Aviation Sector Current Affairs

Stratolaunch: World’s largest aircraft successfully passes first engine tests

The world’s largest all-composite airplane Stratolaunch in terms of wingspan successfully completed its initial engine tests. It is designed for launching for sending satellite-carrying rockets into low-Earth orbit.

The plane hasbiggest wingspan ever built, measuring 118 m from one end to the other, longer than a professional football field. It weighs about 227,000 kg.

Key facts

Stratolaunch plane is fitted with six 747 turbofan engines. It is designed to carry nearly 250,000 kg between the two fuselages. It can hold more than 113,000 kg of fuel. It has operational range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles.

Stratolaunch plane is designed for runway-style takeoff.  Once it reaches cruising altitude of 11,000 metres, it can detach rockets carrying small satellites into low-Earth orbit. It is capable of delivering payloads to multiple orbits and inclinations in a single mission.

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Government issues rules for no-fly list

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers. It allows for formation of national, No Fly List of such unruly passengers.

In this regard, DGCA has revised relevant sections of Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on Handling of Unruly Passengers). It has been done in accordance with provisions of Tokyo Convention 1963.

The promulgation of No-Fly List in India is unique and first-of-its-kind in world. Its concept is based on concern for safety of passengers, crew and aircraft and not just on security threat.

Key Facts

Revised CAR will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic  and international. It will also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.

It defines three categories of unruly behavior (i) Level 1: Behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment upto 3 months if found guilty; Level 2: Physical unruliness and can lead to passenger being debarred from flying for upto 6 months and Level 3: Life-threatening behaviour where debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.

The cases of unruly behaviour will be probed by an internal committee set up by every domestic airline under chairmanship of retired District and Sessions judge. Its members will be from different scheduled airlines and consumer associations, passenger associations and retired officials of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.

The internal committee will have to decide matter of offence committed by passenger within 30 days along with duration of ban. In case Internal Committee fails to come to a decision in 30 days then passenger will be free to fly. Revised CAR also has appeal mechanism which provides an aggrieved person provision to appeal within 60 days of order to an appellate committee constituted by Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Interestingly, under new CAR one airline is not be bound by no-fly list of another domestic airline. It also does not allow passenger to circumvent domestic fly ban by flying to nearby foreign country and then fly back to original destination in India. Moreover, unruly behaviour of passengers in airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies.

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