Tag Archive for: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)


Over half of Mississippians struggling to pay household bills, the most in the nation.

FAA seeks to address string of near-collisions at US airports.

Poland, Slovakia to send Soviet-era jets to Ukraine.



Over half of Mississippians struggling to pay household bills, the most in the nation

A recent Household Pulse Survey by the Census Bureau found that more than half of Mississippians (52.9%) are struggling to pay typical household bills. This is the highest percentage in the nation and the only one over 50%. Mississippi narrowly edges out neighboring Alabama which came in second at 49.7% and far exceeds the national average of 39.7%. 

Over that same period (the week of Feb. 4-13), Mississippi was 5th in the nation at 48.6% among states whose residents fear eviction or foreclosure in the next two months. Mississippians also led in the category of householders that were unable to pay an energy bill in full in the last 12 months with 30.5%.

Median household income is the lowest in the nation at $46,637, far below the national average of $70,784. Recent data shows that Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation with 19.07%.

State Republicans suddenly remember this is an election year

During the pandemic, states received millions in federal dollars to help people get through the economic downturn. Despite the great need, average Mississippians received far less help than people in other states. Instead, the state government decided to use this windfall to push for income tax cuts.

While income tax reduction is popular in the state (62%), the suspension of the state’s 7% grocery tax is far more popular (74%). Mississippi is one of the few states to tax groceries and has the highest rate of any of them. Grocery taxes disproportionately burden the poor while income tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy. But the state’s Republican leadership hasn’t considered using the state’s surplus to cut grocery taxes, despite rising food costs. 

State legislators recently narrowly rejected proposals that would have eliminated income taxes in the state. This means the stalled bills likely won’t move forward in this year’s legislative session. However, House Ways and Means Chairman Trey Lamar said the bills’ failure was “more of a timing issue with some of these representatives as opposed to any real opposition to income tax elimination. Coming off the heels of last year’s income tax bill, and this being an election year, there are a few that would just prefer to wait a little longer before making further cuts”.

Reeves believes life begins at conception, but when does it end?

In a rare win for public welfare in the state, Gov. Reeves has just signed a bill to extend Medicaid coverage to new mothers and babies from 60 days after birth to 12 months.

Mississippi has some of the worst rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality in the country. Until Reeves signed this latest bill, Mississippi was the only state in the nation that had neither extended Medicaid coverage for new mothers nor expanded Medicaid eligibility overall. 

Reeves touted expanding Medicaid coverage for new moms and babies to 12 months as being in line with the state’s pro-life stance. However, Reeves was quick to remind us he still opposes expanding eligibility for Medicaid for low-income families under Obamacare. Maybe Reeves thinks life ends at 12 months?


FAA seeks to address string of near-collisions at US airports

So far in 2023, there have been at least nine near-collisions of commercial airplanes at eight US airports. That number may seems small in light of the fact that there are about 45,000 flights taking off each day. But when you consider the hundreds of lives put at risk each time, even one near-miss is unacceptable.

The circumstances vary in each case, but in some instances, the near-miss was the result of air traffic control clearing two planes to use the same runway. This was the case in the most dramatic near-collision in Austin, TX, in which a FedEx cargo plane came within 100 feet of a Southwest Airlines passenger plane. Controllers had cleared the FedEx plane to land on the same runway where the Southwest Airlines flight was taking off. In this case, it was the quick thinking of the FedEx pilot that averted disaster, rather than any action by air traffic control.  

On Wednesday, FAA held an emergency summit this week, its first in 14 years, to discuss the issue. The panel of aviation experts cited low staffing numbers at the FAA and a lack of experience among new hires as a major factor. The staffing issues come at the same time that US demand for air travel is surging, making accidents and near-accidents more likely.

It may also be significant that 8 of the 9 incidents took place after an outage of the FAA’s automated NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system which notifies pilots of potential hazards they may encounter during their flights. The NOTAM system went dark late in the night of Jan. 10 and grounded all flights in the US for two hours the following morning. An investigation found that the outage was the result of FAA contractors deleting files.

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Poland, Slovakia send Soviet-era jets to Ukraine

After nearly a year of requests from Kiev, Poland yesterday agreed to send about a dozen Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Today, Slovakia followed suit, promising 13 MiG-29s. At the time of Russia’s invasion last year, Ukraine had several dozen MiG-29s that it had retained following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s not clear how many of these remain in service over a year later.

According to Slovakia’s Defense Minister, the European Union is offering Slovakia 200 million euros ($213 million) in compensation for giving the jets to Ukraine. Slovakia will also receive $745 million in unspecified arms from the US, the minister said. There’s no reporting on whether Poland is receiving similar compensation for its pledge. However, Poland’s Defense Minister did mention that they would be replacing their MiGs with South Korean and American-made fighter jets.

The White House says it was informed of Poland’s decision before it was announced. Biden has long been under pressure to give Ukraine F-16s, a request the US has so far steadfastly refused. National Security advisor John Kirby neither endorsed nor condemned Poland and Slovakia’s decision, but said it would have no bearing on the US position on sending F-16s. 

