 States with highest gun-related death rates (in orange)

The FBI had a clear tip on January 5, 2018 of the intent and clear capabilities of a former student, who entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and opened fire, mass killing seventeen innocent people. 

As reported on February 16, 2018 in the Washington Examiner: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered an “immediate review” of the Department of Justice and FBI after officials failed to follow up on a tip that Nikolas Cruz, who shot up his former Florida high school on Wednesday, could be a threat.

The FBI admitted that “protocols were not followed” in this case, and Sessions said a full inquiry would be made.

“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions said he has ordered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to conduct an “immediate review of our process” at the Justice Department and FBI “to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us.”

“This includes more than just an error review but also a review of how we respond. This will include possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement,” the attorney general said.

Sessions called the review a “top priority.”

Remarkably, the FBI finds the top weapon of choice of criminals involved in violent crimes they’ve investigated ironically is “a baseball bat” (categorized below as #9 non-firearm homicides just above #10 firearm homicides in a December 9, 2012 bar-charted statistical data comparison of Top 10 “Killers” of citizens in the U.S.).

“Why is there NO outcry to RESPECT baseball bat ownership?” asks second amendment advocates, “maybe because so many law-abiding citizens enjoy (baseball bats) safely, for sport.”

And so, the debate continues with the central questions being exactly what rights do Americans have with their ability to protect themselves and their property? And how far can the government go to either violate or protect these rights?

Source: Business Insider (2016), “Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on gun control”

Our ongoing and continuing gun ownership debate is a longstanding part of the sociopolitical process in this nation. And, it will continue to surface in public reaction to future extreme disaster events and recovery, like the history-making Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay 32nd floor and Parkland, Florida high school shooting massacres, or the nightly gun killings on the harsh streets of several American cities, like Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

Just as important, all law-abiding Americans have the inalienable rights to their United States Constitutional Bill of Rights – all of them, including the 2nd Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Our third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson said,

The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores The Constitution.”

And, our first U.S. President George Washington said:

A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

Parkland, Florida (and even Las Vegas) active shootings and massacres are a wake up call to protect our schools (and open arenas) on the grounds with undercover “School Marshals,” much like we now protect our airplanes in the sky with undercover “Sky Marshals” after the 9-11 Terrorists Attacks!

Are folks inside our airplanes more important assets to protect than our children inside our schools? No way! This is all about protecting people more than devices, right?

Therefore, my advice is to consider all combinations of legal frameworks and social education of domestic safety and Homeland security of our citizenry, and not just simply ‘following the herd in sociopolitical reaction after Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay 32nd floor extreme event of a suicidal madman’ randomly shooting into a crowd of 40,000 peacefully festive concertgoers. Or, most recently, perhaps as some kind of horribly warped symbolism on St. Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, a young gunman, involved in yet another extreme event of a Florida high school shooting, is being held by authorities on 17 murder counts of high school children.

Remember, we all are the future of our country and the protector of both civil and human rights of all of us as citizens!

 
APPENDIX
 
 
President Donald Trump’s Address to The Nation on the Florida High School Tragedy

Below is the transcript of President Donald Trump address to the nation on Thursday, February 15, 2018, as released by the White House, a day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left at least 17 dead.

My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil.
 
Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — a great and safe community. There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.
 
 
Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.
 
No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.
 
 
Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them — a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give, and talents to share with the world. And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world.
 
Today, we mourn for all of those who lost their lives. We comfort the grieving and the wounded. And we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida, that is now in shock, in pain, and searching for answers.
 
 
To law enforcement, first responders, and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We thank you for your courage. Soon after the shooting, I spoke with Governor (Rick) Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
 
I’m making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials, and to continue coordinating the federal response.
 
In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God’s word in scripture: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.”
 
We trust in that promise, and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow.
 
 
I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared: I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader. Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness.
 
We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.
 
Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.
 
Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.
 
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need.
 
And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close, let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow.
 
Thank you. And God Bless you all. Thank you very much.”
 

#Video, Full Transcript of #Trump #WhiteHouse Speech After #LasVegas Shooting Massacre

In like fashion, President Trump’s speech from the White House on October 3, 2017 in the aftermath of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay 32nd floor active shooter massacre was Spiritual and Godly. And, his speech established the perfect tone in a masterful use of his presidential powers of persuasion and compassion in the nation’s hour of need to have our president unite us as safe and secure citizens of community, equality and liberties.

The president praised law enforcement for their bravery in rapidly tracking down the (now deceased from suicide) active shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, high atop Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay 32nd floor (unleashing several hundred rounds of bullets from automatic weaponry through a busted out window) over 40,000 concertgoers at the nearby Route 91 Harvest country music festival site Sunday evening, shortly after 10pm PT (1am ET), saying that “in moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one” in the wake of the largest domestic mass shooting in modern U.S. history, killing nearly 58 people and injuring and hospitalizing over 500 other concertgoers. 

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US President Donald Trump listens to applause before giving the State of the Union address at the Capitol in Washington. (Photo Credit: CNN)

President Donald Trump first State of the Union Message on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 is “America is Back!

“THE GREAT AMERICAN COMEBACK! America now has a President that stands with our vets, stands for our flag, has turned our economy around, and is making AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” – Donald Trump Jr.

Here’s the President’s speech as delivered and released by the White House: 

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:
 
Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People — and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.
 
Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.
 
Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.
 
 
New American Heroes.
 
Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.
We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
 
We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.
 
 
We heard tales of Americans, like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania.
 
Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.
 
 
We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.
 
To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.
 
Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House — a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.
 
 
We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics, who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.
 
In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.
 
Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.
 
 
A Safe, Strong, and Proud America.
 
So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.
 
And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.
 
Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
 
Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.
 
 
Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.
 
And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.
 
Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.
 
To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit.
 
A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half.
 
This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.
 
We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.
 
We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.
 
Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
 
 
Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.
 
One of Staub’s employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder.
 
Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters’ education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.
 
Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.
 
 
This is our new American moment.
 
There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.
 
So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.
 
Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.
 
We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.
 
Together, we are rediscovering the American way.
 
In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is “in God we trust.”
 
And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.
 
 
Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.
 
Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.
 
 
Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
 
For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government.
 
Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.
 
We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.
 
And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.
 
I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.
 
All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.
 
In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.
 
We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.
 
In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America’s autoworkers — so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again.
 
Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.
 
Exciting progress is happening every day.
 
To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.
 
We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives.
 
People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.”
 
One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.
 
America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation’s wealth.
 
 
The era of economic surrender is over.
 
From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.
 
We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones.
 
And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.
 
As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
 
America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?
 
I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.
 
Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.
 
Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.
 
Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.
 
Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.
 
We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.
 
We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.
 
As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.
 
 
Law and Order and Justice.
 
As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.
 
Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.
 
For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.
 
 
Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ‑- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.
 
Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And, 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.
 
Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.
 
The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.
 
So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.
 
 
Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ’s murder. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.
 
CJ: Great work. Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.
 
Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package.
 
In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.
 
 
Trump’s Four-Pillar Immigration Framework.
 
Here are the four pillars of our plan:
 
The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.
 
The second pillarfully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of “catch and release.”
 
The third pillarends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.
 
The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.
 
In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.
 
It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.
 
These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.
 
For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.
 
Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.
 

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else. For it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man, because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But, this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American … There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization. Just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … And, we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 

 
 
Opioid and Drug Addiction Crisis in America.
 
These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction.
 
In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.
 
My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.
 
As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.
 
 
We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby.
 
In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: “You will do it — because you can.” He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope.
 
Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations.
 
 
Restoring Our Strength and Standing Abroad.
 
As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.
 
Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.
 
For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.
 
As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
 
Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
 
Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city.
 
 
WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 2010) Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert introduces Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2nd Class Kenton Stacy as the USO Sailor of the Year at the 2010 USO Gala. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)
 
Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery.
 
Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin’s selfless love for a fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a “V” for “Valor.” Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you.
 
 
Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.
 
In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.
 
So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.
 
 
I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa’ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.
 
Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.
 
Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
 
Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.
 
That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.
 
As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.
When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.
 
I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.
 
My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.
 
But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.
 
North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.
 
We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.
 
Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
 
We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.
 
Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June — horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.
 
 
Fred and Cindy Warmbier broke down in tears when Trump spoke about their son Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned in North Korea. (Photo Credit: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES)
 
Otto’s Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — along with Otto’s brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.
 
Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.
 
 
In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had — and he resolved to be free.
 
Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death.
 
Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ‑- the truth.
 
Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.
 
Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.
 
It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world.
 
That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.
 
 
American People are ‘Making America Great Again.’
 
Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her.
 
Monuments to Washington and Jefferson — to Lincoln and King.
 
Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.
 
And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people.
 
A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.
 
They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.
 
But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them.
 
Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.
 
Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget:
‘The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.’
As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
 
As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.
 
Our families will thrive.
 
Our people will prosper.
 
And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.
 
Thank you, and God bless America.”
 
 
__________
 

 

Representative Joe Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) prepared remarks for the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, as delivered:

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.

We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts – a proud American city, built by immigrants.

From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.

The students with us this evening in the autoshop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy.

Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city. 

It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.

This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.

We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.

A government that struggles to keep itself open.

Russia knee-deep in our democracy.

An all-out war on environmental protection.

A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.

Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.

Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places.

And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are. 
It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics.

But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.

For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure.

By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.

Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.

Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.

That is the American promise.

But today that promise is being broken. By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.

They are turning American life into a zero-sum game.

Where, in order for one to win, another must lose.

Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net.

We can extend healthcare to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts.

We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow.

We can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice Dreamers.

We are bombarded with one false choice after another:

Coal miners or single moms. Rural communities or inner cities. The coast or the heartland.

As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.

As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction.

So here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: we choose both. We fight for both. Because the strongest, richest, greatest nation in the world shouldn’t leave any one behind.

We choose a better deal for all who call this country home.

We choose the living wage, paid leave and affordable child care your family needs to survive.

We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, and good education you can afford.

We choose a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction.

We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices AND brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right.

We choose Fall River.

We choose the thousands of American communities whose roads aren’t paved with power or privilege, but with honest effort, good faith, and the resolve to build something better for their kids.

That is our story. It began the day our Founding Fathers and Mothers set sail for a New World, fleeing oppression and intolerance.

It continued with every word of our Independence – the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. An imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union.

It grew with every suffragette’s step, every Freedom Riders voice, every weary soul we welcomed to our shores.

And to all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: ‘Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar.’

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) attends a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump’s first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.

America, we carry that story on our shoulders.

You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child’s life.

You proudly marched together last weekend – thousands deep — in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville.

You sat high atop your mom’s shoulders and held a sign that read: “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.”

You bravely say, me too. You steadfastly say, black lives matter.

You wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.

You fight your own, quiet battles every single day.

You drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so your families won’t feel the sting of scarcity.

You leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, or patrol our neighborhoods overnight.

You serve. You rescue. You help. You heal.

That – more than any law or leader, any debate or disagreement – that is what drives us toward progress.

Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.

Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make. Our country will be judged by the promises we keep.

THAT is the measure of our character. That’s who we are.

Out of many. One.

Ladies and gentlemen, have faith: The state of our union is hopeful, resilient, enduring.

Thank you, God Bless you and your families, and God Bless the United States of America.”

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Oct 202017
 

White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, and Gold Star Father, appeared at the White House briefing room podium on Thursday, October 19, 2017 to give an emotional speech on what used to be sacred in America – a fallen soldier and our government’s and president’s call to a grieving widow, parent and next-of-kin, while defending President Donald J. Trump’s phone call to the widow of a fallen soldier, in response to politically motivated criticism from Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), while American troops are facing increasing aggression out in the battlefield, as the War on Terrorism expands into Africa. 

White House Chief of Staff General Kelly’s statements at the White House press briefing room podium Thursday were very respectful and very sympathetic to the fallen soldiers, and along with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “that was what President Trump intended and said during his personal calls to fallen soldiers’ next-of-kin.”

Ms. Sanders, when asked later to respond further said, “It’s appalling the congresswoman continues to make the death of an American hero about herself instead of honoring the fallen who selflessly gave their lives for all of us,” Ms. Sanders said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The White House press secretary, added that General Kelly “absolutely” stands by his Thursday remarks.

In an interview on Friday morning, October 20, 2017 with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, President Trump said he found Florida Congresswoman Wilson’s criticism of General Kelly “sickening.” The president called his chief of staff “a very elegant man,” and added that General Kelly “is a tough, strong four-star Marine.”

General Kelly, President Trump said, was offended that Florida Congresswoman Wilson publicized what the president said was a “very nice” call to the widow of a soldier killed in action in Niger.

In response to the four fallen U.S. soldiers, who were killed during an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017 (shown above, Clockwise from top left, Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Sergeant La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29), President Trump “called four people the other day to express his condolences in the best way that he could,” Kelly said. “And President Trump said to me, ‘What do I say?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, there is nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.'”

Kelly continued, recalling what he was told by General Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after his own son died in battle defending our country. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly spoke further adding that he was “stunned” and “broken-hearted” by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s role in conveying the details of the call to the media, CNN reports.

“In his way,” Kelly said of Trump, he “tried to express that opinion — that (Johnson) is a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist, he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”

On Friday, October 20, 2017, “Natasha De Alencar, the widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, released video of her conversation with President Trump.” Source: CNN, “Gold Star widow’s full phone call with Trump

Below are the video and complete transcription of White House Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks in the White House briefing room on Thursday, as prepared by the White House.

__________

 

JOHN F. KELLY, White House chief of staff: “Well, thanks a lot. And it is a more serious note, so I just wanted to perhaps make more of a statement than an — give more of an explanation in what amounts to be a traditional press interaction.

Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, our Coast Guardsmen in combat. So let me tell you what happens:

Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine, and sends them home. Their first stop along the way is when they’re packed in ice, typically at the airhead. And then they’re flown to, usually, Europe where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base, where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service, and then puts them on another airplane linked up with a casualty officer escort that takes them home.

A very, very good movie to watch, if you haven’t ever seen it, is “Taking Chance,” where this is done in a movie — HBO setting. Chance Phelps was killed under my command right next to me, and it’s worth seeing that if you’ve never seen it.

So that’s the process. While that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door; typically a mom and dad will answer, a wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places; if the parents are divorced, three different places. And the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until — well, for a long, long time, even after the internment. So that’s what happens.

Who are these young men and women? They are the best 1 percent this country produces. Most of you, as Americans, don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any one of them. But they are the very best this country produces, and they volunteer to protect our country when there’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate, but required. But that’s all right.

Who writes letters to the families? Typically, the company commander — in my case, as a Marine — the company commander, battalion commander, regimental commander, division commander, Secretary of Defense, typically the service chief, commandant of the Marine Corps, and the President typically writes a letter.

Typically, the only phone calls a family receives are the most important phone calls they could imagine, and that is from their buddies. In my case, hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really mattered.

And yeah, the letters count, to a degree, but there’s not much that really can take the edge off what a family member is going through.

So some Presidents have elected to call. All Presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters. If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There’s no perfect way to make that phone call.

When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it, because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It’s nice to do, in my opinion, in any event.

He asked me about previous Presidents, and I said, I can tell you that President Obama, who was my Commander-in-Chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family. That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say, I don’t believe President Obama called. That’s not a negative thing. I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases. I don’t believe any President, particularly when the casualty rates are very, very high — that Presidents call. But I believe they all write.

So when I gave that explanation to our President three days ago, he elected to make phone calls in the cases of four young men, who we lost in Niger at the earlier part of this month. But then he said, how do you make these calls? If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call. I think he very bravely does make those calls.

The call in question that he made yesterday — or day before yesterday now — were to four family members, the four fallen. And remember, there’s a next-of-kin designated by the individual. If he’s married, that’s typically the spouse. If he’s not married, that’s typically the parents unless the parents are divorced, and then he selects one of them. If he didn’t get along with his parents, he’ll select a sibling. But the point is, the phone call is made to the next-of-kin only if the next-of-kin agrees to take the phone call. Sometimes they don’t.

So a pre-call is made: The President of the United States or the commandant of the Marine Corps, or someone would like to call, will you accept the call? And typically, they all accept the call.

So he called four people the other day and expressed his condolences in the best way that he could. And he said to me, what do I say? I said to him, sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.

Shown above are the four fallen U.S. soldiers, who were killed during an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017 (from left to right) Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Sergeant La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29).

Well, let me tell you what I told him. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me — because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died, in the four cases we’re talking about, Niger, and my son’s case in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends.

That’s what the President tried to say to four families the other day. I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion — that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist; he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying, and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth. And you can always find them because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.

I’ll end with this: In October — April, rather, of 2015, I was still on active duty, and I went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami. And it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami against drug traffickers in 1986 — a guy by the name of Grogan and Duke. Grogan almost retired, 53 years old; Duke, I think less than a year on the job. (Editor’s note: The F.B.I. agent for which the building is named was named Jerry L. Dove, not Duke.)

Anyways, they got in a gunfight and they were killed. Three other FBI agents were there, were wounded, and now retired. So we go down — Jim Comey gave an absolutely brilliant memorial speech to those fallen men and to all of the men and women of the FBI who serve our country so well, and law enforcement so well.

There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were three or four years old when their dads were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived the fight were there, and gave a rendition of how brave those men were and how they gave their lives.

And a congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents, because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building. And, she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, O.K., fine.

So, I still hope, as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society — a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country — let’s try to somehow keep that sacred. But, it eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.

So I’m willing to take a question or two on this topic. Let me ask you this: Is anyone here a Gold Star parent or sibling? Does anyone here know a Gold Star parent or sibling?

O.K., you get the question.

Q Well, thank you, General Kelly. First of all, we have a great deal of respect — Semper Fi — for everything that you’ve ever done. But if we could take this a bit further. Why were they in Niger? We were told they weren’t in armored vehicles and there was no air cover. So what are the specifics about this particular incident? And why were we there? And why are we there?

GENERAL KELLY: Well, I would start by saying there is an investigation. Let me back up and say, the fact of the matter is, young men and women that wear our uniform are deployed around the world and there are tens of thousands, near the DMZ in North Korea [sic], in Okinawa, waiting to go — in South Korea — in Okinawa, ready to go. All over the United States, training, ready to go. They’re all over Latin America. Down there, they do mostly drug and addiction, working with our partners — our great partners — the Colombians, the Central Americans, the Mexicans.

You know, there’s thousands. My own son, right now, back in the fight for his fifth tour against ISIS. There’s thousands of them in Europe acting as a deterrent. And they’re throughout Africa. And they’re doing the nation’s work there, and not making a lot of money, by the way, doing it. They love what they do.

So why were they there? They’re there working with partners, local — all across Africa — in this case, Niger — working with partners, teaching them how to be better soldiers; teaching them how to respect human rights; teaching them how to fight ISIS so that we don’t have to send our soldiers and Marines there in their thousands. That’s what they were doing there.

Now, there is an investigation. There’s always an — unless it’s a very, very conventional death in a conventional war, there’s always an investigation. Of course, that operation is conducted by AFRICOM that, of course, works directly for the Secretary of Defense.

There is a — and I talked to Jim Mattis this morning. I think he made statements this afternoon. There’s an investigation ongoing. An investigation doesn’t mean anything was wrong. An investigation doesn’t mean people’s heads are going to roll. The fact is they need to find out what happened and why it happened.

But at the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that these young people — sometimes old guys — put on the uniform, go to where we send them to protect our country. Sometimes they go in large numbers to invade Iraq and invade Afghanistan. Sometimes they’re working in small units, working with our partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, helping them be better.

But at the end of the day, they’re helping those partners be better at fighting ISIS in North Africa to protect our country so that we don’t have to send large numbers of troops.

Any other — someone who knows a Gold Star fallen person.

John?

Q General, thank you for being here today and thank you for your service and for your family’s sacrifice. There has been some talk about the timetable of the release of the statement about the — I think at that point it was three soldiers who were killed in Niger. Can you walk us through the timetable of the release of that information? And what part did the fact that a beacon was pinging during that time have to do with the release of the statement? And were you concerned that divulging information early might jeopardize the soldiers’ attempt to be (inaudible)?

GENERAL KELLY: First of all, that’s a — you know, we are at the highest level of the U.S. government. The people that will answer those questions will be the people at the other end of the military pyramid.

I’m sure the Special Forces group is conducting it. I know they’re conducting an investigation. That investigation, of course, under the auspices of AFRICOM, ultimately will go to the Pentagon. I’ve read the same stories you have. I actually know a lot more than I’m letting on, but I’m not going to tell you.

There is an investigation being done. But as I say, the men and women of our country that are serving all around the world — I mean, what the hell is my son doing back in the fight? He’s back in the fight because — working with Iraqi soldiers who are infinitely better than they were a few years ago to take ISIS on directly so that we don’t have to do it. Small numbers of Marines where he is working alongside those guys. That’s why they’re out there, whether it’s Niger, Iraq, or whatever. We don’t want to send tens of thousands of American soldiers and Marines, in particular, to go fight.

I’ll take one more, but it’s got to be from someone who knows — all right.

Q General, when you talk about Niger, sir, what does your intelligence tell you about the Russian connection with them? And the stories that are coming out now, they’re —

GENERAL KELLY: I have no knowledge of any Russian connection, but I was not, in my position, to know that. That’s a question for NORTHCOM or for — not NORTHCOM — for AFRICOM or DOD.

Thanks very much, everybody.

As I walk off the stage, understand there’s tens of thousands of American kids, mostly, doing their nation’s bidding all around the world. They don’t have to be in uniform. You know, when I was a kid, every man in my life was a veteran — World War II, Korea, and there was the draft. These young people today, they don’t do it for any other reason than their selfless — sense of selfless devotion to this great nation.

We don’t look down upon those of you who that haven’t served. In fact, in a way we’re a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our service men and women do — not for any other reason than they love this country. So just think of that.

And I do appreciate your time. Take care.”

__________

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Aug 212017
 
  
 
The US president’s approval ratings hit a new low as he is criticised by his fellow Republicans.
 
 
There has not been a dull moment in the White House since US President Donald Trump took office. In the past eight months there’s been a series of executive orders and a string of high profile departures. Yet the president insists there is “no chaos” in his administration.
 
But the polls tell a different story.
 
His approval ratings have plummeted and members of his own Republican party are questioning his capability as president, with some calling the White House a “sinking ship’.
 
Trump has become increasingly isolated in recent months, shunned by major business leaders and at odds with his party’s congressional leadership. And his comments after the violence in Charlottesville estranged him from more than half the nation.
 
Many are now beginning to wonder how long he will last as president.”
 
Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra
 
Guests:
 
Oliver McGee – Former White House Science Office Senior Policy Advisor, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy
 
David A Love – Executive Editor of Black Commentator dot com.
 
Jeanne Zaino – Professor of political science and international studies at Iona College.
 
– Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
– Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
– Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
– Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/
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Dec 302016
 
hillary-clinton-gettyimages

 

Photo Credit: Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton smiles during the final presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19, 2016. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Billionaires who shilled for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign are doing quite well since President-elect Donald Trump won the White House, adding billions to their respective fortunes since Election Day.

Warren Buffett, long-time Democratic donor and ardent Clinton supporter, saw his net worth increase by $11.8 billion since Trump was elected. Berkshire Hathaway, Buffet’s investment firm, saw its airline and banking positions rise dramatically over the last month. The two sectors have soared on Trump’s promises of massive deregulation and spending on infrastructure.

(RELATED: Here Is How The Market Looks One Month After A Trump Win)

While Buffet has brought in the largest year-end sum, other Clinton-backing billionaires have fared well since Election Day.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates watched his net worth climb by $9.8 billion as of Dec. 28, bringing his total net worth to $91.8 billion. With the Trump bump, Gates is now the richest man in the world.

Gates and his wife Melinda are long-time supporters of the Clinton cause. The pair have donated over $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, and Gates was even on a short list for potential vice presidential picks for Hillary Clinton.

Possibly the funniest example in the set is Amazon CEO and owner of The Washington Post Jeff Bezos. Trump took aim at Bezos multiple times on the campaign trail, decrying that Amazon had “a huge antitrust problem,” and WaPo was not covering the election in an unbiased fashion.

Bezos fired back at Trump on Twitter, saying he would send the president-elect to space on one of his startup’s rockets.

After a tech summit with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Dec. 14 and 15, Amazon’s shares made big gains, as the president-elect appeared to be favorable to the tech industry. As a result of Amazon’s recent surge, Bezos is up $7.5 billion on the year, the New York Post reports.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also up $5.4 billion on the year.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/29/billionaire-clinton-backers-are-richer-since-trump-won/#ixzz4UOXGo8qJ

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Dec 232016
 

#Barcelona #Charlottesville #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice, #911 Terror Attacks Signal Rise in Use of Transportation Systems as Weapons of Mass Destruction

#BREAKING #BarcelonaAttack (August 17, 2017): A white van slammed into pedestrians on the famous promenade in the city center of Barcelona, Spain on Thursday, August 17, 2017. The transportation vehicle “plowed  through crowds on the renowned Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist section of Barcelona (shown above and below). Authorities said of the 80 people taken to hospitals, 15 were seriously hurt,” CNN reports. “The Barcelona attack was one of the most deadly in Spain, since more than 190 people were killed in a March 2004 attack against commuter trains … It was the latest in a series of attacks in Europe in which vehicles have been used to mow down pedestrians in public spaces. More than 100 people have died in similar attacks in Berlin, London and Nice.”

According to numerous reports breaking at the moment, “at least 13 people are reported dead and more than 100 are injured after a terrorist in a van ploughed into pedestrians in a famous street packed with tourists and locals in central Barcelona. Spanish media cited unnamed police sources who said at least 13 people were killed. Local officials confirmed at least 90 people were hurt, 10 seriously.”

“I want to also express my solidarity with all of Spain to the city of Barcelona, today hit by jihadi terrorism, like other cities have been in the world,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in offering his condolences to the Barcelona Attack victims’ families.

Daily Mirror (U.K.) reports: “The van zigzagged as it slammed into victims on tree-lined Las Ramblas promenade before the armed attacker ditched the vehicle and took hostages in a Turkish restaurant nearby.”

Police released a photograph of a man called Maghrebi Driss Oukabir, who is suspected of renting the van which was used to crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas.

#BREAKING (August 22, 2017): “Court official: Terror suspect reveals the Islamist cell wanted to strike Barcelona monuments, imam planned to self-immolate.” (AP)

The #BarcelonaAttack is the latest in a wave of transportation-related truck (lorry) and automobile pedestrian plowings in #Charlottesville (Virginia, United States), #Jerusalem (Israeli), #Berlin (Germany) and #Nice (France) in recent years (including 9-11 airplane attacks on the World Trade Center (New York), Pentagon (Washington DC) and Pennsylvania (adverting an intentional 9-11 attack on the White House)). 

This attack in Spain’s largest city on August 17, 2017 has caused panic on the streets of Barcelona, Spain. Remarkably, these attacks, which were foretold and warned by terrorists in their intended use of the international transportation system as weapons of mass destruction, has now drew widespread condemnation from world leaders.

“ISIS claims responsibility,” The Telegragh (U.K.) reports, as follows:

“Soldiers” of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carried out the deadly van attack, the jihadist organisation’s propaganda outlet Amaq said.

“The executors of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State,” Amaq said on its Telegram messenger account, without naming those it claimed were behind the attack.

Amaq said they had launched the attack in response to calls to target states taking part in the United States-led coalition battling the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said “the attack was “jihadist terrorism” which required a global response”

“Today the fight against terrorism is the principal priority for free and open societies like ours. It is a global threat and the response has to be global,” Rajoy told a news conference in Barcelona.

“ISIS which once controlled a self-declared “caliphate” across large parts of Iraq and Syria, has suffered major losses in recent months. Coalition-backed Iraqi forces recaptured its Iraqi stronghold Mosul in July.”

“The Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and Costa Del Sol have been highlighted as key threat areas with fears of a Tunisia-style atrocity being repeated in Spain.”

The Daily Star Online revealed back on July 11, 2015 “how UK tourists are being labeled as “high value” targets by ISIS extremists.”

Rising threats of domestic terrorism using our transport technology

“Europe, the United Kingdom, and Russia have witnessed terror attacks or attempted attacks every nine days in 2017 on average,” analysis of security incidents has revealed.

As the map below reveals (via Breitbart), attacks and attempted attacks have taken place in Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Turkey, India, Sweden, Norway, and Germany.

For instances, “Security services in Britain — population 65 million — believe there to be around 23,000 potential terror suspects or persons posing a threat,” as reported in Breitbart. “Meanwhile Belgium, with its population of just 12 million, is officially tracking around 18,000 potential jihadists, though this number has not been updated in some time. According to the British secret service MI6, there are in Germany about 7.000 terror suspects.”

#BREAKING #Charlottesville Attack (August 12, 2017): .@OliverMcGee #VIDEO LIVE #FoxHappeningNow 11:30a ET (8-16-17) .@POTUS .@realDonaldTrump #Charlottesville Attack remarks .@WhiteHouse

Remarkably, there is a “clear and present danger” of increasing use of our international transportation system as domestic weapons of mass destruction. #Barcelona,  #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice, #911 #TerrorAttacks Signal A Rise in the Use of Transportation Systems as Weapons of Mass Destruction!

Have you once again noticed (in a disturbing video of a horrific motorist plowing over people in a #Charlottesville protest) how the international transportation system is the common thread being threaded between the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and #911 terror attacks, first by Al-Qaeda, now morphed into #ISIS?

Witnesses at the horrible scenes in #Barcelona, #Jerusalem (and allegedly in an analogous manner in the #Charlottesville getaway “hit and run” incident) say the attacker(s) drove his truck (car) “back and forward” over the victims as they lay on the ground underneath the lorry (car).

Remarkably, air and surface transportation systems and vehicles are increasingly becoming employed as domestic weapons of mass destruction!

God help us, if such ongoing and continuing terrorism weaponry rehearsals using the international transportation system expand further into incorporating devastatingly catastrophic nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare on domestic and international “soft targets.”

In Charlottesville the alleged American domestic terrorism suspect is now identified as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man (shown in the photo below). He employed his automobile to mow down people in a public protest in #Charlottesville (shown in the photo(s) above after Fields was caught up to in a “hit and run” getaway in the panicked aftermath of people running for their lives), killing a 32-year old woman and injuring 19 others. Horrifically, Fields allegedly and theoretically used his automobile as a domestic weapon of mass destruction. 

TMZ reports, “He’s facing a second-degree murder charge, along with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in death … according to the superintendent of the Albemarle Regional Jail.”

In disturbing video of the crash … “the suspect Fields appears to deliberately drive his Dodge Challenger into a group of counter-protesters walking down the street, then floors it in reverse in an attempt to flee. He was captured shortly after … as a 32-year-old woman was killed in the incident.” Charlottesville police chief said “at least 35 people were injured during the Saturday, August 12, 2017 violence between white nationalist rallygoers and counter-protesters.”

On Sunday, January 8, 2017, another alleged act of terrorism involved a lorry (tracker-trailer truck) deliberately driven at high speed into soldiers pedestrians in an Israeli neighborhood of Armon Hannaiv outside of south Jerusalem, killing at least four victims – three young men in their twenties alongside one young woman also in her twenties – and injuring over fifteen people at the horrific crime scene.

Have you noticed I repeat how the international transportation system is the common thread being threaded between the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and #911 terror attacks, first by Al-Qaeda, now morphed into #ISIS?

Witnesses at the horrible scene in #Jersalem (shown above) say the attacker drove his truck “back and forward” over the victims as they lay on the ground underneath the lorry.

“It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack,” a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio, which reported that bodies were “strewn on the street.”

“A group of soldiers was standing with their bags near the bus. I had just let them off. The truck drove into the group of soldiers, ran over them and kept going. The soldiers shot at the driver. He reversed and ran over them again,” Moshe Aharon, the driver of the bus told Army Radio, the Times of Israel reports (via The Independent (U.K.)).

Police have said the truck driver was “neutralized” – when soldiers at the scene shot him dead.

Remarkably and horrifically, I must say again, air and surface transportation systems and vehicles are increasingly becoming employed as weapons of mass destruction! 

Remember also, when I described above on Aljazeera English, about another domestic transportation-related security breach on January 9, 2017 inside a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (United States) baggage claim area that was morphed into a “kill-zone,” as a gunman open fired upon commercial airline passengers gathering their baggage inside the Florida airport claim area!

Are we noticing a clear and dangerous pattern taking place all around us in the last 6-12 months? Do we see a noticeable safety and security breach happening on our lives? We need to be ever so visionary and vigilant about our scientific and technological security, our transportation security, our homeland security, and our international security now more than ever in our global history.

I must repeat, God help us, if such ongoing and continuing terrorism weaponry rehearsals using the international transportation system expand further into incorporating devastatingly catastrophic nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare on domestic and international “soft targets.”

