Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Air Canada plane lands safely after smoke detected

All passengers aboard an Air Canada plane that was forced to make an emergency landing in Australia are safe, after smoke was detected on the flight.

Flight AC34, a Boeing 777, landed safely in Sydney. It was en route to Vancouver and Toronto.

The plane returned to Sydney "as a precautionary measure due to the odor of smoke in the aft galley," a spokesperson for the airline told in a statement.

"Landing was normal, without incident, and the aircraft taxied back to the gate on its own power," the statement continued. "As maintenance is still examining aircraft, we can't speculate on cause."

The flight, which was carrying 262 passengers, reportedly dumped fuel as it flew over Australia.

The plane left Sydney Airport at 10:25 a.m. local time and was met with emergency crews on the tarmac at 12:05 p.m.

LVIA: Make us an offer. Hoping to raise money to pay its court debt, the airport is taking offers for its land. Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania.

For Sale: Prime real estate, close to the airport. Motivated seller.

That's the message coming from Lehigh Valley International Airport this week. Bowing under the weight of a $16 million court debt, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has decided to begin fielding offers for some of its land.

A real estate committee the authority created Tuesday will review any offers that can help the airport raise enough money to pay its massive court debt.

It doesn't mean the airport is about to conduct a fire sale, said board Chairman David Haines. But for developers who have had their eyes on any of the airport's 2,600 acres straddling Lehigh and Northampton counties, the authority for the first time is listening.
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So, if you're in the market for a 10,000-foot runway capable of landing a jumbo jet, the officials are almost certainly not interested. But if you want several hundred acres of expensive farmland to the north, they're all ears.

And if you have your eye on Queen City Airport in south Allentown, well, that's probably going to be open for heated debate.

"Some board members, including myself, have been receiving informal inquiries from brokers with interest in some of our property," Haines said. "What we've done is establish a way to review those offers."

The move comes two weeks after a Lehigh County Court master recommended LVIA pay the remaining $16 million it owes on a $26 million court judgment in the next four years. The judgment came during a 15-year court battle in which a judge ruled that in the mid-1990s the airport took 632 acres of development land from investors called WBF Associates.

The airport agreed last year to pay $10.4 million to one of the investors, but that left $16 million that Court Master Malcolm Gross says should be paid by the end of 2015. The problem with that, say authority board members, is under Gross' suggested schedule, the payment jumps to $5 million in Year 3, and more than $6 million in Year 4. That's money the airport simply doesn't have, and probably won't have unless it raises cash soon.

The authority had taken bids from companies that would have reviewed the airport's assets and determined which could be sold, but the study was nixed because the $300,000 to $400,000 the companies were demanding was too high.

That puts the job in the lap of the newly formed real estate committee. Ironically, the land Haines said he most wants to sell is the very WBF land the airport was forced to pay $26 million for taking. Airport appraisers say the property could probably fetch only about $8 million, but that would be enough to pay much of the bills for Years 3 and 4 of the repayment plan.

"The court master strongly suggested we look to sell the surplus WBF land," said Haines, who is on the six-member committee. "And the inquiries I've gotten focus specifically on that property."

Still, the real estate committee's charge is to review all offers. An authority board member, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, said he intends to use that opening to renew his plea that the airport sell all or a portion of the 210-acre Queen City Airport. Located along Interstate 78, it's the authority's most valuable property, and Pawlowski believes it could not only stabilize LVIA's shaky finances, but open Allentown to new development.

Haines contends Queen City is a key factor in keeping private planes off the main airport and has too many federal restrictions blocking its sale. Pawlowski disagrees, saying if authority board members don't at least consider it, they're shirking their fiduciary responsibilities.

"I definitely think this opens the door to talking about Queen City again," Pawlowski said. "You better believe I'm going to bring it up. We have a secondary asset that is not core to the running of the main airport. We should all be talking about whether we should be selling it."

The debate on what to sell will come later, but Haines is certain there will be interested parties. The reason for his optimism is that for the first time, real estate brokers can get paid to bring investors to the airport.

As part of creating the real estate committee, the authority agreed to pay brokers a commission for bringing investors to its doorstep. In the past, the airport wasn't seeking to sell its land and had a strict policy not to pay real estate agents any commission for bringing investors who ultimately buy airport property. Therefore, the airport simply wasn't on the radar of any real estate broker's search for development land for a client.

"Last I checked, real estate sales is not a nonprofit career," said authority board member Tony Iannelli, a former real estate broker who now chairs the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Quality brokers were not going to bring us interested buyers unless they were going to get paid."

Haines said the new committee has not scheduled any meetings, but will when serious offers begin rolling in.


Editorial: Garuda Indonesia braces for turbulence.

We don’t even dare to think about such a dire possibility. But the mere threat by the Garuda Pilots Association to go on a strike on Thursday morning unless the management fulfills their demand for salary parity with foreign pilots hired by the national flag-carrier is still quite alarming.

Just look at how Garuda shares on the stock market, already languishing at 50 percent below their primary offer price, have declined in the last few days.

As Garuda is the country’s largest airline, which serves international and domestic destinations, even a one-day strike, as planned by the association, would cause traffic chaos with numerous flight delays and possibly many outright cancellations.

Garuda employees should fully realize that the key parameter for an airline’s performance is service reliability as measured by the safety and punctuality of its flight services. Once this record is tainted, the impact on its service reliability and, consequently, its corporate image, would be adverse.

A strike would severely affect all the spectacular progress Garuda employees and the management have painstakingly gained over the past five years.

Garuda has made a fantastic turnaround, winning many international service awards, booking handsome profits and capping all these by listing its shares on the Jakarta stock market early this year.

Would Garuda pilots be willing to take the risk of throwing away all these achievements?

Garuda pilots have a legitimate reason to be disillusioned with the more than 50 percent disparity between their basic salaries and those of the foreign pilots hired on an annual working contract. The labor law also guarantees their right to strike as a measure to strengthen their bargaining power with the management.

