Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flying Is Not For The Faint- Hearted. (Vietnam Airlines)

June saw the expiration of the aviation license for Vietnam’s first private airline, Vietjet Air.

According to the report by the Ministry of Transport submitted to the Prime Minister earlier this year, the aviation license of Vietjet Air has already expired as it has not come into operation, despite having been set up for 2 years.

In May 2011, the Malaysian-based budget airline AirAsia signed an agreement to buy 30 percent of Vietjet Air’s shares and declared that the first flight would take off in the next 3 months. However, to date, Vietjet Air has not shown any movements that the company will go into operation.

An anonymous source from Sovico Holdings – the company holding the majority of Vietjet Air shares – said that there is nothing new in the situation of Vietjet Air. Meanwhile, a senior officer at the Civil Aviation Administra- tion of Vietnam (CAAV) said that AirAsia may not be making its capital injection into Vietjet Air any longer, as it has been unable to reach agreement with Vietjet Air on using a new logo and the brand “Vietjet AirAsia”. The delay of Vietjet Air’s launch, some three years after having being granted permission, has shown that Vietnam’s aviation business is not easy for private airlines.

There are currently eight airlines in Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VASCO, Vietjet Air, Indochina Airlines, Air Mekong, Trai Thien Air Cargo and Vietstar Air – a new airline established last month (May 2011). Of those, only four are actually operating, Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VASCO and Air Mekong. Indochina Airlines, after a short time in operation, fell into debt and is now prohibited to fly.

Mr Vo Huy Cuong, head of CAAV’s Air Transport Department, commented that “customer loyalty” to the Vietnam Airlines brand is one of the major obstacles for new airlines entering the market. Vietnam Airlines accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic aviation market share, especially on some “golden routes” such as Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi – Danang, Ho Chi Minh City – Danang.

Over the past two years, Vietnam Airlines has continued to open more new routes from major cities to provinces with tourist potential such as Hanoi – Quang Binh and Hanoi – Vinh. The expansion of Vietnam Airlines is a big challenge to all other airlines.

Even Jetstar Pacific, an airline with over 70 percent of its shares held by the State, proved to be weaker than Vietnam Airlines. At the end of May 2011, Jetstar Pacific had to seek the intervention of the Ministry of Transport to continue being provided with fuel by Vietnam Air Petrol Co Ltd (Vinapco) as the airline had not paid its fuel debt of about VND180 billion (approximately US$8.6 million).

Vinapco also said that to date, they had not received back from Indochina Airlines their loan of about US$1 million. Another private airline, Air Cargo Trai Thien, seemed to disappear from the market almost as soon as it had received its aviation business license.

Mr Cuong said that the CAAV has been unable to make contact with the managers of the two airlines – Indochina Airlines and Trai Thien Air Cargo.

This bleak situation in the operation of private airlines seems particularly odd given the increasing demand for air travel and the current “overloading” of Vietnam Airlines. However, some experts in the industry believe that the difficulties of private airlines are understandable.

Although Vietnam is forecast to be the fastest growing aviation market in the world in volume of passengers and cargo in 2020, the current volume of 14.1 million passengers and 176,000 tons of cargo is still quite modest. Vietnam Airlines, with their expansion of routes and purchase of more planes, can easily meet most of that demand. As a result, the share of the pie remaining for other private airlines is just too small.

Mr.Doan Quoc Viet, Chairman of Air Mekong, also admitted that private airlines find it hard to compete with Vietnam Airlines.

Being the only private airline operating at present, Air Mekong has chosen a strategy to aim at those routes that Vietnam Airlines doesn’t pay much attention to, such as Hanoi – Phu Quoc, in addition to exploiting other “golden routes”. “In the current situation, only focusing on competing with Vietnam Airlines on the “golden routes” would be virtually impossible,” added Mr. Viet.

Despite having been in operation more than half a year since starting to build their brand, Mr. Viet believes that Air Mekong may still face losses during its first two years, or even longer.

In order to reinforce its strength, Air Mekong has been waiting for Government permission to allow the Skywest Corporation to buy a 30 percent stake. It is now receiving help from Skywest in leasing aircraft and pilots. Mr Viet concluded that it is difficult for a private airline to survive in Vietnam’s market if it does not have real potential.

Illinois National Guard Aviator Inducted in Aviation Hall of Fame

Maj. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates and a 19 year veteran of the Illinois National Guard holds up her Federal Aviation Administration certificate following her final check ride July 19, 2010 with Tom Adams, the senior flight instructor at Dulles Aviation in Manassas, Va. Duckworth was recently inducted into the Women of Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. In November 2004, she lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm when her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/28/2011)(readMedia)-- There are few people in the world born to fly, but Maj. Tammy Duckworth is one such person. The 19 year veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard and Hoffman Estates resident was recently inducted into the Women of Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame.

"I am extremely humbled to have been inducted into the hall of fame," said Duckworth. "Especially when the other inductees were an astronaut and an original member of the Women's Air Service Pilots or WASPs who served during World War II."

The Women of Aviation International (WAI) is an organization that recognizes and promotes female pilots. The WAI provided aviation scholarships, holds forums for professional pilots, and promotes flying for business or pleasure.

Qantas pilot relieved of duties over plans to take part in industrial action.

QANTAS yesterday relieved a pilot of his duties because he intended carrying out industrial action against the airline.

The pilot, Capt Steven Anderson, was due to operate flight QFA0030 from Hong Kong to Melbourne today, but was told late yesterday his services were not required for the flight.

Another Qantas captain was flown to Hong Kong to relieve Capt Anderson, who must now make his own way back to Melbourne and will not be paid.

Capt Anderson and the Australian International Pilots Association had told Qantas he did not intend to extend his tour of duty on the flight, a Boeing 747 carrying 350 passengers.

This meant if the flight were delayed or diverted by weather, medical emergencies, mechanical issues or air traffic control instructions he would not continue flying.

Qantas spokesman Luke Enright said if the airline allowed this to happen "passengers could be stranded overnight in Hong Kong or between Hong Kong and Melbourne.

"Qantas is not prepared to risk passengers being delayed getting to Melbourne because the captain wants to take industrial action.''

The airline is not required to pay employees who engage in partial work bans, according to the Fair Work Act. Capt Anderson will not be paid while he engages in the ban, but will resume duties on full pay once he notifies the airline the ban is over.

Capt Anderson also indicated he was refusing to wear his tie and cap, but Qantas says this is not the reason he was relieved of his duties.

The pilots' union is in the middle of a 30-day period of industrial action in an effort, it says, to prevent Qantas shifting jobs offshore.

Pilots' association president Barry Jackson said: "Qantas pilots are committed to looking after passengers and have therefore chosen non-disruptive measures, yet management appears hell-bent on making sure passengers are affected.

"This move is deliberately inflammatory and wholly unnecessary. It has the sole aim of provoking Qantas pilots to anger.

"AIPA believes this move to be totally unjustified - and we will be exploring all our options under the Fair Work Act - but we will not be disrupted from our level-headed and rational campaign.''

"The pilots union is trying to force all Qantas subsidiaries including Jetstar, to pay the same premium pay and conditions as Qantas. The union is also demanding pay increases and free flights on top of already heavily discounted airfares,'' Mr Enright said.

"If Qantas was to give the unions what they want it would drive up airfares, cost jobs and make Qantas airlines and routes unprofitable.''

Helicopter crop-duster crashes in Minnesota cornfield

NICOLLET, Minn. A helicopter pilot was able to walk away unharmed after his crop-dusting chopper crashed in a cornfield in southern Minnesota.

KEYC-TV reports the crash happened just after 4:30 p.m. Thursday about seven miles north of Nicollet.

According to the Nicollet County sheriff's office, the helicopter belonging to Scott's Helicopter Service out of LeSueur had a mechanical problem while it was spraying a field and lost altitude. The pilot was able to bring the helicopter to a hard landing on its skids in the cornfield.

The pilot, Matt Aubuchon from Washington state, was not hurt. First responders found him walking out of the tall corn.

