Friday, August 19, 2011

Boy's high-risk laser toy leaves him with sight loss

An 11-year-old boy has permanent eye damage from the beam of a green laser pointer that was bought as a toy.

It burned his retina - the light-sensitive back of the eye - leaving a 1.5mm scar and increasing his risk of developing central-vision blindness.

His eye specialist, Dr Dianne Sharp, and his mother want the Government to follow other countries and restrict access to high-powered laser pointers.

Regulations are being developed, but laser sales are still unrestricted.

Their call follows a demand from the Air Line Pilots' Association for regulatory action.

The association is concerned at the number of cases of laser pointers being shone at planes in the air - at least 17 this year - which could distract or dazzle a pilot at night, leading to a crash.

The devices have also been used against police, sports stars and car drivers.

They are intended for use as lecture pointers or for pointing out the direction of stars, but often they are sold as toys or gimmicks and are dangerously and unnecessarily powerful.

The 11-year-old, whose family requested anonymity, bought his200 milliwatt laser pointer for $15 during a family holiday in Thailand in January.

His mother said that in June, he played with the pen-shaped device in his bedroom with a friend on a sleep-over.

Afterwards, he had a "fuzzy blob" in his vision.

His mother later learned he had lasered his right eye when he shone the pointer in a mirror and was momentarily hit by the reflection.

She said the family knew not to shine the light directly into the eyes, but did not know of the risk in reflecting the beam.

The boy has lost some visual sharpness in his right eye, reducing its reading level on the eye-testing chart by three print sizes, but his overall vision is not greatly affected because his left eye was not lasered.

"We are going to have to be extra-protective of his vision because he is slightly compromised," his mother said.

"I feel bad because [the pointer] just seemed like a fun, groovy thing to buy. It did have this warning on it, but we had to get the magnifying glass out subsequently to see it: 'Danger, radiation, avoid direct eye exposure'."

"There needs to be raised public awareness about the easy availability of them and the potential damage that can happen so quickly."

Dr Sharp said: "The voluntary standards are not adequate for this device. Consumers do not understand the classification system. A class-three 200mW green laser is extremely dangerous."

Laser pointers can be used for:

* Lectures and presentations. The National Radiation Laboratory says 1 milliwatt is powerful enough.
* Amateur astronomy, for pointing towards stars and aiming telescopes. Laboratory says 50mW is maximum needed.

Unsafe uses

* Don't give any laser pointer to a child as a toy.
* Don't aim one at a person, especially the eyes, or at a mirror.


Ex-Merpati Nusantara Airlines Executives Named Suspects In $1m Graft Case.

The former president and former finance director of state-owned Merpati Nusantara Airlines have been named graft suspects for a leasing deal that fell through.

Noor Rachmad, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said on Wednesday that Hotasi Nababan, who led the company when the deal was made to lease two planes from a US company in 2006, and former finance director Guntur Aradea had been named suspects the previous day. He identified the two by their initials.

The investigation began on July 7, he added.

Merpati Nusantara signed a deal with US-based Thirdstone Aircraft Leasing Group to lease a Boeing 737-400 and a Boeing 737-500. It paid a $1 million security deposit but never received the planes, nor did it get a refund.

Imam Turidi, a spokesman for Merpati, said earlier the company had filed a lawsuit against Thirdstone in April 2007 for breach of contract.

A district court in Washington, DC, issued a verdict ordering Thirdstone to return the $1 million but the payment never came, the spokesman added. He did not say what further legal steps the company was taking.

On Monday, another former Merpati president, Cuk Suryosuprojo, was questioned as a witness in the case.

Lawyers for the suspects have said the case should be settled in civil court, not criminal court. J. Kamaru, one of the lawyers, said Merpati had the authority to make business deals like the one with Thirdstone without first securing the permission of the State Enterprises Ministry.

The Thirdstone deal came under the AGO’s scrutiny because it suspected the agreement was drawn up without the consent of the minister and because state losses were incurred.

Merpati is also being investigated over its purchase of 15 Chinese-made MA-60 planes, one of which crashed in Papua this year, killing all 25 people on board.

Under a 2006 contract between Merpati and Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, each aircraft was priced at $14.1 million. It was later discovered that airlines in the Philippines, Ghana and Nepal had bought the same type of aircraft for $11 million each.

Merpati took delivery of the first two planes in mid-2007, but after finding cracks in an important component and facing worsening financial difficulties, it considered canceling the purchase.

The deal was also dogged by concerns that the MA-60s were not certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration, whose guidelines, though not mandatory in Indonesia, are considered the de facto standard for airlines around the world.

Montana: Plane In Fatal Crash Under Contract With Fish, Wildlife and Parks. PA-18 Super Cub, N7666D

HELENA, Mont. -- A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks official says a single-engine plane that crashed and killed two people in eastern Montana was conducting a prairie-dog survey for the agency.

The Piper PA-18 Super Cub with two people on board took off from Miles City Thursday morning and crashed near Forsyth, bursting into flames after impact.

Authorities have not released the names of the victims. Messages left for Rosebud County Sheriff Randy Allies were not immediately returned on Friday.

The plane is registered to Miles City resident Chad Cyrus, who owns Big Sky Wildlife Consultants.

FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim says Thursday's flight was part of a prairie-dog survey that Big Sky Wildlife was conducting for the agency under contract.

Messages left with Big Sky Wildlife were not immediately returned on Friday. 


Kit-built bush plane: Ran out of fuel, lands in field. Coos Bay, Oregon.

