Thursday, August 18, 2011

RAW VIDEO: UFO over motorway in broad daylight. Sighting close to the spot where 'freaked out' BBC reporter saw 'craft' .

AN EERIE-looking UFO can be seen here darting through the sky, close to the spot where a 'freaked out' BBC reporter saw one.

This stunning footage shows a glowing white dot hovering over the M11 in broad daylight.

Video: Is this the eerie M11 UFO?

A MYSTERY orb has been filmed close to where a freaked out BBC reporter saw one.

A series of bright lights then appear to shoot out from it through the clouds, towards passing vehicles.

The possible alien aircraft then whizzes at high speed over a neighbouring field before vanishing.

The video clip was shot south of Stansted Airport in Essex and posted on YouTube.

The 36-year-old man - using the name alvinol - can be heard screaming "Oh my God" during the video as the bolts of light shoot over his car.

Just five days later, startled Beeb sports journalist Mike Sewell saw a near-identical UFO less than ten miles away over the village of Cottered, Herts.

Mike, 41 - who works for Radio 5 Live - said it too was bright and "disc-shaped".

Describing what he saw, the BBC man said: "I saw this big light in the sky descending towards the road.

"As it got closer it banked to the left. It went cross-country.

"I could see underneath and it wasn't an aeroplane."

Sun UFO expert Nick Pope was left perplexed by the footage.

"It's a really interesting video," he said.

"Assuming it's genuine, it's one of the most bizarre pieces of UFO footage I've seen in a long time."

Original article, photos and video:

Iowa Lawmaker Wants More FAA Funding.

MASON CITY, IA - An Iowa lawmaker is says more money is needed for the Federal Aviation Administration.

U.S. Representative Tom Latham says he'll play a big role in talks over a permanent funding bill for the FAA.

A partial shutdown of the agency earlier this month left airports like Mason City Municipal without funding for various projects. They say a permanent bill is needed to remain operational past September.

"We remain hopeful they will be able to come to the table and come to an agreement on the FAA reauthorization bill which also includes essential air service so those are two factors that affect our airport so we're hoping they come to some kind of resolution," said Pam Osgood, airport manager.

Osgood says since the FAA shutdown funding for the airport's new aircraft rescue firefighter facility was approved.

The airport commission will officially accept the money Friday.

IOWA: Delta Still In Mason City For Now.

MASON CITY, IA - The deadline has passed, but there's still no new carrier at Mason City’s Airport.

Earlier this summer Delta announced it was ending service to and from Mason City, along with about 20 other locations.

The deadline to find a new carrier was last week, but that hasn't happened. So Delta must continue service until a replacement is found.

"Right now we're in limbo we'd like the U.S. DOT to provide us with a new deadline date so then we'd have an opportunity to reach out to carriers and see if they'd be interested in serving the market," said Pam Osgood, airport manager.

Osgood says flight schedules and destinations may change with a new carrier. Currently Delta only flies to Minneapolis/St. Paul International from Mason City.

Watch Video:

Air India gets relief on fuel purchase.

New Delhi, Aug. 18: Air India can now purchase fuel on two-to-three-months’ credit, instead of paying for it on a daily basis.

The troubled national carrier had been put on a cash-and-carry mode by public sector oil companies since December as it owes more than Rs 2,000 crore to them. Air India has been paying Rs 16.5 crore a day to lift aviation turbine fuel for its daily operations.

The decision to provide the credit was taken by a group of ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The GoM also reviewed the financial and operational performance of the ailing carrier, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi said.

“Instead of cash and carry, Air India will from now on make payments on the basis of this credit limit of two to three months. So, the tension of making daily payments is now over,” said Ravi.

The meeting of the GoM was attended by petroleum minister S. Jaipal Reddy, home minister P. Chidambaram, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and civil aviation secretary S. Nasim Zaidi. It was also the first meeting of the GoM to be attended by the newly appointed CMD of Air India — Rohit Nandan.

The national carrier has outstanding liabilities of more than Rs 67,000 crore, of which Rs 21,200 crore is working capital loan, Rs 22,000 crore is long-term loan on fleet acquisition, Rs 4,600 crore are vendor dues and Rs 20,320 crore is accumulated loss.

“A sub-committee of the finance ministry will submit a report on the turnaround and financial restructuring plan next month. The GoM will meet again in mid-September. All attempts to strengthen Air India with some financial support to improve its cash flow will be made by the government,” Ravi said.

The government will soon come out with measures for maximum utilisation of those aircraft which are flying for lesser hours, said V. Narayanasamy, minister of state in the PMO.

Narayanasamy said that 17 aircraft had been grounded because of their poor condition.

Boeing Said to Win FAA Certification for 747-8 jumbo jet.

By Susanna Ray -Bloomberg

Boeing Co. (BA)’s new 747-8 jumbo jet, the biggest plane it’s ever built, will be certified for cargo service tomorrow by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, a person familiar with the matter said.

The announcement will be made in the morning, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Doug Alder, a spokesman at Boeing’s commercial headquarters in Seattle, declined to comment.

The certification will cap a two-year delay to the plane’s entry into service. It also gives the jet a victory in what Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Jim Albaugh had referred to as a “horse race” with the 787 Dreamliner, which has finished flight tests though it hasn’t yet been certified. The 747-8 was set back in part because engineers were diverted to the 787.

