Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quad City Ultralight Corp. Challenger II, experimental amateur-built airplane, N6613Z: Accident occurred August 17, 2011 in Ransom Township, Pennsulvania

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA463
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 17, 2011 in Ransom Township, PA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

On August 17, 2011, about 1805 eastern daylight time, a Quad City Ultralight Corp. Challenger II, experimental amateur-built airplane, N6613Z, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while maneuvering in Ransom Township, Pennsylvania. The non-certificated pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Full narrative available

Carolann Spear said her husband was meticulous about everything he worked on, including the Challenger 2 Ultralight amateur aircraft he was flying shortly before it crashed and he died.

"He went over that plane with a fine-tooth comb," Mrs. Spear said. "I don't know what happened."

Her husband of 44 years, William Spear, died Wednesday after his plane crashed into the peak of a ravine in Ransom Twp. An autopsy Friday afternoon revealed that Mr. Spear died of multiple traumatic injuries, Lackawanna County Coroner Tim Rowland said.

According to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac, the plane Mr. Spear was flying was an amateur-built experimental aircraft. Unlike ultralights, another type of small plane, experimental planes are built from a kit that the individual purchases. These planes must be registered with the FAA and inspected annually by an FAA official.

Information about safety inspections on Mr. Spear's plane, which was certified in 1992, was unavailable, Mrs. Salac said, because all records of a plane's inspections are kept with the pilot.

According to his wife, Mr. Spear bought the plane from a New Jersey man and kept it on a neighbor's property.

"He loved that plane," she said. "I still can't get it through my head."

Born and raised in Scranton, Mr. Spear loved to work with his hands, crafting furniture in the couple's home and the hangar where he stored his airplane.

"Everything he knows, he taught himself," Mrs. Spear said. "And he loved to help people."

Mr. Spear gained experience flying three decades ago and had only recently returned to Seamans Airport in Factoryville to brush up on takeoffs and landings, his wife said. Wednesday's fatal flight was the first time he had flown the Challenger 2.

"I didn't know he was going up," she said.

Mrs. Spear said a neighbor came to the house Wednesday evening to tell her that there had been a crash and she needed to get to the hospital. When her husband's doctor told her that the medical staff had done everything possible to save him, Mrs. Spear said she couldn't believe what he was saying.

"I never, never, never thought this," Mrs. Spear said. "You never know what life will bring."

A preliminary report will be made public in a week to 10 days, Mrs. Salac said, but the cause of the crash will not be determined until the FAA completes an investigation, which could take months.

Mrs. Spear said her husband had talked about being cremated so he could return to their Ransom Road home.

"He always said this is ... heaven," she said.

Transport Canada issues a statement on aircraft accident in Resolute Bay, Nunavut

 OTTAWA, Aug. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - The Department of Transport issued the following statement today:

At approximately 13:30 EDT, First Air Flight 6560 from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay crashed on approach to Resolute Bay. There were 15 passengers on board. At this time, 12 people are thought to be dead and three injured. Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic accident.

Transport Canada has appointed a Minister's Observer, who will keep TC informed of the investigation's progress. We will cooperate fully with the Transportation Safety Board who is currently on site investigating this accident.

The Canadian Armed Forces are in Resolute Bay for Exercise Operation Nanook 2011 and are responding in support of emergency operations to the situation.

For further information:

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

PLANES: Watch The New Trailer. Feature Film From Disneytoon Studios.

BURBANK, Calif. - August 20, 2011 – Dusty, the small-town crop-duster from DisneyToon Studios’ upcoming feature “Planes,” has found his voice: Emmy Award®-winning actor Jon Cryer, lands the role of the daring dreamer who takes on the most notoriously grueling air race in history, and in the process gives a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. “Planes,” an all-new, CG-animated comedy action adventure, flies into homes on Blu-ray™ and DVD in Spring 2013.

“We are incredibly excited to have Jon Cryer on board as the voice of Dusty,” said John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. “Jon brings so much comedy and believability to this character who dreams of soaring alongside his heroes in the ‘Wings Around the Globe’ Rally. ‘Planes’ is a wonderful story that takes audiences on a great ride and Jon brings so much heart to the film.”

Cryer has starred in the hit CBS series “Two and a Half Men” for seven years, winning an Emmy® in 2003 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. His credits also include films like “Due Date,” “Hot Shots” and “Pretty in Pink.”

Dusty lives in the small town of Propwash Junction, and the single-prop agriculture plane could not be further from the lean, mean, trophy-winning machines he idolizes – and his co-workers remind him constantly. His mentor Skipper is convinced that Dusty has the engine to compete with the best, and helps encourage him to pursue his lifelong dreams. But if Dusty wants to make his dreams a reality, he?ll need to push himself further than he ever imagined. With the help and support of a crew of all-new and hilarious characters, Dusty wings his way into the biggest challenge of his life.

“Planes,” set to introduce audiences to an entirely new and hilarious crew of daredevils from every corner of the globe, draws inspiration from the immensely popular world of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars.” Created, written and produced by DisneyToon Studios under the creative leadership of John Lasseter and directed by Emmy® nominated Klay Hall,

“Planes” takes off with an international cast of the fastest air racers around, in a comedy packed with action and adventure.

Fasten your seatbelt and secure your carry-on items, more information on “Planes” will be arriving shortly.

VIDEO: Gp Capt Simon Blake: 'Great regret' over Red Arrows death.

An RAF Red Arrows pilot died when his plane crashed following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset.

Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft - Red 4 - crashed about 1km south east of Bournemouth Airport at 13:50 BST.

Gp Capt Simon Blake from the RAF Central Flying School said an inquiry was under way to establish the cause of the crash.

He added the Red Arrows would not be performing in public in the short-term.