World Photo by Lou Sennick 
Pilot Herman Pahls, third from left, talks with volunteers with the Millicoma Fire Department Friday morning near his bush plane after having to make an emergency landing in a field. Pahls and his plane are OK, he ran out of gas and the plane is designed to land in rough fields.

A Coquille pilot made an emergency landing in a field near the Coos River and Catching Slough this morning.

Herman Pahls, of Coquille, was flying his small kit-built bush plane when he ran out of fuel at about 9 a.m. He said he was talking with the control tower at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport to report the emergency and his safe landing.

A pilot for 33 years, Pahls said he landed safely in the field off Catching Slough Road and had the wings on his aircraft folded up and was pulling it toward the road when firefighters and Coos County sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene.

The original call said he had landed in the water.

Pahls said the plane is designed to fold up and travel on a trailer. He said he probably could fly it out of the field, but will transport it back to the airport and have it checked out first.

COOS BAY, ORE.- An emergency landing this morning ended with the pilot walking away from his aircraft.

At about 9 a.m the Coos County Sheriffs Office responded to a call of a bush plane making a hard landing across Catching Slough near the Sauce Brothers dock.

33 year old Coquille pilot, Herman Pahls contacted the control tower at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport to report he had ran out of fuel and needed to make the emergency landing.

Eventhough the original call led Sheriffs to believe the plan had landed in the water, upon arrival they found Pahls was out of his aircraft and pulling it towards the road.

Sergeant Pat Downing with the Coos County Sheriffs Office says the pilot received a lift to the airport.

There, he picked up his truck and trailer to transport his plane back to the airport to have it checked out.


Lufthansa concerned about night flight ban.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Night-time flights are essential to ensure Germany does not lose its place in the freight market to the Middle East, Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz said on Friday.

"The threat of a night flight ban is hanging like the Sword of Damocles over Frankfurt," Franz said at a logistics conference.

Currently, 17 movements - starts or landings - are permitted at Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest, between 2300 CET and 0500 CET.

However, a court in Leipzig will decide on whether to allow an appeal calling for a complete ban on night flights in the autumn, just as airport operator Fraport plans to open its new landing strip.

"Gulf states want to replace Europe as a freight hub. We need internationally competitive operating times and that means night flights," he added.

There is no love lost between German airlines and their fast-growing and cash-rich Middle-East counterparts, who are trying to expand in the European market.

Emirates EMIRA.UL has been pushing to get landing rights in Berlin and Stuttgart, in addition to its existing German destinations. Lufthansa has reportedly asked the government to deny it landing slots at Berlin's new airport.

Franz also highlighted Dubai's plans to significantly expand its freight handling capacity, as well as Qatar's purchase of a 35 percent stake in Cargolux, Europe's largest all-freight airline.


Funding made available for design of airport expansion. Plattsburgh International Airport (KPBG), New York.

PLATTSBURGH — Federal funding has been cleared to begin the expansion of Plattsburgh International Airport.

"This is the first step in getting the terminal expanded, and we are on our way," Airport Manager Tom Long said.

The $760,000 will go towards the preliminary design of the expanded terminal and an environmental review.

"It will tell us how much square footage we will need, how many jet bridges, how many ticket counters, baggage-claim areas and how much parking and things like that," Long said.

Clinton County opted to expand the airport last year, after the number of flights kept increasing annually. The airport opened in 2007 on the flight line of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

Direct flights are offered to Florida and South Carolina, and connecting flights go to the Caribbean as well as provide daily service to Boston.


There were about 100,000 enplanements in 2010 and about 62,000 through the end of June this year to put the airport on pace to exceed last year's figures.

There were only about 2,000 enplanements at the former Clinton County Airport in its last year of operation in 2006.

With the dramatic increase in traffic, the terminal at times can become very crowded, causing passengers to wait for long periods to check in and clear security.

A larger baggage-claim area was added two years ago to ease the scrum that often occurred after arrivals as weary passengers fought to get their luggage off the small conveyor belt.

In another move to alleviate congestion, the U.S. Transportation Security Agency is in the midst of adding another security line to expedite screening.


The county also began to charge for parking this March and is on pace to generate about $800,000 in parking revenue this year.

Last month, officials learned that funding would be available for the preliminary design and environmental review, and that became a reality on Thursday.

"This is the money we'd been waiting on, and we are very happy to get it," County Administrator Michael Zurlo said.

Work on the preliminary design of the expansion will be done by McFarland Johnson of Binghamton and national airport-design firm URS Corp. of San Francisco.

Long said work should begin in the next few weeks and will take about six to 12 months.


The airport was built with about $40 million in funding from the federal Military Airport Program. The program is designed to aid communities that lost military installations.

The county is hopeful that more federal money will be available for the terminal expansion.

"Once we get the environmental review and the preliminary design done, there should be more funding for rest of the design and the actual terminal," Long said.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Brunswick) both said the long-term plans for the airport are key for the region.

"Plattsburgh International is a cornerstone of the North Country economy, and these funds will only help cement that status," Schumer said in a news release.

Gillibrand said, "This is an important investment for Plattsburgh International. These federal dollars will help support long-term infrastructure upgrades to improve the airport and provide better air service for travelers."


Location beacon can save lives, experts say.

Five Alberta climbers have been rescued in the past week but one group was found in hours while the second was stranded three nights in the bush. The difference? A personal location beacon.

The electronic device, about the size of a cellphone, lets rescuers know where to go even in areas without cellphone service, Parks Canada's Marc Ledwidge told CBC News.

"It puts out a GPS co-ordinate so you know there's an emergency call from somebody and know exactly where it is," he said.

Douglas Robertson, a private pilot, considers a the $170 device value for money.