The freighter version of the 747-8 will be the first to enter service, once it’s delivered to Luxembourg’s Cargolux Airlines International SA. The jet originally was supposed to be delivered in the third quarter of 2009. Flight tests continue on the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger version, due to begin service in early 2012 with Deutsche Lufthansa AG. (LHA)

The 747-8, with a stretched hump on top, new engines and the longest wings Boeing has ever built, went through an 18- month flight-test program that discovered some problems from the redesign, including flutter in the wings. The functionality of the new flight-management computer had to be scaled back to avoid further delays, with a software upgrade planned later.

The 787 Dreamliner, the world’s first composite-plastic airliner, is more than three years behind schedule. The FAA is reviewing its certification paperwork, and Boeing has said it expects to deliver the first one to Japan’s All Nippon Airways next month. 


Cops: Tremont man aimed gun at crop-duster. Illinois.

TREMONT — An Illinois man accused of aiming a shotgun at a crop-duster he claimed was flying too close to a family gathering will appear in court late this month.

The Pekin Daily Times 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.

Phillips hasn’t entered a plea but is scheduled to be in court Aug. 29. He couldn’t be reached for comment because a phone number listed for him is disconnected.

A pilot told Tazewell County sheriff’s deputies he was spraying crops when someone pointed a shotgun at his plane.

Phillips told deputies the pilot was “dive bombing’’ the get-together near Phillips’ home.

No shots were fired.

Qantas engineers to strike for 1 hour every day

QANTAS engineers have announced industrial action and it comes with a twist.

They have revealed they will stop work for one hour every weekday, starting on Thursday (August 25), until the week before Christmas.

But in what they say is an "unusual twist", the engineers have offered to organise union members to work overtime in place of the stopped workers.

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) federal secretary Steve Purvinas said this arrangement acknowledged the needs of customers.

"Should Qantas refuse our offer, disruptions would be of their own making," he said in a statement.

"We've been negotiating with the airline for job security terms for nearly 12 months.

"Any progress that had been made has now been eliminated with Qantas announcing its intention to shrink Qantas in favour of new companies based in Asia."

Earlier this week, the airline revealed a five-year plan to create a premium service in Asia and other restructuring that will cost up to 1000 Australian jobs.

The ALAEA says it cannot accept claims by the airline that its international arm is losing money when planes are fuller than ever and fuel is 25 per cent cheaper than in their most profitable year in 2008.

Mr Purvinas said job security was worrying to his union's members.

"We are concerned that Qantas has announced 1,000 job losses but has signalled that this is just the initial stage of the transformation plans."

In July, Qantas engineers stopped work for 60 seconds as part of their ongoing dispute with the airline.

In addition to the one-minute stop work action, two right-handed engineers announced they would work for a week using only their left hands.

Comment is being sought from Qantas.

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N7666D: Accident occurred August 18, 2011 in Forsyth, Montana

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA390 
 14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Thursday, August 18, 2011 in Forsyth, MT
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N7666D
Injuries: 2 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 August 18, 2011, about 0925 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N7666D, impacted an open area in mountainous terrain near Forsyth, Montana. Big Sky Wildlife Consultants operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a contract flight to count prairie dogs. The commercial pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged as a result of impact forces and post impact fire.

According to a witness who was hunting in the area, he observed the airplane fly overhead, and then saw it descend below the mountain tops, then saw smoke.

Officials said two people from Miles City died Thursday in a plane crash near Forsyth.

Mike Fergus, Federal Aviation Administration Northwestern Mountain Region spokesman, said the Piper PA-18 Super Cub, a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, took off from Miles City sometime on Thursday before it crashed and burst into flames near Forsyth.

"We're still not sure what time it departed, and we're not sure of the time of the actual accident," he said.

Both people on board were killed in the crash, which reported at about 9:30 a.m. between Flat Bottom and Stellar Creeks in Rosebud County. Sheriff Randy Allies, who confirmed the deaths and said both victims were males from Miles City, declined to release more information on the victims pending notification of family members.

Autopsies are scheduled for Friday.

Allies said two hunters heard the airplane flying and then a loud explosion as the plane crashed in a remote area of pastureland near the small community of Vananda, north of Forsyth. Allies said the crash happened in "pretty rough country" and that it took rescue crews about an hour to reach the scene.

Fergus said a pair of investigators was headed to the crash site as of 4 p.m. One of them might arrive Thursday evening and begin the investigation immediately, but that would be at the investigator's discretion, he said.

The crash's cause remains unknown.

According to the National Weather Service, a cold front pushed through the area in the morning and created gusty north-northwest winds of 10 to 25 mph, followed later by light rain and 40 mph gusts.

It is not known whether the weather played a factor in the crash.


HELENA, Mont. -- Officials say two people are dead after a single-engine plane took off from Miles City and then crashed in Rosebud County.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus says the Piper PA-18 Super Cub had two people on board when it crashed Thursday near Forsyth.

He declined to identify the victims and said he did not know the plane's planned destination.

Rosebud County Sheriff Randy Allies confirmed two people died in the crash but declined to provide additional details pending notification of the families.

It's the second fatal single-engine plane crash in Montana this week. On Monday, a crash near Butte killed a Montana State University student and a Montana Tech professor.


BILLINGS - Two people are dead after the plane they were in crashed north of Forsyth in Rosebud County.

FAA Spokesman Mike Fergus says the plane burst into flames on impact, making it impossible for fire officials and emergency responders to yet identify the plane.

Fergus says the plane crashed between noon and 1 p.m. today.

FAA ready to certify new 747-8 freighter

SEATTLE -- The FAA is ready to sign off on Boeing's 747-8 Freighter.

The certification allows Boeing to begin delivering the plane to airlines, and it's expected to enter service soon.

The latest version of Boeing's classic jumbo jet is almost 20-feet longer with a wider wing span than previous models.

