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The surprising reason why pilots don’t have beards

<p dir="ltr">When walking through an airport before you board a flight, it's very common to pass a pilot or two walking around the terminals. </p> <p dir="ltr">But there’s one thing you may not have noticed that unites the male pilots, and it's not just their clean cut uniforms. </p> <p dir="ltr">While trendy facial hair is very common amongst men, it seems that pilots are swapping the beards and moustaches for a more clean cut look. </p> <p dir="ltr">And there is one key reason for the sleek look: safety. </p> <p dir="ltr">It turns out sporting a beard could lead to issues with using oxygen masks, with the hair preventing a seal from forming. </p> <p dir="ltr">A study in 1987 titled <em><a href="https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/22765">The Influence of Beards on Oxygen Mask Efficiency</a></em> outlined how facial hair could impede the efficiency of masks, with pilots still adhering to the procedure. </p> <p dir="ltr">"A Department of Navy study reported an average inboard leakage of 16 to 67 percent for military-type crew oxygen masks when tested with subjects wearing beards to altitudes of 18,000 feet," the report noted.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The data resulting from these tests indicated that decrement in performance does occur when facial hair is present along the sealing surface of crew oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr">The Civil Aviation Authority in New Zealand told Stuff Travel that there are no "explicit written rules specifically addressing pilot dress codes in its regulatory framework".</p> <p dir="ltr">"The focus of the CAA rules is primarily on operational, technical, and safety requirements for aviation activities​," said a spokesperson.</p> <p dir="ltr">"However, individual airlines may have their own internal policies and standards regarding pilot dress codes. These policies ensure a professional appearance and may be part of broader company procedures and safety protocols."</p> <p dir="ltr">Air New Zealand's head of flight operations, Captain Hugh Pearce, said the airline allows moustaches and goatees, "but not full beards".</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is a safety-driven policy to ensure the best fit and most effective use of an oxygen mask if deployed, and is also recommended practice from mask manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and it is of utmost importance that our pilots are equipped to act in the unlikely event of an emergency."</p> <p dir="ltr">Jetstar goes one step further, with goatees also getting the snip: "For safety reasons our pilots don't have beards or goatees. This is to ensure the best possible seal on quick donning oxygen masks."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Pilot reveals area with worst turbulence

<p>Pilot and former <em>Bachelor Australia</em> star Jimmy Nicholson has revealed which area in the world has the worst turbulence in a viral video. </p> <p>Nicholson, who has over five years of experience, took to TikTok to explain the areas where pilots can expect the worst turbulence and how he believes that the recent Singapore Airlines <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/travel/travel-trouble/victim-identified-after-plane-hits-deadly-turbulence" target="_blank" rel="noopener">horror flight</a> did not actually experience a "sudden drop". </p> <p>In the clip, he explained that pilots can expect the worst turbulence around the equator in what is called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). </p> <p>“This is where the winds with the northern hemisphere often converge with the winds of the southern hemisphere often causing bad weather and turbulence,” he said. </p> <p>He added that the ITCZ changes throughout the year, with it affecting different areas between January and July. </p> <p>“As you can see here, this is the approximate location of the convergence zone on the 21st of May,” he explained using a graph that showed an area that was “the exact area of where the [Singapore Airlines] incident happened." </p> <p>“As you can see from flightradar, the flight was tracking from Singapore to London and then made a left turn and ended up diverting into Bangkok," he added. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 573px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7371614320200830226&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40jimmy_nicholson%2Fvideo%2F7371614320200830226&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FowREoIPwwA1lAs31IifkpzBASmJt4iCODZ0sBN%3Fx-expires%3D1716962400%26x-signature%3D%252BkhZRFhuPeWTiEKTMAFYLK0EcTU%253D&key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>He said that the 6000 foot drop was not a "sudden" drop as a result of severe turbulence, but a controlled descent. </p> <p>“The plane descended from 37000 feet at six minutes past the hour, down to 31000 feet at 12 minutes past the hour,” he said. </p> <p>“This is not a sudden drop due to turbulence, this is a controlled descent likely because the plane needed to divert into Bangkok, or because they were descending out of the turbulence.</p> <p>“This is a very sad and very rare event,” he continued. “But it is important to remember that these things don’t happen very often." </p> <p>He added that pilots do their best to avoid turbulence, but sometimes it does happen unexpectedly. </p> <p>“This is why pilots always say on the PA when you’re seated make sure you seatbelt is fastened in case we experience an unexpected turbulence.”</p> <p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Former pilot accused of murder shares his version of events

<p>Former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn has shared his version of events from the day Russell Hill and Carol Clay were allegedly murdered. </p> <p>Mr Lynn, who is on trial for the murders of the elderly campers, claimed Mr Hill, 74, knifed himself in a struggle after he accidentally shot his childhood sweetheart Ms Clay, 73, in the head.</p> <p>Police allege Mr Hill and Ms Clay were murdered while camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria's Alpine region more than four years ago, with Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu telling the jury at the opening of the trial exactly how and why Lynn allegedly killed the couple.</p> <p>"The precise circumstances of the killing are unknown, nor is the motivation," he said.  </p> <p>The jury heard it was most likely a dispute over the use Mr Hill's drone, as Mr Porceddu said, "There might have been an argument or confrontation between the men. It is not known how Mr Hill was killed."</p> <p>But in providing a brief defence, Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann KC, claimed Mr Hill and Ms Clay's death was the result of a tragic accident, telling the jury, "We say not a case of murder, this is a case of two accidental, tragic deaths."</p> <p>"Tragic accidental deaths in circumstances that were not of Mr Lynn's making and not of his choosing."</p> <p>Mr Dann told the jury that Mr Hill allegedly stole Lynn's shotgun after he became enraged about Lynn playing loud music on the night he was killed. </p> <p>The barrister then detailed how a fight over the gun ensued, which resulted in Mr Hill accidentally shooting Ms Clay in the head, as Mr Lynn tried to disarm him. </p> <p>Mr Dann said Lynn picked up the gun and fired its remaining ammunition into the air before being set upon by an enraged Mr Hill. </p> <p>"The next thing is Mr Hill's advancing towards him with a knife screaming at him 'she's dead'," Mr Dann said. </p> <p>"A struggle developed over the knife. Mr Lynn trying to defend himself - they're locked in this struggle - and as part of that struggle the two men fall to the ground  and the knife goes through the chest of Mr Hill."</p> <p>Upon his arrest, Mr Dann claimed Lynn co-operated with detectives, telling them where to find the bodies of the campers, and once again telling the jury that Mr Lynn is not guilty of murder or manslaughter.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px;"><em>Image credits: Supplied / Facebook </em></p>