Watch Video:

Flt Lt Jon Egging

Duncan remembered as ‘great friend and great pilot’. Cessna 310Q, N444YM. Near Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP), Mississippi.

David Duncan

TUPELO – In the Shelton home, the man they lost in Wednesday’s fatal plane crash was known as “Double D.”

Attorneys Jimmy Doug Shelton and his son, Jason Shelton, were still in disbelief on Thursday, a day after 69-year-old David Duncan of Tupelo was killed in the Cessna 310 aircraft he was piloting. They’d just seen Duncan the day before at a funeral home, paying his respects to the family after the death of Jason’s uncle.

The elder Shelton had talked to his friend of more than 50 years just before bed Tuesday night, not knowing it would be their last conversation.

“This hit our family hard,” said Jimmy Doug Shelton, who said Duncan had taught him how to fly. “It just shocked us because he is a great pilot, the best. So I know it’s not pilot error that caused this. He has flown Jason all over the country without a problem. David was one of my oldest and closet friends, so this is just a difficult time for our family.”

Duncan’s plane crashed into a pine tree shortly after taking off from the Tupelo Regional Airport on Wednesday morning. The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board and it could take up to 18 months before a cause is determined.

Jason Shelton started flying with Double D when he was a boy. Duncan was his pilot of choice since the first time he climbed in the plane with him.

“He loved to fly and we loved to fly with him,” he said. “There was never a time when he was needed that he said he was too busy to come and help us, and that’s not just talking about flying. He’d help you move or anything else you needed done. He was just a selfless person. Like I said, he was an excellent pilot.”

Allen Sudduth was a fellow pilot and friend of Duncan’s. Both men graduated from Tupelo High School in 1960 and were friends all their lives. When he’d heard someone had died in a plane crash, Sudduth said he called Duncan to see who it was, but after seven calls went unanswered, he had a feeling he knew.

“He was just a great friend and a great pilot,” Sudduth said. “And I had flown that plane six months ago and it was a good plane. It’s just tragic. David was a great man; we lost a great man.”

An autopsy report has been ordered for Duncan, according to Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green. The results are expected within a couple of days, she said.


Veterans welcome 'royal' return... No major changes to 19 Wing image yet to mark air force name change.

There will be no major changes to 19 Wing's appearance or operations following the federal government's decision to change the name of Canada's army, navy and air force back to its original name.

Henceforth, the army, navy and air force will be known as the 'Royal Canadian Air Force,' 'Royal Canadian Navy' and 'Canadian Army,' titles which were discontinued by the federal government in 1968.

The change was announced in Halifax this week by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who called the decision, "an important way of reconnecting today's men and women in uniform with the proud history and traditions they carry with them as members of the Canadian Forces."

Spokesman Lt. Trevor Reid said despite the change, it will be business-as-usual at CFB Comox in the short-term.

"As things go down the road, there will be committees set up to look into how this change will be implemented, in terms of new buttons, new badges, things like that," Reid said. "But for the immediate term right now, there's not going to be a whole lot that's going on with 19 Wing here."

Reid said it was possible that a new display at the base's front gate could be considered as a change to reflect the new designation of 'Royal Canadian Air Force.'

However, Reid said he was not in a position to announce any specific changes at this time.

Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan also threw his support behind the change.

"I am very proud that our government has restored this important link between our serving military members and the veterans who served in defence of Canada so courageously in the past," said Duncan in a statement. "Through today's announcement, we are celebrating the rich history, the incredible dedication, and the selfless sacrifice of Canadian Forces members past and present."

Comox Valley veterans at 888 Wing of the Canadian Air Force Association were celebrating the change this week at their headquarters on Military Row.

Many enlisted in the Canadian Forces in the mid '40s and '50s, and still remember the resentment many in the military felt when the 'Royal' reference was dropped from the air force and navy.

"I thought it was the stupidest thing that ever happened in the world," said Bruce Inrig, a retired flight lieutenant with 22 years of service under his belt. "I'm tickled to death," he said in response to the switch back to 'Royal' status, "if we can get this association back to its original [title] of RCAF association."

Former 19 Wing commander Ted Gibbon recalled the mood among his colleagues in the navy and air force at the time of the change.

"You really had to be there to experience how bad the morale was, and how it affected people's performance and their attitudes and whatnot," said Gibbon, who, like his father, served in the Royal Canadian Navy. "And it was a long, long recovery period to get everyone on the same page and start working together again."

While the servicemen and servicewomen eventually got past the initial shock, Gibbon said the decision caused deep wounds within the military.

"There was always that underlying feeling that we were a little bit more than just Texaco gas pumpers [in] green suits," he said.

Gibbon said current and younger members of the military may not fully appreciate the significance of the change right away, but predicted that in time, they would.

"To be the Royal Canadian Navy or the Royal Canadian Air Force is important," he said. "And you can't say 'air command' and [or] 'maritime command' and have that kind of gut feeling that you really belong to something important."

Retired master warrant officer Gus Baudais joined the RCAF in 1942, initially serving as an engine mechanic. He stayed in the Forces for 32 years, and applauded the name change.

"Excellent, excellent," he said. "Now if we could get all the ranks back to where they were ." he added.

FirstAir Boeing 737: Passenger jet crashed near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, in Canada's High Arctic, killing 12 people.

 Twelve people are dead and three others are injured after a First Air Boeing 737 crashed near Resolute Bay, Nunavut early Saturday afternoon.

Charter Flight 6560 en route from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay crashed at about 12:50 p.m. local time, according to a statement from the airline.

The last communication from the plane was at 12:40 p.m. local time, when the aircraft was about eight kilometres from the Resolute Bay airport, the statement said.

According to the airline, 11 passengers and four crew members were on board the aircraft when it went down. The nature of the three survivors' injuries is not known.

