Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coast Guard coordinating search for missing airplane

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center personnel are coordinating a search for a missing aircraft that did not arrive to Juneau International Airport Sunday.

Sector Juneau Command Center received a notice at 6:43 a.m. Sunday from Flight Service Station Juneau that an Anchorage-based brown, white and yellow Cessna 182 traveling from Hoonah did not make a scheduled check-in with the airport. The airplane with an unknown number of people aboard last made contact with airport control when they were 10 miles away from landing.

Sector Juneau directed the launch of a crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat – Small from Small Boat Station Juneau and a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to search for the missing plane. The Jayhawk crew was able to locate an electronic transmitting location beacon signal coming from the mountainside near Eagle Crest Ski Resort on Douglas Island, but was unable to see the missing aircraft and was forced to land due to adverse weather in the area.

Sector Juneau command center personnel are coordinating a ground response search effort in conjunction with the Alaska State Troopers, Juneau Mountain Rescue and the Sea Dogs K-9 rescue team. The Jayhawk helicopter crew will remain in Juneau on standby to assist the search and rescue efforts if weather allows.

Weather in the area is reported as low clouds with limited visibility and winds of more than 20 mph.


American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, N34299, Rays F Inc: Accident occurred Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Joseph Canyon, south of Corona, just outside Lake Elsinore, California

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA344
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Corona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: AMERICAN AVIATION AA-1A, registration: N34299
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Radar data revealed that the introductory instructional flight departed and proceeded toward mountainous terrain adjacent to the intended destination. As the airplane approached the foothills, it entered a series of turns. The radar data did not include altitude information, most likely because the altitude reporting mode of the airplane's transponder was inoperative. A witness, located in her residence near the accident site, observed the airplane flying unusually low along the ridgeline. The airplane then made an abrupt, swooping, and descending turn. As it began to roll out of the turn, the wings started to rock from side to side, and the airplane then immediately descended nose-down into the ground. The airplane did not appear to be trailing smoke or vapor, and the engine was producing a sound consistent with high power throughout the maneuver. 

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane struck the ground in a near vertical nose-down attitude. The impact attitude and the witness’s description of the rocking wings followed by an immediate nose-down descent both are consistent with an aerodynamic stall. Analysis of the radar data revealed that, in the final turn, the airplane was flying at a speed of about 77 knots with a turn radius of about 400 feet. To achieve the turn radius observed would have required a bank angle between 50 and 60 degrees with an associated increase in load factor that would have caused the airplane's stall speed to match or exceed its airspeed. The airplane's design was such that uncoordinated flight control input close to stall speed could result in an unrecoverable spin.

Examination of the airplane's structure, the majority of which was consumed by postaccident fire, and the engine, which sustained heavy thermal damage, did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
An aggressive flight maneuver performed by the pilot during low altitude flight, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


On July 23, 2011, at 1023 Pacific daylight time, an American Aviation AA-1A, N34299, collided with mountainous terrain near Corona, California. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damaged during the accident sequence, and was subsequently consumed by post impact fire. The local instructional flight departed Chino Airport, Chino, California, at 1015. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The CFI recently became an instructor for Duke's Flying Club (DFC). According to the Manager of DFC, the flight was an introductory lesson for the student pilot, with a destination of Lake Matthews, located about 15 miles southeast of Chino. He stated that the CFI had joined DFC in June 2011, and that this was his second flight with the club as an instructor.

A witness, located in her bedroom on the north side of her residence about 600 feet northeast of the accident site, was talking on the telephone when she heard an aircraft fly overhead. She stated that aircraft often fly in the area, but this sound was much louder, and appeared lower than usual. She became concerned, and ran outside to look for the aircraft. She looked to the west, towards the foothills, and observed an airplane flying from right to left just above the ridgeline. The airplane then made an abrupt, swooping, and descending left turn towards her position. She described the turn as extravagant, and similar to an aerobatic maneuver typically seen at air shows. As the airplane began to roll out of the turn, the wings started to rock from side to side. The airplane then immediately descended, nose-down into the ground. She stated that throughout the flight, including the descent, the airplane did not appear to be trailing smoke or vapors, and that the engine was producing a sound consistent with high power. She reported weather at the time of the accident to be calm winds and clear skies.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided radar and air traffic control audio data for the flight. The data revealed a target displaying a 1200 beacon code, and no altitude information, on a southeast track, departing Chino Airport airspace at 1018. The target continued on the same track for the next 2 minutes, traveling directly over Corona Municipal Airport. At 1023, the target began a left turn followed by a right turn, returning to a southbound track 50 seconds later. The target continued south for another minute. For the next 10 seconds, the target began a 50-degree turn to the left, followed 5 seconds later by a 90-degree right turn towards mountainous terrain. The wreckage was located about 200 feet east of this final radar return.