But a work strike is supposed to be deployed only as a last-resort measure in case of a permanent deadlock of negotiations.

We don’t think the pilots and the management have exhausted all avenues of negotiations to resolve the issues around the perceived salary disparity.

True, Garuda’s management should be blamed for its mistake of being so carelessly sloppy in planning its cockpit crew development to meet the pace of its fleet expansion.

More than two dozen jetliners joined its fleet last year alone, and this expansion will continue to turn Garuda from an 87-jetliner airline into a 153-jetliner airline in 2015.

The mistake has forced the management to hire foreign pilots as a temporary measure to meet its bigger need for cockpit crew until its in-house training and other domestic pilot training schools are able to fill the gap.

The dilemma, though, is that the management will not be able to get good pilots from the international market if it is not willing to offer attractive remuneration packages.

But the Garuda Pilots Association should look at the problem in its full perspective. Garuda, under its contingency program, hired only 34 foreign pilots, or a mere 4 percent of its total cockpit crew of 897 pilots.

As in most other companies, expatriate employees usually ask for bigger salaries than their national counterparts as compensation for their working far away from their home countries and their short-term contracts.

After all, the basic pay of Garuda national pilots, though nominally about 50 percent lower than that of the foreign pilots, is still fairly handsome at about US$60,000 a year, not including fringe benefits, bonuses and other social allowances. That income level is comfortably high in a country with an annual per capita income of less than $3,000.

Hence, it is rather commercially unfeasible now for Garuda pilots to demand full salary parity with foreign pilots, whose job tenures will end within a year because, as permanent employees, they also enjoy other fringe benefits, such as bonuses, pensions, allowances etc., which are not given to contractual workers.


Last Goodbye to Aircraft Crash Victims: Friends gather to toast Carly Donohue and Lucas Smith. Dewees Island, South Carolina.

Lucas Smith and Cara Lee "Carly" Donohue

Shem Creek was a place dear in the hearts of Carly Donohue and Lucas Smith, the pair killed a week ago when the light sport aircraft they were operating fell from the sky off the coast of Dewees Island.

On Wednesday, at the same time the crash occurred a week earlier, friends and relatives of both Donohue and Smith gathered to pay final respects at Red’s Ice House on the banks of the creek.

Funerals were held earlier, so the Wednesday memorial was more indicative of the type of event Donohue and Smith would have enjoyed attending.

“Carly wouldn’t want people to be sad,” said Debbie Eye, Donohue’s mother. “This is not as serious as a funeral. This is a celebration.”

Smith would feel the same way, friends said.

“I know he’s up there looking at us with a big grin on his face,” said Ric Biggers. “Lucas was the first person I met when I moved here 15 years ago. He was an unbelievable person. You were always in a good mood when you were around him.”

Cocktails and beers in hand, the friends were just across the shore from the small office out of which Donohue and Smith ran the Osprey, a motoryacht Smith restored and chartered for private events.

Donohue, 27, majored in marketing in college and loved the water. Combining the two in her work with Smith was a perfect fit, according to her father.

“I used to joke with her, asking when she was going to get a real job,” said Jim Donohue, who resides in Louisville, Ky. “But the boat was a perfect fit. She wanted to know everything about it.”

She often called her family to tell them about the long hours she spent working on the Osprey, but she never complained. She loved being on the water and she chased adventure.

Smith and Donohue had been working in the days before their death with a film crew that was documenting wildlife on Lowcountry barrier islands. They were taking photos in the “flying boat” the day they died.

“Lucas was always doing something. He never sat still,” said Bret Hammans, one of Smith’s friends. “Like a flying boat or restoring an old yacht he bought off eBay. He was always up to something.”

Smith, 40, married with two daughters, also operated a chain of successful dry-cleaning businesses.

Donohue, who moved to the Charleston area from Kentucky to be closer to her sister, worked for a year aboard a yacht that sailed all over Florida and the Caribbean. She’d only been in Mount Pleasant two years, but she had made great friends.

“It was so uplifting to hear all the things people had to say about Carly,” said Eye, who estimated several hundred people attended Donohue’s funeral. “You couldn’t meet her and forget her.”

Two Korean tourists, who sailed on the Osprey just two weeks before the crash, made a point to attend the funeral, because they liked Donohue so much.

“That’s the kind of impression she made on people,” said step-mom Debbie Donohue.

On Wednesday, there were plenty of stories and laughs about Donohue and Smith, but there are lingering sadness and questions.

Her father, who initially had concerns about the light sport aircraft, wonders if he should have more clearly stated his reservations.

“She probably would have gone up anyway and told me she didn’t,” Donohue said with a smile.

Instead of protesting, he planned go up with his daughter next time he visited.

And friends want to know how the crash happened.

At Wednesday’s event, everyone said they believe Smith was as skilled in the aircraft as he was in a ship captain’s chair. There must have been something wrong with the aircraft, they say.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently reviewing a Federal Aviation Administration inspection of the crash scene. Findings could be available in a week or two.

Between now and then, Donohue’s family plans to continue to celebrate her life. They’ll hold another memorial in Louisville so her friends there can gather to say goodbye.

“This is Carly’s night,” said step-father Jack Eye. “And when we go back, it will be Carly’s month.”

Read more and photos:

An example of the type of craft that crashed off Dewees Island Wednesday killing 2 people.

1 killed as plane crashes in Davao, Philippines

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Xinhua) -- One person was killed and another injured when a light plane used for spraying pesticide over plantations crashed in southern Philippines late on Wednesday, police said on Thursday.

Bonifacio Cabansag, 42, a traffic control personnel for banana firm Dole Philippines died after being hit by the company's spray aircraft as it landed on an airstrip in Mapawa village, Maragusan town, in Mindanao's Compostela Valley province past 5 p.m., according to Senior Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, provincial police chief.