On January 8, 2017 as soldiers departed a nearby Israeli bus in Jerusalem, and on December 19, 2016 at a public Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, as well as, on July 14, 2016 at a public holiday gathering on #BastilleDay (French National Independence Day) in Nice, France, three multi-ton tractor-trailer surface transportation vehicles (instead of four multi-ton commercial passenger aircraft seized and hijacked in the “911 attacks”) were used as weapons of mass destruction on “soft-targets” in what the terrorists are now celebrating on social media as, once again, a double “#Nice attack” (given the recent #Barcelona, #Jerusalem and #Berlin attacks), which is horrendous.

On Friday, December 23, 2016, near Milan, Italy, Anis Amri, the Tunisian man (shown in the photos above), allegedly suspected of the multi-ton tractor-trailer truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany on Monday, December 19, 2016, killing 12 people and injuring 50 others, was killed in a police shootout at Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan, on Friday, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said.

Anis Amri was identified by anti-terrorism Digos police by chance on the spot based on his “appearance and fingerprints,” anti-terrorism sources in Milan, Italy said.

As reported in Ansa English: The Berlin attack suspect, Anis Amri, “arrived in Italy from France, according to anti-terrorism Digos police. He went from Chambery to Turin (French Alps), and then, took a high-speed rail train arriving in a suburban station in Milan, Italy. Amri later went from Milan’s Stazione Centrale to Sesto San Giovanni. He immediately ran into two police officers by chance and was killed in a shootout, as the anti-terrorism Digos police officers attempted to conduct a routine stop-check, when suddenly Amri pulled out a .22 caliber gun and started shooting at the anti-terrorism Digos police officers, sources said. 

The Tunisian man, Anis Amri, was killed by a trainee police officer, Luca Scatà, 29, said sources at the horrific scene. The other policeman, Christian Movio, 36, was hospitalized in Monza, Italy, after being injured during the anti-terrorism Digos police shootout, confirmed those immediately at the Milan suburban train station.”

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been informed, adding that the anti-terrorism Digos police shooting incident in Milan, Italy on December 23, 2016 “showed that the Italian State was doing its bit to protect the public from terrorism.”

“The level of attention remains maximum, the threats should not be underestimated, but what happened overnight shows the citizens that Italy is present, the State is present,” Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said.

What are the science and technology policy grand-challenges?

International and domestic safety and security has now been integrally united with international transportation safety and security through trains, planes, trucks and automobiles being employed as weapons of mass destruction. 

Now more than ever, we desperately need to observe 24-7 our integrated, interdependent, intermodal, international transportation system in this grand-challenge age of integrated infrastructure and cyber-communications, incorporating smarter information technologies, sophisticated biotechnologies, miniaturized wireless devices, advanced microtechologies, nanotechnology of everything, and accessible elder technologies and mobility – moving people and things safely and securely in extreme circumstances and conditions of disaster and terrorism mitigation, controls and recovery.

Above all of this, we are perhaps even talking about a whole new way of looking at “black-boxes in the cloud,” tracking integrated autonomous planes, trains and automobiles, now working amongst our crowded international urban centers in the dawn of the 21st Century.

The United States National Academy of Engineering at the request of the United States National Science Foundation convened a diverse committee of science and technology experts (including visionary sessions involving over 50 subject-matter experts from around the world and receiving inputs across the general public) to proposed 14 grand challenges achievable and sustainable to help people and the planet thrive in the post-911 age of demography shift and heighten engagements. Since the NAE’s report’s release, these 14 grand challenges have inspired numerous events (including Global Grand Challenges in London, Beijing, and most recently in late July 2017, George Washington University in Washington, DC) and educational initiatives at all levels (such as the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program), which the public can learn more about at www.engineeringchallenges.org).

Of the 14 grand challenges of NAE, nine are the most relevant to mitigating circumstances of transportation-related attacks on European, Russian, and American cities and associated man-made disaster recovery: 

#5 Provide access to clean water;

#6 Restore and improve urban infrastructure;

#7 Advance health informatics;

#8 Engineer better medicines;

#9 Reverse-engineer the brain (to better understand the psychology of extreme threats on the social fabric);

#10 Prevent nuclear terror (including smaller delivery mechanism of nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare devices as weapons of mass destruction);

#11 Secure cyberspace;

#12 Enhance virtual reality (for simulations of extreme urban center threats and man-made disaster recovery);

#13 Advance personalized learning (for raising the public’ understanding of science and technology and its tools for people to use when we see something, so we can know best how to say something, or so we can know better how to do something).

Are our geopolitical leaders being blind-sided?

Remarkably, United States, French, German, and NATO intelligence briefs were blindsided by the December 19, 2016 premeditated Lorry attack in #Berlin, by the July 14, 2016 premeditated Lorry attack in #Nice, and by the recent Sunday, January 8, 2017 horrific Lorry attack on soldiers in #Jerusalem, altogether designed as transportation-related weapons of mass destruction to maximized casualties. There were no prior immediate indicators, warnings or online patterns for international intelligence to intervene, counsel and advise local public safety and security authorities on the vulnerabilities of such #Nice and/or #Berlin and #Barcelona “soft-targets.”

Many of us personally feel it is so important that free people internationally are aware of what is already upon us now, and that was remarkably right in front of our face back in October 2010 (seven years ago and nine years after the 911 attacks on the United States). 

Ironically, the Nice, France, Berlin, Germany and Barcelona, Spain attacks were remarkably spelled out online back in October 2010 inside a chilling terrorist communication provided here in the Appendix C via “The Week,” in an individual radicalism of indefensible “lone-wolf” terrorism (aka, Harvard’s Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” actualization of online social media gorilla warfare).

Detailed in the Appendix C are terrorist’s specifics of potential transportation-related terrorism attacks that can disrupt public safety and security internationally and domestically.

Akin to “Run, Hide, Fight” active-shooter online educational tools of public safety and security, this revealing piece in the Appendix serves as an analogous terrorism online educational tool of public safety and security message of “If we know it, we can see it, and then, we can report it and beat it.”

And, “if we see something, then we need to say something” or “if we see something, then we need to do something.”

What was once called “neighborhood watches” now must be called “city watches” and “boarder watches” in the post-911 age of demography shift and heightened engagement amongst terrorists across Europe, Russia, Turkey and America.

What’s going on with Transportation and Threats of Terrorism?

As the French, Germans, Spainards and Americans are left reeling, yet again, by the needless loss of human life, while people are freely participating in holiday celebrations or even protests assemblages (as in Charlottesville, Virginia), the most compelling question and geopolitical issue raised nowadays is what’s going wrong with international intelligence on transportation-related terrorism and international border security across the western world.

“Europe’s open borders are putting Britain’s security at risk, former police chiefs have warned after it emerged that the terrorist behind the Berlin Christmas market attack travelled unhindered through three countries before being killed in Italy,” reports The Telegragh (UK) on December 24, 2016.

Photo Credit: The Sun (UK):“The Berlin truck killer is said to have travelled unchallenged on Europe’s (high-speed) rail network for 72 hours despite his picture being flashed to national police forces and a European Arrest Warrant being issued.”

The Telegragh (UK) adds: “Anis Amri, the most wanted man in Europe, travelled from Berlin to the French Alps and then onto Italy without being stopped at any point on his 1,000 mile journey.”

“Police believe that in the wake of the terror attack Amri travelled from Germany to Chambery in the French Alps (Turin) before taking a high-speed train to Milan.”

Photo Credit: The Sun (UK)

Seismic Geo-political Fallouts in 2016 were shaken by domestic immigration and international border controls 

Nonetheless, the upset #Brexit vote on Thursday, June 23, 2016, and the upset United States election fallout on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, clearly said “enough is enough.” 

An autumn American Election 2016 win for President Donald Trump, rests squarely on the issue of domestic immigration and international broader controls, following a summer shocker victory for #Brexit, stunned the public and the pollsters after most predicted these seismic geo-political forces dead wrong, as Arthur Schlesinger “Cycles of American History” took ahold of geo-political events.

Indeed, these geo-political upsets and fallouts caught U.K. and U.S. officials wrong-footed on public concerns about immigration policies, as well as, international economic and trade policies, ironically as international transportation-related terrorism incidents heat up and death tolls rise.

As these transportation-related terror attacks proceed, ongoing and continuing, future U.S. and International Transport Secretaries and Ministers and future U.S. and International Science and Technology Policy Makers and Ministers will be integrally united to future U.S. and International Security Advisers and future U.S. and International Homeland Security Secretaries and Ministers in ongoing terrorism policy mitigation and abatement along with future man-made disaster recovery.

Appendix A

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Statement on #Berlin Christmas Terror Attack

German chancellor, Angela Markel, under increasing pressure of ‘exposing Germany to the risk of terrorism’ with her ‘too liberal’ approach to accepting refugees, delivered a statement at a Berlin press conference in which she said it would be “difficult for us to learn” that the attacker was a refugee welcomed into the country, following reports the Berlin attacker suspect came to Germany from Afghanistan nearly a year ago.

The German chancellor said on Tuesday, December 20, 2016:

“Twelve people that were amongst us yesterday, who were looking forward to Christmas and had plans for the festive season are no longer amongst us.

It is a terrible deed which one cannot understand. It took their lives. Many people are injured, are fighting for their lives and fighting for their health.

We don’t have any thing for certain but we must assume it was a terrorist attack. It would be very difficult for us to learn that a human being committed this deed who came to Germany to ask for refuge and asylum.

It would be terrible for all of the Germans who are very active, day by day in helping asylum seekers and refugees. It would be repugnant for them, for those that are helping people that have come to this country and asking for our help.”

Appendix B

Transportation-related Causation Linkage Between #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and 911 Terror Attacks.

We all are so stunned and sorrowful for the 13 lives lost and more than 50 people injured in Barcelona, Spain on August 17, 2017, as well as, the 12 lives lost and 50 people injured in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016 by a multi-ton tractor-trailer truck purposely plowed into a crowded Christmas market, as described above.

This traumatic transportation-related event comes upon us 6-12 months after 84 lives lost and the dozens of injuries in Nice, France on July 14, 2016. 

Shockingly thereat, like in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016, a multi-ton tractor-trailer truck pulling up slowly, suddenly slammed at an accelerated high-speed into a very large crowd of panicking people. Hundreds of people were suddenly caught off-guard and shocked by this transportation-related terror attack, while celebrating #BastilleDay (France’s National Independence Day), and watching spectacular fireworks at #Nice, the fifth most populated city in southeastern France on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea at Promenade des Angelais and French Riviera.

At about 10:40 pm (Nice, France local time), a 31-year-old man, acting as a crazed “lone-wolf” truck driver (who was a Nice, French native of Tunisian ethnicity, known to local police for petty theft and mildly violent crimes but not terrorism), deliberately shot people, as the armed “lone wolf” driver zig-zagged a rented multi-ton tractor-trailer (alledgedly carrying toy guns and inactivated grenades) as a weapon of mass destruction through thousands of people for nearly 2 kilometers (about a mile).

Photo Credit: Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, (via, The Telegragh (U.K.), MatrixPictures.co.uk)

NBC News confirmed the #Nice attacker has been identified by Nice’s mayoral office as Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian-born French man. He rented the large tractor trailer a week ago to perform his premeditated act of sheer terror on France’s 14th of July.

Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel, the perpetrator of France’s 14th of July rampage, reportedly was not on any terrorist watch list, as French terrorism investigators continue to establish his motives.

However, most traumatizing transportation-related terror attack in United States history resulted in 2,996 (2,977 victims, 19 hijackers) lives lost and over 6,000 people injured on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 between 8:46 a.m. – 10:28 a.m. ET inside the World Trade Center in New York City (as American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 was deliberately crashed into the upper 30 floors of both 110-story twin-skyscraper towers). Moments later, the Pentagon in (Arlington County) Washington, DC was simultaneously destroyed, killing and injuring hundreds of people, as American Airlines Flight 77 was purposely crashed into the United States military complex. Remarkably at the same time, all lives were lost aboard United Airlines Flight 93 as it was heroically crash in (Stony-brook Township) near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as brave passengers aboard thwarted terrorists attempts to crash the large commercial passenger airliner, as a weapon of mass destruction, into the White House or the United States Capitol. 

For the first time in history, this was a series of four air transportation-related coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda, on the United States, employing the national airspace and air transportation security systems on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

“At 9:42 am, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all civilian aircraft within the continental U.S., and civilian aircraft already in flight were told to land immediately. All international civilian aircraft were either turned back or redirected to airports in Canada or Mexico, and were banned from landing on United States territory for three days,” accounts Wikipedia.

Immediately afterwards, the United States Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence, were the federal government’s organizational response to the transportation-related 911-attacks on the United States.

Appendix C
 

We have been warned of the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin and #Nice Lorry Weapons of Mass Destruction Terror Attacks back in October 2010.

 
CAUTION: The following exerpt language is a blunt education and a steadfast warning and heightened safety and security awareness of what we all across the western world are now facing once again in Barcelona, Spain, in Charlottesville, Virgina USA, in Jerusalem, Israel, in Berlin, Germany and in Nice, France. Our collective sorrows and prayers worldwide goes out to the families, friends and loved ones of the hundreds of victims of the #Barcelona market attack on August 17, 2017,  the #Berlin Christmas market attack on December 19, 2016, the #Nice #BastilleDay attack on July 14, 2016, and the #Jerusalem attack on Sunday, January 8, 2017 (as shown in the photo below taken at the scene), and the most recent #Charlottesville attack (shown below) on American domestic soil on Saturday, August 12, 2017. 
 

These horrific surface transportation-related terrorism acts hit us all hardest straight in our guts.
 
 

“[The second issue of Inspire (2010), an English-language magazine produced by al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, has just hit virtual newsstands. Like its July (2010) predecessor, Inspire’s October (2010) edition offers “chilling tips” on how to kill Americans, though the Associated Press notes a shift from encouraging “easier-to-stop spectacular attacks” to “one-man operations, using everyday objects.”

Here’s a look at five of the most notable stories in this “how-to magazine” for jihadis:

1. How to create “the Ultimate Mowing Machine”

In a section on “Tips for our brothers in the U.S.,” Inspire (October 2010) offers a guide to creating “the ultimate mowing machine” — “not to mow grass, but mow down the enemies of Allah.” Would-be jihadis are instructed to modify a four-wheel-drive pickup truck (“the stronger the better”) by mounting steel blades on the grill, then driving on a crowded sidewalk. “To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can, while still retaining good control.” The magazine notes: “This method has not been used before.”

(Until August 17,  2017 at a public square in Barcelona, Spain, until August 12, 2017 at a public protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, until January 8, 2017 at a public facility in Jerusalem, until July 14, 2016 on #BastilleDay in Nice, France, and recently until December 19, 2016 at a public Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, where two multi-ton tractor trailer trucks, several surface transportation vehicles (instead of four multi-ton aircraft used in the “911 attacks”) were used as weapons of mass destruction in what the terrorists are now celebrating on social media as a “#Nice attack”, which is horrendous. International and domestic safety and security has now been integrally united with international transportation safety and security.)

2. Feature: “I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America”

The man, who apparently produces the magazine, 24-year-old U.S. citizen Samir Khan, tells his story of leaving North Carolina to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in this provocatively titled essay. Khan recounts how he “happily became a traitor to America,” mocks the FBI for letting him escape (“it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I was al Qaeda to the core”), and says he is now “actively aware that body parts have to be torn apart, skulls have to be crushed, and blood has to be spilled” in this holy war. It’s worth noting, says Georgetown University terrorism expert, Paul Pillar, that “Inspire” is probably aimed more at Western media than would-be jihadis.

3. Tip: Shoot up D.C. restaurants at lunchtime

A writer called Yahya Ibrahim urges insurgents who want to use conventional firearms to “choose the best location” for their attacks. “A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C., at lunch hour might end up knocking out a few government employees,” Ibrahim says. “Targeting such employees is paramount and the location would also give the operation additional media attention.” How the mighty have fallen, says Spencer Ackerman in Wired. “Nine years ago, al-Qaeda crashed a plane into the Pentagon and came dangerously close to taking out the White House. Now, it wants to hit places, like Cosí and Potbelly, during the lunch rush.”

4. Advice to U.S. jihadis: Stay home, stay “clean

The “big takeaway” from the magazine, says Christopher Boucek at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is its message of encouragement to lone-wolf jihadis: “You can do it — you can participate in this.” Yahya Ibrahim, in another article, explicitly encourages “our brothers to fight jihad on U.S. soil,” rather than traveling “overseas to join the mujahideen.” He adds: “If you are clean, stay clean … Avoid contact with any jihadi-minded individuals. Do not visit jihadi websites.” So, al-Qaeda is so “desperate to pull something off inside the United States,” says Ackerman in Firedoglake, that instead of offering training, it is urging “the next-generation of terrorists to act like … criminals.”

5. Things aren’t all rosy in al-Qaeda-land

The magazine “seems to confirm that al-Qaeda operations are being hampered by better intelligence and drone attacks on its bases in Pakistan and Yemen,” says Richard Spencer in The Daily Telegraph (UK). One article says “it is no longer possible to operate by the methods of the old model,” since after 911 and “the onset of the American campaigns … the great majority of the existing secret organizations were destroyed.” Actually, “Inspire” and other recent messaging shows AQAP “is still active, that they’re still able to function,” says Boucek. Function, yes, says Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy. But even if it successfully foments one of its “small beer” attacks in the U.S., “al-Qaeda is now following the narrative arc of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’ franchise.” Let’s just hope there’s no “comeback hit.”]”

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Oliver G. McGee III is a teacher, a researcher, an administrator, and an advisor to government, corporations and philanthropy. He is professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University. He was formerly professor of mechanical engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University. Dr. McGee was former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc. He was Professor and former Chair (2001-2005) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science at Ohio State University. 

He is the first African-American to hold a professorship and a departmental chair leadership in the century-and-a-quarter history of Ohio State University’s engineering college, and in the near centennial history of Texas Tech University’s Edward Whitacre Jr. engineering college. Dr. McGee has also held several professorships and research positions at Georgia Tech and MIT.

McGee is the former United States (U.S.) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and former Senior Policy Advisor (1997-1999) in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a NASDAQ certified graduate of UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’s 2013 Director Education and Certification Program, and NYSE Governance Services Guide to Corporate Board Education’s 2003 Directors’ Consortium (on corporate board governance).

McGee is trained at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, possessing two Executive Program Certificates in Public Management (1999):

1. Program for Senior Managers in Government (SMG); 2. Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security (NISM).

McGee is a 2012-13 American Council on Education Fellow at UCLA Office of the Chancellor Gene Block. He is a 2013 University of California Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education (BIHE) graduate. He is also an Executive Leadership Academy Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley Center of Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), Inc. McGee is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Fellow – educational leadership and management development programs for prospective university chancellors and presidents.

Education Background: Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Masters of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace Engineering (Minor), The University of Chicago, Booth School, Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy – Certificate of Fund Raising Management (C.F.R.M.).

Partnership Possibilities for America – Invested in STEEP Giving Forward, founded by McGee in 2010, is based in Washington, DC.

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Aug 242016
 

Tea Party 1

Despite a drop in popularity since its high point in the 2010 midterm elections, the tea party has stood by their policies and hopes to make an impact in the 113th Congress. (Source: GRU)

(Raycom News Network, RNN) – “It’s not surprising the political pendulum has swung back and forth between the two major parties during the past few election cycles.

Democrats had considerable momentum after the 2008 election, but conservatism curtailed that political energy soon after President Barack Obama took his oath of office in 2009.

The “tea party” was at the forefront of this new conservative surge. Supporters of the movement defined it as a “reaction of the American people to fiscally irresponsible actions of the federal government, misguided stimulus spending, bailouts and takeovers of private industry.”

Its prestige on the national stage, along with its candidates, took a hit in 2012. But members still have a focused message as Obama starts his second term and Congress marks its 113th session.

Although the tea party is not an independent political party, many of the movement’s characteristics are based on Republican and Libertarian ideals. Most tea party candidates appear on ballots as Republicans.

“The tea party raises the conversation about smaller, less bureaucratic, and entrepreneurial-minded government,” said Republican commentator and author Oliver McGee. “They simply don’t want the federal government running like the post office.”

McGee is the author of Jumping the Aisle: How I Became a Black Republican in the Age of Obama.

Jumping The Aisle

Dr. Oliver McGee is the author of ‘Jumping the Aisle: How I Became a Republican in the Age of Obama.’

(Source: Oliver McGee)

According to McGee, many of the tea party’s primary goals deal with lower taxes, reduced spending and debt reduction. It has also caused others to focus on their interpretation of certain American rights.

“The Constitutional principles are alive and well, from gun control to states rights to the Grand Old Party principles of low government and low taxes,” McGee said. “More people are carrying the Constitution with them as a result of the tea party movement.”

McGee added the tea party also continues to make national security one of its major legislative interests, supporting legislation that prioritizes a strong national defense.

“This also involves creating a new supply of education capable of managing a strong defense, particularly in the advances of technology, engineering and mathematics,” McGee said.

However, the tea party’s taxation and budgeting goals have met their fair share of opposition.

A number of political action committees and liberal groups have been established to combat tea party goals. One of the most notable during the 2012 election season was Take Down the Tea Party Ten, a campaign spearheaded by CREDO SuperPAC.

“Two years ago, we witnessed the tea party’s rise to power; the disturbing and misguided anger, the assault on the middle class badly masquerading as economic populism, and an alarming anti-woman sentiment that we literally could not believe was being so actively expressed in the year 2012,” Take Down the Tea Party Ten said in a statement.

“We could not let this toxic ideology persist in our Congress. And on election night we dealt it a major blow.”

Another complaint about the tea party is its set of 15 “non-negotiable core beliefs,” a list of bullet points rounding up of the group’s ideologies. Examples include “illegal aliens are here illegally,” “gun ownership is sacred,” and “English as our core language is required.”

Take Down the Tea Party Ten had a simple goal: defeat 10 of the most “dangerous” tea party members of Congress. The group raised almost $3.5 million towards that campaign effort.

Five out of the 10 targeted congressmen were voted out of office on Election Day, including Rep. Alan West (FL-18), Rep. Frank Guinta (NH-1), Rep. Chip Cravaack (MN-8), Rep. Joe Walsh (IL-8) and Rep. Dan Lungren (CA-3).

Take Down the Tea Party Ten was unable to unseat one of its most high-profile targets – Rep. Michelle Bachmann (MN-6). However, she won her bid for reelection against Democrat and hotel executive Jim Graves by slightly more than a percentage point, despite outspending him 12-to-1.

“Bachmann has worked to put Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block, but she and her husband operate a ‘Christian counseling clinic’ that has received more than $137,000 in federal Medicaid funds while practicing controversial and medically unsound ex-gay conversion therapy,” Take Down the Tea Party Ten claimed.

The 10 targeted representatives were considered major players in the group, but the tea party leadership is decentralized.

“The tea party is not necessarily looking for one key leader like [Rep. John] Boehner or Obama,” McGee said. “They have distributive leadership because freedom and independence themselves are decentralized.”

Negative publicity became one of the largest hurdles for the tea party to overcome, as left-leaning super PACs, special interest groups and politicians publicly denounced its politicians’ platforms.

Some members of the tea party had problems communicating their message effectively to the public as well. However, McGee said this is a struggle that many movements have faced.

“What [the tea party] is learning is the power of mass communication,” he said. “America is ultimately about storytelling and how the message is being communicated. And [struggles] always happen when you look at movements.”

Despite the loss of some of its most notable representatives, returning tea party members targeted by the liberal super PAC included Rep. Steve King (IA-4), Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6), Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16), Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-7), and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick(PA-8).

These congressmen, joined by other lawmakers who share the tea party’s ideologies, will likely push for legislation that embodies their values in the 113th Congress.

Several tea party congressmen did not return requests for an interview, including Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-6) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1).”

With permission, Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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Mar 172016
 

 

For Irish parties, pints, and parades on St. Patrick’s Day 2016, Americans spent a staggering $4.4 billion in 2016, down $0.23 billion from $4.63 billion spent in 2015, and which was just slightly less than $4.77 billion shelled out in 2014 by consumers annually on the March 17th early spring festive holiday, according to three years of extensively-researched consumer behavior data compiled by the National Retail Federation, Euromonitor, Irishcentral, Guinness Beer, Nielsen, United States Census Bureau, International Business Times, and The Telegraph (U.K.).

Over the last several years, largely following consumer sentiments about the overall economy, American consumer spending on the Irish holiday generally has steadily climbed from $3.7 billion in 2007, down to $3.64 billion in 2008, falling to $3.29 billion in 2009, turning up to $3.44 billion in 2010, then sharply climbing substantially to $4.14 billion in 2011, increasing further to $4.55 billion in 2012, raising even higher to $4.72 billion in 2013, stretching up to $4.77 billion in 2014, then dropping to 4.63 billion in 2015, until finally falling to this year’s $4.4 billion.

Source: Statista, St. Patrick’s Day 2016 By The Numbers

 

Irish Parties, Pints, and Parades Across America

St. Patrick’s Day 2016 is big business in the United States. About 125 million Americans in 2016 (contrasting 127 million of us in 2015) spent nearly $35.37 on average on Irish celebrations, green beer, and green clothing and decorations.

By comparison, average spending among American party-goers amounted to nearly $4 more at $39.70 per person in 2015 in relation to a dime less at approximately $35.27 per person in 2014.

Nearly $250 million was spent on “plenty-a-pints” of green beer on March 17, 2015, compared to $5 million less at $245 million spent on March 17, 2014.

In fact, consumers around the world have taken down 7.5 million pints of Guinness Beer on average per day in 2016. In contrast, 5.5 million pints of Guinness Beer was consumed daily around the world in 2015.

But, on St. Patrick’s Day 2016 and 2015, consumers worldwide took down nearly twice this average daily intake, amounting to 13 million pints of Guinness Beer, including about 6.5 million Americans celebrating at Irish parties and parades, drinking Guinness green pints, altogether enough to fill 60 percent of The Empire State Building in New York City.

Remarkably, Americans spent about 56.5 percent of food and beverage purchases geared towards celebrating St. Patrick’s Day 2016.

Source: Statista, St. Patrick’s Day 2015 By The Numbers

Moreover, 82.1 percent Americans wore green on St. Patrick’s Day 2016 (this is compared to slightly higher 82.4 percent in 2015, but an even higher 84.2 percent in 2014).

Additionally, 31.3 percent of us for St. Patrick’s Day 2016 prepared an Irish dinner or perhaps dine out for one (in contrast to a huge 40.1 percent in 2015, yet somewhat comparable 34.6 percent in 2014 in relation to our 2016 level).

Many of us about 28.7 percent attended a party at a bar or eatery to celebrate some Irish luck and a pot of gold (compared to 29.2 percent in 2015, which was slightly higher than 27.4 percent in 2014).

About 22.8 percent of Americans decorated our home or workplace in Irish green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in 2016 as well as at the same percentage level in 2015 (noticeably less than 23.3 percent of us who did back in 2014).

Finally, 21.1 percent of Americans attended a private Irish party (compared to 19 percent of us who did in 2015, and somewhat higher at 19.5 percent of us who Irish partied back in 2014).

Source: Statista, St. Patrick’s Day 2014 By The Numbers

Remarkably, about 39.6 million Americans claim Irish heritage – that’s almost 7 times Ireland’s population. In other words, about 54.3 percent Americans have some degree of Irish ancestry, comprising the nation’s diverse social fabric in one small way or another (including my own ancestry). Indeed, five of the most Irish towns in America, according the latest United States Census Bureau data, are Boston, Massachusetts at 20.4 percent; Middlesex County, Massachusetts at 16.9 percent; Peabody, Massachusetts at 15.8 percent; Albany, New York at 15.6 percent; and Syracuse, New York at 15 percent.

Just as much, five of the largest Irish parades annually celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America are: New York City with over 2 million participating; Chicago and Boston each having about a million St. Patrick’s Day marchers and parade watchers; Savannah, Georgia drawing about three-quarters of a million parade goers and participants dressed in green; and Kansas City attracting about 200,000 Irish parade enthusiasts and contributors.

Above all else, painting the Chicago River beautifully green annually for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festivities takes about 25,000 pounds of green dye. 

 

Historical Evolutionary Folklore of St. Patrick’s Day

The 17th Century Feast of Saint Patrick was originally a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland on March 17, known as the death of Saint Patrick (385–461 AD), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The Feast was a communion of the Church of Ireland alongside the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church.

St Patrick’s Day has evolved nowadays into a celebration of the culture and heritage of Ireland, not only in Irish homeland, but also across the Irish diaspora around the world, most notably inside the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Born in Roman Britain in the fourth century into a wealthy family, Saint Patrick’s father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. Saint Patrick’s Declaration, which was allegedly written by Patrick himself at the age of sixteen (whereby 1 in 161 American teens are named Patrick, according to the latest United States Census Bureau), pronounced that he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland, says Wikipedia.

After spending six years there working as a shepherd, Saint Patrick supposedly during this time “found God.” Saint Patrick declared, according to religious legend, that “God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.”

“According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. Saint Patrick then spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted ‘thousands.’ According to legend and custom, Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans,” sourcing Wikipedia.

“Tradition holds that he died on March 17th and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries (since the time of Patrick’s death, believed to be around 385–461 AD), many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.”

Happy St. Patty’s Day America!

 

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Oliver McGeeis an aerospace, mechanical, and civil engineer, and author of seven books on AmazonHe is former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy (1999-2001) in the Clinton Administration, and former senior policy adviser in the Clinton White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-1999).

Follow Oliver on Twitter (@olivermcgee) and Google+.

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Mar 032016
 

boeing_777-200er_smokey

UPDATE: Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Operational Update

March 16, 2016

“A South African citizen reported finding debris, suspected to be from an aircraft, in Mozambique. Arrangements are being made for the debris to be transported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) laboratories in Canberra,” the ATSB said in an operational update, “along with the debris that was found in Mozambique by an American citizen last week.  Both items will be examined by investigators from Australia and Malaysia, as well as specialists from Boeing, to confirm if they come from an aircraft and establish their origin.”

Officials from Malaysia are continuing discussions with French authorities about debris found on La Réunion. 

“Current advice is that it is unlikely to be from an aircraft,” the ATSB says and NBC News confirms.

UPDATE: Meeting To Determine Way Forward For MH370

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Malaysia Ministry of Transport

“Authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China will hold a meeting to determine the next step in the search for missing flight MH370, as the deadline for halting the hunt for the plane approaches, according to a brief press release by the Malaysian Transport Ministry on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, marking the second anniversary of the missing Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, and becoming the greatest mystery in the history of commercial international aviation safety and security.

The Australian-led hunt for wreckage from the flight is expected to finish its high-tech scanning of a designated swathe of sea floor in the remote Indian Ocean by July 2016.

Speaking on the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of the plane, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says “he still holds out hope of finding the Malaysia Airlines aircraft,” which crashed en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, including six Australians.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said today that “a meeting would be held to determine the next step, if the plane is not found by mid-year. So far, only a piece of wing, known as a flaperon, discovered in July last year has been confirmed by authorities to belong to the missing Boeing 777.”

Earlier, Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said “finding the aircraft would give answers to the world, in particular the families of missing loved ones.”

Mr. Najib said the discovery of debris – the flaperon – on the island of Reunion last July 29, 2015 provided further evidence that “flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

Provided in Appendix B is the MAS MH370 Second Interim Statement on the investigation on the second anniversary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, prepared by the Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. Click here for MAS MH370 First Interim Statement and Factual Information.

Video Credit: Joint Center Coordination Agency (JACC). This ‘Search for MH370’ video posted November 17, 2014 aims to explain the activities and complexity of the international search effort to date on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the second anniversary of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, for families affected by the aviation tragedy, and the general public.

UPDATE: MH370: Head Of Search Says Plane Will ‘Very Likely’ Be Found

Monday, March 7, 2016

Malaysia Ministry of Transport

PETALING JAYA: “The Australian official in charge of the two-year search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 says the plane will be found this year, The Guardian reported.

Martin Dolan, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), was quoted as saying that the plane would “very likely” be found in the next four months, as search efforts entered its final phase.

Four ships had scoured more than 85,000 square kilometers of a long but narrow “seventh arc”, totaling 120,000 square kilometers of seafloor.

“We’ve covered nearly three-quarters of the search area, and since we haven’t found the aircraft in those areas, that increases the likelihood that it’s in the areas we haven’t looked at yet,” Dolan told The Guardian.

MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard, mostly Chinese.

It is thought to have crashed after diverting from its course but a huge undersea hunt in the southern Indian Ocean, led by Australia, has so far found no sign of it.

A wing fragment was discovered on an island thousands of kilometers from the search area last July, 29, 2016 and later confirmed to be from MH370, the first proof that the plane went down. Two new pieces of debris have been found in the past week, but it is not yet known if they are from MH370.”