The Federal Aviation Administration will begin investigating the crash Friday.

Information from: KEYC-TV, http://www.keyc.tv

Chopper crash claims pastoralist. Australia.

Jillian Jenyns

Kimberley station owner Jillian Jenyns was killed in a helicopter crash near Fitzroy Crossing
(Ruth Webb Smith) 

Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter

Authorities have raised concerns about the Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter Ms Jenyns crashed in
(www.toreuse.com)

A Kimberley pastoral station owner killed in a helicopter crash near Fitzroy Crossing, has been described as a phenomenal woman.

A search started for Jillian Jenyns, 48, when she failed to return to Brooking Springs Station from cattle mustering on Wednesday.

Ms Jenyns' body was found in the wreckage of her Robinson R-22 helicopter yesterday.

Pastoralist and close friend Ruth Webb Smith described Ms Jenyns as a very capable woman who loved station life.

"She did all her admin, all the wages, she did all the office work, she flew the helicopters," she said.

"She was just so capable but she was very capable in the business world as well.

"All I can say is that it is a loss to her friends and her family.

"[She] just lived for and loved her kids and worked hard every day because it's tough times and she pulled out every stop and just was a very, very hard worker and very, very capable."

Officers from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are due to arrive in the Kimberley today to investigate the crash.

The Bureau recently issued a warning about the stress placed on the Robinson R22s drive belt system during cattle mustering.

Ms Jenyns moved to Western Australia from Queensland. 

Source:  http://www.abc.net.au

Pilot 'tried to avoid houses'

SOUTH TURRAMURRA: The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in dense bushland at South Turramurra on Friday could have been trying to avoid houses and possibly land on the nearby Canoon Rd netball courts.

Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter flying low before there was a loud bang.

Pilot Colin Greenwood, 41, and his passenger, Bruce Campbell, 65, died when the Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopter, owned by Mr Campbell, crashed in bush at 9.15am.

A Canoon Rd resident, who did not wish to be named, said he went outside when he heard the noise of an engine cutting out or hitting a solid object. “I thought they may have tried to land on the netball court,” he said.

His neighbour Flora Dean said she thought the pilot was trying to navigate away from homes.

“I think they were definitely trying to avoid the houses,” she said, when asked why she thought the chopper landed in bushland.

Mr Greenwood was well respected among his peers as an experienced pilot who had lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, doing mountain flying.

A fellow aviation industry worker, who did not wish to be named, told the Advocate he met Mr Greenwood five times at helipads at Bankstown, Rosehill and Sydney airports. He said Mr Greenwood worked as senior pilot for David Gemmell, the former owner of Sydney Helicopters.

Mr Greenwood also flew a couple of times for Blue Sky helicopters at Sydney Airport and took part in firefighting operations and aerial lifting at Rosehill.

He said the experienced pilot was well regarded in the close-knit aviation industry.

“Colin was likeable, affable and an absolute professional,” he said. “I never heard a bad word said about him. He was certainly experienced and highly regarded.”

The bodies of Mr Campbell and Mr Greenwood were retrieved from the crash site on Saturday and taken for a post-mortem to confirm the cause of their deaths.

Police said the crash site was under the control of Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators who will examine the circumstances surrounding the crash. Ku-ring-gai police are preparing a report for the NSW Coroner. 

Source:  http://hornsby-advocate.whereilive.com.au

Dining Out: Hemingway's seeks its sea legs, but still satisfies. Bay Bridge Airport (W29), Stevensville, Maryland.

By JANICE GARY, For The Capital
Published 07/28/11

It's hard to refuse an invitation to a moonlight cruise. And harder still when you know the destination is a waterfront restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

So on a beautiful evening, we climbed aboard the 32-foot powerboat Moxie and headed out across the bay to Hemingway's at the Bay Bridge Marina.

All of us on board had patronized the former Hemingway's before it closed last September and we were curious to experience what the new owners have done with the Kent Island landmark.

From the water, the stylish two-story building looked inviting and quite different from its predecessor. We entered the channel into the Bay Bridge Marina and were directed to a complimentary slip on the bulkhead directly behind the restaurant.

Flight Design's New Four Seat C4 Aircraft to Include BRS Parachutes as Standard Equipment


Flight Design will introduce a full-scale mock-up of their new four seat C4 at this year's EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh. As in all previous Flight Design models, a BRS parachute system has been designed for the C4 and will be included as standard equipment on all C4's sold.

"It is no coincidence that Flight Design's CTLS and MC LSA models and the Cirrus SR20/22 are the industry's top selling aircraft in their market segments, and that they all include a BRS system as standard equipment... not as an option," stated Boris Popov, founder and director for BRS Aerospace.

"The C4 is an attractive new alternative for the pilot who wants to own a state-of-the-art, high wing, composite aircraft together with a truly giant cabin and the excellent visibility that has made the Flight Design CT line of aircraft famous. It will have fixed gear and a lot of commonality with the CT," said Matthias Betsch, CEO of Germany-based Flight Design GmbH. "It will be big and quiet... quite an elegant airplane," he said. The C4 price point for the U.S. market has been established as not-to-exceed $250,000, including the BRS parachute system, with an estimated range of 1,200 nm and a 160 kts cruise speed, according to Betsch. Flight Design's development schedule targets a C4 prototype flying early next year, with EASA and FAA certification by the end of 2012 and production and deliveries starting in 2013. Betsch said C4 buyers will have options for both an avgas/alternate fuel power plant or a Jet A diesel engine, with engine supplier partners to be announced soon.

Larry Williams, CEO of BRS Aerospace, adds, "We are especially proud that Flight Design continues to trust us to provide the highest quality emergency parachute systems in the world for their new aircraft. We have enjoyed a solid, mutually-beneficial relationship for many years and this commitment on their part further reinforces and emphasizes our dual strengths in providing the safest possible aircraft."

About BRS Aerospace
Based in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, BRS Aerospace consists of three divisions: BRS Aviation which designs, manufactures, and distributes whole-aircraft emergency parachute systems for general aviation and recreational aircraft; BRS Defense which designs and manufactures a variety of parachute systems for US Department of Defense and foreign military customers; and BRS Safety which designs and manufactures reflective and load-bearing safety vests, and other apparel. Since 1981, BRS Aerospace has delivered more than 35,000 parachute systems to aircraft owners worldwide, including over 4,700 systems on FAA-certificated aircraft such as the Cessna C-172/182 and new C-162 Skycatcher. To date, BRS Aerospace parachute recovery systems have been credited with saving the lives of 261 pilots and passengers. 

Source:  http://money.msn.com

Former airline mechanic at Newark Liberty Airport admits role in international drug ring

NEWARK, N.J. — A former Continental Airlines aircraft mechanic at Newark Liberty International Airport has admitted his role in a heroin smuggling ring.

Joseph Muniz pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he conspired to possess and distribute the drug. The plea came as closing arguments in his trial were about to get under way.

The 59-year-old Perth Amboy resident admitted retrieving packages of heroin from Colombia that had been hidden in passenger seat life jacket compartments and delivering them to a co-conspirator.

Federal prosecutors say the international narcotics trafficking ring had ties to El Salvador and Colombia.

It was not immediately known when Muniz will be sentenced.

Part of a Cessna 150: Crazy Objects That People Have Swallowed [Medical Infographic]

It’s amazing what people will swallow and insert into their own bodies. We’ve all heard the gerbil scenario but there are many other objects that have been medically documented. While I can completely understand how someone could accidentally swallow their own dentures, I have no idea why a cobble stone would be put down someone’s throat or how someone could accidentally ingest part of a Cessna 150 airplane (I’m assuming this was not an accident).

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, Civil Aviation College, JA4215: Accident occurred July 28, 2011 near Memurocho, Hokkaido, about 20km W-NW of Obihiro Airport (RJCB) - Japan

SAPPORO — Three people died Thursday when a Civil Aviation College aircraft crashed into a mountain in Hokkaido during a training flight, police said.