"What price do you put on your life?" he said. "So yeah, I'm a fan."

Robertson says the devices provide peace of mind.

"Yeah, for sure, you definitely feel safer knowing someone is watching you or that you have the potential to let somebody know you need help when you don't have cell coverage."

Geoff Matthews says sales of PLBs have been steady at the Mountain equipment Co-Op store in Calgary: "I'd say on average three to five per day."

VIDEO: PA-23 Checkout Flight. Pilot Tracy Reed and Flight Instructor Brett Livingston in Plus One Flyers' Aztec.

by Tracy Reed on Aug 8, 2011

Nolan Rollins, Chairman of New Orleans Aviation Board Discusses Airport Future. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (KMSY) Louisiana.

by BayouBuzz on Aug 19, 2011

Nolan Rollins, Chairman of New Orleans Aviation Board Discusses Airport Future. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked the board to study whether it would be better to build a new airport or to expand the existing airport, Armstrong International Airport. Rollins also leads the local Urban League. 

On Thursday, New OrleansMayor Mitch Landrieu charged the New Orleans Aviation Board to study whether it would be more feasible to build a new airport in place of the current Armstrong International or whether or expand the existing airport.

Bayoubuzz interviewed Nolan Rollins, the Chairman of the Board regarding this request by the Mayor.

The following three points were made in the interview:

Rollins stressed that the airport would not only be for the visitors but for the people who live in the region and so it had to be first class.

The funding will be provided by the FAA, ticket sales, rent and other sources but not by the local tax payers

There is not a target date specified for the study completion and the board would trying to compile the best information in order to make the right decision. 


Young female pilot's career takes off. (Australia)

Pilot Talia Sheppard, with the Aerostar twin-engine plane, is enjoying the wide mix of tasks, from charter flights to aerial fox baiting.
Picture: Campbell Brodie.
Source: The Advertiser

SOUTH Australia not only has another female chief pilot but she is the youngest in all of Australia.

Talia Sheppard, age 26, is chief pilot for Opal Air, based at Coober Pedy. It means she is responsible for the actions of any of the 18 pilots from owner Wrightsair stable who fly the Opal Air planes.

And she is elated at achieving endorsement to fly an Aerostar twin-engine plane. The 520km/h aircraft is considered "a big sports car" after the runabout small Cessna 210 single-engine plane she has flown until now.

Ms Sheppard - born in South Africa and spending her teenage years on the Gold Coast - is enthusiastic about her work.

"On my 11th birthday I went flying with a friend of my parents and had a go," Ms Sheppard said.

"After we landed I knew that's what I wanted to do."

She has been flying for more than six years, mostly in the SA Outback piloting sightseeing and charter flights. Her recent work has included Lake Eyre scenic flights, charters, aerial fox baiting and aerial photography and cattle stock work.

She is in no hurry to leave that environment because she likes the wide mix of tasks.

"I'm thinking of eventually trying for corporate jet flying or the RFDS (Flying Doctor) or air ambulance," she said.

She said she believed she was the youngest chief pilot in Australia.

At this stage of her career, flying a large airline's plane up and down mainstream routes does not appeal: "I enjoy the variety of work here," she said.

Ms Sheppard is the second female chief pilot in South Australia after Felicity Brown, 44, of Chinta Air, based at Ceduna.

Boeing Cargo Plane Wins Clearance, Just As Market Turns Sluggish


Boeing Co. (BA) plans to deliver the first of its delayed new 747-8F cargo planes early next month, though the global air freight market has turned sluggish.

The company said Friday that U.S. and European regulators signed off on the revamped version of its iconic jumbo jet, paving the way for launch customer Cargolux Airlines International SA to receive the first of the three 747-8Fs it ordered in 2007.

Boeing plans to deliver at least a dozen 747-8s this year, including a VIP version configured for passengers that has yet to be approved by regulators. The aircraft program remains in a loss-making position after a series of production and design delays left it more than a year behind schedule.

While air cargo carriers are kitting out their fleets with new planes such as the Boeing's 747-8F and 777 freighter - which offer better range and fuel performance - the new capacity comes as global demand remains below pre-recession levels, sagging after a surge in business last year driven by restocking.

The International Air Transport Association recently described the market as "in the doldrums", and the weakness has been most pronounced in the Asia-Pacific markets that account for more than a third of the global total. Hong Kong airport, the world's largest air cargo hub by volume, saw a 6% drop in tonnage in June compared with the previous year.

Antonov 124: Yuma International Airport (KNYL), Arizona

A Russian-made Antonov An-124 Ruslan, considered the world's second-largest operating cargo aircraft, sits Friday afternoon on the west tarmac at Yuma International Airport. Helicopters that appear to have been unloaded from the giant plane sit to the left.

On occasion, a Russian cargo airplane — a very large airplane — stops by the Yuma International Airport.

It's an Antonov 124, considered the world's largest ever serially manufactured cargo plane and the world's second-largest operating cargo plane with a wingspan of more than 240 feet, a length of 226 feet and a tail height of 68 feet. And it can carry a payload of up to 330,000 pounds — or 165 tons.

In comparison, the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy has a wingspan of 222 feet and a payload of 25 percent less, according to the Internet.

So what is a Russian plane doing parked at the Yuma airport? The plane, built to carry heavy and large equipment, and its Russian crew are contracted by a British company to fly for the U.S. military, explained Craig Williams, executive director of the airport.

It's a sign, he said, that globalization has come even to the military.

