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Thursday, July 31 2014 @ 09:30 AM EDT

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Copa Flight Crew Overcomes In-Flight Emergency (Panama to Argentina)

Cars & TransportationIncident: COPA B737 near Cordoba on Jan 12th 2011, engine shut down in flight, unsafe gear. By Simon Hradecky - A COPA Airlines Boeing 737-700, flight CM-463 (dep Jan 11th) from Panama City (Panama) to Cordoba,CD (Argentina) with 117 passengers, was on approach to Cordoba when the crew reported engine problems requiring them to shut an engine down. The crew subsequently also had to deal with an unsafe gear indication, but managed a safe landing about 30 minutes later. The return flight CM-464 was cancelled.

Editor's Comment: While serving in the US Air Force I spent a whole lot of time flying on different kinds of military aircraft as a crew member, C-130's, RC-135's, and AWACS primarily. There were any number of "in flight emergencies" (IFE) like these. The most memorable was a lightening strike off of the coast of Nicaragua somewhere in a C-130 that shut down three out of four engines, and the long-wire HF antenna detached from the front of the plant and wrapped around the vertical stabilizer. The flight crew managed to get us back to level flight from a dive, and then got two more engines restarted and we made it back home with #2 feathered. There's also a nighttime aerial refueling in an AWACS over the Caribbean somewhere that I still don't like to talk about - the pilot looked like he was 14 and he was shaking like a leaf. Anyway, things happen on airplanes, and fortunately for this flight crew they figured it out. Any landing you can walk away from, best kind.

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MOP Sets Use Schedule For Centennial Bridge

Cars & TransportationThe Centennial Bridge will be open today, Saturday 8 January 2011, from 5:30 am to 9:00 a.m. with traffic heading in to Panama City. Starting at 12:00 noon until 9:00 pm all traffic will flow from Panama City to the West and towards the interior of the country. The Ministry of Public Works reported that the Centennial Bridge will be closed completely on Sunday 9 January to all vehicular traffic, in order to facilitate repair work being done on the access road to the bridge. The bridge will reopen at 12:00 noon on Monday, 10 January 2011, with traffic flowing from the interior of the country towards Panama City, and will remain open until 9:00 pm. The MOP reiterated they are maintaining a restriction on the movements of trucks and heavy equipment - with regards to their use of the Bridge of the Americas. There is a restriction of movement in Morning Hours: 5:30 am to 8:00 am, and another restriction of movement in the afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. These provisions will remain in effect until further notice. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: Monday, 10 January 2011, is a national holiday. This year "Martyr's Day" - 9 January 2011 - falls on a Sunday so the holiday has been pushed to Monday. If you will notice in this article the Centennial Bridge will be reopened on Monday starting at 12:00 noon to help handle the flow of traffic and vehicles that will be returning to the city from the interior and the beaches.

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Woman Threatens Suicide By Jumping Off Of The Bridge of the Americas

Cars & TransportationA 55 year old woman threatened to commit suicide by jumping off of the Bridge of the Americas in protest because her son was arrested by units of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) for an undisclosed case. The incident caused a huge traffic jam on the bridge. The woman got out of a sedan on the bridge with a knife in her hand, saying that if her son was not released she would cut her own throat and also jump off of the bridge. Police officers arrived at the scene, who did everything they could, however the woman got back into her car and drove away. (La Critica)

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New 2011 License Plates Ready for January and February

Cars & TransportationOn Monday January 3, 2011 all municipalities in Panama will have in their respective headquarters the new vehicle license plates for the months of January and February, said Thursday Ricardo Fabrega, the Director of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority. Fabrega presented the final model of the new plates to the media. It is a simple white tin with a blue line, with the numbers visible. For 2011 there will be no drawings on the plates, which has been the tradition, and they will also have new security measures incorporated. He added that on January 3 they will be signing a resolution for the preparation of the license plates for 2012, in order to avoid delays. (Telemetro)

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Metro Bus Manager Downplays The Resignations Of Some Bus Drivers

Cars & Transportation Iván Posada, the chief executive of the company Mass Transit that is responsible for the operation of the new Metro Bus system, downplayed the resignations of some of their bus drivers, saying everyone is free to decide whether or not they want to work for this brand new system in Panama. Posada said some of these people are bus owners now, or they have outstanding bills to pay (traffic tickets), and those are issues over which the bus company has no influence. He said the Metro Bus system is in it for the long haul, at at the same time he made a call to fill 2,800 vacancies. "There's jobs," he said.

