British Airways aircraft engine catches fire

first_imgPassengers and crew of a British Airways flight from Las Vegas to London have had a miraculous escape after the engine of their Boeing 777 suffered a catastrophic failure and resulting fire just as the jet was increasing speed for the take-off.The pilots successfully stopped the jet and all the 159 passengers and 13 crew escaped with only minor injuries to seven passengers.Flight BA2276 on route to Gatwick, England, had started its take-off roll on Las Vegas Airport’s Runway 7L when its left engine – a GE90 – suffered an extremely rare uncontained failure where turbine parts traveling at up to 10,000rpm tear away and exit the engine. More: British Airways Safety RatingThis failure is similar to that which crippled Qantas flight QF32 after it took off from Singapore on November 8, 2010.Guardian sports reporter Jacob Steinberg who was on the plane said there was panic on board as passengers struggled to take their carry-on baggage with them, when the call to evacuate was made.“Was asleep as the plane took off. Came to a crashing halt. Smell of smoke. Initially told to stay seated, then shout of evacuate,” Mr Steinberg tweeted. “Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows.”“They opened the back door and slide went down and smoke started coming in plane, followed by mad dash to front. A lot of panic,” Mr Steinberg tweeted.Just 17 seconds after the aircraft started its take-off roll one of the British Airways pilots contacted air traffic control and said: “Speedbird 2276 heavy stopping” (Speedbird is the ATC code for British Airways and “heavy” designates an aircraft with significant wake turbulence).Then 15 seconds later came the call “Speedbird Mayday Mayday. Speedbird 2276 request fire services.”The air traffic controller responds: “Speedbird 2276, heavy fire services on the way.”Passengers were taken to local a hotel and are expected to be flown to London today.The fire has done extensive damage to the 777 and it is expected to be a write-off as the critical wing box has been damaged.Passengers risking lives by insisting on taking their carry-on baggage off with them.  See Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Ecr5h_Y-MListen to ATC tape here: The flight is “Speedbird 2276 heavy”. https://clyp.it/jrvdzhrwlast_img read more

Commodity leaders join forces on sustainability research

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Pork Board (NPB), United Soybean Board (USB) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a sustainability research platform that will benefit all three organizations and their producers. This research program will include the sharing of completed research, coordination on current and planned research and define ways to share and communicate results with each organization’s members.Leadership from the three commodity groups agree that it is prudent to consider specific ways in which they might work together more effectively to ensure alignment and collaboration in sustainability research and how the results can and will be communicated and shared.“Sustainability is defined by the We Care ethical principles pork producers established over 10 years ago,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board President, a pig farmer from South Dakota. “Joining in the efforts of two other organizations, as a collective group, we can more effectively spend producer dollars to achieve the goals we can all believe in and support. Without one, we wouldn’t have the other.”An overarching goal of proactive, continuous improvement is a shared focus among pork, soybean and corn producers.“Most farmers are invested in multiple commodities and invested in more than one of our organizations, so it’s important that we are collaborating wherever we can,” said Lewis Bainbridge, USB chair and soybean and livestock farmer from South Dakota. “We need to be supportive of one another, especially now when there’s more interest in what we’re doing to produce our commodities. We need to be looking at the big picture of how our commodities work together and take that a step further.”Through combined communications efforts and outreach, the organizations can increase the education, capacity and motivation of pig and grain farmers to adopt conservation measures that deliver benefits to the environment and to farm resilience and profitability.“NCGA’s targeted focus — whether it’s policy, market development or research — is to grind more corn and do it profitably. However, in areas like sustainability and research where we share goals and values in our industry, it is just plain smart to work in collaboration,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president of Hastings, Nebraska. “This memorandum will encourage increased communications, further sharing of staff and funding resources, pool expertise, and ultimately makes us all more effective.”A task force of farmer representatives from NPB, USB and NCGA will be formed and, with support from each organization, will be responsible for managing and evaluating the activities outlined in the MOU. Additionally, the task force will track progress and evaluate the value and impact of the MOU upon completion of all activities.last_img read more

Can Conditioned Attics Be Too Big?