The accident happened after the plane's landing gear brakes malfunctioned, causing it to swerve with its left wing hitting Cabansag, Jose Carumba, regional police spokesperson, told Xinhua by phone, adding the pilot, identified as Bobby Salmorin, also suffered injuries and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment.

The southern Mindanao region is home to more than 40,000 hectares of plantations producing exportable Cavendish banana. Aging light aircraft are often used to apply pesticide to crops, resulting in mishap.


High aviation fuel prices cut airlines’ profits

The airline industry could register reduced profits this year due to escalating aviation fuel prices, resulting into high operational costs. Mr Coen Asjes, the KLM country manager told Daily Monitor that while jet fuel accounted for only 13 per cent of an airline’s total operating expenses a few years ago, it has since increased to over 30 per cent currently.

Most airlines flying the Entebbe route had managed to keep up with rapidly rising fuel prices without necessarily raising fares. However, this is not sustainable in the long run and players would soon be forced to raise air ticket prices.

Projected prices

According to the International Air Transport Association, the cost of fuel is the average oil price for 2011 is now expected to be $110 per barrel, a 15 per cent increase over the previous forecast of $96 per barrel.

It further indicates that for each dollar increase in the average annual oil price, airlines face an additional $1.6 billion in costs. Airlines in America are said to have raised fares seven times this year on account of high operating costs resulting from high aviation fuel prices.

Covering expenses

Last month, airlines in America and Europe also began charging fees to check baggage services that they once offered at no cost to help cover the extra expenses. Mr Asjes who was speaking at the sidelines of a KLM and Kenya Airways organised party to recognise the role played by travel agents in Kampala last week further noted that effective harnessing of Uganda’s potential for incoming tourism would boost the aviation industry in the country.

Meanwhile Kenya Airways is in the process of offering a rights issue in both Uganda and Kenya, according to airline’s Country Manager Uganda, Mr Donald Ajuoga.


Two die as Boeing 747-400F crashes off South Korea.

Debris was found at sea after the Asiana plane went down

Both pilots aboard a China-bound Boeing 747 cargo jet were killed when it crashed off South Korea after experiencing mechanical problems.

The plane, which was flying for South Korea's Asiana Airlines, came down off Jeju island in the very south of the country, local media report.

It had left Incheon en route to Pudong in China.

A South Korean coast guard boat found debris from the jet in waters about 107km (66 miles) west of Jeju city.

After taking off at 0305 (1800 GMT) the plane disappeared from radar at 0409 while trying to reach Jeju airport, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reports. The wreckage was spotted at 0640.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed.

Heavy rain has lashed South Korea this week, with landslides and floods killing dozens and causing havoc, but Asiana Airlines said it was unclear whether the weather had caused any problems for the plane.

The 747, nicknamed the Jumbo Jet, has been in service around the world for more than four decades, and is still in production.

Air New Zealand flight grounded

Over 130 passengers are stranded in Sydney after an Air New Zealand plane due to fly to Auckland this morning was grounded with a possible fuel leak.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the NZ700 flight scheduled to leave at 7am was removed from service because of an engineering problem, affecting 138 passengers.

Staff were investigating a possible fuel leak, she said.

The airline was hopeful the A320 plane would soon be cleared to fly. If not, passengers would be accommodated on other flights throughout the day.

The passengers were also given the option of a later flight at 6.35pm.

Jetstar accused of exploiting cabin crew. (With Video)

Original article and video:

Jetstar airlines has been accused of exploiting cabin crew and demanding they work 20-hour shifts, compromising cabin safety.

Current and former crew members of the Qantas-owned budget airline say the practice leaves them extremely fatigued.

Jetstar's afternoon flight from Sydney to Bali is a popular service for those escaping the southern Australian winter.

But for one former Jetstar flight attendant who wishes to be called James, the flight is no trip to paradise.

"You start at four in the afternoon and you finish back in Sydney at seven the next morning," he told Lateline.

"It was horrible. I felt like a slave.

"I've had a couple of times where I've had a delay on the Bali flight and that 14-, 15-hour shift would turn into a 19-hour, 20-hour shift."

Captain Richard Woodward, from the Australian and International Pilots Association, says cabin crew do not have the same industrial agreements as pilots.

"The cabin crew are suffering very badly because they don't have a regulated limit on how many hours they can do, particularly foreign crews, and so they are working maximum hours," he said.

"For instance, they are doing Sydney to Bali and back. That's about a 17-hour night - that's very, very fatiguing.

"The pilots fortunately have an industrial agreement."

The practice of making the Jetstar crews fly return shifts, rather than staying overnight like pilots, was raised by independent Senator Nick Xenophon in the Senate inquiry into airline safety earlier this year.

"When cabin crew tell me if there is an emergency they do not think they would be able to cope at the end of a 17- or 18- or 20-hour shift, then it really gives you cause for concern," he said at the time.

And concerns about fatigue are not confined to Jetstar's international flights.

Lateline has obtained over 60 incident reports that show that at least 37 crew members have filed complaints this year to Jetstar management about fatigue and exhaustion after flying the Sydney to Perth and Sydney to Darwin routes.

They have also raised serious concerns about the cabin crews' ability to deal with emergencies.

"I believe that if there was an emergency situation, crew would not be alert enough to respond accordingly," one flight attendant said.

"It is unsafe and I am concerned that it will only be when something unfortunate happens, that something will be done about this," another flight attendant said.

Flight attendants are also worried about their own safety after doing shifts that cross from day into night into morning.

"Driving home after this duty is extremely dangerous and I have found myself almost falling asleep at the wheel," one cabin crew member said.

Foreign crews under strain

And while Jetstar is pushing its Australian-based crews hard, it is the foreign-based crews who are under the most strain.

A third of Jetstar's staff are employed overseas. Their Bangkok cabin crew are employed by a company called Tour East Thailand.

Lateline has obtained a copy of the employment contract for the Thai-based cabin crews.