Unlike F-16s, Ukraine’s fighter pilots require no additional training to fly MiG-29s. But maintaining them may pose a problem. Slovakia had previously grounded its MiG-29 fleet due to difficulties obtaining spare parts and the departure of Russian maintenance workers.

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Computer system failure grounds all US air travel for hours.

Debt ceiling fight ahead in Congress, jeopardizing economy.

Peru under genocide investigation after deadly protests.




Computer system glitch grounds all US air travel for hours

An overnight malfunction in the system that notifies pilots of hazards grounded all US air travel for several hours up until 9am (ET) this morning. According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, over 8000 flights were delayed today and over 1000 were canceled. The numbers of delays continue climbing as a knock-on effect of delays or cancellations this morning.

The system that crashed was the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses this system to notify pilots of unusual hazards and conditions and to convey other vital safety information. 

It isn’t clear what caused the system to crash. Analysts have said it is unlikely to have been the result of a cyber attack because of the way the outage progressed. It’s possible that the system became overloaded or couldn’t cope with the complexity of tasks it had to perform. A former FAA official suggested that NOTAM may have encountered a capacity problem, similar to the problem that forced Southwest airlines to cancel thousands of flights between Christmas and the first week of January.

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Debt ceiling fight ahead in Congress, jeopardizing economy

The federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling will soon max out, possibly as soon as the end of this month. The Treasury Department can then implement some measures that may carry the country through until the summer. Before those measures run out, Congress will have to agree to raise the debt ceiling to pay debts the federal government has already incurred, not to allow for new spending. If this does not happen, the government will shut down and the country will default on its debts. This would be catastrophic for the national and global economy and for everyday Americans.

With Republicans now in control of the House, the stage is set for a showdown over the debt that could jeopardize the US economy. During the Obama administration in 2011, Republicans in Congress held the debt ceiling hostage in order to win major concessions on government spending, mostly by cutting government programs to support the poor. After months of brinksmanship, Congress finally hammered out an agreement. But the debt rating company Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US credit rating, citing the turmoil and delay in raising the debt ceiling. This downgrade in credit rating raised the borrowing costs for the US by billions of dollars.

The recent fight over the Speakership in the House resulted in the new Speaker Kevin McCarthy making concessions that could make it much harder for him to force through a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Some of those who blocked McCarthy from winning the Speakership through 14 ballots have vowed to challenge his leadership again if he tries to force a debt ceiling vote without massive spending cuts.

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Related: What happens if the US defaults on its debt? (opens in new tab).



Peru under genocide investigation after deadly protests

Back in December, Peru’s elected President Pedro Castillo attempted to break an impasse with Congress by dissolving the body and calling snap elections. This led to Castillo being deposed and arrested for rebellion. Castillo’s VP Dina Boluarte then became President, though it appears the Cabinet is really in charge of the country.

Castillo’s arrest angered many Peruvians, especially poor indigenous people in rural areas for whom Castillo had been a long-sought champion. Days of deadly protests followed, leading the Cabinet to impose martial law. The measures criminalized any public assembly, severely restricted people’s movements, and empowered the country’s police force to raid anyone’s home without a court order.

Since Castillo’s ouster in early December, at least 46 civilians have been killed most of them indigenous. On Monday alone, security forces killed at least 17 people. The country’s interior minister claimed the protesters were attempting to storm an airport and that the security forces acted appropriately. The office of Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator disagrees, calling Monday’s deaths “extrajudicial killings”. 

Peru’s Attorney General has announced that Boluarte and her Cabinet are under investigation for possible acts of genocide in connection with the deaths of these protesters.

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US announces COVID boosters starting September. United Airlines asks crews not to duct-tape unruly passengers. Haiti quake toll mounts.



US announces COVID boosters starting September

US health officials have announced that, starting in September, booster COVID vaccines will be available to those who received their second vaccine 8 months prior. The decision is based on the current COVID delta surge, as well as data showing that immunity from the vaccines decreases over time. Currently, this applies to people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Officials say there is not enough data yet on Johnson & Johnson recipients to say when boosters will be advisable. Third shots or boosters have already become available for people with weak immune systems.

Other wealthy countries, including Israel, have already made boosters available for some segments of their populations. Despite having a high rate of full vaccination (except among Palestinians), Israel as experience a resurgence of COVID cases due to the delta variant. As in the US, while some vaccinated people do experience breakthrough infections and may even experience mild symptoms, the vast majority do not require hospitalization.

The decision to offer boosters is controversial. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization called on wealthy countries to hold off on offering boosters. This is because there is a worldwide shortfall in vaccine production and many people in poor countries are yet to have access even to their first dose.

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United Airlines asks employees not to duct-tape unruly passengers

United Airlines has warned its flight crews not to resort to duct-taping unruly and violent passengers to their seats. The statement reminded employees that “that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used”.

The memo came after two viral videos circulated of incidents on. In one instance, Frontier Airline passengers duct-taped an intoxicated passenger to his seat after he groped two female flight attendants and assaulted a male flight attendant. In another, flight crew duct-taped a woman to her seat after she attempted to open a plane door midflight.