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MH370 Takeoff 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as 9M-MRO

Malaysian Transport Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, says to Reuters there is a “high possibility” that an aluminum-alloy honeycomb or carbon-fibre composite airliner horizontal stabilizer debris of an airliner tail section wing washed ashore on Saturday, February 27, 2016 on the east coast of Africa between Mozambique and Madagascar, near second debris found on the eastern shore of La Réunion Island on Thursday, March 3, 2016, could allegedly be from a Boeing 777 jet, pending further assessment and examination by Australian and United States safety investigators and Boeing engineers. Still, experts remain cautious and unsure until the next few days.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, nonetheless, confirmed in a press release on Wednesday, March 2 that “the Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris would be sent to Australia, but added that it would remain under Malaysian custody.”

THIS JUST IN: A resident on the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion Island, who last year found a “flaperon” part from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, said on Sunday, March 6, 2016 to French news service, AFP, and The Associated Press, “he had come across a second possible piece from the missing plane,” reports The Star, NBC News, Sydney Morning Herald, and The Guardian (U.K.).

Johnny Begue, who found the “flaperon” part, while cleaning a beach on July, 29, 2015, told AFP “he handed over the new suspected object to police immediately” after finding the debris on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

He said “he was out jogging by the eastern sea shore of La Réunion Island, when he found the object measuring about 40 by 20 centimeters (or 15 by 8 inches), which had a blue mark on the surface and was grey underneath.” Begue added: “it was of the same lightweight “honeycomb” construction as the flaperon piece.”

Eastern Shore of La Reunion Island

Photo Credit: Zhang Chuanshi/Xinhua Press/Corbis “Another piece of debris, which could be related to MH370 has been found on the eastern coast of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean,” The Guardian (U.K.) reports.

The flaperon Begue found on July 29, 2015 remains the only piece of debris identified and confirmed as a part of MAS flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER.

Begue said, “he has been combing the island’s shores ever since.”

Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ASTB) Martin Dolan said on Sunday, March 6, Australian safety investigators welcome all debris found by anyone anywhere and that once found should be turned over to authorities immediately for further examination and potential identification and determination as to whether or not any such debris found is in fact a part of the MH370 airliner.

Meanwhile, Montreal Convention mandates any legal tribunal action to claim damages from a commercial airline must be made within two years from the date the aircraft arrived or should have arrived. In the case of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, the Boeing 777-200ER vanished from military radar en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing two years ago on March 8, 2014, carrying 227 passengers and 12 MAS crew aboard. International Business Times reports, “the families of 12 passengers aboard missing MAS flight MH370 filed suits against the carrier on March 4, 2016 in a frantic rush to pursue claims before a [Montreal Convention] two-year deadline for legal action expires.” 

Five defendants, MAS (the now asset-free holding entity), MAB (Malaysia Airlines Berhad, the new “value-based” carrier emerging, which is discussed at the end of this piece), Ketua Pandaran Jabatan, DCA (Department of Civil Aviation), The Royal Malaysia Air Force and the government of Malaysia,” said the lawyer representing the families, Sangeet Kaur Deo.

Sangeet said, “the families were seeking unspecified damages for negligence, breach of contract and breach of statutory duty,” reports International Business Times.

MAB holds that “it has no liability on MH370, since it was set up eight months” after MAS’ Boeing 777-200ER vanish, which has been officially declared as an accident and all lives lost.

Flight MH370 is the only missing Boeing 777 airliner in the world, since the aircraft was launched by Boeing back in 1997, which does feature manufactured carbon-fibre composites and Alcoa-developed aluminum-alloy tail section wing control surfaces to reduced the overall structural weight of Boeing 777 aircraft, which is specifically described in more detail below in this piece.

Photo Credit: AFP, NBC, University of Western Australia/JACC/ATSB/Malaysia Airlines/Boeing/Australian Government/Imarsat

Malaysian transport investigators, working alongside United States aviation safety officials and Boeing engineers on Wednesday, March 2, have examined online photos of the debris and they have suggested the possibility that it is an aluminum-alloy honeycomb or carbon-fibre composite jet horizontal stabilizer perhaps from a Boeing 777 airliner’s tail section wing, reports NBC News and The Telegraph (U.K.).

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said to The Associated Press on Thursday, March 3, “the location of the debris in Mozambique matches investigators’ drift modeling and would therefore confirm that search crews are looking in the right part of the Indian Ocean for the main underwater wreckage.” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also said “the location of the debris lines up with investigators’ predictions.”

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson

Photos of the debris appear to show a jet part (shown above) “made of fiberglass composite on the outside, with aluminum honeycombing on the inside,” a U.S. official has said to The Associated Press, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, reports Fox News, and the part also “appears to show the fixed leading edge of the right-hand tail section of a Boeing 777.” 

The new Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris found has markings “NO STEP,” which has prompted experts to speculate it could be from a Boeing 777’s horizontal stabilizer, allegedly attached to the tail section wing of the missing MH370 airliner, particularly given the close proximity in which this new debris was found in relation to a barnacle-encrusted flaperon wreckage of MH370 washed ashore off La Réunion Island last year on July 29, 2015.

Photo Credit: NBC News

However, Mr. Lai added “it is yet to be confirmed and verified” that the new Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris was from Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370, missing now for two years next Tuesday, March 8, 2016, while it was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that ill-fated early morning when it suddenly vanishes from military radar and satellite in space. Carrying 239 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew on board, the Boeing 777-200ER is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia near Perth, and about 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) to the east of Mozambique.

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson

Is the Mozambique Debris from MH370?

At the moment, experts remain cautious and officials are unsure the part is from missing flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, largely because three large jets are known to have crashed in the past off the east coast of Africa between Mozambique and Madagascar near La Réunion Island.

According to the Australian News Service, “the object, believed to be from the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft, was found by American blogger Blaine Gibson (shown above), 58-year-old lawyer from Seattle, who is conducting a private investigation into the plane’s disappearance.”

“Mr. Gibson, according to the Australian news service, upon discovering debris on Saturday, February 27, 2016, “had invited a handful of investigators to privately view images of the part on his Facebook page over the weekend, but news of the find only became public overnight,” Gibson said in an interview with The Associated Press. Gibson added: “he had wanted no publicity about his discovery until after the piece was assessed by investigators, but that news of the finding leaked.”

“The part, which has been described as a “fibre glass skin aluminum honeycomb cored panel” with no identifying features other than the printed words ‘NO STEP’,” a marking typically seen near the exit door of a commercial jet wing.

The consensus of MH370’s Independent Group (IG), including Dr. Victor Iannello (U.S.), Mike Exner (U.S.) and Don Thompson (Ireland), appears to be that it is unlikely that the Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris found came from the missing MH370 Boeing 777.

“The found item is an aluminum honeycomb panel and, as such, is not a construction that is consistent with composite components employed on a B777,” MH370 IG member Don Thompson (Ireland) posted to Reddit.

“Neither did it look like it had been in the ocean for two years, or even lying on a sandbar where allegedly found as there was no sign of sand filling the honeycomb structure.”

“I was struck by the condition of the part,” another MH370 IG member, Dr. Victor Iannello (U.S.), wrote.

”It had no barnacles, little or no algae, and no water line. The condition of the part was nothing like the flaperon that was recovered. As (Don Thompson) said, the construction is composite skin with aluminum honeycomb core, which leads me to believe it is not from a B777.”

Dr. Iannello added: “I have not been able to identify a part on the B777 of similar construction, but I don’t have access to all the drawings of a B777, so I can’t say for certain that it is not from a B777.”

Carbon-Fibre Composites and Alumimum-Alloy Structural Design of Boeing 777 Aircraft

To fill in more specific technical structural specification to MH370’s Independent Group speculation on the Mozambique debris, let’s consider the following details to shed further light on the mystery debris find, acknowledging my consultation of longstanding civil aviation expert, Philip Birtles’ finely illustrated reference treatise on the Boeing 777.

Carbon-fibre composites and Alcoa-developed aluminum-alloy tail section wing control surfaces reduces the overall structural weight of Boeing 777 aircraft.

Only about ten percent of a Boeing 777 airliner structure is non-metallic, namely composites largely in the tail surfaces and the wing trailing edge control stabilizing surfaces, flaperons, spoilers, fixed wing leading edges, engine nacelles, wing to fuselage fairings, and main undercarriage doors.

The major portion of the Boeing 777’s primary structure is manufactured using composites in the tail assembly. The main assembly box of the fin is a carbon-fibre-reinforced structure, consisting of front and rear spars and ribs. The fin skin panels are also made from carbon-fibre composites.

The main and front spars are manufactured using carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic with only the rear auxiliary spar manufactured using aluminum. The all-important rudder, containing a pair of spars and ribs, are constructed from carbon-fibre composites covered by carbon-fibre epoxy sandwich skins.

Only the small dorsal din is typically manufactured from aluminum frames and skins. Use of composites on the Boeing 777 is intended to save about 2,595 pounds (or 1,180 kilograms) of structural weight.

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson/NBC News

In addition to this, an advanced lightweight aluminum lithium alloy material is used to construct the primary structure of a Boeing 777, which includes the front and rear spars, upper and lower spar chords, webs, skin panels, stringers and ribs of the airliners’ overall structural design.

More specifically, an Alcoa-developed aluminum alloy, 7155T77, is typically employed for construction of the upper wing skin for enhanced compression load capacity. The Alcoa aluminum alloy is also used to construct the upper wing stringer systems to stiffen the skin panels.

In similar fashion, the lower wing skins are typically manufactured using a 2,000 series aluminum alloy best designed to carry higher tension loads on the Boeing 777 wings.

Use of advanced lightweight aluminum lithium alloy is intended to save an additional 3,190 pounds (or 1,450 kilograms) of weight of the airliner.

Speculatively speaking, it appears that the Mozambique debris has breakage of the metal around fasteners on the aluminum-alloy honeycomb construction, but this isn’t quite enough just yet to definitive conclude the debris is a Boeing 777 wing or tail stabilizer.

MH370 Debris Image 4

What’s in the Oceanography Science Supporting the La Réunion Island and Alleged Mozambique MH370 Debris Finds?

Fox News says, “authorities have long predicted that any debris from the plane that isn’t on the [southern Indian] ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.”

“The possibility of debris washing up on La Réunion island [and now nearby Mozambique] is a scientific possibility. Although the currents today are significantly different to those seen 16 months ago, the Indian Ocean Gyre could move debris from the southern Indian Ocean in a counterclockwise direction towards Africa, spitting it out near the island of Reunion [and now nearby Mozambique],” Mashable reported back in early-August 2015.

On whether it was possible for either a flaperon or tail section wing horizontal stabilizer to have floated on oceanic water for over 4,000-6,000 kilometers before ending up on La Réunion Island [and now nearby Mozambique], Zaaim Redha said it was plausible based on sea current modeling by oceanography experts.

“Going by how the earth rotates, it’s highly possible that the piece of debris could have floated (over a long distance), because the ocean current can be really powerful.”

Australian oceanic science investigators of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 that the Boeing 777-200ER flaperon discovery “matches with predictions from updated debris flow computer models.”

“Their drift model computer simulation was run from March 8, 2014 to July 30, 2015, to see if the flaperon could have drifted to La Réunion [and now nearby Mozambique] from the search zone somewhere along the 7th arc.”

The debris flow modeling below does show consistency with the 7th arc theory established by the British satellite firm, Inmarsat, which has and will further assist investigators in making adjustments to their current search area as the hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues.

Photo Credit (via Mashable), Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Bottom line in MH370 Search: Good facts, good law of scientific plausibility; Bad facts, bad law of scientific plausibility.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport has published a 47-page article, containing hundreds of lines of communication logs between the jetliner and the British company Inmarsat’s satellite system, and detailing how the U.K. firm Inmarsat helped to pinpoint the southern corridor flight path taken by MH370. 

The 47-page article reports that Inmarsat informed Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport on March 13, 2014 that routine automatic communications between the Inmarsat satellite and MH370 could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) then presented Inmarsat’s findings on March 24, 2014, indicating the southern corridor as the most likely flight path of MH370.

Based on the analysis of data communicated to the ground station by the Inmarsat satellite moments before the Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s oceanic crash, investigators concluded that the flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean. 

Be that as it may, a nearly $150 million dollar search lead by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) initially covered 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles) of sea floor before being subsequently extended to another 60,000 square kilometers, a deep sea search area expected to be completed by July 2016.

French, Australian and Malaysian officials have confirmed in mid-August 2015 only a barnacle-encrusted flaperon wreckage debris (shown below) coming from the missing MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER has been found on the shore of La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of Africa at Madagascar on July 29, 2015.

Shortly thereafter, on August 5, 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, upon affirming that the maintenance record seal on the flaperon provided the definitive proof, announced the debris found on La Réunion is from MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER. He said,

“An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370. We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” — Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 5, 2015

Following the above announcement, Malaysia Airlines stated in a press release: “We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found, which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson/NBC News

So far, search teams have scoured more than 80 percent of the priority “hot-spot” search of the southern Indian Ocean sea bed in the area, where MH370 is predicted to reside.

As the full French report has yet to be released, persistent open questions remain surrounding the search for MH370, now including radar anomalies, as the ATSB’s latest “hot-spot” search analysis has so far found no wreckage of the missing airliner hull at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia near Perth. If no trace of any new evidence of the jet has been found in the latest “hot-spot” area, the ASTB and Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) have announced they expect to continue its search for MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER until July 2016.

Members of the respected MH370 Independent Group, working with ATSB officials, say in contraction to the French and Malaysian officials, “damage to the flaperon will allow us to estimate the speed and angle at which the plane entered the water and whether or not it was controlled by a pilot as it descended. The barnacle species and its level of growth may provide a more precise ‘splash-point’,” reports the Australian News Service.

Several questions in particular raised by MH370’s Independent Group stand out, regarding the aircraft forensics of the La Réunion Island flaperon:

  • “Has the barnacle species attached to the flaperon been definitively determined? What is the habitat for this species? Is it consistent with a part that has drifted from the southern Indian Ocean to La Réunion Island?”
  • “What does the failure analysis reveal regarding how the flaperon became separated from the wing and how it sustained the damage to its trailing edge?”

Official findings of Malaysia are highly anticipated inside its United Nations (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandated MH370 progress report, due out next week timed upon MH370’s Second Anniversary on Tuesday March 8, 2016.

Voice 370, a group representing MH370’s ‘next-of-kin’, issued a statement accusing the Malaysian government of denying them “existing rights in law, including also access to justice mechanisms, for the benefit of a private business, namely Malaysian Airlines System Berhad (MAS).”

“The egregious behavior of the Malaysian government has gone mostly unnoticed by the world press, but it deserves to be highlighted, investigated and broadcast far and wide,” Sarah Bajc, the partner of American MH370 passenger Philip Wood, said in an email accompanying the statement.

“After almost two years we still know nothing concrete about what happened to MH370, though we are SURE there is information that has been withheld. Besides the terrible crimes of negligence and obstruction, for allowing the plane to disappear, then impeding the investigation of the disappearance of 239 people, the Malaysian government has also prevented the pursuit of reparations by affected families,” Bajc added.

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

MH370 Search Continues Along the ATSB’s Priority “Hot-Spot” in the Southern Indian Ocean

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from military radar early morning on March 8, 2014 en-route to Beijing International Airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 227 passengers and 12 MAS crew members, becoming the greatest mystery in the history of commercial international aviation safety and security for two years on March 8, 2016.

Australian investigators of the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC), and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) coordinates a massive undertaking of several huge sea vessels (shown below) scouring the southern Indian Ocean floor for the missing airliner, resting therein, ATSB and JACC officials confidently believe. 

Malaysia Missing Plane

Australian authorities, including deputy prime minister Warren Truss (shown below) speaking to reporters in Canberra, Australia on Thursday, December 3, 2015, confirmed two new search vessels had arrived in the “hot-spot” search area. 

Photo Credit: ATSB/JACC

Three-quarters of a “hot spot” search area that is within the well-known “priority search area” (shown above) has been scoured during November coming into December, deputy prime minister Warren Truss (shown above) says to numerous media outlets now widely reporting.

The ATSB and JACC have confirmed this new ‘Gentle Landing‘ analysis exist, but says “the highest probability” that the Boeing 777-200ER will be found within a 700 square kilometer “hot-spot” inside the “priority search area”, comprising a 120,000 square kilometer arc in the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia at Perth, nonetheless, is not explicitly supported by evidence of a “controlled ditching scenario” the ATSB discusses in a December 3, 2015 report that describes in detail the “hot-spot” as “an arc running southwest, roughly 700 square kilometers,” The Guardian (U.K.) reports.

According to the ATSB report, investigators of the Australian Defense Science and Technology (DST) Group have penned an upcoming Springer-Verlag book entitled, “Bayesian methods in the search for MH370,” detailing their complete analysis in establishing the 700 square kilometer “hot-spot” search area.

Photo Credit: ATSB/JACC

mystery_mh370_header

Specifically, “a probability density function (PDF) defines the probable location of the aircraft’s crossing of the 6th arc models of the British firm Inmarsat satellite communications data and a model of aircraft dynamics. These results were then extrapolated to the Inmarsat-based 7th arc (at 08:19 (24:19 GMT) shown below along with all seven time signatures handshakes from the Inmarsat satellite on the early morning of March 8, 2014). The analysis indicated that the majority of solutions only contained one significant turn after the last recorded radar data,” the ATSB report summarizes, which is “inconsistent with a controlled ditching scenario,” the agency argues.

Seventh Arc Google Globe Map

Photo Credit: Inmarsat, Boeing, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

The bureau said that “a controlled ditching scenario requires engine thrust to properly control the direction and vertical speed at touchdown and to provide hydraulic power for the flight controls including the flaps.”

MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER flew early morning March 8, 2014 for 7 hours and 38 minutes, as “fuel exhaustion was probable,” ATSB concludes.

“It is likely that the right engine flamed out first followed by the left engine,” ATSB said in the report, adding that the left engine “could have continued to run for up to 15 minutes after the right engine flamed out.”

Still, a ‘Gentle Landing‘ hypothesis of some experts allegedly supports a scenario that the massive Boeing 777-200ER rests on the deep sea floor of the Indian Ocean largely intact.

Else, where are the numerous floatable devices washing ashore from a lone broken-apart Boeing 777-200ER airliner hull resting on the deep sea oceanic floor known to exist worldwide?

Led by former head of the Australian defense and retired Air Force Chief Marshal, Sir Angus Houston, the over $150 million dollar international search effort has involved more than two dozen countries contributing planes, ships, submarines, satellites, Bayesian probabilistic search methodologies, oceanic current and debris drift models (shown below), and aircraft forensics of barnacle-encrusted flaperon debris.

Photo Credit: CBS News/NASA/Australia Maritime Safety Authority

As confidence now runs high on the probability of finding the Boeing 777-200ER wreckage laying in the “hot-spot” search area of the southern Indian Ocean floor, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China has provided 20 million Australian dollars of additional funds to complete the MH370 search.

Malaysia Airlines Downsizes From B777 Long-Haul to B737 Short-Haul Carrier in MH370/MH17 Dual-Crisis Aftermath

The last Boeing 777, performing as a Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) flight, took off Monday, January 25, 2016 at noon (local time) from Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur. This marked an end of four decades of this signature scheduled flight in the Southeast Asia region operated by the Malaysian flag carrier. This also was an end to 19 years of service for the carriers original fleet of 15 Boeing 777-200ER airliners before the loss of two from the 2014 dual-crises of the missing MH370 aviation tragedy on March 8, 2014 and the shot-down MH17 aviation disaster on July 17, 2014.

Also at noon Monday, January 25, 2016, another Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Boeing 777-200ER flew into Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Guangzhou in China. As the new Malaysian flag carrier maintains this flight schedule, the Boeing 777-200ER airliner “is being downsized to a Boeing 737-800 – a predominantly short-haul jet with about half the capacity,” reports The Independent (U.K.) on Monday.

As a new “value-based” air carrier, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) aims for profitability by 2018 in the lucrative southeast Asia air travel market in the next 5-10 years, according to Boeing-Airbus international airline industry projections. MAB’s downsizing towards profitability is a focus of this section, as we also say so-long here to MAB’s fallen MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO and also goodbye to the Grand-Ole Lady of MAB — its two-decade cash-producer, formerly 15 Boeing 777-200 large-capacity passenger airliner fleet.

Turning back to civil aviation historian Philip Birtles (1998), “in early 1996 Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) ordered a total of 15 B777s, including five of the stretched B777-300s, with options on two more B777s and a commitment to acquire 35 further aircraft as required. The first MAS B777 – designated B777-2H6 – was WA064, Registration #9M-MRA, and made its first flight on March 26, 1997 [nearly seventeen years prior to MH370’s ill-fated early morning on March 8, 2014]. On delivery flight this aircraft broke the great circle distance record, when it flew non-stop from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, a distance of 12,457 miles (or 20,044 kilometers). The opportunity was then taken to continue around the world, back to Seattle, beating the eastward round-the-world record with an average speed of 553 miles per hour (or 889 kilometers per hour), covering the 23,210 miles (37,345 kilometers) in a time of 41 hours, 59 minutes.”

Four months after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER international search initially commenced, another Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 was shot down. According to a final report, flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, in which 283 passengers and 15 crew members died on board. 

The October 12, 2015 MH17 crash final report by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) of The Netherlands, headed by Chairman Tjibbe Joustra, followed a previously released preliminary MH17 investigation report on September 9, 2014, sketching out the causes of the aviation disaster that has impacted Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).

Video Credit: about the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation into the causes of the crash of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine and the Board’s investigation into flying over conflict zones. The video was based on the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation reports, which were published on October 12, 2015.

DSB chairman Joustra said the warhead that downed MH17 fits the profile of a Russian-built automatic computerized Buk ground-to-air missile. However, Russian officials who participated in the investigation said “it was not possible to confirm the warhead or type of system,” according to Joustra (via CNN).

The new air carrier has been operational, since September 1, 2015, with a new RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion) business model and management team, led by Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS) and CEO-Designate of the new “value-based” airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), aiming for profitability estimated by 2018 (which is briefly reviewed now as one says goodbye to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Boeing 777 fleet here).

Malaysia Airlines Logos 333

Execution of a New Competitive Business Plan

By way of background, Malaysia Airlines on Thursday, August 28, 2014, released a new business plan, asking for nearly 6,000 staff cuts, curtailed long-haul routes, and a US$1.66 billion dollar restructuring strategy, as it reported a 75 percent wider loss in April-June 2014 second-quarter earnings, as operations further stalled from passenger bookings continuing to slide in response to the air carrier’s dual-crisis from the loss of 537 souls on board MH370’s aviation tragedy and MH17’s aviation disaster in the past nearly 15 months.

The April-June 2014 second-quarter earnings reflected the impact of the MH370 aviation tragedy on the Malaysia air carrier’s income and cash financials. Malaysia Airlines further forecasted poor second-half earnings, signaling the air carrier’s “average weekly bookings had declined 33 percent, with numerous flight cancellations immediately after the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 17, 2014,” reports Reuters and the New York Times.

On Friday, August 29, 2014, Malaysian officials and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth investment company, Khazanah Nasional, announced that top-level management for the Malaysian flag carrier would then remain in place, whereupon later a significant shakeup of the senior management was put in place. 

The Malaysian cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 approved the air carrier’s business restructuring plan, which also called for focusing the airline’s core southeast Asia regional routes, while retaining a number of its historically profitable international flights to China and Australia to help feed traffic to its routes pulling in and out of its hub at Kuala Lumpur, a person familiar with the plan said on Thursday, August 28, 2014 to the Financial Times.

The flag-carrier’s workforce transition follows as Malaysia Airlines at the end of April 2015, supposedly in reconsiderations of its business assets, has offered for sale or lease all six of its Airbus A380s, its two Boeing 747-400Fs, four Airbus A330-200Fs, and four Boeing 777-200ERs (then at that time leaving just only nine such Boeing airliners assets (now retired as of Monday, January 25, 2016 and downsized to Boeing 737-800 short-haul airliners) – excluding the loss of the MH370 and MH17 Boeing 777-200ERs – among the Malaysian national air carrier’s fleet), reports respected aviation industry site Leeham News, as the flag-carrier seeks to restructure its daily operational losses that reach as high as US$1.6 million in the first half of 2014. Leeham News’ Scott Hamilton says liquidating the freight airliner fleet – encompassing two Boeing 747-400Fs and four Airbus A330-200Fs – essentially “wipes out MASCargo (Malaysia Airlines Cargo).”

Prompted by inquiries from Australian Business Traveller, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement saying the airline “is currently still working to finalize the Business Plan. Exploring fleet options to enhance viability of long-haul sectors is one area being looked into.”

However, the airline “refused to confirm or deny that it plans to sell or lease any Airbus A380s” (shown below).

Incoming Malaysia Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller has added “recent speculations on the airline offering some of its fleet for sale or lease is too premature, when nothing concrete has been achieved.”

Mr Mueller has recruited a former easyJet and Flybe executive, Paul Simmons, as Chief Commercial Officer, The Independent (U.K.) reports.

Malcolm Ginsberg, Editor of Business Travel News, said to The Independent (U.K): “People have short memories. If the management can be allowed to manage, then Air Asia and Singapore Airlines might quickly find they have real competition on their hands.”

I made a similar southeast Asia airline industry competitive strategy assessment as Mr. Ginsberg several years back on August 30, 2014, appearing on Al Jazeera English, Inside Story, asking “Malaysia Airlines: Can It Survive?” 

“Malaysia Airlines needs to operate and utilize its fleet at an optimum level besides maximizing revenue on the route it flies. The market needs to give Malaysia Airlines room to explore various options in determining the most viable strategy,” Mueller counsels.

Why, because managing airlines and airplanes is big global business.

MAS, emerging into the new company MAB, is swimming through deep sea waters of crisis management recovery in partnership as a government, a sovereign wealth fund, and a global business enterprise. Mueller and the MAB senior leadership is expecting escalating hyper-competitive strategic engagement among airlines operating in the southeast Asia region.

And, the MAB team is preparing for heightened market and operational risks, and even some innovation risks, particularly in the areas of flight routes management, workforce transition and redevelopment, pilot training and certification, aviation safety and security regulatory oversight, crash investigation and crisis management expertise, fleet assets utilization, and customer experience and brand loyalty outreach and engagement, rapidly emerging in the coming 5-10 years among the airline industry players in the southeast Asia commercial passenger air travel marketplace.

The Malaysian air carrier said the MH17 aviation disaster halted “all the hard work and effort” to regain market confidence the top-level crisis management team had put in place upon the onset of the missing MH370 aviation tragedy still ongoing. The dual-crisis has been devastating to the flag carrier’s business, as passenger loads in the first half of 2014 dropped from over 80 percent to 74 percent, although good recovery of passenger loads has been achieved in 2015. Meanwhile, in the first half of 2014 moving into 2015, the air carrier’s operating expenses rose 2 percent on higher fuel costs, maintenance costs, and labor costs. However, substantial staff cuts from about 19,000 to around 13,000 has considerably dropped the flag carrier’s fixed operating costs, which makes profitability more easily reachable in the near future, perhaps even aggressively by 2018.

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

However, the flag-carrier’s restructuring steps have been slowed, most likely from favorably lower oil prices in the last half of 2014 going well into 2015, which have provided some relief of the air carrier’s daily cash burn and direct operating expenses.

Maybank aviation analyst Mohshin Aziz recently expressed concerns to CNN Money about this relief in the face of advancing through the last half of 2014 the overall restructuring of Malaysia Airlines. Aziz believes “there are few signs yet that Kazanah is following through on the hard decisions. And, there may be one simple reason for that: the plunging price of oil.”

“Oil prices have just about halved and right now just about every route is making money. The momentum on the need to reform in a great hurry is definitely not there anymore,” said Aziz.

What is generally known by experts about the airline business, nonetheless – it’s a five days of working cash business.

The air carrier lost US$360 million last year in 2013, amounting to three times its losses in 2011, and the flag-carrier lost $260 million, burning nearly US$2.16 million in cash a day in the first half of 2014, while at the same time losing US$1.6 million a day in its operations.

“The company hadn’t turned a profit since 2008, and in the three years to 2013, cumulative losses totaled US$1.3 billion,” CNN Money confirms.

Malaysia Airlines has been losing nearly one million dollars a day well before the MH370 and MH17 aviation crises hit the ailing firm. The Malaysian government has been significantly subsidizing the air carrier to keep it afloat.

Historically, the Malaysian air carrier has been one of Southeast Asia’s safest and most secured airlines. However, escalated competitive rival forces in the region have put a squeeze play on financials and 2-5-year market declines of Malaysian Airline Systems BHD securities

The company has not made an annual profit since 2010. Unfortunately, the firm became trapped in the 1990s between high-end premium Singapore Airlines, and low-cost entrepreneurial Asian air carriers. like AirAsia, and its long-haul business, AirAsia X, both having hubs operating from inside Malaysia.

Shares in Malaysian Airline Systems BHD fell sharply right after the first moments of the MH17 aviation disaster, down 11% on July 17 by the mid-day break in volume trading in Kuala Lumpur, as already negative investor sentiment deepened, acknowledged CBCNews.

In all, unadjusted stock price has dropped by 35 percent during 2014. In fact, Malaysia Airline’s unadjusted stock price has fallen more than 36 percent, since August 2013.

Since the disappearance of MH370, the stock price has continued to slide sharply. 

Moments after the MH17 aviation disaster occur on July 17, 2014 Malaysia Airlines stock fell a dramatic 13 percent in just moments of trading on the Malaysian stock market. 

Continuing to strategically restructure past the 2014 dual aviation safety and security crisis of MH370/MH17, and to settle the flag carrier’s legal liabilities, the new “value-based” airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), aims for profitability estimated by 2018, says Mr. Mueller.

Boeing 777 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

Liow: MH370 families advised to file their claims under Montreal Convention before March 8

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 was officially declared on Thursday, January 29, 2015, an accident and all lives presumed lost on the southern Indian Ocean floor, authorities said, after history’s largest and costliest oceanic airliner search for nearly eleven months as of Monday, February 9, 2015. Officially, this cleared the way last year for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to pay compensation to victims’ relatives, while the search for the massive Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues, reports Reuters.

“We officially declare Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 an accident … and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement.

“The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization,” said the Malaysian DCA director-general. “It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation,” he said.

In a Malaysia Ministry of Transport statement (shown full below), Transport Minister Liong Tong Lai cautioned, “as we approach the second anniversary of this unfortunate [flight MH370] event, I have been informed by Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) that less than 60 compensation claims have been settled in relation to the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the flight, whereas to date, 169 families have commenced final compensation process.”

The next-of-kin remain considerably concerned about the status of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) assets and operations transferred to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) under the restructuring plan reviewed above.

“Multiple suits have been filed in the United States, Australian and Malaysian courts in the past few weeks and more are expected, as the two-year deadline [on Tuesday, March 8, 2016] approaches,” according to International Business Times adding, “International convention states that families are automatically eligible for around £113,000 ($160,000) in compensation per passenger.”

Malaysia Airlines (MAS), as the national flag-carrier, last year reached an “out-of-court” settlement of the first legal claim by the family of a gentleman, who was a passenger on flight MH370, a lawyer handling the claim said to the French press service, AFP, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

Jee Jing Hang, an online web-based business owner, was one of 227 passengers and 12 Malaysia Airlines (MAS) crew aboard. In October 2014, Mr Hang’s family brought a lawsuit, benefitting his two living sons, aged 11 and 14 when the lawsuit was filed, against Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and the Malaysian government, including its Department of Civil Aviation and Department of Immigration, and the Royal Malaysia Air Force Chief, agencies altogether involved in investigating the missing MH370 flight. The premise of the plaintiff’s lawsuit argued “for negligence and breach of contract,” against the air carrier, as it “failed to bring its passengers to its destination,” according to AFP.

“The court was informed that all the parties in the suit had come to an amicable settlement,” Gary Edward Chong, a lawyer for Mr Hang’s family told AFP, of which “terms of the settlement could not be disclosed.”

Liow-Tiong-Lai-MOT-Transport-Minister-Ministry-of-Transport 2

APPENDIX A

MEDIA STATEMENT

YB DATO’ SRI LIOW TIONG LAI, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, MALAYSIA

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT (MOT), PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA

Friday, March 4 2016

Liow: MH370 families advised to file their claims under Montreal Convention before March 8

“It has undoubtedly been a difficult and trying twenty-four months for the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

As we approach the second anniversary of this unfortunate event, I have been informed by Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) that less than 60 compensation claims have been settled in relation to the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the flight, whereas to date, 169 families have commenced final compensation process.

With regard to the passengers of MH370, according to Article 35 of the 1999 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention), the right to damages against MAS shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived in Beijing, that is on 8 March 2014.

Therefore, as previously stated by MAS, the limitation period under the Montreal Convention ends on 8 March 2016. This right to claim damages under the Montreal Convention is available to the families and next-of-kin of the passengers of MH370.

Hence, I urge all the families and next-of-kin, regardless of nationality, to file their claims under the Montreal Convention against MAS by March 8, 2016 to preserve their legal rights as provided under the Convention.

The Government of Malaysia remains ever conscious that the families and next-of-kin of the passengers and crew of MH370 need to be accorded their legitimate rights as provided under the relevant international instruments and domestic laws.”