Four people were aboard the Beechcraft A36 single-engine propeller plane from the college's Obihiro branch. The plane took off from Obihiro airport at 9:11 a.m. and contact with it was lost around 9:30 a.m., the police said.

The three bodies recovered at the crash site are believed to be those of pilot Kenjiro Tanaka, 44, instructor Ryuji Morizono, 45, and trainee Ichiro Fujii, 23. The police are trying to confirm their identities.

The surviving occupant, trainee Isamu Kawaguchi, 23, was found alive in Memuro, near Obihiro. He managed to get out of the wreckage and walk down the mountain. "The airplane crashed caught fire," the police quoted him as saying.

Probe $250m Jets – Minority members in Parliament. Ghana Air Force.

Minority members in Parliament have raised serious issues with government’s intention to acquire five aircraft for the military.

They therefore want due diligence to be conducted into the purchase of the Embraer 190 aircraft and the hangar.

Chief among their concerns are the cost involved in the purchase of one Embraer 190, two C295, two DA 42 MPP aircraft and the construction of a hangar to house the planes at $ 88million.

Government is contracting over $250million to purchase five planes for the Ghana Air Force.

At a press conference yesterday, Member of Parliament for Okaikoi-South, Nana Akomea said they did not understand why government was buying the Embraer 190 aircraft at $55,264,000 whilst it had also requested the options configurations which had brought the total amount to $88million.

The minority believed that the $55,264,000.00 stated by government as the price of the aircraft was highly inflated.

That, according to Akomea, was because various internet sites put the basic price of an Embraer 190 aircraft at $32million and $40million for the top model.

Based on the basic price of $32million, he noted that a price tag of $88million meant government had ordered an additional cost of $56million on the Ghanaian taxpayer.

“Even if one took the government’s stated basic price of $55.2milliuon, the additions ordered by government cost the taxpayer an extra $33million.”

These additions, according to him, included nearly $1million for flight entertainment in the first-class compartment.

The minority believes these additions and extra costs for the Embraer 190 are excessive for a developing country like Ghana where millions of its citizens lack basic needs like food, water, electricity and shelter, adding, “NDC’s hypocrisy on this score cannot be missed.”

This, the minority said, was because in 2008, when the then Kufuor-led NPP government submitted similar loan agreements to Parliament to buy two aircraft at $105million, the then opposition NDC opposed the bid.

Nana Akomea quoted the then Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin, who said: “It is premature for us to buy this aircraft” and that “is important we do not commit this country ….where we are thirsty, where we are hungry, where we are HIPC, where we are poor”.

The Minority also disputed claims by government spokespersons to the effect that the Embraer 190 was a military aircraft for troop transport, fighting armed robbery and for rescue missions, saying, “It is not true”, insisting that “the Embraer 190 is basically a commercial airliner which the NDC government, at a cost, is having configured as an executive (presidential) jet.”

It said, “The Embraer is to serve the same purpose as the Airbus 319 ER, which is the original recommendation of GAF in 2008 to serve as the main presidential jet.”

As a result of the NDC’s opposition to the acquisition in 2008, Nana Akomea insisted that the “NDC now in government has a difficulty justifying the purchase of the aircraft to serve the same purpose of the Airbus 319 as recommended by the GAF.”

According to the Minority, it was for this reason “government is trying to manufacture a military role for the aircraft”, insisting that “the 100-seater Embraer 190 is not suitable by United Nations standards to win contracts to lift the over 800 Ghanaian troops in Lebanon.”

The Minority has therefore joined the call by other well-meaning Ghanaians for the President to stop the purchase of the $88million Embraer 190.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

“This is a piece of cake. Ain’t nobody shooting at us.”: ‘That scared the hell out of me’ . . . .

By Keith Kappes - Publisher The Morehead News

July 28, 2011 — It was a year ago this week that veteran newsman Daniel Schorr died at the age of 93.

He was among many legends of broadcast journalism who started as newspaper reporters before moving to radio and TV.

I liked him because he was not just another handsome guy on the tube who read what someone else had written.

He didn’t have a particularly pleasant voice but he always knew his material and had credibility.

Daniel Schorr and I shared an indelible experience in April of 1974 that I recalled this week as I read about pilots and small airplanes.

It was the day after devastating tornadoes hit the Louisville area. Severe thunderstorms were spawned across the state in both directions.

It was my responsibility at MSU to arrange for Schorr to get from the Lexington airport to the campus for a lecture on Watergate. His plane had been delayed in Washington because of the weather here and we didn’t have time to drive him to Morehead for a morning lecture.

Schorr had won several awards covering the Nixon White House and was proud to be on the “enemies list” of the former president. We knew he would have a packed house at Button Auditorium – and he did.

I had no choice but to charter a small plane in Lexington to fly Schorr to the old airport at Farmers. His agent insisted that I ride in the same plane so they knew it would be safe.

We took off from Bluegrass Airport in a four-seat, single engine plane piloted by a tall, skinny man wearing an Army field jacket and aviator sunglasses.

Before takeoff, he told me he was a forward observer pilot in Vietnam for two hitches. I respected him immediately because FO pilots flew over enemy targets in small planes to direct artillery fire. Some were killed in the process, of course.

We battled head winds, updrafts and downdrafts all of the way to Morehead. I was in the co-pilot’s seat and Schorr was in the double seat in the rear, holding tightly to straps on both sides and wearing two seatbelts.

The turbulence pitched us all over the sky and I kept thinking that I was going to die in a plane crash with this famous TV journalist. Somehow, that was not a comforting thought, despite the good company.

As we circled over Cave Run Lake, the turbulence was worse. I turned to look at Schorr and his eyes were closed and his lips were moving. I knew he was praying.

But our pilot was calm. As we descended toward that tiny runway, I asked him how he managed to stay cool and he said quietly:

“This is a piece of cake. Ain’t nobody shooting at us.”

Schorr’s visit to MSU ended with an interview with a student reporter who asked about his trip from Lexington.

For a journalist who had covered wars, natural disasters and other calamities, his instant reply was a classic:

“That scared the hell out of me.”

We went back to Lexington by car.

Source:  http://themoreheadnews.com

How to Become a Pilot. Flying an airplane can be an expensive and painstaking process. But does it have to be?


We turned to flight instructor and plane designer Terry Raber about how quickly someone can go from the couch to the air.

He says, first you need to know what you want to fly.

"If you want to go fly, people just show up at an airport, go talk to an instructor there. The instructor kind of gives you the sales pitch," Raber said.

He says to fly a bigger plane with multiple passengers, you need a private pilot license. That takes 40 hours of training and costs about $8,000.

For smaller, two-seater planes, you need a sport pilot license. That takes 25 hours of instruction and costs about $3,500.

"Basically, when you learn to fly, about half of that 25 hours is going to be with an instructor. Someone is going to be teaching you how to fly."

But if you want to get in the air quicker and cheaper, there are ultra-lights. You don't need to license to fly these, and Raber says all you need is roughly $500 to pay for five hours of instructions and you'll be piloting an aircraft.

"It's really like driving an ATV for sport, or a motorcycle. It's the exact same thing, except you can go where you want. You don't have to follow the road. Point it and go."

Buying your own plane is a different story. You can purchase ultra-light planes for under $10,000, but all other options go up quickly in price from there.

PICTURES: F-16 runway overrun at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.



(WITI-TV, OSHKOSH) There was a landing mishap involving a military jet Thursday morning at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. An F-16 with the Alabama Air National Guard landed around 11 a.m., but not on the runway.

Officials with EAA Airventure estimate the F-16 was traveling about 70 m.p.h. when it hit the grass at the end of the runway. That's when the aircraft his a low spot and went nose down -- sending grass and dirt flying everywhere.

The pilot of the F-16 is with the Alabama Air National Guard according to the guard's spokesperson. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution and has since been released.

Dick Knapinski with EAA says it could have been a mechanical malfunction or pilot error. He also says no EAA visitors were ever in any danger.

The Air Force is investigating the incident. No damage estimate was available. Alabama's only F-16 unit is based in Montgomery. 

See Photos: http://www.chicagotribune.com

Beech Bonanza: Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed. Fort Wayne International Airport (KFWA), Indiana.




FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A Beech Bonanza aircraft crash landed at the Fort Wayne International Airport shortly after 4:30 Thursday afternoon.

Fort Wayne fire and emergency crews were called to the scene of reports that the aircraft had a stuck front landing gear.

Fort Wayne International Executive Director Tory Richardson says that around 4:20pm Thursday, the tower received an Alert 1 from an aircraft experiencing problems with their landing gear.

They had the plane circle the airport and verified that the landing gear was down but not in a locked position.

The plane touched down on runway 23 the nose gear collapsed causing the plane to go onto it's nose.

The two occupants on board the plane at the time were not injured.

Richardson adds that the procedure went as good as he could have hoped for.

The pilot performed perfectly and the crews responded as trained.

During the emergency the airport was closed for 10 min.

The airport is currently using the secondary runway as officials document everything.

Beechcraft A36: Three dead, but trainee pilot survives plane crash in Hokkaido, Japan.

TOKYO — Three people died but a trainee pilot survived when their plane plunged into mountains in Hokkaido on Thursday after its engine caught fire.

The survivor, Isamu Kawaguchi, told police he was thrown from the single-engine Beechcraft A36 by the impact of the crash during a flight from an aviation school based in Obihiro.

Two instructors and another student were killed, said a spokesman for the government-affiliated Civil Aviation College.

It was the second fatal accident involving planes from the college which has produced about 3,500 civilian pilots in its 57-year history, he added.

Source:  http://www.japantoday.com

Noisy Helicopters Would be Curbed: Measure introduced calling for the FAA to restrict helicopter flight paths over Los Angeles

News Helicopter in flight
Credit Laurie Kapugi

During the weekend of Carmaggedon, many Sherman Oaks residents complained that noisy helicopters, mainly from television news outlets, were hovering over their homes all day.

The President of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, Jill Banks Barad, said she was inundated with complaints from residents.

“I can understand covering the story for the 11 p.m. news, but it is not breaking news at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.,” said Barad at the time.

Now some attempt at relief may be on the way.

Congressman Howard L. Berman introduced legislation on Capitol Hill Thursday that would force the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to restrict helicopter flight paths in Los Angeles County and set minimum altitudes within 12 months.

According to a press release issued by Berman, the FAA has refused to regulate private helicopter flights above Los Angeles. In the San Fernando Valley, the sound of choppers buzzing overhead is a constant and common noise heard by most residents due to the high volume of them operated by the LAPD, TV news stations and others flying in and out of Van Nuys Airport.

“Residents deserve relief from the thunderous clacking of helicopter blades hovering directly over their homes, and instead all they’ve been getting is the runaround from government agencies,” said Berman, who represents a large portion of the Valley, in a press release. “The buck stops here because it is simply unacceptable for residents to be forced to contend with these brazen helicopter operators on their own. This bill requires the regulations that will give residents the relief and increased safety they are so desperately looking for.”

Here at Patch, one of the most common emails we get are questions from concerned residents wondering why a helicopter was hovering over their house.

“Helicopters are hovering right above our homes at all hours of the morning and night. It’s the wild, wild West up there and until now nobody has been taking control,” said Richard Close, President of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, in the press release. “Our community appreciates Congressman Berman’s willingness to work with us and tackle this issue head on. This is about our quality of life and the safety and privacy of residents across the Valley. Finally, someone is listening and something is being done.”

Berman’s bill would require the FAA to regulate helicopter operations above Los Angeles within 12 months of being signed into law. The bill also calls for the FAA to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operators in residential areas of Los Angeles County.

Exemptions would be allowed for law enforcement, emergency responders, and the military, so it's unclear how much the bill would fix the noise problem. The LAPD currently operates the largest municipal helicopter force in the world and the largest heliport in the world and is responsible for a great portion of the helicopter air traffic over the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles.

Berman's press release pointed to Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York's amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill earlier this year, which passed the Senate and required similar regulations to helicopter operations above Long Island.

Taylorcraft BL-65, N24369: Accident occurred July 28, 2011 in Winterville, North Carolina


NTSB Identification: ERA11FA426
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Winterville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: TAYLORCRAFT BL-65, registration: N24369
Injuries: 1 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.

After a local flight, the vintage airplane was approaching the pilot's home airport on a very hot day (36 degrees C [97 degrees F]), and the cockpit was most likely hot as well. As the airplane approached perpendicular to the runway, it maintained a nose-down, left bank attitude, consistent with no further control inputs from the pilot. The airplane impacted the left side of runway, approximately one-third down the runway, pivoted 180 degrees, and came to rest about 20 feet from the initial impact point. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Although the autopsy report listed the cause of death as multiple injuries related to the crash, it also noted significant coronary artery disease and a tiny scar of the papillary muscle. Both suggested the possibility of a cardiac arrhythmia or heart attack that may have resulted in incapacitation. Additionally, the pilot's medical history revealed a vasovagal (fainting) episode due to nausea and vomiting about 2 years prior to the accident. Neither a vasovagal episode nor cardiac arrhythmia would have left any evidence for discovery during autopsy. As such, pilot incapacitation is possible in this accident because of the lack of control inputs as the airplane approached the runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

A loss of airplane control for undetermined reasons as the autopsy was unable to reveal any definitive conditions that would have led to the loss of control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 28, 2011, at 1511 eastern daylight time, a Taylorcraft BL-65, N24369, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted runway 25 during an attempted landing at South Oak Aerodrome (NC47), Winterville, North Carolina. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed NC47 about 1345.

Runway 25 at NC47 was 1,850 feet long, 50 feet wide, and consisted of turf. According to surveillance video provided by the owner of a nearby residence, the airplane approached the runway from south to north in a nose-down, left-bank attitude, with no apparent additional control inputs. The airplane impacted the left side of runway 25, approximately one-third down the runway. It then pivoted 180 degrees and came to rest about 20 feet from initial impact. The wreckage was resting upright, on a heading of 150 degrees magnetic. The right main landing gear had partially separated and the airplane was resting on its right side. Ground scars were located about 20 feet from the wreckage, oriented about a 300-degree magnetic bearing to the wreckage. The shape, orientation, and distribution of the ground scars were consistent with the left wing and left main landing gear.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot, age 42, held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He also held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane-single engine land. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on March 16, 2011. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 11,800 hours. The pilot's logbook was recovered; however, it was not current and the most recent entry was dated March 18, 2010. The pilot's total flight experience or total hours in the accident airplane make and model could not be determined.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, high-wing, fixed tricycle-landing gear airplane, serial number 1705, was manufactured in 1940. It was powered by a Continental A65-8, 65-horsepower engine. The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not located and the tachometer indicated 1,294.0 hours of operation.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pitt-Greenville Airport (PGV), Greenville, North Carolina was located about 10 miles north of the accident site. The recorded weather at PGV, at 1515, was: wind from 190 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 miles; scattered clouds at 7,000 feet; scattered clouds at 9,000 feet; temperature 36 degrees Celsius; dew point 17 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

Both wings remained attached to the airframe, with the ailerons attached to their respective wing. The left wing exhibited impact damage at the outboard leading edge and the right wing was not damaged. The airplane was not equipped with flaps. The left aileron was found in a down position and the right aileron was up. The fuel caps remained secured to their respective wing fuel tanks, and approximately one-quarter tank of fuel remained in the right wing. No fuel remained in the left wing; however, the wing tanks were interconnected, which allowed fuel to drain from the left wing to the right wing and vice versa. Additionally, fuel was observed leaking from the engine compartment, in the vicinity of a damaged carburetor. The fuel displayed a brown tint, but was otherwise clear and had an appearance and smell consistent with automobile gasoline. Control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit controls to the rudder, elevator, elevator trim tab, and left aileron. The right aileron bellcrank had separated and was retained for further examination. Control continuity was confirmed from the cable at the bellcrank separation, to the yoke.

The seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained intact and were unlatched by rescue personnel. The mixture control was in the full rich position, the carburetor heat control was off, and the throttle control was mid-range. First responders reported that they positioned the fuel selector and magnetos to off. The engine primer was in and locked.