The audio data revealed that air traffic control personnel from Chino Tower were able to locate the airplane's primary radar target just after departure, but the target did not appear to be transmitting altitude information. During multiple radio communication exchanges, the pilot reported cycling the transponder, and ultimately switching it to non-altitude reporting mode. Tower personnel subsequently provided traffic advisories, and approved the pilot to change radio frequencies. During the exchange, the pilot reported that he was climbing through 1,800 feet to 2,500 feet. The last recorder transmission made by the pilot occurred about 5 minutes after takeoff, when he inadvertently transmitted his position to Corona Airport traffic utilizing the Chino Airport radio frequency.



The pilot’s flight records were not recovered, and assumed to have been destroyed by the post impact fire.

A review of FAA airman records revealed that the 18-year-old pilot was first issued a private pilot certificate with a glider rating in November 2008. He progressed to a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane, on January 24, 2011. On March 21, 2011, he was issued his CFI certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land.

According to his Airman Certificate/Rating applications, he had accrued a total of 301.2 hours flight experience at the time of the application for his commercial certificate, and 350 hours at the time of his application for a CFI certificate.

According to acquaintances of the pilot, all of his glider flight experience was in Civil Air Patrol aircraft. His experience with the Grumman AA-1A series of aircraft was limited to the prior instructional flight for DFC, and an introductory flight with the manager.

All of the pilot’s powered airplane check rides were conducted by the same FAA examiner.

The pilot held a first-class medical certificate issued on July 15, 2010. It had no limitations or waivers.

Student Pilot

A review of FAA airman records revealed that the 19-year-old pilot did not hold a combined student pilot/medical certificate, or any other rating. FAA regulations do not require that a pilot hold such a certificate during dual flight training.


The low-wing, two-seat airplane, serial number AA1A-0270, was manufactured in 1971. It was powered by a four-cylinder Lycoming O-235-C2C engine, serial number L-10639-15, and equipped with a fixed pitch McCauley metal propeller.

A review of airframe and engine maintenance logbooks revealed that the airplane had undergone an annual inspection, which was completed the day prior to the accident. At that time, the airplane had accrued a total of 6,545.02 flight hours, with the engine accumulating a total of 1,652.32 hours since its overhaul in 2003.


An automated surface weather observation at Corona Airport (elevation 533 feet msl, 5 miles northwest of the accident site) was issued 27 minutes prior to the accident. It indicated variable wind at 3 knots; 5 miles visibility in haze, with clear skies; temperature of 21 degrees C; dew point 14 degrees C; and an altimeter setting at 29.95 inches of mercury.


The airplane wreckage was located in the foothills adjacent to the northern region of the Cleveland National Forest, about 10 miles south-southeast of Chino Airport, and 7 miles west of Lake Matthews. The accident site was on a 15-degree northeast-facing slope, at the 1,500-foot level. The terrain was comprised of waist-high scrub brush, interspersed with trees ranging in height from 10-30 feet.

From the wreckage location, the terrain rose to the 4,007-foot peak of Mount Pleasant, located about 2.5 miles to the west. The mountain range continued further 8 miles southeast, where it reached a maximum elevation of 5,720 feet at Santiago Peak.

The first identified point of impact consisted of a ground disruption in soft dirt, which contained the propeller, a section of engine cowling, and fragments of the engine flywheel, canopy frame, and clear Plexiglas. Both propeller blades sustained chordwise scoring, and remained attached to the hub. The composite propeller spinner was fragmented, with the spinner plate formed around the front and rear surfaces of both blades opposite the direction of rotation. One blade was curled aft, about 90 degrees from the root. The second blade sustained about 15 degrees of tip twist.

The engine and nose landing gear structure was separated from the fuselage, and located about 20 feet downhill from the propeller.

