Pilots Fall Asleep, Leave Uk Jet On Auto-pilot

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (not pictured) hold a joint news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, May 2, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

With less than a year to go to the September 18, 2014, referendum, the issue of what to do with Britain’s nuclear deterrent is urgent, lawmakers said. “The possibility of Scottish independence represents a serious threat to the future operational viability of the UK’s nuclear deterrent,” said one of the conclusions of the year-long Defence Committee investigation into the impact of independence. “The UK Government must now give urgent consideration to contingency options in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote,” it said. Britain is one of only five officially recognised nuclear-armed countries. Four submarines equipped to carry nuclear missiles – the Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance – are based in deep-water lochs along the west coast of Scotland, and concrete missile storage bunkers are built into the Scottish hillside. At least one of the four is always at sea. The LibDems, junior partner in the Conservative-led coalition government, want to reduce the number of submarines when the current class is decommissioned, but Prime Minister David Cameron has called any such plan “naive or reckless”. If Scotland votes to break away, Britain would face a huge, expensive and time-consuming task to relocate the system. The Ministry of Defence confirmed on Thursday it currently has no contingency plan. “No contingency plans are being made to move Trident out of Scotland,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman told Reuters. “The scale and cost of any potential relocation away from Faslane would be enormous. We are confident that the Scottish people will vote to remain a part of the United Kingdom.” Defence Minister Philip Hammond said during an evidence session for the report that it was “unhelpful” to speculate over any possible relocation sites, but that ultimately he was confident it could be done. “I am confident that we would be able to solve this problem, but it would cost a significant amount of money,” Hammond told the committee in July. A Trident renewal decision will not be taken until after the next 2015 general election.

Al Mansouri, UK minister for Trade and Investment explore prospects of joint economic cooperation

The CAA declined to identify the airline. The pilots had slept just five hours each over the previous two nights, the Daily Mail reports. They voluntarily reported the incident to the CAA and are not expected to face serious disciplinary action. Virgin Atlantic, which operates a fleet of 10 A330 planes, declined to comment to the Daily Mail on whether or not the incident involved one of its planes. ARCHIVE: FAA issues landmark rules on pilot fatigue (Dec. 21, 2011) Spokesmen for Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airways, which also have A330s, told the Daily Mail that the plane did not belong to them. The incident came to light as Balpa, the UK pilots’ association, is fighting proposed European changes to flight time regulations, the Guardian reports . The proposed rules would let pilots land an aircraft after having been awake for 22 hours, operate longer-haul flights with only two crew members vs. the current three, and work up to seven early shifts in a row. The CAA said today, according to the Guardian: “We understand that Balpa are not happy with the proposals but we think overall it is a good package and not much different to what we have now.” Pilot fatigue has also been a problem with U.S. carriers The Federal Aviation Administration approved a new rule in 2011 setting a 10-hour minimum rest period before a shift, a two-hour increase over the previous rule. It also mandated that a pilot get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep during those 10 hours. Flights more than eight hours long require a relief pilot to take over so pilots can rest.

Al Mansouri said the UAE was aspiring to see joint economic and investment partnership between the two countries evolve into new sectors of cooperation such as innovation. The UAE minister made the remarks during talks with Lord Green, UK Minister for Trade and Investment, focusing on progress of economic relations in areas of trade, investment, education as well as relations between businessmen in the two countries. He said the meeting provided an opportunity to review progress and achievements made in regards to what had been agreed upon in previous meetings of the joint UAE-UK economic committee, especially a review report prepared by the two countries. Statistics showed trade exchange in commodities and services rose in 2012 to 10.6 billion (Dh62.9 billion) from 9.7 billion in 2011, a growth of 9.3 per cent. Optimism The two sides expressed their optimism that if these results would persist on the same pace in 2013 and 2014, the two countries could meet the projected target of 12 billion in trade exchange. The two sides agreed to support efforts being made by the UAE-UK Business Council to promote joint investment. On education, the two sides agreed to activate the memorandum of understanding signed during the visit to the UK by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They also affirmed their desire to expand cooperation in area of standardisation and metrology. The UAE expressed interest in benefiting from the British expertise in to raise its standards to international best practices. The two sides also explored the possibility of concluding cooperation agreements in that respect. For his part, Lord Green indicated to the initiative his ministry launched for establishing business centres and incubators in promising markets including the UAE. He said the UK was planning to set two centres in the UAE to support joint investment and businesses.