Legal

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Love is in the air! Pilot proposes to flight attendant girlfriend before take off

<p>A pilot has proposed to his flight attendant girlfriend just minutes before take off in a heart-warming display of love. </p> <p>Polish pilot Konrad Hanc was captured emerging from the cockpit before embarking on a flight to Kraków to make a surprising announcement over the PA system. </p> <p>Hanc introduced himself to the passengers before explaining the real reason for his message. </p> <p>“On today’s flight there is a very special person," he began.</p> <p>“Ladies and gentlemen, about one and a half years ago in this job I met the most wonderful person that completely changed my life."</p> <p>“You are most precious to me. You are my greatest dream come true. This is why I have to ask you a favour, honey."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6EHHyQskLc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6EHHyQskLc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by LOT Polish Airlines (@flylot)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Will you marry me?” he asked while getting down on one knee, as another flight attendant handed him a bouquet of flowers. </p> <p>His girlfriend, Paula, sprinted up the aisle of the plane before leaping into the arms of her future husband. </p> <p>Passengers watched on in anticipation for her answer with one yelling, “Did she say yes?” to which the beaming captain responded: “She said yes!”</p> <p>Hanc explained that he chose to pop the question on the flight to the Polish city as he met Paula on the same flight just 18 months ago. </p> <p>As the pair embraced in a hug and kiss, passengers erupted in applause, with many taking to the now viral Facebook post to send them well wishes. </p> <p>“I love this! Sweet couple!” one person wrote.</p> <p>”TOTALLYYYYY LOVE IN THE AIR,” another enthusiastic person commented, to which the airline responded: “YES, love IS in the air!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: LOT Polish Airlines</em></p>

Relationships

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Pilot captures once in a lifetime photo of the Northern Lights

<p>A pilot has captured the breathtaking moment he flew beside the Northern Lights while manning a cargo plane. </p> <p>Christiaan van Heijst, a pilot and photographer, shared the incredible image to Instagram, which shows the "turquoise aerial fire" appear in the form of the aurora borealis. </p> <p>Beneath the sea of twirling green lights, the city lights of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, illuminated the horizon in a contrasting orange glow far away.</p> <p>The extraordinary photo has racked up thousands of likes in just a few days, as Captain van Heijst shared the entertaining story of his flight and the moment he captured the picture in the caption. </p> <p>“Artificial lights on the horizon: a beacon of civilisation and connectedness to the world after many hours of isolation: no communication in my headset except for the bare minimums in regard to procedures, nor any personal interaction from my Icelandic captain, who’s been mute ever since the landing gear went up on the other side of the planet,” he explained in the post.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C41LrzMsgN6/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C41LrzMsgN6/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Christiaan van Heijst (@jpcvanheijst)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“A character known for his absolute approach to colleagues and deliberate lack of conversational depth during flight."</p> <p>“Hours later, the lights of Reykjavik are abundantly visible and without need, heed or warning, he opens up the intercom and takes his time to start his declaration for a single-person audience: me. Staring out of his window, eyes set on the distant orange glow from his left-hand window, he solemnly proclaims a few seconds later: ‘… the centre of the universe …’, allowing some moments of quiet contemplation and thought on my side, before switching his intercom off again, as if to underline this statement and retreating back in his cone of silence."</p> <p>Mr van Heijst said after the pair touched down four hours later in a cargo-airport in central-Europe, neither shared a single word “besides his solemn proclamation of Iceland’s true worth”.</p> <p>The incredible post has unsurprisingly been met with comments from stunned followers in awe of the natural beauty. </p> <p>“Wow! Incredible shot! Silence is golden indeed,” one person wrote.</p> <p>Mr van Heijst is one of the world’s leading aviation photographers, and has been lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights several times from above, capturing the moment each time to share online.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

International Travel

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“I lost all ability to fly the plane”: Pilot's shock claim after plane drops mid-flight

<p>At least 50 passengers have been injured with a dozen hospitalised after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner suddenly plunged about two hours into the flight from Sydney to Auckland on Monday. </p> <p>LATAM Airlines said that the plane experienced an unspecified "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement." </p> <p>Passengers on board the flight have recalled the terrifying moment the plane took a nose-dive mid-flight. </p> <p>"The plane dipped so dramatically into a nose dive for a couple of seconds and around 30 people hit the ceiling hard," Daniel, who was travelling from London, told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“None of us knew what had happened until after the flight, I was just trying to keep everyone calm. We never heard any announcement from the captain." </p> <p>He added that passengers were screaming and it was hard to tell whether blood or red wine was splattered through the cabin. </p> <p>Another passenger, Brian Jokat, told broadcaster <em>RNZ t</em>hat the incident took place in "split seconds". </p> <p>"There was no pre-turbulence, we were just sailing smoothly the whole way,” he said. </p> <p>“I had just dozed off and I luckily had my seatbelt on, and all of a sudden the plane just dropped. It wasn’t one of those things where you hit turbulence and you drop a few times … we just dropped.”</p> <p>He added that a passenger two seats away from him, who was not wearing his seatbelt, flew up into the ceiling and was suspended mid-air before he fell and broke his ribs. </p> <p>“I thought I was dreaming,” he said. “I opened my eyes and he was on the roof of the plane on his back, looking down on me. It was like <em>The Exorcist</em>.”</p> <p>Paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles were waiting for passengers when the plane landed in Auckland. </p> <p>Around 50 patients were treated, with 12 of them hospitalised and one in serious condition. </p> <p>At least three of those treated were cabin crew. </p> <p>Jokat told <em>RNZ </em>that after the plane landed, the pilot came to the back and explained what had happened. </p> <p>"He said to me, ‘I lost my instrumentation briefly and then it just came back all of a sudden,’” Jokat said.</p> <p>In another interview with <em>Stuff.co.nz</em>, Jokat recalled the pilot also saying: “My gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” </p> <p>The airline's final destination was Santiago, Chile, but it was landing at Auckland Airport in accordance with its normal flight path, according to <em>Reuters</em>. </p> <p>"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.  </p> <p><em>Images: Brian Jokat/ News.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Pilot pitches in to free passenger stuck in plane bathroom

