Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Russia grounds An-12 cargo planes after crash

MOSCOW Aug 10 (Reuters) - Russia temporarily grounded about 100 An-12 cargo planes on Wednesday following a deadly crash of one of the jets, its transport safety regulator said.

An Antonov-12 crashed in Russia's Far East on Tuesday, killing all 11 on board after its engine failed, the latest in a string of transport disasters that anger ordinary Russians, who say the government is not doing enough to protect them.

Ahead of parliamentary elections in December and a presidential vote in March, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have condemned the state of the country's infrastructure and endemic regulatory corner-cutting.

The crash was the third fatal jet disaster in as many months. Seven people were killed by another Antonov, the An-24, in Siberia in July, following a crash in the country's northwest in June that killed 35.

"We decided to suspend flight operations of the An-12 aircraft in Russia until airlines take direct measures to improve safety," said Rostransnadzor official Sergei Romanchev.

The transport safety watchdog added that Russia has around 100 An-12s.

The latest accidents follow the crash of Polish President Lech Kaczynski's Russian-built plane near the western city of Smolensk in a thick fog in April 2010, killing him and all 95 others on board.

A month ago, 122 people died on the Volga River when a tourist riverboat listed to one side and sank within minutes. Putin blamed irresponsibility and the desire for a quick profit for that disaster.

A culture of corruption sometimes enables old, decrepit vessels and aeroplanes to pass routine safety tests.

Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliners delayed again

Deliveries of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Air India have been delayed by two more months, with the first aircraft now expected to be handed over only in December.

Airline officials on Wednesday confirmed the delay, saying the delivery of the first 787, to Japan’s ANA, has still not been completed. That rules out any possibility of the aircraft coming to Air India —- which will get the 22nd 787 —- before December.

The arrival of Dreamliners is crucial to Air India’s turnaround since it currently lacks any medium-haul aircraft in its fleet.

Once the aircraft start arriving, the airline plans to reopen lucrative sectors such as Malaysia, to begin with. Some years back, Air India had 21 weekly services to Malaysia but had to shut down the flights because of non-availability of proper medium-haul aircraft.

Already, Air India is fighting with the Boeing Company for compensating it on an almost three-year delay in delivering the Dreamliners. Airline officials said Boeing has been told about the Rs6,000 crore estimated revenue loss because of the delay and Air India will pursue the compensation issue further.

Air India is also pushing for two full-fledged low-cost services in its turnaround plan.

The current Alliance Air service would be converted to a low-cost carrier (LCC) with a fleet of 40 aircraft and the airline has already applied for necessary permissions. This service will eventually have 30 turboprop aircraft for connecting Tier II and Tier III towns via an LCC model, though the airline wants to lease 15 turboprops to begin operations.

“We should be in the domestic LCC market from this year’s winter schedule,” said an official.

Code-share quest continues

Inability to join the Star Alliance may have cost Air India as much as Rs400 crore a year in revenue.

The prestigious airline grouping last week decided against taking the state-owned carrier into its fold, citing non-completion of some joining formalities.

Now, even as AI officials say they will continue to seek entry into the club, efforts are also on to forge individual commercial code share agreements in select markets with individual airlines.

Boeing soon to take applications in Charleston, South Carolina.

CHARLESTON -- If you’re interested in building airplanes at Boeing’s North Charleston plant, set your clocks for midnight Friday. That’s when up to 3,000 people can submit applications to become 787 Dreamliner assemblers and fabricators.

But you better move quick and be willing to wait for an opening.

ReadySC, the state-run program that trains potential Boeing employees, will stop accepting applications after it’s received its quota. And from that haul, Boeing only wants a pool of 1,000 qualified job seekers from which to hire going forward.

Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger emphasized that the hiring process is not immediate but encouraged anyone interested in a career with the Chicago-based aviation giant to apply first thing Saturday morning.

“It’s easy, the application process is,” she said Wednesday. “So I would encourage people to do that quickly.”

This is the third application drive that Boeing has conducted through ReadySC, .

At the end of 2009, about 10,000 people applied, ReadySC spokeswoman Lauren Hansen said. Over the following 18 months, that pool was exhausted, and Boeing accepted another 1,000 applications in June, Hansen said.

Applicants for the entry-level positions must be available to work anytime, be able to stand for long periods and work on elevated spaces. They also must be high school graduates, or equivalent, and have at least one year of relevant work experience.

If they qualify, prospective employees must then complete a multi-step training program before they can be considered for full-time employment at Boeing. Eslinger would not say what the positions pay, only that the company’s compensation package is “above average” for the region.

While Boeing has imported expertise from its other plants, Eslinger said the company will continue to hire locally “to have a workforce reflective of the region.”

Boeing has about 5,000 employees and contractors at its Charleston International Airport site, she said. That figure includes workers at two factories that supply 787 fuselage sections. The new third plant, where Boeing is assembling its first locally produced Dreamliner, is expected to have a payroll of 3,800.

Eslinger said Boeing has been hiring about 20 people a month.

The first South Carolina-made 787 is scheduled for delivery next year, and by the end of 2013, three planes a month will be assembled in North Charleston.

Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore signs movie deal worth up to $1.3 million.

 Cessna 400 Corvalis, N660BA

 SEATTLE -- Colton Harris-Moore, the notorious Barefoot Bandit, inked a movie deal worth as much as $1.3 million, his attorney confirmed Wednesday.

While Harris-Moore, 20, will not earn a dime off the contract with 20th Century Fox, the money will be used to help pay the minimum $1.4 million he owes in restitution.

"He doesn't really want to do this," said John Henry Browne, Harris-Moore's criminal defense attorney. "But he's got to do it."

Dustin Lance Black, an Academy Award winning screenplay writer, reportedly is writing the script, Browne said. Hollywood trade publication Variety reported last year that David Gordon Green will direct the film, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Various actors including Zac Efron have been rumored to be cast as the Barefoot Bandit.

Although Black already had drafted a screenplay, it will be rewritten after Harris-Moore shares details of his criminal escapades, the attorney said.

"Nobody knows the nitty-gritty of Colton's story," Browne said.

Harris-Moore gained international infamy during a two-year, multi-state crime spree. He stole five planes, more than a dozen cars, several boats and broke into homes and businesses.

Read more:

Australian confirmed dead in PNG helicopter crash

Authorities have confirmed an Australian pilot was killed in a helicopter crash in Papua New Guinea on Monday.

The helicopter flown by Australian man Peter Waters disappeared while returning to Lae on PNG's north coast on Monday morning.

Another helicopter spotted the wreckage that afternoon but bad weather prevented anyone from reaching the crash site.

