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March 22nd, 2013
07:36 AM ET

FAA to announce cuts to nearly 200 air traffic towers today – Rene Marsh reports

It’s a big day today for the FAA. The agency will announce which air traffic control towers will be shut down. Dozens across the country will be locked up and left because of the forced budget cuts.

CNN’S Rene Marsh is at one of the airports that will be impacted in Frederick, Maryland with more details. “Frederick is one of 238 towers at small and medium airports the FAA may close because of forced spending cuts,” Marsh reports. Marsh speaks to Mamie Ambrose, a Navy Veteran who has been clearing pilots for take off and landing for the past 11 years. “While airports will remain open, she says closing towers affects safety.”

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Filed under: Air travel • Airline safety • FAA
March 18th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

NTSB to investigate why corporate jet slammed into row of homes in South Bend, Indiana – Jim Spellman reports


A corporate jet, sheared in half - its nose poking through the front window of a shattered home.

Such was the scene in a South Bend, Indiana, neighborhood Sunday when a Hawker Beechcraft 390 slammed into a row of single-story homes, damaging three.

Two of the four people aboard the plane died on impact. The other two were injured, as was one person on the ground, Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier said late Sunday.

The plane was attempting to circle back around to the city's regional airport after a failed landing attempt when it crashed along Iowa Street.

Moments earlier, the plane's pilot had radioed for help, CNN affiliate WNDU-TV reported.

CNN's Jim Spellman reports on the latest, including details on the NTSB's investigation, on "Early Start" this morning.

READ MORE: Plane crashes into Indiana neighborhood, kills 2

Filed under: Accident • Airline safety
February 21st, 2013
07:36 AM ET

Small plane runs off runway Georgia, killing 5 in crash – Victor Blackwell reports


(CNN) - A small plane crashed in east Georgia on Wednesday night, leaving five people dead, authorities said.

The light jet aircraft landed at Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport in Thomson, and ran off the end of the runway, according to Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

Two people survived the crash and were rushed to a hospital, McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall told CNN affiliate WJBF.

The flight took off from John C. Tune Airport in Nashville, Tennessee.

The two cities are about 350 miles apart; Thomson is about 30 miles west of Augusta.

The aircraft is a Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Victor Blackwell has the latest on the crash.

READ MORE: Small plane crashes in eastern Georgia, killing 5

Filed under: Air travel • Airline safety
January 17th, 2013
06:15 AM ET

U.S., others ground Boeing 787 Dreamliner for fire risks – Sandra Endo reports


Airline after airline pulled Boeing's marquee 787 Dreamliner from service Thursday, following the lead of regulators who are now reviewing the aircraft's battery and electrical systems.

With 787s already grounded by heavy users Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all U.S.-based Dreamliners out of service until a problem with the aircraft's battery system is diagnosed and fixed.

United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier flying Dreamliners, said it would stop operating the aircraft. Air India and Chile's LAN also said they would pull the aircraft from service.

European authorities followed suit, grounding the two 787s flown by LOT Polish Airlines, and Qatar Airways said it was halting flights on its five Dreamliners. That means 46 of the 50 Dreamliners delivered by Boeing have now been grounded.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Sandra Endo reveals more details on the decision to ground the Boeing planes.

READ MORE: Boeing's Dreamliner fleet grounded

Filed under: Airline safety • Boeing
November 19th, 2012
08:29 AM ET

VIDEO: How airlines prepare for a busy Thanksgiving travel week – Sandra Endo reports

More than 24 million travelers are expected to fly this Thanksgiving week, and airlines are making their preps to ensure a smooth ride. This morning on "Early Start," CNN’s Sandra Endo goes behind the scenes at Houston Intercontinental Airport to see how United Airlines is preparing for the travel rush.

Filed under: Airline safety • Travel
October 5th, 2012
08:49 AM ET

CNN's George Howell on American Airlines cancelling flights to fix seats

American Airlines and its passengers continue to face a trail of troubles this morning. More flights have been cancelled, leaving planes and passengers motionless on the ground, and forcing ticket-holders to make alternative travel arrangements.

Forty-eight Boeing 757’s have been called in for maintenance after passenger seats came loose on three different flights. The airline believes the reason for the malfunction is something called a “seat lock plunger”. CNN’s George Howell comes to “Early Start” this morning to explain the details.

A seat lock plunger is “basically a lock and pin system,” Howell says. American Airlines told CNN affiliate WFAA that “it came down to soft drinks, came to cokes and coffee, that had spilled and over time that contributed to the wear and tear of the system,” Howell reports. Eventually the spills caused the seat lock plungers to go into the unlocked position and come loose on three flights within a week’s time. American Airlines is now working on 48 of these 757 planes to “retrofit them with another mechanism to keep these seats affixed to the floor.”

August 2nd, 2012
05:23 AM ET

FAA investigating near collision of 3 planes at Reagan National Airport – Athena Jones reports

Athena Jones reports on an FAA investigation into a near collision of three US Airways commuter jets at Regan National.

Filed under: Airline safety
May 17th, 2012
06:28 AM ET

Was it a bird? A drone? A mechanical plane? Aviation safety expert Steven Wallace on FAA investigating reports of near mid-air collision

There's a mysterious flying object in the skies above Colorado that almost caused a mid-air crash.

Earlier this week, a corporate jet pilot reported seeing a "large remote-controlled aircraft" near his plane while flying over Denver. Investigators say the object did not show up on radar, but radio transmissions between the cockpit and air traffic control captured the moment. The FAA is now investigating.

The question is: Was it an unmanned drone or a remote controlled aircraft?

Aviation safety expert and former FAA official Steven Wallace explains.

Filed under: Airline safety