The passenger version is the biggest 747 Boeing has ever built, with an extended upper deck.

Usually when Boeing brings out a new model, the freighter follows the passenger version by several years. But 747 freighters are such a mainstay of the global air freight industry, Boeing decided to bring out the freighter version first.

Qantas engineers launch 4-month campaign

Qantas engineers have joined the fight against job cuts at the airline, by announcing a stop work campaign that will last until Christmas.

From next Thursday engineers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide will take turns to stop work for one hour each day.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has announced the industrial action, saying Qantas engineers have been negotiating with the airline to ensure their job security for nearly a year.

It says the Qantas announcement of new Asian-based airlines shows those negotiations have come to nothing.

Talks between the airline and unions broke down again yesterday.

Union federal secretary Steve Purvinas says they do not accept Qantas management's rationale.

"The ALAEA cannot accept claims by the airline that its international arm is losing money when load factors are higher than they have ever been and fuel is 25 per cent cheaper than their most profitable year in 2008," Mr Purvinas said in a statement.

"To move operations into Asia is fraught with financial risks that could bring the entire group down."

The association has offered to organise for other workers to cover for those on strike, provided they are paid overtime.

"We acknowledge the needs of customers and for this reason we will offer to provide replacement workers to Qantas, left short of labour. Should Qantas refuse our offer, disruptions would be of their own making," Mr Purvinas said.

Santa Barbara Airport Terminal Now Open to Passengers. Today is first day of arrivals and departures

The new $53 million dollar Santa Barbara Airport terminal is now open for arrivals and departures. The project has been years in the planning, development and construction.

Both last night when we saw the first passengers arrive and today when both arrivals and departures were taking place, you could see the public checking the terminal out from top to bottom.

Some miss the old funky terminal that had been in use at the site for decades, but others noticed all the new amenities they now enjoy whether they are flying in, flying out, picking up a passenger or seeing someone off.

The layout is not difficult once you get through the front doors.

The airline counters are to the right. The baggage claim and the doorway to the rental cars is to the left. And the departure and arrival ramps are up the escalators which are lined with Spanish style artworks.

AirTran to begin nonstop service from BWI to Aruba. International route is first announced since airline became Southwest subsidiary.

AirTran Airways announced this week that it will offer nonstop weekend flights between BWI Marshall Airport and Aruba starting December 17.

According to BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean, the Saturday and Sunday service is the first new international route launched by AirTran since it became a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines.

Dean noted in a statement that with the new service, Aruba becomes the sixth nonstop international or Caribbean destination offered by AirTran from BWI, after Bermuda; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cancun, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

One-way fares will start at $159, the statement said.


Luscombe 8A Silvaire, N1444K: Accident occurred August 17, 2011 in Cowiche, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR11LA391
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 17, 2011 in Cowiche, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2012
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8A, registration: N1444K
Injuries: 2 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.

During a training flight, the airplane's occupants heard a hammering sound accompanied by an airframe vibration and reduction in engine power. The certified flight instructor took control of the airplane from the student and began to initiate a return to the airport. He decided that it was unlikely that they would be able to safely return, and he elected to perform a forced landing into a field. The airplane landed hard.

Examination of the engine revealed that the exhaust valve head most likely separated from its stem during flight, resulting in catastrophic failure to its associated cylinder components. Discoloration within the rocker area, exhaust valve guide, and cooling fins was consistent with heat damage, most likely caused by a stuck or sticking exhaust valve. The engine was manufactured in 1948, and its serial number did not match any records on file with the manufacturer. The maintenance records did not reveal a complete history of the engine's total flight time.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power during maneuvering flight due to an exhaust valve failure.


On August 17, 2011, about 1845 Pacific daylight time, a Luscombe 8A, N1444K, force landed into a field after a loss of engine power near Cowiche, Washington. Yakima Aerosport LLC operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an instructional flight. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field, Yakima, Washington, about 1800. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The CFI reported that they departed Yakima with the intention of performing routine flight training. During performance of ground reference maneuvers, the CFI heard a hammering sound, accompanied by an airframe vibration. He took control of the airplane from the student, and began to initiate a return to Yakima. He stated that the engine continued to operate, but at reduced power. He decided that it was unlikely that they would be able to safely return to Yakima, and as such, elected to perform a forced landing into a crop field. The airplane landed hard, collapsing the main landing gear, and causing substantial damage to the fuselage.

The engine was examined at the accident site by an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The upper chamber of the number three cylinder exhibited a circumferential crack, which passed through both spark plug bores, separating the upper portion of the head from the engine. Subsequent disassembly revealed that both the exhaust and intake valve heads had separated from their stems, with one of the valves remaining loose within the cylinder chamber. The valve head had sustained crush and bending damage. The remaining valve was not recovered and is assumed to have been ejected from the cylinder during flight. The piston crown and inner cylinder head had become obliterated, and exhibited multiple semicircular, valve-shaped indentations to their surfaces. The damage sustained to the valve stems and heads prevented an examination of their separation surfaces.

Examination of the rocker area revealed black deposits and dark discoloration of the exhaust valve guide and surrounding casting. The external cooling fins displayed green-colored discoloration around the area of exhaust valve.

According to the FAA inspector, the engine was of the C85-12 type, and manufactured in 1948. The engine data tag revealed a serial number of 30376, and a representative from Teledyne Continental Engines reported that no such engine number existed in their records.

Maintenance logbooks revealed that the engine was installed on the airplane in December 2010, about 40 flight hours prior to the accident. The logbooks recorded the total time of the engine at the time of the installation as, "unknown". The engine had undergone an oil change 29 flight hours prior to the accident.