Yesterday members of the Porgera mine's air rescue team were dropped in by helicopter and confirmed there were no survivors.

Mr Waters was in his 70s. Also on board were two local security guards.

David Inau from the Accident Investigation Commission says Mr Waters was an experienced pilot and a friend.

"Yeah I know him very well," he said.

"We've flown together for many, many years here in PNG."

Mr Inau says investigators arrived at the crash site this morning.

Cockpit scrutiny for Tiger Airways.

THE air safety regulator will be keeping a close watch on Tiger Airways, but gave the carrier the all-clear yesterday to resume flights.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority lifted its six-week suspension of Tiger, but imposed stringent new licence conditions, including limiting the airline to 18 flights a day for at least the rest of the month. At its peak, Tiger was flying about 60 a day.

''Tiger can resume operations that are safe at a time of their choosing,'' said CASA's director of safety, John McCormick.

Tiger Airways will have to retrain its 100 pilots before it is allowed to fly again.

Tiger has reactivated ticket sales for five Melbourne-to-Sydney flights a day and will resume flying tomorrow.

''Over the coming days and weeks, we'll be adding additional frequencies and destinations to the network,'' said Tiger Australia's new chief executive Tony Davis.

The no-frills airline remains under scrutiny - from the ground to the cockpits.

''CASA will carry out extra surveillance on Tiger's flights, through schedules and spot checks,'' Mr McCormick said.

''On some flights our flying operation inspectors will be in the cockpit, observing the performance of Tiger's crew.

''Any failure to comply with these conditions will be taken very seriously,'' he said.

His agency's investigation had found problems with pilot training and proficiency, rostering, fatigue management and operational manuals.

Mr McCormick suggested Tiger had been a victim of its rapid growth, with its systems and personnel not keeping pace.

Some problems first came under CASA's notice late last year during a routine audit. The airline was grounded on July 1 after two low-flying incidents.

''I am happy that the pilots who fly Tiger Airways aircraft, from this day forward, are qualified to the standard that they should be,'' Mr McCormick said.

On the back of Tiger's $18 million first quarter loss locally, the grounding has cost it nearly $12 million, on top of $13.7 million in forgone ticket sales and refunds, and $1.4 million in lost ancillary revenues.

''What's been demonstrated in the five weeks I've been in Australia is that we've clearly made significant progress because we've addressed the concerns that CASA has raised with us and the air operator's certificate has been reinstated," Mr Davis said.

''We're committed to operating a safe airline with a viable long-term future in Australia."

He downplayed speculation about the tenure of his own future at Tiger.

''...It was appropriate the most senior executive in the group took control. 'My commitment is to get Tiger up to full strength again,'' he said.

The airline had bought him a return ticket he said, not a one-way fare.

''My commitment is open ended,'' Mr Davis said.

North Carolina's Marine Corps Air Station New River say more than 6,000 gallons of aviation fuel recovered from spill.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. -- Workers at Marine Corps Air Station New River have recovered 6,400 gallons of fuel that leaked from a pipeline, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The Marines said that a Coast Guard unit from Wilmington helped clean up by providing an additional 500 feet of oil-absorbing boom to the air station. It was expected to take several days for workers at New River to clean up the estimated 8,000 to 10,000-gallon fuel spill.

Corps spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said the leak was discovered Tuesday in a pipeline that transferred fuel from a storage area to refueling tanks. She says the fuel was cut off and gates in a nearby ditch were closed to contain the spill.

Environmental management officials have said the spill will have no effect on local drinking water because there are no drinking water wells near there.

The fuel is used by the installation’s helicopters, which include CH-53 Sea Stallion transports, AH-I Super Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1N Huey transports.

The 3,600-acre New River installation is four miles south of Jacksonville near the southeastern North Carolina coast. With 15,750 active duty military, family members, contractors and civilian employees, as well 212 aircraft, it is one of the service’s largest aviation centers on the East Coast.

Peruvian flagship airline to connect new destinations.

Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Jose Silva said Monday the new flagship airline aims to connect the country with important destinations to which private firms do not fly.

The creation of the flagship airline was announced by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in his inaugural address to the nation on July 28.

"The main purpose of this proposal is for Peru to be have more connections. Therefore, it is necessary to have an airline that reaches important destinations to which private firms do not fly," Silva stated.

He added that his ministry also aims to create highways or roads that lead to tourist areas such as the famous Kuelap fortress in Amazonas.

Minister Silva recalled that during the last board meeting of the National Confederation of Private Business Instructions (Confiep), Humala invited private capitals to invest in the national airline.

Piper PA-23-150 Apache D, Phillip W. Hatfield (rgd. owner), N2286P: Accident occurred August 08, 2011 in Millersburg, Ohio

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA557 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 08, 2011 in Millersburg, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23, registration: N2286P
Injuries: 3 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.

The pilot received a weather briefing on the day before the visual flight rules flight during which he was informed that the weather conditions near his destination would be deteriorating. The pilot departed in night visual conditions. Toward the end of his planned flight, he flew over the destination airport but was unable to see it due to weather conditions that he described to an air traffic controller as “too thick.” The pilot informed the controller that he wanted to fly back toward Columbus, Ohio. About 1 minute later, the pilot informed the controller that he wanted to change his destination to a second airport, which is located about 24 miles northwest of his original destination. While en route to the second airport, the pilot was informed of a notice to airmen indicating that the runway lights at that airport were out of service. Fourteen minutes later, the air traffic controller in communication with the pilot asked if he wanted another airport or to proceed to his second destination. The pilot stated that, once again, he wanted to head back to Columbus. Shortly thereafter, the pilot informed the controller that he wanted to land at a third airport. On the approach to the third airport, the pilot was initially unable to see it because fog was in the area and the airport beacon was out of service; further, he was using the wrong frequency to activate the pilot-controlled runway lights. An air traffic controller informed the pilot of the correct frequency and shortly thereafter the pilot reported that he had the runway in sight. Several witnesses reported seeing and hearing the airplane as it flew over the area. One witness, who was a pilot living adjacent to the airport, stated that he heard the airplane make three passes over the airport from different directions beginning about 25 minutes before the accident. The airplane subsequently impacted trees and terrain in an upsloping wooded area that bordered the south side of the airport. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engines did not reveal any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot was unable to see the airport and continued to fly in the vicinity searching for the runway, and subsequently lost situational awareness and struck trees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance with terrain during the landing approach in night conditions and fog. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight planning.


On August 8, 2011, about 0455 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23 airplane, N2286P, collided with trees and terrain while maneuvering to land at the Holmes County Airport (10G), Millersburg, Ohio. The commercial pilot and two passengers received fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Sullivan County Airport (SIV), Sullivan, Indiana, about 0135.