APPENDIX B

Second Interim Statements on MH370 Safety Investigation

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Provided below is the MAS Flight MH370 Second Interim Statement (Footnote 1) on the investigation on the second anniversary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, prepared by the Malaysian ICAO (Footnote 2) Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. Click here for MAS Flight MH370 First Interim Statement and Factual Information.

“1. This 2nd Interim Statement1 has been prepared under Chapter 6, paragraph 6 of ICAO2 Annex 13 to provide information on the progress of the investigation on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as 9M-MRO, pending the completion of the Final Report as required under ICAO Annex 13. A Final Report will be completed in the event wreckage of the aircraft is located or the search for the wreckage is terminated, whichever is the earlier.

2. The Beijing-bound international scheduled passenger flight, with a total of 239 persons (227 passengers and 12 crew) on board, departed KL International Airport (KLIA) at 1642 UTC on 07 March 2014 [0042 MYT on 08 March 2014]. Less than 40 minutes after take-off, radar contact with the aircraft was lost after passing waypoint (Footnote 3) IGARI.

3. As a Contracting State of ICAO and in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, and under Regulation 126(1) (Footnote 4) of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 (MCAR), on 25 April 2014, Malaysia established an independent international Air Accident Investigation Team, known as ‘The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370’ (the “Team”) to investigate the disappearance of flight MH370. The Team, headed by the Investigator-in-Charge, comprises 19 Malaysians and 7 Accredited Representatives of 7 safety investigation authorities (Footnote 5) from 7 countries.

4. On 08 March 2015, the 1 st Interim Statement and the Factual Information on the Safety Investigation for MH370 were released (Footnote 6) to the public on the first anniversary of the disappearance of MH370.

5. To-date, the MH370 wreckage has still not been found despite the continuing search in the South Indian Ocean. However, a flaperon was recovered in the French island of Réunion on 29 July 2015 and was determined to have been a part of the MH370 aircraft.

6. At this time, the Team is continuing to work towards finalizing its analysis, findings/conclusions and safety recommendations on eight relevant areas associated with the disappearance of flight MH370 based on available information. New information that may become available before the completion of the Final Report may alter these analysis, findings/ conclusions and safety recommendations.

7. The eight areas being reviewed by the Team are as follows:

  1. Diversion from Filed Flight Plan Route;
  2. Air Traffic Services Operations;
  3. Flight Crew Profile;
  4. Airworthiness & Maintenance and Aircraft Systems;
  5. Satellite Communications;
  6. Wreckage and Impact Information (following the recovery and verification of a flaperon from the aircraft);
  7. Organization and Management Information of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Malaysia and MAS; and
  8. Aircraft Cargo Consignment.

The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370″

“Footnote 1 If the report cannot be made publicly available within twelve months, the State conducting the investigation shall make an interim statement publicly available on each anniversary of the occurrence, detailing the progress of the investigation and any safety issues raised.
Footnote 2 ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. Today, there are 191 Contracting States in ICAO.
Footnote 3 Waypoint – A specified geographical location used to define an area navigation route or the flight path of an aircraft employing area navigation. Waypoints are identified as either: Fly-by waypoint – A fly-by waypoint requires the use of turn anticipation to avoid overshoot of the next flight segment; or Fly-over waypoint – A flyover waypoint precludes any turn until the waypoint is overflown and is followed by an intercept maneuver of the next flight segment.
Footnote 4 For the purpose of carrying out an investigation into the circumstances and cause of any accident to which these Regulations apply, the Minister shall appoint persons as Inspectors of Air Accidents, one of whom shall be appointed by him as a Chief Inspector of Air Accidents.
Footnote 5 Air Accident and Incident Investigation Organizations:
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) of Australia,
  • Civil Aviation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CAAC),
  • Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité d l’aviation civile (BEA) of France,
  • National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) of Indonesia,
  • Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of Singapore,
  • Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of United Kingdom, and
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of United States of America.
Footnote 6 The 1st Interim Statement and the Factual Information remain available on the MH370 Safety Investigation websites of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC): “
  • http://mh370.mot.gov.my
  • http://www.mh370.gov.my  

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Feb 142016
 

Ever wonder just how you are spending this record amount on Valentines for the love of your life? Some would say just “show me da money.”

When it comes to Valentine’s Day spending, American consumers break records around the world. According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 54.8 percent of American consumers spent for Valentine’s Day 2016, an average of $146.84 on flowers, jewelry, candy, apparel and more, pushing beyond last year’s average threshold of $142.31 spent by American consumers in 2015, said Sweetworks and the National Retail Federation in Washington, DC.

The National Retail Federation’s 2016 Valentine’s Day spending survey is “designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends” surrounding Valentine’s Day. Prosper Insights and Analytics “delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources,” according to the data analytics firm.

“As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues.”

The National Retail Federation – Prosper Insights and Analytics poll of 7,293 consumers was conducted on January 5-12, 2016 with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. 

Indeed, the poll shows annual consumer spending on Valentine’s Day is growing. Average spending per person was $109.50 in 2009, gradually increasing to $103 in 2010, $116.21 in 2011, $126.03 in 2012, $130.97 in 2013, $133.91 in 2014, $142.31 in 2015, and finally to $146.84 this year.

Remarkably, grand total Valentine’s Day retail sales across America reached a record $19.7 billion in 2016. This record spending on ‘sweets for our sweethearts” topped last year’s $19 billion spent, and $18.6 billion spent in 2014, according to Sweetworks, BIGInsight, and the National Retail Federation.

“As the first major consumer holiday of 2016, Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending our economy needs,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Low gas prices and guaranteed promotions from retailers large and small should help consumers as they look for the perfect gift for their friends and family. Looking ahead, we’re optimistic consumers are in a good place when it comes to spending on discretionary items like gifts.” 

National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.

According to the Federation, “retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.”

According to the National Retail Federation – Prosper Insights and Analytics survey, 90.8 percent of consumers said they bought something for their significant other/spouse and spent an average of $89.86, up from $87.94 last year. 

About the same as last year, men spent in 2016 on average $193.53, almost twice as much as women at $96.58 on average, in asking each other in love to “please be my Valentine.”

Total spending on significant others/spouses reached about $12 billion. 

“When it comes to the top gifts this Valentine’s Day,” says the National Retail Federation survey, “50 percent of consumers surveyed said they bought candy, spending a total of $1.7 billion. Nearly four in 10 of those celebrating the holiday (38.3%) treated their dates to a night out at a restaurant, tickets to a show or another experience, spending a record total of $4.5 billion, the highest since National Retail Federation began tracking spending on gifts in 2010.”

“Another $4.4 billion was spent by American consumers on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items, with nearly one in five (19.9%) treating their significant other or family member to something precious; nearly half (47.9%) of those celebrating Valentine’s Day 2016 spent $1.1 billion on greeting cards. Additionally, it is estimated $2 billion was spent on apparel and $1.9 billion was shelled out on flowers.”

Contrast this to last year, American lovers splashed out $4.8 billion on jewelry (at 21.1 percent of consumers in 2015), $4.6 billion on date nights (at 35.1 percent of consumers), $2.1 billion on flowers (or 37.8 percent of consumers), and $1.7 billion on candy sweets for their sweeties (or 53.2 percent of consumers).

Additionally, American consumers spent in 2016 an average of $27.79 on other family members like children and parents, $7.08 on children’s classmates and teachers and $5.83 on co-workers.

Valentine’s Day 2016 isn’t just for couples, according to the survey, consumers spent $681 million to treat their favorite pets to Valentine’s Day toys and sweets. By comparison, 21.2 percent of Americans spent in 2015 a significantly larger grand total of $703 million on their pets.

In addition, 91.1 percent of Valentine gifts were given on this love holiday to a significant other, 59 percent to other family members, 22 percent to friends, 20 percent to our children’s classmates and teachers, 19 percent to our pets, 12 percent to our co-workers, and 9 percent to whoever we wish to show a little secret love and appreciation towards on Valentine’s Day this year.

By comparison to as recently back just a couple years to Valentine’s Day 2014, few countries come close to this February holiday spending by American consumers. Total average spending amounted to about a billion dollars less at $18.6 billion in 2014. Of this, $9.67 billion was spent on meals, $2.89 billion on candy, $2.35 billion on romantic getaways, $1.78 billion on flowers, $1.62 billion on jewelry, $1.26 billion on clothing and lingerie (primarily from Victoria Secrets), and finally $0.87 billion on Valentine cards.

On Valentine’s Day 2014, Americans spent an average of $73.75 on their significant other, while men continued to spend far more than women to keep the peace and tranquility in the homestead. Average Valentine’s Day expenditure in 2014 amounted to $175.61 for men and $88.78 for women.

Like in 2015, Americans spent $367 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets in 2014. In addition, 56 percent of Valentine gifts given in 2014 were to a romantic sweetheart, 20 percent to other family members, 7 percent to friends, 5 percent to our children’s classmates and teachers, 4 percent to our pets, 4 percent to our co-workers, and 4 percent to whoever we showed some love to on Valentine’s Day 2014.

National Retail Federation for the first time “asked consumers about their hope to receive and plans to give a gift of experience. According to the survey, 24 percent of those surveyed said they plan to give a gift of experience such as tickets to a concert, a spa service or an art lesson, while nearly four in ten (at 38.8%) said that they would love to receive a gift of experience.”

“With the winter holidays behind us, consumers may have a little more room in their budget to indulge on gifts for their loved ones,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “This year we expect consumers will look for unique and creative gifts, including that extra special ‘experience’ that can be shared any time throughout the year. Even those on a tight budget can find affordable ways to create a special moment with each other even past Valentine’s Day.”

Above all, the conveniences of millennial age e-commerce mobile wireless communication devices drive Valentine’s Day consumer behavior and spending. “Department stores saw the most traffic this Valentine’s Day 2016 (at 34.5%) and nearly one-third (at 31%) shopped at their favorite discount store,” Goodfellow’s analysis team determined. “Additionally, [a substantial] 27.9 percent shopped online [for Valentine gifts], 19.4 percent visited a florist, 19.1 visited a specialty store, and 15.4 percent shopped small at a local, small business.”

In contrast to Valentine’s Day 2016 e-commerce activity at 27.9 percent, according to the National Retail Federation, a much higher 46.9 percent of lovers celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015 used their smart tablets and phablets to purchase or research Valentine gifts. Whereas, 40.7 percent of romantic couples used their smartphones to shop for Valentine sweets for their sweeties on this day to “show me some mo love” and “show me da money!”

 

Origins of Valentine’s Day

The background of Valentine’s Day, as a pagan fesitival in February, and “the story of its patron saint is shrouded in secret.”

“We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman historic.

“But, who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

“One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II arranged that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.”

Valentines day is world day of love, where people are sharing in forgiveness. Although the origins of St. Valentine’s Day, as we know the holiday today, can be trace back to an early liturgical celebration of early Christian saints, the day was first associated with romantic love during the high Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia.

“In 18th century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.”

 

Nonetheless, true love should be expressed 365 days a year. For love expressed everyday is four things. It is understanding between two people; it is about how two people in love and romance cooperate not compete with each other; it is about empathy felt between two people, actually walking inside each other shoes at all times; and most of all, it is about trust held among two people at all costs.

Valentine’s Day is love and romance in its most intimate sense. This February holiday holds special sentiment in the hearts and souls of women. Nevertheless, men would be remiss, if they did not recognize their sweethearts on this particular holiday. This is a day for men to display romantic love to women.

For Valentine’s Day is the ultimate expression of chivalry, a gesture of love and respect that romantic couples display towards each other at a time when men sometimes have had to suppress these cherished norms of emotion and feelings. This is a heartfelt essence even spiritual sense of emotional intelligence.

It allows us for a moment to act upon our feelings and natural tendencies, instead of focusing on sterile business etiquette or even political correctness, or better still, our record $19.7 billion spent annually surrounding our expressions of love and romance. Valentine’s Day is the ultimate private holiday celebration in February, whereby “men can be men,” and “women can be women.”

Photo Credits: Peanuts by Charles M. Shultz; Desilu2 and Lucille Ball Productions

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Oliver McGee is an aerospace, mechanical, and civil engineer, and author of seven books on AmazonHe is former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy (1999-2001) in the Clinton Administration, and former senior policy adviser in the Clinton White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-1999).

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Jan 282016
 

global flight tracking of aircraft 8

An 8-year-old aviation enthusiast penned a letter to Delta Air Lines CEO Richard H. Anderson with an idea on how to track and recover missing aircraft lost at sea, as first reported by Consumerist, and later by Fox News and The Daily Mail (U.K.)Cover Photo Credit: Flightaware.com

Not only did the young inventor receive some notice from Delta, but also he was promised that his idea would be considered and forwarded on to experts addressing global flight tracking standards, including the new ones recently established on November 12, 2015 by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization. 

Youngster Benjamin Jensen, of Ogden, Utah, son of two United States Air Force veterans, kept in touch with Delta’s CEO Anderson after viewing a television program called “Why Planes Disappear,” which highlighted the secret of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

“Benjamin has an interest with planes and aircraft, not particularly surprising, given his mom and dad has both served in the United States Air Force,” The Daily Mail (U.K.) praises of the boy’s creative endeavors.

Photo Credit: Delta Airlines CEO Richard H. Anderson

According to Consumerist, Benjamin expressed that he came up with a big idea to find crashed planes that plunge in the ocean. The young aviation inventor proposed that airlines could implement a crashed aircraft recovery system that mount inside the hull “ejectable neon orange balloon(s) that ascent up to the oceanic surface, when the plane crashed in the sea,” akin to what we saw in the blockbuster movie, Airport 77. The balloon(s) would not be sufficiently light to float up into the air, but just to the oceanic surface.

Photo Credit: Consumerist/Facebook

Moreover, Benjamin suggests the crashed aircraft recovery system of hull-mounted balloon(s) would have reinforced rubber to withstand a tremendous amount of weight. Additionally, the creative boy proposed airline companies could place a radio frequency transmitter in the balloon(s) to located them on the vast oceanic surfaces across the world and increase our chances in recovery of submerged aircraft hulls and wreckage debris on the sea floor.

Photo Credit; Consumerist/Facebook

Benjamin decided to sketch out his plan (shown above) – which involved giant orange balloon(s) inflating and floating to the surface in the event of a plane crash – and send it in a letter to Delta CEO Richard H. Anderson.

Young aviation enthusiast, Benjamin, got an answer from John E Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance, writing on behalf of Anderson, along with a care package of gifts from Delta, including a couple of model planes, marked pens, pencils, and so much more.

Photo Credit: Delta Airlines, Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance, John E Laughter

Photo Credit; Consumerist/Facebook

Delta Senior Vice President Laughter stated that he worked with numerous Delta people, The Federal Aviation Administration and airplane manufacturers to provide solutions to problems which include airline tracking during an emergency. He also included that there are many experts thinking about ideas just like young Benjamin sent to the Delta CEO and his team of leaders and mentors. He also assures that he will share the plan by the young boy inventor with other aviation safety experts around the world.

Read more about young Benjamin Jensen’s story inside Consumerist, and The Daily Mail (U.K.), and also inside Delta executives consider 8 year old’s idea to improve plane safety | Fox News.

New United Nations Standards for Global Flight Tracking of Aircraft is Here to Receive Young Aviation Enthusiast Benjamin Jensen’s Big Idea.

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption by February 2015. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, December 10, 2014, announcing the report recommendations on real-time global flight-tracking of aircraft for its 240 member airlines. IATA’s 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

In February 2015, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) convened its High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal, Canada, and approved a concept of airline operations for real-time global flight-tracking of aircraft, and to move forward in developing global flight-tracking standards. Here is the planning report of recommendations from the ICAO High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

Photo Credit: Free Malaysia Today

ICAO published its Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) report in September 2015, regarding the structure of Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS), an initiative first proposed during the 2014 Multidisciplinary Meeting on Global Flight Tracking, according to Aviation Today, and the performance-based 15-minute aircraft tracking standard, first discussed during the February 2015 High Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

“NATII reporting group [at the Qantas Crisis Management Center in Sydney, Australia in June 2015 and the Montreal Communications and Aircraft Tracking Service Providers’ workshop in May 2015] has recommended extending the applicability period amongst the International Air Transport Association’s(IATA) 240 member airlines (comprising 84 percent of all international commercial passenger air travel) to 2018; And, the NATII reporting group determined that mandating airlines to maintain position reporting every 15 minutes could cause large-scale disruptions at times, when the tracking technology fails or becomes unavailable,” reports Aviation Today.

“High-frequency (HF) communications require fine tuning of the correct frequency prior to establishing contact. This takes time and, on occasion, it was determined would impede reporting at regular intervals,” the NATII report states.

The NATII group cautions further saying: “Additionally, manual reporting (i.e. VHF voice, HF voice, manual [Aircraft Communications and Reporting System] ACARS) introduced a level of uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the manual reports. In other words, the manual report could indicate that the aircraft was in one location, when it actually was in a different place.” 

Aviation Today added: “Satellite and communication service providers have indicated that the overall network capacity needed to facilitate continuous 15-minute flight tracking is not likely to be a limiting factor, according to the NATII document. However, the report does note that some service providers expressed a need to plan for the potential increased network traffic.”

Photo Credit: Space Safety Magazine

Be that as it may, ICAO reached agreement November 12, 2015 on its global flight-tracking standards with full international airlines industry application proposed by November 2016. 

Following the disappearance and tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER flight MH370 in March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard, of which only a flaperon wreckage debris have been found on La Réunion Island off the southern coast of Africa on July 29, 2015, ICAO has agreed to using global satellite tracking for all international commercial passenger airlines. This has spurred worldwide discussions on global flight tracking and the need for coordinated action by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and various international aviation transportation technological organizations and trade groups.

The new global flight tracking standards call for countries to use specific radio frequencies for the monitoring of aircraft through satellites, rather than having to rely solely on radar-technology from the ground.

The target date for the full implementation of the new ICAO recommended technological standards is 2017, calling for aircraft capable of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals communicating with satellites for movement tracking.

Currently, aircraft only send transmissions to other aircraft and to different air traffic control stations, which limits the ability to pinpoint aircraft locations across the world, especially as they travel over extremely remote regions, like the Sahara Desert or the South American Amazon jungle, or over Transatlantic, Transpacific and Transpolar remote oceanic areas.

Photo Credit: WRC-15 Plenary Session on Global Flight Tracking of Aircraft

In terms of specifics, the United Nations ICAO reached its agreements on November 12, 2015 at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference was dedicated to the allocation of radio frequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation, and to setting global standards for technology used in communications. Moreover, participating nations at WRC-15 agreed to dedicate the radio frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz for satellites and space stations to receive transmissions from aircraft. 

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a statement. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.” ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

According to their website, “World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) are held every three to four years. It is the job of WRC to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. Revisions are made on the basis of an agenda determined by theITU Council, which takes into account recommendations made by previous world radiocommunication conferences.”

By more specific definition (in reference to the illustrative depiction below for laypersons, via BBC News and CBC News), the frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters.

This radio frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz is currently being utilized for the transmission of ADS-B signals from aircraft to terrestrial stations within line-of-sight. The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has now allocated this frequency band in the Earth-to-space direction to enable transmissions from aircraft to satellites. 

This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including Transatlantic, Transpacific and Transpolar oceanic regions and other remote areas of the world. 

WRC-15 recognized that as the “standards and recommended practices” (SARP) for systems enabling position determination and tracking of aircraft are developed by the United Nations ICAO, the performance criteria for satellite reception of ADS-B signals will also require additional recommendations by ICAO. 

ICAO’s Global Operational Data Link Document (GOLD) defines Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) as a surveillance technique, that has been employed for 20 years to track aircraft across Transatlantic, Transpacific, and Transpolar oceanic regions, and that uses onboard aircraft systems to automatically provide position, altitude, speed, intent and meteorological data sent in a report to an Air Traffic Service Unit (ATSU) or Airline Operational Center (AOC) ground system for surveillance and route conformance monitoring. 

U.K.-based satellite service provider, Inmarsat, and Airservices Australia studies report that “ADS-C could be used to comply with the 15 minute normal global flight tracking requirement for suitably equipped aircraft.”

Consequently, “Airservices Australia has adopted the 14-minute reporting requirement as part of its standard operating procedure,” the Inmarsat-Airservices Australia report states. 

In ICAO’s special meeting on global flight tracking, which took place in Montréal, May 12-13, 2014, ICAO encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs. In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.”

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

Of course, not all aviation tracking experts would agree with that. Regulators and airlines were criticized for their slow response time to French recommendations for tracking airlines after an Air France flight AF447 Airbus jet crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2009.

The deadline for the installation of satellite tracking technology is set for a year from now in November 2016. Thereafter, aircraft traveling across the globe will send their location at least once every 15 minutes or more in the event of an aviation safety emergency and/or security breach via real-time satellite tracking.

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APPENDIX

Road Map to United Nations ICAO Global Flight-Tracking Standards (2014-2018), as chronicled in Aviation Week (edited for most recent standards updates).

March 8, 2014 • MH370 disappears from radar over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China.

April 1, 2014 • Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia called upon ITU to develop leading edge standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real-time. He was speaking at the opening of the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference taking place in Dubai.

March 31- April 2, 2014 • International Air Transport Association (IATA) convenes Operations Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and creates Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) to focus on identifying near-term options for global tracking of aircraft, including a concept of operations (Conops).

May 12-13, 2014 • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds Special Meeting for Global Flight Tracking in Montreal, Canada, and reaches consensus to track all airline aircraft. • IATA agrees to early voluntary implementation; ICAO to develop standards in parallel, while developing global standard on a parallel track. • ICAO special meeting in Montréal encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs.

May 26-27, 2014 • International Telecommunications Union (ITU) holds Expert Dialogue on real-time monitoring of flight data in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. • ITU asked to provide necessary spectrum allocations for emerging flight-data monitoring needs and work with ICAO to implement it. Expert Dialogue on global flight tracking took place in Kuala Lumpur.

June 11-13, 2014 • IATA ATTF holds first formal meeting and launches effort to define current state of flight-tracking with member and non-member airlines, air navigation service providers.

September 2014 • IATA ATTF presents preliminary Conops for global flight-tracking to ICAO in Montreal, Canada.

October 2014 • ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

December 10, 2014 • IATA communicates ATTF findings to member airlines.

February 2015 • ICAO held high-level safety meeting in Montreal, Canada and approved Conops from ATTF and move forward in developing a global flight-tracking standard.

September 2015 • ICAO published its Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) report, regarding the structure of Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the performance-based 15-minute aircraft tracking standard.

November 11, 2015 • The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters. The World Radio communication Conference is in session, 2-27 November at the International Convention Centre Geneva (CICG).

November 12, 2015 • United Nations reached the agreement at the World Radio Communication Conference in Geneva. The conference was dedicated to the allocation of radio frequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation, and to setting global standards for technology used in communications, and nations agreed to frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz for satellites and space stations to receive transmissions from aircraft. 

November 2016 • ICAO to officially publish global flight-tracking standards for international airlines industry application.

2017 • Full implementation of the new ICAO recommended technological standards, calling for aircraft capable of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals communicating with satellites for movement tracking.

2018 • Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) reporting group has recommended extending the applicability period amongst the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 240 member airlines (comprising 84 percent of all international commercial passenger air travel) to 2018.

2018 • According to Aviation Today: “The European Parliament is currently considering new measures to mandate flight tracking for aircraft operating within European airspace. In July, European Union (EU) member states approved a draft-implementing act that would establish new forward-fit flight tracking requirements on new production aircraft flying in European airspace. Existing aircraft would not be required to be retrofitted with technology to meet the new requirements.”

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Nov 112015
 

Photo Credit: Harvard University

“The University of Missouri system’s president, Timothy Wolfe, resigned Monday morning in the face of growing protests by black college students, the threat of a walkout by faculty, and a strike by football players, who said he had done too little to combat racism on campus,” reports USA Today and the New York Times moments ago.

Photo Credits: Harvard University and Yale University Commons

Further still, after President Wolfe announced his resignation, R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor of the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, will resign at the end of the year, the Associated Press reported alongside the New York Times late Monday afternoon.

President Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin faced increasing pressure to resign their leadership posts after what critics said “was a sluggish and inadequate response to a string of racially charged incidents on the overwhelmingly white college campus,” according to TPM LiveWire Breaking News.

This is now a tsunami crisis in stakeholder management and presidential and chancellorship succession in higher education and its coordinated response to diversity and inclusion on campus (alongside other pressing issues of college affordability, student learning and assessment, internationalization and globalization on campuses, cash management and investments, fundraising and endowment growth, strategic partnerships, joint venturing and alliances, and board governance).

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni stakeholders’ anger and frustration is real about how the value of diversity and inclusion on modern college campuses matters most in the modern age of demography shift and heightened engagement across government, industry, philanthropy, and “The Ivory Tower.”

So, given at the end of this piece are 20 strategic lessons on what does it take to be the college boss through the lens of several university presidential titans, who may have or who may have not weathered the storms of raising the value of diversity and inclusion in “The Ivory Tower.”

Inside this piece also are some pearls of wisdom that may be relevant to the challenging constituent events taking place on the modern college campus in the age of demography shift in heightened communications through “smart” technology, whereby a simple “Tweet” about a racial incident can go viral and eventually cause the resignation of a university president, lacking some historical perspective of these 20 pearls of wisdom on how to #BetheBoss on a modern college campus.

Yale Univ Student Rally

Photo Credit: Isaac Stanley-Becker for The Washington Post. Students rally at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., on Monday, November 9, 2015.

Above all else, essentially, college presidents have basically three powers: to sign, to appoint, and most of all, to persuade.

Yale University’s president, Peter Salovey, spoke Thursday, November 5, 2015 to minority students in a closed-door meeting, saying the university had “failed” them. Salovey later said on Monday, November 9, 2015 at a Yale student rally on campus that he welcomed students’ efforts to improve Yale University and clarified his view that Yale has failed its minority students, as later that afternoon tsunami events out west were unfolding surrounding the presidential and chancellor leadership succession of the University of Missouri System.

“What I said on Thursday is if there are students who don’t feel welcome here, we need to accept that as an area where we can do better,” Salovey said in a brief interview to reporters, including The Washington Post. “And we must do better.”

“People really have to feel like they can express themselves, whatever their views are, in an environment that is open to them,” he said.

College politics of prolific public perception is profoundly at play now in the age of social media and advances in wireless communications technologies on campus.

Yale College Dean John Holloway

Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, (shown above via The Washington Post, and Yale’s only black dean, who is also the Edmund Morgan Professor of African American Studies), also said recently in The Washington Post, he has been in touch with the university’s general counsel’s office about several videos created via smartphones during a recent confrontation between students and administration, as “there is a university rule that prohibits filming without prior permission within Yale’s gates,” Holloway said. 

On Thursday, November 5, Yale University students gathered to protest over faculty members’ e-mails regarding culturally sensitive Halloween costumes. One student confronted Nicholas Christakis, the master of Silliman College. Several video clips of the encounter at Yale’s Silliman College were immediately posted on YouTube by the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Filmed by FIRE organization’s CEO and president, Greg Lukianoff, who spoke in Silliman on Thursday evening on the topic of free speech on college campuses, the videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

“I honestly don’t know what to do in our smartphone culture with this,” Holloway said. “And so I’ve posed that as a question to the attorney to figure out what can we do.”

Spokesman, Nico Perrino, said FIRE has not been contacted by Yale’s attorneys.

Meanwhile, the social impact of our smartphone culture continues on modern college campuses, as marches and walkouts across the nation are taking place this week by students, faculty, staff, and alumni in protest of “what they see as officials’ lenient approach to racial abuse in schools,” according to Reuters.

In recent related series of event, Reuters reports Hunter M. Park, “a 19-year-old white Missouri man (also a sophomore computer science major at Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in Rolla, which is part of the University of Missouri System) is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, November 12 charged with making threats on social media to shoot black students at the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, just days after the school’s top two administrators resigned after protests over their handling of racial incidents at the school.

In the nation’s capitol, “messages were posted online threatening to murder students at the historically black college Howard University in Washington on Thursday, November 11,” says Reuters. School officials, which had an “all hands on deck” high-level meeting Thursday morning, decided not to close the campus, but have increased security around the DC-metropolitan campus.

“Sympathetic gatherings have taken place at Yale University, Ithaca College in New York, Smith College in Massachusetts and Claremont McKenna College in California,” according to Reuters. “At Yale on Wednesday, November 11, more than 1,000 students, professors and staff gathered to discuss race and diversity at the elite Ivy League school. The forum was held two days after about 1,000 students briefly shut down traffic around the university in a rally to protest an alleged Halloween incident in which a fraternity turned away black students from a party.”

#Mizzou Fallout Forces Resignations of a University President and a Flagship Campus Chancellor

Monday, November 9, 2015, the Missouri Students Association released a letter submitted to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, seeking University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe’s “immediate removal,” saying that “the University of Missouri met the shooting of Mike Brown with silence … our students were left stranded, forced to face an increase in tension and inequality with no systemic support. Over the last sixteen months, the quality of life for our students has only worsened” and that Missouri President Wolfe had “enabled a culture of racism.”

“His resignation was just one of many demands from students, who say the university isn’t doing enough to handle racism and discrimination on the campus in Columbia. Another demand is to increase black representation among University of Missouri-Columbia staff and faculty members to 10 percent by the next academic calendar year. The school would have a lot of hiring to do to comply: It would take around 400 more black faculty or staff members to get representation that high,” reports FiveThirtyEightPolitics on ESPN. “Black students are less likely than students of other races or ethnicities to stay enrolled in the university after one year and are ultimately less likely to graduate,” according to data provided to FiveThirtyEight by the university.

What we are learning from the resignations of Missouri president, Timothy Wolfe, and of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, on Monday, November 9, is that responsibility and accountability for diversity and inclusion now clearly resides at the top inside the campus administration building.

Photo Credit: Supporters of the student protest group, “Concerned Student 1950 (named after the first year black students were allowed at the school),” form a perimeter of 1,950 students in locked arms (above), as students stage a “sit-in” protest (below) on the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus.

Sit-ins by activists African-American students, supported by students, faculty, staff, and alumni from all walks of life, in the age of “#BlackLivesMatter“, “#SportsLivesMatter“, and the “clash of generations” (between Millennials aged 18-24, Generation Ys aged 25-34, Generation Xs aged 33-44, Baby-Busters aged 45-54, Baby-Boomers aged 55-64, and Greatest Generations aged 65 and older), alongside Saturday afternoon boycotts by college football and basketball players and marching bands, are dramatically affecting college brands and reputations, institutional advancement, communications and public relations, annual donor-giving campaign dollars, and lucrative sports television revenues given to campuses.

Moreover, such protests are voicing loudly that racism, sexism, even ageism is not tolerated on the modern campus by any groups of constituents and stakeholders. And that no longer is “just talking diversity” inside college brochures enough. But now, “actually walking diversity” is the real measure of the social, technological, educational, economic and political (S.T.E.E.P.) value of diversity on campus.

Football is big money and some change on modern college campuses.

“The Missouri athletic department’s annual operating revenue grew nearly 10 percent to $83.7 million during the 2014 fiscal year, but outstanding debt climbed by nearly $60 million and expenses also increased,” according to data obtained by The Star that is submitted annually by Mizzou to the NCAA.

Had thirty-two black football players just boycotted one game this weekend against Brigham Young University, “it would have cost the school almost $1 million,” reports The Root.

“Thirty-two black men just ousted the head of a system that employs 25,000 people and educates over 77,000 students, just by saying, “No”,” writes activist, Michael Harriot, inside The Root.

Harriot adds: “Harvard Law-degree-wielding president of one of the largest and most comprehensive universities in the country [resigning clearly says] … what should be scary to the status quo is the possibility of the pervasive rage becoming as focused and united as what just happened in Columbia, Missouri, by just saying “No.” “

“And, all it took was 32 black men.”

By the way, have you seen a Texaco Star sign anymore lately?

Diversity and inclusion matters now under the corporate seal. And, it’s not only affecting huge government and industrial interests, but also economic interests inside “The Ivory Tower.” 

“Mizzou’s student-athletes just put every university president across the nation on notice,” writes Jason Johnson, professor of political science at Hiram College in Ohio, inside The Root.

“Thousands of influential Mizzou alumni couldn’t care less about social justice, racism or the protection of African-American students. They like football and tailgating every Saturday. And, if firing Wolfe and addressing some racism gets them back in the parking lot with a beer and a brat watching black men run up and down a field this Saturday, so be it,” Johnson argues.

Professor Johnson goes on further to conclude: “At the end of the day, there are lots of people who can serve as a college president, but there aren’t nearly as many who can break four tackles for a score on third and 7. Let’s just hope that other prominent college football teams see the power that was shown by the Missouri Tigers today: that if you stay organized and unified, you don’t have to just run the field; you can run your school.”