Teledyne Continental Motors Service Bulletin M77-3 addresses the various grades of fuel approved for aircraft engines, and the potential for sticking valves when utilizing 100 low-lead aviation fuel in older series engines. The SB states that 100 low-lead is an acceptable alternative fuel for the C85 series engine, and goes on to indicate that when using this fuel, exhaust valve sticking can result from lead salt accumulation in the lubricating oil. Under such circumstances, an exhaust leak between the exhaust elbow flange and the exhaust port face is possible, resulting in localized cylinder head overheating and subsequent exhaust valve and guide distress. The SB further states that this condition can be reduced with regular oil changes, and by the replacement of the valves and guides with units which are more tolerant of lead contamination.

A flight instructor and his student escape serious injury after their small plane crashes in a hay field in Cowiche northwest of Yakima last night. Witnesses tell us what they saw and heard as the plane went down.

One witness who didn't want to appear on camera says last night he saw the plane skid about ten feet, before it came to a stop in the field.

The skid marks made by the small plane are clearly visible in the alfalfa field owned by Peggy Christenson. She and her grandson were in the yard when she heard the plane flying very low over the trees.

"Next thing I knew my grandson ran up to me and said 'Grandma, a plane just crashed in our hay field,'" says Christenson.

The pilot told the sheriff's office the single engine of his 1946 Luscombe 8A died, and he was forced to make a hard landing, which crumpled the plane's landing gear and damaged one wing.

The pilot, 63 year old Mike Butterfield of Cowiche, and his unidentified 18 year old student from Zillah, were able to make it out of the plane unharmed.

"They both jumped up with their arms up saying 'I'm OK I'm OK, and so we were just very relieved that no one was hurt," says Christenson.

Butterfield owns Yakima Aerosport at the Yakima Airport, and declined to talk to us about the accident.

The property owner tells us the pilot plans to have the plane removed from the field by late tonight.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the plane crash.


HIGHLAND -- A small plane crashed in a field north of Cowiche Road in Highland Wednesday evening.

Authorities tell Action News a flight instructor and one student were on board the plane. The student was behind the wheel when there was engine trouble. The instructor took over and tried to make it to a nearby landing strip. They were unable to reach the strip, and landed the 1940's aircraft in the hay field, instead. No one was injured.

YAKIMA COUNTY NEWS RELEASE -- On August 17, 2011 at approximately 1845 hours the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible airplane crash near the 100 block of North Cowiche Road. Units from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and Highland Fire responded to the area and located a single engine aircraft in an alfalfa field near the intersection of Summitview and North Cowiche Roads approximately 11 miles northwest of the Yakima Airport.

The pilot, 63 year old male from Cowiche and the 18 year old passenger from Zillah were uninjured and out of the plane when units arrived. The pilot reported that the plane, a 1946 Luscombe 8A had suffered an engine failure and he was forced to land. The plane made a hard landing which crumpled the landing gear and damaged one wing.

The incident has been reported to the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration for investigation.

The names of the pilot and passenger are not being released.

Grounded Plans: 
 Lawsuit and airport’s district chair say $42 million safety plan won’t make flying safer. Monterey Peninsula Airport (KMRY), Monterey, California

Photo by Nic Coury

Aviation Mitigation: The FAA will pay for 95 percent of a $42 million safety improvement project at the Monterey Peninsula Airport; the airport district will pay 5 percent with $4.50-per-ticket passenger fees it collects.

Nervous fliers may be familiar with the runaway plane scenarios that can play through the mind at takeoff or landing. Such passengers may take comfort in cushiony installations that have been added to runways at 35 airports around the country. 

Imagine a concrete version of a children’s ball pit, a hard surface with enough give that it sinks a bit under weight, and you have something like the high-friction engineered material arresting system [EMAS] that can slow and stop a plane that zooms beyond the edge of a runway. 

Monterey Peninsula Airport has had no incidents of runaway planes since it opened in 1936. But the Monterey Peninsula Airport District has plans for a $42 million safety improvement project that includes two off-runway systems. 

Not only does Dick Searle, chair of the Airport District board, have serious doubts about whether EMAS would actually make the airport safer, but he, as well as neighborhood activists, think the entire project is a maneuver to build an access road through the airport’s property to a would-be office park on its north side – an item in the airport’s master plan for future development. 

“The whole thing is just crazy,” Searle says. “We don’t need it.” 

The Highway 68 Coalition agrees with Searle, and in a complaint filed June 3, calls for an injunction against the project. 

The neighborhood group takes issue with the environmental impact report, arguing it fails to adequately address alternatives and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The coalition also views the construction of a new access road that would open up to Highway 68 north of the airport as a step in the district’s long-term plan to build a 45-acre office and industrial park on its northern property. 

“It’s an improvement for an office park masquerading as a safety improvement and that’s just not right,” Alexander Henson, the coalition’s attorney. 

But Derek Cole, an attorney with Roseville-based Cota Cole LLP who is representing the airport, says it’s all part of one safety project. “The runway safety improvements cannot occur without construction of an access road,” he says. 

Airport Deputy Manager Mark Bautista says the road isn’t necessary for constructing the EMAS safety system, but without it, “The problem is we’d have to have everyone drive across the runway in order to get to the other side.” 

He also says there is no planned commercial development anywhere on the airport’s property, and claims that the proposed road would serve an office park are misplaced. “It’s strictly for maintenance, safety and operations.” 

