Jet Crashes On Approach To Birmingham, Ala. Airport

UPS operates a global fleet of more than 300 aircraft.

UPS operates a global fleet of more than 300 aircraft. (Alan Diaz/Associated Press)


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A large UPS cargo plane crashed early Wednesday near an airport in Birmingham, Ala.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Associated Press the A300 plane crashed on approach to the airport before dawn.

The plane was en route from Louisville, Ky., to Birmingham as UPS Flight 1354, Bergen said.

Toni Bast, a spokeswoman for Birmingham’s airport authority, said the cargo plane crashed near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Bast said the crash site is outside the airport’s perimeter fence and has not affected airport operations.

credit: ‏K_A_Turner

Neither Bergen nor Bast had any information on injuries.

A photo from the news site showed a plume of smoke rising from the site in an open field. Several fire trucks and other emergency vehicles were lined up on a narrow road nearby.

Representatives for Atlanta-based UPS could not immediately be reached Wednesday morning.

Man shot and killed at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, authorities say


By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) — A man was shot and killed Thursday in a pre-screening area at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, authorities said.

Houston Police Department spokesman Kese Smith told reporters that the man had just come through the doors in Terminal B when he fired at least one shot into the ceiling.

A Homeland Security Investigations agent was working in an office near the scene, came out and told the man to drop his weapon. The agent fired once at the suspect, who appeared to try to shoot himself at the same time.

An autopsy will determine whose bullet killed the man, who has not been identified, police said.

CNN affiliate KHOU reported the man walked into the terminal with a military-style, semiautomatic rifle and fired two shots into the ceiling.

The station interviewed a woman who works at a McDonald’s in the terminal.

“As soon as he walked in, he just automatically started shooting quickly,” said the employee, who said her name is Kendra. “And we hear two shots and we just automatically started running. We ran all the way to the back.”

Rebecca McCormick, a CNN iReporter, was just getting off a plane when she saw people running towards her and shouting and screaming. She talked to Grant Huff of Charleston, South Carolina, who heard the shots.

“After the first two gunshots everyone stopped and kinda looked” thinking it might be a fallen chair or something like that, he said. “A TSA gentleman came out and said, ‘Everybody get down.’ We heard two more gunshots.”

Everyone took off running, Huff said.

As iReporter McCormick recounted her interview with Huff, an airport announcement could be heard asking people to stay where they were because everyone had to be interviewed before they could leave.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that many flights bound for Bush were being held at their departure airports.

CNN’s Ed Lavandera contributed to this report.


top of page ^

Buy Your Own Defense Against Drones!

Domestic Drone Countermeasures, Oregon Company, To Sell Defense Systems Direct To Consumers

Domestic Drone Countermeasures


Worried about the government’s increased use of drones to spy on citizens? Well, for the price of a new car you may be able to block unmanned vehicles from snooping.

Oregon-based company Domestic Drone Countermeasures announced last month that it would sell customized anti-drone defense systems to anyone interested in a little extra privacy. Drones will be an increasingly significant issue for people and companies seeking to limit aerial images of themselves or their property, company president Amy Ciesielka told The Huffington Post.

Domestic Drone Countermeasures’ anti-drone system would not disable drone technology nor jam the machines, Ciesielka said, but would neutralize the ability of a small air-bound drone to capture sound and images through its on-board cameras, video recorders and microphones. The anti-drone service uses patent-protected technology, and all the components already exist; Domestic Drone Countermeasures is simply joining them together into a single product for consumers, she said.

Ciesielka declined to name a price for the drone defense system, only saying it would “cost as much as car, maybe an Audi.”

The use of drones by municipal governments is expected to increase in the coming years. In February, Seattle police abandoned a plan to use surveillance drones to assist in criminal investigations after public outcry over privacy rights. Other law enforcement agencies have acquired surveillance drones, including those in Miami and Houston, according to a NBC report.

Consumers can already purchase small drones — which resemble radio-controlled helicopter toys and outfitted with cameras — for as little as $300 online. And more drones are coming. Last month, Congress passed a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration that will allow for the use of a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles by both the government and corporate entities by September 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Domestic Drone Countermeasures is a spin-off of Aplus Mobile, which makes and sells defense-level computer hardware systems. According to the company’s website, any buyer of the anti-drone system must sign a non-disclosure agreement and must be an American citizen.


top of page ^

Second Drone Spotted Over New York?

UAV reported within 3 miles of LaGuardia Airport

Paul Joseph Watson 
March 11, 2013

New York City. Image: Wikimedia Commons

For the second time within a week, police are investigating reports of an unmanned drone spotted flying over New York within three miles of LaGuardia Airport.

According to journalist Christopher Robbins, police scanner audio revealed that the NYPD was called to look into an “unusual incident” concerning reports of a “drone flying” near exit 23 of the Long Island Expressway (LIE).

According to Robbins, the NYPD later reported a “negative result” after investigating the incident, although it is unclear whether this means they couldn’t identify the drone or had discounted the report altogether.

Last Monday, the crew of Alitalia Flight 608 reported a drone just 200 feet away from their aircraft as it approached John F. Kennedy airport. The drone was initially reported as having four engines, but the FBI later described the object as having four propellers and being only three feet wide.

The incident, which occurred at 1,750 feet and roughly three miles from runway 31R , prompted the FBI to ask the public for information on identifying the owner of the drone.

By law, remote controlled planes and drones can only fly to a maximum of 400 feet and operators must notify air traffic control if they are going to fly within three miles of an airport.

In May last year a military or police drone flying in controlled airspace over Denver almost caused a mid-air collision with a Cessna jet.

Last year, Congress passed legislation paving the way for what the FAA predicts will be around 30,000 operating in US skies by 2020.

Within months, the drone industry announced a campaign to “bombard the American public with positive images and messages about drones in an effort to reverse the growing perception of the aircraft as a threat to privacy and safety.”

As we reported in December, thousands of pages of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents newly released under the Freedom Of Information Act have revealed that the military, as well as law enforcement agencies, are already extensively flying surveillance drones in non-restricted skies throughout the country.

FAA documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting last August revealed that the FAA gave the green light for surveillance drones to be used in U.S. skies despite the fact that during the FAA’s own tests the drones crashed numerous times even in areas of airspace where no other aircraft were flying.

Critics have warned that the FAA has not acted to establish any safeguards whatsoever, and that Congress is not holding the agency to account.


top of page ^