Strategic knowledge leadership among the world’s best colleges and universities reflects modern presidential and board responsibility and accountability of making a real difference in diversity and inclusion with integrity and trust of self-expression and generosity amongst all stakeholders across the campus community.

Photo Credit: Columbia University Graduation Ceremony

Diversity and Inclusion is Strategic Leadership and Intent of the Modern College Presidential Boss

Strategic competitive positioning in academic and research capacity building and knowledge production and depositories among the world’s top-ranked colleges and universities stack up along four primary fronts:

  1. Brokerage creates knowledge and value, including identifying the relative difference among ourselves that distinguishes an institution and trading on it under a powerful university seal in the global marketplace;
  2. Cohesion delivers knowledge and value, involving establishing an academic environment of diversity and inclusion that attracts and retains extraordinary faculty united with a continuous supply of exceptional students;
  3. Branding, reputation, and trust transfers knowledge and value, allowing a climate of innovation to flow freely throughout the physical and online learning spaces and diverse culture of the university in the advancement of a general liberal education for the benefit of agriculture, industry, commerce, and The Arts;
  4. Partnerships sustain knowledge and value, allowing diverse strategic contracts of alliances, joint-ventures, acquisitions, warrants, options, and philanthropic giving to feed both organic and inorganic investments and growth of the university and its endowment steadily and soundly through perpetuity.

Photo Credit: Duke University

A Vision for the Value of Diversity and Inclusion on the Modern College Campus

Altogether, the above attributes properly balance and uniquely prepare modern college presidents for this strategic leadership opportunity in three essential ways:

  • To honor the faculty, staff, students, and alumni and their history inside the college as a sound institution and community of learning;
  • To manage the college’s education integrated with research capacity building and growth, as one of the country’s top research organizations – particularly given the college’s strategic leadership inside the federal directorates, as one of the nation’s most valuable integrated education and research assets – and finally,
  • To position a college education and research enterprise with a strategic vision for making the often challenging choices amongst competing stakeholders required in interdisciplinary teaching and research oversight in modern higher education. 

Furthermore, strongest most enduring college presidents are eager to participate in the collaborative and cross-cultural governance of a growing higher education and research enterprise, while helping the university build its social, technological, economic, and political value to the college’s local region, the nation, and the world.

Photo Credit: Stanford University

Hence, what it takes to be the servant college boss is sound stewardship of a longstanding institution of excellence, whose intent is to empower and enable faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to generate and fulfill new possibilities and purposeful living.

A modern college stewarded by a sound presidential boss creates new knowledge and provides academic programs and services that produce extraordinary learning and results not only for its stakeholders and constituencies, but also for the ascent of humankind.

Upon examining the compelling case for the college’s mission, what is revealed to us, as taxpayers and/or college donors, is the power of one’s transformation through combined education and leadership preparation for the college’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and for the surrounding local community, the nation and the world.

Photo Credit: University of Notre Dame

The college presidential boss proposes to advance the college’s educational and service-oriented enterprises out of values shaping deeply what we believe the college is, as a transformational academic unit of distinguished teaching, research, outreach and engagement, innovation, and technology transfer to a good society: 

Making a Difference:

Colleges have a profound privilege of causing transformation of students as global leaders, the transformation of its faculty as conversation leaders and knowledge producers, the transformation of its staff as facilitators of quality service, and the transformation of its alumni in protection and as shapers of society, humanity, and our world. 

Self Expression and Generosity:

Colleges are historical places of fundamental freedom of intellectual thought; giving of itself abundantly in duty and service to community and the nation and to students from all walks of life.

Creation of Knowledge: 

Colleges generate potential from promise itself, shaping society today, and most of all, respecting its legacy of shaping thought in America with the ultimate purpose in the development of future leaders for a global duty and citizenry through the creation and dissemination of knowledge. 

Responsibility and Accountability: 

Colleges are leadership communities of excellence with an inherent responsibility and unconditional accountability to ensure the potential and promise, and ultimately, the success of its students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Integrity and Trust:

Colleges are whole and complete organizations of duty and quality service of higher education that must be true to its purpose to accomplish with integrity its academic and training mission, to function consistent with its values, and to manage the trust in service to its students, faculty, staff, alumni, governance, society, humanity, and the world.

Photo Credit: One Hundred Years of Harvard-Yale Football

__________

APPENDIX

20 Pearls of Wisdom and Lessons on College Presidential Leadership

Below are 20 additional strategic lessons on what does it take to be the college boss through the lens of several university presidential titans, who may have or who may have not weathered the storms of raising the social, technological, education, economic, and political (S.T.E.E.P.) value of diversity and inclusion inside “The Ivory Tower.”

Photo Credit: Nicholas Murrary Butler

1. A Different Kind of Captain

“The college president is “a captain of the army of faith in the Republic.” These captains “are a characteristic product of American life and of American opportunity … Rules and formulas cannot be devised to produce them … The history of American higher education for well-nigh a century is written largely in terms of the personality, the strivings and the accomplishments of these Captains. Strike them from our record … and the history of American Higher Education would be meaningless.”

Nicholas Murray Butler, 1919, Nobel Peace Laureate (1931), 12th President of Columbia University (1905-1945), President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1925-1945)

2. The Multiversity President

The president must be “a friend of the students, a colleague of the faculty, a good fellow with the alumni, a sound administrator with the trustees, a good speaker with the public, an astute bargainer with the foundations and federal agencies, a politician with the state legislature, a friend of industry, labor and agriculture, a persuasive diplomat with donors, a champion of education generally, a supporter of the professions …, a spokesperson to the press, a scholar in his own right, a public servant …, a devotee of opera and football equally, a decent human being, a good husband and father, an active member of a church … No one can be all these things. Some succeed at being none.”

Clark Kerr, 1963, 12th President of the University of California (1958-1967), First Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1952-1957)

Photo Credit: Duke University

3. The Presidency as Illusion

“[The academic presidency is] a reactive job, a parochial job … [It is] important to the president [but] the presidency is an illusion … Important aspects of the role seem to disappear on close examination … It is probably a mistake for a college president to imagine that what he [she] does in office affects significantly either the long-run position of the institution or his [her] reputation as president.

Presidents occupy a minor part in the lives of a small number of people. They can act with a fair degree of confidence that if they make a mistake, it will not matter much.”

Michael Cohen and James March, Leadership and Ambiguity, 1974, 1986

Photo Credit: Harvard University Cross Country Team

4. The Presidency Today

“It has probably always been too simple a matter to think of the president as a pilot … Still … the allegory of the captain, the ship, the sea, the voyage, remains appealing. There is romance in it, and danger; uncertainty and possibility; change and challenge; and fortune good or bad …

“That old voyager, Charles W. Eliot [21st President of Harvard University,(1869-1909), known as the “grand old man” of Harvard University – its transformer, if not its founder], might well conclude today that the office he did so much to develop has been greatly modified since his time. It is more difficult, more daunting, and a good bit less powerful … But, surveying the greatly altered scene, Eliot might still discern … some substantial room to maneuver, some significant role for the pilot. He might join with [William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906), “Young Man in a Hurry“] now … in saying of the position that “the satisfaction which this brings no man [or woman] can describe.” He could find convincing reasons to avow again that the presidency – despite everything and whatever one’s choice of metaphor – is still unique, still a job that demands a leader, still an office that makes a difference, still a profession that has no equal in the world.”

Joe Crowley, “No Equal in The World,” 1994

Photo Credit: Duke University

5. The President of Grey Towers (Chicago)

“The university has become a place of “cold desolateness,” headed by a president who is “absurd … an absolutist [and] a grotesque little man.”

Anonymous, 1923

6. The President “Presides Over a Tropical Jungle”

“The president, critics say, is “an autocrat, a dollar-making capitalist, a great mogul, a grand seigneur, a mikado, and hetman all combined in one. He [She] is viewed as an austere figure sitting on a throne behind closed doors and summoning now and then the trembling vassals of his [her] realm … He [She] watches for heresies with the sleepless zeal of the Holy Inquisition, and without mercy brings vengeance on the head of the unfaithful.”

In reality, he [she] “presides over a tropical jungle … full of queer animals … Some run about, seeking whom they may devour. Others sit quietly in corners, shrinking from observation, searching curiously for unknown things … It is a vast magnificent, and historic tangle. About all that the mighty gentleman … can do, is to stand on a height above it and squirt perfume on the ensemble.”

Somnia Vana, 1922

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7. “Last Words of a College President”

“I walked and sat erect for thirty years, A proud merchant of correct ideas, Cold gladness and unsullied decorum, I fashioned cautious men without souls, And brittle women with measured passion. Behold a traitor, To his Creator.”

American Mercury,” 1948

Photo Credit: The Ivory Tower

8. The Mystery Novel President

“In academic detective novels, presidents are customarily portrayed as: “Academically, intellectually, socially, legally, and morally rotten, [and as] encyclopedias of corruption.”

Wister Cook, “Death by Administration: Presidents, Deans, and Department Heads in Academic Detective Novels,” 1988 [via, Joseph N. Crowley, “No Equal in the World: An Interpretation of the Academic Presidency,” 1994]

Photo Credit: Princeton University Nassau Hall

9. The Spirit of J. Thoreau Marshall Reigns

“As acting president of fictional Washagon University inside Robert Grudin’s novel about life among that peculiar new breed of faculty … , J. Thoreau Marshall “emerges as neither decent nor much of a mover.” Nonetheless, his rise to power was inevitable:

“Terrified of being at a loss for words, he wrote out his lectures which, sauced with redundancy, seasoned with non sequitur and served up at metronomic pace in a pained nasal monotone, induced narcosis in all who heard them.

“In committee meetings, he was notably inarticulate, dead to nuance and phobic to original ideas.

“His other relationships were of a similar ilk, To his students he was autocratic and unfair, to his advisees distant and obtuse, to his colleagues earthbound and hollow.

“It was eventually apparent that these characteristics, displayed consistently and noted by all, ideally qualified Marshall for academic administration, and before long he was welcomed into a confraternity whose members by and large, shared his talents and propensities.

“When he was appointed Washagon’s provost, Marshall demonstrated “the timeworn obligations of his profession: bullying his subordinates and cringing before his superiors, stifling talent and rewarding mediocrity, promoting faddishness and punishing integrity. It is no surprise that Marshall is given the acting presidency, when the president becomes ill.” “

Robert Grudin, “Book,” 1992 [via, Joseph N. Crowley, “No Equal in the World: An Interpretation of the Academic Presidency,” 1994]

Photo Credit: Andrew Dickson White

10. “No Cessation of Duties”

“This is a dog’s life … no cessation of duties, which have always been most irksome … rebuffs — the cold shoulder — unsuccessful pleading and unheeded begging … A year or two more of this life as president will break my health hopelessly.”

Andrew Dickson White, 1871-72, First President of Cornell University (1866-1885), 16th United States Ambassador to Germany (1879-1881), First President of the American Historical Association (1884-1885)

Photo Credit: William Rainey Harper

11. “The Bigness of the Task”

“There were “times of great depression, when one contemplates in all its details the bigness of the task … the demands made … the number and magnitude of the difficulties involved. So numerous are the affairs of a great university; so heavy are they … so delicate and difficult … so arduous … so heart engrossing and mind disturbing.”

William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906), “Young Man in a Hurry

Photo Credit: Andrew Dickson White

12. Presidents On The Press

“Twenty years ago I began my official connection with Cornell University by answering defamatory attacks … in your columns, and now I seem fated to end it in the same way.”

Andrew Dickson White, in a letter to the New York Times, 1885, First President of Cornell University (1866-1885), 16th United States Ambassador to Germany (1879-1881), First President of the American Historical Association (1884-1885)

Photo Credit: William Rainey Harper

“I wish very much that there could be enacted a law in the state of Illinois inflicting the death penalty upon irresponsible reporters for the misleading way in which they misrepresent the truth … We are helpless in the hands of the press …”

William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906)

Photo Credit: Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro (right) and World-Renowned, Distinguished Ballet Artist, Mikhail Baryshnikov (left)

13. Unwise Fate Awaiting The New President

“Consider that “cruel … unnecessary … unwise fate awaiting the new president, who must make his peace with malcontents, … be patient under opposition, … explain misunderstandings, … contradict misstatements, … supplement the inefficiency of others, and … furnish enthusiasm enough not only to carry himself over all obstacles … but to warm blood in the veins of others, whose temperature never yet rose above thirty-four degrees.”

“One of the Guild,” 1900

Photo Credit: The Ohio State University Oval

14. Presidential Complaints and “The Wailing Wall”

“The university president is “one of the most burdened … harassed … put-upon people in American life.”

William H. Cowley, 1949, Correspondence of William H. Cowley, 11th President of Hamilton College (1938-1944)

Photo Credit: Dwight D. Eisenhower

“My schedule “for the first months … has grown to appalling proportions. If current indications provide any index of what my future life there is to be, I shall quit them cold and go to some forsaken spot on the earth’s surface to stay.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1948, 13th President of Columbia University (1948-1953), 34th President of the United States (1953-1961)

Photo Credit: Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The picture of the president emerging from presidential descriptions is of a “small, lonely, Chaplinesque figure.”

“Annual presidential meetings are like “a convocation of morticians” gathered at a “wailing wall.”

Frederic Ness, “An Uncertain Glory,” Professor of English, United States Naval Academy, 1971

Photo Credit: Charles M. Vest

15. A Model of Leading the Value of Diversity Through The Presidency is Here

“I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and attended public schools there where I learned many valuable things. I learned that every human being is important, has something to offer, and can be a friend and colleague.” Read more here.

Charles M. Vest, 2006, 15th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-2004), President of the National Academy of Engineering (2007-2013)

Photo Credit: University of Pennsylvania

16. The Presidency According to the Presidents and the Press

“An impossible job” (1913)

“Why college presidents wear out” (1945)

“The [presidential] race is extinct” (1956)

“The reeling presidency” (1976)

“The impossible job of the college president” (1988)

“The most difficult job in the world” (1990)

“The short unhappy life of academic presidents” (1990)

“The hardest job in California” (1991)

“The terrible toll in college presidents” (1994)

“Wanted: Miracle workers” (1991)

“The hunt for water walkers” (1990)

“[The job needs] someone who can walk on water.”

“[The job needs] someone who doesn’t only walk on water, but who can skip on it.”

“[The job needs] somebody who can walk on water, but who can do so without scaring the fish.”

“[The president needs an] ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

Photo Credit: Charles W. Eliot reading with his grandson (1910)

17. The Rule of Seven

“The best number of members for a university’s principal governing board is seven; because that number of men [women] can sit round a small table, talk with each other informally without waste of words or any display or pretense, provide an adequate diversity of points of view and modes of dealing with the subject in hand, and yet be prompt and efficient in the despatch of business. In a board of seven the different professions and callings can be sufficiently represented.”

Charles W. Eliot, 1908, 21st President of Harvard University (1869-1909), Known as the “grand old man” of Harvard University – its transformer, if not its founder. 

Photo Credit: H. Patrick Swygert (right) and then-U.S. Presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) (left), 2007

18. The Raison D’etre for The Institution

“Its mission, transcends everything, because without that you’re simply just raising money but for no good purpose. And by the way, don’t think you’re going to be successful at it, as well, if you cannot articulate some form of vision … And I think historically black colleges and universities at large are still about two things: opportunity for youngsters who might not otherwise have an opportunity for education, post-secondary education, and secondly, to be about the business of the greater African Diaspora. What are those issues affecting us? Whether it’s health care disparities, whether it’s environmental issues, whether it’s traditional civil rights issues, human rights issues, that’s what they should be about – what we are about.”

H. Patrick Swygert, 15th President of Howard University, 2008

Photo Credit: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (right), former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-U.S. Senator (D-New York) (left)

19. More of a Politician Than a Corporatist

“The course of a university president’s day is never the same twice in a row; no tired bureaucrats need apply … A university president has to be more of politician than a corporate leader.”

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, “Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education,” 2008, 15th President of The George Washington University (1988-2007), 3rd President of the University of Hartford (1976-1987)

Photo Credit: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (left) poses next to his official George Washington University presidential portrait (right)

20. A Titan

“Angry now the breakers are: Gleam their white teeth in the sun, Where along the shallow bar, Fierce and high their ridges run. 

But the pilot-captain, lo! How serene in strength is he! Blithe as winds that dawnward blow, Fresh and fearless as the sea.

Now the shifting breezes fail, Baffling gusts arise and die, Shakes and shudders every sail, Hark! the rocks are roaring nigh.

But the pilot keeps here keel, Where the current runneth fair, Deftly turns the massive wheel, Light as though’t were hung in air.

Hark! the bar on either side! Hiss of foam, and crash of crest, Trampling feet, and shouts – they glide, Safely out on ocean’s breast.

Then, the Pilot gives his hand, To his brother, close beside: “Now, ’tis thine to take command, I must back at turn of tide.” “

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887), American poet and educator, 1875

Photo Credit: Edward Rowland Sill

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Nov 012015
 

Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 7

Russian Metrojet Airbus A321-231 crashed minutes after takeoff, fatally resulting in the death of 224 people, in mountainous Sinai Peninsula (Egypt) on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 04:12 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time, GMT) or 12:12 am ET.

Photo Credit: 1993 REUTERS/Kim Philipp Piskol. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268taxis at Antalya, Turkey before the tragic crash.

Operated by Russian air carrier, formerly known as Kogalymavia, Kolavia (Moscow-Domodedovo), and branded as MetroJet, according to the Egyptian aviation ministry, Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, was performing flight 7K-9268 en route from Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) to St. Petersburg (Russia) with 217 passengers and 7 Metrojet crew on board, Russia’s Rosaviatsia (Civil Aviation Authority) confirms.

Speculatively and preliminarily speaking, ahead of detailed analysis of the flight deck recorders or “black-boxes” recovered today from the extensive crash site wreckage at Al Arish (Sinai, Egypt) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, a technical malfunction in the airliner’s International Aero Engines AG V2533-A5 turbofan engines is only at first-glance attributed to the aerodynamic stalling of the Airbus A321-231 (losing altitude from 31,000 feet at nearly 6,000 feet per minute) about 23 minutes after takeoff from a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists, Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has said.

IAE International Aero Engines AG “manages engineering, sales, production, customer support and aftermarket services for the V2500® series engine – one of the most successful commercial jet-engine programs in production today.”

“Approximately 190 airlines and lessors from about 70 countries operate the V2500 series engine. To date, the V2500 series engine has accumulated over 125 million flight hours,” according to the IAE website.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Wednesday, November 4 spoke of a “significant possibility” that Metrojet flight 7K-9268 was “caused by a bomb and Britain immediately suspended all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort where the flight originated,” Daily Mirror (U.K.) reports in an extensive rolling timeline of developments in this ongoing crash investigation by the French BEA, Egyptian government officials, Russian Metrojet airline officials, and British and U.S. intelligence.

“Egyptian officials have condemned Britain’s travel ban as an overreaction. Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is in London on a state visit, facing what is likely to be a tense meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron,” says the Daily Mirror (U.K.).

However, until the Airbus A321-231 cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) and the flight data recorders (FDRs), known as “the black boxes” are fully analyzed by the French BEA investigators, nobody really knows what happen during the final moments of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 on Saturday, October 31.

The Telegraph (U.K.) and French television channel France 2 is reporting on Friday, November 6 that the black boxes “distinctly show the sound of an explosion during the flight”, according to an investigator who had access to them.

They said: “the explosion would not be secondary from engine failure.”

In other words, “there is no sign of mechanical malfunction during the initial part of the flight,” France 2 reported. “Everything is fine during the first 24 minutes, then in a fraction of a second there is a blackout and no more cockpit conversation, convincing investigators there was a bomb on board,” according to France 2.

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Egypt’s Air Accident Investigation Commission (EAAIC) in a news conference stated, according to the Aviation Herald:

  • “The wreckage is distributed over a length of more than 13 kilometers consistent with in-flight breakup with several parts of the wreckage missing.
  • Initial observation of the wreckage does not yet allow for a definitive determine of the exact cause of the in-flight break up.
  • The flight data recorder (FDR) was successfully downloaded and preliminary review of the data suggests the recording stopped 23 minutes and 14 seconds after Metrojet flight 7K-9268 Airbus A321-231 was airborne. The last FDR recorded altitude was 30,888 feet MSL, last FDR recorded airspeed was 281 knots, the autopilot 1 was engaged, the aircraft was still climbing.
  • The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was successfully downloaded and a first listening by French BEA investigators has been completed. The CVR transcript is currently being compiled, a noise has been heard in the last second of the CVR recording. A spectral analysis (or spectrum analysis – a statistical and signal processing mathematical algorithm that estimates the strength of varying frequency components of a time-domain noise signal) – is being performed to determine the frequency nature and location of this noise (now widely reported as an alleged explosion). 
  • Parties reporting facts outside of the investigation should provide their evidence to the accident investigation commission (Editorial note: this appears to be a reference to British and US Intelligence suggesting the aircraft was brought down by a bomb).”

The head of the Egyptian technical committee investigating the crash has confirmed that the recording from the plane’s black box reveals a sound in the last second of the recording, The Telegraph (U.K.) adds and CNN confirms further.

Ayman el-Mokkadem said: “Initial observations… do not allow for identifying the origin of the in-flight break-up” of the Airbus A-321 last Saturday 23 minutes and 14 seconds after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

He said: “A noise was heard in the last second of the recording by the cockpit voice recorder” and “a spectral analysis will be done to determine the origin of this noise”.

When answering a question about what the sound represented he said: “The sound is not the only evidence – we need to have a lot of evidence to indicate that something specific happened.”

“All the scenarios are open, it could be a fatigue at the plane body, or an explosion of something…,” said Ayman el-Mokkadem. 

Current expert theories speculating about how the Airbus A321-231 airliner broke apart at 31,000 feet in clear weather cruise flying align along two fronts proposing either engine malfunction and failure or alleged bomb on-board perhaps inside the luggage compartment, originating from a significant security breach at the originating airport in Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt). 

On Thursday, November 5, it appears the U.K. Prime Minister David Kameron alongside U.S. Intelligence officials are going forward on the probable cause of the crash as a “most likely bomb on board theory,” pushing swiftly on their aviation security investigations, ahead of the aviation safety investigation, comprising the French BEA analysis of the Airbus A321-231 black boxes, which could reveal a probable cause of significant engine malfunctioning failure, The Telegraph (U.K.) reports in its extensive rolling timeline of current developments in the crash investigation by the French BEA, Egyptian government officials, Russian Metrojet airline officials, and British and U.S. intelligence.

France’s air accident investigation agency, BEA, told CNN on Friday, November 6 that “Egyptian officials will make an announcement about the crash investigation within the next 24 hours.”

An Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said on Twitter that “the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation will hold a new conference at 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) Saturday.”

On Friday, November 6, “Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to suspend Russian air traffic with Egypt until the cause of the crash can be determined,” the Kremlin said.

“Putin has accepted the recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee to suspend flights with Egypt. … The President has also instructed to provide assistance to Russian citizens to return from Egypt. In addition, the President has instructed to engage with the Egyptian side to ensure the safety of air traffic,” the Kremlin said.

A separate source, also not authorized to speak on the record, said on Thursday, November 12, that “based on the facts so far, one of the working theories is that a bomb was planted at or near the fuel line or where it attaches to the engine, with the fuel burning off the explosive. This theory would explain the apparent lack of residue immediately found,” the source says, according to Fox News.

Fox News was told both scenarios point to an “airport insider.”

Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that operates Egypt’s civilian airports, said “except for three Ukrainian passengers all on board were Russian citizens.”

An Egyptian cabinet statement said the 217 passengers included 138 women, 62 men and 17 children.

Russian television showed scenes of relatives and friends gathering at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones. 

Our collective thoughts, prayers, and sympathies remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 224 persons lost, as they try to endure in deep anguish for their terribly devastating losses, surrounding today’s Metrojet flight 7K-9268 crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared November 1, 2015, a national day of mourning, according to a statement posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Relatives_of_passengers (Telegraph UK)

Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.). In St. Petersburg (Russia) Pulkovo Airport, grieving relatives of victims on board learn of the fate of Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268.

Two of the passengers on the Metrojet flight, Elena Rodina and Alexqander Krotov, were newlyweds, a friend of the couple told the Associated Press at a hotel near the airport. They were both 33.

Yulia Zaitseva said Rodina “really wanted to go to Egypt, though I told her ‘why the hell do you want to go to Egypt?’”

“We were friends for 20 years,” she said. “She was a very good friend who was ready to give everything to other people. To lose such a friend is like having your hand cut off.”

She said Rodina’s parents feel “like their lives are over.”

Roughly three million Russian tourists, or nearly a third of all visitors in 2014, come to Egypt every year, mostly to Red Sea resorts in Sinai or in mainland Egypt.

“It is too premature to detect the impact this will have on tourism. We need to know what happened first,” Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Rasha Azazi told the Associated Press.

Immediate question among the flying tourists is whether it is indeed safe to fly given today’s rare aviation safety circumstances, surrounding the crash of Russian Metrojet flight 7K-9268 in Sinai (Egypt). 

The answer is yes, of course, supported by a poignant U.S. federal government statistics. 

For air and space transport (including air taxis and private flights), the National Safety Council (NSC) says the relative risks of flying are extremely favorable odds of 1 in 7,178 for a lifetime against one receiving death or injury as a result of flying in a commercial passenger airliner. These relative risks of flying are compared by the NSC to the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident at 1 in 98 for a lifetimeUSA Today reports.

Google Map of Crash Event

The Airbus A321-231 vanished from radar as the airliner was flying to 30,700 feet out of Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 04:12 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time, GMT) or 12:12 am ET. 

The crew told air traffic control in the region they had technical problems.

The flight was reported to be at 31,000 feet, when it disappeared from the radar screens after 23 minutes of flight. Flight-tracking service FlightRadar24 said the plane was losing altitude at about 6,000 feet per minute before the signal was lost, Reuters reported.

Specifically, “FlightRadar24 acquired a signal from the aircraft shortly after takeoff and tracked it until 04:13:22 Zulu (12:13 am ET). At the time of last contact, FlightRadar24 were receiving a signal from the aircraft to three of its receivers, all of which stopped receiving data from the aircraft at the same time. The chart below represents the final data FlightRadar24 received from the aircraft. At no time did we receive a 7700 squawk from Metrojet flight 7K-9268.” 

Flightradar24 Tracking of Metrojet 7K-9268

The Russian air carrier, Metrojet, whose Airbus A321-231 crashed in the Sinai region on Saturday, says the aircraft was in good shape and the pilot was experienced.

In a statement on its website, Moscow-based Metrojet says the Airbus A321-231 received required factory maintenance in 2014.

The statement also identified the captain of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 was Valery Nemov, who reported technical problems from the flight deck and requested to return to Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. 

Egyptian media reports, referring to an Egyptian government meeting, that the flight crew reported trouble with the IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engines, then subsequently lost control of the aircraft, and flight deck communication ceased.

This is confirmed by Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority’s, Mohamed Hossam Kemal, who told media at a news conference today that there was no Mayday Call from the flight deck, and communication with the Airbus A321-231 was normal until the airliner disappeared from radar.

“The plane did not request a change of route,” Kemal said (via Reuters).

It is being preliminarily surmised in media reports that a probable cause of the crash is the Airbus A321-231 slowed significantly at 31,000 feet and may have gone into an aerodynamic stall, as a result of “technically malfunctioning” turbofan engine stall and surge.

Such a clear-weather, high-altitude cruise flight occurrence of “literally falling out of the sky” is most extremely rare.

Officials say they recovered the aircraft’s flight’s recorders, or “black box,” Fox News reports, which will confirm exactly what occurred during the communication-silence “hot cockpit” final moments of Metrojet flight 7K-9268.

Egypt’s Accident Investigation Commission has initiated an official crash investigation into Metrojet flight 7K-9268. The chairman of the commission stated “preliminary facts point towards a technical failure.”

Turbofan engines could in very rare instances perhaps encountered deeper combustion instability, and even more critical, axial-flow compressor instability, resulting in “engine surge” – an engine air flow reversal pre-induced by “rotating stall” – an engine thrust reducer. Such engine dynamic instabilities are altogether rare catastrophic turbofan engine events during airborne takeoff, and again most extremely rare during high-altitude cruise at 31,000 feet, which typically induces aerodynamic stall of an airliner (see a brief detailed explanation for laypersons of these rare catastrophic turbofan engine instabilities in the Appendix section).
 
During such circumstances of engine surge instability, the pilots would then immediately have to shut off the turbofan engine, and immediately attempt to land the airliner with a single turbofan engine, provided it is in functioning operation. This is how these massive jumbo commercial passenger airliners are designed, manufactured, and tested to do.
 
Lufthansa and Air France announced they are going to “avoid over-flying the Sinai until the cause of the crash has been determined.” In addition, warnings have been issued until further notice by the United States Federal Aviation Administration to U.S. air carriers, as well as, by Germany to German air carriers to operate all flights above 26,000 feet, while air traveling over the Sinai.

Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, powered by IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engines, was originally built and delivered/leased to Middle East Airlines (MEA), Registration number F-OHMP, on May 27, 1997, later it was leased to Onur Air, Registration number TC-OAE, and finally, the Russian Metrojet air carrier under its last Registration number EI-ETJ on May 27, 1997. The airliner had been also briefly in service with Saudi Arabian Airlines and Kolavia, and had accumulated approximately 55,772 flight hours in 21,175 flight cycles.

Metrojet flight 7K-9268 Captain Valery Nemov had 12,000 air hours of flying experience, including 3,860 hours flying Airbus A321 airliners.

Airbus said the aircraft was 18 years old and had been operated by Metrojet since 2012, Reuters reported. The plane had accumulated around 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights.

Russian media said the airliner was a charter flight under contract with the Brisco tour company in St. Petersburg.

Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government’s Aviation Incidents Committee, said the plane’s pilot, before losing contact, had radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to attempt a landing at the nearest airport.

It was not immediately possible to independently confirm that technical problems caused the plane to crash.

The wife of the co-pilot of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 said her husband had complained about the plane’s condition,” according to a Russian TV channel (via Associated Press).

State-controlled NTV ran an interview Saturday with Natalya Trukhacheva, identified as the wife of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 co-pilot, Sergei Trukachev. She said that a daughter “called him up before he flew out. He complained before the flight that the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired.”

Earlier, Egyptian Aviation Incidents Committee, Ayman al-Muqadem told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but was safely in Turkish airspace. The aircraft crashed at a site near the al-Arish airport, Ayman al-Muqadem said.

Egyptian authorities have said the aircraft had successfully undergone technical checks while at Sharm el-Sheikh’s airport. A technical committee from the company was headed to Sharm el-Sheikh to collect security camera footage of the Airbus A321-231, while it sat at the airport, including operations to supply the airliner with fuel and passenger meals, as well as security checks, he said.

The scattered wreckage of the Airbus A321-231 airliner was later located by military forces in the mountains of the Sinai about 20 nautical miles south of el-Arish (Sinai, Egypt, shown on the map above) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Read more also on CNN.

A security officer at the crash site who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity described it as “tragic.”

“A lot of dead on the ground and many who died (were) strapped to their seats,” the officer said. “The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (below) visited the crash site today with several cabinet ministers on a private jet, Egypt’s tourism ministry said, according to Reuters. He told a news conference today, “there did not appear to be any unusual activity behind the crash, but the facts would not be clear until further investigations had been carried out.”

metrojet_a321_crashsite 5

metrojet_a321_crashsite 3

Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 3

Photo Credit: Alamy Live News. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268, flying out of Moscow earlier this month.

The Russian Embassy in Cairo along with Egyptian security and military officials told the Associated Press there were no survivors and that all on board have died in the tragic crash.

Reuters quoting an Egyptian Official, who requested anonymity, involved in the ongoing rescue operation, says “the aircraft has broken up in two major parts, a small part being the tail plane caught fire, the other larger part impacted a rock.”

There are now reports of bodies being recovered. “The bodies of 150 victims, some still strapped to their seats, had been pulled from the wreckage,” Sky News reported, as 50 ambulances have been dispatched to the crash site.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail reported that 129 bodies have been recovered and flown by helicopters to Cairo.

Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 6

Photo Credit: Planespotters.net. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268.

There is no evidence of hostile or missile activity around the flight path of the Airbus A321-231. Russia’s Transport Ministry called a video surfacing in the Internet claiming to show the shoot down of Metrojet flight 7K-9263 by Islamic State as “not credible and fabricated.”

An Egyptian aviation ministry statement said, “Egyptian military search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the passenger jet in the remote mountainous Hassana area 44 miles south of the city of el-Arish, an area in northern Sinai where Egyptian security forces are fighting a burgeoning Islamic militant insurgency led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group.”

The group claimed responsibility for downing the jet, Sky News reported.

The Wilayat Sinai group claimed on Twitter Saturday that “the fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God.” The statement was also posted on a website that serves as an unofficial news agency for the terror group, Sky News reported, adding that the claim has not been verified and it is unclear whether Sinai militants have the capability to attack a plane flying at a high altitude. 

