Dr. Anil Menon, M.D. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has already had a distinguished career in the Air Force, including service as ground Flight Surgeon for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Now, he can add Astronaut Candidate to the list.
Among the other announced candidates this year, Dr. Andre Douglas, Ph. D. is also no stranger to the Midwest: In 2012, while serving in the US Coast Guard, he graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
The role of astronaut has changed considerably since the heroic era of the 1960s, when the peak crop of the nation’s test pilot schools were raided for jack-of-all-trades. Though still versatile and trained for everything, in orbit, a particular astronaut will have Command, Pilot, or Mission Specialist duties. Some astronauts never fly into space, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. The NASA Astronaut Corps, based at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is a vast talent pool frequently tapped to play important roles as program managers and consultants for NASA and other important engineering efforts. All receive basic pilot training and frequently get loggable hours in a variety of aircraft.
NASA’s selection of just 10 astronauts shows the constraints on the position. With Crew Dragon fully operational, and other options like Starship and Starliner close to coming online, NASA’s agenda is now limited more by budget than rocket hardware for possibly the first time since Skylab.
With the continued bustle of activity in the private space sector, Menon’s participation in SpaceX flights is a reminder that the day may quickly come when NASA can select an astronaut candidate who has already flown to space.
Vaccines are widely available in the US and Canada for walk-in service at medical providers and pharmacies. Many areas are still operating dedicated immunization clinics. Vaccines are safe and effective, including against the omicron variant of concern.
Canada border crossings reopened to vaccinated and tested Americans on 9 August 2021. Testing is required within 72 hours of arrival and must be presented through the ArriveCAN online system. Only PCR tests are accepted.
US border crossings reopened to vaccinated Canadians on 8 November. Proof of vaccination is required. A “mixed dose” of US or WHO approved vaccines are acceptable. COVID testing is not required for entry to the US by land, but is still required for air travel.
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At 0230Z 03 Feb 2021, SkyWest 4472 landed in Winnipeg, closing the book on international flights to YWG during the pandemic. Later in the day on 03 February, new restrictions by the government of Canada took effect in order to limit the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19.
The move echoes Canada’s measures earlier in the pandemic that limited most overseas passengers to landing in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montréal. US flights, though not originally limited in the same way, were still rapidly dropped as US carriers reduced service. With the new measures in force, US flights cannot return to Regina or Saskatoon for the forseeable future.
Alberta’s measures to contain the virus now include up to 24 days of quarantine, with 14 days of quarantine for everyone in the household, following 10 days of home isolation for any confirmed positive case. Measures are even stricter at Calgary Airport, with all arriving passengers getting an additional COVID test, a police escort to a quarantine hotel for at least 3 days of isolation, a $2000 fee, and only then, if released, entering into a 14+ day home quarantine.
Here is a list of recent aviation safety incidents in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northwest Ontario that were reported to the Transportation Safety Board through 15 August 2020:
17 Jul 2020 – C-FHBS gear up landing at Olds-Didsbury AB 17 Jul 2020 – C-GDUK load jettison near Slave Lake AB 18 Jul 2020 – C-GUSD emergency landing near Winnipeg-St.Andrews 21 Jul 2020 – C-FFVS load jettison north of Red Lake ON 21 Jul 2020 – C-FVIY landing gear issue at Lethbridge 21 Jul 2020 – C-GQNS wire strike at Medstead SK 23 Jul 2020 – C-GRGO equipment failure near Calgary 24 Jul 2020 – C-FBRG damaged on landing at Chapleau ON 27 Jul 2020 – C-GEDF damaged on takeoff near Calmar AB 28 Jul 2020 – N370JA, N53134 loss of separation at Fort McMurray 29 Jul 2020 – AMT200 gear up landing at Regina 30 Jul 2020 – Learjet bird strike on takeoff at Thunder Bay 31 Jul 2020 – C-GKGA cowling separation incident at Regina 01 Aug 2020 – C-FSCT damaged on landing near Sault Ste. Marie ON 04 Aug 2020 – C-FCJZ icing incident at Regina 04 Aug 2020 – C-FHZB damaged on landing at Springbank AB 04 Aug 2020 – C-FSPN control issues at Leaf Rapids ON 04 Aug 2020 – C-GKIB damaged on landing at CFR7 (AB) 08 Aug 2020 – C-GQIF fuel spill at Estevan 11 Aug 2020 – C-FAJR hit by drone at Winnipeg-St.Andrews
Here is a list of recent aviation safety incidents in the Dakotas, Iowa, upper and western Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as reported to the Federal Aviation Administration through 14 August 2020:
17 Jul 2020 – N1962N damaged on landing at Osceola WI 20 Jul 2020 – N47T gear up landing at Burlington WI 20 Jul 2020 – N570WH wire strike near Dickeyville WI 21 Jul 2020 – N208MP damaged on landing at Thompson Falls MT 21 Jul 2020 – N2943C damaged on landing at Cambridge MN 25 Jul 2020 – N327WB crashed near Imperial NE 25 Jul 2020 – N502KJ fatal crash near Grant NE 27 Jul 2020 – N9278G emergency landing at Hartington NE 27 Jul 2020 – N53163 fatal crash near Corsica SD 27 Jul 2020 – N570WH collision on landing at Dakota WI 27 Jul 2020 – N771GB emergency landing at Hebron NE 29 Jul 2020 – N22709 emergency landing near Watertown SD 30 Jul 2020 – N4388T emergency landing near Powell WY 30 Jul 2020 – N337V fatal crash in Madison County MT 31 Jul 2020 – N16810 wire strike at Hubbard NE 01 Aug 2020 – N58B emergency landing near Helena 03 Aug 2020 – N45303 downdraft crash near Jackson Hole 03 Aug 2020 – N185GK runway excursion on landing at Kalispell 03 Aug 2020 – N67CD gear up landing at Sioux City 08 Aug 2020 – N5580W runway excursion on landing at Sparta WI 09 Aug 2020 – N89LA crashed near Logan IA 09 Aug 2020 – N6849B crashed in residential area near Burlington WI 10 Aug 2020 – N298WY crashed near Grover WY 12 Aug 2020 – N6299R emergency landing at Mosinee WI
On 17 August 2020, a major party convention started a week of events in Milwaukee. Due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the character of the event was changed to emphasize a 2020 that has become a national test on the boundaries of networked telepresence, though a smaller list of dignitaries have still flown in for local events at the Wisconsin Center.
Meanwhile, another major party candidate for president of the United States flew through Minnesota and Wisconsin, speaking on the tarmac at Minneapolis, and at FBOs in Mankato and Oshkosh.
United Express regional airline ExpressJet is shutting down. The metro Atlanta-based airline announced the move in an e-mail notice to staff on 30 July 2020. Most ExpressJet staff have already been laid off, and have now lost their jobs.
CommutAir, another United Express regional airline based in metro Cleveland, will now operate the aircraft and destinations previously used by ExpressJet.
The move affects the United Airlines network at all remaining ExpressJet destinations, including Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Peoria. In October 2019, before the pandemic reduced demand for airline tickets, ExpressJet was serving Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fargo, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Lincoln, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, Peoria, Rochester, and Winnipeg.