Articles by Alan Levin

Laptop Battery Fire in Checked Luggage Could Bring Down an Airliner: Study

A single personal electronic device that overheats and catches fire in checked luggage on an airliner can overpower the aircraft’s fire suppression system, potentially creating a fire that could rage uncontrolled, according to new government research. Regulators had thought that …

Engine Flaws Similar to Southwest’s Found at Other Airlines

Flaws in jet engine fan blades like one that cracked and broke loose in April, killing a Southwest Airlines Co. passenger, have been discovered on planes operated by several carriers, and the manufacturer is moving to further tighten inspections. General …

Amtrak Rail Cars in Fatal Washington Crash Had Safety Waiver

The passenger rail cars on an Amtrak train that derailed near Seattle, Wash. last December, killing three people, were allowed by federal regulators to stay in service even though they didn’t meet current crash-protection standards, federal investigators said Tuesday. The …

Court Upholds Federal Authority to Regulate Hobbyist Drone Use

The U.S. government’s ability to police hobbyist drone use was upheld by an appellate court Friday in a ruling that helps set the stage for a series of new restrictions and requirements aviation regulators hope to enact soon. The U.S. …

‘Incredibly Shrinking Airline Seat’ Not a Safety Concern, Says FAA

Hopes for more legroom in increasingly cramped airplane cabins were dashed when U.S. regulators, responding to a court order, said they found no need to impose new standards on airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration, in a letter dated Monday, said …

Cycling Safety: Insurance Industry, Virginia Tech Rate Biker Helmets

The next time you hop on a bicycle to head across town, consider this: your helmet may not perform well enough in an accident. A first-of-its-kind study using the latest techniques for simulating head injuries found significant variations in how …

Probe Says FAA Allowed Unsafe Charter Planes to Fly

Government aviation inspectors allowed unsafe aircraft to operate in U.S. commercial flight operations, a whistleblower investigation has concluded. The Federal Aviation Administration’s own review confirmed the allegations, according to the Office of Special Counsel, the agency charged with investigating complaints …

Southwest Air Jet Engine That Failed Was Inspected 7 Times

The fan blade that failed on a Southwest Airlines Co. plane last month, killing a passenger, had been inspected seven times since late 2012 but without the sophisticated technology airlines are now under orders to use. The inspections relied on …

U.S. Transportation Agency Sets Process for Approval of Drone Taxis

On-demand robotic flying taxis and drone deliveries are years away from reality, but the U.S. Department of Transportation has removed at least one barrier to their operation. Responding to work by companies including Boeing Co., Intel Corp. and Uber Technologies …

Amtrak Failed to Observe Speed Warnings Before Fatal Maryland Crash

Five months ago, in a scathing report on a 2016 accident in which two track workers were killed, U.S. safety investigators urged Amtrak to slow its trains when they pass work crews. The nation’s passenger rail service didn’t follow the …