Separately, Russia’s top investigative body opened its own investigation into the crash. 

Militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter-jets. There have been persistent media reports that they have acquired Russian shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles. But these types of missiles can only be effective against low-flying aircraft or helicopters. In January 2014, Sinai-based militants claimed to have shot down a military helicopter; Egyptian officials at the time acknowledged the helicopter had crashed, but gave no reason.

Click here for more on Sky News.

The Associated Press is credited to this report.

B-1-2_v2500-cutaway-high

Photo Credit: 2014 International Aero Engines (IAE) A.G. V2533-A5 series turbofan engine (cutaway)

Appendix

How do aircraft engines achieve catastrophic mechanical failure and how can this be mitigated?

Air enters the IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engine (cutaway shown above) through the front fan section (indicated in the photo below on a Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D) at a mass flow rate of about a ton of air per second.

Five parts of this massive volume of air passes bypasses over the engine core into an exit nozzle past the turbine section, producing a substantially large amount of exit thrust. Whereas, one part of the inlet fan volume of air passes into the engine core begin at the compressor section.

From here air then continues to flow into the combustion chamber (where it is mixed with fuel for combustion).

Subsequently, those combusted, hot gases pass into the turbine section (which not only produces additional exit thrust force of the engine, but also the turbine section serves to turn the engine core shaft, which turns the compressor blades inside the compression section and also the fans blades inside the fan section, and thus, start all over again the dynamic loop of how an aircraft engine properly operates).

The rotor blades in the turbine get very hot at about 1,800 degrees Kelvin or even more, so it is necessary to cool the turbine blades based on limiting thermal restrictions on material science. The tangential on-board injector’s job is to channel cool air from the compressor section into passages between the turbine blades in the turbine section.

Here is a cut-away of an actual IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engine in a museum, marked it up to help us see where the main engine components of the fan, compressor (including the air-fuel combustion chamber), and turbine sections are (including the identified portion of a Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine that landing on Church and Murray Street, below the World Trade Center fire on 9-11):

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 2

The operating range of aircraft turbofan engine compression systems is limited by two classes of aerodynamic instabilities (Fig. 1) known as rotating stall and surge [1].

Rotating stall is a multidimensional instability in which regions of low or reversed mass flow (i.e., stall cells) propagate around the compressor annulus due to incidence variations on adjacent airfoils [2–5].

Surge is primarily a one-dimensional instability of the entire pumping system (compressor, ducts, combustion chamber, and turbine). It is characterized by axial pulsations in annulus-averaged mass flow, including periods of flow reversal through the machine.

In high-speed compressor hydrodynamics across compressible flow regimes [6], rotating stall is generally encountered first, which then (loosely) “triggers” surge (often after a few rotor revolutions [2]).

This work [13] proposes schemes to passively control compressible rotating stall of high-speed compressors.

Nonetheless, with either instability, the compression system experiences a substantial loss in performance and operability, which sometimes result in catastrophic mechanical failure.

An experience-based approach for avoiding such performance loss is to operate the compressor at a safe range from the point of instability onset (i.e., imposing a stall margin). The stall margin ensures that the engine can endure momentary off-design operation. The margin also reduces the available pressure rise and efficiency of the machine.

It is proposed here [13] that incorporating tailored structures and aeromechanical feedback controllers, locally-sensed by unstable compressible perturbations in annulus pressure, and actuated by non-uniformities in the high-speed flow distribution around the annulus, can be shown to inhibit the inception of a certain class of modal (long wave) stall of high-speed compressor devices. As a result, the stable operating range will be effectively extended allowing higher compressible performance and operability.

The fundamental proposition here [13] is high-speed stall onset just does not happen—it is triggered by an interdependent compressibility chain of critical Reynolds (boundary layer) and Mach (kinetic-thermal energy transfer) events. The commencement of these interdependent Reynolds and Mach events can be passively controlled, once their proportional sensitivity are monitored, sensed, and mechanically mitigated adequately in balance of performance, operability, weight, and reliability integrated with more conventional schedule-type control to justify the risk of such passive approaches offered herein.

In theory, fundamentals of a number of sensor-actuator schemes for rotating stall control were originally proposed early-on in Hendricks and Gysling [7]. In practice, a passive stall control program [13] could potentially be integrated with conventional control schedules of adequate change of fuel valve position, bleed valves, and re-staggered stator programs developed appropriately for profitable usage on compression systems operating in a highly-sensed compressible flow environment.

B-1-2_V2500_Engine_704x396

Photo Credit: Pratt & Whitney V2533-A5 series turbofan engine

Fundamental References for Additional Readings in the Field of Aircraft Engine Propulsion Stability

  1. ????Emmons, H. W., Pearson, C. E., and Grant, H. P., 1955, ‘‘Compressor Surge and Stall Propagation,’’ Trans. ASME, 77, pp. 455–469.

  2. ????Greitzer, E. M., 1976, ‘‘Surge and Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors, Part I & II,’’ ASME J. Eng. Power, 99, pp. 190–217.

  3. ????Greitzer, E. M., 1980, ‘‘Review: Axial Compressor Stall Phenomenon,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 102, pp. 134–151.

  4. Greitzer, E. M., 1981, ‘‘The Stability of Pumping Systems, The 1980 Freeman Scholar Lecture,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 103, pp. 193–242.

  1. ????Day, I. J., 1993, ‘‘Stall Inception in Axial Flow Compressors,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 115, pp. 1–9.

  2. ????Gysling, D. L. et al., 1991, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Centrifugal Compressor Surge Using Tailored Structures,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 113, pp. 710–722.

  1. ????Gysling, D. L., and Greitzer, E. M., 1995, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors Using Aeromechanical Feedback,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 117, pp. 307–319.

  2. ????Moore, F. K., 1984, ‘‘A Theory of Rotating Stall of Multistage Compressors—Parts I – II – III,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 106, pp. 313–336.

  1. ????Moore, F. K., and Greitzer, E. M., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part I—Development of Equations,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 108, pp. 68–76.

  2. ????Greitzer, E. M., and Moore, F. K., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post-Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part II—Application,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Tur- bines Power, 108, pp. 231–239.

  3. ????Haynes, J. M., Hendricks, G. J., and Epstein, A. H., 1994, ‘‘Active Stabilization of Rotating Stall in a Three-Stage Axial Compressor,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 226–239.

  1. ????Longley, J. P., 1994, ‘‘A Review of Non-Steady Flow Models for Compressor Stability,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 202–215.

  2. McGee, O. G., and Coleman, K. L., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part I: Control-Theoretic Models,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, March 2013. Coleman, K.L., and McGee, O.G., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part II: Assessments of Methodologies,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, May 2013.

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Oct 302015
 

Dynamic Airways B767-200ER N251MY FLL

A Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D left turbofan engine burst into flames on a taxiing Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767-200ER, carrying 101 passengers and flight crew, just prior to its departure at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (in Dania Beach, Florida USA) en route to Caracas, Venezuela. 

Photo Credit: Flicker.com, Dynamic Aviation Group Boeing-767-300ER, Registration Number N251MY

The 29-year-old Boeing 767-200ER airliner, Registration Number N251MY, operating as flight 2D-405 on Thursday, October 29, 2015, was taxiing on the ground before departure at about 12:34pm ET, holding short of Fort Lauderdale Airport’s runway 28R after contacting the local air traffic control tower.

Suddenly, the flight crew of another aircraft, taxiing behind Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405, advised the flight deck of the Boeing 767-200ER airliner that there was a massive Jet A-1 fuel leak from the left Pratt & Whitney turbofan engine (JT9D-7R4D).

Pratt & Whitney developed the first high bypass ratio turbofan engine (JT9D-7R4D) to power a wide-body airliner, originally designed for application to the first Jumbo Boeing 747-100 airliner.

Boeing 767 Fort Lauderdale Fire

Immediately, the flight deck of the Boeing 767-200ER airliner acknowledged the fuel leak and then requested to return to the ramp.

That was when the other advising flight deck airliner, taxiing behind flight 2D-405, alerted the Boeing 767-200ER flight deck that the new condition of their aircraft was their left turbofan engine was now on fire!

Boeing 767 Fort Lauderdale Fire 2

According to Reuters, at 12:34pm ET the Boeing 767-200ER airliner was evacuated via slides in about 3 minutes. 

Luis Campana, a 71-year-old rancher, along with his wife and sister, were three of the 101 passengers and crew on-board Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405 traveling to Venezuela’s Guarico state.

“It was a real scare,” Campana told Reuters at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He said, “he had been sitting near the front of the plane, as the pilot put the thrust on to taxi up the runway.”

“The engine exploded. As we were getting out of the plane down the chute, the smoke was beginning to enter and the engine was in flames,” he said.

Twenty-one people were injured, one seriously, most of whom were treated at a hospital and released, said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles.

Don Dodson, the director of operations for Dynamic Airways, said airline officials had set up a crisis center, flown in additional airline representatives to help passengers and arranged for a relief flight to take passengers to their final destinations.

Emergency services responded in two minutes at 12:36pm ET, according to Mike Jachles of the Boward County Fire Rescue, upon which firefighters extinguished the fire using foam seven minutes later at 12:41pm ET.

The National Transportation Safety Board has initiated its investigation of the Boeing 767-200ER fire that injured several passengers on the tarmac at the South Florida airport Thursday, according to Greg Meyer of the Boward County Aviation Department.

The plane had no previous incidents or issues, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Boeing 767/269 — manufactured in 1986 and owned by Utah-based airplane leasing company KMW Leasing in Salt Lake City — lost 45 to 50 gallons of fuel, damaging the asphalt. Taxiway repairs should be complete later Friday or Saturday, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Director Kent George said (via Fox News).

“More than 100 passengers had to evacuate using emergency slides. Some ran from the plane into the terminal as fire crews rushed to put the fire out,” Fox News reported.

Kent George, Director of the Broward County Aviation Department, said (via Fox News), “the flames never entered the cockpit.”

Dyanmic Airways Logo

Dynamic International Airways, according to the limited liability company founded in 2008, is a certified Part 121 Carrier, operating fleet of seven Boeing 767-200ER aircraft that typically carries up to 250 people. The air carrier is based in Greensboro, North Carolina that connects Fort Lauderdale, New York, Venezuela and Guyana.

In past Dynamic International Airways operated mostly for other carriers and tour operators under their wet lease agreements.

In 2014 the airline started its own passenger service on multiple international markets including China, Saipan, Guam, Hong Kong, Guyana and Brasil.

Only recently, Dynamic International Airways announced it has launched its low-cost service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Caracas, Venezuela.

“For Venezuelans hoping to travel abroad, the options have been severely reduced to little-known carriers such as Dynamic or domestic carriers, which due to the country’s economic crisis, have struggled to import replacement parts,” according to Fox News.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee. “Firefighters walk past a burned out engine of a Dynamic Airways Boeing 767, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Dania Beach, Florida. The passenger plane’s engine caught fire Thursday as it prepared for takeoff, and passengers had to quickly evacuate on the runway using emergency slides, officials said. The plane was headed to Caracas, Venezuela.”
 
How we all can relate to this Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767 engine safety breach? 
 
Immediate question among the flying public is whether it is indeed safe to fly given today’s rare engine safety circumstances, surrounding the departure of Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405.
 
The answer is yes, of course, supported by a poignant U.S. federal government statistics.
 
For air and space transport (including air taxis and private flights), the National Safety Council (NSC) says the relative risks of flying are extremely favorable odds of 1 in 7,178 for a lifetime against one receiving death or injury as a result of flying in a commercial passenger airliner. These relative risks of flying are compared by the NSC to the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident at 1 in 98 for a lifetime, the USA Today reports.
 
Be that as it may, my father was a firefighter. He impressed upon me that firefighters and ground crews at these airports must work fast to put such hot fires out, as a result of exploding Jet A-1 engine fuel, having a flash point greater than 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), with an autoignition temperature of 210 degrees Celsius (410 degrees Fahrenheit).
 
Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767-200ER’s engine fire today on the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport runway was an extremely hot Jet A-1 engine fuel fire at burn temperatures reaching as high as 2,500 degrees Kelvin (2,230 degrees Celsius, or 4,040 degrees Fahrenheit), including open air burn temperatures climbing as high as 1,030 degrees Celsius, or 1,890 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
Moreover, fast cabin evacuation inside the Dynamic Airways’ Boeing 767-200ER of all the 101 passengers and crew was remarkably achieved in three minutes or 180 seconds – about twice the 90 seconds mandated by FAA regulations – that fortunately saved the lives of all passengers and flight crew on-board flight 2D-405.
 
So today, congratulations goes out to the Dynamic Airways 2D-405 flight crew for their fine execution of passenger evacuation of the cabin at the moment of the flight deck determination of a fire inside the left Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine.
 
Additional salute goes out to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport ground crews and controllers, as well as, some heads up eyewitness warning on the ground (from the flight deck of a nearby taxiing airliner) of leaking Jet A-1 fuel from that Boeing 767-200ER’s left turbofan engine causing this massive fire and thick black smoke bellowing high into the sky (shown via Reuters below).

We can all emotionally recall, we had seen a similar massive fire with thick black smoke bellowing high in the sky, resulting from extremely hot Jet A-1 engine fuel inside the World Trade Center fire fourteen years ago on 9-11-2001.  

Therein, that tall building’s constructed steel melted, when it reached  a temperature of 800 degree Fahrenheit, as a result of forced mixing with a highly flammable Jet A-1 engine fuel, which burns at an extremely hot temperature approaching 2000 degrees Kelvin.

When Jet A-1 fuel burns uncontrollably, it induces a thick bellowing cloud of black smoke. 

WTC Tower on 9-11
 
Photo Credit: “It is an easily verifiable truth that Flight 175, as the Boeing 767 that it was, carried two Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engines run on hot Jet A-1 engine fuel. “Flight 11” struck the North Tower –as seen above– at 8:46 AM. “Flight 175” struck the South Tower at 9:03 AM. At that moment upon hitting the South Tower, the flaming Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine fell onto the street below landing broken apart at the corner of Church and Murray Street in lower Manhattan.
 
Unfortunately, fast evacuation from tall buildings is much tougher and slower, than fortunately, the faster evacuation from commercial aircraft – mandated by FAA to be under just 90 seconds!
 
So, air passengers please read those seat-back cards in front of you that the flight attendants are instructing you to do during pre-flight safety procedures. 
 
Most of all, do determine in your mind your nearest route to an exit, including your emergency evacuation plan. 
 
Those passengers seated at the exits are federally-required by law to assist all passengers and flight crew in the event of an emergency evacuation of all commercial passenger aircraft.
 
dynamic_b762_n251my_fort_lauderdale_151029_2
 
An additional truth about rare sudden aircraft turbofan engine fires is that we are extremely lucky the Dynamic Airways Boeing 767-200ER’s Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine fire did not occur later upon takeoff. 
 
Therein, the turbofan engines could perhaps have further encounter deeper combustion instability, and even more critical, axial flow compressor instability, resulting in “engine surge” – an engine air flow reversal pre-induced by “rotating stall” – an engine thrust reducer, altogether leading to a rare catastrophic turbofan engine fire during airborne takeoff (see a brief detailed explanation for laypersons of these rare catastrophic turbofan engine instabilities in the Appendix section).
 
The pilots would then immediately have to shut off the left turbofan engine, and immediately attempt to land the Boeing 767 with the single right turbofan engine in functioning operation. This is how these massive jumbo commercial airliners are designed, manufactured, and tested to do fortunately.

Still, experts present another scenario of truths associated with the Boeing 767-200ER’s Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine safety breach of an undetected fuel leak prior to takeoff.

The accident could have been catastrophic had the jet taken off with a fuel leak, Greg Feith, a former crash investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told Reuters.

“Once the aircraft is airborne, it becomes a flying blowtorch,” Feith said. “The fire intensifies and you don’t know what system or structure it’s going to burn through.”

Fire could damage a wing and fuselage, or cripple hydraulic and electronic control systems, Feith said, potentially making an emergency landing impossible. It could also ignite fuel tanks in the wings, especially if fuel vapor were present, he said.

Appendix

How do aircraft engines achieve catastrophic mechanical failure and how can this be mitigated?

Air enters the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine through the fan section (indicated in the photo below) at a mass flow rate of about a ton of air per second.

Five parts of this massive volume of air passes bypasses over the engine core into an exit nozzle past the turbine section, producing a substantially large amount of exit thrust. Whereas, one part of the inlet fan volume of air passes into the engine core begin at the compressor section.

From here air then continues to flow into the combustor (where it is mixed with fuel for combustion).

Subsequently, those combusted, hot gases pass into the turbine section (which not only produces additional exit thrust force of the engine, but also the turbine section serves to turn the engine core shaft, which turns the compressor blades inside the compression section and also the fans blades inside the fan section, and thus, start all over again the dynamic loop of how an aircraft engine properly operates).

The rotor blades in the turbine get very hot at about 1,800 degrees Kelvin or even more, so it is necessary to cool the turbine blades based on limiting thermal restrictions on material science. The tangential on-board injector’s job is to channel cool air from the compressor section into passages between the turbine blades in the turbine section.

Here is a cut-away of an actual Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine in a museum, marked it up to help us see where the main engine components of the fan, compressor (including the air-fuel combustion chamber), and turbine sections are (including the identified portion that landing on Church and Murray Street, below the World Trade Center fire on 9-11):

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 2

The operating range of aircraft turbofan engine compression systems is limited by two classes of aerodynamic instabilities (Fig. 1) known as rotating stall and surge [1].

Rotating stall is a multidimensional instability in which regions of low or reversed mass flow (i.e., stall cells) propagate around the compressor annulus due to incidence variations on adjacent airfoils [2–5].

Surge is primarily a one- dimensional instability of the entire pumping system (compressor, ducts, combustion chamber, and turbine). It is characterized by axial pulsations in annulus-averaged mass flow, including periods of flow reversal through the machine.

In high-speed compressor hydrodynamics across compressible flow regimes [6], rotating stall is generally encountered first, which then (loosely) “triggers” surge (often after a few rotor revolutions [2]).

This work [13] proposes schemes to passively control compressible rotating stall of high-speed compressors.

Nonetheless, with either instability, the compression system experiences a substantial loss in performance and operability, which sometimes result in catastrophic mechanical failure.

An experience-based approach for avoiding such performance loss is to operate the compressor at a safe range from the point of instability onset (i.e., imposing a stall margin). The stall margin ensures that the engine can endure momentary off-design operation. The margin also reduces the available pressure rise and efficiency of the machine (see Fig. 2).

It is proposed here that incorporating tailored structures and aeromechanical feedback controllers, locally-sensed by unstable compressible perturbations in annulus pressure, and actuated by non-uniformities in the high- speed flow distribution around the annulus, can be shown to inhibit the inception of a certain class of modal (long wave) stall of high-speed compressor devices. As a result, the stable operating range will be effectively extended allowing higher compressible performance and operability.

The fundamental proposition here [13] is high-speed stall onset just does not happen—it is triggered by an interdependent compressibility chain of critical Reynolds (boundary layer) and Mach (kinetic-thermal energy transfer) events. The commencement of these interdependent Reynolds and Mach events can be passively controlled, once their proportional sensitivity are monitored, sensed, and mechanically mitigated adequately in balance of performance, operability, weight, and reliability integrated with more conventional schedule-type control to justify the risk of such passive approaches offered herein.

In theory, fundamentals of a number of sensor-actuator schemes for rotating stall control were originally proposed early-on in Hendricks and Gysling [7]. In practice, a passive stall control program [13] could potentially be integrated with conventional control schedules of adequate change of fuel valve position, bleed valves, and re-staggered stator programs developed appropriately for profitable usage on compression systems operating in a highly-sensed compressible flow environment.

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 3

Fundamental References for Additional Readings in the Field of Aircraft Engine Propulsion Stability

  1. Emmons, H. W., Pearson, C. E., and Grant, H. P., 1955, ‘‘Compressor Surge and Stall Propagation,’’ Trans. ASME, 77, pp. 455–469.

  2. Greitzer, E. M., 1976, ‘‘Surge and Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors, Part I & II,’’ ASME J. Eng. Power, 99, pp. 190–217.

  3. Greitzer, E. M., 1980, ‘‘Review: Axial Compressor Stall Phenomenon,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 102, pp. 134–151.

  4. Greitzer, E. M., 1981, ‘‘The Stability of Pumping Systems, The 1980 Freeman Scholar Lecture,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 103, pp. 193–242.

  1. Day, I. J., 1993, ‘‘Stall Inception in Axial Flow Compressors,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 115, pp. 1–9.

  2. Gysling, D. L. et al., 1991, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Centrifugal Compressor Surge Using Tailored Structures,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 113, pp. 710–722.

  1. Gysling, D. L., and Greitzer, E. M., 1995, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors Using Aeromechanical Feedback,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 117, pp. 307–319.

  2. Moore, F. K., 1984, ‘‘A Theory of Rotating Stall of Multistage Compressors—Parts I – II – III,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 106, pp. 313–336.

  1. Moore, F. K., and Greitzer, E. M., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part I—Development of Equations,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 108, pp. 68–76.

  2. Greitzer, E. M., and Moore, F. K., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post-Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part II—Application,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Tur- bines Power, 108, pp. 231–239.

  3. Haynes, J. M., Hendricks, G. J., and Epstein, A. H., 1994, ‘‘Active Stabilization of Rotating Stall in a Three-Stage Axial Compressor,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 226–239.

  1. Longley, J. P., 1994, ‘‘A Review of Non-Steady Flow Models for Compressor Stability,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 202–215.

  2. McGee, O. G., and Coleman, K. L., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part I: Control- Theoretic Models,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, March 2013. Coleman, K.L., and McGee, O.G., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part II: Assessments of Methodologies,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, May 2013.

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Oct 142015
 

Malaysia Airlines Logos 333

Crash investigators of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) in its final report today confirm a Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile downed MH17. The DSB released its findings at 1:45 pm local Dutch time, 7:45 am ET on the causes of the Boeing 777-200 crash in war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, in which 283 passengers and 15 crew members died on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17’s Boeing 777-200 en route from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur. 

Today’s MH17 crash final report by the DSB of The Netherlands, headed by Chairman Tjibbe Joustra, follows a previously released preliminary MH17 investigation report on September 9, 2014, sketching out the causes of the aviation disaster that has impacted Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).

Video Credit: about the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation into the causes of the crash of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine and the Board’s investigation into flying over conflict zones. The video was based on the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation reports, which were published on October 12, 2015.

DSB chairman Joustra said the warhead that downed MH17 fits the profile of a Russian-built automatic computerized Buk ground-to-air missile. However, Russian officials who participated in the investigation said “it was not possible to confirm the warhead or type of system,” according to Joustra (via CNN).

The new air carrier has been operational, since September 1, 2015, with a new RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion) business model and management team, led by Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines Systems and CEO-Designate of the new “value-based” airline, aiming for profitability estimated by 2018 (which is briefly reviewed at the end of this piece).

MH17 Reg 9M-MRD

Photo Credit: Taken on July 28, 2013, at Shanghai Pudong Airport, by Steven Richardson, aviation analyst at FlyersPulse.com, of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Registration Number 9M-MRD, which is reported by Malaysia Airlines as the crashed aircraft of Flight 17.

A total of 193 Dutch nationals and 38 Australian nationals were on board Flight MH17. Besides 44 Malaysians, nationals from the Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand were among the 283 passengers and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew on board MH17.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies still remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 298 persons lost, as they continue to wait in deep anguish for the most complete closure to their lingering questions in search of the most definitive answers and justice surrounding the MH17 aviation disaster.

After more than 15 months of searching and waiting for those answers, this history-making aviation safety and security breach is still raising even more questions, as to why this MH17 aviation disaster happened on the morning of July 17, 2014 to this particular Southeast Asia air carrier in the wake of a little over four months after the stunning disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner that frames the ongoing mystery of the MH370 aviation tragedy on the morning of March 8, 2014.

Scope of Dutch Safety Board (DSB) MH17 Crash Investigation.

The DSB investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13.

The largest number of 193 passengers on board flight MH17 were Dutch. As a result of international protocols and norms in aviation crash events, involving safety and security breaches, The Netherlands has taken the international lead in the overall safety investigation and findings report of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The nation-state (Ukraine) in which the Boeing 777-200 airliner safety breach occurred has delegated the investigation to the Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators. The group of international investigators consists of aviation safety and security representatives of The Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, United States, Russia, and Ukraine.

This MH17 causal report contains the complete circumstances surrounding the aircraft hull “high-energy” foreign object impact and explosion, a comprehensive technical analysis of the airliners’ flight data recorders (or “black-boxes”), an investigation into the decision-making process with regard to flight routes over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, and a scientific forensic analysis of the remains of the 283 passengers and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew members.

The final report also contains factual information obtained from safety investigative teams having accessible evidence of the MH17 crash site, including on-board flight records and radar stations, MH17 black-box flight data, as well as, satellite imaging and other visual sources. 

The following areas of interest substantiate the wealth of factual information and recommendations (quoted in the Appendix Section of this piece) inside the massive final report regarding:

  • detailed analyses of data, including black-box flight data recorders and other sources, recorded on-board the Boeing 777-200 airliner;
  • detailed analyses of recorder air traffic control surveillance data and radio communication;
  • detailed analyses of the meteorological circumstances;
  • forensic examination of wreckage, if recovered and possible foreign objects, if found;
  • results of the pathological investigation;
  • analyses of the in-flight break up sequence;
  • assessment of Malaysia Airlines operator’s and State of Occurrence’s management of flight safety over a region of conflict or high security risk;
  • detailed analysis of eleven (11) aviation safety and security recommendations to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transportation Association (IATA);
  • any other areas that are identified during the ongoing MH17 crash investigation.

The MH17 crash findings released today builds the most complete picture of how the Boeing 777-200 airliner, Registration Number 9M-MRDwas brought down on the morning of July 17, 2014 over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine.

The DSB’s main objective is to establish the causes of the MH17 crash and to offer recommendations for safety of international commercial passenger flights.

In addition, DSB stresses inside its preliminary and final reports that the safety council does not have any authority to “apportion blame” and to “place blame, liability or responsibility for the tragedy” on any nation or specific group or persons. The Board further adds such issues must remain within the scope of the Dutch prosecutorial authorities.

A critical overarching question addressed inside the DSB preliminary and final reports is:

What happened exactly? Why was Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 airliner performing its flight MH17 precisely across the much-troubled war-torn Harbove, Ukraine region, where an armed conflict was being fought? What extent the occupants of flight MH17 consciously experienced the crash?

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has said Malaysia would continue with its own safety investigation and criminal probe into the MH17 aviation disaster through the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), alongside the Dutch team of safety investigators, including further assessments into the preliminary and final reports of the Dutch Safety Board.

“We hope the final report can help in obtaining sound evidence to bring the criminals to the international court,” Lai has said.

Main Conclusion – Preliminary findings of “high-energy objects” now concluded by DSB as a Buk ground-to-air missile downing MH17.

Based on the preliminary findings to data, no indications of any technical or operational issues were found with the aircraft or crew prior to the ending of the black-box flight data recording of MH17 at 13.20:03 hours UTC.

The damage observed in the forward section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicate that the aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft. It is likely that this damage resulted in a loss of structural integrity of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight break up.

“High-energy objects,” as suggested in the preliminary findings of the DSB on September 9, 2014, penetrated the aircraft as it flew over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine.

It has been determined by the DSB in their preliminary report that a Boeing 777-200, operated by Malaysia Airlines as flight MH17, broke up in the air, as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of “high-energy” objects that penetrated the airliner’s fuselage from outside. The Board found no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by “a technical fault or by actions of the crew.”

“The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 (UTC) after which it ended abruptly. A full listening of the communications among the crew members in the cockpit recorded on the cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation. Neither were any warning tones heard in the cockpit that might have pointed to technical problems. The flight data recorder registered no aircraft system warnings, and aircraft engine parameters were consistent with normal operation during the flight. The radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control confirm that no emergency call was made by the cockpit crew. The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 (UTC) remained unanswered,” the DSB preliminary report concluded.

The Dutch preliminary report added: “The pattern of wreckage on the ground suggests that the aircraft split into pieces during flight (an in-flight break up). Based on the available maintenance history the airplane was airworthy, when it took off from Amsterdam, and there were no known technical problems. The aircraft was manned by a qualified and experienced crew.”

The DSB went on to summarize the findings of the crash site debris field: “The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside” … “The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.”

Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board (DSB), The warhead, points 1-3 mark the parts of the warhead recovered on the crash site.

Nearly a year later on August 11, 2015, the DSB took possession of parts recovered from the MH17 crash site in Hrabove, Ukraine, that the DSB preliminarily determined could possibly have originated from an advanced computerized BUK ground-to-air missile. Upon further investigation by the DSB to determine the cause of the crash, and by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which conducted the criminal investigation, the final MH17 causal report definitively links the discovered parts to an advanced computerized Buk warhead ground-to-air missile. The MH17 final report further concludes that the discovered parts of the Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile was indeed the “high-energy” impact which caused the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014.

MH17 Wreckage 4

Extent of Flight MH17 Boeing 777-200 Hull Damage on the 298 Passengers and Crew.

Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicated that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects, now concluded by the DSB as originating from a Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile, from outside the aircraft.

The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was not consistent with the damage that would be expected from any known failure mode of the Boeing 777-200 airliner, its engines or systems.

The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area, indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.

The DSB concluded that “pre-formed fragments” or “high-energy objects” from the warhead explosion at the forward fuselage and cockpit section killed three crew members instantly. In the aft section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner no such damage was placed upon the other occupants in the cabin section.

“As a result of the impact, they were exposed to extreme and many different, interacting factors: abrupt deceleration and acceleration, decompression and associated mist formation, decrease in oxygen level, extreme cold, strong airflow, the aeroplane’s very rapid descent and objects flying around,” the report said.

“The Dutch Safety Board did not find any indications of conscious actions performed by the occupants after the missile’s detonation. It is likely that the occupants were barely able to comprehend the situation in which they found themselves.”

Brief summary of the Dutch Safety Board Preliminary and MH17 Crash Final Report findings are quoted below for reader convenience in the Appendix and on the Safety Board’s website.

Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) sheds staff, routes and planes in US$1.9 billion restructuring and recovery to profitability by 2018.

Malaysian wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Bhd), has appointed formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi, as Administrator of Malaysian Airline System (MAS). On August 30 2014, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, MAS’s lone shareholder, unveiled a restructuring plan to recover MAS from being “technically bankrupted,” according to incoming Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines and CEO-Designate of the new airline.
 
The restructuring plan called for job cuts, a capital infusion of nearly RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion), and the creation of a new firm to recover the airline from its dual crisis as a result of the MH370 aviation tragedy of March 8, 2014 and the MH17 aviation disaster of July 17, 2014.
 
Under the MAS Act, the Administrator serves in the essential capacity of oversight in the transfer of selected assets and liabilities to the new company, MAB, which replaces MAS, as Malaysia’s new flag carrier, as of September 1, 2015 with a new business model and a new management team.
 
The hyper-competition amongst low-cost “value-based” air carriers in Southeast Asia and the Middle East is projected to escalate rapidly in the next 5-10 years. These emerging market changes has also yield some current reductions in routes and plane assets, as part of the restructuring and recovery of the new Malaysian air carrier.
 
According to the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation over the past year between September 1, 2014 to September 1, 2015 (via Bloomberg), one of every ten MAB routes have been eliminated for a global reduction of 16 percent in passenger load capacity, amounting to about one million less passengers flying on MAB jets, since September 2013 peaks prior to the flag carrier’s dual aviation crises in 2014.
 
Specifically, six MAB routes has been cut to just five to Australian cities for a reduction of 39 percent passenger load capacity; one of every five MAB routes have been cut across North-South Asia for a reduction of 42 percent passenger load capacity; one of every four MAB routes removed across Europe (routing only to London, Paris, and Amsterdam) for a reduction of 26 percent passenger load capacity. Only Southeast Asia has a one percent increase in passenger load capacity on MAB. In April 2014, a month after the MH370 aviation tragedy and three months before the MH17 aviation disaster, the lone North American MAS flight to Los Angeles was cancelled permanently.
 
In addition, MAB has made commitment to lease out two of its wide body Airbus A380 airliner assets, and on October 9, 2015, MAB signed capital  leases for external asset utilization of four smaller Airbus A350 airliners expected to be delivered by 2017 a year before MAB management’s planned profitability by 2018, according to Bloomberg.
 
MAS has also terminated its entire staff and re-employ two-thirds of the 20,000 workers under new conditions, amounting to 6,000 in staff cuts for a now leaner flag carrier of the size of its premium deep-pockets competitor in the region, Singapore Airlines.
 
“When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, the airline became a bi-national airline and was renamed Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before both partners went their separate ways in 1972 and Malaysian Airline System (MAS) took to the skies on October 1 of that year,” reports Malaysia Chronicle.
 