The main wreckage was located 15 feet downhill, and consisted of the primary fuselage structure, tail section, and both wings. The entire structure was thermally destroyed, with only partial ash remnants of the wings, control surfaces, and fuselage structure remaining. Both wing spars came to rest on an east-west heading, and remained partially attached to the landing gear struts, and cabin seats. Burnt remnants of the cabin controls, tailcone, and empennage were located underneath the wing spar center section. The rudder control cable was continuous from the rudder horns, through to the foot pedals.

The remaining wreckage consisted of fragmented and dispersed sections of the control yokes, foot pedals, and flight instruments, all of which remained within the immediate vicinity of the accident site.

No impact damage or witness marks were noted to any of the trees surrounding the wreckage area. The ensuing post-accident fire burned about 1 acre of land, to the northwest of the accident site.


The County of Riverside Sheriff-Coroner conducted a postmortem examination of both pilots. The cause of death was reported as the effect of multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.

Toxicological specimens from the pilots were recovered by the Coroner, and tested by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). Analysis revealed no findings for carbon monoxide, or cyanide for the CFI, with negative results for all screened drug substances and ingested alcohol. Analysis of samples collected from the student pilot revealed similar negative findings for cyanide and ingested alcohol, with 2.711 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in blood. The specimens recovered were unsuitable for carbon monoxide analysis.

According to CAMI, Acetaminophen, a common over the counter analgesic/antipyretic, has a therapeutic low and high of 5.0 and 50.0 ug/ml, respectively.

Refer to the toxicology report included in the docket for specific test parameters and results.



The airplane was examined subsequent to the removal of the wreckage. The engine sustained extensive thermal damage, and all ancillary hoses, cables, and lines were destroyed. The aft sections of both magnetos and the carburetor bowl had melted. The forward engine case was bent, impinging the crankshaft at the forward bearing. The propeller crankshaft flange remained attached, with a section of its plate surface torn aft and away from the crankshaft. The top spark plugs were removed, and exhibited black sooting consistent with postaccident thermal damage. Plugs one, two, and three exhibited wear signatures consistent with normal operation when compared to the Champion AV-27 check-a-plug chart. Plug three exhibited worn out - normal signatures.

The engine cylinder heads were examined through the spark plug holes utilizing a borescope. The piston crowns and valves all exhibited grey deposits with black sooting. No valve-to-piston head piston contact, or other mechanical damage, was observed. Damage to the forward crankshaft and engine casing precluded rotation of the engine's drive train. Removal of the rocker covers revealed all springs and rockers to be oil wet.

No evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction was noted during the examination of the recovered engine, a detailed engine report is contained within the public docket.


Radar data indicated that the airplane's groundspeed as it approached the final turn was about 96 knots, reducing to 77 knots during the turn, the radius of which was about 400 feet. Referencing Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators (NAVWEPS 00-80T-80), Figure 2.29, General Turning Performance (Constant Altitude, Steady Turn), the airplane's angle of bank would have been between 50 and 60 degrees.

According to the Flight Manual, applicable to this series of airplane, the stall speed at a bank angle of 60 degrees, maximum gross weight, and forward center of gravity loading, was 79 knots calibrated airspeed with the flaps up, and 75 knots with the flaps down. The airplane's flap position at the time of the accident could not be determined.

The manual further states, "Avoid uncoordinated use of the controls at the stalling speed as this may result in s spin. SPINS ARE PROHIBITED...There is evidence that permitting a spin to go beyond one turn without initiating proper recovery procedures can allow a spin mode to develop from which recovery is not possible."

Firefighters work to extinguish flames from a single-engine plane crash in Joseph Canyon.

Riverside County coroner's investigators were working Sunday to confirm the names of the two men who died when a single-engine plane crashed in Joseph Canyon.

The plane, initially believed to be Cessna, was later identified as a two-seater, high-wing Taylorcraft BC-12D, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. Little identifying information could be recovered from the fiery crash, which occurred about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Witnesses reported hearing the engine rev and seeing the plane go down, but who what went wrong was unknown. National Transportation Safety Board investigators are in charge of the probe.

One resident said the plane crashed on a level hillside, with the wreckage was all within a short distance.

A coroner's spokesman confirmed that both victims were male, but he declined to name them until they could be positively identified via dental records or some other method.

It was unclear where the plane took off, or if the pilot tried to make radio contact with an area airport tower before the accident.

A wildfire started by the crash, on the edge of the Cleveland National Forest, was put out before it caused any damage.