All told, the project would feature four structures: EMAS on each side of one runway, the road and an 80-foot retaining wall comprised of 10 terraced panels. The EIR indicates 201 oak trees and 7 Monterey Pines would be removed. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has set a safety compliance deadline for 2015. It’s unclear what penalty could be leveraged. “There’s a whole host of things that can happen,” says FAA spokesperson Marcia Alexander-Adams. 

Searle, the lone dissenting vote, flew a B24 in World War II. He says EMAS only provides a substantial safety improvement at airports with icy runways or at high altitude where liftoff is difficult. 

A hearing date is set for March 29, 2012 in Monterey County Superior Court. Meanwhile, the airport is moving forward with the project; Granite Construction is to begin preparing planning documents this September. 

So far, the airport district has paid $4.6 million in project consulting fees.

Port Harcourt Airport May be Acquired by Nigerian Airline.

Major Nigerian Airline, with the highest number of modern aircraft in the country, is currently negotiating with the Federal Government to acquire the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa as core investor.

If the plan becomes successful, as THISDAY learnt that government is seriously considering the request, the airline would use the airport as its operational base, even as it has plans to also acquire stakes in other viable airports in the country.

As the largest airline in the country, the management of the domestic carrier has made its interest known since government indicated interest to concession the airports and many industry operators said that with such large fleet it is pertinent for the airline to have controlling stakes in the airport, which it could use as operational and maintenance base.

The airline, which intended to build its own maintenance hangar, may take over the one built by the Rivers state government at the Port Harcourt airport, which has remained unutilised since its completion.

Rivers state government is currently talking with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on how the parastatal would manage the maintenance facility. But if the airline succeeds in acquiring the airport it may have to negotiate with Rivers to also take over the hangar, which it would equip for A to C maintenance checks.

Operating on its own airport and carrying out some levels of aircraft maintenance locally will save the airline and other airlines in the country huge amount of money spent on foreign exchange to ferry aircraft outside the country for maintenance.

According to Secretary General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (OAS), Mohammed Joji, Nigerian airlines spend over N3 billion on aircraft maintenance overseas every year.

Since the past three years, the Federal Government had announced that it would concession many of the Nigeria’s airports through public, private partnership (PPP) as it could no longer effectively maintain the airports.

Since that announcement and the successful concessioning of the domestic terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (MMA2), government has continued to prevaricate over further concession of airport facilities.

But on Monday the Aviation Minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah, who promised to urgently improve facilities at some airports in the country, said that government would bring in investors that would plough their money into some of the airports to modernise them and make them more viable.

“The change that we all desire, and which we are vigorously pushing, cannot, understandably be funded from public resources alone. We need the private sector to partner with us to deliver the huge promise, which the sector holds for the growth of the Nigerian economy. But the partnership must of necessity put the interest of the ordinary Nigerian first and above every other consideration.”

The Minister said that huge opportunities exist for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the aviation sector, adding, “we urge investors, both foreign and local to take advantage of these opportunities to invest in the development of facilities including parks, terminals, hangers, etc. Already, we are partnering with private investors through concessioning of some of our facilities and infrastructure.”

ABC chopper pilot Gary Ticehurst 'a legend', say friends.

ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst pictured before covering the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the 25th time in 2007. 
Picture: James Elsby The Daily Telegraph

THE death of helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst has send shockwaves through the world sailing community with the Sydney pilot one of the heroes of the tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Ticehurst played a major role in helping locate and rescuing sailors missing at sea when a Bass Strait low, in the form of a deep depression, exploded during the annual race south and turned it into a killer race 13 years ago.

More than 50 crew were rescued in the wake of the storm which also claimed the lives of six sailors in the worst storm in the history of the world famous race.

Ticehurst potentially helped save the lives of 20 plus sailors by hovering over their stricken vessels throughout the day in horrendos conditions, answering their Mayday calls and passing crucial information on to search and rescue officials.

Ticehurst said later that every time he heard a Mayday call after the tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart "it sent a shiver down my spine''.

Ticehurst has covered more than 25 Sydney to Hobarts from the air, making him one of the most experienced pilots in world sailing.

He was also one of the most beloved and popular members of the close-knit sailing fraternity.

"We are all just dumfounded,'' said News Ltd photographer Ian Mainsbridge who worked alongside Ticehurst during 25 Sydney to Hobarts.

"He was a legend.

"Whenever he heard people were in trouble he'd been the Salvos there.

"He and Theresa (his wife) are just good people."

ABC television sports presenter Peter Wilkins described Ticehurst as "a fantastic helicopter pilot".

"I flew many hours with Gary," he told ABC radio this morning.

"He was a likeable chap. Going up (with him) in a helicopter ... anyone who has been there consistently knows you have to have trust in the pilot.

"Gary was right out of the top drawer there. He was an absolute professional. He made you feel comfortable. He could really operate the machine."

He also instinctively knew which pictures camera crew needed, Wilkins added.

"His work was phenomenal for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race," he said.

"He had a sensitive eye and often took the picture for you with his direction of the chopper."

Veteran ABC presenter Kerry O'Brien also said he felt safe while flying with Ticehurst, adding he enjoyed his company at the same time.

"I've flown with Gary many times over the years and he, again, was a consummate professional who loved his work and would always put safety first," he told ABC radio.

"Gary was somebody that you would feel safe with.

"If you climbed onto a helicopter you felt safe, you knew you were in great hands.

"And he was also very good company."


PENNSYLVANIA: Pilot dead in Ransom Township plane crash

FAA investigator Lee Abt looks over a plane crash that took the life of William Spear in Ransom.
Michael J. Mullen / Staff Photographer

Michael J. Mullen / Staff Photographer

RANSOM TWP. - A 66-year-old Ransom Twp. man died Wednesday evening at Community Medical Center after he crashed a small aircraft in the woods off of Creek Road in Ransom Twp.