The engine remained attached to the airframe, and except for the carburetor, was undamaged. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Both propeller blades exhibited s-bending and chordwise scratching. The top spark plugs were removed and examined; their electrodes were intact and dark gray in color. The valve covers were removed and oil was noted in each cylinder head. The propeller was then rotated by hand and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. Crankshaft, and valve train continuity was confirmed throughout the engine. Both magnetos produced spark at all leads when rotated by hand. The carburetor had partially separated due to impact damage, and was disassembled for inspection. The float and needle valve remained intact, and fuel was recovered from the carburetor.

The right aileron bellcrank was forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory, Washington, DC. Metallurgical examination of the bellcrank revealed five fracture faces, which displayed rough grainy surfaces consistent with an overload event.

A Lowrance Airmap 500 handheld global positioning system (GPS) receiver was also recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC. Data were successfully downloaded from the receiver and plotted. The plot depicted a route from NC47, west to Kenley, North Carolina, and return; however, the receiver did not store date or time with each of the recorded positions. As such, the plot could not be positively identified as the accident flight.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 29, 2011, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "Multiple injuries;" however, the report also noted that the left anterior descending focal coronary artery had 85 to 90 percent atherosclerotic narrowing. Additionally, the papillary muscle exhibited focal scarring. Review of the pilot's FAA and personal medical records revealed a fainting episode in 2009, immediately following nausea and vomiting due to a common illness. Considerable cardiac and neurologic testing did not reveal any concerning cause of the fainting episode and the pilot was cleared to continue flying.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, alcohol, and drugs.


 NTSB Identification: ERA11FA426 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Winterville, NC
Aircraft: TAYLORCRAFT BL-65, registration: N24369
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On July 28, 2011, at 1511 eastern daylight time, a Taylorcraft BL-65, N24369, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted runway 25 during an attempted landing at South Oak Aerodrome (NC47), Winterville, North Carolina. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed NC47 about 1345.

Runway 25 at NC47 was 1,850 feet long, 50 feet wide, and consisted of turf. According to video surveillance provided by the owner of a nearby residence, the airplane approached the runway from south to north in a nose-down, left-bank attitude. The airplane impacted the left side of runway 25, approximately one-third down the runway. It then spun 180 degrees and came to rest about 20 feet from initial impact. The wreckage was resting upright, on a heading of 150 degrees magnetic. The right main landing gear had partially separated and the airplane was resting on its right side. Ground scars were located about 20 feet from the wreckage, oriented about a 300 degree magnetic bearing to the wreckage. The ground scars were consistent with the left wing and left main landing gear.

The right aileron bellcrank and a handheld global positioning system receiver were retained for further examination.



A plane crash at the South Oaks Aerodrome, located off County Home Road, killed one person on Thursday.



Credit: Sasha Horne 


Federal aviation investigators arrived early Friday to probe a fatal plane crash that killed a commercial airline pilot from Winterville.

Joshua Brehm, 42, was at the controls after 3 p.m. Thursday when his single-engine 1940 Taylorcraft BL-65 went down in a grassy field at South Oaks Aerodrome in Winterville, authorities said Friday.

The residential landing field at 6554 County Home Road just north of N.C. 102 is an unmanned airfield that is part of a luxury residential development in southern Pitt County. No homes or other structures were damaged.

Brehm is a captain with Southwest Airlines, sheriff's officials said Friday.

He held an airline transport pilot certification, the highest certification offered by the Federal Aviation Administration, spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Friday.

He was certified to fly a Boeing 737, Hawker Beechcraft 1900, which is a twin-turbo propellor plane, and a Bombardier CRJ-200, a regional jet, she said.

Investigators with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board spent Friday morning examining the wreckage.

The plane appeared to be landing when the crash, according to witnesses, sheriff's officials said.
A flight plan was not known, officials said Thursday. Sheriff Neil Elks said it was possible the pilot went up for a brief pleasure ride. The crash does not appear suspicious, he said.


Watch Video:  http://www.witn.com

WINTERVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A small plane crash in Pitt County has killed the only person aboard the aircraft.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Christy Wallace says the plane crashed in a field shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. The crash happened in the small town of Winterville, about seven miles south of Greenville.

Wallace says the name of the victim is being withheld until family members have been notified.

Federal officials plan an investigation of the crash. The agency says the plane was a single-engine craft designed to carry one person.

Wallace says Pitt County sheriff's deputies have closed off the crash site while they wait for federal investigators, who are expected to arrive in Winterville Friday.

Source:  http://www.foxcarolina.com

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that one person has died in a plane crash this afternoon.

It happened at South Oaks Aerodome, a small private airstrip on County Home Road shortly after 3:00 p.m.

A witness tells WITN News what appears to be small aircraft crashed just a short while ago. That witness says the plane appeared to nosedive when it was attempting to land at the airstrip.

The plane now is surrounded by crime scene tape, sitting upright on the grass.

The aircraft is a Taylorcraft BL-65 single-engine plane.

Source:  http://www.witn.com

VIDEO: China's New Aircraft Carrier "For Study"



Chinese military officials announced Wednesday that the decommissioned Varyag aircraft carrier -- once a Soviet warship -- will be used for research and training. Its purchase earlier this year led to rampant speculation about possible military uses.

Many analysts have doubted the ship's actual usefulness in battle -- it lags well behind more modern aircraft carrier technology. But sources have told Reuters that China plans to acquire two more carriers, and "research" on the Varyag may mean helping to build or refit other, more war-ready ships.

It's all part of a current push by China's communist regime to boost military capabilities. Defense spending has shot up sharply, and Beijing continues to test new high-tech equipment, including a stealth fighter. Military strategy experts see this as a major shift.

[Alexander Chieh-Cheng Huang, Professor, Tamkang University]: [Mandarin, Male]
"China now can project its air power with moving assets, which means carriers, to even further away from its coastline, and that will have significant security implications to the forces operating in the Western Pacific; including the United States', Japanese, Australian and many other states' forces. So, this is a watershed development."

The carrier plans come as Chinese authorities flex their muscles more aggressively in the South China Sea, where territorial disputes with Taiwan and other neighbors have festered for years.

The Ministry of Defense's spokesman, Geng Yasheng, was quoted on the ministry website as saying that the military modernization effort "is the sacred responsibility of China's armed forces."

Cessna 172M, N1443U: Accident occurred July 28, 2011 in Pahokee, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA429 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Pahokee, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N1443U
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor stated that, as the airplane climbed through about 500 feet above the ground after takeoff on the intended dual instructional cross-country flight, the engine started shaking, sputtering, and making “alarming” noises. The flight instructor took control of the airplane, noted nothing abnormal with the mixture, fuel selectors, engine instruments, or fuel quantity, and decided to return to the departure airport to land. The flight instructor noted that there was not a total loss of engine power, but it was not possible to maintain the airplane’s altitude. When the flight instructor realized that the airplane was too high and too fast to land on the intended runway, she moved the throttle to idle; however, she did not use flaps or slip the airplane to reach the runway. The airplane overflew the entire length of the runway, and the flight instructor elected to land the airplane in a lake on the left to avoid obstacles straight ahead and on the right. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 cylinder exhaust valve head had sheared off at the stem. The stem, spring, and rocker arm were still intact, and the No. 3 piston exhibited signs of mechanical damage from the sheared head inside the combustion chamber. At the time of the accident, the engine had 2,229.5 hours of operation since major overhaul. The engine manufacturer's recommended time between overhauls was 2,000 hours.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The flight instructor's misjudgment of the airplane's position and airspeed relative to the runway while returning to the airport after a partial loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the separation of the engine's No. 3 cylinder exhaust valve head from the stem, and the operator’s exceedence of the engine manufacturer's recommended time between overhauls.

