Aviation News

June 29, 2009

Weekend Wrap: Air France 447 Computers Probed, Billy Mays Death Possibly Aircraft Related, Lufthansa Committed to 747-8

billy-mays-250A look at the past few days of aviation news.

• Questions were raised over the ability of pilots to control aircraft following computer system malfunctions. Air France 447 crash investigators now suspect the Airbus experienced a cascade of computer system failures, set into motion by malfunctioning speed sensors. Another report revealed that a Northwest Airlines A330-200 suffered computer problems very similar to those experienced by AF 447 just before it crashed. The NTSB is investigating.

• Television pitchman Billy Mays was found dead Sunday morning in his Florida home. The day before, Mays was hit in the head by unknown debris while aboard US Airways flight 1271, a 737-400 which burst its front tires during landing at Tampa International Airport (TPA). Speculative comparisons are being made to the death of actress Natasha Richardson, who died after hitting her head in a skiing accident, but no official cause of Mays death has yet been released.

• Wizz Air nearly caused a riot in downtown Budapest when they attempted to release 1,000 balloons, some of which had coupons attached worth 10,000 forints (US$50). Some spectators rushed the balloons and began popping them to ensure the coupons didn’t float away.

• Lufthansa said they are committed to the 747-8, but they don’t expect it to arrive on time.

• Boeing and Airbus may see further sales declines as fewer lenders are willing to finance down payments for large aircraft orders, according to a leading aviation-finance attorney.