“The plane ... is here 10 or 12 times a year and typically is here for two or three days during loading and unloading operations. It's used to transport large equipment ... oversize equipment that won't fit in a regular cargo plane.”

As for what equipment, he said he doesn't ask and probably wouldn't be told if he did.

Most of the time, the plane parks on the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma side of the airport but occasionally ends up at the airport's Defense Contractors Complex, Williams said.

“We tell the ops department we're always open. We love it when they park here. They buy a lot of fuel.”

Williams said the Russian crew members like to shop at Walmart. So when the plane is on the civilian side of the airport, the crew is provided transportation to go on a shopping spree.

The Russian plane is but one example of the variety of aircraft that come through the airport, Williams said.

For example, he said, the Royal Air Force and the Canadian Air Force already have planes and crews here or will soon. They come to Yuma to participate in military training exercises and to use the ranges.

“Our goal for our side of the airport is to add value to MCAS,” Williams said. “We assist anytime we can in handling transient aircraft.”

There's also a diversity of small private airplanes, corporate jets and commercial airliners that come through the airport for a variety of reasons. It's fairly common for visiting aircraft to stop off at the airport to go through Customs here rather than at a larger and more congested airport.

“Almost every kind of aircraft there is comes through here. That's what makes it fun.”

Airport drops plan to expand parking . General Mitchell International Airport (KMKE), Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Officials at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee have pulled a request to Milwaukee County seeking about $1.5 million to expand one of the airport’s remote parking lots.

The expansion would have created 580 parking spaces over 4.3 acres at remote parking lot B. Mitchell had sought an appropriation through the county’s 2012 capital improvements budget. Financing would have been provided through general airport revenue bonds.

Mitchell has a total of 11,244 public parking spaces in its parking structure and several surface lots on the airport grounds.

A steady increase in passenger traffic at the airport had led to discussions about a need for additional parking, Mitchell spokeswoman Pat Rowe said.

“Spaces do fill,” Rowe said. “We’ve seen a lot of passenger growth.”

Through May, Mitchell recorded 21 consecutive months of record passenger traffic. However, the streak ended in June, when the passenger count at Mitchell dipped 4.9 percent to 877,694, compared with 922,984 for the same month last year.

“As a staff, we put our heads together and, at this moment with passenger traffic flattening, the return on investment isn’t there right now,” Rowe said. “Our staff recommended that the request be deferred. It’s purely a matter of economics.”

The remote surface lots “have been filling on a regular occurrence,” according to information the airport submitted with its budget allocation request. All parking spaces, including those in the structure and surface lots, have been completely filled during spring break and major holidays, Mitchell officials noted.

The project would have expanded remote lot B on airport-owned land immediately south of the existing surface lot. Remote lot B is located just west of the Amtrak station parking lot. Remote lots A and B currently contain 1,726 and 1,201 spaces, respectively.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s budget isn’t scheduled to go to the County Board until Sept. 29, said Jeff Bentoff, spokesman for Abele’s office.

“He’s been reviewing budget requests from various departments,” Bentoff said.

He declined to comment on the airport’s request.

Parking at the airport has become an issue in recent months.

Mitchell developed a proposal earlier this year to establish new fees for private parking and hotel parking operators near the airport.

One proposal would charge operators of shuttles that transport passengers to hotels and parking lots $2 per trip, in addition to a $500 annual fee already imposed. A separate proposal would charge off-site airport parking operators a “privilege fee” equal to 8 percent of their annual gross revenue. The fee would increase by one-half of 1 percent each calendar year until reaching 10 percent in 2015.

The changes are needed, in part, to alleviate curbside congestion at the airport, Mitchell officials claimed. They also argued that off-airport parking operators need to be assessed fees because they are benefiting from the use of airport facilities and business generated by the airport.

Abele, who was elected to office in April, later said he would kill the proposal after businesses in the area voiced their opposition to the fees.


'Bonjour' says the holographic boarding agent: Paris airport tests 'virtual' staff .

ORLY, France (KABC) -- An airport in France is trying out 'virtual' boarding agents, trying to modernize its terminals with the avatars.

The two-dimensional holograms always smile and don't need breaks.

The pilot project at Paris' Orly airport began in July, and so far, it's been met with a mix of amusement and surprise by travelers.

People often try to touch and speak to the video images that direct them to their boarding gates.

The images materialize seemingly out of thin air when a real-live boarding agent presses a button to signal the start of boarding.

They are actually being rear-projected onto a human shaped silhouette made of Plexiglas. Actual airport boarding agents were filmed in a studio to create the illusion, which the airport hopes will be more eye-catching and easier for passengers to understand than traditional electronic display terminals.

The technology behind the images was developed by a Paris audiovisual marketing agency, L'Oeil du Chat. Similar virtual agents are in place in airports in London and Manchester since earlier this year.

Original Article and Video:

SOUTH FLORIDA: Former NBA basketball star Scottie Pippen Had An Airplane Company Called Air Pip; Wins Lawsuit.

Former NBA basketball star Scottie Pippen has won a $2.37 million judgment against a Miami businessman, Craig Frost, and a Miami company, CF Air.

Pippen, who has a home in Fort Lauderdale, and his wife, Larsa Pippen, filed suit against Frost in 2007 regarding Pippen’s disastrous ownership of his own airplane through a company called Air Pip.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Air Pip had fallen apart in 2004, and Pippen lost a related $5 million judgment in Missouri to U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Latest from The Business Journals Top Deals of 2010: 0 million to millionMost metro banks in black so farFinance pros examine fallout from economic upheavals Follow this company . Pippen lost a further appeal of that judgment in 2007.