On July 28, 2011, about 1200 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N1443U, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Lake Okeechobee, near Pahokee, Florida. The certificated flight instructor was not injured and the certificated student pilot incurred minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for the flight, between Palm Beach County Glades Airport (PHK), Pahokee, Florida, and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the flight instructor, the accident flight was part of a series of cross country and student solo flights that day. Upon arrival at PHK, three practice landings were completed before a full stop landing. During a subsequent takeoff for FXE from runway 17, with winds from 100 degrees magnetic at 10 knots, the student pilot was at the controls. All of the gauges were "in the green," and the fuel tanks were half full.

After the takeoff and a straight-out departure, as the airplane reached 500 feet, the engine started shaking, sputtering, and making "alarming" noises. The flight instructor immediately took control of the airplane, and quickly glanced at the mixture, fuel selectors, engine instruments, and fuel, without noting anything abnormal. The flight instructor then turned the airplane back toward runway 35, and transmitted via radio an engine failure, but saw that the engine did not completely quit. Instead, it was not producing any thrust, and the airplane could not maintain altitude.

The flight instructor also stated that after turning the airplane back toward runway 35, she realized that it was too high and too fast. She pulled out the throttle; however, she did not use flaps or attempt to slip the airplane. The airplane then overflew the entire length of the runway, and the flight instructor had to consider other options. In front of her was a house, to the right was a road lined with power lines, and to the left was the lake. The flight instructor then turned the airplane over the lake, and "floated" it as long as possible before it touched down and nosed over. The flight instructor and student pilot exited the airplane and waited on its belly until rescue.

After its removal from the lake, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors and flight school maintenance personnel examined the airplane and the Lycoming 0-320-E2D engine, and found that the No. 3 cylinder exhaust valve head had sheared off the stem. The stem, spring and rocker arm were still intact, and the No. 3 piston exhibited signs of mechanical damage from the sheared head inside the combustion chamber.

The airplane's engine was last inspected during a 100-hour inspection on July 21, 2011. According to the logbook entry, at that time, the engine had accrued 2,211.8 hours of operation since major overhaul. At the time of the accident, hours of engine operation since major overhaul were 2,229.5.

According to Lycoming Service Instruction 1009AU, dated November 18, 2009, recommended time between overhauls of the O-320-E engine is 2,000 hours.

========

Two people avoided serious injury after their small plane crashed upside down in Lake Okeechobee on Thursday.

The plane took off from Palm Beach County Glades Airport, but didn't make it far before flipping over, officials said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Rescuers found the two people on board, a flight instructor and a student, sitting on top of the upside down plane.

One person suffered minor injuries.


Student Pilot, Instructor On Board Single-Engine Cessna

PAHOKEE, Fla. -- A small plane overturned in Lake Okeechobee shortly after taking off from the Pahokee airport Thursday afternoon.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Don Delucia said a student pilot and his flight instructor took off from the Pahokee airport about noon when they experienced problems and had to land in the lake.

The single-engine Cessna landed upside down in the water.

Both people on board were rescued by an airboat.

Delucia said they had minor injuries.


PAHOKEE, Fla. - A small plane flipped over in Pahokee Thursday afternoon.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened on Lake Okeechobee behind the Palm Beach County Glades Airport.

Two people, an instructor and student, were on board and rescued by an airboat, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

One person had minor injuries.

Cessna 206, N910TA: Accident occurred July 17, 2011 in Matinicus Island, Maine

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA405
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Matinicus Island, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA U206G, registration: N910TA
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After takeoff from the island airport for the air taxi flight, the pilot made the initial power reduction when the airplane was at an estimated 200 feet above the ocean. At that time, the engine lost total power, and the pilot ditched the airplane. The pilot and the three passengers were able to exit the airplane before it sank. For about 1 hour until rescuers reached them, they held onto a section of the airplane’s belly cargo pod that had separated during the water impact. At the time of the wreckage recovery, the left and right fuel tank filler caps were found securely installed. The fuel selector was found in the right fuel tank position. About 25 gallons of sea water and 1 pint of aviation fuel were drained from the right fuel tank. About 27 gallons of aviation fuel and 2 gallons of sea water were drained from the left tank. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any discrepancies that would have prevented normal operation of the airplane. The physical evidence indicates that the engine lost power as a result of fuel starvation due to the position of the fuel selector on the empty right tank.

The operator required the pilot to provide the passengers a safety briefing before takeoff. However, none of the passengers were briefed or were aware that life vests were onboard the airplane. If a piece of wreckage had not been available for the passengers to hold on to, the failure of the pilot to notify the passengers of the availability of life vests could have increased the severity of the accident. As a result of the accident, the operator made numerous safety changes including mandating that the pilot read out loud a pre-takeoff briefing referencing the onboard passenger briefing guide card and offering all passengers a personal flotation device to wear during flights.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

On July 17, 2011, about 1625 eastern daylight time, a Cessna U206G, N910TA, registered to and operated by Waters Aero Marine, Inc., doing business as Penobscot Island Air, ditched in the ocean near Matinicus Island Airport (35ME), Matinicus Island, Maine. The pilot and two of three passengers received minor injuries, and the third passenger received serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan was filed for the on-demand air taxi flight, conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The flight originated from 35ME, about 1623, with a destination to Knox County Regional Airport (KRKD), Rockland, Maine.

The pilot stated they departed 35ME with good weather with a light wind. The airplane did not show any abnormal indications on the takeoff roll. At approximately 200 feet into the climb, as he was reducing to climb power, the engine began to lose power. He immediately advanced the throttle and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump with no results. The engine lost total power and the pilot ditched the airplane into the ocean. All onboard were able to exit the airplane before it sank. They clung onto a section of the airplane’s belly cargo pod that separated during the water impact.

When the flight did not report in on the company’s frequency as required by the operator’s General Operations Manual (GOM), a search and rescue operation was activated. At about 1655 an emergency locater transmitter (ELT) signal was heard. At 1724 the pilot and three passengers were located in the water by a search plane. At 1737 all were rescued by a fishing boat and taken to shore for medical attention.

The pilot held an Airline Transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land and sea, and rotorcraft helicopter; with type rating for B-757, B767, and BH-212. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane-single engine and instrument airplane. The pilot reported that he accumulated 25,300 total hours of flight experience, of which, 1,000 hour were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on May 24, 2010.

The Cessna U206G, a six place all metal, high wing, single-engine airplane, variable-pitch propeller, with fix landing gear, serial number U20604102, was manufactured in 1978, and issued a standard airworthiness certificate, in the normal category. The airplane was powered by a Continental IO-520-F, 300-horsepower engine, with a McCauley three bladed propeller. The airplane was equipped with a belly cargo pod and had extended range fuel tanks, with a capacity for 80 gallons of fuel, which 78 gallons are usable. The airplane’s engine was overhauled on June 29, 2009. The engine’s last inspection was performed on July 7, 2011, at which the engine had a total of 1,244.9 hours since major overhauled. The airplane’s last inspection was July 7, 2011 and the airplane had a total of 10,434.6 hours at that time. The airplane was on an annual/100 hour maintenance schedule. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 10,437 hours.

The wreckage was recovered 5 days after the accident from an estimated ocean floor depth of 80 feet and taken to a storage facility under FAA oversight. The left and right fuel tank filler caps were secured in their respective place. The fuel selector was observed in the right fuel tank position. Approximately 25 gallons of sea water was drained from the right fuel tank and about a pint of aviation fuel was observed. Approximately 27 gallons of aviation fuel and about two gallons of sea water were drained from the left tank. The fuselage reservoir sump tanks were filled with sea water. There was no indication of fuel slick observed on the water’s surface during the recovery.

A wreckage examination by the airframe and engine manufacturer was conducted with FAA oversight. Flight control continuity was confirmed and no preimpact discrepancies were noted with the airframe that would have prevented normal operation. The engine was impact damaged and revealed saltwater submersion corrosion. The alternator, propeller governor, fuel pump, vacuum pump, and upper sparks plug were removed to facilitate an inspection of the engine. The corrosion prevented a rotational continuity confirmation of the accessory gears, valve train, cylinders, fuel system, ignition system, and induction system. The visual inspection of this engine did not reveal any abnormalities that would have prevented normal operation.