It states that crew can work shifts up to 20 hours long.

But one line in the contract reads: "The Planned Limit and Operational Extensions may be extended by the Employer."

That means in effect there are no limits to the hours they can be forced to work.

This clause is not in any contracts for Jetstar's Australian-based crews.

"Not only is a clause like that unconscionable; it just seems incredibly unsafe," Senator Xenophon said.

"How will a crew be able to cope with an emergency if they've been required to work in excess of 20 hours in just one shift? It's something that doesn't apply to Australian cabin crew for good reason and it shouldn't apply to foreign-based cabin crew who are doing work here in Australia."

Jetstar declined to be interviewed by Lateline, but in a statement said there were clear limitations on hours.

"Jetstar has clearly established duty limitations that are consistently applied regardless of where our cabin crew are based," the statement said.

"Safety is our number one priority and we have an open culture of reporting issues.

"If a member of our crew is too fatigued, then they should not operate the flight, and we communicate this openly."

Threatened with the sack

Jetstar's Thai-based flight attendants get paid a base wage of $258 a month. Each hour they fly they get another $7 an hour plus allowances.

They do not get paid for sick leave, and have half the annual leave of their Australian colleagues.

While on annual leave they get paid less than normal; that $7 an hour on top of their base wage becomes just $9 a day.

Annika, as she has asked to be called, says foreign-based cabin crew are under immense pressure.

"Asian-based crew aren't unionised and they are constantly threatened with the non-renewal of their contracts should they speak out about anything to do with their jobs," she said.

And there is an extraordinary financial disincentive not to speak out.

If Thai-based crew quit their jobs early or are sacked, they can be forced to pay back up to four-and-a-half months of their base wage.

"Some of our international cabin crew are required to pay a bond as a compensation for investment in training, if a cabin crew member leaves within two years of employment," Jetstar said in a statement.

"This is a locally based arrangement that reflects the local market conditions."

'Mean and tricky'

On April 22, five Thai-based crew - exhausted from a series of international and domestic flights - pulled out of a flight from Sydney to Melbourne, complaining of fatigue.

They were concerned they would not be able to deal with an emergency situation should it arise.

In response they got this letter from their employer Tour East Thailand threatening them with the sack.

"Whilst illness, etc is accepted by your employer, poor time management is not.... TET requires from you an undertaking that you will not repeat these behaviours in the workplace," the letter said.

The letter castigated the crew members for causing damage to the reputation of their employer.

But Tour East Thailand is unlikely to lose its contract with Jetstar; Qantas owns 37 per cent of Tour East Thailand.

"On the face of it, it seems that the Bangkok-based crew are being looked after by an independent contractor at arm's length from Qantas, when in fact Qantas has an iron grip on this company," Senator Xenophon said.

"It's a pretty mean and tricky set of operations and Qantas really needs to come clean on this."

Jetstar cabin crew fear more and more flight attendants will be hired under this model: foreign-based, subcontracted, with lower wages and poorer conditions.

"It's all about the money. It's about making as much money as they can," Annika said.

"We're constantly cutting corners and pushing the crew as that's the only the area where we can save."

Original article and video:

Flying through Plainview, Texas? Refuel at anytime.

Jets and airplanes coming through Plainview have some new facilities for pilots looking to fuel up.

Rocket aviation bought out Miller Flying Service and Hutchinson Air Service to form this single operation in 2007. Courtesy vehicles are among the perks for pilots stopping through town. They also have access to a repair garage and the Internet.

"We have probably 60 airplanes based here and they come in an use our facilities. We have a self serve pump and it's open 24 hours a day so pilots can come refuel at anytime," said Gary McCormick with Rocket Aviation.

The Plainview Airport has been open since 1947 and has two runways.

SAAB-Scania SAAB 2000, G-LGNO: Incident occurred December 15, 2014 in Sumburgh, United Kingdom

NTSB Identification: CEN15WA113
Scheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial
Incident occurred Monday, December 15, 2014 in Sumburgh, United Kingdom
Aircraft: SAAB-SCANIA AB SAAB 2000, registration:
Injuries: Unavailable

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 15, 2014, about 1955 coordinated universal time, a SAAB-Scania SAAB 2000 airplane, G-LGNO, lost elevator control following a lightning strike on approach to Sumburgh Airport, Sumburgh, United Kingdom. The damage to the airplane is unknown. The airplane departed Aberdeen Airport, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, and was en route to Sumburgh at the time of the incident.

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the United Kingdom's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained from the government of the United Kingdom. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom

Mysterious low-flying plane circling over Marietta, Georgia.

MARIETTA — A mysterious low-flying airplane that repeatedly circled over Marietta for four days in a row last week has two residents scratching their heads.

Paull and Ardice Saffold were awoken in the early morning of July 19 to the sound of a plane engine.

The couple, who live near Hickory Hills Elementary, went out to catch a glimpse of the aircraft, which appeared to be a white, four-passenger, single-engine plane.

But the couple spotted the same plane later as it passed over the roof of their home again just two miles west of the Marietta Square.

“When it first happened, we thought the pilot was emptying gas so he could make an emergency landing,” Ardice Saffold said. “But we figured someone would’ve notified us, and then it started the next day, too.”

Paull Saffold said the plane followed a similar path for about four hours Tuesday and Wednesday, and for a couple of hours on Thursday.

“We’ve lived in this house for 34 years and we’re used to planes that fly over, but that’s it, not circling,” he said. “We’re just curious because it’s very unusual.”

Dobbins Air Reserve Base spokesman Shaun Shank said the plane did not originate from the base and the controllers did not give it clearance to fly.

“We have limited control around the air space,” he said. “Our air space we control is more immediate to Dobbins.”

The Saffolds said front desk staff at McCollum Air Field in northwest Cobb told them that they had received complaint calls from other residents, but had no answers about the plane’s purpose.

