Aviation Hub

WATCH LIVE: Germanwings CEO Holds Press Conference on A320 Crash


Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann holding a press conference soon - his first press conference since this morning's news that Andreas Lubitz, identified as the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 that crashed in the Alps on Tuesday morning, intentionally put the aircraft into a dive while the pilot was locked out of the cockpit.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is also at the conference. Germanwings is an economy airline owned by Lufthansa.


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Germanwings A320 Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane: Prosecutor


Andreas Lubitz, identified as the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 that crashed in the Alps on Tuesday morning, intentionally put the aircraft into a dive while the pilot was locked out of the cockpit, a Marseille prosecutor told reports today. Death was "sudden and immediate" for all aboard.

The Guardian reports on the press conference.

The co-pilot, a German citizen, was reportedly alive until the time of impact:

The first 20 minutes of conversation between the pilot and co-pilot was amicable, then the co-pilot took over when the pilot left to make a “natural call”.

At this point, the co-pilot accelerated the plane’s descent using the keys of the monitoring system. The prosecutor described it as a “voluntary” action.

In the remaining 10 minutes there are a number of appeals by the pilot to get access to the cockpit but there was no access, the prosecutor said. The pilot knocks on the door but there is not response. There is the sound of breathing from the co-pilot until impact.

 “The intention was to destroy this plane," said the prosecutor.

“He was breathing normally, he did not utter a single word...He had no reason to disable contact with other planes...We could hear the cries minutes before the plane crashed.”

“Absolute silence inside the cockpit. Nothing, no word during the last 10 minutes...I think he refused to open the door and turned the button to get down the plane. It was a voluntary action on the part of the co-pilot... He is not known as a terrorist, absolutely not...We do not have sentiment that there was panic (in cockpit) as he was breathing normally.”

The prosecutor declined to call the pilot's action a suicide. "When you commit suicide, you die alone. With 150 on the plane, I wouldn't call that suicide."

The most recent report from the BBC, AFTER THE JUMP...

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148 Likely Dead in Crash of German A320 in French Alps: VIDEO


A Germanwings A320 has crashed in southern France and there are no survivors, according to French officials. Germanwings is an economy airline owned by Lufthansa.

ABC News reports:

President Francois Hollande said there are "apparently no survivors."

The passenger jet, operated by Germanwings, crashed in the French Alps region near the town of Digne as it traveled from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Hollande said.

"I want to express my solidarity to the family of the victims. We do not yet know the identities of the victims. It is a mourning we have to go through because it is a tragedy that has happened on our soil," he said.

The flight went down midflight - contact was lost at 6,800 feet after the plane had climbed to 38,000 feet.

Watch CNN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Travel Notes from All Over: News for the Global Jetsetter


> Could this 'eco-jet' be the future of commercial airliners? Conceived by industrial designer Oscar Viñals, the jet would be propelled by six hydrogen fuel engines and a rear wind generator to provide electric power while in flight. It could accommodate 800 passengers and would be crafted of a composition of carbon fiber, graphene, ceramic, aluminum, titanium and shape-memory alloy materials.

> The AP this week took a look at who got the advantages in light of recent changes by airlines to their frequent flyer programs: "Many business travelers will do better under spending-based programs. But many occasional travelers will be losers. For them, 'the smart move is simply to make your ticket purchases based on price, convenience, comfort,' Winship says, 'and just let the frequent-flier chips fall where they may.'"

Hilton> Hilton Worldwide has become the newest member of the Global Equality Fund: "Launched in December 2011, the Global Equality Fund supports civil society’s efforts to advance and protect the human rights of LGBT persons around the world. The Fund brings together the resources and expertise of governments, corporations, foundations, and civil society organizations with the shared objective of creating an environment in which LGBT persons can live freely and without discrimination. It is managed by the U.S. Department of State with the participation from the U.S. Agency for International Development."

> The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association will have its annual convention from April 8-11 in Los Angeles and has selected several trailblazers of LGBT Tourism for its annual honors including the lesbian travel company Olivia, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Curacao Tourist Board for its outreach to LGBT travelers, and Doug Swallow, the founder of Gay Day at Disney World in Orlando.

> Be on the lookout for fraudulent gay cruises: “One guy came and put his arms around me and gave me a big, wet, sloppy kiss,” Brunelle says. “And the lady sitting beside me went: ‘that’s disgusting.’” The cruise was not a private gay cruise. Al and Chuck, through its parent company Legendary Journeys, promoted unsold cabins on the ship for as low US$1 in ads — allegedly directed to seniors’ communities in Florida — that make no mention of it being a gay-chartered or a gay-friendly cruise


> CUBA: James Beard-award winning chef Douglas Rodriguez, co-owner of the restaurant Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia, is planning a 7-day food tour of the country with stops in Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Pinar del Rio. Not a specifically gay tour, but if you're a foodie, very, very, interesting. Check out our list of specifically gay tours HERE.

> MIAMI BEACH: Visitors to South Beach can see Tony Award-winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) when he appears in concert at the Colony Theatre Miami Beach on March 20 and 21 at 8 pm. Porter recently recorded Billy's Back on Broadway. Look forward to an entertaining night. Billy is the bomb! Tickets here and here.


> PALM SPRINGS: On Friday, April 24,  “Plastic Pride” artists David Page and Eros Biox unveil their debut photography exhibit called Size Queen - A photographic probing of gay life in Southern California with a forced perspective, and a hard sarcasm. The exhibition captures relationships between 12" dolls and real people. It's at Gallery 446.


Watch What Happens When Some Guy on an Airplane Jokes About Having Ebola: VIDEO



Not funny.

Fear about Ebola — warranted or not — is definitely ramping up.

The overall death toll stands around 3,865. Nearly all of the deaths have taken place in West Africa, which is several months into the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Two recent deaths in the United States and Spain have raised concerns that — despite repeated assurances by public health authorities — the outbreak could spread overseas.

Much of the anxiety has come since the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man flew to Dallas on Sept. 20 while infected with Ebola. He had no symptoms but had been in direct contact with an infected woman back in Liberia. He died on Oct. 8.

Since Duncan's case came to light, airports in the United States have announced new screening measures. But that's not reassuring everyone. At LaGuardia International Airport, workers who clean airplane cabins have gone on strike, afraid that they could come into contact without bodily fluids carrying the disease.

And it's in this climate of anxiety, misinformation, and human error that the above video appears. It was filmed on an Oct. 8 flight from Philadelphia, Penn. to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While in flight, an American passenger apparently sneezed or coughed and then joked about having recently been in Africa.

Of course, the guy hadn't been in Africa and didn't have Ebola. Here, in shaky smartphone video form, are the incredible repercussions of it all.


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Dutch Foreign Minister Delivers Angry, Emotional Address to the UN on MH17 Tragedy: VIDEO


Frans Timmermans of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs , addressed the United Nations yesterday over the shooting down of MH17, which had among its 298 passengers 192 Dutch citizens (including one passenger with dual US-Netherlands citizenship).

Timmermans's speech reflected the anger and bewilderment the world is feeling over the incident and its aftermath, along with the emotion. Said Timmermans of the victims:

"Did they lock hands with their loved ones? Did they hold their children close to their hearts? Did they look each other in the eyes one final time in a wordless goodbye? We will never know."


(via mashable - note: Timmermans is misidentified in the CSPAN embed as  Karel J. G. van Oosterom)

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