Already 180 drivers have been hired who attended training courses at the INADEH. Posada said those who are interested can go to the company headquarters in the Los Pueblos Mall, can telephone 293-5800, access their website, or send an email to quierotrabajar@mibus.pa for information on how to register.

Posada praised the conditions of the Metro Bus while minimizing the inconvenience that occurred in Balboa Avenue when a bus shut down. The bus shut down when a security device kicked in, because a door sensor prevented the bus engine from starting. He confirmed that since the Metro Bus system started operating there have been several minor and unimportant incidents. Currently there are 120 buses operating on routes that use the Southern Corridor. More buses will be arriving on 9 January 2011. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The new buses can carry about 80 passengers each - some 30 sitting and about 50 standing. They are designed to be able to handle more passengers during "peak" hours, when one bus can carry as many passengers as two of the old "Red Devil" buses. The government of Panama is smart to do a slow and orderly phase-in of this new system, and to take the old buses off of the streets one at a time. Within a year or so there won't be any of the old buses running around at all, and every bus in town will be these new Metro Bus units. This is a massive upgrade for the Panamanian mass transportation sector - a change that each of the last three presidents has tried to do and failed. Even if there are a few scraped knees and bloody noses along the way, I feel that overall this is a very good thing indeed. And, it's been a long time coming. But you already know what's going to happen, right? Eventually there will be an accident with one of these buses, and people who were standing will get hurt, and Martinelli will he held personally responsible (even if the driver is drunk or something like that.) Some kind of similar incident will occur - the details will vary but the overall scenario will be the same. Mark my words...

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Riders "Like Sardines In A Can" On The New Metro Bus System

Cars & TransportationPanama's new mass transportation system known as the "Metro Bus" started operations yesterday, starting with the routes of the Southern Corridor. The 70 articulated buses became the center of attention for both bus riders and reporters who lined up to buy tickets to ride on the system that promises to do away with the messy "Red Devil" buses, which until recently operated on that route. Those who had doubts saw workers occupying the buses at 4:00 am to start operations. The images showed a Metro bus full of people, to be exact 35 were seated and there were another 50 standing passengers (the maximum capacity of the bus). 'Like sardines in a can, we are traveling on this bus that is supposed to be comfortable, safe and reliable," said Isabel Rodriguez. Those who used the routes of Pedregal and Don Bosco were upset because they had to pay $1.25 to ride standing. Although the operating company Mass Transit Panama took its 70 buses to the streets, demand exceeded supply. Iván Posada, the manager of the operating company, said traveling while standing on a Metro Bus is an advantage, without explaining the virtues to which he referred.

NUISANCE AND DAMAGE - More than 100 people who were waiting to board a bus at the entrance of Pedregal had to wait hours to board just one bus. They had to pay as they boarded, and this delayed the process. The Minister of the Presidency, Jimmy Papadimitriu, said the cash payments will continue until next January, when the new e-card system will be implemented. Several adults traveled while standing, although there are seats that are supposed to be exclusively for them that were occupied by young people. Authorities said the users should reclaim the seats. At 8:15 am, one bus broke down when making its first trip. Papadimitriu, in defending the system, said it is still too early to launch criticisms. (El Siglo)

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130 New Metro Bus Units Start Rolling Today

Cars & Transportation Just a few hours after the first of the new Metro Buses started rolling through the streets of Panama, one of the new buses broke down in front of the Children's Hospital on Ave. Balboa. The apparent mechanical problem caused the bus to stop and remain stopped in front of the hospital, with the passengers waiting for it to continue on its way. Overcoming the problem, whose cause was not specified, the Metro Bus carried on.