A weather report for travellers on First Air's website reported "shallow fog" with a temperature of 7 Celsius at mid-afternoon local time.

RCMP Const. Angelique Dignard told The Canadian Press the plane went down less than two kilometres west of the tiny hamlet. The site is accessible by ATV, she said, but the terrain is rough.

Maj. Gerald Favre, of the northern search and rescue centre at CFB Trenton, told the newswire that aircraft from the base, which are in Resolute Bay as part of the military exercise Operation Nanook, are assisting with rescue and recovery efforts.

First Air services 30 northern communities from cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton. The airline says it transports more than 225,000 passengers and 25 million kilograms of cargo every year.

The airline is entirely owned by the 9,000 Inuit of northern Quebec through Makivik Corp., which was created to invest the proceeds of the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The non-profit company purchased the airline in 1990.

According to the airline, the Boeing 737-200 is one of six types of planes in its fleet. It can carry a maximum of 99 passengers.

The Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the crash.


A 737 passenger jet crashed Saturday near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, in Canada's High Arctic, killing 12 people and injuring three others on board, CBC News has confirmed.

Nunavut RCMP said First Air charter flight 6560 was travelling from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay with 15 people on board, including four crew members, the CBC's Patricia Bell reported from Iqaluit.

The RCMP said in a release it "was made aware of the possibility of some survivors." A flight list was not immediately available.

First Air provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa. First Air provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa. CBC

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in CFB Trenton said helicopters and medical personnel are now at the site.

Hundreds of military personnel are currently in the area for the massive military excerise Operation Nanook. But the co-ordination centre says that the incident was not a part of a simulation planned for the operation.

The plane had been scheduled to continue on to Ellesmere Island.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to travel to Resolute Bay on Monday for his annual trip to the Arctic while Gov.-Gen. David Johnston, who is currently touring the Arctic, was scheduled to hold events in Resolute Bay this weekend.

Kanata, Ont.-based First Air provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa.

The airline began in 1946 as Bradley Air Services, offering charter, surveying, passenger and cargo flights across northern Canada.


Purchase of land and zone change on agenda for Greenville special town meeting. Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1), Maine.

GREENVILLE, Maine — Residents will act on a proposed purchase of land next to the airport to allow future hangar construction at a special town meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, in the municipal building.

Other agenda items that will need action at the meeting include the sale of a piece of equipment, amendments to the Shaw Public Library Governance Ordinance that include expanding the board, a zoning matter and an easement.

Town officials have been working with Eric and Jenny Ward for more than a year for the purchase of 7.64 acres of a 21-acre lot the couple own adjacent to the airport. After considerable negotiations and three appraisals, a purchase price of $65,000 has been offered which will be shared by the town, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The land acquisition, which is adjacent to Runway 32, is part of the airport’s long-term plan, Greenville Town Manager Gary Lamb said recently. He said the local 2.5 percent share, or $1,625, is included in the fiscal year 2011-12 budget.

“We have run out of land for hangars,” Lamb said this week. He said hangers bring in property taxes and the town receives fees for the lease of the lots.

The zoning change affects the Lily Bay Road. One side of the road is currently zoned Village District and 12 property owners on the opposite side have requested that their side also be rezoned to Village District to allow home businesses, according to Lamb.

Town officials also are seeking approval from residents to sell a 2001 side dump body and to confirm an easement and grant a new easement across town property to land owned by Kirby Lee Turner and Judith Ann Turner. The Turners are willing to pay the town $2,000 and provide the town an easement across their land to benefit town land.

A pilot was killed after crashing during the Kansas City Air Expo Air Show at the Kansas City Wheeler Downtown Airport.

A pilot was killed after crashing during the Kansas City Air Expo Air Show at the Kansas City Wheeler Downtown Airport. The plane nose dived into the grass adjacent to one of the runways.

One person died today when a small aircraft crashed at the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show at the Wheeler Downtown Airport.

The accident was reported just after 1:30 p.m.

A witness said a small red biplane was at the end of aerobatic maneuver and was tailing downward and could not pull out of the dive. The plane crashed into the ground and burst into flames, according to witnesses.

Authorities scheduled a press conference for 3 p.m.

Witnesses said there was a hush over the ground moments after the crash.

Cain and Jason Cook of Blue Springs said they saw the crash occur.

Cain Cook said as the plane nosedived toward the ground, it looked as though it was scripted.

“It was looking cool at first like he knew what he was doing,” said Jason Cook.

As the plane was about the make impact, it looked as if the pilot was going to gain control and pull out but the plane crashed.

Jan Marcason, who represents the 4th District on the Kansas City council, also witnessed the crash.

“It crashed right in front of the crowd,” Marcason said.

Earlier in the day, air demonstrations were delayed during a moderate rain. Hundreds who gathered for the show retreated for cover inside terminal buildings and beneath display aircrafts.


One Reported Dead In Mid-Air Collision over Hammonton Municipal Airport (N81), New Jersey.

HAMMONTON, N.J. - A mid-air collision between two planes over the Hammonton Municipal Airport has resulted in at least one death, according to officials.

Two planes had reportedly collided over the airport around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Numerous rescue agencies responded to the incident, but few details were available immediately after the crash. One official said the crash involved two small planes.

Debris from one of the downed small planes was found scattered throughout a wooded area adjacent to a farm.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the incident said one of the pilots had died.

HAMMONTON — An FAA spokesperson confirmed reports of a midair collision between two planes performing aerobatic maneuvers over Hammonton Municipal Airport today.

Arlene Salac said two general aviation planes hit each other after 1 p.m. while performing maneuvers in a designated airspace for such maneuvers.

