DOT rule protects air passengers from e-cigarette aerosol

Over the last few years, DOT has issued historic consumer rules protecting the rights of the flying public.  And today, we took one more step toward ensuring better treatment of passengers by finalizing a rule that explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on commercial flights.

The rule applies to all scheduled flights of U.S. and foreign airlines flying in, to, and from the U.S.

While DOT has viewed its current regulatory smoking ban to be sufficiently broad to include the use of e-cigarettes, the prior rule did not explicitly define “smoking.” We took this action to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.

The ban protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to e-cigarette aerosol when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes.  Studies have shown that e-cigarette aerosol can contain a number of harmful chemicals.

This ban will be especially beneficial to vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and passengers with respiratory issues, who will be protected from unavoidable aerosol exposure within a confined space.

Under this rule, the use of e-cigarettes in all forms –including, but not limited to electronic cigars, pipes, and devices designed to look like everyday products such as pens– is explicitly banned.  The ban does not include the use of medical devices such as nebulizers.

The Department also extended the ban on smoking –including e-cigarettes– to all charter (nonscheduled) flights of U.S. airlines and foreign airlines where a flight attendant is a required crewmember.

In addition to addressing health concerns raised by the use of e-cigarettes, DOT is committed to ensuring they are transported safely on aircraft.  Last October, DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an interim final rule prohibiting passengers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and prohibiting them from charging these devices or batteries on board aircraft.

To learn more about how DOT is protecting aviation consumers, please read “Fly Rights.”


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The Fort Lauderdale Air Show will be hosting the new F-35

The Fort Lauderdale Air Show will be the first civilian show to feature the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane.

Returning from a two-year-hiatus, the air show is set to take place over Fort Lauderdale beach May 7 and 8.

The combat aircraft, also called the F-35 Lightning II, is a single-seat, single-engine plane currently undergoing final development and testing by the U.S. Department of Defense. The stealth fighter plane is designed for ground attack, aerial reconnaissance and air defense missions.

“Fort Lauderdale will be the first place that the general public will be able to see the future of Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aviation perform,” Bryan Lilley, president of the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, said in a release.

Models of the F-35 will eventually be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. As the aircraft performs alongside the P-51 Mustang used in World War II this May, the Fort Lauderdale Air Show will showcase the past and future of the Air Force.

The air show will also feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Canadian Air Force Snowbirds and Breitling Jet Team as headliners. Recently, locals gained a tiny preview of what’s to come when aThunderbird F-16 flew over the beach in early February to survey the area ahead of the show.

Tickets to the Fort Lauderdale Air Show are on sale now. Single-day tickets in the Drop Zone start at $29 per day for adults and $18 for children.

For $149, VIP spectators can watch the show from a private beach area with chairs, or underneath a clubhouse tent with covered seating. They’ll enjoy lunch and reserved parking near the Air Show Center.

The Fort Lauderdale Air Show will be the first civilian air show in North America to feature a flight performance of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35 will fly together with the P-51 Mustang in a Heritage Flight showcasing the past and future of Air Force technology.


The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth fighter undergoing final development and testing by the U.S. Department of Defense. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, aerial intelligence and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version that will be used by the Air Force, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) version that will be used by the Marine Corps, and the F-35C carrier-based version that will be used by the Navy.


The F-35 Heritage flight will begin with a pass-in-review coming from behind show right, the best opportunity for a photo of the F-35 as the two aircraft cross in front of Show Center. The F-35 Heritage Flight will then set up for a second pass flying down the water line coming from show left. The third and final pass will come from behind the crowd with the F-35 and P-51 performing a separation maneuver to create separation between the aircraft followed a few seconds later by a single simultaneous aileron roll by both aircraft. During the flypasts there is a musical accompaniment played through the public address system. The music that is normally played is “We Remember” by Dwayne O’Brian. After the roll maneuver each of the aircraft will then enter the airfield traffic pattern, typically performing an individual pass before the crowd and then “pitching out” into an approach pattern and landing.