“The McCollum tower said they knew what it was but they weren’t allowed to say what they were doing,” said Ardice Saffold.

Don Dykes, a former Lockheed employee and volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol, said it was unlikely that it was the air patrol, which is usually used to fly over rural and mountainous areas where it’s hard to locate people.

“I’ve heard of a company that does aerial photographs for real estate,” he said. “That could have been it.”

Dykes said planes must legally fly at least 1,000 feet above residential areas.


VIDEO and PHOTOS: Pilot survives plane crash in Lake Huron, treading water for more than 16 hours before being rescued. Cessna 150F, N3050X.

Original article, video and photos:

HARBOR BEACH, Mich., (WXYZ) - Boaters from Grosse Pointe Farms are still amazed they spotted and rescued a missing New York pilot in Lake Huron Wednesday morning.

Pilot Michael Trapp is recovering after being rescued from the icy Lake Huron waters 16 hours after his plane crashed.

“He was quiet, and very shaky because he was cold still,” said Gary Veenstra. Veenstra was on his boat when the yacht that rescued Trapp pulled into the marina at Harbor Beach.

He said the 42-year-old pilot was alert and in good spirits despite his agonizing night and fight to stay alive.

“He joked that if a skinny 13-year-old girl could swim across the English Channel, then he could do it too,” said Veenstra.

Trapp was in a 1966 Cessna 150. He was flying from Gouverneur, New York to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on a business trip when he started having fuel problems at 3,000 feet.

Trapp was in contact with Lansing Flight Service between 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday when he declared an emergency, and crashed about 17 miles east of Harbor Beach.

It was not until 10:23 am Wednesday that Trapp was spotted, floating in the water.

Owners of the rescue yacht told Action News by phone they were heading to the Upper Peninsula on vacation from Grosse Pointe Farms when they saw Trapp waving his sock over his head to grab their attention.

“He said he had already taken his pants off because they were too heavy. So he was in his undershirt and undershorts,” said Dean Petitpren.

"Of course, from the boat [he] looked like a pineapple in the water. We got the boat around, came along side him, and threw him a ring and got him aboard," explained Petitpren.

"We were in 45-feet of water, calm seas, and warm water -- thank God for him," said Petitpren. "He was really on his last leg. It looked like he was going down he said. His eyes were starting to shut. So, it's definitely a miracle."

Dean Petitpren and his wife Diane were traveling to Presque Isle Wednesday morning with several friends on their boat "Eagle's Nest."

Petitpren told Action News that they'd been talking about the missing pilot and knew they were boating through the area where his plane had been reported missing.

"Five minutes later my wife said, 'I see somebody!" recalled Petitpren.

Despite spending the night treading water without a life jacket, the pilot was alert and in good spirits. He was even able to crack some jokes upon his rescue.

"He was happy and he was talking a lot," said Petitpren. "I asked him if he wanted some water at that point, and he said, 'No, I've had enough water,' he laughed.

Petitpren said Trapp also said he was planning to drive back to New York -- no more flying.

"He said it had been a beautiful evening [in the water]. The stars were gorgeous," Petitpren said.

The Petitprens and their friends are still overwhelmed that they saved a man's life.

"I just went to see my wife downstairs," Petitpren told Action News over the phone. "She's still bawling, because she found him, saw him, spotted him. It was pretty emotional for all of us," he said choking up slightly.

Dean Petitpren said he has not boated through these waters in several years.

"We left at 7:00 a.m. Great timing," he said. "A happy ending."

Once he freed himself from his seatbelt, Trapp told the coast guard the plane sank within 20 seconds. He then treaded water for over 16 hours.

Trapp had swam 15 miles through the night, and toward lights on the horizon when was finally picked up about a mile and half from the shore.

“We got him on the boat, got him warm, and got him some food,” said Petitpren. Trapp was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Trapp told the Huron County Sheriff’s Department he was on his way to the Bad Axe Airport for a fuel stop when he crashed. Trapp had been transported from Harbor Beach Hospital to Covenant Hospital in Saginaw in good condition to undergo some testing.

Original article, video and photos:

Cessna 150F, N3050X. Pilot rescued from Lake Huron: People depend on me

A New York pilot who crashed into Lake Huron and survived without a life jacket by swimming and treading water for 17 hours says he was finally rescued Wednesday when he frantically waved a sock to get the attention of people on a boat.

Coast Guardsmen help move Michael Trapp aboard their boat.

HARBOR BEACH, Mich. — A New York pilot who crashed into Lake Huron and survived without a life jacket by swimming and treading water for 17 hours says he was finally rescued Wednesday when he frantically waved a sock to get the attention of people on a boat.

Michael Trapp, 42, said he shed his pants and shoes to stay afloat amid daylight, darkness and high waves off Michigan's eastern coast. He told a TV station that he was inspired to keep going because "there's a lot of people that depend on me."

"It's amazing what goes on in your mind when you're laying in water and you look up at the skies and watch the shooting stars and watch meteorites go round. Gives you time to realize what's important in life at that point," Trapp told WWNY-TV in Watertown, N.Y., from a hospital in Harbor Beach, Mich.

The Gouverneur, N.Y., man, who owns an auto repair shop, was flying a small plane alone to a family reunion in Eau Claire, Wis., when his engine began stalling over Lake Huron on Tuesday. He said he contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and declared, "I'm going in right now."

"Holy moley," Trapp thought to himself, "what in the world just went on?"

He told the TV station that he took off his pants and shoes and "just went into survival mode." He doesn't consider himself physically fit at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds.

"I kept going, kept going. There's a lot of things I want to do yet," Trapp said.

He said he was unsuccessful in using a credit card to try to reflect the sun and get the attention of several boats that were in the area. Finally, people on a boat called Eagle's Nest spotted him waving a sock around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and pulled him aboard - "by the grace of God," he said.