The original route of flight was intended to be from SIV to the Jefferson County Airpark (2G2), Steubenville, Ohio. The purpose of the flight was to fly one of the passengers to Steubenville, so that she could be with a family member who was having a medical procedure performed.

The pilot contacted the Indianapolis air route traffic control center (ARTCC) at 0138 requesting visual flight rules (VFR) flight following, stating that he had just departed SIV and was en route to 2G2. At 0145, the pilot reported to air traffic control that they were in a layer of clouds and that he was going to climb to 7,500 feet. The airplane subsequently descended to 5,500 feet and continued on toward 2G2.

At 0325, the airplane was instructed to contact Cleveland ARTCC. The pilot checked in with Cleveland and was given a squawk code. At 0341, the pilot was advised to contact Pittsburgh approach control.

The pilot contacted Pittsburgh approach and was cleared through the Class B airspace and instructed to maintain VFR. The pilot advised the controller that he was going to descend to 3,500 feet and that he intended to land at 2G2. The controller instructed the pilot to report having the airport in sight.

At 0351, the controller asked the pilot how he was doing and the pilot responded that he was looking for the airport and couldn’t find it. The controller informed the pilot that the airport was to his north. The controller then told the pilot that he could descend to 3,000 feet and the controller issued a vector to the airport. At 0353, the controller informed the pilot that he was over the airport. The pilot was unable to see the airport stating it was a little “too thick.” The controller asked the pilot what his intention was and the pilot responded that he wanted to fly back toward Columbus. The controller asked the pilot if he had enough fuel and the pilot responded that yes he did. The controller instructed the pilot to maintain VFR and suggested an altitude of 4,500.

At 0354, the pilot reported that they wanted to proceed to the Carrollton County Airport, Carrollton, Ohio (TSO). TSO is located approximately 24 miles northwest of 2G2. The controller instructed the pilot to contact the Cleveland ARTCC and to let them know what his intentions were. The pilot acknowledged the instruction and subsequently checked in with the Cleveland ARTCC.

At 0404, the controller advised the pilot that there was a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that the runway lights for runway 7/25 were out of service.

At 0417, the controller asked the pilot if he wanted to try another airport or if he still wanted to go to TSO. The pilot responded that they were going to head back to Columbus at 6,500 feet. The pilot was instructed to contact the Indianapolis ARTCC and the pilot complied with that instruction.

The pilot informed the controller, at 0438, that he was changing his destination from Columbus to 10G. The controller acknowledged the change. Approximately 0437, the controller informed the pilot that he was over the airport and asked if he could see the ground. The pilot stated that he could see the ground and he was looking for the airport. A short time later the controller informed the pilot that he was now east of the airport and asked the pilot if he could see the airport. The pilot replied that they could not see the airport. About a minute later the controller asked the pilot if he clicked the lights on. The pilot responded yes, but that apparently they weren’t working. The controller stated that there were no NOTAMS regarding the lights. The pilot responded “ok … just must be obscured to us then.” The controller then informed the pilot that the frequency for the lights was 123.4. When the pilot did not respond, the controller again stated that the frequency for the lights was 123.4 and asked the pilot if that was the frequency that he used. The pilot responded “123.4?” At 0453, the controller twice informed the pilot that radar contact was lost and asked if he could hear her. The pilot then responded that he had the runway in sight. The controller verified with the pilot that he had the runway in sight. The controller instructed the pilot to squawk VFR and that radar service was terminated. The pilot responded, “thank you, good day.”

Several witnesses reported seeing and hearing the airplane between 0430 and 0445 as it flew over the Millersburg area. One witness, who was a pilot living adjacent to the airport, stated he heard the airplane make three passes over the airport from different directions beginning around 0430. He stated that around 0500 he went to the airport, turned on the runway lights, and made a call over the universal communications (UNICOM) frequency inquiring if the airplane circling the airport needed assistance. He did not receive a reply. He assumed the airplane diverted to another airport “…where the fog was not as thick… .” This witness stated the airplane sounded normal and as if both engines were running. He stated there was fog in the area at the time he heard the airplane and that he could see vertically through the fog.

Another witness who was outside his residence located about 2 ¼ miles northeast of the airport reported hearing the airplane at 0445. This witness stated the airplane was low and headed south when it flew almost directly over his house. He stated he was able to see a “flash” from the light (rotating beacon) on the tail of the airplane and wondered why an airplane was flying in the fog. The witness reported that the airplane’s engines sounded normal.

The wreckage was located by a State Highway Patrol helicopter on August 9, 2011, at approximately 1130.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument ratings issued March 26, 2011. The pilot was issued a third-class airman medical certificate, with no restrictions, on August 10, 2009.

The pilot’s logbook contained flights dated from June 12, 1994, when the pilot began flying, through August 3, 2011. The logbook indicated the pilot had approximately 412 hours of total flight time. The logbook showed the pilot had a total of 74 hours of multi-engine flight time, of which 73 hours were in the accident airplane. The pilot had a total of 11.1 hours of actual instrument flight time of which 8.5 hours were in the accident airplane. In addition, the logbook showed the pilot had a total of 71.7 hours of simulated instrument flight time, of which 7.0 hours were in the accident airplane and 16.7 hours were in a flight simulator.

Federal Aviation Administration airman records indicate the pilot’s certification history as follows:

October 7, 1986 - Private pilot certificate issued with airplane single-engine land rating.

May 20, 2010 - Failed practical test for instrument rating. Areas to be re-examined were "Air Traffic Control Clearances and Procedures" and "Instrument Approach Procedures."

May 23, 2010 - Passed instrument flight test.

May 26, 2011 - Failed practical test for multi-engine rating. Areas to be re-examined were "Takeoffs, Landings, and Go-Arounds."

May 26, 2011 - Re-tested on same day and passed multi-engine flight test.


The accident airplane was a Piper PA-23, serial number 23-897. It was a four-place, low-wing, twin-engine airplane with retractable landing gear. The airplane was purchased by the accident pilot on September 20, 2010. The airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on January 30, 1957. The airplane was equipped with two Lycoming O-320-A3B engines.

Maintenance records indicate that the last annual inspection on both the airplane and engines was conducted on July 28, 2011. The total airframe time at the time of the inspection was 5,720.84 hours. The total time on the left engine at the time of the inspection was 5,720.84 and the time since major overhaul was 450.73. The total time on the right engine was 5,713.21 and the time since major overhaul was 540.84.

The total aircraft and engine times at the time of the accident could not be determined due to the amount of postimpact damage; however, the pilot’s logbook showed he had flown the airplane 11 hours, not including the accident flight, since the last annual inspection.