<p>A pilot has been forced to abandon his post at the cockpit to rescue a passenger trapped in the bathroom of a plane. </p> <p>While onboard a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to New Orleans, a father of two named Brent became stuck in the bathroom for 35 minutes during the short domestic flight. </p> <p>When it was discovered that Brent was not breaking out of the bathroom by himself, the cabin crew, including the pilot, stepped in to free the 34-year-old dad. </p> <p>After being refused a refund by the airline's customer service, Brent's dissatisfied partner shared a video of the moment the staff all rallied to heave the door open. </p> <p>Recounting the tale on Reddit, the woman suggested that her husband had fled to the bathroom to have a break from his two young kids. </p> <p>She wrote, "After 5 minutes, I wondered what was going on. Was he using this time as a much-needed break from my children’s whiney demands and frequent tantrums? I didn’t blame him."</p> <p>Brent's partner went on to explain that it wasn't until she heard another passenger say the word "stuck" did she realise her husband's predicament. </p> <p>She turned around to see two members of the crew yanking at the door to the rear cubicle as she watched on while she kept one eye on her young kids. </p> <p>The flight attendants enlisted the help of a male passenger who also failed to provide the magic touch, before the pilot emerged, 20 minutes into the ordeal, to have a go.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZWOyr4J2OBo?si=FSdSkXFv4WlClKXB" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <aside> <p>"It wasn't until Brent kicked the hell out of the door while the pilot was pulling as hard as possible that Brent finally made his escape," she wrote. </p> <p>Finishing off the post, the woman concluded that Delta asked her not to share the footage, filmed by another passenger who was closer to the end of the plane, but after not receiving a refund for their "terrible" journey, the mother decided to post them online. </p> <p>The post racked up hundreds of comments, with many people actually siding with the airline for not issuing a refund, suggesting that the author's response was not proportionate to what actually happened. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Reddit</em></p> </aside>

Travel Trouble

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"32 years of safe landings": Pilot's surprise speech reduces passengers to tears

<p>A pilot has brought his passengers to tears with an emotional speech on his final flight after 32 years in the skies. </p> <p>Jeff Fell, an American Airlines pilot, took off from Chicago on his retirement flight as he stood in front of his passengers and delivered a heartfelt message. </p> <p>At first, his message seemed routine, informing travellers of the weather and and flight time, before acknowledging it was strange for him to deliver the address from outside the cockpit. </p> <p>“I normally don’t stand up in front of everybody like this, I usually just stay in the cockpit and talk on the PA. If I get a little emotional please forgive me for that,” he said in the speech, which was captured on video by a passenger. </p> <p>With passengers still unaware of what was to come, he pointed out a group of “very important people” to him sitting at the back of the plane.</p> <p>“They’re the majority of my family who have come along with me on my retirement flight,” Mr Fell said.</p> <p>The plane was filled with applause as the pilot's voice wavered with emotion.</p> <p>“They’re on-board with me on my retirement flight after 32 years with American,” he said.</p> <p>He continued, fighting back tears, “Thank you all for coming along with me tonight and celebrating this very memorable time in my life. I love all of you."</p> <p>With another round of applause from his passengers, Mr Fell added:, “I didn’t want to get emotional but goodness gracious.”</p> <p>“Finally, for my wonderful wife Julie who has been at my side for the majority of my 32 years at American. She has been the rock, the solid rock in the foundation in our lives and our marriage. Her faith in the Lord, wisdom, strength and love has guided our marriage and family throughout these years. I love you and look forward to the next chapter in our lives. And welcome aboard everybody.”</p> <p>The video was uploaded to TikTok and has since gone viral, raking up millions of views, and you can watch the full video <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@realjharrison/video/7299484162648509738" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p>Thousands of social media users left comments of support, with many confessing the clip had brought them to tears.</p> <p>“As soon as he said retirement flight my tears came,” one person wrote, while another added, "32 years of safe landings also. God bless him and all pilots.”</p> <p>“To think of the amount of families, people, and cultures he has single-handedly connected throughout the world. Thank you!” penned a third person.</p> <p>“32 years of bringing people closer together. I’m crying!” agreed another.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

International Travel

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Why this pilot was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder

<p>An off-duty pilot, identified as Joseph David Emerson, has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder following an alleged attempt to crash an Alaska Airlines flight en route to San Francisco.</p> <p>The incident unfolded as Flight 2059, operated by Horizon Air, took off from Everett, Washington, shortly before 5:30pm local time on a seemingly routine Sunday evening. However, what transpired mid-flight left passengers and the aviation community in disbelief.</p> <p>Emerson, who was sitting in the cockpit's jump seat behind the captain and first officer, reportedly attempted to activate the jet's fire suppression system. This system, when triggered, would have closed a valve in the wing to cut off the flow of fuel to the engines. The consequences of such an act could have been catastrophic, potentially leading to a loss of engine power and a potentially fatal crash.</p> <p>The vigilant crew of Flight 2059, including the captain and first officer, quickly responded to subdue Emerson, preventing the activation of the fire suppression system. Their swift actions were pivotal in averting a potential disaster. The aircraft was forced to make an emergency diversion to Portland International Airport, where Emerson was taken into custody by the Port of Portland Police. Thankfully, no injuries were reported during this harrowing incident.</p> <p>The charges against Emerson are nothing short of severe. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office has confirmed that he faces 83 counts of attempted murder in the first degree, 83 counts of recklessly endangering another person, and one count of endangering an aircraft in the first degree. Emerson is currently held in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Centre in Portland, Oregon, awaiting arraignment.</p> <p>The investigation into this troubling incident is ongoing, with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies collaborating to determine the motive behind Emerson's actions. When interviewed by police, Emerson said he had a “nervous breakdown” after not sleeping for 40 hours and stated he had taken psychedelic mushrooms for the first time.</p> <p>“I didn’t feel okay. It seemed like the pilots weren’t paying attention to what was going on. They didn’t … it didn’t seem right,” Emerson told police, according to an affidavit. </p> <p>The affidavit does not state whether Emerson was under the influence of the mushrooms while on the plane, but he later added: “I pulled both emergency shut off handles because I thought I was dreaming and I just wanna wake up.”</p> <p>The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also become involved in the case, supporting investigations into the incident. The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) commended the flight crew for their swift response, emphasising the priority of safety for the flying public and crews. ALPA noted that the airline pilot profession is one of the most highly vetted and scrutinised careers, with pilots undergoing continuous evaluations throughout their careers through training and medical exams.</p> <p>Emerson's pilot certification, which was updated just last month, underscores the importance of self-reporting any mental health conditions for aviators. This aspect of the case will likely be closely examined as part of the ongoing investigation.</p> <p>In a statement, the Portland office of the FBI assured the traveling public that there is no continuing threat related to this incident. While the shocking episode has left many questions unanswered, it serves as a testament to the professionalism and dedication of flight crews in ensuring passenger safety, even in the face of such extraordinary challenges.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / FlightAware</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Pilot praised for revealing simple trick to cope with severe turbulence

<p>A pilot has shared his simple "water bottle trick" for anxious passengers to cope with turbulence in the air. </p> <p>Sydney-sider Jimmy Nicholson and his wife Holly recently shared a video of their bumpy flight with "horrible" turbulence that went viral on TikTok, after Jimmy shared his tips on how to cope with the anxiety. </p> <p>In the video, his wife was filmed hyperventilating, and at one point even pulled out a sick bag. The couple held hands as other passengers were heard screaming during the wild turbulence. </p> <p>“So we’re at the back of the plane so it’s worse here," Jimmy, who looked more calm than most passengers, said in the clip. </p> <p>“It’s not comfortable, probably some of the worst I’ve been in. Could be widespread storms so pilots just have to pick their path of least resistance and go through it so nothing to worry about.</p> <p>“Planes are built to withstand way worse. Not fun evidently, but completely fine.</p> <p>“I’m a pilot and actually fly this aircraft type (Airbus). Here’s why you have nothing to worry about.”</p> <p>For those terrified of turbulence, Jimmy suggested looking at the water inside an upside down water bottle. </p> <p>“Water bottle trick: The water isn’t moving much, is it?” he said.</p> <p> </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; width: 603px; max-width: 100%;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7272043055874723073&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40jimmy_nicholson%2Fvideo%2F7272043055874723073%3F_r%3D1%26_t%3D8fD3XY38vB4&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoM6n8BXn3ENnHuqtQEMUDb4jUe6fkgAi0BORgF%3Fx-expires%3D1693292400%26x-signature%3DrKGHV84h94FBzJrVu4RsUV8upK0%253D&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>He added that if the water appears to be moving gently in the water bottle, then the turbulence feels worse than it actually is. </p> <p>“Remind yourself it’s completely normal. The plane isn’t going to fall out of the sky,” he said.</p> <p>The pilot suggested turning on the air conditioning and looking out the window to calm your nerves. </p> <p>The video ended with passengers clapping after they rode out the turbulence, and the TikTok has been viewed over 2.4 million times, with many thanking Jimmy for his tips. </p> <p>“This helps so much! We need more pilots to post about the stuff the rest of us think will be the last minutes of our lives,” one wrote.</p> <p>“Thank you for explaining this. I’m an anxious flyer and seeing you talk about it has helped," commented another. </p> <p>“Thank you for this video. I saved it and going to watch it in my flights when I am frightened," wrote a third. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok/ Instagram</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Why can’t we just tow stranded whales and dolphins back out to sea?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vanessa-pirotta-873986">Vanessa Pirotta</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>On Tuesday night, a pod of almost 100 long-finned pilot whales stranded itself on a beach on Western Australia’s south coast. Over the course of Wednesday, more than 100 parks and wildlife staff and 250 registered volunteers worked tirelessly to try to keep alive the 45 animals surviving the night.</p> <p>They used small boats and surf skis to try to get the pilot whales into deeper water. Volunteers helped keep the animals’ blowholes above water to prevent them drowning, and poured water on them to cool them down.</p> <p>Our rescue efforts were, sadly, unsuccessful. The animals (actually large ocean-going dolphins) able to be towed or helped out to deeper water turned around and stranded themselves again, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=228337910167574&ref=sharing">further down the beach</a>. Sadly, they had to be euthanised.</p> <p>Unfortunately, towing whales and dolphins is not simple. It can work and work well, as we saw in Tasmania last year, when dozens of pilot whales were rescued. But rescuers have to have good conditions and a fair dash of luck for it to succeed.</p> <h2>Rescuing beached whales is hard</h2> <p>When we try to rescue stranded whales and dolphins, the goal is to get them off the sandbars or beach, and back into deep water.</p> <p>Why is it so difficult? Consider the problem. First, you have to know that a pod has beached itself. Then, you have to be able to get there in time, with people skilled in wildlife rescue.</p> <p>These animals are generally too big and heavy to rely on muscle power alone. To get them out far enough, you need boats and sometimes tractors. That means the sea conditions and the slope of the beach have to be suitable.</p> <p>Often, one of the first things rescuers might do is look for those individuals who might be good candidates to be refloated. Generally, these are individuals still alive, and not completely exhausted.</p> <p>If rescuers have boats and good conditions, they may use slings. The boats need to be able to tow the animals well out to sea.</p> <p>Trained people must always be there to oversee the operation. That’s because these large, stressed animals could seriously injure humans just by moving their bodies on the beach.</p> <p>There are extra challenges. Dolphins and whales are slippery and extremely heavy. Long-finned pilot whales can weigh up to 2.3 tonnes. They may have never seen humans before and won’t necessarily know humans are there to help.</p> <p>They’re out of their element, under the sun and extremely stressed. Out of the water, their sheer weight begins to crush their organs. They can also become sunburnt. Because they are so efficient at keeping a comfortable temperature in the sea, they can overheat and die on land. Often, as we saw yesterday, they can’t always keep themselves upright in the shallow water.</p> <p>And to add to the problem, pilot whales are highly social. They want to be with each other. If you tow a single animal back out to sea, it may try to get back to its family and friends or remain disorientated and strand once again.</p> <p>Because of these reasons – and probably others – it wasn’t possible to save the pilot whales yesterday. Those that didn’t die naturally were euthanised to minimise their suffering.</p> <h2>Successful rescues do happen</h2> <p>Despite the remarkable effort from authorities and local communities, we couldn’t save this pod. Every single person working around the clock to help these animals did an amazing job, from experts to volunteers in the cold water to those making cups of tea.</p> <p>But sometimes, we get luckier. Last year, 230 pilot whales beached themselves at Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania’s west coast. By the time rescuers could get there, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/sep/27/44-pilot-whales-rescued-and-returned-to-sea-after-mass-stranding-at-tasmanian-beach">most were dead</a>. But dozens were still alive. This time, conditions were different and towing worked.</p> <p>Rescuers were able to bring boats close to shore. Surviving pilot whales were helped into a sling, and then the boat took them far out to sea. Taking them to the same location prevented them from beaching again.</p> <h2>Every stranding lets us learn more</h2> <p>Unfortunately, we don’t really know why whales and dolphins strand at all. Has something gone wrong with how toothed whales and dolphins navigate? Are they following a sick leader? Are human-made undersea sounds making it too loud? Are they avoiding predators such as killer whales? We don’t know.</p> <p>We do know there are stranding hotspots. Macquarie Harbour is one. In 2020, it was the site of one of the worst-ever strandings, with up to 470 pilot whales stranded. Authorities were able to save 94, drawing on trained <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/25/death-at-hells-gates-rescuers-witness-tragic-end-for-hundreds-of-pilot-whales-on-australian-coast">rescue experts</a>.</p> <p>We will need more research to find out why they do this. What we do know suggests navigational problems play a role.</p> <p>That’s because we can divide whales and dolphins into two types: toothed and toothless. Whales and dolphins with teeth – such as pilot whales – appear to beach a lot more. These animals use echolocation (biological sonar) to find prey with high-pitched clicks bouncing off objects. But toothless baleen whales like humpbacks (there are no dolphins with baleen) don’t use this technique. They use low-frequency sounds, but to communicate, not hunt.</p> <p>So – it is possible to save beached whales and dolphins. But it’s not as easy as towing them straight back to sea, alas.</p> <p><em>The Conversation thanks 10-year-old reader Grace Thornton from Canberra for suggesting the question that gave rise to this article.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210544/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vanessa-pirotta-873986">Vanessa Pirotta</a>, Postdoctoral Researcher and Wildlife Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-cant-we-just-tow-stranded-whales-and-dolphins-back-out-to-sea-210544">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tragic and eerie images emerge after 51 whales stranded on WA beach