Lackawanna County Coroner Tim Rowland confirmed William Spear, 2487 Ransom Road, died at 7:09 p.m. after being transported to the emergency room at CMC. An autopsy will be scheduled.

Newton Ransom Fire Chief John Stemphoski said firefighters were called to the crash site about 300 yards off Creek Road in a heavily wooded area at about 6:03 p.m. Mr. Spear was unconscious when emergency crews reached him, Chief Stemphoski said.

"We went in by foot and with ropes," the fire chief said. "It is very difficult terrain and a steep hill."

Troopers were also called to the scene Wednesday to investigate the crash; a state police forensic unit arrived about 7:25.

Troopers at the scene said there was little information available Wednesday as to what caused the crash. Troopers and South Abington Twp. police planned to stay at the scene overnight.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the scene about 6:30 a.m. today, troopers at the scene said.

People who lived near the crash site gathered at the end of Creek Road Wednesday evening to talk about what may have happened. Several people said they saw a small plane flying erratically prior to the crash, according to Michele Plunkett, who was visiting her parents' home along Creek Road.

Original article and photos:

Plane crash blocks part of Trans-Canada Highway, near Marathon, Ontario

A plane blocks part of the Trans-Canada Highway near Marathon, Ontario.
(David Caissy )

A pilot was injured when his small plane crashed on takeoff north of Lake Superior Thursday and came to rest blocking part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The incident happened at Marathon around 12:30 p.m. ET, when the plane was trying to take off from Marathon Airport, Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Randy Bye said.

The Marathon Airport is located next to the highway.

Police said the pilot was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A passenger was also hospitalized for observation.

"An aircraft tried to leave the runway and struck a fence and ended up crashing in the ditch area," Bye said, noting that the tail section of the plane landed in the westbound lane of Highway 17.

One lane of the highway was opened around 2 p.m. and police said the highway would fully reopen when a tow-truck hauled the damaged aircraft away.

The plane was heading from North Bay, Ont., to Winnipeg.


Plane theft suspect arrested. Piper PA-32R-301T N492ST. Plane stolen from Horace Williams Airport (KIGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- A man accused of stealing a small plane from Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill and then crashing it in Alamance County was arrested at his home at 114 Mel Oak Drive Thursday afternoon.

Curtis Mellott, 46, had been missing since the wreckage of the Piper PA32 was found in a field near Graham Tuesday morning.

The Civil Air Patrol found the plane by following the aircraft's beeping transponder on Wildlife Club Road off N.C. 87 between Graham and the Eli Whitney community.
Related Content

When authorities arrived on the scene, they found a lot of blood in the cockpit but no pilot. The window was kicked out, and there was a trail of blood leading into the forest.

Police say the plane was stolen from UNC's airfield overnight Monday or early Tuesday morning. The plane's owner, Larry Warren, says he saw the aircraft around 9 p.m. Monday on the ground with its doors locked.

"You gotta have a key to get in the door, but once you get in the door, it's pretty much just regular switches," Warren said.

Mellott is charged with felony larceny of a privately-owned aircraft.

Original article and video:

Woodbine Port Authority Receives Grant from FAA for Airport Apron Expansion. Woodbine Municipal Airport (KOBI), New Jersey.

WOODBINE - Mayor William Pikolycky is pleased to announce that the Federal Aviation Administration has notified the Woodbine Municipal Airport that it has been awarded an additional $928,770 in grant funding for Phase 2 of its apron expansion project.

Woodbine Municipal Airport is continuing construction of this second phase of a new apron to better serve the aviation needs of the community. This is the final phase of a two-phase project. The first phase was financed with NJDOT funds of $463,100. It includes site clearing, utility relocation, pavement removal, paving, and turf restoration. Construction on that phase is scheduled to begin the end of July.

The second phase is being funded with FAA funds and includes pavement of the apron, tie down installation, and pavement markings.

The total project currently consists of a 120,000 square foot expansion of the existing aircraft apron and a new roadway located north of Henry DeCinque Boulevard, the airport’s main entrance roadway, totaling approximately $1.4 million. The airport is in need of additional apron area due to an increase in demand from prospective tenants. The road will provide access to existing facilities and connect to the new apron.

“This additional funding from the FAA gives us the green light to go ahead with completion of this project in its totality,” added Mayor Pikolycky. “We are pleased and grateful that it has come through so quickly following the delays caused by the recent national situation.”

Bill creates regional airport authority

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Hancock International Airport will now be a state-run authority. Governor Cuomo signed a bill Thursday creating a Syracuse Regional Airport Authority.

The authority will have the power to issue up to $200 million in bonds, for which the state, Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse will not be liable.

Senator John DeFrancisco says having an airport authority will allow Hancock to function more like a business and will give extra flexibility, making it easier to bring more carriers to the region.

The 11 member authority will include seven members appointed by the city's mayor, one each by the Onondaga County Executive, the DeWitt Town Board, the East Syracuse Minoa School District, and a one-year appointment that will alternate between the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education and the Clay Cicero and Salina Town Boards.

Original article and video:

Jet removed from taxiway at Tulsa International Airport (KTUL), Oklahoma.

Photo Credit:  Tulsa World

A regional jet that became stuck while making a U-turn Thursday morning at Tulsa International Airport has been taken back to the terminal, an airport spokeswoman said.

The pilot of Delta Airlines flight 5038 to Atlanta was on the taxiway and attempted to make a turn when the front nose gear went off the taxiway and into the grass shortly after 6 a.m., said airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins.