Police reports indicated one pilot was killed in the collision and was found in a nearby wooded area, but Salac would not confirm those reports. A pilot from another plane was able to safely eject, Salac said.

The identities of the two pilots have not yet been made available. Hammonton fire and police are continuing their investigation this afternoon.


Winnipeg: Man arrested after shining laser pointer at police helicopter

A 30-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning after shining a green laser beam into the Winnipeg Police helicopter, hitting the pilot.

Police say the incident happened in the 500 block of Magnus Avenue at around 2:30 a.m.

After being by the laser beam, the pilot began searching for the suspect. Police say Air 1 was hit a total of four times.

Officers say the suspect was caught within 10 minutes of beginning the search. He was arrested at residence in the 1700 block of Arlington Street.

The suspect was released on a promise to appear and is facing two charges: assault with a weapon and projection of a directed bright light source at an aircraft.


Red Arrows pilot killed in crash. Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging's Hawk T1 plunged to the ground near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset.

A Red Arrows pilot died today when his stricken jet crashed after he made a dramatic attempt to steer it away from nearby houses.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging
Photo: MoD/PA

Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, is believed to have tried to eject only after guiding the RAF jet towards a field as it apparently suffered a failure following an aerobatic display.

But he was killed when the jet plunged into a field near the river Stour, just outside Bournemouth.

Flt Lt Egging, who lived in Rutland, Lincs, with his wife Emma, was the first Red Arrows pilot to die in a crash for 33 years.

Flying under the call sign RED 4 he had suddenly peeled away from the other eight Red Arrows as they headed back to Bournemouth international airport after performing at the town's air festival.

The jet flew low over houses and other buildings before crashing into a field near the village of Throop, Dorset, bouncing several times and splitting into two mangled pieces.

Local people who rushed to the scene pulled his body out of the river about a mile from Bournemouth airport.

The tragedy happened after the RAF Aerobatic Team, better known as the Red Arrows, had given what one spectator described as a "dazzling" performance" at the Bournemouth air festival.

The RAF Hawks had painted pictures of love hearts in the sky with trails of pink smoke, between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

The nine aircraft then left the area to fly over nearby Christchurch before returning to the airport. But only eight of them returned.

Nick Woods, 36, told how he discovered the pilot's body in the Stour.

Mr Woods was enjoying a barbecue with his family about 300 yards from the river. The dozen or so family and friends, including his parents and his three-year old son Archie, heard the roar of the jet at about 1.50pm.

"It came in so low across the field. I could see it was in trouble," he said.

"I just shouted "Everybody inside!" because I didn't know how far it would spread when it crashed.

"The next moment my friend Finlay shouted 'He's down!'

"It just sounded like an explosion when it hit – no flames but a huge ripping sound. I saw debris flying in the air.

"Finlay and I ran across the field. The Red Arrow was on the bank. We jumped into the water, found the ejector seat, pulled it up, but it was clean – no-one in it.

"I swam across the river and saw the parachute, and that's where I found him.

"He was near a steep bank, in deep water. He was very badly injured, dead. I was pretty shaken.

"Then a female police officer and a search and rescue guy appeared."

Peter Male, whose brother owns the farmland where the jet crashed, said: "The jet was so low over the houses that the pilot must have been trying to crash land in the fields so he did not hit any of the buildings.

"He suffered terrible, terrible injuries."

Shaun Spencer-Perkins, who witnessed the crash from Throop Mill, where he was walking with his wife, said: "I heard a rushing sound and I saw a plane about 50ft above the ground racing across the fields.

"It impacted and bounced across the field, made it across the river about 100 yards away from where we were.

"We ran into the field following the debris trail to the point of impact," he said. "There were huge black marks and the horrendous smell of aviation fuel."

Darren Blakeman, who was watching the Red Arrows display, said: "When only eight of the airplanes landed after the display a big siren went off at the airport. A big yellow fire truck parked in the viewing area rushed off with its blue lights going.

"A police helicopter and a coastguard helicopter were hovering in the air above the site."

Susie Churchill, who lives less than 100 yards from where the aircraft crashed, said: "We see the Red Arrows fly over here every years, so we are all in quite a state of shock," she said.

The Red Arrows were due to fly on every day of the four-day Bournemouth Air Festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators, and finishes today.

Organisers had been forced to cancel daytime flying displays on Thursday due to bad weather which had caused flash flooding earlier in the week. They said events would continue as scheduled.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We can confirm that we are aware of an incident involving one of the Red Arrows and we are investigating."

The son of an airline pilot, Flt Lt Egging joined the Royal Air Force in 2000 and flew Harrier jump jets before joining the Red Arrows.

During his time on the front line, he flew operational missions in Afghanistan in support of ground forces. His wife, Emma, is a museum consultant.

The Lincolnshire-based Red Arrows, formed in 1965, have completed over 4,000 displays in 53 countries.

Although Red Arrows jets have been involved in a number of crashes the last fatality was in 1978 when two pilots died after their aircraft struck the ground whilst practising aerobatics

In 1971 four pilots died after two planes collided during the cross-over manoeuvre. Two years earlier, a pilot was killed when his jet hit a tree during a practice flight.

All nine display pilots are fast jet pilots from frontline Royal Air Force squadrons.

Since 1979, the Red Arrows have used the dual control BAE Systems Hawk T1 aircraft.

Air India: Plane makes emergency landing after bird strike. Chaudhary Charan Singh Amausi airport.

Minutes after take-off, an Air India plane made an emergency landing at Lucknow airport in Uttar Pradesh Saturday after suffering a bird hit, an official said. All passengers are safe.

The Lucknow-Varanasi-Mumbai flight-AI 695 landed back at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Amausi airport.

Though the incident took place in the afternoon, it was confirmed by airport authorities only Saturday evening.