<p>Heartbreaking and haunting scenes have surfaced after 51 majestic whales met a tragic fate, stranded on a Western Australian beach, leaving a somber and desperate atmosphere as wildlife experts struggle to save the remaining 46.</p> <p>Amidst a desolate backdrop, a once-thriving pod of long-finned pilot whales was spotted, their lives hanging by a thread perilously close to Cheynes Beach, 60km east of Albany, on Tuesday morning.</p> <p>As the day progressed, the pod's slow and ominous movement toward the shore was closely watched by officers from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, fearing that the worst was about to transpire.</p> <p>In an eerie twist of fate, moments before the tragic stranding, the officers were taken aback as the pod formed a loose heart shape in the vast ocean. A haunting drone camera captured the poignant moment, further intensifying the melancholic atmosphere.</p> <p>“Crews captured this remarkable behaviour from a drone camera, shortly before the whales moved towards the beach,” a spokesperson for the DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service said.</p> <p>By 4pm, the once serene shoreline turned into a heartbreaking spectacle, as the beach became a resting place for the floundering bodies of these magnificent beings.</p> <p>DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service staff, along with Perth Zoo veterinarians and marine fauna experts, set up a vigil, their heavy hearts dreading what lay ahead for the dwindling pod.</p> <p>The initial estimation of 70 whales involved in the tragedy was quickly shattered, as the grim tally soared to 97 on Wednesday.</p> <p>The news of the stranded whales brought forth an outpouring of compassion from hundreds of individuals who wanted to help. But as the sad reality unfolded, authorities politely urged the public to stay away from Cheynes Beach, acknowledging the myriad hazards, including the presence of distressed and potentially sick whales, sharks, powerful waves, heavy machinery and vessels.</p> <p>Wildlife experts are attempting to discern the reasons behind this heart-wrenching event, speculating on stress or illness within the pod. Yet the enigma of why whales strand themselves remains unresolved.</p> <p>The availability of drone footage depicting the pod before their tragedy sets this event apart from previous strandings. The haunting visuals of these social creatures huddled together in distress leave a lasting impact, a stark reminder of how unusual and deeply troubling this occurrence truly is.</p> <p>Pilot whales, known for their close-knit familial bonds, rely on a follow-the-leader mentality, which may be one of the reasons why multiple individuals find themselves stranded in such circumstances. The complexity of their relationships only adds to the heartache surrounding their plight.</p> <p>To view drone footage of the incident, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jul/25/wa-mass-stranding-pilot-whales-beached-cheynes-beach-albany-caravan-park" target="_blank" rel="noopener">click here</a>.</p> <p>Images: Cheynes Beach Caravan Park / Facebook / WA Government.</p>

Travel Trouble

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"We strongly object": Cruise line passengers witness mass whale hunt