Some 120 to 130 buses of the new Metro Bus system started to roll today on four routes using the Southern Corridor. The buses of the Metro Bus system were manufactured by Volvo of Switzerland and the upper part of the bus by the Colombian company Marco Polo. The company responsible for the Metro Bus system said the buses will be able to withstand the streets of Panama, full of drops and holes. (TVN Noticias)

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Access To The Centennial Bridge Will Be Redesigned

Cars & TransportationPanama's Minister of Public Works, Federico Suarez, said he has managed to stabilize the access to the Centennial Bridge that gave way during the recent torrential rains which caused the collapse of one of major slabs of the road. Suarez said this work being done ensure the stability of the roadway is maintained during the more extensive work that will be done later. He said that soon they would be announcing the details of the redesign of the structure of the roadway that leads to the bridge, a major construction project expected to begin in January 2011.

Suarez said the company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), which is responsible for the maintenance of the roadways leading to the Centennial bridge, had reported that the point where the roadway collapsed warranted a much deeper analysis. He added that inspections and audits are being conducted to determine what materials were used in the original construction of the project, and to determine if procedures were correctly performed. "We are performing an independent diagnosis of the views that have been offered by several professionals," Suarez said while at the same time he guaranteed that those who are responsible must cope with their responsibilities.

Roadway Washed Out - Access To The Centennial Bridge

An Operation To Control Vehicular Traffic and Flow - Realizing that they have to keep traffic running (even in peak hours), Suarez said during weekdays they will conduct an "operation" from 5:00 am to 9:00 am allowing traffic to flow from the West toward the center of Panama City. From 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, traffic will flow in the opposite direction - leaving Panama City and heading into the interior of the country towards La Chorrera. For this weekend, starting from tomorrow (Friday, 24 December) flow of traffic will be opened starting at 12:00 noon to allow traffic to leave the center of Panama City towards the West. For Saturday, December 25 the road will remain completely closed during the day to take advantage of Christmas and to get some work done. The bridge will reopen again at 12:00 noon on Sunday 26 December with traffic flowing back towards Panama City from the interior.

The Bridge of the Americas - Suarez said they are monitoring the crack that has opened up which has worried many drivers in the Western part from the center of the city. However he acknowledged that the Bridge of the Americas is a critical point for the flow of traffic, and any work to be done would have serious consequences for the flow of traffic. (Panama America)

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Crossed Up Traffic Signals - Driving in Panama City

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As I was driving through the neighborhood of Carrasquilla this morning, I ran into a "typical" situation - two conflicting traffic signals. At an intersection to turn left, one of the traffic signals displayed a red arrow, and the other a green arrow. All of the other vehicles were going through, and there was no apparent "common sense" reason to stop, so I just went through like everyone else. This is the kind of thing that happens frequently in Panama City, Panama. I'm still playing with my "Security Dash Cam" from PanaGuard.com and I used that camera to make this video. I just know that sooner or later this camera will capture something much more interesting than a couple of screwed up traffic signals - it's only a matter of time.

Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Implementation Of New Law On Minor Traffic Accidents Delayed

Cars & TransportationExecutive Decree Number 958 of 10 December 2010 which covers traffic accidents, due to come into effect on 15 December 2010, was suspended until 1 February 2011 to train drivers, insurance companies, and those who are involved in the issue. The delay was announced by Teofilo Moreno, the Deputy Commissioner of the Traffic Police, who explained that the implementation of the measure was postponed in order to teach drivers to make them aware of the measure. According to Moreno, between 60% and 80% of traffic accidents in Panama are minor, and they cause traffic jams, and therefore this new measure was created.

The decree, which regulates Law 21 of May 28, 2010 and which dictates new measures for minor traffic accidents on public roads, was changed. Among these changes are that in any vehicle involved in a vehicle collision, the driver should not only have a camera to gather evidence of the accident, and they should have a form and to fill it out and then wait for the officer of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT). At first, it was being said that drivers involved in minor traffic accidents should move their cars out of the roadway in order to avoid being fined $50, but now must collect evidence, complete the form, and wait for the traffic authorities in a place where they do not block traffic. Also, if drivers do not have a valid and current insurance policy they will be fined $100, and on the other hand if they have insurance but they don't have a copy of the policy in the car they will be fined $50 and the car will be impounded.

Insurance Companies Call for Clarity - The Vice President of MAPFRE Mundial Panama, Dino Mon, said they agreed with the decree, but this lacks regulation and it should be clarified before being implemented. He referred to a need to explain exactly what is a minor traffic accident, and who is going to define the term, while the drivers are waiting for the agent. In his view, the new law also fails to address those accidents caused by drunk drivers. (El Siglo)

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