Information provided by the pilot and operator to FAA and the manufacturers revealed the airplane began the day’s flight schedule with an estimated 60 gallons of fuel onboard and 10 gallons were later serviced prior to the flight to 35ME. The airplane flew 5 flights prior to the accident; a total of 2.7 hours. The Cessna Pilots Operating Handbook (POH), performance charts, indicates the airplane’s fuel consumption is 16 gallons per hour with two gallons for taxi and takeoff, and one gallon to climb to 2,000 feet for each flight. Utilizing the performance data, the fuel consumption was 58.2 gallons. The airplane’s fuel capacity is 78 gallons usable. The calculated total estimated fuel consumption for the five flights (58.2 gallons) plus the recovered fuel (27 gallons) reflects a total of 85.2 gallons. Based on the operator’s information an exact amount of onboard fuel, and quantities for each fuel tank, could not be determine.

The operator’s FAA approved GOM, section 10, Passenger Handling, requires the pilot to give an oral safety briefing before each takeoff, which includes the location of the onboard survival equipment. In addition, a safety information card must be onboard in a location convenient for use by each passenger onboard.

Interviews with the passengers revealed no safety briefing was provided before the takeoff. None of the passengers were aware that life vests or the safety information card were onboard the airplane.

As a result of this accident the operator has implemented several changes to their GOM with respect to the fleet’s fueling and tracking onboard fuel quantities, guidance when to make initial engine power reduction after takeoff, revised the onboard passenger’s guide card, mandated pilot’s to read out loud a pre-takeoff briefing referencing to the onboard passenger briefing guide card, modified all the fleet’s airplanes ELT the capability to be activated from the cockpit, equipped the fleet’s airplanes with emergency egress air bailout bottles, mandated all of the company’s pilots to attend a offshore survival training course, and offer the passengers the Mustang personnel flotation device (PFD) to wear during the flight.


Eva and Paul Murray

(Courtesy of: Fields Dive Service )
The plane’s damaged nose and landing gear in 92 feet of water.

The plane is lifted clear of the water.
(Courtesy of: Fields Dive Service) 

The plane's landing gear and engine compartment had the most apparent damage.
(Photo by: Shlomit Auciello) 

At Prock Marine's North End facility in Rockland, Investigator Rich Eilinger of the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office in Portland discusses the plane with members of the Prock Marine crew.  


Eva Murray's voice is still raspy, five days after escaping from an airplane sinking deep into the ocean off Matinicus Island. Her thoughts are at times a breathless tumble, as she conveys a narrative of what happened on July 17, when the Midcoast — an island, its fishermen, a team of pilots and dispatchers, and first responders both on Matinicus and the mainland — scrambled to save four who crashed from the sky into the ocean.

Murray believes salt water had irritated her airway, that her head was saturated with the Atlantic as she was thrown about the small Cessna, skull banging against cabin metal and instruments as the aircraft settled into the ocean depths.

Eva and her husband, Paul, visited The Herald Gazette in Camden Friday afternoon, July 22, five days following the airplane crash and two days after she was discharged from Maine Medical Center in Portland. To say she bears the scars is an understatement: Half of her head is shaved of her long brown hair, and yellowing bruises and lines of stitches mark her face with battle wounds.

Murray is a writer, a columnist for this paper and others, and she promises she will put into ink her thoughts about the event; for now, she is marshaling her reserves, recovering from a concussion and slowly retrieving memories of what took place. At the moment, those memories are fragmented, and Paul, and others, are helping to fill in the blanks. Paul carries around an index card in his shirt pocket of Eva's first attempt in the hospital to communicate — "Because," he said, "she was insistent she was going to try to write something."

Unable to talk, she wrote, she thought, a few words; in reality, they are illegible scribbles, the marks of a brain trying to heal.

Some memories are distinct, however, and they are related directly to the people coming to her rescue: A friend, Lori Ames who cradled her to keep her warm, a LifeFlight pilot who grinned reassuringly, and her son, Eric, at the Knox County Regional Airport, finding something to keep her warm.

"I remember hearing her voice behind me, cradling me, trying to keep me warm," said Eva. "She knew what to do. All the responders treated us so well," said Eva. "They were very caring, reassuring, respectful and helpful. It was the best experience with health care I've had." In that, she groups everyone from island rescue to Knox County emergency crews to Maine Medical Center and Pen Bay Medical Center.

But Murray knows her community and understands people want to know what happened, how the four survived. And how they did rests significantly on the skill of pilot Rob Hoffman, on an island community that rushed to save them, and on serendipity, luck, and, if one is religious, the grace of God.

The facts are known: The Cessna 206, owned by the Owls Head-based Penobscot Island Air Service and piloted by Hoffman, took off from the Matinicus Island airfield for what would normally be a 15-minute flight across Penobscot Bay to Knox County Regional Airport. It was a routine flight carrying Murray, Abbie Read and Karen Ford, all residents or visitors to the island.

Eva was heading to the mainland where her son, Eric, was to pick her up. He was working at the Owls Head airport. Paul was on the island, visiting at home with his mother and sister. Eva had parked the Jeep at the airport and climbed through the single passenger door, across the pilot's seat, into the co-pilot's seat to its right. In the back seats were Read and Ford. It was a beautiful July evening as Hoffman lifted the Cessna into the air.

Eva: "He took off normally but didn't get much altitude. The engine failed. It didn't go silent, but he could detect before I could that things weren't right. He went right to work, started doing stuff. And he said, 'We're going to have to get out.'

"I had the head set on and I took the microphone away from my face so that I wouldn't say anything or make any noises that would distract him at all. And I realized we were ditching. It was pretty instant. It was mind over matter, make yourself calm down in order to breathe.

"As soon as the pilot realized he had to ditch it, he did everything he could to make it level and gentle. A lot of credit should go to the pilot, for if he had been a rank amateur, if we had hit the water at some random, crazy angle we probably would have gone a lot deeper and it would have been a lot harder to get out.

"I don't remember it being like a sudden crash, like you'd a expect a car crash. But it also wasn't a nice gradual one. Going 60 knots into water is like hitting an object, but it wasn't like hitting a brick wall."

The plane entered the Atlantic, where it was suddenly dark. The cabin filled with water, and Eva could not tell if they were upside down. It was strictly by feel that she found her way out the pilot's door. The Cessna 206 has but two doors, one on the pilot's side, the other, a cargo door.

Both Hoffman and Eva have similar facial injuries and both the back seat passengers have back injuries, said Murray.

Eva: "It was dark in the water. I remember thinking, yep, I'm going to hold my breath to find a way out of this plane, I've got to make myself. I don't know whether we flipped over. I did not know my face was cut up. I am not sure who actually did what. I remember consciously feeling around, handle, open doors and windows, other people. I remember part of my brain, the rational part, saying, 'You can panic later.' This mental thing: half of you takes over and the other half says, 'You, there, who wants to panic. Shut up.' We have to think."

Paul: "A couple of people have compared it to the ditching on the Hudson. To the best of my knowledge, the plane that went into the Hudson, his gear was up so he landed a fairly decent surface into the water. This plane, once those wheels touched, it's a fixed gear plane, it was going to stop it very quickly."

Eva: "There wasn't any floating into the water gently. We were in the water."

The four of them somehow made their way out of the plane, and Paul thinks they all exited the pilot's door, swimming to the surface. The plane then settled down 92 feet underwater.

"I'm not sure how I got out into the water and got up," said Eva. But once on the surface, she counted heads, three of them, and felt a wave of relief.

Eva: "I was talking to everybody. I did not feel that injured. I probably should have been conserving energy but I was kicking and thinking we were all going to kick and swim to shore. I did not feel that cold and nothing hurt. The only thing I was conscious of after a while was how something was happening to my airway. I am not a good swimmer. I rolled over on my back thinking, I am going to have to tread water a lot.

"I never had any feeling once we got out of the airplane that we were going to die. The scary part was very, very brief.