Two fuel receipts were found at the accident site. One receipt dated July 30, 2011, showed the airplane was fueled with 90.8 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The only flight in the pilot’s logbook after the airplane was fueled was a 1 hour flight on August 3, 2011. The second fuel receipt that was dated and time stamped August 8, 2011, at 0010, indicated the airplane was fueled with 45.2 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The total amount of fuel onboard at takeoff could not be determined.


The pilot received a weather briefing from the Princeton Contract Flight Service Station on August 7, 2011, at 1639. The pilot requested a “standard briefing” for a VFR flight from SIV to 2G2 departing at 0230.

The briefer stated to the pilot that there would “definitely be some heavier cloud cover” along the route due to a low pressure system in the area. The briefer provided the terminal forecast for Wheeling, West Virginia, stating that after 0100, the forecast called for westerly wind at 4 knots, 5 miles visibility with mist, and scattered clouds at 10,000 feet. He also stated that after 0500 the Wheeling weather was forecast to be variable wind at 3 knots, 2 miles visibility with mist, scattered clouds at 300 feet, and broken clouds at 1,500 feet. He informed the pilot that the forecast was valid until 0900. The pilot stated that he would probably call back, but that he was going to continue with his VFR plans. The pilot did state that he had instrument flight rules (IFR) capability with a Garmin 430 and he could go direct.

Witnesses reported that there was fog in the area when they heard the airplane. One of the witnesses stated that because of the terrain, it was not uncommon for there to be fog in the area.

Weather conditions recorded at the Wheeling Ohio County Airport (HLG), Wheeling, West Virginia, located 13 miles south-southeast of the pilot’s original destination of 2G2 were:

At 0353: wind 250 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 9 miles, overcast clouds at 1,200 feet, temperature 21 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury.

Weather conditions recorded at the Akron Canton Regional Airport (CAK), Canton, Ohio, located 30 miles north-northeast of TSO (the pilot’s first alternate destination) and 37 miles from 10G were:

At 0351: wind 270 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 2 ½ miles with mist, overcast clouds at 400 feet, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury.

At 0451: wind 270 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 3 miles with mist, broken clouds at 300 feet, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury.

Weather conditions recorded at the Wayne County Airport (BJJ), Wooster, Ohio, located 18 miles north of the accident site were:

At 0410: wind 240 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 4 miles with mist, scattered clouds at 400 feet, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury.

At 0456: wind calm, visibility 4 miles with mist, scattered clouds at 300 feet, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury.


10G is located at the top of a ridge surrounded by hills and valleys. The area on the south side of the airport consisted of heavily wooded terrain that sloped down into a valley of a ridge line. The area south of the airport is sparsely populated with few ground references visible at night.

The UNICOM frequency for the airport was 123.0. The airport was equipped with medium intensity runway edge lights and runway end identification lights that were pilot controlled on a radio frequency of 123.4. The operation of the pilot controlled lighting was verified following the accident. The airport’s rotating beacon was out of service at the time of the accident.


The accident site was in a heavily wooded area about 1/4-mile southeast of the approach end of runway 27 at 2G2. The wreckage was located on the up sloping terrain of a valley that bordered the south side of the airport. The slope of the terrain at the accident site varied between 20 and 30 degrees. The wooded area contained trees that varied in height between 75 to 100 feet. A path of broken trees along a magnetic heading of 280 degrees led up to the location of the main wreckage. Impact damage indicated the airplane contacted the terrain in a nose down attitude then flipped inverted. The entire airplane was located in the general area of the main wreckage.

The forward fuselage area, including the cockpit and instrument panel, was destroyed by impact forces and a post impact fire. The empennage was partially separated from the forward cabin just aft of the rear baggage area.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder were separated from the empennage. The top portion of the vertical stabilizer and rudder exhibited rearward concave crushing consistent with a tree strike. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and the rudder trim tab remained attached to the rudder. The rudder trim was in a neutral position.

The horizontal stabilizers sustained impact damage and were separated from the empennage. The right elevator remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer. The left elevator which was separated at the hinge points was found at the wreckage site. The leading edge of both the left and right sides of the horizontal stabilizer exhibited rearward concave crushing consistent with a tree strike. The elevator travel stops were intact with no damage noted. The elevator trim setting could not be established.

The left wing was partially attached to the fuselage. The entire leading edge of the wing was crushed aft, with the most significant damage being outboard of the engine nacelle. Both left wing fuel tanks were ruptured. The inboard section of the wing sustained fire damage. The flap remained partially attached to the wing. The inboard aileron hinge was separated from the aileron. The aileron balance weight was in place. The aileron trim tab indicated a slight upward position. The engine nacelle was attached to the main spar. The nacelle was crushed downward and aft. The engine remained attached to the engine mounts in the nacelle.

The right wing was partially separated from the fuselage. The four foot outboard section of the wing was separated from the inboard section. The inboard section of the wing sustained substantial impact damage and was partially consumed by the post impact fire. Both right wing fuel tanks were ruptured from impact and fire damage. The flap which sustained impact and fire damage remained attached to the wing. The aileron was separated from the wing at its hinges and the actuator was bent upward. The aileron trim tab remained attached to the wing and it was bent downward. The aileron balance weight was separated from the aileron and it was located in the debris path along with the fiberglass wingtip which sustained impact damage. The aileron control bell crank was fractured with the cables attached. The right engine nacelle was destroyed by the post impact fire. The engine remained partially attached to the engine mounts and firewall.

Continuity of all of the flight controls was established from the control surfaces to the forward cabin area and from the forward cabin area to the cockpit flight controls. Breaks in the control cables exhibited broomstraw signatures consistent with overload.

The main landing gear were in the down and locked position. The nose gear was separated from the main wreckage. The flap actuator indicated the flaps were in the up position.

Both engines sustained impact damage in addition to the fire damage sustained by the right engine. The engine accessories were removed from the engine and inspected. No preimpact anomalies were noted with the accessories that were inspected. The magnetos from both engines produced spark when rotated by hand. Both engines were rotated by hand using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive housing. Thumb compression was obtained on all of the cylinders. Crankshaft and valve train to the cylinders was verified. The cylinders were examined using a lighted boroscope and no anomalies were noted.

The right engine propeller was separated from the engine at the crankshaft flange and was buried in the ground. One propeller blade was bent rearward and twisted beginning about midspan. The other blade was bent rearward near the root of the blade. The outboard third of the blade contained an “S” curve and was slightly twisted. The leading edge of both blades sustained impact damage.