Trapp believes he swam 15 miles after his two-seat Cessna crashed 17 miles from shore, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Harbor Beach Police Chief Sid Schock said Trapp was "quite chilled" but talking when he was put in an ambulance, about 125 miles northeast of Detroit. He was examined at a local hospital, then transferred about 90 miles to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw where he was in good condition, spokeswoman Kristin Knoll said.

Trapp told WWNY that he couldn't walk. He did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment about his extraordinary ordeal.

The president of the Harbor Beach hospital, Ed Gamache, would not discuss Trapp's health but said he was talking to doctors and in "excellent spirits."

"It's a remarkable story," Gamache said.

At Trapp's auto garage in Gouverneur, N.Y., there was high praise for the boss.

"He's just strong-willed," Mike Cutway said of Trapp's survival swim.

Jim Dreyer, a Grand Rapids-area man who has swum across Lake Huron and other Great Lakes, said Trapp's weight probably helped insulate him against cold water.

"It's amazing what the human spirit is capable of," Dreyer told the AP.

American Eagle flight 4777 evacuated at East Texas Regional Airport

Longview, TX — It was a scary landing for passengers on American Eagle flight 4777 at the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview.

According to Airport Deputy Directo Gene Bolanowski, at around 5:20 when the plane from Dallas was landing, smoke was reported in the cabin. The pilot landed, taxied off the runway and all 47 passengers were evacuated safely.

The cause and origin of the smoke is currently unknown.

The departure flight for the plane back to DFW has been canceled, but no other flights are affected.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

F-22 Pilots Found With Anti-Freeze, Propane in Bloodstream, Fleet Grounded

A startling report out today from the Project on Government Oversight reveals more problems with the Air Force's F-22 program:
According to the Air Force Times, blood tests of F-22 pilots showed a host of chemicals, including anti-freeze, propane and burned polyalphaolefin, a synthetic oil, after flights where they reported experiencing cognitive problems.

These toxins, along with carbon monoxide, may be causing hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen. Hypoxia can cause reduced brain function and memory loss. F-22 pilots reported being unable to remember how to change radio frequencies and scraping treetops when approaching the runway. In November 2010, an F-22 crashed in Alaska and the pilot, Capt. Jeffrey Haney, was killed. Sources told the Air Force Times that in his final radio calls he sounded drunk, a symptom of hypoxia.
“There is a lot of nasty stuff getting pumped into the pilots’ bloodstream through what they’re breathing from that OBOGS [On-Board Oxygen Generation System]. That’s fact,” one former F-22 pilot tells Dave Majumdar of the Air Force Times. “How bad it is, what type it is, exactly how much of it, how long -- all these things have not been answered.”
"These guys are getting tested for toxins and they’ve [gotten] toxins out of their bloodstreams. One of the guys was expelling propane."
In the meantime, Air Force officials say that "some test pilots at the base are flying their jets under a special waiver granted to them to test an unrelated software upgrade."

The operational fleet, however, remains grounded, the Air Force Times' Majumdar writes, "with pilots and ground crews practicing in simulators as much as they can."

But, he explains that "is not a real solution because the pilots won’t be able to maintain currency."

As another former F-22 pilot pointed out, “After 210 days, they’ve got to start retraining everybody."

At $350 million per plane (and $44,000/hr to operate), you'd think this sort of thing would be covered under warranty.


Pilot survives 17-plus hours in water after crash. Coast Guard says he swam 15 miles toward lights before being rescued by fishing boat.

HARBOR BEACH, Mich. — A pilot whose small plane crashed in Lake Huron spent more than 17 hours swimming and treading water before he was rescued, authorities said Wednesday.

Michael W. Trapp, 42, of Gouverneur, N.Y., was picked up by a fishing boat shortly before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Huron County Sheriff's Office said.

Trapp was flying a 1966 Cessna 150 from New York to Eau Claire, Wis., when he experienced some type of fuel problem and the aircraft went down in the lake Tuesday evening, Sheriff Kelly Hanson said.

"Upon impact, the airplane flipped over. He had prepared for impact by opening his door, which allowed him to take off his seatbelt once under water. He then escaped the airplane as it sank seconds later," Hanson said in a press release.

"From what our understanding is, he treaded water from around 17:00 yesterday until 10:30 this morning, without any assistance of a life jacket."

The U.S. Coast Guard said Trapp apparently swam about 15 miles toward lights on the horizon until the crew of the fishing vessel Eagle's Nest came upon him.

The water temperature overnight was probably about 70 degrees, Hanson told

"He had very good spirits, even a little bit of a sense of humor for what he endured," Hanson said. "He made a comment to the effect of, 'If a 13-year-old can swim across the English Channel, I should be able to accomplish this."

Trapp was cold and shaking and his body was a bit discolored after his rescue, but he seemed alert and otherwise in good condition, Hanson said.

Trapp was taken to Harbor Beach Hospital, where he was in good condition Wednesday. Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen said.

The airplane has not been recovered.

As for the pilot's survival time in the water, "I would certainly call it unusual but not impossible as we saw it demonstrated today," Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kyle Niemi told

"It’s certainly unlikely," Hanson said. "If this would have been May or November it would have been more unlikely. The water temperature was on his side."

CF-18 crash probe finds cockpit problems, unauthorized training. Night-vision goggles should be reserved for pilots with more experience: Directorate of Flight Safety,

Capt. Darren Blakie of the 409 Tactical Fight Squadron ejected from this CF-18 before it crashed at CFB Cold Lake in November 2010.
Photograph by: Global News, File,

EDMONTON - A CF-18 pilot was snow-blind and unable to read his navigational equipment when he crashed during a nighttime training flight outside CFB Cold Lake in Nov. 2010, an investigation has found.

Capt. Darren Blakie of the 409 Tactical Fight Squadron ejected from the Hornet just before it crashed and exploded in a frigid field around midnight on Nov. 17. Blakie was not seriously injured and was found two hours after the crash.