This year, FAA has registered 2,500 unruly passenger incidents, 1,900 of which were passengers refusing to wear masks. Compare that to a typical year, where the agency normal records 100 to 150 unruly passenger incidents.

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Death toll in Haiti earthquake nears 2000

The devastation from the recent earthquake in Haiti has been largely overshadowed by the chaos in Afghanistan. But each day that goes by reveals the extent of the tragedy and brings new obstacles for the rescue and relief effort. The death toll is now up to 1,941 at last report. The number of injured is at nearly 10,000 and likely to climb higher. It is difficult to count the injured since remaining hospitals and treatment centers are overwhelmed. The earthquake destroyed or damaged many hospitals and clinics in the southwest of Haiti.

In addition, Tropical Storm Grace has been pelting the island with rain and wind since Monday evening. This has hampered rescue and relief efforts and made life that much more difficult for people who have lost their homes.  A UNICEF spokesman says, “Countless Haitian families who have lost everything due to the earthquake are now living literally with their feet in the water due to the flooding”. About 500,000 children in Haiti are without shelter and are suffering shortages of food and clean water.

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Union County MS crash site debris field

The large business jet that crashed Saturday afternoon in southeastern Union County left a crash site debris field estimated at about 6 acres.

Officials are actively investigating crash site debris field for evidence

Emergency personnel on the scene have described the debris field as “about 100 yards by 300 yards.” The destruction was apparently not from fire or explosion, rather it was from impact. Reportedly, there were “only three very small fires.”

The Rockwell Sabreliner 65 that crashed around 5 p.m. Saturday is a relatively large business jet. Its wingspan is slightly over 50 feet. The Sabreliner 65 could carry a total weight of more than 20,000 pounds. Based on photographs and observations of personnel on the scene, the aircraft and its contents apparently shattered into thousands of relatively small pieces as it plowed its way through the trees and brush. The airplane knocked the tops from trees as it descended.

Officials have not determined the cause of the crash.

Only preliminary report might be released soon

The investigation into the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues. Additionally, a collection crew and insurance investigators arrived on the scene Tuesday morning, April 16. They have commenced what will be a painstaking collection of evidence at the site, which is in Union County near the Pontotoc County line.


It is expected that the NTSB might issue a “preliminary report” in one to two weeks. A more detailed report could follow in about nine months.  However, a final or probable cause report will likely not be issued for a year or so.

The NTSB investigation will routinely consider factors of “man, machine, and environment.” This includes the airplane itself and its maintenance history, the training and experience of the pilot, weather and other conditions.

Two experienced pilots were aboard plane

Tommy and Merline Nix, husband of wife, of Belmont, MS and Jarrod Holloway of Booneville died in the crash. Tommy Nix and Holloway were reportedly piloting the airplane, which is believed to have been manufactured in 1980. Reportedly, they informed Memphis Air Traffic Control of electrical problems shortly before the plane disappeared from radar screens.

The flight originated at the University/Oxford Airport.  It was destined for the Hamilton/Marion County, Alabama, Airport. The crash is said to have occurred about 20 minutes into the flight.

Personnel from the office of Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards and of Union County Emergency Services Director Curt Clayton, as well as members of Union County fire departments, participated in the search for the downed aircraft. They continue to assist FAA and NTSB personnel at the crash site.

Early photos of Sabreliner 65 crash site:

Curt Clayton took the photographs accompanying this article and provided them to NAnewsweb.com. To the best of everyone’s knowledge, no human remains are depicted in any of these photos.

Oxford Lawyer Dickie Scruggs was on Sabreliner 65 shortly before crash: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/15/mississippi-plane-crash-dickie-scruggs-nearly-boarded-fatal-flight/3473630002/

Three killed in jet crash: http://newalbanyunionco.com/three-killed-union-county-crash/

Union County crash kills three

The Union County crash of an older model business jet airplane killed three people late Saturday afternoon.

Dead in the Union County crash were Tommy and Merline Nix, husband and wife, of Belmont, MS and Jarrod Holloway of Booneville.

The crash came about 5 pm Saturday when the business jet disappeared from air traffic control radar. Union County law enforcement officers began searching for the plane in stormy weather Saturday night.  They found the plane and three bodies Sunday, near County Roads 120 and 121 in Union County.

The aircraft was a Rockwell Sabreliner 65. The Sabreliner made its first flight more than 50 years ago, on Sept. 16, 1958. Rockwell manufactured the Sabreliner for both civilian and U. S. military customers. The civilian Sabreliner 65 was configured for five to seven passengers plus crew.

The Sabreliner went through several design changes over the more than 20 years during which Rockwell produced it. Rockwell last produced the Sabreliner 65, the model that crashed in Union County Saturday, in 1981, 38 years ago. Rockwell manufactured 76 of the 65 series jets, most for the civilian market.

Nothing has been officially released about the possible cause of the crash. However, shortly before the plane disappeared from radar, the pilots reported to Memphis Air Traffic Control that they were having electrical problems. Additionally, the crash occurred on a day when there was a lot of turbulent weather in the area.

The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Crash site investigation and photos: http://newalbanyunionco.com/crash-site-debris-field-investigation/