Pippen tried to argue that he was a victim of a conspiracy by those he trusted to put together the airplane deal.
Read More:

VIDEO: Civil Aviation 2012 overview - University of South Australia.

by  University of South Australia on Aug 18, 2011

There are no limits to the heights you can reach with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Aviation) degree coupled with flight training at the UniSA Aviation Academy. Modern pilots require a thorough knowledge of computer-controlled flight management systems, the associated technology, flight operations and crew resource management. Civil Aviation at UniSA is not just about learning the fundamentals of flying an aircraft. It has led graduates to careers as aircraft captains, or careers in aviation space control and aviation management for those who decline the flying option. Step aboard to discover how you can make your dreams take off.

Helicopter crash in Mexico leaves 2 dead

Mexico City – Two people were killed and two others were injured in a helicopter crash while rescue workers were trying save 10 people whose SUV had become stranded in a river in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa.

An emergency management official in that state told Efe that a group of people traveling in an SUV had tried to cross the San Lorenzo River in the community of Quila but the vehicle became stuck.

The helicopter arrived at the scene Thursday and had plucked one woman from the SUV, but the chopper subsequently crashed into the river, apparently due to excess weight, the official said.

One rescue worker and the woman who had been rescued minutes earlier were killed in the accident, while the pilot and the co-pilot of the helicopter were injured, the official said.

The other occupants of the SUV were brought to safety by another group of rescue workers who had arrived at the scene by land.

No defects found in Antonov 24: Missed runway on landing. IrAero, RA-46561, Flight IAE-103. Blagoveshchensk Airport, Russia.

MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The Antonov An-24 plane, which made a crash landing in Blagoveshchensk on August 8, had no technical defects, the Interstate Aviation Committee said. Fifteen out of 36 people aboard were hurt in the event.

Technical defects and inferior jet fuel had been a key theory of the crash landing.

“Data from the flight recorder shows that all systems of the plane were operating normally. The examination of plane parts and units did not reveal any defects,” the committee said.

Experts said that the entire damage was done by the plane’s collision with threes and the ground.

“The plane control system was in order. Both engines were operating normally until the plane hit the ground. Electric and other systems were also functioning,” the committee said.

It was pouring heavily, strong winds were blowing and visibility was extremely limited when the plane made the landing. It hit the ground, and the undercarriage and the left wing fell off and the right wing and engines were destroyed. There were plenty of holes in the fuselage as well. Experts said the plane could not be restored.

A criminal case was opened. Detectives questioned the crew and seized technical documentation, the flight plan and flight recorders.

The plane was built 35 years ago and operated abroad for many years.


Dripping with gold! Step inside for a tour of Donald Trump's magnificent $100m 757 jet.

If you've got it, flaunt it - and Donald Trump certainly did that on Thursday by releasing a video tour of his amazing $100 million Boeing 757.  Presented by the beautiful Amanda Miller, who appeared on his hit reality show The Apprentice, the video gives us a three-minute glimpse into this presidential suite on wings. Decked out in his trademark black and gold livery, the plane is a shrine to decadence.  It's double the size of the property tycoon's previous Boeing 727 and every detail has been attended to.  The plane is a riot of 24 carat gold, from the sink and faucets in the master bathroom right down to the seat belts.  The bathroom features a circular shower and pillows and cushions throughout are embossed with the Trump family crest.

Video by: Trump | Aug 18, 2011

Flight Risk: Man accused of stealing, crashing plane under $1 million bond. Piper PA-32R-301T N492ST. Plane stolen from Horace Williams Airport (KIGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

8/16/11 - Alamance County Sheriff Office Sgt. Darlene Eastwood collects a blood sample with Major Monte Holland at the site of a stolen plane crash within the Alamance Wildlife Club off Wildlife Club Road in Alamance County Tuesday August 16, 2011. 
photo Sam Roberts


The Chapel Hill man charged Thursday with stealing a plane and crashing it in Alamance County is currently being held in Orange County jail under $1 million bond.

After being on the run since the plane crash early Tuesday, Curtis Rene Mellott, 46, of Mel Oak Drive, Chapel Hill, surrendered to authorities at his home at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, but he wasn’t actually booked in Orange County jail until early Friday morning.

On Thursday evening, UNC-Chapel Hill campus police who charged Mellott with felony larceny for the theft of the plane brought him to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for an examination.

“That’s standard protocol,” said Randy Young, spokesman for the UNC’s Department of Public Safety. “Anyone suspected of having an injury has to be cleared medically before they are brought before a magistrate,” Young said.

Young wouldn’t go into the details of Mellott’s injuries, citing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Mellott has scratches on his face in the photo that was taken of him at the time of his arrest Thursday.

He was booked in the jail at 12:34 a.m. Friday, according to jail records. He was still in jail at 10 a.m. Friday.
Mellott also faces possession of stolen property charges in Alamance County.

Young wouldn’t say whether Mellott provided authorities any information about why he allegedly stole the Piper Aircraft fixed-wing, single-engine plane from Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill that was registered to LFW Investments LLC in Hillsborough. Larry Warren owns the plane and last saw it at Horace Williams Airport at 9 p.m. Monday.

“We’re still investigating,” Young said. “We’re still looking into various peripheral details, such as what the motive was and how it was done.”

Some of those details are of particular interest to campus police in regard to the security of the airport. At the time of the theft, which occurred between 9 p.m. Monday and 4:53 a.m. Tuesday when the plane crashed in the woods near Wildlife Club Road off of N.C. 87 South in Alamance County, there wasn’t a guard at the airport. There is no guard after 8 p.m. There is a gate that requires an access code for people driving into the airport, but a pedestrian can enter a side gate that does not require a code.