The initial report, issued by the Directorate of Flight Safety, details several problems in the cockpit of the CF-18 in the moments before the crash. It also raises concerns about unauthorized training and pilots with too little experience.

As Blakie lowered his landing gear on approach to a runway, he was “almost immediately disoriented by the sudden rush of falling snow as it was illuminated by his landing light.” That light also washed out Blakie’s instrument panel, which he needed to control the aircraft.

Blakie then perceived that he had entered a steep, deadly descent, the report states.

He pulled up the nose of the aircraft, but still believing he was in a dive and unable to confirm otherwise, Blakie ejected into the northern Alberta winter. Below, in a farmer’s field surrounded by forest, the CF-18 hit the ground and exploded.

The investigation found the jet was “serviceable and operating normally.”

In Nov. 2010, pilots were routinely training at night, on unlit airfields, with night-vision goggles that Blakie was wearing when he crashed. However, the report notes, such training is not authorized.

The report mentions that Blakie was inexperienced with nighttime flights and it had been 224 days since his last flight with night-vision goggles. Due to the crash, 1 Canadian Air Division has ordered that night-vision goggle training in CF-18s may only be done with pilots that have more flying experience.

“The investigation is focusing on the human factors surrounding the occurrence,” the report states. “This will include disorientation, organizational pressures and training practices.”

The investigation also found anomalies in aircraft life-support equipment practices and record keeping.

Though not related to the crash, the investigation found inconsistent de-icing procedures.

Blakie was alone in the aircraft, though flying with another plane, when he went down. The resulting explosion and a fired flare helped search and rescue efforts. Two hours after crashing, Blakie walked onto a rescue helicopter. He was uninjured.

The temperature at the time of the crash was -13 C, with a wind chill of -22 C.

The crash was the second of a CF-18 in a matter of months. In July 2010, the pilot of a CF-18 practising for an air show at the Lethbridge County Airport ejected seconds before his jet crashed. Capt. Brian Bews suffered compression fractures in three vertebrae as a result.

Early results from an investigation determined the crash was caused by a sudden loss of power.

The CF-18 Hornet has been in Canadian service since 1982. They cost $4 billion for 138 aircraft, plus $2.6 billion in fleet upgrades completed in 2010.

Boeing Nets Deals for Its Grounded 737 MAX Jet: Timely endorsement of the plane comes as the company seeks regulatory approval for returning the aircraft to service

DUBAI— Boeing Co. has secured more deals for its grounded 737 MAX, a timely endorsement as the plane maker seeks regulatory approval for returning the aircraft to service.

The MAX deals, happening at the biennial Dubai Air Show, broke a five-month order drought for the plane, which has been grounded world-wide since March following its second fatal crash.

Kazakhstan’s Air Astana agreed on Tuesday to buy 30 MAX jets, and an undisclosed customer signed up for another 20. Those deals added to the 10 planes bought Monday by Turkey’s SunExpress, an existing customer that has yet to receive any of the 32 planes already on order.

“I believe this is momentum. Thus far we’re restoring confidence,” Stan Deal, Boeing’s commercial airplanes chief, said after announcing the Air Astana deal, which is valued at $3.6 billion before customary discounts. “And three customers voting for the MAX, we’ll take it any day. We’re very happy with that.”

Boeing has revived a planned sale of wide-body 787 Dreamliners to Dubai’s Emirates Airline, the world’s biggest operator of long-haul jets, according to people familiar with the matter. Boeing also announced the sale of three 787 Dreamliners to Ghana.

The Chicago-based manufacturer still trails rival Airbus SE in orders this year. The European company won three-quarters of the 300 orders and commitments announced so far at the Dubai show, including a scaled-back deal with Emirates.

“Orders are coming back, suddenly, and they’re mainly going to Airbus,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group Corp. “But what matters is airline traffic, and it stinks.”

Some industry leaders express concern about faltering growth in global airline traffic.

“Next year will remain tough,” said Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, citing a range of global economic pressures including Brexit, the U.S.-China trade war and unrest in Hong Kong. “My view is that by 2021 we will be through it.”

Both plane makers had struggled to secure new deals this year as airlines face a multiyear wait for deliveries from backed-up production lines and wrestle with the slowdown in passenger and cargo traffic.

Previous Dubai Air Shows have sported some of the largest-ever plane orders as airlines like Emirates spent tens of billions of dollars on new jets, only for intensifying competition and global trade concerns to slow their traffic growth.

Passenger traffic had been growing an annual rate of 7% over the past five years but has now fallen below 4%, with the Middle East the worst-performing region. That has cut into airline profits and led some carriers to scale back expansion plans.

Boeing and Airbus continue to battle for deals. But analysts view any MAX commitments as particularly critical for Boeing at a time when it is trying to keep customers from abandoning the jet.

“The order is relatively modest versus a MAX backlog of 4,525 aircraft, but does represent a vote of confidence,” said Sheila Kahyaoglu, an analyst at Jefferies.

Boeing has said no orders have been canceled as a direct result of the MAX grounding, but its backlog had shrunk by about 200 planes this year because of airline bankruptcies and carriers swapping into other types, lured by discounts.

The company still expects the plane to be recertified by the end of the year, at least in the U.S., and the absence of negative news in Dubai has helped continue a monthlong rally for its shares.

The stock fell 0.7% on Tuesday, but is up about 11% over the past month.

Mr. Deal, recently appointed to head Boeing’s commercial airplane arm, has led the company’s presence at the show, so far avoiding any public criticism from customers over the MAX, analysts say.

The revived Emirates deal for 787 Dreamliners relates to an agreement to buy 40 of the twin-aisle jets worth $15 billion at list prices. Announced at the Dubai Air Show in 2017, it had since lapsed.

Boeing has recently struggled with lackluster demand for the 787, amid a dearth of orders from China, and headwinds generally for the market for big planes. The revived deal could be announced as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter, though they said it would likely involve fewer planes and possibly for the smaller 787-9 variant.