The left engine propeller remained attached to the engine and was removed from the engine during the engine examination. One blade sustained fire damage on the outboard half of the blade. The outboard half of the same blade was bent rearward and slightly twisted. The outboard third of the other blade was twisted. The leading edge of this blade tip sustained impact damage.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Stark County Coroner’s Office, Canton, Ohio, on August 11, 2011. The death of the pilot was attributed to injuries sustained in the accident.

Toxicology testing for the pilot was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. The test results revealed 10.47 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen was detected in urine, along with Dextrorphan which was detected in urine and blood.

MILLERSBURG:  The Holmes County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday released the names of the three victims of the plane crash that occurred early Monday morning southeast of the area's small regional airport.

The pilot, Phillip Wayne Hatfield, 48, of 402 Waterford Terrace, Easton, Pa., along with Jonathan K. Hines, 36, of 5159 W. County Road 925, Farmersburg, Ind., and Tracy L. Custer, 38, of 216 W. Lincoln St., Shelburn, Ind., were found dead at the crash site, located by authorities late Tuesday morning.

The trio were flying from Terre Haute, Ind., en route to Steubenville.

Authorities estimate the crash to have taken place between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. Monday. But the official report of a missing plane was not received by the Sheriff's Office until about 10 p.m. Monday, delaying search efforts.

The wreckage was spotted only a few minutes after the search aircraft began its mission.

For more details on the crash and what authorities believe may have caused it, read Thursday's edition of the Times-Gazette.


F-35 fleet cleared for ground operations

Military and officials overseeing the F-35 joint strike fighter program said Wednesday that ground testing of the aircraft could resume, but not flight testing.

Flights of the 20 F-35s involved in testing and training were suspended Aug. 3 after a mechanical failure in the integrated power package, which starts the engine, generates power and provides air conditioning. The problem occurred in a jet being tested at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

An investigation found that a control valve problem caused the power system to fail, but the reason for the valve failure and a solution have not been determined.

Resuming ground tests "is a major step for the F-35 fleet returning to flight, [but] further reviews are required prior to lifting the suspension of flight operations" for the F-35, said Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the joint program office.

DellaVedova said the impact of the flight suspension on the testing schedule and preparations for beginning military pilot training are still being evaluated but the test program had extra time built into its schedule in case of delays.

The F-35 is the largest, most complex and costliest Pentagon weapons development program and has run far behind schedule and over budget, leading to increased scrutiny from the Defense Department and Congress. In part because of the estimated $382 billion cost for 2,400-plus aircraft and the delays, the F-35 is frequently mentioned as a likely target for budget cuts.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth is the prime contractor on its development and production.

Jet Airways has most number of ‘drunk’ pilots.

The country’s largest carrier, Jet Airways, now holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of ‘drunk’ pilots on its rolls since 2009, as per government records.

In pre-flight alcohol tests conducted between January 2009 and June 2011, 29 of its pilots were found “positive”, according to information tabled by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi in the Lok Sabha. Jet Airways, including its low-cost Jet Lite, accounted for one-third of the total drunk pilots.

Of the total, 20 pilots belonged to Jet Airways and nine to Jetlite. All of them were taken off flying duties for three months on loss of pay and perks. Ten pilots each from liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines and Rahul Bhatia’s IndiGo reported ‘alcohol positive’, eight from Spice Jet, six from Air India, two from Go Air and one each from Alliance Air and Air India Charters. Ten pilots were sacked in 2009 — three each from IndiGo and Kingfisher, and four from Spice Jet — on being found drunk on duty.

Duluth International Airport (KDLH), Minnesota: Adding Another Non-stop Flight. (With Video)

DULUTH -It has been four years in the making, and now Allegiant Air is ready to offer non–stop service to Phoenix–Mesa airport from Duluth.

"It's been a long haul, and when you're working on air service development, it's a marathon,” said Brian Ryks, Executive Director of the Airport Authority.

Allegiant says their unique business model has meshed well with Duluth's needs.

"We like to provide service to smaller communities, flying into what we call "world–class" leisure destinations," said Kristine cooper, Public Relations manager for Allegiant Air.

Allegiant will launch flights to and from Phoenix twice a week starting Oct. 21, with a one-way introductory rate of $90 .

"Whether you're on a business or leisure travel, this is a value proposition," said John Eagleton, Chair of the Airport Authority Board.

Allegiant first arrived in Duluth in 2006 with direct flights to Las Vegas.

And in 2009, they added Orlando to the list of "world–class" destinations - all to focus on connecting Duluth to major airports across the country.

"When people use the service, which we've found out in the past, new opportunities come about and this is an example of that," Ryks explained.

And, as more flights leave Duluth's International Airport, local economic benefits could allow for even broader air travel.

"As we expand our service and make it more convenient for the business sector, the value proposition just continues to get better," Eagleton said.

In the end, it's another way of putting the people of Duluth on the map.

"The community embraces us and we embrace them back," Cooper added.

Aviation fuel: Airlines groan as high cost impact operations.

The skyrocketing prices of aviation may have taken its toll on airlines as they now spend billion in sourcing for the commodity which account for over 50 percent of the cost of their operations. Although, the commodity is no longer scare as claimed Wale Tinubu, national chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), the airlines are getting the product at high rates, a situation that has impacted on all aspects of their operations.

At least on a daily basis, an airline spends millions on fuel consumption while they get the pump price at N180 per litre. For instance, Arik Air Chairman, Joseph Arumemi-Johnson Ikhide during the visit of General Electric officials to his company, disclosed that with 126 flights daily, the airlines needs about 500, 000 litre in a day to power its flights.

“Unfortunately, some marketers even deny us fuel. They can’t even supply us what we want and we have to adjust our flights. For instance, we need 500,000 litres a-day but the marketers can’t supply that because it is scarce, we need about 3.5 million litres in a week.

“Therefore, we can’t operate normally, we lose money. Although, we have a fuel dump but that is just for a few litres, it does not serve the purpose of all our flights,” he said. With N180 per litre, Arik Air which operates the largest fleet and flights may spend about N90 million to power all its flights its 26 flights in a day.

“This is different from other operational costs like maintenance which is a major aspect of flight operations that gulp a lot of money. You know that the high grades maintenance are not done in Nigeria, they are mandatory checks that have to be done in foreign currencies abroad.

“I am not absolving the marketers but the Nigerian situation has made airline operations in the country a difficult and expensive one if actions are not taken by necessary government or private quarters, we may soon be left with one domestic scheduled airline alone”, says a concerned stakeholder.

Arik Air operates two A340-500, one A330-200, four B737-800, nine B737-700, two 737-300, four CRJ 900, two Bombadier Q400 and two HS125-800 XP; Aero operates four B737-500 and five B737-300 Air Nigeria, which recently increased its fleet operates eight B737 and two Embraer; Dana operates four MD 83; IRS operates five Fokker 100 type.