The 47 passengers and baggage were taken back to the terminal so airport personnel could attempt to get the plane unstuck, she said.

"There is no easy way to get the plane out of the grass with people and baggage on board," Higgins said.

Airport crews pulled the plane out of the grass so it could be towed back to the terminal before noon, she said.

While the aircraft was stranded on the taxiway, the airport's main runway remained open, and traffic was flowing normally, she said.

Original article, photos, and comments:

Australian news crew killed in copter crash.

CRASH TRAGEDY: From left, cameraman John Bean, helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst and journalist Paul Lockyer.
Photo Credit:  Australian Broadcasting Corporation 

Three members of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news team are dead following a helicopter crash at Lake Eyre in South Australia, the national broadcaster says.

They are reporter Paul Lockyer, pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean.

The experienced news crew had been working on news and feature projects in the Lake Eyre region and it is believed their Sydney-based helicopter crashed in a remote area northwest of Maree last night.

SA Police located the wreckage early today. The national broadcaster reported just after 5.30am (7.30am NZ time) that all three had been killed.

"As a result of an initial search, police have located two deceased persons in the wreckage," Inspector Glen Sickerdick said today.

Police confirmed they had found two bodies, while a search was under way for the third person believed to have been in the helicopter. They did not expect to find any survivors. A police investigation has also commenced, Inspector Sickerdick said.

The ABC's managing director, Mark Scott, described the men as "three news gatherers at the peak of their craft".

"This has been the longest of nights and we fear it will be the saddest of days,'' he said.

"Paul, Gary and John have each given decades of service to the ABC. They are passionate about their work and finding great stories from all over Australia to bring to the public.

"Our love, thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Paul, Gary and John at this terrible time."

Eyewitnesses described seeing the chopper going down in flames, although it remains unclear what caused the accident.

The weather around Lake Eyre was clear at the time of the crash, with just a few scattered showers.

William Creek pilot Trevor Wright told yesterday the aircraft had been carrying out aerial photography and video work when it went down.

Occupants of the helicopter had been due to meet a group on the edge of the lake for dinner, Mr Wright said.

"When the helicopter didn’t turn up, they became anxious and sent out a search party on foot. Then they found the wreck," Mr Wright said.

The ABC said Mr Lockyer is one of its most experienced journalists. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has covered some of the biggest stories that have broken at home and abroad for all forms of television and radio reporting.

He has worked as a correspondent in Washington, Singapore and throughout Asia, won a Logie Award for best TV Reporter, and in recent years built his reputation on unsurpassed coverage of rural and regional issues.

Mr Ticehurst is one of the most experienced media pilots in Australia. He has close to 40 years of helicopter operational experience, which includes 30 years as chief pilot of Film Helicopters Australia, working with the Australian film and television industry.

Mr Bean is an award winning lighting camera operator who has worked for the ABC for 20 years, filming for programs as diverse as News and The 7.30 Report, to Catalyst, The New Inventors and Gardening Australia.

Before his death, Mr Bean had blogged about a trip to Lake Eyre with the same group of colleagues to film news and documentaries last year, when the crew witnessed the rare sight of the lake filling up.
Ad Feedback

"I was completely amazed at what we found. Where was the red, the dust, the caked barren earth, the sand? Instead there was water everywhere, and green, and blue, and yes, there was red," he wrote.

"I love my job."



Jet noise class action to proceed. Canberra, Australia.

A Canberra legal firm says it still expects to proceed with a high court class action over air force jet noise at Port Stephens, even though the Defence Department has modified its noise maps for the area.

New noise modelling shows thousands of Port Stephens residents now will not be impacted by the new Joint Strike Fighter jets, which had threatened to cause major disruptions for new developments as well as existing homes.

Around 200 residents have already indicated they would join a class action led by law firm, Goodman Law.

Principal Director Stephen Gavagna says he will hold talks with the firm's senior legal representatives today about the case, which he thinks can still proceed in some form.

"I think it will reduce the number of claimants," he said.

"But there are a lot of issues with regards to how it actually affects planning in and around Raymond Terrace and whether or not there is still real damages that have been caused not only by the introduction of the JSF but also the current air force.

"So there is still a lot of room to move and there's still a lot of questions to be answered which just can't be answered overnight or by putting new lines on a page.

"I think in the short term the action will continue and the investigation into the action will continue."


Iowa crop-duster has left hospital, family says

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - The family of a 54-year-old crop-dusting pilot whose helicopter crashed near Charles City says he's left a hospital.

Mason City television station KIMT reports that 54-year-old Michael Mullenbach, of St. Ansgar, is slowly recovering at home.

A mechanical problem has been blamed for the crash on Aug. 2. The crash is still under investigation.

Information from: KIMT-TV,


Etihad to use A320 for Nairobi flights

It was confirmed overnight that Etihad, the national airline of Abu Dhabi, will use an Airbus A320 aircraft when daily flights commence between Abu Dhabi and Nairobi in April 2012. An airline source in Kenya made good of the promise to obtain and share this information, after initially availing the breaking news story that Etihad would join their other Gulf rivals on the lucrative route to Nairobi. The aircraft will operate in a two class configuration of business and economy.

It was also learned that the airline is presently also seeking talks with other airlines flying from Nairobi into the region to feed and de-feed into their planned flights to offer easy connections to such destinations like Entebbe, Juba, Kigali and Bujumbura. No timings for the new connection is however available as yet but will in due course also be reported here, when scheduling details have been finalized and slot times been confirmed with the local airport authorities.