Campus police do patrol the airport throughout the night. Information that Mellott could provide about his alleged involvement in the theft of the plane will assist police in regard to how officials “address security concerns out there,” Young said.

Original article and photos:

'There's not a dry eye at the ABC'. - Leigh Sales, ABC News (Australia)

ABC cameraman John Bean, ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst, and ABC journalist Paul Lockyer stand on the salt pans at Lake Eyre in South Australia in June 2010.

Leigh Sales anchors 7.30 on ABC1
From: The Australian

DEATH makes platitudes flow thick and fast. Every man was a "great bloke", every person "special". In this case, it really is true. And not only were Paul Lockyer, John Bean and Gary Ticehurst the greatest of blokes, they were the most accomplished of professionals. You couldn't name three people more loved and admired in ABC News.

John Bean shot extraordinary pictures, but the really endearing thing about him was that he didn't seem to know how good he was.

You would rearrange your schedule in a heartbeat if it meant having Beanie, as we called him, for the assignment.

Despite decades in the business, John treated every story with the same enthusiasm as if it were his first. Interviewees warmed to him because he was humble and friendly, partial to introducing himself as Mr Bean.

He met his wife, journalist Pip Courtney, on the road. He adored her and their friends envied their marriage. Their rapport showed in the wonderful work they produced together for Landline.

I had an assignment with John a couple of weeks ago in Brisbane and it was typical of him that I received a note the night before saying, "Looking forward to tomorrow and don't wear black".

He wanted his shot to be perfect and I'd compromise it if I blended into the night sky. No detail was too small for Beanie.

Gary Ticehurst was a bloke's bloke. When I think of Gary, I think big silver walrus moustache (which he lost a few years back), BMW coupe and confidence. We all trusted Gary implicitly. There was nobody more meticulous in his maintenance, nobody more skilled in his flying.

He was proud of his military background and the experience it gave him behind the controls. And he absolutely lived to fly.

The journos used to joke that Gary was so skilled at lining up the chopper to secure beautiful shots that all the cameramen had to do was button on. Often Gary would tell the cammos when to do that too.

I hated going in the chopper because I was scared and Gary knew it. He tried hard over the years to make me love it as much as he did: flying the most picturesque routes he could find, skimming low over rivers and through gorges, tracking the NSW coastline. He couldn't believe anyone wouldn't think spending a day in the chopper was the best gig in the world.

And Lockers, the incomparable Paul Lockyer. Whenever you asked "Who's doing that yarn?", if the answer was "Lockers", you'd know it was guaranteed to be the best thing on your program.

Like John Bean, he seemed to have no idea how talented he was. He never acted like a star, always just one of the team. He was an old-style journo in the best possible way: it was all about the stories, never about Paul Lockyer.

And he was just such a wonderful bloke to be around.

I loved his company. Everyone at the ABC did.

He talked all the time about "Maria and the boys" and even though he loved being on the road, you could tell he preferred home and family.

When you saw Lockers on TV and he seemed like such a good man, what you were seeing was the real him.

There hasn't been a dry eye at the ABC today. The public will notice holes in our coverage because these three are genuinely irreplaceable. But for us who knew them, the holes are in our hearts.


Aérospatiale AS 355F2 Ecureuil II, VH-NTV: Fatal accident occurred August 18, 2011 N of Marree (near Lake Eyre), South Australia

VFR flight into dark night involving Aérospatiale, AS355F2 (Twin Squirrel) helicopter, VH-NTV, 145 km north of Marree, SA on 18 August 2011

On 18 August 2011, an Aérospatiale  AS355F2 (Twin Squirrel) helicopter, registered VH-NTV, was being operated under the visual flight rules (VFR) in an area east of Lake Eyre, South Australia. At about 1900 Central Standard Time, the pilot departed an island in the Cooper Creek inlet with two film crew on board for a 30-minute flight to a station for a planned overnight stay. It was after last light and, although there was no low cloud or rain, it was a dark night.

The helicopter levelled at 1,500 ft above mean sea level, and shortly after entered a gentle right turn and then began descending. The turn tightened and the descent rate increased until, 38 seconds after the descent began, the helicopter impacted terrain at high speed with a bank angle of about 90°. The pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed.

The ATSB found that the pilot probably selected an incorrect destination on one or both of the helicopter's global positioning system (GPS) units prior to departure. The ATSB concluded that, after initiating the right turn at 1,500 ft, the pilot probably became spatially disoriented. Factors contributing to the disorientation included dark night conditions, high pilot workload associated with establishing the helicopter in cruise flight and probably attempting to correct the fly-to point in a GPS unit, the pilot’s limited recent night flying and instrument flying experience, and the helicopter not being equipped with an autopilot.

Although some of the operator’s risk controls for the conduct of night VFR were in excess of the regulatory requirements, the operator did not effectively manage the risk associated with operations in dark night conditions. The ATSB also identified safety issues with the existing regulatory requirements in that flights for some types of operations were permitted under the VFR in dark night conditions that are effectively the same as instrument meteorological conditions, but without the same level of safety assurance that is provided by the requirements for flight under the instrument flight rules (IFR).

What's been done as a result

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has advised of safety actions in progress to clarify the nature of what is meant by the term ‘visibility’ in dark night conditions, provide enhanced guidance on night VFR flight planning, and provide enhanced guidance on other aspects of night VFR operations. The ATSB has issued a recommendation to CASA to prioritise its efforts in this area. In addition, CASA advised that it will require that helicopter air transport operations with passengers at night use either a helicopter fitted with an autopilot or a two-pilot crew.

