Our latest episode of the Air, Land & Sea podcast is out. Fort Worth Star-Telegram aviation writer Andrea Ahles and I talk about the exploding popularity of drones and other unmanned aircraft. Also, Andrea gets a one-on-one chat with DFW Airport's CEO, and Gordon talks about sea life on the Texas coast.
While my lead talked about the concept of having a hot pizza delivered to your doorstep by a drone, and some people might scoff at that notion, I do think there is something to this technology. We essentially already have the know-how we need to deploy unmanned aircraft for whatever needs (and wants) we see fit. There are a few kinks. The machines need to be equipped with the ability to detect and avoid each other, and manned aicraft need the ability to do the same. But, to me, it seems the cost of overcoming those hurdles is minimal compared to the potential benefit. So wherever this trend goes, I think it would be wise for transportation writers such as myself to pay close attention.
Today, oil is the No. 1 source of fuel worldwide, followed by coal, which is the main fuel for generating electricity in the United States. But by 2040, natural gas will overtake coal as the No. 2 fuel, as transportation, power and other fuel users seek a cleaner alternative. They're also taking advantage of the relatively new fracking methods that have made natural gas abundant in regions such as the Fort Worth area's Barnett Shale.
Brrrr! Star-Telegram aviation writer Andrea Ahles and I are talking about the region's week-long saga with icy roads - an event now known as "Icemageddon" - on the latest Air, Land & Sea podcast. Andrea also talks about the now-official American Airlines/US Airways merger.
The winter storm is arriving a few hours early, and at 4:30 p.m. Thursday a steady stream of freezing rain pellets was falling in far north Fort Worth. A thick, slick coating of ice appears likely to greet us in the morning, and area residents should brace for nasty roads and school closures. (Yayyy!)
For those who ride public transportation or the Trinity Railway Express, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority advises that as it stands now all services are expecting to stick to a regular schedule tomorrow. TRE is using heaters to keep track switches and other important components functioning in sub-freezing temperatures, T spokeswoman Joan Hunter says.
The T is also revving up sanding trucks, to use on T bus routes, and also is making plans to use detours in certain areas if necessary.
Nonetheless, riders should be prepared for minor delays, just in case things are crawling in the mornin'.
A Metro-North commuter train that derailed Sunday in New York was traveling 82 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to several news reports, including this one from Newsday. The NTSB is zeroing in on what caused the apparently excessive speed - perhaps human or mechanical error.
Star-Telegram Colleague Bill Hanna wrote today about the possibility that North Texans will have an icy commute Friday morning as the latest batch of cold air and precipitation rolls in Thursday evening. With spring-like temperatures in the 70s this afternoon, it's hard to visualize a winter wonderland on its way. What do you think?
The Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy wrote a column this morning that encapsulates the confusion and frustration many area motorists are feeling about a checkpoint that was set up Friday to collect saliva and blood samples from passers-by. At the top of the column you'll see that Fort Worth's police chief has taken an apologetic stance on his officers' participation in this survey, which is being spearheaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.