Museum acquires military aircraft from the ’50s

John Rennison/The Hamilton Spectator
Jim Van Dyk, chief engineer, left, Chris Holden, centre, and Mike Morley look over the remains of a Cessna plane that was used for observation by the U.S. air force.

Almost 50 twisted pieces of a crashed light aircraft from the 1950s lie like a jigsaw in the corner of the hangar at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

It may seem hard to imagine that the shattered Cessna L-19 Bird Dog will one day be restored and fly again from Hamilton, says CEO Dave Rohrer.

But that is exactly what will happen after a few years of painstaking reconstruction to the museum’s latest acquisition, which arrived this week.

“It is like a puzzle,” Rohrer says. “But a lot of the people who work on restoring these aircraft solved jigsaws and enjoy it.”

Chief Engineer Jim Van Dyk says he and museum volunteers, many of them former aircraft mechanics, are eager to get started on the wreck of this Bird Dog, one of about 3,500 built from 1950.

The planes were used as artillery spotters and general liaison aircraft, primarily as observation platforms for checking the accuracy of the Army’s self-propelled howitzers.

They were flown in small numbers in Korea, but widely used early in the Vietnam War, when the U.S. military operated them in Forward Air Control and observation roles.

The Canadian military bought 17 of them in 1954. Bird Dogs were replaced in 1973 by the Bell Kowa helicopter, but some remained in service as tow planes for the Royal Canadian Air Cadet League’s glider training program.

The museum’s new plane had been owned privately. It was damaged in a landing accident, stored for several years, then trucked in from Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday.

Van Dyk said the museum plans to make a display of the restoration’s progress.

“A lot of visitors don’t realize what we start with,” he said. “We don’t just fly (old) planes, we’re in the business of restoring them and people should see what that involves.”

Van Dyk said it’s not possible to determine yet how much it will cost, or how much time will be needed, to bring the Bird Dog to flight worthiness.

“It could take two to three years, or up to five or six. It’s very labour intensive.”

The plane will eventually be placed in the museum’s ride program, a system that makes about 1,900 members eligible to pilot aircraft housed in the facility’s giant hangar.

“This will be very popular because it was an observation plane and that means you’ll get a good view,” Rohrer said.

Budget airline IndiGo to connect the Emirates with New Delhi and Mumbai

DUBAI // A low-cost Indian airline will soon give passengers more travel options between the Emirates and the subcontinent.

The no-frills carrier IndiGo promises "significantly cheaper" daily travel between Dubai and New Delhi, and Dubai and Mumbai.

The flights between Dubai and New Delhi will begin in September and those connecting Mumbai a month later. Initial fares will be about Dh810.

"This is our first foray in the Middle East," Aditya Ghosh, the president of IndiGo, said yesterday in Dubai."For a lot of people who travel from this part to India, every dirham counts. People work very hard here and should not be paying exorbitant prices for a three-hour leg."

IndiGo is the second no-frills Indian airline and the fourth low-cost carrier between the two countries. Air India Express, flydubai and Air Arabia fly between the UAE and different Indian cities.

Customers, who will be allowed up to 30kg in luggage and up to 8kg in hand baggage, will pay for in-flight food.

Mr Ghosh called for more low-cost airlines between the Emirates and India.

"There should be always more choices," he said.

IndiGo officials did not rule out connecting other emirates, including Ras al Khaimah, with India in the future. Indian expatriates from RAK recently requested flights home from the emirate, rather than having to travel to Sharjah or Dubai.

"We would love to fly from Ras al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi," said Mr Ghosh, but he stressed that increasing operations between Dubai and other Indian cities was the five-year-old airline's priority.

The 42-plane airline, which calls itself India's youngest and second-largest, will also start operations to Trivandrum and Kochi in the south, and Kolkata in the east of India by the end of this year.

Officials assured customers that fares will remain cheap.

The carrier will also connect Muscat with the subcontinent from October.

Singapore and Bangkok are IndiGo's other international routes.


Man Dies In Helicopter Crash In Cornwall (UK)

A helicopter has crashed in a field in North Cornwall, killing its pilot.

The aircraft came down at about 15:30 BST near Bude. Police are not yet sure if anyone else was on board.

The pilot is believed to be a man in his 40s and from the Bristol area. Police said his next of kin had been informed.

Following the crash the electricity supply to about 300 customers was cut off but the helicopter did not hit the power lines.