According to the labor force reduction crafted by Khazanah, “those who were offered and accepted employment at MAB will be paid a sign-on payment of two months pay with their first month’s salary at MAB and another two months upon completing 18 months service at MAB as part of its retention payment.”
 
__________
 

APPENDIX

Brief Summary of the Dutch Safety Board MH17 Crash Final Report Findings

General Information

Aircraft Type and Registration: Boeing 777-2H6ER, 9M-MRD

Number and Type of Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Trent 892B

Location: Near Hrabove, Ukraine

Date and Time (UTC) 17 July 2014 at 13.20 hours

Type of Flight: Scheduled passenger flight

Persons on Board: Crew = 15 (4 flight deck crew, 11 cabin crew); Passengers = 283

Injuries: Crew = 15 (fatal); Passengers = 283 (fatal)

Nature of Damage: Aircraft destroyed

Crew

According to the information received form Malaysia Airlines the crew was properly licensed and had valid medical certifications to conduct the flight.

Aircraft

According to the documents, the aircraft was in an airworthy condition at departure from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, there were no known technical malfunctions.

MH17 Black-Boxes

No evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorders were found.

No aural alerts or warnings of aircraft system malfunctions were heard on the Cockpit Voice Recorders. The communication between the flight crew members gave no indication of any malfunction or emergency prior to the occurrence.

The engine parameters were consistent with normal operation, during the flight. No engine or aircraft system warnings or cautions were detected.

No technical malfunctions or warnings in relation to the event flight were found on the Black-Box Flight Data Recorder data.

Air Traffic Control and Airspace

At the time of the occurrence, flight MH17 was flying at a flight level of 33,000 feet in unrestricted airspace of Dnipropetrovs’k in the eastern part of Ukraine. The aircraft flew on a constant heading, speed and altitude, when the Flight Data Recording ended. Ukraine air traffic control, then immediately, issued an emergency that restricted all access to the airspace below flight levels of 32,000 feet.

The last radio transmission made by the crew began at 13.19:56 hours and ended at 13.19:59 hours UTC.

(Note: Ukraine local time – Central European (Summer) Daylight Saving Time – was 2 hours ahead of UTC, that is UTC+2).

  • At 13.19:53 hours, radar data showed that the aircraft was 3.6 nautical miles north of centerline of airway L980, having deviated left of track, when Dnipro Control directed the crew to alter their route directly to waypoint RND due to other traffic. The crew acknowledged at 13.19:56 hours. At 13.20:00 hours UTC, Dnipro Control transmitted an onward air traffic control clearance to proceed directly […], no acknowledgement was received.

The last radio transmissions made by Dnipropetrovs’k air traffic control center to flight MH17 began at 13.20:00 hours UTC and ended at 13.22:02 hours UTC. The crew did not respond to these transmissions.

No distress messages were received by the Dutch air traffic control.

According to the radar data, three commercial aircraft were in the same Control Area as flight MH17 at the time of the safety breach occurrence. All were under control of Dnipro Radat. At 13.20 hours UTC the distance between the closest aircraft and MH17 was approximately 30 kilometers.

Causes of MH17 Crash

“On July 17, 2014, at 13.20 (15.20 CET) a Boeing 777-200 with the Malaysia Airlines nationality and registration mark 9M-MRD disappeared to the west of the TAMAK air navigation waypoint in Ukraine. A notification containing this information was sent by the Ukrainian National Bureau of Air Accident Investigation (NBAAI) on July 18, 2014, at approximately 06.00 (08.00 CET).

(Note: Ukraine local time – Central European (Summer) Daylight Saving Time (CET) – was 2 hours ahead of UTC, that is UTC+2).

The NBAAI was notified by the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE) that communication with flight MH17 had been lost.

A signal from the aeroplane ́s Emergency Locator Transmitter had been received and its approximate position had been determined.

The aeroplane impacted the ground in the eastern part of Ukraine. The wreckage was spread over several sites near the villages of Hrabove, Rozsypne and Petropavlivka. Six wreckage sites were identified, spread over about 50 kilometers.

Most of the wreckage was located in three of these sites to the south-west of the village of Hrabove. This is about 8.5 km east of the last known position of the aeroplane in flight. At two sites, post-impact fires had occurred.

All 298 persons on board lost their lives.

The in-flight disintegration of the aeroplane near the Ukrainian/Russian border was the result of the detonation of a warhead.

The detonation occurred above the left hand side of the cockpit. The weapon used was a 9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system.

Other scenarios that could have led to the disintegration of the aeroplane were considered, analyzed and excluded based on the evidence available.

The airworthy aeroplane was under control of Ukrainian air traffic control and was operated by a licensed and qualified flight crew.”

Flight route over conflict zone

“Flight MH17 was shot down over the eastern part of Ukraine, where an armed conflict broke out in April 2014. At first this conflict took place mainly on the ground, but as from the end of April 2014 it expanded into the airspace over the conflict zone: Ukrainian armed forces’ helicopters, transport aeroplanes and fighters were downed.

On July 14, the Ukrainian authorities reported that a military aeroplane, an Antonov An-26, had been shot down above the eastern part of Ukraine. On 17 July, the authorities announced that a Sukhoi Su-25 had been shot down over the area on 16 July.

According to the authorities, both aircraft were shot down at an altitude that could only have been reached by powerful weapon systems. The weapon systems cited by the authorities, a medium-range surface-to-air missile or an air-to-air missile, could reach the cruising altitude of civil aeroplanes. Consequently they pose a threat to civil aviation.

Although (Western) intelligence services, politicians and diplomats established the intensification of fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine, on the ground as well as in the air, it was not recognised that as a result there was an increased risk to civil aeroplanes flying over the conflict zone at cruising altitude. The focus was mainly on military activities, and the geopolitical consequences of the conflict.”

Ukraine’s airspace management

“With regard to airspace management Ukraine is responsible for the safety of aeroplanes in that airspace. On 6 June 2014, the airspace above the eastern part of Ukraine was restricted to civil aviation from the ground up to an altitude of 26,000 feet (FL260).

This enabled military aeroplanes to fly at an altitude that was considered safe from attacks from the ground and eliminated the risk that they would encounter civil aeroplanes, which flew above FL260. The authorities automatically assumed that aeroplanes flying at a higher altitude than that considered safe for military aeroplanes, were also safe.

On July 14, 2014, the Ukrainian authorities increased the upper limit of the restricted airspace imposed on civil aviation to an altitude of 32,000 feet (FL320). The exact underlying reason for this decision remains unclear.

The Ukrainian authorities did not consider closing the airspace over the eastern part of Ukraine to civil aviation completely. The statements made by the Ukrainian authorities on July 14, 2014 and July 17, 2014, related to the military aeroplanes being shot down, mentioned the use of weapon systems that can reach the cruising altitude of civil aeroplanes.

In the judgment of the Dutch Safety Board, these statements provided sufficient reason for closing the airspace over the conflict zone as a precaution.”

Choice of flight route by Malaysia Airlines and other airlines

“Malaysia Airlines assumed that the unrestricted airspace over Ukraine was safe. Thesituation in the eastern part of Ukraine did not constitute a reason for reconsidering the route. The operator stated that it did not possess any information that flight MH17, or other flights, faced any danger when flying over Ukraine.

Not only Malaysia Airlines, but almost all airlines that used routes over the conflict zone continued to do so during the period in which the armed conflict was expanding into the airspace. On the day of the crash alone, 160 flights were conducted above the eastern part of Ukraine until the airspace was closed.”

Other states and the state of departure (the Netherlands)

“The Chicago Convention provides states with the option of imposing a flight prohibition or restrictions on airlines and issuing recommendations related to the use of foreign airspace.

Some states, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, use this option with regard to their resident airlines.

Although flight MH17 took off from Dutch soil the Netherlands did not bear any formal responsibility for the flight, because it concerned a non-Dutch airline. The fact that Malaysia Airlines was operating the flight as KLM’s code share partner did not provide any legal authority either.

During the period in which the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine expanded into the airspace over the conflict zone, from the end of April 2014 up to the crash of flight MH17, not a single state or international organization explicitly warned of any risks to civil aviation and not a single state prohibited its airlines or airmen from using the airspace over the area or imposed other restrictions. 

At the Dutch Safety Board’s request, the Dutch Review Committee for the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD) examined whether the Dutch intelligence and security services possessed any information that could have been important for the safety of flight MH17.

The services had no indication that the warring factions intended to shoot down civil aeroplanes. The services did not have any information that the groups that were fighting against the Ukrainian government in the eastern part of Ukraine possessed medium or long-range surface-to-air missiles.”

Possibilities for improvement

“The crash of MH17 demonstrates than an unrestricted airspace is not, by definition, safe if the state managing that airspace is dealing with an armed conflict. The reality is that states involved in an armed conflict rarely close their airspace. This means that the principle of sovereignty related to airspace management can give rise to vulnerability.

In the Board’s opinion, states involved in armed conflicts should give more consideration to closing their airspace as a precaution. More effective incentives are needed to encourage them to do so.

Airline operators may not assume in advance that an unrestricted airspace above a conflict zone is safe. The fundamental principle currently adopted by operators is that they use the airspace, unless doing so is demonstrably unsafe. In their risk analyses, operators should take greater account of uncertainties and risk-increasing factors, such as when a conflict expands into the airspace. The current regulations do not stipulate that operators shall assess the risks involved in overflying conflict areas.

Operators themselves should gather more information to be able to perform an adequate risk assessment. This information can largely be acquired by consulting open sources, but in the case of conflict zones operators also need confidential information from states with intelligence capabilities.

Vital in this respect is the sharing of information between states, between states and operators and between operators. Not only the gathering of information, but also combining information in the fields of safety and security, as well as on developments on the ground and in the air proves important. In this regard, international regulations (the Chicago Convention) are currently too divided across these different fields. It was established that there are gaps between the various responsibilities, for which a solution should be found.”

Summary of MH17 Crash Final Report Recommendations

Level 1: Airspace management in conflict zones

To ICAO:

1. “Incorporate in Standards that states dealing with an armed conflict in their territory shall at an early stage publish information that is as specific as possible regarding the nature and extent of threats of that conflict and its consequences for civil aviation. Provide clear definitions of relevant terms, such as conflict zone and armed conflict. 

2. “Ask states dealing with an armed conflict for additional information if published aeronautical or other publications give cause to do so; offer assistance and consider issuing a State Letter if, in the opinion of ICAO, states do not sufficiently fulfil their responsibility for the safety of the airspace for civil aviation.

3. “Update Standards and Recommended Practices related to the consequences of armed conflicts for civil aviation, and convert the relevant Recommended Practices into Standards as much as possible so that states will be able to take unambiguous measures if the safety of civil aviation may be at issue.

To ICAO Member States:

4. “Ensure that states’ responsibilities related to the safety of their airspace are stricter defined in the Chicago Convention and the underlying Standards and Recommended Practices, so that it is clear in which cases the airspace should be closed. The states most closely involved in the investigation into the crash of flight MH17 could initiate this.

Level 2: Risk assessment

To ICAO and IATA:

5. “Encourage states and operators who have relevant information about threats within a foreign airspace to make this available in a timely manner to others who have an interest in it in connection with aviation safety. Ensure that the relevant paragraphs in the ICAO Annexes concerned are extended and made more strict.

To ICAO:

6. “Amend relevant Standards so that risk assessments shall also cover threats to civil aviation in the airspace at cruising level, especially when overflying conflict zones. Risk increasing and uncertain factors need to be included in these risk assessments in accordance with the proposals made by the ICAO Working Group on Threat and Risk.

To IATA:

7. “Ensure that the Standards regarding risk assessments are also reflected in the IATA.

Operational Safety Audits (IOSA)

To states (State of Operator):

8. “Ensure that airline operators are required through national regulations to make risk assessments of overflying conflict zones. Risk increasing and uncertain factors need to be included in these assessments in accordance with the proposals made by the ICAO Working Group on Threat and Risk.

To ICAO and IATA:

9. “In addition to actions already taken, such as the website (ICAO Conflict Zone Information Repository) with notifications about conflict zones, a platform for exchanging experiences and good practices regarding assessing the risks related to the overflying of conflict zones is to be initiated.

Level 3: Operator accountability

To IATA:

10. “Ensure that IATA member airlines agree on how to publish clear information to potential passengers about flight routes over conflict zones and on making operators accountable for that information.

To operators:

11. “Provide public accountability for flight routes chosen, at least once a year.”

More extensive detailed summary findings of the massive DSB’s MH17 final report may be seen at Aviation Herald.

Photo Credits: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Registration Number 9M-MRD, which is reported by Malaysia Airlines as the crashed aircraft of Flight 17.

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Aug 172015
 

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 3

An Indonesian Trigana Air turboprop with 54 people on board crashed in remote mountains near the Indonesian-Papua New Guinea border. Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN, shown in the photo below), carrying 54 people, lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control just before 3pm (0600 GMT Indonesian local time) shortly after taking off from Sentani airport in Indonesian province of Papua’s capital Jayapura on a flight en route to the village of Oksibil, an extremely remote mountainous region at the Indonesian-Papua New Guinea border.

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 2

Performing as Trigana Air flight IL267, the turboprop aircraft departed Jayapura about half an hour before it disappeared from Indonesian air traffic control. The 45 minute flight carried all Indonesians, including 44 adults, 5 children, and 5 Trigana Air crew, and including 5 people on board from parliamentary staff traveling to Oksibil to attend an annual ceremony of Indonesia’s independence. Flight IL267 was expected to arrive at its destination about 7 hours and 30 minutes ago local time, according to the Indonesia search and rescue agency via social media.

“The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify,” Henry Bambang Soelistyo, Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Head, told The Associated Press on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. “There is no chance anyone survived.”

“Rescuers have so far recovered 53 bodies from the wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane,” Soelistyo added. “The remains will be transported by helicopter to the province capital of Jayapura for identification.”

An infant is the one remaining passenger still missing, Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata told Reuters.

Soelistyo said “searchers had recovered the (first) black-box, which investigators hope will provide clues as to what caused the accident.”

On August 20, 2015, BASARNAS reported the second black box has been recovered and turned over to aviation crash investigators of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Council. All 54 victims have been recovered from the crash site. The remains have already been identified and have been handed over to their families for final arrangements with all of our collective heartfelt prayers and sincere condolences.

In Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Indonesia president, Joko Widodoexpress his deepest sorrow for the 54 passengers and Trigana Air crew lost on flight IL267.

“According to the information, the Trigana Air aircraft that lost contact was found at Camp 3 of the OK (Oksibil) Bape District in the Bintang Mountain regency. The information provided by the local residents said that the flight crashed into Tangok mountain. The detail of this finding is still under investigation.” – Indonesia air transportation official, Director General Suprasetyo Air Transportation reported in Sunday’s news conference (via Reuters)

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash

Transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata confirmed the plane had lost contact and said it was supposed to arrive at Oksibil airport just after 3pm (0600 GMT Indonesian local time).

“We are not sure what happened to the plane yet and we are coordinating with local authorities,” he told the French new service AFP on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

“The weather is currently very bad there, it’s very dark and cloudy. It’s not conducive for a search. The area is mountainous,” Indonesian transport spokesman Barata added.

“Nearby villagers in Indonesia’s Papua have reported a crash,” Trigana Air official says after plane went missing on Sunday. Trigana Air Service Operation Director Beni Sumaryanto said, “the airline had received reports of a crash from a village in the forested and mountainous district of Oksibil, adding that search teams would check that area in the morning,” Kompas and Detik portals earlier reported (via Reuters).

On Monday, August 16, 2015, Indonesian Air Force initiated construction of a helipad and helicopter services through Freeport-McMoRan, a mining company, says CNN International, to assist in the evacuation of Trigana Air flight IL267 victims from the rough crash site found in the heavily forested remote area (seen below) in the Bintang highlands village of Oksibil in the Papua province in eastern Indonesia, according to Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.

“Officials deployed two ground teams to the site, which is at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,500 feet), but suspended efforts to get there because of thick fog,” CNN International reports on Monday.

Photo Credit: Remote Crash Site of Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN), near Oksibil, Indonesia

Officials do not know either if any of the 49 passengers and 5 Trigana Air crew have survived and are waiting for rescue below, or if any detection the ATR 42 aircraft’s black-boxes pings can be confirmed for immediate recovery.

“If it collided into a mountain, there has never been a case of survivors. But who knows, let’s wait,” said Major-General Heronimus Guru, operations director at Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (via Reuters on Monday, August 17).

Due to nightfall currently at the crash site and limited visibility in the mountainous area, Trigana Air search and rescue operations for the 54 people on board is now suspended and will continue tomorrow morning at 6am local time.

Trigana Air crash site is a remote mountainous region, making search and rescue challenging.

Turning now towards a brief look at the impact on “people over the devices” surrounding Sunday’s aviation safety incident, Oksibil airport is near an extremely mountainous village of Oksibil at about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) above sea level with about 4,087 villagers living in the remote area, according to the 2010 Indonesia Census agency. The Oksibil airport is the Indonesian Papua province villagers’ lifeline, mainly because there are no transportation roadways and railways in the remote regional border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Photo Credit: The Village of Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

A security flashpoint currently exists along the border, as a result of Free Papua Movement separatists groups having low-level resistance with Indonesian security forces. Such frontier-like aviation transportation conditions are extremely unusual in relation to the diversity of Indonesian aviation service, as seen in the island of Java which includes Jakarta or the island of Bali which includes Denpensar.

Photo Credit: Oksibil Airport, Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

Transportation into the village of Oksibil is governed under the Pegunungan Bintang regency, which operates through a development fund that is typically deplete in fully covering for airline services, the only link to the outside world in the Oksibil area. To subsidize transportation development funding for Oksibil airport, as well as all four remote airports in the area along with an estimated couple dozen airstrips to the most remote villages, having 200-300 inhabitants spread throughout the surrounding area, Pegunungan Bintang regency budgeted US$62 million for transportation services in fiscal year 2013.

Although now a confirmed point at the moment, yet an interesting media depiction of the extreme remoteness of the exclusivity of Trigana Air Services to the Oksibil Airport flight destination, Indonesia’s postal office has told the BBC News that Trigana Air flight IL267 was allegedly carrying four bags of cash, totally nearly 6.5 billion rupiah (which is about US$486,000 or £300,000 British pounds), as part of the post office’s regular periodic delivery to keep the household management and economy running for local villagers living in the remote places in and around Oksibil of the Papua province.

“The government cash for poor families was to help offset a spike in fuel prices, and was to be distributed to about 6,000 impoverished residents during a celebration marking Indonesia’s independence,” Franciscus Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, said Monday, August 17, 2015. 

“Our colleagues carry those bags to be handed out directly to poor people over there,” the head of Jayapura’s post office, Franciscus Haryono, told BBC News.

Four postal workers were on Trigana Air flight IL267 to protect the funds during its journey into Oksibil Airport.

Photo Credit: Oksibil Airport, Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

Although villagers concerns continue to persist about receiving adequate telephone and fax services, the people of Oksibil can access free online web services for virtual transportation communications using Bappeda connection.

Southeast Asia voyager and traveler, , who lives in Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia, and works at PT Global Intermedia Nusantarasay, blogs:

“Central Papua region can (be) accessed only by airplane, there is no way to reach it using car, even more (using) a ship! The problem is lack of infrastructure and (flying into) extreme topographic conditions (of) mountains.

“The consequence of this transportation system is the price(s) of commodities (are) extremely high compared with their price(s) in Jayapura. For example, in some region(s) in Central Papua gasoline price(s) can reach (as high as) IDR 50,000 per liter, or about US$15 per gallon … the biggest (airliners able to land in the surrounding region) (are) Boeing 737-300s operated by Trigana Air Service.”

“The one thing that (Wahyu Wijanarko) likes (in visiting) Oksibil is the people. (Pegunungan Bintang regency) focuses on infrastructure development … including improvements of the (Oksibil) airport and runway … the local government also gives electrical power (still using a generator) to the people of Oksibil from 18.00-23.00 GMT+9 hours (that is from 6-11pm Indonesian local time plus 9 hours to U.S. standard time).”

A dicey aviation safety record for Trigana Air Service.

Trigana Air has had 14 serious aviation safety incidences, since the airlines’ inception in 1991. In 2007 the European Union prohibited Trigana Air from operating in the European Union due to aviation safety concerns.

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 7

A dramatic safety incident most recently was on February 11, 2010, when according to Aviation Herald, a Trigana Air Service Aerospatiale ATR-42-300, registration PK-YRP, performing flight TGN-168 from Berau to Samarinda (Indonesia) with 46 passengers and 6 crew, experienced the failure of the left-hand engine (one of two Pratt & Whitney PW120 turboprops, like those on Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 (Registration Number PK-YRN) crash early Sunday morning, August 16, 2015), which prompted the Trigana Air Aerospatiale ATR-42-300 crew to divert to Balikpapan.

The crew however was forced to land gear up in a field at Bone village, about 41 road kilometers from Balikpapan along the Balikpapan-Samarinda road about 18 nautical miles from Balikpapan’s Sepinggan Airport.

One passenger received serious injuries (fractures), all other persons on board escaped without injuries, as shown inside the roped-off area surrounding the saved Aerospatiale ATR-42-300 airliner in the crash site photo above.

Several months later on April 21, 2010, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Council released their preliminary report stating, “the airplane was on final approach to Samarinda’s runway 04, when the left-hand “Engine Control Unit” (ECU) light illuminated, followed by low torque and low engine oil pressure indications.

“The captain decided to shut the engine down, (then) initiated a “go-around,” and (finally) decided to divert to Balikpapan.

“The airplane was about to climb to 4,000 feet and reached 3,800 feet (at) about 16 nautical miles from the Balikpapan airport, when the right-hand ECU light illuminated, followed by low oil pressure and low torque indications.

“The right-hand engine subsequently failed.

“The crew radioed a “MAYDAY” and decided to perform a forced landing in a clear field 16 nautical miles from Balikpapan.

“After the airplane came to a stop, the crew initiated an evacuation. One passenger received serious injuries.”

“The airplane received substantial damage,” Aviation Herald reports (see photo below of the damaged interior of the ATR-42-300 airliner), “the main landing gear received substantial damage, the nose gear penetrated the cabin and was found in the passenger cabin. Mud was thrown through(out) the cabin, and the 4 propeller blades of the right-hand propeller were substantially damaged.”

Generation-old airliner fleet for performing challenging flight terrains to remote villages.

Trigana Air flight IL267 equipment model employed for Sunday morning’s 45 minute ATR 42 turboprop flight, is nearly a generation old (about 30 years in service), and was delivered to its first operator back in 1988.

Reuters reports, in fact according to the airfleets.com database,  Trigana Air airliner fleet “includes 10 ATR aircraft and four Boeing 737 Classics. These have an average age of 26.6 years, according to the database.”

Such remote mountainous route airlines, such as Trigana Air Service, that tackle these challenging flight terrains to small villages, such as Oksibil, Indonesia, typically deploy older aircraft to perform their flights, purchased on the secondary markets at lower costs. Flying in remote Indonesia is challenging, because of complex terrains, monsoon thunderstorms, thick fog, and isolated airports with limited facilities.

A key scientific and technological innovation that is possible at this stage of aviation safety and security, not only in the exploding southeast Asia commercial passenger air travel market, but also across transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar commercial, in general, air travel centers upon Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a precise satellite-based surveillance and airliner positioning system, which is already being implemented by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at various U.S.-based international airlines around the world.

ADS-B system needs to be mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the system extended to tracking aircraft worldwide through satellites, rather than just relying on conventional air traffic control ground stations, largely non-existent in remote regions, like Oksibil, Indonesia. This would absolutely give the fullest coverage over transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar oceans and remote regions of the world, like the Brazilian Amazon, the Sahara Desert, and the southeast Asian mountainous terrains and jungles.

Of course, others like myself, have called for streaming limited flight data and aircraft performance conditions, literally putting “The Black-Box in The Cloud,” while being mindful of certain information classified to airlines and aircraft manufacturers, so we can immediately know within hours where lost aircraft are crashed and the location of their black-box flight data.

Is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?

One of my thousands of followers on Twitter, Kerry Barrett (@Kerry Barrett) poignantly brought to my attention a very relevant question on what non-pilots and air transportation consumers think, when they hear breaking news about another airliner lost in the ocean or remote regions of the world or about another airplane stalling or encountering an ‘engine flameout‘.

And, what does an airliner lost or an aircraft stall actually mean to the flying public, as they try to understand the stunning pictures of the TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, the extraordinary final three minutes of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia on Sunday, December 28, 2014, or today’s Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop loosing contact with Indonesian air traffic control over a remote mountainous terrain or jungle in Indonesia.

Such extreme events in rapid succession begs the question “is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?”

According to USA Today: “It turns out flying in Asia is actually riskier than in any other region but Africa. Why? Regulatory regimes there are less advanced than in the United States and Europe (Japan is considered as safe as the west). Another factor is that international regional airlines, such as TransAsia Airways (or even Trigana Air Service), tend to use less-experienced pilots than major airlines.”

“It’s not like they’re the wild west, like you might get in some African countries, but they are 10 to 20 years behind,” said Justin Green, a New York aviation lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler. “If you’ve never heard of the airline that your travel agent is booking you on, you should do some research.”

Unfortunately, the airliner crash case studies are slowly stacking up in the last year. Recapped in the appendix section below are several instances tangential to today’s Trigana Air aviation safety incident that raises some concern among aviation experts about the critical state of aviation safety in the most essential southeast Asia region for international air travel.

Countries and regions with the highest number of fatal civil airliner accidents from 1945 through November 30, 2014 (excluding MH370, MH17, AirAsia QZ8501, and TransAsia GE235) are:

United States, 773; Russia, 326; Canada, 177; Brazil, 176; Colombia, 173; United Kingdom, 103; France, 101; Mexico, 96; India, 94; Indonesia, 94; China, 74; Italy, 67; Venezuela, 61; Philippines, 60; Bolivia, 60; D.R. Congo, 60; Germany, 58; Peru, 56; Spain, 51; Australia, 48.

In just the past year (2014-15), we have lost the lives of over 788 international passengers and flight crews in Southeast Asia (including 54 lives allegedly missing on Trigana Air IL267 lost on Sunday, August 16, 2015, which amounts to about three times more than all fatal civil airliner accident in the last 68 years between 1945-2013) on five compelling global aviation crash events.

These include:

  • and now a Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN) that has lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

Trigana Air ATR 42 Plane

Photo Credit: Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN)

According United States Department of Transportation; Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aviation Policy and Plans), statistics show average estimated annual growth in passenger traffic to and from the United States transported by U.S. and foreign flag air carriers between 2014 and 2034, by region.

During this time period, passenger U.S. air traffic to or from Latin America is estimated to grow by around 4.7 percent per year. Passenger air traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow by about 4.2 percent per year. The Atlantic Oceanic air traffic is projected to grow by nearly 4.1 percent per year. And, the Canadian trans-border is believed to grow by about 3.8 percent per year.

Forecasts are based on historical passenger statistics from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) and Transport Canada, and on regional world historical data and economic projections from Global Insight, Inc.

International commercial passenger air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to both federal government, and Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia. This region is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region.

Role of human factors in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making.

Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC), Factual Data Collection Group Report reveals that TransAsia flight GE235 Captain Liao Jian-zong “failed the simulator check in May 2014, when he was being evaluated for promotion. Assessors found he had a tendency not to complete procedures and checks, and his “cockpit management and flight planning” were also found wanting,” according to Reuters.

Instructors commented that Captain Liao Jian-zong was “prone to be nervous and may make oral errors during the engine start procedure” and displayed a “lack of confidence”, the ASC report cited.

Reuters added: “issues cropped up again during training for the ATR 72-212A in November, when an instructor said Liao Jian-zong “may need extra training” when dealing with an engine failure after take-off.”

“After the crash, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration put TransAsia’s 61 ATR pilots through oral proficiency tests on how to handle an aircraft during engine failure.”

“All but one of the pilots passed the tests, although some needed more than one attempt. The lone failure was demoted in rank to vice captain from captain,” Reuters reports.

During a press conference on Thursday, July 2, 2015, TransAsia president Fred Wu said “the airline would buy an ATR flight simulator, bring in outside experts to evaluate pilots, and launch a safety improvement program with Airbus.”

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

It is essential to have pilots involved in the flight management automation design. “Humans aren’t good monitors of rare events, and monitoring can be a boring job especially for a long haul flight. In some cases pilots have wanted to remove just part of the automation and utilize the remaining features, but are unable to do so, because ‘all or nothing’ are the only options,” says the longstanding authority in the field of human factors in modern aviation, Orlady, H. and Orlady, L. (1999) in Human Factors in Multi-Crew Flight Operations.

A very real problem involved with the almost complete automation present is pilot complacency and over-reliance upon automation. This pilot response occurs in normal operations and also is reflected in the pilot’s reliance on the system to automatically make the correct response during abnormal operations and flight management efficiency inside the crisis of a crash event. Flight crews tend to rely upon the automation to the point that the normal checks that are inherent in good manual operations are sometimes disregarded (Orlady and Orlady, 1999).

Now is the time for consensus on recommendations on the future of international aviation safety and security.

With a deeper integrated focus on “the people just as much as the devices,” in a year and a half (over 17 months), since March 8, 2014, according to Aviation Herald, we have lost the lives of 1,101 international passengers and flight crews on eight compelling global aviation crashes, comprising:

  • the oceanic loss of a Boeing 777-200ER airliner, flown as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, 2014, where the loss of 239 passengers and crewon board are now officially declared an accident and all lives lost;

mh370theft_00

  • a shocking local automobile dash video splashed across international media that recorded a real-time double engine flame-out crash in the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan of a Regional ATR 72-212A airliner (see case study in Appendix B), moments after takeoff from nearby Taipei International Airport, operating as TransAsia flight GE235, on February 4, 2015, killing 43 persons on board;
  • a TransAsia flight 222, involving a Regional ATR72 airliner at Makung on July 23, 2014, impacted buildings on approach with stormy weather trailing behind a typhoon, which is now believed to be the likely cause of the airliner crash on a Taiwanese island that killed 48 people on board and injured 10 on the plane and five on the ground. The small Regional ATR-72 airliner, operated by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways, was carrying 58 passengers and TransAsia crew, when it crashed, while trying to land in the Penghu Island chain in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday night on July 23, 2014, according to the Aviation Herald. The plane was flying from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. The victims included 46 Taiwanese and two French medical students, who were interns in Taiwan;
  • a crash Southeast of Gossi, Mali of a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 airliner, operating as Air Algerie flight 5017 on July 24, 2014, causing 110 fatalities of passengers and crew on board;
  • a crash in the French Alps of an Airbus A320-200 airliner, performing as Germanwings flight 4U9525, whereby 150 passengers and crew died.

  • a lost airliner in the Indonesia mountains of a Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN), carrying 54 people, early Sunday morning, August 16, 2015.

Loosing these 1,101 passenger and crew lives aboard international commercial airliners this past year and a half is the most we have encountered in close succession like this in nearly six and a half decades.

What has happened to our once stellar world of commercial passenger airline safety in this new world slowly grappling from the aftermath of MH17 and MH370, and most recently, Germanwings 4U9525 and Trigana Air IL267?

Photo Credit: IATA Director General Tyler addresses delegates, as he opens the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Cape Town

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and monitoring standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption at ICAO’s “Second High-level Safety Conference” at its headquarters in Montreal Canada on February 2-5, 2015.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, December 10, 2014, announcing the report recommendations on global flight-tracking for its 240 member airlines. IATA’s 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

ICAO’s “Second High-level Safety Conference” included “various topics covering three major themes: reviewing the current situation, the future approach to manage aviation safety and facilitating increased regional cooperation. In particular, the Conference attendees discussed emerging safety issues, including the global tracking of aircraft and risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones.”

Attendees included experts and strategic decision-makers of international civil aviation, which convened to “build consensus, obtain commitments and formulate recommendations deemed necessary for the effective and efficient progress of key aviation safety activities,” according to the conference’s website.

Here, airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials approved a concept of operations for global flight-tracking, and moved forward in developing a global flight-tracking and monitoring standard, carefully stepping forward beyond February 2015, which should now be accelerated well before a proposed February 2016 plan released by ICAO in the wake and aftermath of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 aviation tragedy.

Given this, consensus must be reached on recommendations of human factor errors of complacency, over-reliance, and over-confidence bias (a “winner’s curse“) in flight management efficiency and flight systems automation, global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders.

All of this calls for further consensus to be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials, who have just completed their discussions at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “Second High-level Safety Conference” on February 2-5, 2015 at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

– END –

__________

Appendix A

Case of Indonesian AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record. On December 28, 2014, an AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 airliner en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore crashed in the Java Sea during stormy weather, killing all 162 people on board.

