tip off

BEN SANDILANDS | July 30, 2015 | AIR CRASHES | 5 |

Wing fragment possibly from MH370 found on remote island

One of the Twitter photos posted on French blog Peur Avion

A waterlogged section of what may (or may not) be part of the wing of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been found on La Reunion island in the southern western Indian Ocean.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 29, 2015 | SPACE | |

Virgin Galactic crash raises risk realities for space flyers

Disaster overtakes VSS Enterprise last October over the Mojave desert

Virgin Galactic’s rocket rides have been about to happen for close to seven years, and the report of the US investigation into the destruction of the first of a fleet of five spacecraft intended to carry six passengers and two pilots to the edge of space tells us that there was a lethal design error which contributed to that accident last October over the Mojave Desert.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 29, 2015 | FINANCIAL RESULTS | 8 |

Virgin Australia cuts losses sharply in fourth quarter filing

Virgin Australia group CEO John Borghetti, with a better story to tell coming up

In a curtain raiser to its full financial years result to 30 June Virgin Australia has this morning filed greatly improved fourth quarter results.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 29, 2015 | SPACE | 3 |

Design rather than pilot error blamed for Virgin Galactic crash

Investigators beside the wing tip feathers of SS2 after the disaster

The probable cause of the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo sub-orbital joy flight craft last October lay with its design and not the pilot who prematurely unlocked a device intended to stabilise its re-entry from the edge of space according to the NTSB.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 28, 2015 | ALLIANCES | |

Delta buys symbolic stake in China Eastern, but why?

A new look China Eastern A330-200

After making a huge fuss over the alleged unfairness of sovereign ‘subsidies’ in Middle East carriers, US behemoth Delta is buying a symbolic stake in China Eastern, widely regarded as the most subsidised state owned airline of current times.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 27, 2015 | AIR SAFETY | 8 |

Safety and financial concerns close in on Thai International

Thai International 747 at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport

The ‘real’ news about Thai International is getting worse as safety and financial performance concerns generate negative headlines in Bangkok.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 26, 2015 | SPACE | 8 |

Virgin Galactic rocket engine explosion precedes NTSB report

Police guard part of ill-fated SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave crash site

With only days to go before a crucial report into the inflight destruction of SpaceShipTwo is released Virgin Galactic is reported to have confirmed that its newest and most powerful liquid fueled engine recently blew up on a test stand.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 25, 2015 | AIRLINER DESIGNS | 26 |

Boeing’s galvanic response to 787 costs is an eyebrow raiser

Coming soon, a 'tin' assisted composite 787-10 stretch

For an airliner that touted the advantages of carbon composites over aluminium alloys, Boeing’s latest cost cutting move to put that metal into its Dreamliner 787s may seem contradictory.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 25, 2015 | SPACE | 10 |

On far Pluto, vast nitrogen glaciers flow

Where the nitrogen glaciers flow, from the latest NASA briefing

Pluto’s great white heart is alive and pumping, bleeding vast glacial flows of nitrogen ice outwards to fill and bury the surrounding ancient craters of the dwarf planet on the edge of the central solar system.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 24, 2015 | SPACE | 25 |

NASA finds Earth like planet, but it’s probably dying

NASA graphic comparing Earth to Kepler 452b

The discovery by the Kepler Space Telescope of an Earth like planet was inevitable, but finding one near its death is cruel.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 22, 2015 | LOW COST CARRIERS | 5 |

Qantas goes after Virgin on leisure routes, but will it hit Jetstar?

A Qantas 737-800 NOT flying over Queensland: Source Qantas

There are other explanations for the return of Qantas to the Sydney-Sunshine Coast and Melbourne-Gold Coast routes apart from the official announcement which puts it down to satisfying demand and offering more choice.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 22, 2015 | VOLCANIC ASH | 14 |

Bali and that damned volcano, is it time for the fly-cruise option?

Mt Raung, sending ash toward nearby Denpasar Airport yet again

With Virgin Australia again forced to shut down its Bali flights by volcanic ash, someone in the travel industry must be thinking about fly-cruise options.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 22, 2015 | SPACE | 3 |

Two micro-planets and a comet continue to surprise scientists

These ice peaks are about as high as the Dandenongs or Flinders ranges

Pluto hasn’t been the only source of startling new discoveries in space this week, but it has delivered the the biggest surprises.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 21, 2015 | AIR SAFETY | 14 |

Airbus completes runway crash prevention system availability

Three people died in this bungled Asiana 777 runway crash at SFO in 2013

For Australian aviation watchers there is a certain irony in Airbus achieving European certification of its runway overrun prevention system for A330s when recent safety reviews in this country focused on how a Qantas A330 and a Virgin Australia 777 had problems even getting to their intended runway for landings at Melbourne Airport.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 20, 2015 | AIRPORTS | 15 |

Ice makes a rare impact on Australian flights

Regular deicing for this Aeroflot A330-200, unlikely here, not even at Melbourne Airport

While frost is relatively common over many Australian airports, delays caused by aircraft icing like those being reported from Melbourne Airport this morning are rare.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 18, 2015 | SEATING | 2 |

Virgin Australia runs into a seat design problem or two?

A rather forensic overseas report into the delays in Virgin Australia introducing a new business class seat for its A330s and 777s is something of a blow for competition at the top end of Australian air travel market.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 16, 2015 | AIR CRASHES | 51 |

Dutch blame Russia for MH17 but now airline faces tough questions

A part of the wreckage of MH17 in an eastern Ukraine field

The leaking tonight of a draft Dutch led investigation report which says that MH17 was shot down by a Russian missile launched in a part of Ukraine held by pro-Russia separatists isn’t a surprise.

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BEN SANDILANDS | July 16, 2015 | SPACE | 8 |

Pluto’s ice peaks and Charon’s deep chasms snap into focus

The ice peaks that punctured some previous assumptions about Pluto

It only takes a few sharp images from worlds previously unseen in any detail to rewrite once confidently held assertions by planetary scientists about what lies in deep space, and that has just happened at the New Horizons mission briefing in Washington DC.

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