Caught fire

It is understood Western Power was asked to "disengage" the lines while emergency services attended the scene. Supplies have since been restored.

The helicopter caught fire when it crashed and was put out by firefighters from Cornwall Fire Service.

"The helicopter was privately owned and came down in a field about five miles from Bude between Marhamchurch and Week St Mary," a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said.

"It is a very isolated area with no roads nearby for reference.

"We are still up there now investigating the scene and trying to establish exactly what happened."

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has been told and is on the way to assist police.

In Georgia, 330 FAA workers to stay home for now

ATLANTA -- More than 330 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration in Georgia will not go to work Monday after federal lawmakers failed to avert a shutdown of the agency.

Officials say that means about $17 million in FAA grant money won't be handed out to airports across the state and the federal airline ticket tax will be suspended temporarily.

On Friday, federal lawmakers couldn't agree on a bill extending the operating authority of the FAA. Republicans in the House wanted to cut $16.5 million in subsidies to rural communities, while Democrats refused to accept a bill without the money.

Overall, 4,000 FAA employees will be temporarily out of work.

Obama administration officials have said the shutdown will not affect air safety. Air traffic controllers will remain on the job.

Air cargo was seen as Toledo Express' bedrock business: Finding new carrier may be hard

During most of the precipitous seven-year decline that afflicted passenger travel at Toledo Express Airport starting in 2005, the air cargo side of the airport's business was portrayed as its bedrock -- that even if remaining passenger flights disappeared, there would always be a cargo niche.

That vision of stability crashed with a thud during the wee hours Friday, when DB Schenker notified employees at its BAX Global Inc. subsidiary and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority that it planned to shut down the Toledo Express cargo hub, eliminating about 700 part-time and full-time jobs and shutting off a stream of about $2 million in annual revenue to the agency operating the airport.

Addressing the port authority board of directors' airports committee later Friday morning, port President Paul Toth described the BAX shutdown as a business decision completely beyond the agency's control and one that Schenker made despite a vigorous lobbying effort by port staff and Mayor Mike Bell to try to save the operation.

Mr. Toth promised to seek whatever opportunities there might be to land a new tenant or tenants at the port-owned hub facilities, for which the authority will still owe $9.8 million in bonded debt when BAX's lease expires in two years.

The BAX shutdown, which will include lease cancellations for the company's air freighter fleet, will take 1.2 million pounds of air-cargo capacity out of the market, Mr. Toth said, "and we will try to position Toledo Express to fill that void in some way, shape, or form."

"Our No. 1 choice would be something that would use airplanes, would use the airport," the port president said.

But if a trucking company were interested in the facility, as recently occurred with a vacant former Emery Air Freight hub in Dayton, that would be welcome in Toledo too, he said.

In the meantime, the port authority has to cope with the near-immediate loss of about $1.25 million in landing fees and $66,000 in fuel-flowage fees BAX has paid annually from its Toledo operations. Lease payments that have serviced the agency's cargo-hub construction debt since 1991 expire in 2013.

Port authority effects

Carla Firestone Nowak, the port authority's spokesman, said it was too soon to know how losing 20 percent of its roughly $10 million budget will affect agency operations or employment.

Mr. Toth said that he believed that the blow would be softened because the port authority has been diversifying its operations -- most recently by taking over the city of Toledo's parking management operations -- and business at the Port of Toledo has grown.

He also said it was too soon to know how the BAX hub shutdown would affect international cargo flights that have flown there, especially in recent years. Although overseas cargo had been a centerpiece of port authority efforts to retain the BAX operation, it accounted for only about 10 percent of current activity, Mr. Toth said.

The port president said he did not believe BAX's closing would significantly affect other on-airport businesses, and the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing base would be enough to maintain Toledo Express's services.

"Nobody has to worry about the airport closing down," Mr. Toth said. "We have a very vibrant Air National Guard out there with 400 to 500 employees."

A major catch

Port authority member Jerry Chabler Port authority member Jerry Chabler THE BLADE Enlarge | Photo Reprints

The 1991 arrival of what was then Burlington Air Express at Toledo Express consummated what was considered at the time to have been a major economic development coup.

Air cargo was an annual $10 billion industry, concentrated in the Midwest, and Toledo had vied with 17 other cities to bring the Burlington hub, previously operated in makeshift facilities in Fort Wayne, Ind., to its airport.