"Earlier we were told that the pilot landed the plane after he felt there was some problem in the aircraft. However, later Air India said that it was a bird hit," Lucknow airport Director Atul Dixit told IANS.

According to airport sources, there were around 80 passengers and four crew members on board.

“Nearly 15-20 minutes after take-off, the plane landed at the Lucknow airport," Abhinav Srivastava, a passenger, told reporters.

“There was some sound. However, we were not told about the bird hit at that time. We came to know about it only after we landed at the airport," he added.


Choppin' the heat: Air ambulance service provides emergency response, education. Collin County Regional Airport at Mc Kinney (KTKI), Dallas, Texas.

Chris Beattie/Staff Photo
Flight nurse Keith Ashley, right, double checks the helicopter's supplies with flight medic, Andrew Peters, on Thursday afternoon at the PHI Air Medical base at Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney.

Drinking fluids and wearing sunscreen are the best ways to beat the heat, but when the heat beats you enough for a medical emergency, the fastest path to recovery is on a helicopter.

And as heat-related emergencies increase along with the number of 100-degree days, McKinney has a life-saving service in its own backyard -- PHI Air Medical at Collin County Regional Airport (CCRA).

The global full-service air ambulance provider operates one of its 70 national bases at CCRA, with pilots and flight paramedics on call every hour of the day. The PHI Air Medical crew answers emergency calls and transports patients in critical condition to area hospitals.

Chris Beattie/Staff Photo - Flight nurse Keith Ashley, right, double checks the helicopter's supplies with flight medic, Andrew Peters, on Thursday afternoon at the PHI Air Medical base at Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney.

"When they call us, we always have the same goals," said Keith Ashley, flight nurse with PHI Air Medical in McKinney. "To cause no pain, no harm and a positive, healthy outcome."

While it takes ground ambulances close to 45 minutes to get a patient from the North Collin County area to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where many must receive treatment, the PHI Air helicopter make the same trip in less than half the time. A flight medic and flight nurse accompany the pilot on the flight and provide crucial care before even arriving at a hospital.

"The only difference between us and a regular ambulance is the speed," said Andrew Peters, flight medic with PHI Air Medical. "We provide excellent care, fast."

Any time there is continuous, extreme heat, the number of heat-related injuries tends to multiply. Patient confidentiality criteria disallows medical helicopter services from disclosing the numbers and nature of their calls, but Ashley and Peters both said that the heat generally precludes more emergencies every summer.

"It's an obvious thing that the heat-related emergencies have increased due to these 112-degree days," Peters said.

Ashley emphasized, though, that many injuries may be spurned on by heat but were not necessarily caused by the high temperatures. The degree of injuries often depends on the patients' age, medical history and even what medications they take.

"A heat-related injury for one person might be heat exhaustion," Ashley said, "but for another, it could be a heat stroke. Different people's bodies function differently from others, so some aren't always as critical. But, heat-related injuries have definitely gone up."

The PHI Air Medical crew works with area fire and police departments and first responders, yet cover a radius of about 150 miles. They provide emergency, scene-to-hospital flights for about 30 miles of that radius and transports from hospital to hospital for the remaining area. The McKinney staff has picked up patients from hospitals as far as Galveston and Shreveport.

But PHI Air Medical's service -- particularly during hot summers -- goes beyond emergency response. The crew facilitates outreach campaigns throughout the year, giving health tips at school health fairs and public safety buildings.

About a month before the 100-degree temperatures hit this year, PHI Air Medical handed out water bottle-sunscreen packages that listed ways to stay safe during the heat, all underneath a helicopter insignia.

"Instead of being reactive, we're proactive," Ashley said. "We are all about doing what we can to help prevent what could occur, so when the summer comes, we're already talking to people about how to handle the heat."

The crew keeps its aircraft heat-ready, too. All medications and supplies needed on a call remain in the helicopter at CCRA at all times, thus, the aircraft must stay cooled. When the helicopter is on the ground, air conditioning units that are hooked up to it constantly funnel in cool air.

The helicopter is also equipped with built-in air conditioning that powers on once the rotors start for a flight.

"When it sits on the ground, the point is to keep it cool for medications and everything we have on it," Peters said. "If we get a call, we pull the air conditioners off, get in and go."

Ashley, who's been with PHI Air Medical since it came to McKinney in 2004, said that making a difference every day is the job's biggest reward. Peters, on the crew for six years, referred to the company's new t-shirts as the reason for their service.

"Our shirts say, 'The best part,' on the front and the back says, 'of your worst day,'" he said. "Every patient we pick up, it's probably the worst time in their life, and they're calling you for help. You're their last ditch, the one to take care of them and get them some help."

So, while area residents may not know when the 100-degree days will end this year, they can be sure that along with their public safety responders is a nearby air ambulance -- sometimes the only way to beat the heat.

"There's one thing about the service that we get a lot of attention to," said Ken Wiegand, executive director of CCRA. "When they take off, they're a point A to point B service; they get there as quickly as possible. They're low and fast, so when people hear a helicopter pass over their house and it's loud, they can rest assured that these people are out saving lives."

Original article and photos:

Aerolineas Sosa Initiates Flights to Grand Cayman.

Central American airline Aerolineas Sosa landed its inaugural flight from Honduras to the Cayman Islands on Friday, establishing a second option for commercial passengers looking to fly between the two countries. Aerolineas Sosa plans service three times a week from Goloson International Airport in La Ceiba, Honduras, to Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman. The flights are scheduled to leave Honduras at 10am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Return flights are scheduled to depart Grand Cayman at noon each of those days.

Flight time is about one hour.