<p dir="ltr">A cruise line has apologised to over 1,000 passengers who witnessed a gruesome whale killing while their ship was docking at a port.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ambassador Cruise Lines confirmed on Thursday that the arrival of their ship Ambition in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands - located between Scotland, Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic - had coincided “with the culmination of a hunt of 40+ pilot whales in the port area.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We were incredibly disappointed that this hunt occurred at the time that our ship was in port. We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner, ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters, to encourage change since 2021,” Ambassador said following the arrival of their ship in the Torshavn port area on the southern part of the main island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Communities in the Faroe Islands have been hunting pilot whales in the area for centuries, as many partake in the cultural tradition, known as grindadráp, to harvest the whale's meat which is an integral part of the local diet.</p> <p dir="ltr">As such, the government of the Faroe Islands issued a statement in rebuttal, reiterating their clear stance on the historical practice of whale hunting.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As has been the case for centuries, whaling still occurs in the Faroe Islands today,” a statement from the government said, on behalf of the estimated 53,000 people on the island, explaining the values of the whaling hunt.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Faroese have eaten pilot whale meat and blubber since they first settled the islands over a millenia ago. Today, as in times past, the whale drive is a community activity open to all, while also well organised on a community level and regulated by national laws.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Faroe Island’s government said that the hunt is part of the island’s sustainability efforts and that “the meat and blubber from the hunt is distributed equally among those who have participated … Hunting and killing methods have been improved to ensure as little harm to the whales as possible. All hunters must now obtain a hunting license in order to kill a whale.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In their apology, Ambassador said that sustainability is one of the cruise line’s “core values”, and that the company fully appreciates that “witnessing this local event would have been distressing for the majority of guests onboard. Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologise to them for any undue upset.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Eerie link between OceanGate pilot and Titanic disaster

<p>A chilling link has been discovered between pilot Stockton Rush, who was onboard the OceanGate submersible, and the Titanic disaster in 1912. </p> <p>Mr Rush, who was at the helm of the vehicle bound for the Titanic wreckage, has a personal connection to two of the victims who were onboard the Titanic when it sank over 100 years ago. </p> <p>His wife, Wendy Rush, is the great-great-granddaughter of Isador Straus, who co-founded Macy’s department store, and Ida Straus, who were among the wealthiest people aboard the Titanic’s ill-fated transatlantic voyage, according to archived records obtained by the New York Times.</p> <p>The Strauses have long been remembered for their display of love and affection when the ocean liner hit the iceberg before infamously sinking in the North Atlantic, claiming the lives of more than 1500 people. </p> <p>Survivors of the disaster reported seeing Ida refuse a place on the lifeboats, which were reserved largely for women and children, and decided to stay onboard the sinking vessel with her husband of more than 40 years. </p> <p>Their tragic love story was depicted in James Cameron’s fictionalised version of the tragedy, his 1997 blockbuster <em>Titanic</em>, which features a scene showing an elderly couple holding on to each other in bed as waters rise around them. </p> <p>Wendy Rush is descended from one of the couple’s daughters, Minnie Strauss, who married Dr. Richard Weil in 1905, and their son, Richard Weil Jr., served as president of Macy’s New York,</p> <p>His son, Dr. Richard Weil III, is Wendy Rush’s father, Joan Adler, the executive director of the Straus Historical Society. </p> <p>Isador’s body was found at sea weeks after the Titanic sank, but his wife’s body was never recovered.</p> <p>Wendy also worked for OceanGate as their communications director, with her LinkedIn indicating she had been on several trips to the wreckage of the Titanic herself. </p> <p>The OceanGate submersible <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/surprising-cause-of-death-revealed-for-missing-titan-sub-crew" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reportedly imploded</a> hours after it went missing, with all five people on board believed to be dead. </p> <p><em>Image credits: OceanGate / Wikimedia</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Rebel fighters share eerie footage of abducted Kiwi pilot

<p>Rebel fighters in Indonesia’s Papua region have released terrifying footage of Captain Philip Mehrtens, who they kidnapped last week. </p> <p>The New Zealand pilot touched down in Paro village on February 7th to pick up 15 construction workers who had been building a health centre in the remote Papua province.</p> <p>The rebel group set fire to the Susi Air plane and released all five passengers on board the flight, but held onto Mehrtens as a hostage. </p> <p>The group have said they will be holding Mehrtens until Indonesia recognises Papua’s independence.</p> <p>In a series of videos, released to The Associated Press, a man understood to be Mehrtens is surrounded by rebels holding rifles, spears, and bows and arrows. </p> <p>“Indonesia must recognise Papua is independent,” he says in one, seemingly under duress. </p> <p>“I took him hostage for Papua independence, not for food or drinks,” Rebel leader Egianus Kogoya says in another one of the videos. </p> <p>“He will be safe with me as long as Indonesia does not use its arms, either from the air or on the ground.”</p> <p>Indonesian officials are believed to be making efforts to secure the Kiwi pilot’s release.</p> <p>The West Papuan National Liberation Army (TPNPB), who are responsible for Mehrtens' abduction, has also issued a warning to Australia. </p> <p>“This pilot is a citizen of New Zealand,” a statement from Sebby Sambom, a spokesman for the TPNPB armed wing, said last week. </p> <p>“TPNPB considers New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, America, Europe, all are responsible. The US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand has supported the Indonesian government, trained The Indonesian National Police, supplied weapons to kill us West Papuans from 1963 to today. They must be held accountable.”</p> <p>Violence in the region has seen a sharp increase over the last year, with dozens of rebels, security forces, and civilians killed in the name of demanding indolence from Indonesia. </p> <p><em>Image credits: The West Papuan National Liberation Army</em></p>

News

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"He saved lives": Pilot praised for his quick thinking during helicopter collision