The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight program presents the evolution of USAF air power by flying today’s state-of-the-art fighter aircraft in close formation with vintage fighter aircraft. t was created in 1997 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United States Air Force. It incorporates fighters from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and other conflicts in which the USAF has been involved. There will only be 10 air shows in the nation in 2016 to feature an F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter in a Heritage Flight.


An Air Force Heritage Flight performance involves a current USAF fighter with an Air Combat Command trained military Heritage Flight pilot and flown with a historical warbird piloted by a trained and certified civilian Heritage Flight pilot. The Air Force Heritage Flight formations of modern fighters flying with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre, dramatically display our U.S. Air Force air power history and proudly support our Air Force’s recruiting and retention efforts.


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The new HondaJet specs


Maximum Cruise Speed @ FL300 420 KTAS
Maximum Cruise Altitude FL430
Rate of Climb 3990 ft / min
NBAA IFR Range (4 occupants) 1180 nm
Takeoff distance <4000 ft
Landing distance <3050 ft


Manufacturer / ModelGE Honda / HF120
Output (Uninstalled Thrust) 2050 lbf each
derated from 2095 lbf each
Bypass ratio 2.9

Exterior Dimensions

Length 42.62 ft [12.99m]
Wing Span 39.76 ft [12.12m]
Height 14.90 ft [4.54 m]

Interior Dimensions

Length 17.80 ft [5.43 m]
Width 5.00 ft [1.52 m]
Height 4.83 ft [1.47 m]

Baggage Space

Combined stowage 66 cubic ft
Aft compartment 57 cubic ft
Nose compartment 9 cubic ft


Typical configuration1 crew + 5 pax (2 crew + 4 pax)
Alternative configuration1 crew + 6 pax (2 crew + 5 pax)

A global workforce.

An investment in a private jet is a substantial one. The Honda Aircraft Company, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, is a fully operational, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and home of a global R&D center geared up to build the fastest, most fuel-efficient jets in their class. Honda Aircraft associates have assembled from more than 40 countries around the world to produce one of the most distinctive and advanced aircraft to ever take to the sky.


The progression of human mobility.

For more than 60 years, Honda has helped the human race move with more speed, economy, grace, and joy. The HondaJet is the epitome of continually improving human mobility. The commitment to flight by Honda — a globally recognized and respected company — is as steadfast as its dedication to its landbound endeavors.

Move the engine. Shift expectations.

A breakthrough in aeronautics, the Over-The-Wing Engine Mount was engineered and proven by Honda after more than 20 years of extensive research and development. This innovative technology not only breaks the conventional mold set by the aerospace industry, but also provides category-leading advancements such as a more spacious cabin, noise reduction, and increased fuel efficiency.

Natural Laminar Flow (NLF)
maximizes performance.

Advancements in aerodynamics and NLF technology were applied to the design of the main wing airfoil and fuselage nose shape of the HondaJet to reduce aerodynamic drag. This cutting-edge engineering innovation contributes to high cruising speed and increased fuel efficiency.

Lightweight structure,
heavyweight performance.

Unlike many jets that use aluminum, the HondaJet employs a lighter yet strong composite fuselage. The fuselage is created from a cutting-edge combination of co-cured integral structure and honeycomb sandwich structures.This results in increased cabin space, better performance, and greater fuel efficiency.

Advanced cockpit.

The HondaJet cockpit is built for optimum safety based on thoughtful ergonomic design and state-of-the-art situational awareness. First, we give the pilot more space and greater visibility; next, fewer intrusions and more intuition. Our Garmin® G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system brings pilot and aircraft closer together with touch-screen technology. The dual touch-screen controllers and three 14-inch landscape high-resolution displays offer enhanced navigation, flight planning, and control. The cockpit is unquestionably built around the pilot to enable either single-pilot or dual-pilot operation of the HondaJet.