Local officials rolled out the red carpet for Burlington after its choice. The port authority took out a full-page ad in The Blade welcoming the company and touting the 850 jobs it was expected to bring.

The port authority issued $30.8 million in bonds, adding to federal and state loans and contributions from Lucas County and the city of Toledo, to finance the cargo-hub building, a runway extension, and other improvements intended to accommodate its big new tenant. The company signed a 23-year lease with the port authority, revenue from which was dedicated to paying off the bonds.

The project met opposition from a group of well-funded activists, homeowners near the airport who feared noise from jets roaring overhead in the middle of the night.

Swanton Township filed a lawsuit to halt the project. There were also delays resulting from environmental concerns and hang-ups with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Still, a majority of Toledo residents and public officials supported the project. A University of Toledo study found it would boost the local economy by $17 million to $25 million a year.

Burlington began operations on Sept. 4, 1991, two days after Labor Day, with 800 employees, capability to sort 1.4 millions of cargo a shift, and service to customers in 130 cities throughout the United States.

Flights came in throughout the late-evening and earlymorning hours, then took off with outbound cargo before and during daybreak.

As recently as September, 2009, the hub employed a reported 849 people, 276 of them full time.

The neighboring homeowners' noise-related lawsuits were settled primarily with federally funded property buyouts or, in some cases, the installation of noise-reducing insulation, doors, and windows in their houses, also at public expense.

But after its late-1990s aviation peak, when as many as 44 aircraft visited the hub on Monday through Friday nights, Burlington/BAX Global began drifting away from the strict hub model. It would fly some cargo direct from one outlying city to another if there was enough volume to support such service.

Signs of trouble

A consultant says it ‘is not going to be easy’ for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to find another company that could replace BAX Global at Toledo Express Airport. A consultant says it ‘is not going to be easy’ for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to find another company that could replace BAX Global at Toledo Express Airport. THE BLADE Enlarge | Photo Reprints

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and then as fuel prices shot skyward later, the company increasingly turned to trucking for cargo delivery, particularly in traffic lanes for which truck service was time-competitive with flying freight to Toledo, sorting it, and sending it back out.

Domestic air cargo in general nosedived when the U.S. economy entered a sharp recession in 2008 for several reasons. They included the tailspin's particularly severe impact on the auto industry -- until then a major air-cargo customer sector -- and other customers' cost-cutting reliance on less costly modes such as trucking and, for overseas transport, ships.

Early in 2009, DHL, owned by Deutsche Post, shut down its massive cargo hub and distribution center in Wilmington, Ohio, eliminating 7,000 jobs. DHL had previously closed cargo facilities at the Cincinnati airport after merging its operations with those of Airborne Express, which it bought in 2003. The 2007 bankruptcy of Kitty Hawk, another air-cargo carrier, left vacant a hub facility in Fort Wayne.

Chris Ferrell, the co-author of a report issued last month on transportation trends, said many freight shippers simply haven't come back to air cargo since then even though their business is improving.

Since 2009, the Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium report showed, air cargo's share of the logistics industry has plunged to 5 percent from 14 percent, while trucking, rail, parcel shipment, and intermodal transport -- typically truck-rail, ship-rail, or ship-rail-truck -- all have grown.

Toledo officials had hoped to support a transition of the BAX Global hub from a domestic sorting facility to a center for international air-freight shipments and trucking.

The port authority in 2009 arranged for $6.2 million in federal and state grants and loans to pay for a customs-inspection building, truck transfer center, and maintenance facility at the Toledo hub. BAX Global, by then owned by the German logistics giant Schenker, agreed to kick in $1 million for the project.

But when designs were finished and it was time to bid out construction contracts six months ago, the company put everything on hold, Mr. Toth recalled Friday.

Dealing with the loss

"We thought we were moving in the right direction by gathering up 6.2 million in state and federal dollars," he said. "But the economy never caught up."

"I know this board and the community leaders are going to do everything they can to replace the business," said Jerry Chabler, chairman of the port authority's airports committee.

"It's a setback, no question about it," committee member James Tuschman said. "It is not fatal, and we're going to deal with it."

Michael Boyd, a Denver-based air industry consultant and analyst, said that in the current air-freight market, it "is not going to be easy" for the port authority to find candidates to replace BAX Global at the Toledo hub.