By Wolfgang H. Thome

Date set for flights: Virgin Australia

New service: Virgin Australia’s 68-seater turboprop aircraft is headed to Port Macquarie.

Mark October 19 in your calendar.

That is the date Virgin Australia kicks off its daily return service linking Port Macquarie and Bris­bane, subject to regulatory approval.

Virgin Australia group executive commercial Liz Savage said the fares would start from $99 one-way.

The flights will be operated by 68-seater turboprop aircraft.

Mid North Coast Regional Tourism Org­anisation chairwoman Kathy Balodis said the direct flights with Brisbane opened up a new leisure market.

The Hastings attracts holiday makers driving between Sydney and Brisbane.

Direct flights to and from Brisbane pave the way for even more tourism opportunities.

“It will help so much that Virgin Australia has a direct flight [with Brisbane], and it gives people an opportunity to fly at a great rate,” Mrs Balodis said.

She predicts passengers will embrace the new service.

Mid North Coast Tourism executive officer Belinda Novicky said the flights would benefit Port and the surrounding area.

She said the flights would, for example, attract couples on short breaks and families looking for a weekend away, especially if the fares were competitively priced.

International tour­ists could also “fly-hop” between Sydney, Port Macquarie, Bris­bane and Cairns, Mrs Novicky said.

Flights linking Port Macquarie and Queen­sland’s capital went on sale on Monday.

Virgin will operate its Sydney to Port Macqu­arie services using the 68-seater turboprop, replacing the Embraer E170 aircraft.

Meanwhile, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council continues to work towards its proposed multi-million dollar airport upgrade.

The upgrade would open up the airport to interstate jets. 

Agency: Plane in Wyoming crash landing was out of fuel.

WHEATLAND, Wyo. (AP) — Federal aviation investigators say the gas tanks were empty after a single-engine plane lost power and crash-landed on a road near Wheatland.

A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released Wednesday says only the pilot was aboard and he was unhurt in the July 12 crash.

The NTSB says the pilot was flying from Grant, Neb., to Wheatland when the engine sputtered and quit about 12 miles from Wheatland. The Cessna 150-J landed on a road and flipped, coming to a rest upside down.

The NTSB says the pilot told investigators he noticed shortly after takeoff that the plane's battery wasn't operating and he was unable to use the left and right fuel gauges, but he decided to continue the flight anyway.

Africa growing wings: Aviation key to the continent’s economic growth.

Mr Mumbo, who consults on aviation, is the founder and chief executive of Aerospace Consortium

About two decades ago, one could not talk about Africa without painfully recounting numerous horrid challenges it faced, ranging from disease, hunger and poverty to civil wars.

Put candidly, Africa looked very unattractive to most risk-averse investors.

However, looking at the continent today, a lot seems to be changing in terms of its appeal to the outside world.

There is a growing global focus on Africa as the new frontier for economic growth. The continent’s promise in terms of business is increasingly becoming evident.

As testimony to this turn of fortunes, Africa has lately outpaced the developed world in key economic indicators.

Its GDP growth averaged 4.9 per cent between 2004-2009 due to strong commodity prices, rising foreign direct investment, and increased spending by governments.

The GDP growth is expected to reach 7 per cent this year against a global GDP projection of 4.5 per cent.

Earlier this year, the respected Economist magazine identified six African economies as among the fastest growing globally in the last 10 years.

These are Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and Rwanda.

As a result, and in the face of global economic turmoil, investors are now busy all over Africa looking for opportunities as the economies in Europe, Asia and the Americas recover at a much slower pace.

As the new frontier for doing business, Africa is well-endowed. It boasts rich mineral resources and a hard-working population which, combined, underpins economic growth.

But with all the renewed focus on Africa, the continent’s potential continues to be hampered by debilitating constraints such as under-developed infrastructure, political volatility and conflicts, not to mention regulatory barriers and a legacy of poor macroeconomic policies.

At the recent World Economic Forum for Africa held in South Africa, it was felt that while Africa had great potential, trade imbalances in favour of developed and emerging economies continue to stifle take-off.

The lack of infrastructure is compounded by the fact that many countries are landlocked, thus denying them efficient, fast and reliable means to access the international market.

However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. By its very nature, air transport is able to surmount many of the barriers that hold back economic development.

This is because freighting cargo is seen as the most secure and reliable mode of moving goods and commodities to markets.

Increased trade within the continent and between Africa and global economic players like the European Union and China signifies good prospects for the continent.

Africa will continue to reap benefits from rising global demand for resources like oil, natural gas, food especially grains, and even arable land.

For instance, between 1990 and 2008, Asia’s share of African trade doubled to 28 per cent.

Meanwhile, trade with Western Europe shrunk from 5 per cent to 28 per cent in the same period.

Countries like China have emerged as Africa’s key trading partners.

Others like Brazil and India are busy forging trade and investment partnerships with African countries.

And as trade picks up, so does human travel. Data from the International Air Travel Association shows that intra-Africa passenger growth is on the upswing.

Similarly, growth in travel between Africa and the Middle East and the Far East continues to be strong.

What this means is that Africa has become a key travel hub. This spells good prospects for airlines serving intra-African routes and those from Africa to other continents.

For instance, Kenya Airways is set to consolidate its presence on the continent.

Currently, it flies to 55 destinations globally, 46 of these in Africa with great prospects for opening up new routes.

However, a lot still needs to be done to open up African skies to key airlines that are keen to tap the emerging opportunities in Africa.

There is a need for African governments to be more flexible in opening up their air spaces and even adopting open sky policies.

This would result in a more competitive aviation sector and hence increase trade opportunities.