first_imgPolyurethane foam is expensiveSpray polyurethane foam has some advantages that make it very attractive to some builders and homeowners, but it’s also much more expensive than other options — closed-cell foam more so than open-cell foam. The price premium, and the limited depth available for insulation between rafters, may result in less-than-optimum insulation levels in the house.“If a builder’s idea of a conditioned attic is to move the insulation to the rafters — but to install less — then the homeowner is getting cheated,” Holladay says.He adds that when spray-foam contractors try to convince homeowners to accept thin installations of insulation in an effort to make their product more competitive on price, they are “cutting corners,” while “code enforcement officials are looking the other way or getting bamboozled by fast-talking spray-foam contractors instead of doing their job. As a result, homeowners are left with homes that have below-code levels of insulation. That’s wrong.”The problem may be more pronounced with open-cell foam because it has a lower R-value per inch than closed-cell foam, as Fincher himself points out. “If Martin is correct, then perhaps I’ve been bamboozled by the insulation contractor who installed 5 1/2 in. of closed-cell on the underside of the rafters,” he writes. “I questioned him because it was only around R-19 and he confidently explained to me that it would work.“…It’s really hard to cipher through what is factual and what is not,” he adds. “Without a whole lot of actual empirical testing and data, you almost have to try something and see if it works. That’s a scary proposition for me.”John Brooks adds numbers to the mix, taken from a recent price quote in Dallas: R-30 open-cell foam at the roof deck for $2.80 per sq. ft. vs. R-30 cellulose at the attic floor for 50 cents a sq. ft.In Fincher’s 4,000-sq. ft. house, cellulose would cost $2,000 while foam would cost $14,000. He calls this a “$12,000 incentive” to air-seal the attic floor and find a way of putting the HVAC system within the conditioned space. True, reducing the square footage of new houses is one way of reducing energy use while consuming fewer natural resources, both fundamental green-building objectives.“Build a smaller, better, well detailed house that has more amenities and lower operating costs for those that live there,” suggests Corian Johnston. “…A well done small house can still be worth as much as a larger one, so you could have the same profit margin with a much better product. Sort of a quality-over-quantity approach.”But, as Fincher points out, homebuyers often want big houses, not little ones, leaving builders stuck between the realities of the marketplace and their own goals.“I didn’t create the market for bigger homes,” Fincher writes. “The market exists in spite of myself and other builders. If and as the market changes to smaller homes (which it is, but maybe not small enough for some of you) builders will adapt as well because we’re not doing this for kicks and grins, we’re doing this with the hopes of making a profit.“I made a decision to build a better home that uses far fewer resources over its life cycle than the same home built to code. I call that being ‘green.’ That decision has added a whole new level of complexity to my building process which increased both my hard and soft costs which I probably won’t ever completely recover in my market.”“I’m OK with that because I’m still making enough money to keep me engaged in this business and I feel better about the improved product that I offer,” he adds. First, reconsider the size of the houseAlthough the size of the houses that Fincher builds is not directly related to his question, some green building advocates may still wince. Brett Moyer is one of them.“Since this a green building forum, I think I should say a couple of things,” Moyer writes. “You certainly have the right to build these ridiculously large monstrosities. You certainly have the right to install spray foams and foam sheathings, and place HVAC and ductwork in the attic.I just hope you aren’t promoting these excessive dwellings as ‘green’ homes, because they are CERTAINLY not green.” RELATED ARTICLES James Fincher is a builder in Oklahoma who’s leaning toward designs with conditioned attics insulated with spray polyurethane foam.However, he’s not convinced that a conditioned attic is the best approach in a large home — something, say, in the 4,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. range.The problem, as he puts it in his Q&A post, is the “sheer volume” of attics in a house this large, and whether the increase in volume will force him to use a bigger HVAC system.The exchange that follows delves into the merits of conditioned attics — that is, those that are heated and cooled just like the rest of the house — versus unheated attics separated from the rest of the house by a layer of insulation on the attic floor.That’s the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost had to say:No doubt, any conditioned attic (no matter the pitch or ceiling square area) is better performing, in terms of energy performance and indoor air quality, than exposed HVAC equipment and ducts above the ceiling insulation and air barrier.And in addition to Martin’s suggestion of constructing a small attic mechanical room, there is Building America research supporting some performance advantages of “buried” attic HVAC distribution systems. Also, see this article .But I have to agree with Martin when he states near the end of his related blog on conditioned attics, that “creating a conditioned attic is a solution to a fundamental design flaw.”A high performance home starts with high performance design — if you can’t find design solutions to keep all HVAC ducts and equipment in conditioned space, you missed the earliest and most effective solution. Here is how Steve Baczek, the resident GBA architect puts it:“Creating a mechanical room that is effectively air sealed within a vented attic is a straight-up challenge. I don’t believe the approach has much merit either. I have been asked to do it a number of times and reluctantly have, knowing the likely outcome. When tested for performance, they just don’t work as planned. It’s one of those concepts that seems easy, gets people on board at the design/planning stage, only to fail at the post-construction/ leak-chasing phase. In lieu of this approach, I would put the air handler in the conditioned space and run sealed ductwork in the attic, buried under R-50+ of cellulose. Not the best solution, but not a bad second choice, and one that is pretty easy on the pocketbook. You could also spray the ductwork with CCSF and cover with cellulose at a cheaper cost than spraying the attic.”So onto what I would do. You need an architect who understands HVAC design and performance. I understand this is a challenge. I have had too-many-to-mention (or want to remember) conversations with architects who preach out about high performance house design, and just don’t get it.In a 4,000-square-foot house, depending on the design and site, you are probably talking about one large mechanical room (40 sq. ft.) or two smaller mechanical rooms (20 sq. ft. each – 40 sq. ft. total). Either way, the space accounts for 1% of the conditioned space. This house probably has closets bigger than that.I remember working with a builder to re-engineer his houses and the architect who designed them. The architect argued vehemently with me about how there was just no room in the plan for mechanicals. I simply asked, have you ever designed a house this size without a powder room? Or a laundry room? Her replied, “never.” I simply said you need to place the same priority on the mechanical room as you do the powder room and the laundry room. With that in mind, I would suggest one or two mechanical rooms in the conditioned space, using dropped soffits and ceiling locations to distribute the HVAC system. If a client wants a 4,000-square-foot house, chances are the house will come with 9- or 10-ft. ceilings. A good architect, using this ceiling height to his or her advantage, can create not only a high performance home, but also an aesthetically pleasing one. It’s simply a win/win! Vented or Unvented Attic?Creating a Conditioned Attic Getting Insulation Out of Your Walls and CeilingsAttic Design Upgrades Weighing two energy penaltiesWhen HVAC equipment is installed in an unconditioned attic, the system has to work harder in both the heating and cooling seasons. Soaring attic temperatures in summer greatly lower air conditioning efficiencies; in winter, the problem is reversed but no less problematic.GBA senior editor Martin Holladay calls that “Energy Penalty #1.” He adds that insulating between rafters to create a conditioned attic creates a different energy penalty — “Energy Penalty #2” — namely, the additional energy required to heat and cool the attic now that the volume of the home’s conditioned space has been increased.“Here’s what you need to remember: Energy Penalty #1 is always much bigger than Energy Penalty #2,” Holladay writes, “so there is always a net gain (lower operating costs) when you create a conditioned attic (assuming, of course, that we’re talking about houses with ductwork in the attic).”That said, he adds, there are alternatives. One would be to bring heating and cooling ducts inside the thermal envelope with the use of soffits that hide them. Another would be to build a small mechanical room in part of the attic that could be heated and cooled, rather than making the entire attic a conditioned space.A related factor, notes Corian Johnston, is the increased surface area of an insulated roof compared to an insulated flat ceiling. “A 9/12 roof will have 25% greater surface area than the flat ceiling,” Johnston writes, “so that even with the same R-value and performance of insulation, there is a theoretical 25% greater heat loss or gain. This doesn’t include gable end walls that will add additional area.“Second, heat rises, and unless the ceiling is a barrier, which is not likely although possible, heat will rise into the attic instead of being in the living area conditioned space,” he says. “This may be desirable for cooling but not for heating.”last_img read more

