Flight Blog

Sep 19 2012 Safe Haven BY sgf-adminTAGS How the Airport Works


Image of a light houseChances are you’ve never thought of an airport as a place to seek aid and comfort. But sometimes that’s exactly what it is.

Think of it this way: airplane passengers are travelers in an ocean of air. If something goes wrong they need to find the nearest island. That’s what an airport is — an island in the unforgiving ocean — a safe haven.
We never know when a plane might pop out of the clouds over Springfield needing assistance. It happened this morning.  At about 10:40 the alarm sounded: a Southwest Airlines’ plane was ten miles out and headed our way — a passenger was having a heart attack. The 737 had been flying from Chicago to San Antonio. Now, it was diverting to SGF.

Of all the airports along the path, why choose SGF? Because the airlines know what most people who live here don’t — SGF is the best-equipped airport in the region. We have 17 full time aircraft rescue firefighters (ARFF) and state-of-the-art firefighting equipment. On average we respond to 50 aircraft and medical emergencies a year. Our well-equipped ARFF, combined with the airport’s long runways, and central location, make SGF a primary “diversion airport” for American Airlines. If an American flight has mechanical problems over the central United States, there’s a good chance it will divert to SGF for an emergency landing. These are the things the airlines know about SGF.
About ten minutes after the alarm sounded the 737 bore down on Runway 14/32. After landing it made a quick dash to Gate 2 where Airport medical personnel were waiting; an ambulance from Cox Hospitals was just minutes away.Southwest flight 2014 finds safe haven at SGF Gate 2

As far as we know this story has a good ending.  The patient was alert and conscious.  His wife followed the gurney to the ambulance, and, as far as I could tell, was in good humor (considering the circumstances).  It’s hard to imagine what it must be like… One minute you’re winging your way to San Antonio, the next thing you know you’re grounded in unknown territory. And sick to boot.

Meanwhile, schedulers at Southwest were busy adjusting flight times and crew schedules. The flight crew readied to sail as more fuel was put onboard. Passengers peered out the windows and were undoubtedly checking their watches — impatient to leave our safe haven. San Antonio would have to wait a bit longer.


Aug 27 2012 PED Alert! BY sgf-adminTAGS Customer Service, FAA


Way back in March the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was going take a fresh look at its own rules that forbid you from using electronic gadgets on airplanes. The decision to review the rules was prompted, at least in part, by a couple of things: 1) In December of last year the FAA said that pilots could used iPads during take offs and landings (but passengers couldn't), and 2) the Alec Baldwin affair.

Today the FAA made the review more or less official with this press release:

"Given the widespread consumer use of portable electronic devices (PEDs), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is forming a government-industry group to study the current PED policies and procedures aircraft operators use to determine when these devices can be used safely during flight.  Current FAA regulations require an aircraft operator to determine that radio frequency interference from PEDs are not a flight safety risk before the operator authorizes them for use during certain phases of flight.

“With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight.”

The government-industry group will examine a variety of issues, including the testing methods aircraft operators use to determine which new technologies passengers can safely use aboard aircraft and when they can use them. The group will also look at the establishment of technological standards associated with the use of PEDs during any phase of flight. The group will then present its recommendations to the FAA...."



"Airfares are going nowhere but up for the rest of the year, industry analysts are predicting in the wake of another successful fare increase by U.S. airlines to offset high fuel costs."

That's the gist of a story in today's Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle reports that, "Southwest Airlines hiked round-trip fares by $10 on 30 percent of its routes on Friday. The nation's four other major carriers - United, American, Delta and US Airways - matched the increase within hours."

The rest of the news is not surprising: nearly everyone expects more fare hikes before the end of the year. Read the entire story here.



Here's an interesting tidbit from Information Week:

"TSA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued a request for information for a "hologram imaging, computer-generated imagery and video projection" system. The system would be used "to assist passengers in navigating through security checkpoints as efficiently as possible," according to the RFI, which was posted on FedBizOpps.gov earlier this month."

Read the rest of the story here.


Aug 16 2012 Listen to the Sound of FiFi BY sgf-adminTAGS History, Misc.


As many of you know the B-29 bomber nicknamed "FiFi" was in Springfield the past couple of days. It's a World War II vintage bomber and the last of its kind that still flies. We thought you might like to see some of our home video of the old warbird. While the plane certainly looks good, be sure to listen to the old beast. Hard to imagine that a machine of war can sound almost like an old farm tractor... And how about those squeaky brakes?