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Articles by Ben Sandilands

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

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

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

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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Two micro-planets and a comet continue to surprise scientists

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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Airbus completes runway crash prevention system availability

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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Ice makes a rare impact on Australian flights

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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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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Dutch blame Russia for MH17 but now airline faces tough questions

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

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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ATSB tweets that Qantas Melbourne incident was an accident that nearly happened

The ATSB has tweeted its media followers that the definition of a serious aviation incident is one in which an accident nearly occurred.

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Virgin Australia gets wake up call over botched Melbourne 777 approach

Less than a week after the ATSB pinged Qantas for a seriously too low A330 approach to Melbourne Airport it has called out Virgin Australia for flying much too low to the same airport in a Boeing 777.

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NASA shows off curtain raiser image as Pluto fly-by makes closest pass

The New Horizons space probe that took 10 years to built and nine and half years from launching to make its fly past of Pluto tonight has been given a curtain raiser image by NASA showing a stunning wide view image of the ‘encounter side’ of the dwarf planet.

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Two early lessons from Bali on air travel versus volcanoes

Although the complaints may not have yet turned into a torrent of references to small claims tribunals, there are two lessons from the Bali volcanic ash crisis.

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Pale moon Charon reveals itself to Pluto probe

As NASA probe New Horizons races to toward its closest fly past point above the surface of Pluto (Tuesday night Australian time), the dwarf planet’s disproportionately large moon Charon has swung into view as a pale, faintly blueish orb with hints of rift chasms in one area and a smooth looking northern polar plain.

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Consumer ‘ditch the tick’ campaign targets Jetstar unfarely?

Sometimes even well meaning people stuff up, as seems to be the case with Choice and its ‘ditch the tick’ campaign, which mainly targets the Jetstar on-line booking pages.

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Pluto begins showing first and last glimpses of parts of its geology

There must be some bitter sweet moments for NASA scientists who have waited nine years for the New Horizons probe to get close enough to start revealing the geological features of dwarf planet Pluto.

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Time to unshare your personal info with airlines?

Moves by IATA and the airlines to screw individual passengers with specially tailored fares based on their personal data ought to be resisted, if not challenged under consumer or discrimination laws where such remedies are available.

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Airbus makes second electric flight English channel crossing

Due process by Airbus and a ‘just-do-it’ attitude by a private electric aircraft owner saw two small multi-engined planes make battery powered crossings of the English Channel to Calais in the last two days.

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