<p>Pilot Michael James has been praised for his quick thinking which saved a lot of lives during a <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/investigation-launched-after-helicopter-crash-sees-four-dead" target="_blank" rel="noopener">collision</a> with another helicopter on the Gold Coast. </p> <p>The 52-year-old was flying the chopper when it collided with another near Sea World in a crash that claimed the lives of <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/helicopter-crash-victims-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">four people</a>. </p> <p>James was injured during the collision, and yet managed to land the damaged aircraft safely with his passengers only sustaining manageable injuries. </p> <p>Mr James is now recovering from his surgery and is yet to comment on the harrowing experience.</p> <p>Aviation expert Geoff Thomas said the pilot’s actions were lifesaving as he performed “an extraordinary feat of airmanship”.</p> <p>“It’s just amazing, it’s an incredible feat to do that given the level of damage and that he would have been hurt with glass and perspex everywhere,” he told <em>The Gold Coast Bulletin</em>.</p> <p>“It was an extraordinary feat of airmanship and he saved lives, there is no doubt about it."</p> <p>“When I looked at the images, I was astonished at the damage and that he was able to land it at all."</p> <p>“We could have had a far worse situation here.”</p> <p>Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell also praised Michael James as a lifesaver.</p> <p>“It was a remarkable job considering the damage that was done to the front-left hand part of the aircraft where the pilot was sitting,” he said on Tuesday.</p> <p>“We could have had a far worse situation here.</p> <p>“What we do need to know now is, what was occurring inside those cockpits.”</p> <p>Mr Thomas went on to suggest the collision between the two helicopters had occurred because they were in each other’s blind spot.</p> <p>“People do not appreciate that, when looking down, you can’t see a helicopter up from the surroundings. My sense is that was a factor given both pilots were highly regarded and highly experienced. It may have been a blind spot situation. It is just a terrible tragedy.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Gold Coast Bulletin</em></p>

Caring

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Pilot shares why nervous flyers should always book the first flight of the day

<p dir="ltr">A pilot has shared her ultimate travel hack for nervous flyers, revealing why anxious travellers should aim to get the first early morning flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">Morgan Smith, a Boeing 737 pilot, claims that flying in the morning can greatly reduce the amount of turbulence you feel in the air. </p> <p dir="ltr">In an interview with the New York Times, Ms Smith said that morning flights are less likely to be turbulent because of the effects of rising heat.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said, “As the day warms into the afternoon, heat rising off the land increases the chance for turbulence near the ground and turbulence caused by storms.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Morgan also had a couple of other suggestions for those worried about shaky plane journeys, offering some reassurance on the minimal danger of turbulence. </p> <p dir="ltr">She added, “The only thing people should fear from turbulence is possibly spilling their drink on a flight.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Most injuries from turbulence come from people being out of their seats or not having their seatbelts on when it gets bumpy. So keep your seatbelt fastened, and don’t set your drink on your laptop.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others have also shared that sitting towards the front of the plane can reduce the effects of turbulence, no matter what time of day you fly. </p> <p dir="ltr">A flight attendant told Sun Online Travel, “For anyone who is really scared of turbulence, my advice would be to sit as close to the front of the plane as possible because it acts like a wave.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What starts as a slight bump at the front of the aircraft can feel much worse by the time it reaches the rear.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Sometimes passengers at the front won’t even be aware of anything, while those at the back get really badly shaken up.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Pilot’s holy grail tips to overcome your fear of flying

<p dir="ltr">A US pilot has shared her five top tips to help nervous travellers ease their pre-flight anxiety. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 32-year-old captain said there are a few things passengers can do, such as picking the perfect time to fly and selecting your seat carefully, to make air travel a breeze. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Boeing 737 pilot who calls herself “Captain Morgan”, said anxious travellers should always book a seat in the front of the plane.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Try to sit more towards the front of the plane,” Morgan said in a TikTok video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You’ll feel the effects of turbulence less if you sit over the wing or towards the front.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She also said that flying early in the morning is bound to make a flight easier. </p> <p dir="ltr">“There’s usually less turbulence and airports and airplanes are less crowded, which gives you more personal space,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">For solo travellers, Morgan suggested a no-brainer way to distract yourself in the air. </p> <p dir="ltr">“If you can’t fly with a family member or friend, have someone on the ground you can text. Most planes have free texting. You’ll have someone for moral support and they can distract you from flying,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You can turn your phone to Airplane Mode but turn on the Wi-Fi. Then you text over the Wi-Fi with either iMessage or WhatsApp for free.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Morgan said you can mentally prepare yourself for what to expect by “learning the sounds the plane makes”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Familiarise yourself with the sounds of the airplane,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, when you’re getting close to landing at the airport, the thud you hear is usually just the landing gear coming down.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Morgan said her number one tip for anxious flyers is to “introduce yourself to the flight crew”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If the flight attendants know you’re nervous, they can check on you more during the flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you go talk to the pilots, they can tell you a bit more about the flight. For example, if we are expecting any turbulence. Just ask the flight attendant in the galley if you can meet and talk to the pilots. It might not be a long conversation but we can still chat.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She added, “More than likely we will give you a tour of the flight deck and answer all your questions.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Like father, like son: Man’s sky-high dreams come true

<p dir="ltr">Having dreamt of being a pilot just like his dad since he was a boy, Luke Schembri’s dream has come true in the sweetest way possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">After becoming a fully-fledged commercial airline pilot, the 23-year-old found out that his first flight from Melbourne to Sydney came with a surprise: his dad, Jetstar captain John, would be joining him on the flight deck for his debut trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I freaked out and gave him a quick call and asked him 'how did this happen?'" Luke told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/son-to-fly-first-commercial-flight-alongside-dad-copilot/9f89ad30-e337-4686-beaa-bfaadbb85453" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He told me the story, that he's been planning it for three months."</p> <p dir="ltr">Luke’s dream of flying with his dad and following in his footsteps has been a long time coming, with the signs appearing from the start according to John.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When kids like something, you can tell, because their eyes light up when we'd be in the backyard and the aeroplane would fly over," John said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I knew then that Luke had the bug, because I still do that."</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-dc402d8f-7fff-e17a-ec25-48492b64ba84"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">At the age of 14, Luke joined the Air Force Cadets, which led him to receiving a cadetship with Jetstar.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/10/luke-schembri1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Luke Schembri’s dream of flying a plane with his pilot father has come true, and it’s been a long time coming. Images: Facebook</em></p> <p dir="ltr">With his dream in reach, Luke hit a major snag: the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">Luke was stood-down during the pandemic and worked at Coles as a shelf stacker.</p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, the aviation enthusiast was able to return to work at Jetstar, where he continued training and became a pilot.</p> <p dir="ltr">His first flight was a success, with John giving his son five stars and saying that he was “100 percent” proud.</p> <p dir="ltr">"[He] picked me up on a few things I missed. He did a really good job," John said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“[I] don't need to add any more that, very proud, how could you not be?" </p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-60b14169-7fff-002c-0cce-2313d3455153"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Nine</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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About 200 dead whales have been towed out to sea off Tasmania – and what happens next is a true marvel of nature