Separately this week, Emirates placed an order for 50 Airbus A350s, a large jet that competes with the 787. The airline hasn’t yet affirmed a preliminary commitment to buy the European plane maker’s A330neo, which also competes with the 787.

Emirates also has an existing order for 150 of Boeing’s new 777X, a jetliner that is larger than the 787.

Mr. Clark warned Boeing that the number of 777X jets it takes depends on the availability of the aircraft, which is more than a year late because of engine issues. Emirates could instead place an order for the Airbus A350-1000 to keep to its current fleet plan until the upgraded Boeing plane is ready, he said.

Continental Airlines cancels 24 flights for pilot sick calls

NEWARK, N.J.— Continental Airlines canceled 24 flights Wednesday, most of them out of Newark Liberty International Airport, due to "crew availability" problems.

Continental operates a large hub out of Newark and has about 3,000 daily flights system-wide. It was working to get customers on alternate flights.

Airline spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said that the cancellations were "due to lack of crew availability" but declined to elaborate. Air Line Pilots Association spokeswoman Amy Flanagan declined to comment.

United Airlines bought Continental last year and has been trying to combine them into a single airline. The process has been slower than expected, partly because of contentious labor negotiations.

Jeff Smisek, the CEO of United Continental Holdings Co., said last week that it was unlikely the company could agree to labor contracts with all its unions this year.

The company said it has more pilots this summer than last summer. Company spokeswoman Julie King said the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at both airlines, "participates in our monthly review to set staffing levels."

All-nighter treading water saves pilot in Lake Huron crash

HARBOR BEACH, Mich. - Authorities say the New York pilot of a small plane that crashed in Lake Huron has been rescued in good condition after treading water all night off the Michigan coast.

The man was picked up by a fishing boat around 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, more than 17 hours after the Federal Aviation Administration lost contact with him Tuesday.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson identified the pilot as 42-year-old Michael Trapp of Gouverneur, N.Y.

Harbor Beach charter boat captain Janice Deaton told WWJ Newsradio 950 in Detroit that she'd been searching the waters when she learned Trapp had been found. She said the water temperature was around 68 degrees.

"It would have drew his temperature down, so I'm sure he's suffering from hypothermia. But, he was very responsive so they're really happy with the condition he's in for what he went through," she said.

Trapp was transported to Harbor Beach, Mich., a lakeshore town 125 miles northeast of Detroit, and taken to a hospital.

He was the only person aboard the two-seat Cessna on a flight to Eau Claire, Wis. The sheriff says Trapp wasn't wearing a life jacket and treaded water the entire time.

Plane lands after losing engine in mid-air. A passenger aircraft carrying 37 people developed a fault en route from Glasgow to Stornoway.

A passenger plane carrying 37 people has managed to land safely despite one of its engines shutting down in mid-air.

Emergency services rushed to Stornoway Airport on Lewis after receiving a call just before 3pm on Wednesday.

The plane, a propeller-driven Saab 340 operated by Flybe, departed from Glasgow and was coming in over the Minch when it reported the fault.

Passengers reportedly said both the pilot and crew had dealt with the emergency well, after the plane landed with just one working engine.

A spokeswoman for Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said: "We had two crews on stand-by but luckily the plane landed safely."

No-one was injured in the incident.

Indonesia: Pilots to go ahead with strike plan as negotiation collapses.

Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia pilots said Tuesday they were sticking to a plan to go on strike Thursday as negotiations with management fell apart on Monday evening.

Garuda Pilots Association (APG) chairman Stephanus Geraldus Rahadi said the negotiations failed to bring the two parties closer.

“It was not even a negotiation. They [Garuda management] called it a dissemination of the company’s development or something, far from the main issue, so we walked out,” Stephanus told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

He added that a few senior pilots were present to back up the management, saying, “It looked like the management had tried to divide us.”

He insisted the strike was not merely about the gap of salaries between local and foreign pilots.

“Garuda’s management has obviously mismanaged the company,” Stephanus said.

“The management had to recruit foreign pilots because they did not anticipate a pilot shortage before buying new airplanes. It would not have happened had they thought about it.”

Stephanus said that there were as yet no plans to meet with Garuda’s management again.

Stephanus warned passengers planning to fly Thursday to change their travel plans because “we’re still going to strike,” he said.

Earlier in the morning, a number of Garuda’s senior pilots urged their colleagues not to go on strike, for the sake of the company and passengers.

The senior pilots, calling themselves Pilots Concerned with Garuda, said they would still fly on Thursday as they believe negotiations can still be conducted while carrying out their duties.

“Going on strike will only make things worse for the airline and neglect our passengers,” said the group’s spokesman, Manotar Napitupulu.

“There are plenty of other pilots who have decided not to fly,” he added, although he could not give an exact figure.

Manotar said the plan to go on strike had caused the price of Garuda shares to decline. “The strike, even for one day, will have repercussions for pilots and aircraft rotation for about a month,” he said.

Manotar said that currently, Garuda has about 800 pilots and needs another 500 pilots by 2012.

Garuda spokesman Pujobroto told that the airline would deploy instructors to anticipate the strike.

“Usually the instructors are giving training but they will be prepared to fly if the strike takes place,” he said.

Air transportation director general Herry Bhakti Gumay said the Transportation Ministry would not interfere in the dispute, saying it was an industrial issue.

“However, we suggest that Garuda pilots cancel their plan to go on strike,” he said.

Garuda is still opening reservations for Thursday’s flights, of which Pujobroto said there were between 260 and 280.

APG’s plan to go on strike is also supported by the Garuda Employees’ Union (Sekarga) and the Garuda Indonesia Cabin Crew Association (IAKGI), with both groups citing poor working conditions due to the absence of a mutual working agreement.

Garuda’s board of directors is scheduled to hold a press conference on the matter on Wednesday.