Articles by Alan Levin

Time to Upgrade Airline Black Boxes, Says Safety Board

The ubiquitous black boxes on airliners — designed to capture the sometimes gruesome words and sounds leading up to crashes — need an upgrade, U.S. accident investigators say. In too many cases, the current two hours of sound on the …

National Safety Board Calls for Standards for Drugged Driving Tests

U.S. transportation safety officials are sounding the alarm on drug-impaired driving, calling for state and federal regulators to do more to tackle the growing problem as states grapple with prescription drug abuse and adopt a more permissive stance on marijuana. …

Drone Hobbyists May Soon Lose Their Freedom from Regulation

The Wild West days of unregulated recreational drones may be nearing an end. A bill close to passage in Congress would repeal the current exemption for hobbyists from regulations and for the first time require them to take a test …

U.S. Safety Agency Targets Pilot Fatigue with Technology, Stricter Work Rules

U.S. accident investigators probing a San Francisco incident last year in which a jetliner was mere feet from landing on top of at least one other plane are poised to recommend new automated safety warnings and better pilot-fatigue protections. An …

After Blasts, Massachusetts Gas Customers Face Long Wait

The blast of high-pressure natural gas that led to dozens of home explosions last week in Massachusetts very likely damaged the system’s antiquated pipeline network and could lead to a long period of testing and repairs before full service is …

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 …