<p>Australians watched in horror as 230 pilot whales became stranded at a beach near Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast. Some whales were saved, but the vast majority died. This left a big problem: what to do with all the rotting whale carcasses?</p> <p>Authorities decided to tow the dead animals out to sea, hoping they’ll eventually sink to the seafloor.</p> <p>Such mass whale strandings are sad to witness. But in this case, the aftermath presents a fascinating opportunity for scientific discovery.</p> <p>As the dead whales decompose, an astonishing and rare chain of events is likely to flow through the marine ecosystem – ultimately leading to an explosion of activity and new life.</p> <h2>A 600-tonne problem</h2> <p>Mass whale strandings happen fairly regularly – especially in Tasmania – yet no one really knows why.</p> <p>Days before this latest incident, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-20/sperm-whales-stranded-off-king-island-tasmania/101457406" target="_blank" rel="noopener">14 sperm whales</a> became stranded off King Island, northwest of Tasmania.</p> <p>And in 2020, about 470 pilot whales <a href="https://theconversation.com/like-trying-to-find-the-door-in-a-dark-room-while-hearing-your-relatives-scream-for-help-tasmanias-whale-stranding-tragedy-explained-146674" target="_blank" rel="noopener">became stranded</a> at Macquarie Harbour. While many were pulled out to sea, some of those carcasses washed up and were left to rot on the beach – an entirely natural process.</p> <p>However, pilot whales are big animals. Males weigh up to 2,300kg, which means they take a long time to decompose. The smell of two tonnes of rotting whale blubber soon becomes unbearable, so carcasses are frequently buried.</p> <p>This time around, authorities <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-25/whale-carcasses-towed-out-to-sea-after-mass-stranding/101471166" target="_blank" rel="noopener">decided to tow</a> the dead animals out to sea. The ABC reported local salmon farm workers took almost 11 hours to dispose of 204 dead whales with a combined weight of between 500 and 600 tonnes.</p> <p>They were tied to a 400 metre-long rope and towed by boats for 40 kilometres, before being dropped into deep water in the Indian Ocean.</p> <p>Some carcasses may wash back to shore, but most are likely to disperse with the tides and currents.</p> <h2>Shark bait? Probably not</h2> <p>The big question is: what happens to all that whale mass dumped at sea?</p> <p>Initially, a dead whale tends to float to the surface as it begins to decompose and its innards expand with gas. As this happens, ocean scavengers such as sharks and seabirds are likely to feast on the remains.</p> <p>Some people <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-14/do-buried-whale-carcasses-really-attract-sharks/10996512" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can be concerned</a> that whale carcasses attract sharks that might pose a risk to humans.</p> <p>Granted, encounters between sharks and humans, are <a href="https://theconversation.com/fatal-shark-attacks-are-at-a-record-high-deterrent-devices-can-help-but-some-may-be-nothing-but-snake-oil-150845" target="_blank" rel="noopener">on the rise</a> in Australia and elsewhere. But they’re still very rare.</p> <p>A <a href="https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/167613/swim-humpback-whales-risks-sharks.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">report</a> to the Western Australian government in 2012 found whale carcasses were a risk factors associated with shark attacks, and said caution should be exercised near a dead whale in the water.</p> <p>But the same report noted that of 26 shark attacks investigated, the highest number occurred more than a kilometre offshore. While there is no doubt <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00655" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sharks are attracted to dead whales</a>, the data is <a href="https://hakaimagazine.com/news/beached-whales-are-a-lure-for-hungry-sharks/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">not clear</a> on whether a whale carcass leads directly to an increase in shark attacks on people.</p> <p>Research <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989419301854?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has shown</a> the likelihood of whale carcasses washing towards shore, where shark scavenging can be observed, is low. So as long as the carcass is taken far from shore and people keep their distance from it, the threat to humans from shark encounters appears to be exceedingly low.</p> <h2>From death comes new life</h2> <p>Inevitably, the whale carcass will start to sink. Most life in the ocean is found fairly close to the sea surface, so if the water is relatively shallow much of what’s left of the carcass will be quickly eaten by scavengers once it reaches the sea floor.</p> <p>But these carcasses have been disposed of in deep water. The deep ocean can be a barren place, where rich food sources are rare. So the appearance of a single whale carcass can supercharge an entire ecosystem.</p> <p>New life and activity can erupt around the dead animal in very little time. This process is known as “whale fall” and has been studied by scientists, sometimes using remotely operated vehicles. On the seafloor of the North Pacific, whale fall has been found to <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2022.885572/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener">support the survival</a> of at least 12,490 organisms of 43 species.</p> <p>Deep sea sharks will make the most of the carcass. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzQhiNQXxU" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A host of other animals</a> including hagfish, octopus, crabs, lobsters, worms and sea cucumbers will join in too. All the while bacteria work away quietly in the background.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-happens-when-whales-die.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to</a> Britain’s Natural History Museum, a single whale can provide animals with food for up to two years during the scavenging stage.</p> <p>Other animals and bacteria survive off the chemicals produced from the rotting carcass.</p> <p>These organisms, known as “chemotrophs” were thought to be unique to underwater volcanic vents, where they use hydrogen sulphide as the principal energy source. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2337" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Research</a> has shown a similar suite of animals recruit around dead and decaying whales – generating a completely independent ecosystem based on a gas that <a href="https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-happens-when-whales-die.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">smells like rotten eggs</a>.</p> <p>Only a few organisms can break down the bones that remain, in a process that might take up to ten years.</p> <p>So take a moment to consider the effect of 204 whale falls in a small part of the ocean off Tasmania. Right now, they are probably generating interconnected marine metropolises, the likes of which are rarely seen.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/about-200-dead-whales-have-been-towed-out-to-sea-off-tasmania-and-what-happens-next-is-a-true-marvel-of-nature-191340" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

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