For the past two years, only Cayman Airways has flown between the two countries, offering its flights on Mondays and Fridays. In 2009, the national carrier of the Cayman Islands established service between Grand Cayman and La Ceiba after a string of other airlines had failed to maintain reliable service between the two nations.

Under overcast and drizzling skies, the 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet operated by Aerolineas Sosa touched down in Grand Cayman about 12.30pm on Friday with nine passengers aboard, said Bob Connor, a representative for Aerolineas Sosa in Grand Cayman. The plane remained parked on the tarmac for a short time before departing on its return service to La Ceiba with seven passengers aboard.

Aerolineas Sosa is offering introductory roundtrip airfare of US$169 between the destinations.

“The airline has plans for this rate to be in place for about a month,” Mr. Connor said. “Tickets have been sold for flights next week. This is something the airline is looking to build up as much as it can.”

Tickets are available through the airline’s website and also through travel agencies located adjacent to Owen Roberts International Airport.

Based at Goloson International Airport in La Ceiba, Aerolineas Sosa was established in 1984 and operates domestic passenger and charter service throughout Honduras. The flights to Grand Cayman are the carrier’s first international passenger service.


Man Arrested For Feeding Birds Near Bob Hope Airport (KBUR), Burbank, California.

Police say the business owner has been cited and warned since September.

A Burbank man repeatedly warned about feeding pigeons near Bob Hope Airport could face charges for violating a court order against it.

Charles Douglas, 59, was arrested at his job in the 3000 block of North Hollywood Way, near Tulare Avenue, about 10 a.m. Friday on suspicion of violating a court order, according to Burbank police Officer Joshua Kendrick.

"Douglas had continued to disperse bird seed in an alley and in parking areas near the Bob Hope Airport despite repeated warnings and citation," Kendrick said.

Police said Douglas, a business owner, had been cited and warned since September.

Birds that get sucked into jet engines can cause catastrophic damage to the turbines.

"It is very important to address situations like this, as there has been a significant increase in incidents of these air strikes in the last few months," Victor Gill of the airport said.

Southwest Airlines reported several bird strikes at Bob Hope Airport recently, and one recent departing flight that struck birds abruptly landed at Ontario Airport, Kendrick said.

Douglas was booked for public nuisance, violation of a court order and feeding of pigeons so as to create a public nuisance.

On Jan. 15, 2009, it was a bird strike that disabled both engines of an Airbus A320 and caused U.S. Airways pilot Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger to successfully ditch the airliner on the Hudson River in New York City, with no serious injuries to the 155 people aboard.


‘Inconsiderate’ Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad, Air Asia slammed.

Disabled community furious at Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad's decision to scrap aerobridges.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has come under fire from the disabled community for contravening a Parliamentary Act that emphasised the importance of accessibility to the disabled.

MAHB’s decision to scrap the construction of aerobridges at the new KLIA2 airport, despite an inherent policy which made it mandatory that they build one, has left the community incensed.

Said V Murugeswaran of Damai Disabled Persons Association: “The decision by MAHB not to include aerobridges in the construction of the new airport is a step backward and taken in the wrong direction.

“If underdeveloped countries can have aerobridges at their airports, why is Malaysia which is a step away from achieving developed nation status, regressing to third world status infrastructure and service provision?”

Murugeswaran was among 20 community representatives who gathered at the Bangsar LRT station this morning to protest MAHB’s decision.

The community is also sore at low cost carrier Air Asia for being inconsiderate and deciding that an aerobridge was ‘not important.’

An aerobridge is a permanent passenger boarding bridge and the disabled community see this an essential to their airport mobility.

Five days ago MAHB disclosed that aerobridges would not be built in the KLIA 2 airport if it was not going to be used.

Constantly sidelined

According to MAHB since AirAsia was not using the aerobridges it would not be ‘worthwhile.’

“As AirAsia and Air Asia X will be the major airlines at KLIA2, it may not be worthwhile to incur the cost if the aerobridges are not going to be used.

“Discussions will be held with other LCCs as well on their requirements,” MAHB was quoted as saying in English daily, The Star.

The statement followed AirAsia’s request for an exemption from MAHB’s policy of requiring airlines to use aerobridges.

This morning Murugesan lambasted MAHB saying their decision contravened the Malaysian with Disabilities Act.

“May we also draw your attention to Malaysian with Disabilities Act.

“The Act clearly emphasises the importance of accessibility to enable persons with disabilities to fully and effectively participate in society including access to public facilities, amenities and services and buildings and public transport facilities with universal design as a key feature of such access..

“We are deeply saddened that despite provisions in the act and many assurances from the government authorities and politicians, including Ministers, disabled people continue to face barriers and difficulties in their everyday life.

“Disabled people continue to be sidelined in national development projects such as KLIA2 which involved multi-billion ringgit in construction cost,” said Murugeswaran.

Cheaper alternative

The move to protest against MAHB’s decision however did not go down well with Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) councillor Anthony Thanasayan.

Thanasayan, a disabled himself felt that aerobridges were too expensive a commitment.

He suggested instead the use of the portable ambulifts in airports.

“The ambulift is more suitable as it is portable.

“Having an aerobridge will increase cost for passengers by 20%.

“It is unfair to shift the cost to able-bodied passengers.

“I have been carried up into planes in the US because the smaller airports does not have aerobridges and ambulifts,” said Thanasayan, who is the president of Petpositiev and an activist for the disabled community.

Whilst agreeing that ambulifts are faulty, he said most of the time the problem was with poor or lack fo maintenance of this facility.


Tanzania to upgrade 10 airports in infrastructure project.

Tanzania is refurbishing and upgrading 10 regional airports in a $67.5 million infrastructure project set to kick off before the end of 2011.

The project will also feature the completion of the modernization of Julius Nyerere International Airport to enable it to handle more than 30 planes per hour, up from the current 11 planes an hour beginning July 2012.