Virgin Galactic Unveils New SpaceShipTwo ‘Unity’ for Space Tourists

Virgin Galactic rolled the second-ever SpaceShipTwo out of its hangar today (Feb. 19) here at the Mojave Air & Space Port, a facility that lies in the shadow of desert mountains about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The unveiling ceremony featured blaring music, deep blue lighting, cocktails and the company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, riding atop the SUV that towed the vehicle into view. The voice of famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking boomed over a loud speaker and revealed the brand-new suborbital commercial vehicle’s name — VSS (for Virgin Spaceship) Unity.

Today’s big event comes more than 15 months after the loss of the original SpaceShipTwo, which was called VSS Enterprise. Enterprise broke apart during a test flight on Oct. 31, 2014, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injuring pilot Peter Siebold. [Gallery: Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity Rolls Out]

At a press conference held just prior to the unveiling, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told reporters and guests, “This is a really big deal for the team, who’s made it through a tough time and who are now really excited about the future. So it’s a great time for the company.”

The VSS Unity was christened by Branson’s 1-year-old granddaughter, Eva-Deia. With the help of a few adults, the tot broke a bottle of milk over the ship’s front hull. Today (Feb. 19) is also Eva-Deia’s birthday, and following the christening, the entire crowd sang “Happy Birthday.”

The new SpaceShipTwo was always meant to be an addition to Virgin Galactic’s fleet, not a replacement for VSS Enterprise. Construction of the new vehicle was a multiyear affair; it was about 65 percent complete at the time of the tragic Enterprise accident, Virgin Galactic representatives have said.

Enterprise broke apart because Alsbury deployed the space plane’s “feathering” re-entry system — twin tail booms that rotate upward to increase drag and stability during descent — too early, an investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined.

Investigators found that Scaled Composites, the Mojave-based aerospace company that built VSS Enterprise for Virgin Galactic, “set the stage” for the crash through its “failure to consider and protect against the possibility that a single human error could result in a catastrophic hazard to the SpaceShipTwo vehicle,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said in a hearing about the accident last July.

The new SpaceShipTwo was built by The Spaceship Co., a Mojave-based subsidiary of Virgin Galactic. The freshly christened vehicle features safeguards that will prevent a repeat of the chain of events that caused the destruction of Enterprise, Virgin representatives have said.

SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry six passengers, as well as two pilots, on brief sojourns to suborbital space. The vehicle will take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, the company said during today’s rollout. During operational flights, the space plane will be carried to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) by an airplane called WhiteKnightTwo, and then dropped.

At that point, SpaceShipTwo’s onboard rocket motor will fire up, blasting the vehicle up to a minimum of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface — the traditionally accepted boundary where outer space begins.

Passengers will get to see the curvature of Earth against the blackness of space and experience a few minutes of weightlessness, Virgin Galactic representatives say. SpaceShipTwo will then glide back down for a runway landing, touching down about 2.5 hours after WhiteKnightTwo carried it aloft.

Tickets to ride the space plane currently cost $250,000, and hundreds of people have already put down deposits to reserve a seat. In fact, the number of SpaceShipTwo customers already exceeds 552, which is the total number of people who have ever been to space, company representatives have said.

Virgin Galactic isn’t the only company developing a vehicle for suborbital space tourism and research. XCOR Aerospace, for example, is building a one-passenger rocket plane called Lynx; tickets to ride the vehicle currently cost $150,000. And Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company headed by founder Jeff Bezos, is working on a reusable rocket/capsule system called New Shepard for suborbital flight. [Now Boarding: The Top 10 Private Spaceships]

The new SpaceShipTwo isn’t yet ready to fly passengers, or even get off the ground.

“Indeed, our new vehicle will remain on the ground for a while after her unveiling, as we run her through full-vehicle tests of her electrical systems and all of her moving parts,” Virgin Galactic representatives said in a statement. “We already know these things work individually, but one can’t simply assume they will all work together — that must be tested and verified. We’ll do so quickly, but we won’t cut corners.”

