Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - well, what a year!

Hi All

I am sitting in my front yard, sipping on as bundy rum, listening to the firecrackers and trying to stop my dogs destroying the place as well as contemplating the year gone by

I wanted to write some prophetic words, but screw it. 

Happy New Year all, lets hope 2009 is better than 2008 for everyone ..

Friday, December 26, 2008

Put to rest after 67 years

After 67 years, a Hendersonville woman will say farewell to the fiance she never got to marry, a casualty of enemy fire in the early days of the Pacific fighting.

When World War II broke out Dec. 7, 1941, Navy Ensign Robert G. Tills was the pilot of a seaplane moored at Malalag Bay in the Philippines. The day after the surprise attack that propelled the U.S. into the war, Japanese fighter planes swooped in and sank Tills' PBY-4 Catalina flying plane. He went down with it, and his body wasn't recovered. 

A fellow crewman saw a Japanese fighter plane fire the shots that killed the young pilot. Tills was the first Navy officer lost in the U.S. defense of the Philippine islands.Shortly after that, his fiancee, Vicki Quandt Lee, attended his memorial service."It was very sad," Lee said last week from her Carolina Village home.More than 60 years later, the wreckage and the remains of the Manitowoc, Wis., sailor were recovered and Tills was identified using dental records."In October 2007, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was notified by U.S. authorities in the Philippines that aircraft wreckage had been discovered in Malalag Bay," the Defense Department said. "A fragment of the wreckage bore the markings 'PBY-4.'"On Dec. 1, 2008, the Department of Defense officially announced it had identified Tills' remains.

After 67 years, family and friends are relieved by the news, including the Hendersonville woman who was in love with Tills at the time he was killed."I can't believe they found him under 60 feet of water," Lee said.Tills' remains will finally be put to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on March 23.For 53 years Vicki was married to Robert E. Lee, who has since passed away.She was attending Northwestern College in Watertown, Wis., in 1936 when she met Tills, a fellow student."We were meant for each other," said Lee, who is now 89.Tills later went to another college, then joined the Navy and studied aeronautical engineering."He joined the Navy to learn how to fly," Lee said.For the six years they were separated, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they wrote one another often. They were going to get married after Tills came home in December 1941."Then they got him," Lee said.Tills' sister, Jean, was 11 years old when her older brother perished in the Philippine Islands.Jean Aplin, now 78, said the Navy notified her that her brother's remains were recovered from the aircraft wreckage in Malalag Bay. 

Through an Internet search, Aplin, who now lives in Arizona, found Vicki Lee in Hendersonville and told her about the discovery."That was a shock, that they found his body," Lee said.Jeff Miller, founder of HonorAir, and his wife, Tamara, plan to escort Lee to Arlington for the burial."I am looking forward to it," Lee said. "I can't believe it."According to Navy historical records, Tills enlisted in the Naval Reserves in 1937 at 19 years old. Two years later, he was commissioned as an ensign in the reserves and in April of 1941, he gained active military status.

Tills had a Navy destroyer escort named after him in June 1943. It was launched four months later, providing escort services against submarine and air attacks for Navy vessels and convoys.After the war, the USS Tills (DE 748) was converted to a training vessel and in 1969 the ship was sunk in a training exercise off the U.S. east coast, according to Navy historical records.

More Air Traffice Controller woes

Tardy air controller delays landing of 3 airplanes in Zambo

Three passenger aircraft failed to touch down on time at the Zamboanga Cit airport on Friday due to a "missing" air traffic controller.

A GMA Flash Report quoted Civil Aviation Authority manager Celso Bayabos as saying that the three airplanes were supposed to land at the airport at scheduled intervals.

However, the airplanes’ respective pilots ended up refusing to land after realizing that no airport officer was stationed at the control tower to guide them on their descent. 

The incident forced the three airplanes to hover in the air for a good one hour, before the pilots took the matters into their hands and decided to talk to one another over the radio to decide who would land first.

Bayabos said an air traffic controller was actually on duty at the time of the incident but had just reported late for work. He said the airport management is already dealing with the tardy controller and mulling for a possible reprimand.

Bayabos stressed that it was the first time that such incident ever happened at the Zamboanga airport and assured it would never happen again.

A number of flights were briefly delayed but airport operations have already gone back to normal after the incident. - 

FedEx initiates flight operations test at its new Asia Pacific hub

Agence France-Presse
FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world's largest express transportation company, today announced the successful completion of its first flight operations test at the new Asia-Pacific Hub at Guangzhou in southern China. As a checkpoint to gauge the new operation's readiness, the achievement signified another milestone for the new hub in the lead up to its scheduled commencement of operations on February 6, 2009.

The MD-11 aircraft landed at 5:50 a.m. at Baiyun International Airport from Subic Bay, Philippines. The flight was handled by the new FedEx hub team, utilizing the FedEx ramp control tower and the new 24,000 package per hour sort system. Following a successful operations' process, the flight departed on time for its final destination at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France. This Asia-Europe flight route will operate four times per week.

"Today's flight operations test in Guangzhou represents a significant step in our preparations for the opening of the largest FedEx hub outside the United States," said David L. Cunningham Jr., president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express. "The hub reinforces our long-term commitment to this region and will further stimulate trade to and from the EU and Asia, and between the US-Asia trade lanes by providing our customers with fast and reliable service between the largest marketplaces in the world. In addition, the economic impact brought about by such an investment would benefit local businesses, the local economy and customers in China, as well as around the region."