Transport Minister Omari Nundu said the airports will be built in Kigoma and Tabora regions in the westy, Rukwa and Mbeya regions in the southern highland, Mafia district (Coastal), Msalato (Dodoma) Singida, Mwanza (Arusha) and Bukoba (Kagera).

“The construction of the airports will improve infrastructure, helping the aviation industry meet the increased demand,” he said.

Despite attractions such as the Serengeti game park, Mt Kilimanjaro, and the sea resort of Zanzibar, Tanzania has not hit tourism targets due to poor infrastructure and other factors. For example, 794,000 tourists visited Tanzania in 2010, against a one-million tourists target, although earnings increased by 11 per cent during the period to $1.28 billion.

This has seen mining overtake tourism as the country’s leading foreign exchange earner. Officials said the initial plan was completed last year while the feasibility study has been presented to the World Bank for approval.

Construction of Songwe International Airport in Mbeya Region is going on, and is to be completed by December. The Tanzania Airports Authority has completed a feasibility study and design for Msalato Airport in Dodoma. The government has kicked off a compensation plan for the residents who will be affected by the projects.

Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo said the government was in discussions with development partners as well as the Arab Bank for African Development and African Development Bank for a $105 million loan for the construction of Msalato International Airport. The government has set aside $650,000 in the 2011/2012 budget for the same project. Terminal I and II of the Julius Nyerere Airport are currently undergoing expansion under a $56 million programme.

This should help ease congestion at the airport. The two terminals were designed to handle 1.2 million passengers a year, but are now handling up to 1.5 million passengers.

Upon completion of Terminal III within the same area, the Julius Nyerere International Airport will have the capacity to handle seven million passengers a year.

According to the airport’s masterplan, it will be the largest and busiest international hub in the region, partly symbolised by TAA’s plan to launch an ambitious export processing zone project to stimulate manufacturing and production of value-added goods, boost exports, and aid in the financing of airport maintenance and upgrading.


US Airways Captain Describes Airport Eviction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- For the first time, a US Airways captain has publicly described an incident where two security officials escorted her from the airport's secure area after she would not fly a plane from Philadelphia to Rome because of electrical system problems. 

Captain Valerie Wells, a 30-year pilot, discussed the June 16 incident on Friday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, where she was the star witness in the pilots union's defense against the airline's suit alleging that a safety campaign is actually an illegal job action.
The airline is seeking an injunction to halt the "safety slowdown." Testimony will continue Monday. 

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They won't control me again: Former air traffic controller in a legal battle with her former employer Airservices Australia.

KIRSTY Fletcher still has a way to go. A protracted legal battle looms and there's every indication that a journey that has already taken some nasty turns could get a whole lot nastier.

But rather than shake her resolve, the air traffic controller, who was sacked by Airservices Australia (ASA) after lodging a sex discrimination lawsuit in the Federal Court, is more determined than ever to lift the lid on what she describes as a boys' club.

A club she claims considers it acceptable to view pornographic material in the workplace when the safety of thousands of air travellers is in their hands.

It's a journey that has already had a devastating effect on her health and well-being, a journey that began with the mother of two seeking an apology, but the stakes have increased since then.

Now she doubts that any apology that comes her way will be meaningful.

She won't settle, Ms Fletcher says, until the company sees its culture for what she claims it is and addresses it.

And she has vowed not to accept a settlement that may impose a confidentiality clause.

ASA says it does not agree with many of the claims. ASA spokesman Matt Wardell said it did not agree that any problem was widespread and also disagreed that Ms Fletcher's complaints had not been taken seriously.

He said the individual allegedly responsible for bullying had left the company, but he could not say why.

Regardless of the facts of the matter, which no doubt will surface in the trial, you have to admire the strength of character that Ms Fletcher, 38, is displaying.

Remember that ASA is a government agency and the sole employer of air traffic controllers in this country. Once they sack you, there is nowhere else to go. So when Ms Fletcher stands up to them and declares, "They don't get to control me ever again", it's difficult to question her commitment.

Remember, this is a woman who is a third-generation air traffic controller and who is married to an air traffic controller.

In the letter of termination, ASA said it was a result of an irretrievable breakdown in the employment relationship.

"I loved what I did, it becomes your whole life, it becomes your identity," Ms Fletcher told me.

"I'm grieving because I have lost part of my identity.

"It sounds so stupid to grieve over a job, but it was part of my history and what made my father proud.

"Additionally, what I have lost is everything I believed in, in regards to morals and ethics and the way people would act.

"I struggle with that still."

INSTEAD, after what she alleges were years of workplace bullying, abuse and discrimination, she made a formal complaint, because in her words, the line had been crossed.

"They had taken so much away from me, I just felt my integrity was not for sale and they weren't going to get that," she said.

She made a detailed complaint and said this was not acted upon for 18 months.

Ms Fletcher also complained about a serious safety breach by a male air traffic controller - that she was blamed for.

"I thought I could tough out the bullying because I was going on maternity leave," Ms Fletcher said.

"I thought my own ability would be able to overcome the pressure he (a former ASA manager) was putting on me, but at this point it had nothing to do with my ability. I was really concerned it was putting aircraft in danger."

Though she worries the legal fight could bankrupt her family, the mother of two young daughters said she was standing up on principle.

"I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do this," Ms Fletcher said.

Her lawyer, Josh Bornstein, a principal at Maurice Blackburn, said her case was unusual in that Ms Fletcher had been a reasonably well paid white-collar, articulate, smart, high-performing, high-achieving employee and her career had been destroyed.

"The other unusual aspect of this was watching the visceral grief she had expressed over a long period of time at the loss of a career she loved. It has been intense and it is still there now. The grief is volcanic," Mr Bornstein said.