Safety message

The ATSB advises all operators and pilots considering night flights under the VFR to systematically assess the potential for the flight to encounter dark night conditions by reviewing weather conditions, celestial illumination and available terrain lighting. If there is a likelihood of dark night conditions, the flight should be conducted as an IFR operation, or conducted by a pilot who has an IFR-equivalent level of instrument flying proficiency and in an aircraft that is equipped to a standard similar to that required under the IFR.

ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean.
The scene of the helicopter crash at Lake Eyre which killed ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst 
The scene of the helicopter crash at Lake Eyre which killed ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst
The scene of the helicopter crash at Lake Eyre which killed ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst 

 The scene of the helicopter crash that killed (insets) ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean

It was the once-in-a-lifetime shot that cost them their lives.

For only the second time in 20 years, the murky Outback waters of Cooper Creek this week spilled on to the cracked salt bed of Lake Eyre.

The seasoned ABC news crew of journalist Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst were there to capture the phenomenon - when the desert floodwaters delivered life to the inland sea.

That footage lies among the charred remains of the helicopter in which the news team perished when it crashed on a desert plain, moments after take-off about 7.05pm on Thursday.

The crew's desire to capture the raw and rare beauty of the area at dusk is the most likely reason they pushed the limits of safe flying in the region by taking off in darkness - unprecedented for even the most experienced Outback pilots like Mr Ticehurst.

Outback tourism operator Rex Ellis was last to speak to the news crew when they met on a small sandy island in the Cooper inlet, known by some as Pelican Island. He took an hour to reach the crash site.

He witnessed the fiery glow of the crash over sand dunes then set off by boat to the crash site about 4km south of the island and 150km north of Maree.

"They took off and kind of circled around ... and it just didn't appear like a normal exit from such a situation," Mr Ellis said. "They just took off and went pretty low on the other side of the river and then virtually went out of sight behind dunes and then we didn't hear anything and just saw a glow and we realised that something pretty bad had happened.

He used his satellite phone to immediately alert the Royal Flying Doctor Service of the crash before a party of 15 in four boats went in search of the helicopter.

Mr Ellis and another member of the party reached the crash scene about 8pm, having "trudged through shallow water for about ½km" and over sand dunes.

"It was too late to do anything for them," he said.

A police team flown to the crash site about 2am yesterday used blue tarpaulins to cover the bodies of the news team before first light.

The water flow which attracted the journalists to the area is, ironically, now hampering police and air crash investigators' efforts.

Boggy conditions have made access to the site all but impossible.

Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Smith, officer-in-charge Northern Operations, said the impact was so forceful that debris was spread out over an area of up to 60m.

Early signs were that engine failure was the most likely cause of the crash because weather conditions were good for flying and the landscape at the site is flat.

"The sheer intensity of the fire, it's making it difficult even though they have located some (bodies) at the scene we're not expecting to find any survivors (but) we are conducting further checks in that area," he said.

"We're not expecting any positive identifications or the full extent of the details for some time."

ABC national managing director Mark Scott said he received a call from ABC staff about 8.15pm on Thursday informing him that a helicopter had gone down and that the broadcaster's helicopter was in the region.

"It's been the longest of nights and we think it will be the saddest of days here at the ABC," he said, early yesterday when it became clear his staff had been killed.

Lake Eyre Yacht Club commodore Bob Backway said he had been talking to Lockyer about the amazing array of bird life on show at Coopers Creek and Lake Eyre in recent months.

"We were talking about how exciting the area is at the moment, and how he wanted to get up there to see all the bird life," he said.

Mr Backway, who has been visiting the area since 1986, said the recent filling of Lake Eyre had caused the area to be swamped by tourists.

He added that water from the Cooper Creek first breached the shores of Lake Eyre yesterday and that was footage the news team had hoped to get on their expedition.

"Every journalist that goes up there (Lake Eyre) is amazed to see that such beautiful country exists," Mr Backway said. "Because of all the air traffic around there, the chances of a crash are going to increase."

Owner of the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna, Jane Fargher, said the news team had spent Wednesday night at the hotel and had a relaxed filming schedule on Thursday.

"It was made very clear to them while they were here that Cooper Creek was the star attraction and they were encouraged to go there for filming," Mrs Fargher said.

The crew, in the ABC's Sydney-based Aerospatiale helicopter, did some filming over the Flinders Ranges, flew over some of the vehicles taking part in the Variety Club bash and landed in the early afternoon at Muloorina Station. The helicopter was returning to Muloorina where the team was meant to have dinner when it crashed.

Station owner Cindy Mitchell said the men seemed in a jovial mood as they boarded the helicopter bound for Lake Eyre.

"They were in good spirits, like they always were when they were here," she said.

"They were happy to be in God's country and were enjoying the trip."

Experienced Outback pilot Dick Lang said he had avoided flying over Lake Eyre at night for 40 years because of the extreme danger caused by a lack of navigational points.

"There are no homesteads, cars or lights any where in the region so you don't have any idea where the surface is and you have got no horizon whatsoever," he said.

Mr Lang said his company had standing orders that no pilots were to operate any craft under 305m over the surface of Lake Eyre.


He as one of the ABC's most experienced journalists and covered some of the biggest stories at home and abroad. In an award-winning career spanning more than 40 years, Lockyer did everything from working as a foreign and political correspondent to covering the Sydney Olympic Games.

In recent times he concentrated on the coverage of regional issues for ABC TV and news and current affairs.