Overland Airways operates two Beechcraft 1900D and three ATR-42. Capital operates three Embraer 125 while Associated operates four Embraer 125 “For an hour flight, you need averagely 3, 600 litre on a B 734, it could be more because sometimes, there are issues “, David Balami, President of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) said.

Air Nigeria, which operates nine B737 in its fleet needs over 28, 800 litres in a day as well as over 7,200 litres for its two Embraer. With this, the airline operates over 70 flights and may need 245, 000 litres daily and spend N44 million daily on the commodity.

As for Aero which also operates over 70 flights, the airlines needs over 231,000 litres daily apart from its helicopter operations and may be spending over N41 million in a day on fuel alone.

Isyaku Rabiu , the chairman of IRS Airlines had said it is glaring that the travelling public were on the receiving end of the whole situation adding that his airline will support the government for the effort it is making to resolve the high cost of air travel, which is greatly influenced by the high cost of aviation fuel.

Airline operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had recently given conditions for the reduction of air fares. The operators had demanded among other things, the regular supply and reduction in the price of aviation fuel, otherwise known as JET A1 and the removal of value added tax (VAT). The operator noted that the VAT was not applicable to other modes of transportation in Nigeria, just as they equally canvassed the removal of rent payable at the airports.

Arik Air, Amadeus sign distribution agreement

Arik Air, West Africa’s largest commercial airline, and Amadeus, a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry announced that they have signed a five year full content agreement. The agreement guarantees Amadeus’ travel agents worldwide access to the entire range of Arik Air’s fares, schedules and inventory.

“With this new agreement, Arik Air will have competitive and cost effective distribution by using Amadeus as a partner both in Nigeria and in our international markets,” said Kevin Steele, Vice Presidemt, Commercial, Arik Air.
According to the agreement, the fares, schedules and inventory made available through the Amadeus system will be the same, and under the same conditions, as through any indirect or direct channel, distribution provider or website.

“Amadeus is committed to securing long term distribution agreements that bring full content security to travel agencies and ensure stability in the marketplace,” Birger Bjornhof, General Manager, Amadeus Nigeria and Ghana, commented.
Amadeus is present in 195 countries around the world and manages a global network of over 90,000 travel agency points of sale.

More than 80 percent of all airline bookings sold by Amadeus travel agencies worldwide are made on airlines with content agreements. Arik Air is Nigeria’s largest domestic airline and operates mainly from two hubs at Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.

It operates a fleet of 23 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft including two Airbus A340-500 making the airline the first operator of the wide bodied aircraft in Africa. The airline currently serves 30 airports across Nigeria as well as Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Dakar (Senegal), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Monrovia (Liberia), London Heathrow (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa) and New York JFK (USA).

The airline operates a combined number of over 120 daily flights from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja, and has been Africa’s fastest growing airline for the last two years.

Crashed An-12 plane's cockpit voice recorder found

The cockpit voice recorder of the An-12 plane which crashed in Far East on Tuesday was found on Thursday, an emergencies ministry spokesman said.

"The cockpit voice recorder was found at 2:45 Moscow time [22:45 GMT Wednesday]," the source said.

The flight data recorder was recovered late on Wednesday.

The recovery of bodies from the wreckage will begin right after investigators document the positioning of all plane fragments.

So far, all 11 people who were onboard the plane are presumed dead, but officially listed as missing.

"The location of every fragment is vital for establishing the cause of the crash and making a clear picture of what had happened. That's why we do not touch anything at the crash site. The search for victims will begin only after investigators do their job," a spokeswoman for the regional transport prosecutors' department, Natalya Salkina, said.

Fragments of the plane are scattered in a radius of 5 km (3 miles).

The investigation team will include about 20 experts from Khabarovsk, Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee and the Far Eastern transport investigation department. It will arrive to the crash site on Thursday.

The plane, bound from the city of Magadan to the Chukotka Autonomous Area in Russia's extreme northeast, was carrying 11 people and around 18 metric tons of cargo. It disappeared from radars some 300 km (186 miles) from its takeoff point shortly after reporting a fuel leak and fire in an engine. No survivors have been found.

Before the crash, the An-12 was used for 48 years, and investigators say a technical malfunction and pilot error could be to blame for the accident.

Super Cub plane crushed by Alaska glacier. Glaciers are alive and dangerous in Alaska.

Aug 08, 2011
The intact experimental Super Cub built by Bob Breeden and his son Bobby.
Courtesy Bob Breeden

In May, Bush Pilot did a brief writeup on Bobby Breeden, a teenager from Virginia who had high hopes for his experimental Piper Super Cub in the Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) competition at this year's Valdez Fly-in. Last week, Bush Pilot contributor Rob Stapleton received an email with an account of an unfortunate incident that had befallen that aircraft -- which cost around $150,000 to build. Alaska Airpark owner (and Bobby's dad) Bob Breeden wrote the following account of the accident.

I'd like to share a story with you, of a great but wild adventure that I had earlier this summer with my son Bobby. This is just one of the fascinating trips we have been able to take together in Alaska over the years in another Super Cub I'd purchased in 1994, the same year Bobby was born. This trip had a very unexpected ending.

In June we were traveling in our latest creation, a highly modified Super Cub that you see in the picture below. Over this previous winter, Bobby and I had the best time putting our heads together calculating, planning and creating this new machine. We completed the plane in April, and I flew it from Maine to Virginia and on to Alaska in time for the Alaska Airmen's Show in Anchorage and the Valdez STOL competition. As a proud Dad, I was thrilled to see my son's months of daily practice pay off, which -- combined with the performance of the new Cub -- enabled Bobby to earn fourth place in the Experimental class of the STOL competition.
Read more and photos:

Glaciers are alive and dangerous in Alaska

Playboy Playmate Arrested With Gun at Orlando International Airport (KMCO), Orlando, Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35, Orlando) - A former UCF student and Playboy playmate was arrested at Orlando International Airport Monday night. Orlando Police arrested Shanna Marie McLaughlin for having a gun while trying to board a plane at OIA.

McLaughlin lives in Orlando, but was on her way to L.A. when she placed her carry on duffle bag into the X-ray machine at the TSA checkout lane, causing them to notice a gun.

TSA called the police and when officers with Orlando Police asked her if the bag was hers, she said "yes." However, when they pulled out the gun and asked her if that was hers, she said "no."

Shanna said the revolver belonged to her boyfriend, she also said that she didn't know how it got into her bag. Shanna McLaughlin is mostly known for her racy Playboy photo shoot, inside the UCF lockerooms. This cause controversy last year.