AirAsia Underwater Crash

Photo Credit: AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 airliner, via Oka Sudiatmika (Wikimedia Commons)/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely revealed from the flight deck conversations and flight performance data and information gained from AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 black-boxes (one shown below) still to be completely analyzed and transcribed for the crash final report expected to be released early next year.

airasia-black-box

Photo Credit: AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 Flight Data Recorder

However, the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash final report could allegedly reveal additional future learning factors of aviation, navigation, and communication that in this extreme case was driven by the extraordinary monsoon-like cumulonimbus cloud conditions, extending at such high altitudes at 44,000 feet (beyond normal commercial passenger aircraft operating ranges), allegedly creating such a perfect storm event for a naturally catastrophic air disaster upon a commercial passenger airliner.

Known in the Southeast Asia region as the most dangerous inter-tropic cumulonimbus cloud storm conditions with mixtures of extremely high and low air masses, flying temperatures faced inside these clouds can drop as low as minus 100 degrees fahrenheit (F) below freezing akin to temperatures in Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. 

Pilots in the region know that during almost every flight they will be flying around avoiding critical thunderstorms. Previously flown 13,500 flights for over 23,000 flight hours, AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200, departed at 5:34 am (local time) on December 28, 2014 from Juanda International Airport (Surabaya, Indonesia) en route to Singapore Changi Airport, is the world’s best-selling single-aisle airliner and the most technologically advanced digital “glass cockpit” airliners too.

Twenty-two minutes into the flight, the Airbus A320-200 airliner is cruising at 32,000 feet on complete auto-pilot, comprising of seven digital computers inside this airliner’s “glass cockpit,” which literally flies the aircraft by itself without any input from the pilots.

In the meantime, severe thunderstorms was building in moments of minutes above the Java Sea thousands of feet below the aircraft, then suddenly within a few minutes these thunderstorms climbed several thousands of feet above AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 airliner.

At 6:12 am (local time), air traffic control received a final request from flight QZ8501’s cockpit “to make a left turn and climb” several thousand feet to avoid the sudden thunderstorm consuming the aircraft. Their request was denied due to the high volume of nearby aircraft cruising in the range of 34,000-38,000 feet, undergoing similar flight alterations to maneuver around the huge thunderstorm in the same area in order to avoid possibilities of encountering rough turbulence and other storm-related issues inside the cockpit, although never really a problem inside an Airbus A320-200 flying at cruise speed.

At 6:16 am (local time), Indonesia Ministry of Transportation radar picks up QZ8501 cruising at 32,000 feet. Two minutes later disaster happens to 155 passengers and seven AirAsia crew on board. Suddenly, through a simple course correction of the Airbus A320-200 auto-pilot controls, the airliner departs from its forward flight path, making a sharp left turn in a steep climb to 37,000 feet, slowing down to just 400 miles per hour, onto 38,000 feet, before aerodynamically stalling out in forward speed and dropping from radar at 6:18 am (local time), eventually plunging into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

Here is where the greatest potential human factor error occurs in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making. It is pilot fear of flying into an intimidating severe thunderstorm of unknown origin or to what extent is the storm’s severity. Such a storm looks like a huge 360 degree dark black cloud of complete and severe lightning with torrential rain slamming onto the airliner’s fuselage and wings with a great deal of bending and twisting forces. This is a black weather zone having no-end in sight outside the pilot’s cockpit windows.

According to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, fifty percent of all fatal air accidents in the last fifty years result from human factor encounters with these kinds of severe thunderstorm incidents. These storms have huge high turbulent energy plunging into an airliner. Of course, this affects human decision-making piloting under such sudden weather crisis.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi told reporters back in January, “if one wing engine had stalled, the plane could spin out of control as it plummeted toward the water.”

However, he said that “only the data from the black boxes would ultimately determine what happened to flight 8501, and he declined to say whether the plane had in fact stalled.”

Mr. Tatang said “the comments made by Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to Parliament in January “were based not on data from the black boxes, but on the ground radar.” Indonesia investigators have now confirmed the transportation minister’s comments made in January 2015.

Mardjono Siswosuwarno, chief investigator of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, said the flight data recorder, which was recovered from the Java Sea along with the cockpit voice recorder earlier this month (January 2015), had provided a “pretty clear picture” of what happened in the final minutes of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

Captain Plesel was in charge from take-off until the cockpit voice recording ends, Siswosuwarno said.

“The second-in-command was the pilot flying,” Siswosuwarno said to reporters in Jakarta, adding that “the captain was monitoring the flight,” and that “this was common practice.” He also said that “the plane was in good condition.”

“Things may have gone wrong in a span of just three minutes and 20 seconds, triggering a stall warning that sounded until it crashed into the Java Sea,” investigators of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee further elaborated in a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, January 29, 2015, via CNN International.

According to Reuters, Captain Iriyanto was out of his seat and conducting an unusual procedure on the Flight Augmentation Computer (FAC) when his co-pilot, Remy Plesel, lost control. By the time Iriyanto returned, it was too late to save the plane.

The FAC is a “fly-by-wire” device of the Airbus A320 airliner that uses a computer to control a flight process in order to increase airliner flight safety and reliability, as well as flight management efficiency, while reducing the need for human intervention.

In other words, the FAC is designed to ensure normal operation of the aircraft within specific computerized flight safety envelops independent of any alleged human factor errors resulting from possible pilot inputs. FAC “fly-by-wire” devices can supposedly in extremely rare instances affect “operator” decisions, whose primary responsibility shifts from being the “performer” in flight operations to being the “onlooker” in flight management efficiency.

Whereby, the concerns of “complacency” can potentially arise in flight management decision-making with increasing level of automation in modern aviation, particularly in flight and air traffic control operations.

Iriyanto reportedly had previously flown on the Airbus A320 and experienced a faulty FAC, which he apparently went to fix. Reuters was unable to offer independent confirmation of the faulty device.

After trying to reset the device, pilots pulled a circuit-breaker to cut its power, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, February 6, 2015.

“You can reset the FAC, but to cut all power to it is very unusual,” one A320 pilot, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. “You don’t pull the circuit breaker unless it was an absolute emergency. I don’t know if there was one in this case, but it is very unusual.”

Pulling the circuit breaker is also an unusual move, because the captain would have had to rise from his sea.

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

Transasia AT72 Plane Crashing 5

Appendix B

Case of Taiwanese TransAsia Airways ATR 72-212A Turboprop: “Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle.”

French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A (a much larger aircraft than Indonesian Trigana Air ATR42 Turboprop), registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141, performing as TransAsia Airways flight GE235 from Taipei Songshan to Kinmen (a small resort island near the coast of Taiwan) with 53 passengers and 5 TransAsia Airways flight crew on board, departed Songshan’s runway 10, upon which the airliner was involved in an accident, crashing into the nearby Keelung River in Taipei, early Wednesday morning, February 4, 2015 at around 10:45 am (local time).

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC), Factual Data Collection Group Report, which neither assigns responsibility, nor suggests recommendations, showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong was operating GE235’s Regional ATR 72-212A airliner at the time of the crash.

According to Reuters, Captain Liao Jian-zong had “failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flameout on take-off.”

Taiwanese air transport crash investigators state in the report that the right-side Pratt and Whitney turboprop engine went idle on TransAsia Airways flight GE235, only 37 seconds after taking off from nearby Taipei International Airport. After this right-side turboprop engine malfunctioned, the flight data recorder revealed, “fuel to the only functioning turboprop engine on the left-side was manually cut off.” This critical finding was also discovered in a The Wall Street Journal report back in February 2015.

The turboprop engine aircraft is now generally believed to have incurred an ‘engine flameout‘ moments before the crash in into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, according to early preliminary analysis of the flight data recorder and independent air-traffic control voice recordings of the TransAsia Airways ATR 72-212A airliner.

In an attempt to re-start both turboprop engines, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council believes the pilots may have shut off the plane’s left-side turboprop engine upon encountering a right-side engine malfunction immediately 37 seconds upon becoming airborne at takeoff in Taipei.

“Wow, pulled bak the wrong side throttle”

Unfortunately, the pilots did not have enough time before the ATR-72-212A airliner crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan, as air-traffic control lost communication with the plane’s pilots four minutes after takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport.

According to CNN International and The Wall Street Journal reports, supposedly a pilot on a recording of radio conversations between air traffic control and TransAsia Airways flight GE235 says,

“GE235. Mayday, Mayday. Engine flameout.”

The recording released Wednesday, February 4, 2015 was verified by an independent website, which records air traffic control feeds from around the world.

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

Nonetheless, regarding the operating conditions surrounding the February 4, 2015 TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, the Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council reported that “there were two captains, Captain Liao Jian-zong (age 42, a Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL)-rated certification, had 4,914 hours total, of which 3,151 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft, and 250 hours on ATR-72-600 airliners) was pilot in command occupying the left-hand seat being pilot flying. 

Captain B serving as first-officer (age 45, an ATPL-rated certification, had 6,922 hours total, of which 5,687 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft, and 795 hours on ATR-72-600 airliners) occupied the right-hand seat and was pilot monitoring. 

A first-officer complemented the crew occupying the observer’s seat, the first officer (age 63, an ATPL-rated certification, had 16,121 hours total, of which 7,911 hours on MD-80s airliners, and 5,306 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft) was in conversion training to ATR-72-600 airliners with 8 hours on the aircraft type.”

The crew had signed the flight papers, that showed no unusual circumstances.

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Aug 142015
 

Malaysia-Airlines-Flight-370-Indian-Ocean

The missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER airliner is believed to be “largely intact,” resting on the mountainous Indian Ocean floor, as a “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” now emerges among experts from what can be surmised from the breakage from the airliner hull and 12-24 month reproductive breeding of seashell or barnacle biological life on the La Réunion wreckage from MH370.

JUST IN (July 31, 2016): MH370 on Australian Channel 9’s 60 Minutes

So says Canadian air crash expert Larry Vance, former investigator-in-charge of the Canadian Aviation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, who has led more than 200 air crash investigations.

Vance tells Australia’s 60 Minutes (in the above video) that an absence of any wreckage or debris was one factor suggesting MH370 landed in controlled circumstances (as outlined in the piece a year ago, August 14, 2015 below).

“Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight,” he said.

“Somebody was flying the airplane into the water. There is no other alternate theory that you can follow.”

“At a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur for local journalists on Thursday, August 4, Malaysia transport minister Liow Tiong Lai confirmed that data recovered from the home flight simulator of the captain who piloted MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, included a flight path to the southern Indian Ocean.
 
“But the minister also said that thousands of destinations were found on the simulator. According to the New York Times report, the minister did not say when the Indian Ocean track was entered into the simulator and he cautioned that it was too soon to draw conclusions from the finding.

Regarding the flaperon recovered on La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean (discussed further below): “The force of the water is really the only thing that could make that jagged edge that we see. It wasn’t broken off. If it was broken off, it would be a clean break. You couldn’t even break that thing.”

He said the fact the flaperon had apparently been deployed for landing also indicated that someone was piloting the plane when it hit the ocean.

“You cannot get the flaperon to extend any other way than if somebody extended it,” he said.

“Somebody would have to select it.”

Peter Foley, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) program director of the search, told Australia’s 60 Minutes that the type of damage the flaperon sustained provided evidence for the controlled landing theory.

Mr Foley was asked: “If there was a rogue pilot, isn’t it possible that the plane was taken outside the parameters of the search area?”

He replied: “Yeah — if you guided the plane or indeed control-ditched the plane, it has an extended range, potentially.”

“There is a possibility… somebody [was] in control at the end and we are actively looking for evidence to support that.”

So says also a year ago, satellite communications expert, Zaaim Redha Abdul Rahman, speaking to Malaysian government Bernama news service in an interview recently on August 12, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, confirms International Business Times, New Zealand HeraldThe Huffington Post (U.K.), Business Insider Australia, Daily Mail (U.K.), and Express (U.K.). As well as now several experts this week on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 say in the Daily Mail (U.K.), “investigators hunting for flight MH370 will officially blame a rogue pilot for the disaster if the plane is not found in the current search zone,” including related statements and questions I posed early-on to French and Australian aviation safety investigators Thursday, August 6, 2015 on Fox News.

New ATSB Search Map 2-15-2016

Photo Credit: The Daily Mail (U.K.)/Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Wednesday, February 17, 2016: “The rogue pilot theory does not alter the plane’s final flight path because that has been verified by satellite data. But it means that someone at the controls could have glided the plane hundreds of miles past the current search zone after it ran out of fuel. The ASTB estimates the new crash zone would be three times bigger.”

Martin Dolan, the former chief commissioner of the ATSB, told The Times: “We’re not at that point yet, but sooner or later we will be and we will have to explain to governments what the alternative is.”

“And the alternative is, frankly, that despite all the evidence, the possibility that someone was at the controls of that aircraft and gliding it becomes a more significant possibility if we eliminate all of the current search area [now scheduled for completion in June 2016].”

An emergent “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” is that the massive airliner sank into the Indian Ocean in one piece “after probably floating for a while,” moments surrounding the airliner’s disappearance from air traffic controls and military radar, while performing as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early morning on March 8, 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 Malaysia Airlines crew on board.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies still remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 239 persons lost, as they continue to wait in deep anguish for any definitive answers still emerging surrounding the MH370 aviation tragedy.

After more than 23 months of searching and waiting for answers, this history-making aviation safety and security mystery is now not just “an aviation-changer, it is a world-changer,” says the Smithsonian Institution.

So, an emergent “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” is quite hopeful yet interestingly probable to contemplate at this moment of the international MH370 crash investigation.

“The ASTB estimates the new crash zone would be some three times bigger, The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports. “The theory does not automatically lay blame at the Captain and co-pilot, as it allows for someone else to have entered the cockpit to commandeer the jet. The rogue pilot theory does not alter the plane’s final flight path because that has been verified by satellite and radar data.”

The Sydney Morning Herald does qualify that the only stories Malaysian Bernama news agency primarily puts out are those sanctioned by the government in Kuala Lumpur.

MH370-debris 2

On July 29, 2015 an aircraft wing part, called a flaperon, was discovered on the shores of the French governed La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

A probable scenario I explained on Fox News (below) is that the flaperon was attached to the Boeing 777-200ER airliner (Registration Number 9M-MRO) at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean for some time before it was broken off and pulled to La Réunion’s shore by the oceanic currents.

That would mean in the last moments of flight MH370 the Boeing 777-200ER airliner probably would have “glided down” atop the ocean surface to a floating rest — as a result of the airliner exhausting its fuel in a probable “one-then-the-last” engine flameout — only the actual missing black-box recorders could confirm.

In other words, the massive Boeing 777 airliner entered the ocean gently. That means the airliner was flying near horizontal, as it exhausted its fuel and slowly spiraling down in its last engine flameout.

Putting this another way, the jet perhaps spiraled slowly somewhat out of control into the southern Indian Ocean, as each of the plane’s engines would shutdown upon exhausting their fuel supply “one after the other.”

At this instance, the airliner was probably gliding and not moving extremely fast in order for the aircraft hull to stay intact. Else we would see so much more MH370 drift debris washing ashore by now! 

After analyzing data between the plane and a British firm Inmarsat satellite, officials believe Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) former Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

Investigators searching for flight MH370 now believe a catastrophic event, leading to oxygen starvation, is the most likely scenario in the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 airliner (see Appendix A below).

The Australian-led search team say that the plane was flying on autopilot on a consistent course when it finally crashed into the southern Indian Ocean when its engines flamed out.

In a flight path analysis released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, the details report what experts still believe they hope is where MH370 resides at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, further confirming the Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss’ statement earlier that week, “not as much a question of where but when,” we would reach a final outcome of the MH370 missing airliner mystery.

In the meantime, Australia’s deputy prime minister said on Monday, August 3, 2015, “the country still plans to end the hunt for the missing aircraft after the current 46,000-square-mile search zone has been covered, unless the wing part found in La Réunion yields hard clues that alter the current thinking on the fate of Flight 370,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Aircraft Ocean Landing 24

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

“Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went into a slow left turn and spiraled into the Indian Ocean, when its fuel ran out, an interim report concluded October 8, 2014, pointing investigators towards the southern section of the current search zone,” reports NBC News.

Flight simulations recreating the final moments of MH370, suggest the Boeing 777-200 entered “a descending spiraling low bank angle left turn” and hit the ocean “a relatively short distance after the last engine flameout,” the ATSB said in that report.

As Business Insider Australia reported on August 7, 2015, “while investigators initially thought that the plane might have gone down quickly in a tight spiral, the debris that washed up on Reunion Island near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean last week suggests that the aircraft might have glided along after running out of fuel and descended slowly into the water … the “flaperon,” was likely “broken off by the engine pod ripping off as it was dragged through the water on the initial impact,” Tracy Lamb, an aviation safety consultant and former Boeing 737 pilot, told Bloomberg on August 5, 2015.

“The speculation among pilots right now is that it must have come down at a relatively shallow angle,” Lamb said.

Former US National Transportation Safety Board investigator Greg Feith told Bloomberg that since the piece is not “crushed,” experts “can deduce it was either a low-energy crash or a low-energy intentional ditching.”

Zaaim Redha, principal consultant at Zeta Resources Sdn Bhd, a satellite communications consulting and engineering services, has also now concurred: “I believe that when the aircraft went out of fuel, it glided downwards and landed on the water with a soft impact … that’s why I believe the plane is still largely intact.”

MH370-debris 12

“It (the flaperon) was only slightly damaged and was just encrusted with barnacles. Its appearance indicates that it was not violently torn off from the aircraft’s main body…it does seem that it got detached pretty nicely at its edges,” Zaaim Redha explains.

“If MH370 had crashed with a really hard impact, we would have seen small pieces of debris floating on the sea immediately after that. Furthermore, the flaperon that was recovered (from La Réunion Island) wouldn’t have been in one piece…we would have only seen bits and pieces of it,” he said.

“It’s possible that the (MH370) aircraft may have been submerged deep inside the ocean for quite some time before the flaperon (a part of the plane’s wing) got detached itself,” Redha adds.

“Similarly, other parts would also become detached and float with the help of the strong water current, before being washed up on the shores of islands like La Réunion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), France’s counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board — who led the BEA during the investigation into the crash of Air France Flight 447 — said on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, experts will try to determine three things.

“If there is a reference number on the debris, a correlation can be made immediately,” Troadec explained to NBC News. He added “experts also will be looking at the length of time the fragment has been in the ocean.”

“The seashells or barnacles will play an important role in determining how long this piece of plane has been submerged underwater,” Troadec said. “Seashells grow at a certain rhythm and depending on their size can tell investigators if they have been breeding 12 months or 2 years.”

“The investigators in France would also be on the lookout for other organisms such as tube worms, coralline red algae or shellfish that could also provide clues,” according to The Associated Press.

Troadec said investigators also will be studying the debris to figure out how it broke apart from its aircraft.

French military aviation lab in Toulouse, where it will be examined, “possesses very sophisticated electronic microscopes that can help experts determine whether the piece broke off because of an explosion, a fire or on impact of something,” Troadec explained. That process, he added, could take weeks.

“No plane could continue to fly without this piece,” Troadec said.

Photo above taken by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst for FlyersPulse.com on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, en route from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on September 9, 2009.

Appearing below on Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31, 2015, I explain the “aircraft forensics” linking the flaperon debris to MH370, which was found on July 29 on the French island of La Réunion, in full concurrence with the above statements of Jean Paul Troadec — former head of France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis. 

“A months-old US intelligence report that surfaced recently speculates the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might have been deliberately flown off course,” according to an unnamed source cited by ABC News — ABC News’ source said (via. Business Insider Australia), “the assessment was based on information that US intelligence officials obtained about the foreign investigation into the MH370 case,” which so far hasn’t yielded any public answers about what happened to the plane. This theory reportedly comes from evidence of the plane changing course multiple times, The Telegraph (U.K.) reports.

On August 5, 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, upon affirming that the maintenance record seal on the flaperon provided the definitive proof, announced the debris found on La Réunion is from MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER. He said,

An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370. We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” — Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 5, 2015

Given that the La Réunion flaperon is indeed from flight MH370, then there is one simple fact emanating.

MH370 must have “come down south of 10 degrees South in the Indian Ocean,” says Dr. Paul Scully-Power, a renowned Australian oceanographer, who also took his experiments on the 13th flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

“Because, if it came down anywhere further north, then any wreckage would have flowed in the opposite direction,” Power says in concurrence with experts of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Ocean Currents Drift Analysis of the World

This blows away many of the conspiracy theories, including hijacking and northern hemisphere resting places of the massive Boeing 777 airliner.

Hence, we should perhaps give some more credibility to any alleged eyewitness sightings or accounts of a falling airliner somewhere between the 5th and 7th arc theories, as consistent as possible with the British Inmarsat satellite findings.

The ATSB report narrows the slice of ocean in which there is strong probability the Boeing 777-200ER airliner wreckage of MH370 resides in a 400-mile stretch of the southern Indian Ocean. Drawing upon scenario planning of autopilot flight patterns, human factors error, and probable aircraft attitudes and speeds prior to crashing, and operating from the assumption the airliner turned south into the Indian Ocean after flying over the Strait of Malacca, the ATSB report focuses on a 350 nautical mile (400 statue mile) stretch of ocean as the most likely underwater search plan going forward.

Aircraft Ocean Landing 22

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

“The possibility of debris washing up near La Réunion island is a scientific possibility. Although the currents today are significantly different to those seen 16 months ago, the Indian Ocean Gyre could move debris from the southern Indian Ocean in a counterclockwise direction towards Africa, spitting it out near the island of Reunion,” Mashable reports.

On whether it was possible for the flaperon to have floated on water for over 4,000 kilometers before ending up on La Réunion Island, Zaaim Redha said it was plausible based on sea current modeling by oceanography experts.

“Going by how the earth rotates, it’s highly possible that the piece of debris could have floated (over a long distance) because the ocean current can be really powerful.”

Australian oceanic science investigators of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 that the Boeing 777-200ER flaperon discovery “matches with predictions from updated debris flow computer models.”

“Their drift model computer simulation was run from March 8, 2014 to July 30, 2015, to see if the flaperon could have drifted to La Réunion from the search zone somewhere along the 7th arc.”

The debris flow modeling below does show consistency with the 7th arc theory established by the British satellite firm, Inmarsat, which has and will further assist investigators in making adjustments to their current search area as the hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues.

drift models australia

Photo Credit (via Mashable), Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Confirmed and/or suspected MH370 debris recovered off the coast of southern Africa [via, BBC News]

MH370 Debris 1-4 Found

“1. A section of wing called a flaperon, found on Reunion Island in July 2015 – confirmed as debris in September 2015

2. Horizontal stabilizer from tail section, found between Mozambique and Madagascar in December 2015

3. Stabilizer panel with “No Step” stencil, found in Mozambique in February 2016

4. Engine cowling bearing Rolls-Royce logo, found in March 2016 in Mossel Bay, South Africa

MH370 Debris 5 Found

5. Fragment of interior door panel found in Rodrigues Island, Mauritius in March 2016

MH370 Debris 6 Found

6. Fragments including what appears to be a seat frame, a coat hook and other panels found on Nosy Boraha island in northeast Madagascar.”

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport has published a 47-page article, containing hundreds of lines of communication logs between the jetliner and the British company Inmarsat’s satellite system, and detailing how the U.K. firm Inmarsat helped to pinpoint the southern corridor flight path taken by MH370. 

The 47-page article reports that Inmarsat informed Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport on March 13, 2014 that routine automatic communications between the Inmarsat satellite and MH370 could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) then presented Inmarsat’s findings on March 24, 2014, indicating the southern corridor as the most likely flight path of MH370.

Based on the analysis of data communicated to the ground station by the Inmarsat satellite moments before the Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s oceanic crash, investigators concluded that the flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean. 

Some Open Science and Technology Questions in the Crash Investigation of Flight MH370 Over the Next 12-24 Months?

So, my further private discussions with Australian oceanographer Scully-Power raised additional issues as to what else can we suggest to ask of the MH370 investigation going forward in the next 12-24 months? 

1. Did the flaperon float on the southern Indian Ocean surface or was it a submerged drift, as it traveled 2650 miles from western Australia east to Reunion?

Answer: We deem the difference between surface float or submerged drift would affect oceanic windage and current oceanic drift calculations across the southern Indian Ocean.

2. Did the flaperon float or drift horizontal or vertical?

Answer: We conclude the biological seashells or barnacles distribution on the La Réunion flaperon would suggest a vertical float or drift.

This is important because, if vertical, the flaperon would act as a “wind vane” following the currents exactly and with much less influenced by the strong “hurricane-like” oceanic winds across the southern Indian Ocean.

3. Was the discovery of the flaperon announced as soon as it was found?

Answer: We suggest that this would impact any back prediction of the drift currents. 

4. One remaining key question is what is the average debris drift speed in the Indian Ocean South Equatorial Current?

Answer: Since it was 515 days until the Reunion flaperon was found, we conclude then that would indicate a MH370 debris drift speed of about ¼ of a knot (or about 0.13 meters per second or just 0.3 miles per hour) across the southern Indian Ocean. 

This is probably about right. An accurate confirmation of this approximate MH370 debris drift speed we suggest is an open scientific question for public understanding that could be posed to the French and Australian aviation safety investigators and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) oceanic science experts.  

5. Finally, a key scientific and technological innovation that is possible at this stage of the MH370 mystery emerges.

Answer: It centers upon Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a precise satellite-based surveillance and airliner positioning system, which is already being implemented by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at various U.S.-based international airlines around the world.

ADS-B system needs to be mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the system extended to tracking aircraft worldwide through satellites, rather than just relying on conventional air traffic control ground stations. This would absolutely give the fullest coverage over transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar oceans and remote regions of the world, like the Brazilian Amazon and the Sahara Desert.

Of course, others like myself have called for streaming limited flight data and aircraft performance conditions, literally putting “The Black-Box in The Cloud,” while being mindful of certain information classified to airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

Well, be that as it may, I discuss above on Sky News Tonight on Thursday, July 30 and Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31 what I call “aircraft forensics,” which is now being conducted linking the wreckage finding in La Réunion to MH370.

Careful analysis of the seashell-covered Boeing 777-200ER composite flaperon wreckage found on La Réunion may tell a story of what happen during the last moments of flight MH370, answering several open questions:

  1. Was it a fast impact or a slow impact into the Indian Ocean?
  2. What angle did the flaperon break off from the composite right wing?
  3. What can be seen under a microscope about the composite material and metallurgical science and forensics of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner during the final moments of the crash into the Indian Ocean?
  4. Are their any traces of a fire or explosion that can be gleamed from the flaperon wreckage found on Réunion island?
  5. Do the barnicals on the flaperon wreckage provide any clues as to what portion of the southern Indian Ocean did MH370 crash?
  6. Will microscopic analysis of these barnicals by oceanic scientist reveal any clues about the trace forensics of a path to the final resting place of the Boeing 777-200ER’s hull on the Indian Ocean floor? 

There is a very fine science of aircraft forensics from just a small piece of a flaperon that holds many clues to the whereabouts of MH370 and to the final moments of this mysterious Boeing 777-200ER airliner crash – historically the only one lost amongst all 80 large airliners lost since 1948.

“Accident investigators may be one step closer to solving one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. They are facing pressure to confirm whether a piece of aircraft debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean belongs to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But establishing a link with the lost Boeing jetliner would only be a first step. Experts would then try to gain information about the last moments of the flight and attempt to reconstruct how and where the airplane went down. When investigators start analyzing the debris, Malaysian officials are expected to participate, and the U.S. safety board is likely to have someone in the laboratory as an observer,” Gerald Baker, Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief writes on LinkedIn Pulse.

Bottom Line Takeaway: It now appears that MH370 entered the southern Indian Ocean, according the British Inmarsat satellite firm’s 7th arc theory, currently being held by Australian and Malaysian aviation safety officials.

Steve Richardson (2) MH370 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

Since August 7, 2015, France is continuing its air and sea searches off its southern Indian Ocean territory of La Réunion until the start of next week for debris from missing flight MH370, the island’s top official said on Wednesday, August 12, 2015.

“Coordinated searches will continue until the beginning of next week,” the island’s top authority said in a statement, adding that air and sea searches so far had yielded “no significant elements.”

 La Réunion’s chief official said “the searches would be shifted to the periphery of the initial area scoured, especially to the south.”

Since Monday, August 10, 2015, there have been over 45 hours of daytime land searches on La Réunion island and 15 hours of daylight maritime and air searches.

– END –

__________

Photo Credit: Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss (shown pointing to the then-new (and still current) MH370 search area in the southern Indian Ocean, as of June 26, 2014).

Appendix A

UPDATE (JUNE 26, 2014): As Next phase of MH370 search headed south.

Experts believe the missing MH370 flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel, as an assumption Australian safety investigation officials are pronouncing in establishing that an underwater search must go further south to find the Malaysia Airlines jet’s most likely resting place, South China Morning Post and The Guardian (U.K.) report.

After analyzing data between the plane and a British firm Inmarsat satellite, officials believe Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

Investigators searching for flight MH370 now believe a catastrophic event, leading to oxygen starvation, is the most likely scenario in the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 airliner.

The Australian-led search team say that the plane was flying on autopilot on a consistent course when it finally crashed into the southern Indian Ocean when its engines flamed out.

ASTB Chief commissioner Dolan said it was “highly, highly likely” that MH370 was on autopilot for hours before it crashed, because of the orderly path the plane took.

“Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel,” Dolan said.

Asked whether the autopilot would have to be manually switched on, or whether it could have been activated automatically under a default setting, Dolan replied: “The basic assumption would be that if the autopilot is operational it’s because it’s been switched on.”

But exactly when the Boeing 777 began running on autopilot is still not known.

“Autopilot theory would explain plane’s ‘orderly path’,” says Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss.

“We could not accurately nor have we attempted to fix the moment, when [the Boeing 777-200 airliner] was put on autopilot,” Truss said. “It will be a matter for the Malaysian-based investigation to look at precisely when [the airliner] may have been put on autopilot.”

Efforts to find the Boeing 777-200 airliner is now focusing on an area near to where the original search off Australia’s west coast began, upon the March 24 shocking revelation of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, announcing the airliner ended its journey on March 8 in the southern Indian Ocean.

“We are now shifting our attention to an area further south of [the 7th] arc – broadly in the area where our first search efforts were focused,” Truss said.

Photo Credit: Geoscience Australia

Appendix B

Recovering MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER Requires New International Cooperation and Complexity

Under the Annex 12 and 13 rules of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — that governs traditional air crash  investigations — the conventional procedure after recovery of MH370 debris would have been to bring together Boeing experts and Malaysian aviation safety investigators to determine next steps of the accident probe.

But now, since it has been confirmed that the Boeing 777-200ER has indeed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean by the Malaysian prime minister, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center has to complete its underwater scouring of nearly 75,000 square miles of search area off the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Resolving modern aviation’s greatest mystery requires answers to two main questions: What happened aboard Flight 370 to make it veer sharply off course and disappear from radar? And where did the massive Boeing 777-200ER end up inside the southern Indian Ocean, spanning across current drifts from the French island of La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar to the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Several international cast of officials involved in the investigation brings forth not only new international cooperation, but also a new degree of complexity among government officials, aviation safety investigators and experts in Malaysia, Australia, France, China, United Sates and United Kingdom. 

Malaysia leads the overall investigation, as the sovereign flag-carrier of flight MH370, which departed the early morning of March 8, 2014 from Kuala Lumpur, moments before mysteriously vanishing from air traffic control and military radar.

Australia oversees the underwater search for the Boeing 777-200ER hull, since the airliner is now “conclusively confirmed” by international investigators to have crashed in a remote portion of the southern Indian Ocean, now known as the current 46,000 square mile “priority search area” off the continent’s western coast at Perth.

France, four of whose citizens were aboard the flight, takes a larger role in the Boeing 777-200ER crash investigation, when airliner’s flaperon washed upon a remote part of its territory, known as La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar near the southwestern coast of Africa. French authorities had already opened their own criminal investigation last year into possible manslaughter and hijacking in the loss of MH370.

“The French tend to be pretty aggressive” when it comes to asserting the authority of prosecutors, said Robert Francis, a former vice chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Because investigators suspect the plane went down as a result of an intentional act, Flight 370 has been “far removed from an average aircraft accident,” Mr. Francis, who has years of experience working with the French government, said in an interview. Therefore, he said, French law-enforcement officials “shouldn’t have a great deal of difficulty defending what they have done,” Wall Street Journal reports.

China, which had 155 citizens on the missing flight MH370, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, holds the biggest stake in all decisions made about the search for the Boeing 777-200ER, including one might suppose, Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak’s go-ahead press announcement on Wednesday, August 5, the La Réunion debris “conclusively confirmed” was indeed MH370 that crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, despite cautious hesitation by French and United States officials. 

United States and United Kingdom government agencies — as well as experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Boeing Company, and the British satellite firm, Inmarsat — will contribute to the investigations until MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER is found, the aircraft hull recovered and re-assembled, and the causes of the mysterious crash are determined.

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