He focused extensively on the drought in eastern Australia and the massive floods that brought it to an end


He worked for the 7.30 Report, Catalyst, The New Inventors and Gardening Australia in his 20-year career with the broadcaster. He was one of the ABC's most respected camera operators with two decades of experience with the national broadcaster.

Bean's wife, Landline reporter Pip Courtney, said he was "the most wonderful husband a girl would wish for".

Bean also did some outstanding work for Australian Story.

During the past two years, Bean had spent several stints overseas, in particular the Pacific. He also worked in the ABC News Washington Bureau.


Ticehurst had been the ABC's lead helicopter pilot since the mid-1980s and was one of the most experienced media pilots in Australia.

In almost 40 years as a chopper pilot, Ticehurst logged more than 16,000 hours of flying time.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race was a constant Ticehurst's career with the ABC. Every year he brought stunning pictures to the ABC's TV audience and enabled radio reporters to close in on the action.

But during the tragic 1998 race, Ticehurst did more than just cover the race - he played a significant role in the rescue of 14 crew members from stricken yacht Business Post Naiad, which lost its skipper and a crew member.

Non-resident Indian from the United States arrested at Kolkata airport with bullet.

KOLKATA: An NRI was today arrested from the Kolkata airport after a bullet was found in his handbag, police said.

Mono Murugan (45) who had come from the US was about to board another flight to Mumbai from the airport here when the .3 bore bullet was found from his handbag during security checking, they said.

He was subsequently arrested by the airport police and will be produced in the court tomorrow, officials said.

Santa Barbara: Airport’s New Terminal Open for Business. Travelers Share Their Impressions as Flights Arrive and Depart.

After more than two years in the making, Santa Barbara Airport’s new terminal opened Wednesday night at 10 p.m. to incoming flights. Then, at 3 a.m., workers finished sweeping and polishing, so that Thursday could see the flawless flow of passengers all day long.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Terri Gibson, marketing director for the airport. “It’s gone so smoothly. Everything has come together.” Although, she said, there certainly was a last-minute push to put everything in place before the grand opening. This includes tasks like cleaning. “Those last-minute touches make a huge difference,” she said.

With its size (more than ten times bigger than the old terminal building) and four gates, the new airport terminal streamlines passengers in a way the historic building—with only two gates and winding, seemingly nonsensical bends and turns to get through ticketing and security—could not. It also gives passengers access to restrooms, restaurants, and shops after, rather than before, they clear security.

“Airline managers have said that passengers have been a lot calmer after security. It’s a lot easier now,” said Gibson. Not only does the airport design save passengers time, but it also saves them effort. Checked bags, for instance, now go straight through the check-in counter to loading docks, an improvement over the old system which required passengers to lug bags on their own.

Ben Kehela, one of about 12 airport ambassadors (the nice uniformed folks who greet and guide travelers at the airport entrance) enjoyed working the opening day. After working as an airport ambassador in the old terminal for some time, he said he sees the new airport facility as “a big improvement.” His job is also a lot easier now, he said, because everything is so clearly marked.

At baggage claim, which is now indoors rather than outside under a tent, I met a batch of recent arrivals from Los Angeles. When asked his opinion on the new terminal, one man, a former Santa Barbara resident who has flown in and out of SBA many times, said, “Are you kidding? It was so small before!”

Other fliers were less enthusiastic. “It’s bigger, which does not necessarily mean better,” said a man picking up his daughter. She had departed from the historic terminal two weeks prior, not realizing her take-off would be one of its last. “I really love the old one, but I also love the artwork and interior design [in the new one],” he went on. “And it’s certainly not hard to navigate.” Specifically, he said he misses stepping off the plane and already being outside — a feeling that has been replaced with air conditioned glass-walled loading ramps that offer travelers views of the ocean and mountains.

The extensive art projects in the new terminal building were first opened to the public on June 17 for “The Art of Travel” Gala.

The project to restore and move the oldest part of the historic building to the area outside the new building’s northern rotunda entrance will begin soon, said Gibson. Also on their way are an information booth and a Coffee Bean in the area by the main entrance of the airport, between check-in counters and baggage claim, and at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to security and shops.

According to Gibson, the $54 million project was unaffected by the FAA shutdown that began at midnight Friday, July 22, after congress let funding expire for the FAA. Temporarily in jeopardy was a $2 million chunk of funding, which would have been taken from airport reserve funding and later replenished, said Gibson. Furthermore, while airports nationwide faced delays due to the shutdown, traffic through the historic terminal remained unaffected.


Changes to Jersey pilot booking system at airport. (Channel Islands)

The requirement for private pilots to book ahead if they want to visit Jersey on Sundays is to be removed.

There was concern when it was introduced it would put people off flying to Jersey.

Damon Knight, the Manager of Jersey Air Traffic Control, said Prior Permission Required (PPR) would be removed for Sunday operations from 4 September.

PPR is a system where private pilots have to pre-book special permission to enter Channel Islands' airspace.

Mr Knight said: "We do recognize that PPR does bring an extra flight planning element for pilots."
'Timely fashion'

"However, it is evident, with more than 1,000 bookings since the temporary measure was introduced on Friday 1 July, that the Channel Islands' airspace and airports are very much open for business for the general aviation community."

The decision was made during a meeting between representatives of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Traffic Control and the Director of Civil Aviation.

Charles Strasser, chairman of the Channel Islands Region of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said: "Although we are disappointed that PPR has not been removed entirely, we recognize that this working group will allow the general aviation community to be consulted on all future changes to operations in Channel Islands airspace in a timely fashion.

He added this would help to make visits to the Channel Islands easier and more attractive to the wider community that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association represents.