Playboy photo shoot inside the UCF lockerooms>>>
No charges were filed in that incident, however, after what happened at OIA, McLaughlin is charged with carrying a firearm in a prohibited place.

Racy video causing controversy at UCF>>>

Ashland Police: Something fell out of low flying plane

August 4:

Suspicious activity, driver thinks he saw something fall out of low flying plane in Ashland. Ashland PD and FAA notified.

Yippee! We got Blogger back!

Blogger by Google went into a read-only mode tonight for an hour, they "expanded the capacity for our users".

Thank you Blogger!

Donor liver saved after plane crash. Cessna 501 Citation I/SP, G-VUEM. Birmingham Airport (EGBB), West Midlands, UK. Accident occurred November 19, 2010.

The Cessna 501 Citation I/SP crash-landed in foggy conditions at Birmingham Airport on November 19 last year

Photo of crash site:

 A dramatic account of how a donated organ for a dying liver patient was recovered from the wreck of a burning light aircraft has been given in an air accident report.

The Cessna aircraft hit a 50ft-high flight-guiding antenna as it came in to land in thick fog at Birmingham Airport, the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

The plane crashed on grass near the runway and caught fire, with the 58-year-old captain trapped in his seat. The fog was so thick that fire crews "could not immediately locate the accident site", said the report into the incident on the afternoon of November 19 last year.

But the first vehicle was at the scene within three minutes, the fire was put out and the captain was helped out of the aircraft. The donor liver was successfully recovered from the Cessna and taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where it was successfully transplanted into a patient.

At the time, Simon Bramhall, a consultant liver transplant surgeon at the hospital, said the recipient was on a "super urgent" list and "would certainly have died" without it.

Mr Bramhall said: "Patients on this list only have a matter of days to survive, so in this particular instance it was crucially important that the donor liver was used and has functioned successfully." He added that it was "pretty amazing" that the liver made it to the hospital in perfect condition.

The Cessna, with just two crew on board, had flown to Belfast Aldergrove Airport to collect the liver and transport it to Birmingham.

The plane had then flown to Birmingham where, the AAIB said, witnesses at the airfield described the weather as "extremely unusual, both for the sharp delineation between the fog and the area of clear visibility, with blue sky and sunshine, and for the speed with which the fog engulfed the airfield".

The co-pilot managed to get out of the aircraft after the crash. The captain, whose right foot was trapped in the cockpit, used a fire extinguisher to deal with the flames around him and used his oxygen mask to continue breathing.

One of the firemen who entered the aircraft was unable to get right into the cockpit but the captain managed to free himself and crawl backwards to a point where he could be helped out. Suffering serious injuries, he was treated at the scene before being flown by air ambulance to hospital. The co-pilot had minor injuries.

Missing plane lands safely at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport (KSRR), Ruidoso, New Mexico.

ROSWELL, N.M. — Authorities say a plane that transmitted a hijacking distress signal, prompting a land and air search southeast of Roswell, has been found.

State police Sgt. Lance Batemen says the plane landed safety at Sierra Blanca airport in Ruidoso. He says the pilot told authorities he accidentally hit the hijacking distress code while flying through a storm, then lost all power.

Bateman says about 20 state police and Chaves County officers as well as state police and Bureau of Land Management planes spent more than three hours scouring the area about 35 miles west of the Texas-New Mexico after the FAA lost contact with the plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the code used by pilots to signal a hijacking is just one digit different from the general distress code.

'World over, airports are always under construction'

MUMBAI: In New York's La Guardia airport, the old air traffic control tower is being demolished for the new. London's Heathrow is demolishing and reconstructing its Terminal 2. At Sydney airport, work on the safety area being built at the end of a runway is almost complete. Closer home, in Mumbai, work is on to construct an integrated terminal, an air traffic control tower and several other airport essentials.

"With the ever-increasing volume of air traffic, there are hardly any airports in the world that are not under construction," said Capt Daniel Maurino, safety advisor, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He is in the city to conduct a week-long training session on ICAO's Safety Management System (SMS) for officials handling airport operations. To put it simply, SMS is about adopting a proactive approach to prevent accidents in an airport. "Even in the best-run organization in the world, there is room for improvement. It's very healthy to be sceptical in air safety,'' he said, lauding Mumbai airport operator's decision to voluntarily hold this training session. Unlike in the case of Mumbai airport, generally airports request such ICAO training sessions only before an audit or check, he said. So, in the next few days, the participants will be trained in the culture of anticipating what could go wrong at an airport from the safety point of view and the remedies.

From 2006 to 2010, ICAO conducted about 250 SMS training sessions the world over. And, often in such training sessions, air safety concerns because of construction activities at an airport come up. "An airport under construction is constantly altering its geography, its system," said Capt Maurino. "There is growing awareness about the hazards that construction brings along - contractors with no knowledge of airports, vehicles that are alien to airport operations, moving from old system to new. Construction has become one of the topmost safety concerns in airports all over the world."

In the past four to five years, an ever-increasing global air traffic has created a new mantra - if it's an airport, it has to be under construction.

In the past few years, in India, two incidents occurred at airports under construction, although both were a result of pilot error. In November 2009, Kingfisher Airlines ATR aircraft overshot runway 27, which was temporarily shortened to accommodate repairs. In June 2007, SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft landed on the wrong runway, which was closed for repairs.

Virgin Atlantic back in the black: Virgin Atlantic Airways, the airline effectively put up for sale by Sir Richard Branson, warned of a bumpier ride ahead as it reversed £132m of losses to post a £18.5m pre-tax profit last year.

The carrier, which hired Deutsche Bank in November last year to review its options, said profits would have been higher still but for a £40m hit from the Icelandic volcano and the snow that paralysed Heathrow.

Revenues for the 12 months to the end of February rose 13pc to £2.7bn.

Steve Ridgway, chief executive, said the figures showed "the resilience of our business by weathering the toughest economic period for aviation" but cautioned that "a sharp recovery in the first half has been tempered" recently by more "challenging trading".

"We have seen more capacity and new routes, consumer confidence flatlining and higher fuel prices," he said, adding that jumpy financial markets and riots in London did not help.

"We don't want any reason for people not to come to the UK."

Deutsche began its review as British Airways sealed its merger with Spain's Iberia – a move that highlighted Virgin's relative small size and the fact that it does not belong to any of the three aviation alliances.

The SkyTeam combine led by Air France and Delta and the Lufthansa-led Star Alliance have both looked at Virgin, as have Gulf carriers including Etihad.

But talks are complicated by Singapore Airline's 49pc stake, bought for a pricey £600m in 1999. Mr Ridgway said "there's nothing happening right now" with any takeover discussions.