Set up anti-trafficking units, HC tells W.B.

first_imgThe Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal government to set up an anti-human trafficking unit headed by a specially trained officer, preferably a woman, in every district of the State.Any FIR registered under the sections of Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956, and sections 370, 372, 373 of the Indian Penal Code or under the provisions of the POCSO Act, involving commercial sexual exploitation of women, should be investigated by the anti-human trafficking unit, the High Court said in its order. The police station where the FIR is registered will hand over such cases to the unit in 24 hours, stated the order delivered last week by a Division Bench of Justices Ravi Krishan Kapur and Joymalya Bagchi.Alarming numbers The direction assumes significance as Bengal has recorded the maximum cases of trafficking in the country. According to the latest NCRB data, Bengal in 2016 recorded 3,579 cases of human trafficking (44%) among 8,132 cases recorded in the country. The Bench gave the order while cancelling the anticipatory bail granted to Sangita Sahu, owner of a hotel in Joka area, by a lower court.She is accused under ITPA, POSCO Act and sections of IPC dealing with human trafficking. The Bench noted that “the menace of trafficking of women and minors have assumed alarming proportions”, and expressed concern over the “lackadaisical manner in which offences involving commercial sexual exploitation of women and children like the present one are investigated, prosecuted and/or pursued”. The High Court’s direction has been welcomed by a number of non-government organisations working against commercial sexual exploitation of children and women.Saji Philip, director of operations, International Justice Mission, Kolkata, the organisation which aided the investigative agencies in the raid at Ms. Sahu’s hotel in September 2017 where 30 people were arrested, called the order a “fresh lease of life in dealing with cases relating to trafficking of children and women”. “This order will strengthen existential directives and aim at fixing the lacunae in each step of trafficking cases, including rescue, rehabilitation and prosecution,” Mr. Philip said.last_img read more