Virgin Galactic’s new space plane will then take to skies on “captive-carry” flights, during which it stays attached to WhiteKnightTwo. After that, the craft will fly freely during several unpowered “glide flights” before graduating to rocket-powered test flights.

It’s not clear how long this test program will take. VSS Enterprise, for what it’s worth, made its first captive-carry flight in March 2010, and executed a total of 55 successful test flights before that fateful day in October 2014. (The crash occurred during Enterprise’s fourth rocket-powered flight.)

The trial regime may not be as extensive for the new vehicle, since it’s so similar to Enterprise, whose flights generated a wealth of data.

“By and large, if you looked at serial number one and serial number two under the hood, you couldn’t tell the difference,” said Doug Shane, president of The Spaceship Co., during the press conference preceding the rollout. “They’re very, very similar vehicles.”

But Virgin Galactic is not rushing to meet any preconceived timetable.

“When we are confident we can safely carry our customers to space, we will start doing so,” company representatives said in the same statement. “This isn’t a race. We have shown we are committed to being thorough in our testing: it is the right thing to do, and it is essential to our ultimate success.”

Today’s rollout milestone is a testament to Virgin Galactic’s perserverance and commitment, and it bodes well for the future of private spaceflight, said Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

“It’s a great thing for the industry, [showing] that we can bounce back from hardships,” Stallmer told in an interview Wednesday (Feb. 17). “It’s just a great step forward.”

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Norwegian Airlines: Paris to Miami only 175 USD !

Norwegian Air is again expanding its U.S. presence, announcing three new trans-Atlantic routes to Paris. The routes – from New York JFK, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale – will launch July 29 and will be on the airline’s new Boeing 787 “Dreamliners.”

Norwegian Air will kick off its new U.S.-Paris flights with a splashy introductory off-peak fares of $175 each way, taxes included. Fares for peak demand during summer months will cost about twice as much.

More importantly, the flights keep the European low-cost carrier on a rapid growth spurt in the United States. Paris will become the airline’s sixth European destination from the USA, joining Copenhagen, London Gatwick, Oslo, Stockholm and the Norwegian city of Bergen. Norwegian also has begun flying from three U.S. airports to the Caribbean, launching nonstop flights to the French island territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Overall, Norwegian now flies numerous routes from eight destinations on the U.S. mainland as well as from two in the Caribbean: San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We are very excited for Paris,” Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO and founder, says in an interview with Today in the Sky.

“It’s a very interesting market for us.” Kjos adds, noting that the city is among the world’s most-visited destinations. “It’s very popular with the leisure market. That’s what we are targeting.”

Kjos says Norwegian also expects its new Paris routes “will attract a lot of French people” to the airline’s U.S. destinations.

Norwegian will offer four flights a week between New York and Paris and two a week from Los Angeles. Norwegian’s Fort Lauderdale-Paris route will fly once a week.

In making its Paris announcement, Norwegian touted its rapidly expanding presence in the U.S.

Once the Paris flights begin, Norwegian says it will fly 38 different routes from U.S. airports – including more to Europe than any of its European rivals, according to the carrier. And Kjos says to expect more destinations to be added in the coming years.

“We’ve just tapped a few cities here,” Kjos says. “But there are a lot of interesting cities” that could fit into the carrier’s expanding U.S. route map.

Kjos also says Norwegian would continue looking at new destinations in Europe for direct flights to the USA.

e says Norwegian would seek “to use the main tourist destinations.”

“These are high up on our list,” Kjos says. “Barcelona, Rome, a couple others. These are the main destinations in Europe for the leisure market.”

Norwegian’s new U.S.-Paris flights also will mark the discount carrier’s debut at Paris’Charles de Gaulle Airport. Norwegian already flies five Scandinavian routes from Paris, but it operates those out of Paris’ smaller Orly airport.

“But we did not get slots at Orly,” Kjos says about Norwegian’s decision to fly its new U.S. routes from Charles de Gaulle.

In the United States, Norwegian’s destinations include Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Oakland and Orlando as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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