Infrastructure Daily News 01.24.12

Transportation Sector

17. January 23, Seattle Times – (National) Vibrations force Boeing to cut off 747-8 tail fuel tanks. Under a mandate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing’s new 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jet will not be allowed to carry fuel in its tail until engineers can fix a potential wing-vibration problem. A Boeing spokesman said engineers are working to design, certify, and implement a repair in 2013. Until then, a section of fuel line will be removed to prevent fuel flowing back to the tank inside the horizontal stabilizer — the small wings on either side of the tail. This restriction will cut fuel capacity by about 3,300 gallons and reduce the range of the jet by 300 to 400 miles, the spokesman said. The big jet’s total fuel capacity, including the tail tank, is advertised at 63,055 gallons, giving it a range of 9,200 miles while carrying 467 passengers. The first delivery of the 747-8 passenger model is expected next month to an unidentified customer. German airline Lufthansa will take the second jet, probably in March. Five of the jets have already rolled out without the required block to the tanks in the tail. Those jets will have to be modified by removing the section of fuel line, work that can be completed over three shifts, the Boeing spokesman said. Subsequent 747-8s will have the tail tank blocked inside the factory during assembly. A computer analysis revealed that if the engine mounting strut were to fail, then extra weight at the rear of the aircraft from fuel in the tail would cause wing flutter. Flutter is a phenomenon in which structural vibrations enter a feedback cycle that enhances the shaking and can cause serious damage. Source:

18. January 23, Bloomberg News – (International) Airbus wing checks to affect almost one-third of A380 fleet. Airlines operating Airbus SAS’s A380 superjumbo must ground 20 planes or almost one-third of the world fleet within the next 6 weeks to check for wing cracks. Carriers with A380s that have accumulated more than 1,300 takeoffs and landings must make the inspections, and any planes that have made more than 1,800 trips need to be checked within 4 days, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said today. Air France, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines Ltd. will need to take action soonest, based on flight figures, with the work likely to take up to 24 hours, according to the Asian carrier, which said six of its jets require scrutiny in the near term. The EASA ordered the checks after the discovery of cracks in one wing led to detection of more serious fractures in other planes. “This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane,” the safety organization said in an airworthiness directive. “The new form of cracking is more significant.” The visual examinations don’t require special gear and should be completed in a matter of hours, according to Airbus. Source: article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/01/23/bloomberg_articlesLY3G2L6JTSEA01-LY3OA.DTL

19. January 20, NYCAviation – (International) FAA downgrades safety ratings of Curacao and Saint Maarten, current flights not affected. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) January 19 announced it had downgraded the safety ratings of the Caribbean island nations of Curaçao and Saint Maarten from Category 1 to Category 2. Both islands had previously been parts of the Netherlands Antilles, which had held a International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating of Category 1. Curaçao and Saint Maarten became individual countries subject to their own assessments when the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved in 2010. According to the FAA, a Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority –- equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters –- is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, or inspection procedures. The FAA sayid existing service may continue, but under stronger scrutiny from FAA inspectors. New flights from those countries will not be allowed unless they regain Category 1 status. Flights operated by U.S. carriers to Curaçao and Saint Maarten will not be affected. Source: downgraded-by-faa-current-flights-not-affected/

20. January 20, Chicago Tribune – (Illinois) Snow cripples commute, cancels flights and moves on. Chicago officials detoured all Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses off Lake Shore Drive as a snowstorm hunkered down over the area, crippling the evening commute and grounding more than 800 flights January 20. The storm began tapering off as of 6:15 p.m., but travel times on expressways remained tortuously long, with some commutes more than 4 hours long. Radar showed the storm leaving the area as of about 9 p.m. and snow was expected to completely exit northern Illinois by midnight. As of about 6:30 p.m. buses that operate north of Roosevelt Road on Lake Shore Drive were back on their normal routes, while all buses south of Roosevelt resumed normal routes by 8:15 p.m., the CTA said. Some delays remained because of traffic conditions. The Illinois Tollway Authority said it had helped at least 160 motorists since the snow began. As of 8:30 p.m., O’Hare and Midway airports were reporting “significant delays and cancellations,” according to the Chicago Aviation Department. At O’Hare, airlines canceled more than 700 flights and delays on all flights were averaging an hour or more, the department said. At Midway, more than 100 flights were canceled. Metra, the commuter rail division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority, reported two issues — slower-moving commuters and multiple switch problems that were possibly weather-related. Source: predicted-evening-rush-at-risk-20120120_1_snow-cripples-lake-effect-snowreroute- buses For more stories, see items 5, 6, and 47

Postal and Shipping Sector

21. January 22, KDRV 12 Medford – (Oregon) Bomb squad responds to Rogue River homemade explosives. The Oregon State Police (OSP) Bomb Squad was sent out January 21 for some suspicious deliveries. Along with the OSP, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of multiple explosive devices. The objects were located inside three separate mailboxes outside of Rogue River. At two locations, it was clear the mailboxes fell victims to someone’s prank. Jackson County sheriff’s officials said the homemade explosives were created inside small medicine bottles. They said the two devices inside two separate mailbox locations went off on their own, but the bomb squad did suit up for the Queens Branch Road location. After examining the broken device, the bomb squad determined it was safe to remove. Three people were arrested; two of the suspects are minors and the third is an 18-year-old of Rogue River. Charges are expected for all three. Source:

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