Boeing Frontiers
September 2003
Volume 02, Issue 05
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Industry Wrap

Ryanair mulls ‘upmarket’ service boost

Ryanair mulls ‘upmarket’ service boostRyanair, the European low-fare airline, is going "upmarket," according to a recent report in the Sunday Times of London.

Among changes the newspaper reported: The airline will replace its distinctive blue cloth seats with leather upholstery. It will jettison the dog-eared in-flight magazine in favor of a new content-driven glossy publication. And it will add highend electronic goods to the catalog of inflight merchandise.

The new image marks a departure for Ryanair, which previously made a virtue of its spartan in-flight service.


Honeywell, Airbus team on anti-crash system

Airbus and Honeywell International Inc. have come up with technology that would take control of airplanes to prevent them from crashing into obstacles, reported The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and Reuters.

According to the report, which cited Honeywell executives, the system would link crash-warning devices, already common on airliners, with cockpit computers that could automate flying to prevent collisions.

Tests have shown "promising results," the Journal reported, but the idea of completely turning an airplane's controls over to a computer is bound to make people nervous. European airplane maker Airbus—owned by EADS and the United Kingdom's BAE Systems—has been working on the project with Honeywell for years, and development sped up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A prototype of the system, which could keep planes from crashing into mountains and prevent the use of aircraft as weapons, has been tested on a limited scope on small aircraft, the report said. When audible warnings from crash-avoidance systems are ignored, the system would override actions by the pilot and make evasive maneuvers if needed, the Journal said.

Boeing, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Defense are all looking into such technology but are not thought to be as far along as Honeywell and Airbus, the Journal said.

According to the report, Honeywell has held early-stage talks with some airlines and regulators on the issue.


Japan plans urban missile defense

Japan's planned missile defense system will concentrate on protecting urban areas and strategic bases, since protecting the entire archipelago around the clock is virtually impossible, reported Dow Jones. The news service quoted a recent report from Kyodo News wire service, citing Japan Defense Agency officials.

The greater Tokyo area will be doubly guarded by destroyers equipped with the Aegis air defense system and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air missile units, but protection to the rest of the country will vary, the officials said. Most regional urban centers will be excluded from the areas the PAC-3 system is to cover, and the anticipated disparity in treatment is expected to cause heated debate in upcoming deliberations in the Diet, the Japanese parliament, on the missile defense system, Kyodo reported.

The agency's plan calls for the government to categorize emergency situations in levels according to urgency and prepare defense activities based on the situation, they said. Under the scheme, when there is heightened possibility North Korea might launch a ballistic missile at Japan, the agency would dispatch two or three Aegis destroyers to the Sea of Japan and deploy PAC-3 units to six locations. These would mostly include big cities, Kyodo reported.

The defense system is aimed at intercepting a missile in two stages—first during its flight outside the atmosphere with the Aegis ships and then just prior to its hitting the ground with the PAC-3 units.

The government intends to launch a missile defense system in fiscal 2006 at the earliest. The total cost of deploying the system is estimated to amount to more than 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion U.S.).

Fla. Tech to honor Columbia crew

Initially dubbed Crane Creek residence hall when it was being built, a new complex of seven dormitories at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla., will be dedicated to the memory of Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew, reported the newspaper Florida Today.

The school will name the on-campus complex Columbia Village. Each of its seven residence halls will bear the names of the seven Columbia astronauts—Col. Rick Husband, Cmdr. William McCool, Capt. David Brown, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Michael Anderson, Capt. Laurel Clark and Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon.

A formal dedication ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 28.

"It's really fitting," Stephanie Rafferty, an astronomy and physics student at Florida Tech, told the newspaper. "A lot of students have high appreciation for the space program."

Florida Tech has always had a close connection to the space program. The school's Grissom Hall is dedicated to the memory of Apollo I astronaut Gus Grissom, who received the first honorary doctorate at Florida Tech in 1962. In the center of campus, there also is a memorial to the Space Shuttle Challenger at a spot where students gather to watch launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla.


Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
© 2003 The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.