He preferred to focus on Virgin's planned £100m investment in improved in-flight entertainment, better connectivity for such things as iPads and upgraded airport lounges as the carrier prepares to take delivery of eight of 10 new Airbus A330s by the end of next year. Virgin plans to create 1,000 jobs.

Mr Ridgway reiterated his complaints over the rises in Air Passenger Duty which were hurting leisure flights, particularly to the Caribbean.


Airport GM Talks About Atlanta's, Paulding's Facilities. Louis Miller, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. (Video)

The business of flight was the focus of Thursday's Paulding Chamber of Commerce Georgia Power Luncheon.

Louis Miller, Aviation General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, was the event's keynote speaker. His talk focused not only on his facility, but also on Paulding's own airport.

See the attached video for highlights of Miller's speech and reaction from Blake Swafford, director of the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

Illinois man charged with aiming gun at crop-duster.

A central Illinois man is accused of aiming a shotgun at a crop-duster he claimed was flying too close to a family gathering. 

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that 66-year-old Kenneth Phillips of Tremont has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in the July 21 incident. Tremont is 15 miles southeast of Peoria.

Phillips hasn't entered a plea. He couldn't be reached for comment because a phone number listed for him is disconnected. 

A pilot for Curless Flying Service in Astoria told Tazewell County sheriff's deputies he was spraying crops in the area when someone pointed a shotgun at his plane.

Phillips told deputies the pilot was "dive bombing" the family get-together while flying near Phillips' home.

No shots were fired.

Photos: Crop duster does his thing near Galeton, Colorado. Low Level Dusting.

A pilot from Low Level Dusting of La Salle drops his plane’s wing as he lines up to dust a cornfield recently near Galeton. According to, the company as been in northern Colorado since 1948. Low Level also does chemical sales.

Calgary airport tops Canada for fiscal efficiency.

CALGARY — The Calgary International Airport is the most fiscally efficient airport in the country, according to a study released Wednesday by an aviation think-tank based at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

It was also fourth overall in North America for airports serving less than 15 million passengers a year.

The Air Transport Research Society, headquartered at Sauder, compared the fiscal efficiency of 156 airports and 19 airport groups in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region in its 2011 ATRS Global Airport Benchmarking Report.

Jody Moseley, director of corporate communications and marketing for the Calgary Airport Authority, said the ranking was not a surprise.

“We’ve always been among the lowest in fees. We take the responsibility of being fiscally responsible as an organization very seriously,” she said. “So we do a number of things just to make sure that we always are.

“What we do as well as an airport authority is we look at diversifying our revenue so that we have a number of revenue generation sources coming in. So commercial revenue is important as well because what that does is offset the need for reliance on airline fees alone. Because we have a really robust concession program as well as a number of other programs that diversify our revenue, it really helps us develop the business. And because all those things come into play it really lowers and maintains fees among the lowest in the country and that really helps our partners as well.”

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), one of the world’s busiest international airports is also the most fiscally efficient overall, said the report.

The report, produced by a team of international aviation academics led by Sauder researcher Tae Oum, revealed that airports in Atlanta, Copenhagen, Oslo, Hong Kong and Sydney are the leaders in their respective continents for efficiency among international airports serving more than 15 million passengers a year.

“Our report shows that the world’s most efficient airports are supplementing core income with money generated through non-aeronautical revenue streams, such as parking, office rentals, retail activity and real estate development,” said Professor Oum, president of ATRS.

“Our benchmarking report also shows that more efficient airports tend to offer lower aircraft landing fees and passenger terminal charges, ultimately leaving more money in the pockets of travellers.”

Findings of the 2011 report are based on analysis of data from 2009 collected by the ATRS research team and guided by 14 leading academics from Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.

Experiencing a flyboy's view of Niagara

If only soaring on the yellow wings of history came comfortably.

But if the more than 1,800 flyboys who learned their aircraft fundamentals in St. Catharines during the Second World War could take it, so could I, I thought. Still, for a guy whose only flight experiences have involved cozy jets, sailing hundreds of feet over Niagara Wednesday in a 1950s Harvard Mk. IV flight trainer made it pretty easy to see how far flight has come since the days of propellers and Spitfires.

The plane sported no padded couches, no armrests, no smooth ride — not even an in-flight movie or a flight attendant passing out packets of peanuts. Only a rumbling, nine-cylinder 600-horsepower engine and a metal hull separated me from the vast empty sky. I could even close the glass canopy, but only if I wanted to.

I shut it. No-brainer.

My flight came courtesy of the Yellow Wings project, steered by pilot Andrej Janik, vice-president of maintenance for host group Vintage Wings of Canada. They're flying from airport to airport, spreading the history of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a vast Canadian training line that churned out 200,000 pilots during the war.

As Yellow Wings team leader Dave Hadfield put it, the United States may have been the arsenal of democracy, but Canada was its aerodrome.

Buffeted by heavy winds, Janik and I took to the air from the runway at Niagara District Airport.

Through a maelstrom of thrills and nerves, it struck me as oddly sobering to be launching from runways still laid out much like they were in the days when the airport hosted No. 9 Elementary Flight Training School. They're still plotted in a triangle, Janik said, giving pilots a choice of runway in heavy winds.

Between the wind and a rain squall Janik steered us around, the ride was a little shaky in the Harvard's cramped quarters. In such a small craft, I could feel every twitch and shudder of the plane intimately. Even through the headphones clapped down around my ears, the drone of the propeller was constant as we coasted over the Welland Canal, buzzing like a big yellow bumblebee.

We passed another Yellow Wings plane, a Cornell trainer, before Janik began to turn us around for a loop over Lake Ontario. Suddenly, the horizon was diagonal and I was searching for anywhere to look but down at the ground or up at the blue sky that seemed to surround us like an ocean.

I settled on the view as we curved over the lake, then back toward the airport.

It's a view I'd never get from a jetliner — Niagara laid out like a chessboard of houses, vineyards, rolling fields and gleaming water. From above, I could see everything from trucks on the roads below to big freighters inching down the Welland Canal.

The view has changed a little since the 1940s. Probably a lot. Take the Garden City Skyway, hard to miss on my flight, yet unknown during the flight school's time. It was built in the early 1960s.

And yet in a way, it's still Niagara as thousands of teenaged pilots-to-be saw it: From the cramped, instrument-laden cockpits of their wide-winged little yellow perils.

Time flies, sure.

And yeah, maybe I won't be turning in my notepad for a pilot's licence.

But for all the shaking and turbulence, as we touched down I couldn't help but feel a bit awed by the experience.

Not to mention proud that the little white bag tucked away near my seat remained lonely and untouched.