United Experienced System Outage and Ground Stop

On Friday, September 17, 2021, United Airlines a “technical system issue” they say was caused an outage that impacted flights nationwide.

The outage frustrated travelers because it prevented them from checking in or boarding flights at certain airports. The mobile United app and website were unavailable, according to many passengers.

“This morning we experienced technical system issues that impacted our operations and have since been resolved,” a statement released by the airline said. “All systems are now working normally and we are working diligently to get customers to their destinations.”

The airline requested a ground stop, according to the FAA website. A ground stop prevents all flights in the U.S. and Canada from proceeding. 

The ground stop for the U.S. and Canada began at 5:45 a.m. CT and was issued “due to computer issues.” The ground stop was lifted about 45 minutes later. 

New Report by QinetiQ: Becoming ‘The Hardest Target’ for Adversaries

The nations able to perfect a holistic approach to technological deterrents will make themselves the hardest targets for enemies to strike, according to a new report released by QinetiQ. Superior technologies, deployable with powerful and immediate effect, and exploiting them to their fullest potential is critical for gaining future competitive advantage.

Owning the most advanced technology is not enough to secure a competitive advantage in today’s geopolitical environment. To seize the technological advantage, the way in which the technology is used is just as important as what it does. Effective exploitation of technology is a powerful deterrent in its own right. QinetiQ’s new report, released at DSEI 2021, provides recommendations on how nations can exploit technology more effectively to make themselves the hardest target for adversaries to strike; being superior to the adversary in understanding the threat environment, being more innovative in the application of technology and acting and reacting faster.

The report will address the challenges and look at technologies and other factors that will transform defense over the next decade and beyond to 2040. Download a copy at www.qinetiq.com/insights.

UK Passes on Vaccine Passport

British authorities have reportedly decided not to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and events in the country. The British Health Secretary Sajid Javid made the reversal after strong condemnation from Conservative government supporters in Parliament who were opposed to them. Javid said the idea could be revisited at a later date if cases begin to rise again. “We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” he

Germany’s First Drone Traffic System Starts in Hamburg

In future, drones will have their own traffic system. This system, in essence a network of services and procedures, will allow flights in areas with a high volume of drones to be carried out easily, safely, efficiently and in coordination with manned air traffic. This is the idea behind U-Space – a concept of EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

EU member states have to implement U-Space by the beginning of 2023. Droniq GmbH, Germany’s leading company for the integration of drones into airspace, and its parent company DFS, the German air navigation service provider, are putting the idea into practice for the first time – from conception to commissioning.

To this end, they are setting up a U-Space Sandbox in the Port of Hamburg, Germany’s largest seaport by volume. The project has a volume of approximately one million euro and is being funded partly by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). By doing so, the BMVI is setting the foundations for the implementation of further U-Spaces in Germany and promoting the further development of the local drone market.

Drones are increasingly being used commercially, from inspecting construction sites to surveying posssible routes for piplines and roads. Drone flights will need to be easy to conduct and feasible at short notice. The reality is different, however, and drone flights are not always feasible, especially in areas with a high volume of drones. This is due to lengthy flight approval processes.

U-Space, a spatially delimited airspace element, is intended to solve these challenges. In U-Space, special rules and procedures coordinate drone traffic. Drone flights can be carried out quickly, safely and without a long approval process – even beyond the pilot’s line of sight.

“In the future, U-Space will also allow the full potential of drones to be exploited in urban areas within an established framework,” says Droniq CEO Jan-Eric Putze. “For unmanned aerial transport, this is a milestone. We are proud to show for the first time what this future can look like.”

Distribution of tasks and roles
The basis for U-Space is formed by requirements laid down by EASA. These partly determine its technical and procedural design. They also define the necessary actors and tasks for its organisation.

Drone traffic in U-Space is coordinated by a U-Space Service Provider (USSP). This is the contact person for drone pilots. This task is taken on by Droniq as part of the Real Laboratory. It issues flight permits for the drone missions and informs ilots about the current manned and unmanned air traffic as well as any airspace restrictions. To do this, Droniq uses the first fully operational traffic management system for drones (UTM) in Germany, which it distributes and which was developed by DFS.

The second central role is fulfilled by DFS. As the Single Common Information Service Provider (SCISP), it supplies Droniq with all relevant airspace and air traffic data for the provision of U-Space services. Furthermore, with the manned aviation data, all air traffic, manned and unmanned, can be displayed in a combined air situation picture. This is an essential prerequisite for flights beyond the visual range of pilots – and thus for the efficient use of drones.

“Our drone traffic systems puts us in an excellent position internationally, providing a solid foundation for the integration of drone airspace. In this way, we are enabling fast and uncomplicated drone operations. This is an important step towards digital aviation, combined with a proven safety standard,” explains Friedrich-Wilhelm Menge, Managing Director Technology at DFS.