"There is no shortage of air freight facilities in America," he said. "There is a lot of competition for air capacity."

Toledo is at least in better shape, Mr. Boyd said, than cities such as St. Louis, whose leaders believe they can develop air-freight business when they don't even have hub facilities.

"Toledo is built and ready. Toledo is not a pipe dream. But neither is Wilmington. Neither is Fort Wayne," Mr. Boyd said, referring to the shuttered hubs in those cities.

At the very least, Mr. Toth is confident that the port authority can absorb the debt service after 2013 if the cargo hub remains empty.

The agency restructured the bonds so that the balance can be paid off until 2032, instead of the original 2016, and $3 million is in reserve as protection, he said.


Canadian Army used unarmed plane for flights over Kandahar: reports

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The loss of a not-so secret base in Dubai last year forced the Canadian military to use its unarmed Airbus planes for flights into Kandahar Airfield during the final phase of the combat mission, ministerial briefing notes say.

“Pressures imposed by the closure of Camp Mirage and the need to maximize flexibility in providing strategic airlift to support OP Athena have culminated in the (censored) using C-150 flights in KAF,” said a Nov. 1, 2010, briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

The Canadian military designates its Airbus passenger jets as the CC-150 Polaris but often refers to it simply as the C-150.

The air force initially certified the Airbus aircraft to fly into the war zone in 2007. But their use, according to the documents, was considered a “last resort” and a “calculated risk” by commanders on the ground.

The planes were given two trial runs into Kandahar in August and September last year, before Canada was evicted from Camp Mirage in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Their further use was to be approved by the commander of the 1st Canadian Air Division “on a case-by-case basis,” said the documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

The air force has five Airbus aircraft. There were plans to use them sporadically during the recently completed withdrawal of combat troops from Kandahar. The time-honoured practice through much of the mission had been to use them to fly between Canada and Dubai.

Once in Dubai, soldiers and even VIPs would switch to a rugged turboprop C-130 Hercules transport for the two-hour flight into Kandahar. The Airbus planes do not have a defensive suite to deflect incoming missiles and are generally considered a civilian aircraft not suited for a war zone.

An air force official who spoke on background said the C-150 was always considered a “back-pocket capability” to be used only when necessary.

The closure of Camp Mirage following a diplomatic spat with the U.A.E. over commercial landing rights proved to be one of those occasions.

The airbase was a critical logistics and supply point for Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, and the loss of its use complicated the military withdrawal as the combat mission was coming to an end.

As a stopgap, the military routed Canadian flights through Cyprus.

Use of the Airbus planes was considered sensitive enough to be the subject for two briefing notes for MacKay in 2010, and for the chief of defence staff to ask for the minister’s permission to use them to bring home the Task Force Kandahar headquarters unit last fall.

Officials told MacKay the threat and risk situation was “stable.”

The scramble to get out of Camp Mirage put a strain on the air force as almost nine years worth of equipment was packed up in a hurry and flown out, according to the records.

Relations between Canada and the U.A.E. have remained frosty. Canadian visitors face the imposition of visas costing between $200 and $1,000.

A few weeks ago, the Conservative government inked an agreement with Kuwait to establish a replacement staging area.

Brig.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, in charge of the Kandahar withdrawal, says the arrangement will ease some of the transport strain. It may help the military get everything out of Kandahar before the December deadline set by Parliament, depending upon how quickly the packing and sorting can be done.

“It’s closer,” Lamarre said in a recent interview. “If by chance the production lines can surge ahead a little, certainly that advantage in transportation will be to our advantage.”

Not having to fly to Cyprus means the air force could potentially lay on more than the 18 C-17 cargo flights it had planned.

The military is flying out sensitive equipment and vehicles, and loading them onto a container ship for the trip back to Canada.

Skydiver Killed After Hard Landing On Water

POLK COUNTY, Ga. -- An Alpharetta man is dead after a hard landing on water from a skydiving jump.

Family members told Channel 2 Action News Rodrigo Bianchini, 41, was killed after police said he was experimenting with a prototype parachute and tried to land on a pond in Polk County.

Police said he was attempting to skim across the top of the water until he reached dry land, but when he landed he went face-first into the water and was killed from the impact.

Polk County police said they are treating the death as an accident.

Bianchini was an experienced skydiver with more than 5,000 jumps to his credit.

Police said Bianchini was an instructor with a skydiving facility called Skydive The Farm.