"And then, if there was anything like a miracle moment, that piece of wreckage came up. Then we had a way of staying together. You don't know how long you can stay warm enough to stay coordinated. The other two people had bad back injuries. Having that object, we did not want to sink it, or climb up on it."

That storage compartment, a cargo pod, was the lone piece of wreckage from the plane that surfaced. Paul ventures that it may have floated up because it was lined with foam; perhaps it contained trapped air, making it buoyant. Whatever the mechanics, it was the second development in a fortunate sequence of circumstances.

The next was the sighting of Paul's truck, a TDS Telecom vehicle, at the end of the airfield runway. The four in the water saw the truck, even though Paul, who had been alerted to the emergency, could not see the four of them in the water from that vantage point.

"People knew we were there, it wasn't terrible weather, we were together," said Eva. "But thank god, no babies. Everybody was able-bodied."

On the island

As the plane went down, and sometime upon its impact with the ocean, a distress signal was automatically sent to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Each beacon is encoded with the name of its airplane or boat, so Air Force personnel immediately contacted Penobscot Island Air.

Paul: "Eric called me, 'Is Mum there?' I said, 'Well, she should be on your side by now.'"

Eva: "He was waiting for me, and supposed to pick me up at the airport."

Paul: "She left a while ago, I told him. Then I said something to my mother like, did you hear the plane. Everybody on the island listens for the plane. She said she wasn't really sure, and I said I wasn't really sure. Eric said, 'You better talk to Sally.' Sally is the dispatcher for PIA, and she got on and said 'We're not really sure where the plane is.' I said do you want me to go to the airport? She said, 'Would you please.'

"That was a real heart-sinking feeling. I jumped into the truck and went to the airport. It was stomach wrenching. The Jeep that Eva drives was where I expected it to be but no plane on the ground. I drove out toward the edge of the airstrip. I went to the little shed with a phone where you can call the air service. I picked up the phone to dial but there was no dial tone. That's because Eric had already called the island and was coincidentally on the line. It was pure chance. I said, 'There is no plane here.' Sally said, 'We're sending a plane out. It should be over you shortly.' I drove down to the end of the airstrip, which is a big no-no in daylight. When I got down there, I couldn't see anything."

Eva: "But, boy, wasn't it reassuring to see him. A TDS Telecom truck. So at least someone knew there was an emergency. We could see the airstrip."

That's when the island's collective emergency response kicked in. While a PIA plane flew out over the water, circling for any sight of wreckage and survivors, fishermen converged on the waterfront, into boats and a skiff. At full throttle, they headed to the north end of Matinicus.

"We saw [Paul's] truck at the end of the airstrip so we knew that someone knew we were there," said Eva. "Then we saw the other plane circling, and then we saw what looked like the Stonington boat races coming toward us."

Lobsterboat captains Clayton Philbrook and Robert Young used their boats to bring the survivors to safety. Charlie Rogers, Josh Ames, Edwin Mitchell and Philbrook's son, Nick Philbrook, also took boats out to aid those from the downed plane.

Paul: "By then, Sally had told me that the plane was circling and was told there were four people swimming. If there was a best moment in the whole thing, that was it."

And by that time, the four had been in the 60-degree water for 20 minutes or longer, although no one has yet put a definitive finger on exactly how long.

Eva: "I remember everything until climbing up into Robert's boat, grabbing the side of the boat, putting my leg up. I don't know, somebody probably grabbed me, too, because of course, they would have. I remember saying I'm not that badly injured, but my airway is constricted. And then I was at the end of my strength and after that my memory is in pieces.

"I didn't want the rescuers to spend so much time worrying about did I have a back or spine injury, if they didn't know. But I could feel my throat constricted and I remember saying very firmly, 'My airway is constricted.'"

Paul: "Robert [Young] talked to me at the airport and he said you literally were trying to get your leg up on the rail and he had to give you a hand, but he said you did most of the work."

Eva: "When I got into the boat, I thought, 'OK, I'm used up now.' I remember hearing Lori Ames' voice behind me as she cradled me to try to warm me up. I do not remember the flight in, I remember briefly being at the airport at Owls Head where I saw my son, who works there and is also a trained responder. He was running around trying to find tarps and sleeping bags. I remember seeing a LifeFlight pilot who I know, Dave Burr, and I remember his face, a great big grin right close in my face. And that being a wonderful, reassuring thing. Those three things, Lori's voice, Eric's face and Dave's face."

Paul: "And we know they are all separated by quite a bit of time."

The rescue from the water took the efforts of a whole community. Once back in the harbor, hoists with baskets were used to haul two of them from the boats; two others came in by skiff. All were transported in the back of pickup trucks. Then, they were transported back to the airport for their second airplane ride of the day, in PIA aircraft, over to Owls Head.

On the mainland

Paul: "They [PIA] were just flying everything they had. Eric said when his mother and Rob arrived at the airport, ambulances hadn't arrived yet, and that is why they were hunting around for ways to warm them. He found a quilted plane cover, and there was an assortment of things to use to keep them warm until the ambulances arrived.

Once at Pen Bay, LifeFlight was on hand to transport two patients to two different hospitals, Maine Medical Center and Central Maine Medical Center.

Eva: "And I don't remember going to Pen Bay and I don't remember the helicopter ride! But when you are intubated, you have to be completely hammered. They have to drug you."

More than a week later, the plane is also on the mainland, its wreckage under analysis. Eva and Abbie had a reunion.

“That was a good moment for both of them,” said Paul.

Hoffman is recuperating, Read is home in Appleton, and Ford remains in the hospital, and her mother reports she is getting better every day.

Survivor and rescuer praise pilot's reactions

To Eva, it was Hoffman's skill as a pilot that kept them from the clutches of the ocean, "for landing the sucker level so we could get out."

"These guys are either ex-military or retired civil aviation or Alaska bush pilots," she said of the PIA pilots. "They are not beginners and that needs to be underlined."

"I'm glad the pilot is getting his due," said Philbrook, one of the Matinicus residents who participated in the rescue.

"He did a hell of a job getting the plane in the water, getting the people out of the plane and keeping them all together."

Philbrook said he knew the designer of the plane, and that the cargo pod that provided flotation for the survivors was designed to "peel off without damaging the aircraft."

He said it was fortunate that, due to the wind direction, the flight took off over water.

"If it had been uphill and over the island, 200 feet in the air and 200 yards [along its path] it's trees or somebody's house," he said.

Philbrook said that before going to work for Penobscot Island Air Service, pilot Rob Hoffman flew to Europe for American Airlines for many years.

"He has tens of thousands of hours, flying the big ones," said Philbrook. On July 17, "All of his training paid off."

Community responds

Philbrook said he only did what was expected of people.

"It's a very sad commentary on service today, that going to the aid of somebody in distress gets such praise," he said. "It should be the other way around." He said society should call people to task when they fail to help those in need. He said most of his neighbors were brought up to see the actions they took July 17 as their basic responsibility.

"We all know what it's like to fly in those small planes over water," he said.

He said approximately 50 people were at the airstrip to see the four survivors off on their way to mainland hospitals for treatment.

"The reaction from my friends on the island has been 'Thank you for going out' and 'Good job,'" said Philbrook. "We expect people to do the right thing."

Philbrook praised the staff at Pen Bay, and said that everyone involved in the survivors' rescue and care did what they should have done.

"I was raised to think if you see that somebody needs help, you give it to them," he said.

In Eva's mind, they are all heroes. Her mind circles back to those three people she initially recalled, their reassuring faces and voices. And she remembers that piece of wreckage that popped up out of the water.

For Paul, it was simply a community in full support that he will carry in his mind forever. "On Sunday night I was waiting to fly off the island when a few of the guys I don't hitch horses well with came and told me to let them know if I needed anything," he said.

At the heart of the survival is the community, say both Eva and Paul. Community, both on and off the island, pitched in so competently to save four of their family and friends. On Matinicus, they poured down to the wharves to offer help, blankets and water. At the airport, ambulances from five communities responded, and LifeFlight flew in from across the state.

"If there was a best case scenario for this, a lot of it was there," said Paul.