Experience U-Space During the Flight Weeks
In the fourth quarter, Droniq and DFS will demonstrate how a U-Space can function during the Flight Weeks.

Prior to this, the conception, development and internal testing of the U-Space Sandbox will take place. The implementation of the U-Space Sandbox is being carried out with several project partners. These include the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), HHLA Sky GmbH, the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation, Hamburg Aviation and the project consortium UDVeo.

“The Port of Hamburg offers the best environment to test a traffic system for drones and evaluate the opportunities and challenges,” said Hamburg’s Senator for Economics and Innovation, Michael Westhagemann. “Used wisely, drones offer enormous potential in a host of areas of business and society. As I see it, the U-Space Real Laboratory means we can test the potential offered by a new kind of air transport under real conditions and actively shape its development. That is why I am delighted about the decision of the Federal Ministry of Transport to support the project in Hamburg.”

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer added: “The future of drones in Germany will be innovative, intelligent and interlinked. We are about to launch Germany’s first drone airspace test bed in Hamburg, laying the groundwork for the transport system of tomorrow. In the U-space real-world laboratory, we will    be putting drones to the test in practical application to find smart ways to safely integrate drones and, in the future air taxis, into our airspace. Drones are a clean, fast and smart mobility solution, especially in the logistics sector, for supporting emergency services or delivering supplies to rural areas. The U- space real-world laboratory will enable us to grow German-engineered drone innovations from their niche market and help them take to the skies.”

AVIATIONTransport Watch

Miami Pax Mad About Masks

A Miami passenger angry about being required to mask up made a scene and threatened airport workers in at Miami International Airport on August 27, 2021. See below.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Meanwhile in MIA last night😳 | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ONLYinDADE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ONLYinDADE</a> <a href=”https://t.co/QFNogzDYzg”>pic.twitter.com/QFNogzDYzg</a></p>&mdash; ONLY in DADE (@ONLYinDADE) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ONLYinDADE/status/1431629010669293572?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 28, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

UPDATE: Breaking News: Atlanta Airport Terminal Evacuated

UPDATE: Authorities report they have cleared the suspicious package at the International Terminal and operations are returning to normal at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Intl. Airport.

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Inltl. Airport terminal F has been evacuated, according to reports. A tweet from the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, Georgia states, “Officials are responding to a report of a suspicious package on Concourse F. Out of an abundance of caution, the area impacted is now cordoned off while authorities investigate. There is moderate impact to operations at the location. More info will be provided once available.”

Another tweet reported that, “airport locked down international baggage claims & customs & not permitting people to leave. Sounds like a compromised hallway or something? CBP was saying terminal is on lockdown and one officer just said “that was pretty loud, hope it’s thunder.”

A third report said a bomb squad had arrived at the airport.

Will update as more info becomes available.

Photo of Packed Transport Plane Flying Refugees Out of Afghanistan Goes Viral

A photo showing a massive C-17 military cargo plane loaded with around 640 Afghan people leaving from Kabul and headed to Qatar went viral this week. The aircraft left Kabul Airport Sunday with the desperate refugees. The US Air Force has been operating the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for nearly three decades and is one of the largest cargo transport aircraft.

Other images from the airport show frantic Afghans rushing and clinging to aircraft as they taxied across the airport.

One sequence showed what looked to be people dropping from an aircraft after it had taken off (see image).

The dire situation is the result of a hasty exit of US troops from the region and the Taliban regaining control of the country.

Chaos at Kabul Airport

The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan in the last several days as the U. S. and others withdrew troops resulting in panic and fear for many.

The Kabul Airport was swarmed with people trying to find a way out of the country on departing transport aircraft evacuating U. S. Embassy employees.

El Al Offers Inflight COVID Testing

Passengers on El Al flights from New York’s JFK airport can now receive COVID testing in the air. This testing is in addition to pre-departure testing also now being offered. The airline says it hopes these offerings will allow for smoother operations upon arrival in Tel Aviv.

Travel is restricted into Israel but those allowed to enter must take a PCR COVID test within 72 hours of leaving for the country. These rules apply to anyone entering the country, including those who are fully vaccinated. After landing, Israel requires passengers to take another test before leaving Ben Gurion Airport. But, now passengers on any of El Al’s Boeing 787-9 flights out of JFK can skip the test after arrival.

Jet Pack Man Spotted Near LAX Again

A mysterious man – or something resembling a man – wearing a human jet pack was spotted near Los Angeles International Airport recently. Air traffic controllers warned flights to, “Use caution, the jet man is back. Let me know if you see him.”

Boeing 747 pilot “reported seeing an object that might have resembled a jetpack” at about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. It was spotted approximately 15 miles east of the airport at an elevation of around 5,000 feet. An FAA spokesperson said air traffic controllers alerted pilots in the area “out of an abundance of caution.”

The jet pack man was spotted in October and August of last year. In one incident, the mystery man and/or device was reportedly within 30 yards of an American Airlines flight.