"The flight operations test was a success. It represents a major milestone in the opening of our new Asia Pacific hub," said Dennice Wilson, vice president, planning, engineering & hub operations, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express. "When operational, customers will receive the seamless, reliable service they expect from FedEx.


More Air Traffic Controller Woes in Manila

What is interesting about this articvle are two things:

1. Air Traffic Controllers in Manila are NOT on the CAAP (ATO) Payroll .. (Is Clark the same, may explain the double standards of implementing the rules relating to VFr, etc)

2. CAAP Mandate starts in january, does his mean that the new rules come nto effect governing licensing??

Read on ...

Air traffic controllers seek fat paychecks
By Vito Barcelo

Air traffic controllers will leave their posts at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals if they are not given a higher pay.

Naia senior controller Erlan Camarillo said at least 25 of the 52 Manila International Airport Authority employees have indicated plans of moving to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines next year if their demand would remain ignored.

MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi said wage adjustment was a sensitive issue.

“We could not just increase the pay of our air controllers without creating a new problem for the rest of our employees,” he said. “The salaries of all government employees are governed by the Salary Standardization Law.”

Conceding his inability to stem the exodus, Cusi is appealing to Camarillo and his colleagues to weigh the possible disruption of operations at the Naia terminals.

Last March, MalacaƱang approved the law creating the Cvil Aviation Authority, replacing the Air Transportation Office.

The move was prompted by the decision of the US Federal Aviation Authority last year to downgrade the Philippines to category 2 due to “serious concerns” about the safety oversight on air carrier operations.

As in the former agency under the Transportation Department, CAAP under director general manager Ruben Cuiron operates the international airports in the cities of Laoag, Davao and Zamboanga, including a host of provincial terminals.

Camarillo and his fellow Naia controllers, who are in the MIAA payroll, claim that their salary level would be overtaken in January next year when CAAP’s mandate takes effect, exempting the new outfit from salary standardization.

The measure was meant to attract competent technical staff and training programs along with the purchase of suitable equipment meeting FAA requirements, for which reason the fiscally autonomous CAAP could retain its P3-billion revenue collection.

They noted that the lowest-paid CAAP air controllers would be receiving between P27,000 to P37,000 a month versus Naia’s P13,500.

“MIAA airport tower controllers or terminal controllers watch over all planes traveling through the airport’s airspace; their main responsibility is to organize the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport. Relying on radar and visual observation, they closely monitor all aircraft and guide pilots between the hangar or ramp and the end of the airport’s airspace,” Cusi said.

They also provide updates on flight conditions such as wind shear, a sudden change in the velocity or direction of the wind that can cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FedEx delays opening of Guangzhou hub

The new intra-Asian hub for FedEx at Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport will not come on stream until some time next year. The integrator announced that the US$150 million facility would open in the first half of 2009, not before the end of this year, as originally planned.
Until the Baiyun hub becomes operational, FedEx will continue to use its present regional hub in Subic Bay. The Philippine hub has only half the capacity of the new Baiyun set-up, which was designed to handle 24,000 packages in an hour.
In the current economic climate, which has taken a heavy toll on air cargo volumes, FedEx should be comfortable with the capacity of Subic Bay. Air freight throughput in Hong Kong has declined steeply in recent months. In October, traffic at Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl), the airport's pre-eminent handler with over 70 percent market share, was down 9.8 percent, due to a 13.6 percent drop in imports and 10.7 percent fall in exports with transhipments down two percent.
Load factors and yields out of the Pearl River Delta have come under pressure, even though capacity grew less than previously expected. Northwest Airlines pulled its freighters out of Guangzhou this past summer, which the US airline had developed as an alternative to Hong Kong. Shenzhen-based Jade Cargo Airlines finally managed to bring its flight crew numbers to a level that permitted full utilisation of its aircraft fleet but decided to lease one freighter to Singapore-based Jett8.
Cathay Pacific's new Hong Kong cargo terminal may open later than scheduled. Construction of the $619 million facility commenced in September with a view to opening for business in the second half of 2011.
Stanley Hui, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong airport authority, warned in October that in the difficult environment and shrinking demand, "airlines are expected to scale back their operation or put on hold their expansion plans".
FedEx Asia-Pacific president David Cunningham stressed that the delay in the opening date of the hub was due to the complexities of the project itself and is not related to the current global economic conditions.
"The new operations date will provide FedEx the necessary time to fully test all systems and processes and work with the Guangzhou authorities to put all necessary approvals in place,'' he said.
The revised schedule would pose no service impact to FedEx customers as the current hub in Subic Bay would continue its operations, Cunningham said. 
A FedEx spokesman said: "The Guangzhou hub has been one of the most sophisticated projects the corporation has engaged upon and it's just a matter of necessity to take more time to deal with the complexities.''
FedEx's regional hub will be equipped with its own ramp control tower - the first for an integrator in China. The facility has 16 high-speed sorting lines, seven conveyor belts and about 90 document sorting splits.
The integrator has commenced operations testing for the Baiyun hub, including the Hong Kong-Guangzhou cross-border transportation processes, sort systems and flight operations.
Rival UPS began construction of its planned new intra-Asia hub at Shenzhen in late October. The new hub, which replaces Clark in the Philippines, is scheduled for opening in 2010.