He said this case was not just about an aberrant individual, but about an unhealthy workplace culture.

Mr Bornstein said his client suffered post-traumatic stress disorder because she feared an assault when she was heavily pregnant.

She would eventually go on long-term sick leave and was on sick leave when she was sacked.

Ms Fletcher said she put her complaints in writing and later found out a female manager had claimed Ms Fletcher had withdrawn the complaint.

"When we got the results of the investigation, I discovered that the female manager, who my instincts told me was a really nice person, had made a false report," she said.

"I couldn't comprehend that a person would do that, that my instincts were wrong. I base a lot of what I do on instinct, so losing my instincts for a while there made me very uneasy in the world."

Ms Fletcher alleges a boys' club mentality at ASA's Air Traffic Control Melbourne Operations Centre (MOC). Initially, this was a joint action with another female air traffic controller, Jackie Macdonald. Ms Macdonald has since reached a confidential settlement.

In her statement of claim, Ms Fletcher says sexually explicit or pornographic images were viewed by an ASA manager on ASA computers at MOC. She will also claim that she was denied necessary training because she was pregnant. And she will allege relentless bullying by a male manager who threatened the consequences would be severe if she tried to mess with his career.

Mr Bornstein claimed the former ASA manager was told about the allegations of discrimination and he went berserk and threatened Ms Fletcher.

Ms Fletcher said she was petrified. He was out of control and he was taken out of the room, she alleges.

"He was told to leave me alone, but not officially and not by any managers and there was no disciplinary action or counselling," Ms Fletcher said.

She said after that he always seemed to be the manager when she was on and that brought on panic attacks.

OTHER incidents followed. Ms Fletcher said she spoke up because she was concerned the situation had spiralled out of control and was putting aircraft in danger. The manager who made her working life a misery might have since left, but she fears the culture still remains.

She said her priority was to fix the workplace for the people who were still there, for the people who fly in planes and for the people who will be there in the future.

More Indians take to the skies.

Even as a rising crude oil bill has once again pushed airlines into the red over the last two quarters, air passenger traffic in the country has been growing strong and steady. This is in continuation of a trend seen over the last 24 months, where an uptick in the economic climate has translated into a growing number of Indians taking to the skies.

Consider this: Total air passenger traffic in the domestic market was around 41 million in calendar 2008; it exceeded the 51-million mark in 2010, and at current levels of traffic may touch 60 million in the current calendar. Monthly passenger traffic exceeded the 5-million mark for the first time in December 2010, and has been above this level for two consecutive months in May 2011 and June 2011.
Strong revival

At present, India is among the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. After a sharp 9.5 per cent decline in domestic traffic in the first half of calendar 2009 due to the knock-on effects of the global recession, the number of Indians taking to the skies has seen a strong revival. Passenger traffic in the domestic skies grew at 24.7 per cent year-on-year in the second half of calendar 2009, at 19.2 per cent in calendar 2010, and at a lower but still quite healthy 17.3 per cent in the first six months of the current calendar. The strong growth in passenger traffic is also reflected in the domestic load factor, which has increased from 70.1 per cent in 2009 to 76.9 per cent in the first half of 2011.

Increasing disposable incomes, healthy corporate travel budgets and keen competition among airlines to grow the market and capture an increasing share of the pie, have contributed to the strong growth in domestic air passenger traffic. Add to the above factors the increasing focus of airline players towards the under-served and high potential Tier-II and Tier-III cities, and passenger traffic in the country is expected to continue growing at a robust clip — in the mid to high teens. Airlines, especially the low-cost carriers, have announced ambitious fleet expansion plans to cater to the expected market growth.
Low-cost surge

A widening bouquet of low-cost offerings catering to a predominantly price-conscious market has helped a good deal in increasing penetration in the domestic skies. Not surprisingly, a significant portion of the passenger growth has been captured by low-cost carriers and the low-cost offerings of full service carriers. The market share of low-cost carriers has increased from 33.3 per cent in December 2009 to 39.7 per cent in June 2011, with Indigo Airlines leading the way (up from 15.2 per cent to 19.6 per cent). Much of this gain has been made at the expense of Air India which has seen its share decline from 18.3 per cent in December 2009 to 14.9 per cent in June 2011.

Taipei airport woos jet-setters with fancy services

Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) will soon offer a number of services for wealthy business travelers.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said there were plans to build an aircraft depot and passages to terminals for private jets.

Because of the airport’s proximity to downtown Taipei, it has become a destination for private jets. According to CAA statistics, a total of 367 private jets landed and departed from the airport during the past seven months.

“Businesspeople traveling frequently between Taipei, Tokyo and Shanghai are our target clients,” Civil Aeronautics Administration Deputy Director-General Chen Tien-tsyh (陳天賜) said.

Songshan airport’s plan to upgrade facilities for private jets came after a recent announcement by Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport that it would also start the trial operation of a private jet center next month, adding that the deluxe service would reduce the time for boarding procedures for international passengers from two hours to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, Chuang I-chin, Taipei Songshan Airport Intelligent Library director, yesterday said that the library had attracted more than 20,000 readers since it opened in June.

Songshan airport opened the nation’s first airport library in an effort to diversify services for travelers.

The library, which is not staffed, is equipped with an automatic checkout system so travelers can serve themselves.

Locals and foreigners can borrow books using an EasyCard, the electronic card widely used in -Taipei to pay for public transport or buy products.

With publications ranging from travel and language to popular culture, Chaung said many use the library before boarding to find an ideal travel companion.

As almost all the library’s 10,000 books are in Chinese, she said, her priority is to build up a collection in foreign languages.

Citing the example of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, which established the world’s first airport library last year, CAA officials said it was a smart way to showcase the country.