Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Probe into crop duster crash continues

Authorities will continue to probe the cause of a fatal crop duster crash in southern Queensland, after a preliminary report failed to find anything out of the ordinary.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been looking into the July 19 crash on a cotton station about 22km south-west of Dirranbandi, which killed the pilot.

The PZL Warszawa-Okecie M-18 Dromader was spraying when it failed to return from a flight, and workers found the wreckage in a ploughed field.

The pilot was alone in the plane but had earlier been carrying a passenger who had been responsible for mixing the spraying chemicals and re-fuelling the aircraft.

The ATSB preliminary report, released on Thursday, says all of the aircraft's primary structure and flight controls were found within the accident site, and there was no evidence of fire.

"There were no anomalies identified with the aircraft's flight control systems," the ATSB reports.

"There was also no evidence of birdstrike or previous impact with ground obstacles."

The investigation will continue.


Pilot seriously injured in plane crash near Priest Lake is one of Spokane's best known surgeons.

Doctor John Hershey's Cessna 152 drifted into the trees during a landing at the Cavanaugh bay airport near Coolin.

Hershey has been treating patients here and around the world for more than 30 years.

Doctor Hershey's former partner Dr. Tom Hull told KXLY what happened to him.

"All I know is he was making an approach for a landing and apparently something went wrong with the plane and he ended up in the trees as I understand it and then the plane fell from the trees," Dr. Tom Hull said.

Firefighters were able to remove Doctor Hershey from the wreckage.

He's expected to survive and that's welcome news here at the division street practice Hershey started decades ago.

"He is probably one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He genuinely likes people and he's just revered both here and New Guinea where he goes every year," Hull said.

Even though he is 86 years old, Doctor Hershey and wife travel regularly to New Guinea where the provide free medical services to people who would otherwise never see a doctor.

"This is out in the middle of nowhere and he does general surgery there and has quite a patient load and from what I've seen in pictures they've brought back he's highly respected there," Hull said.

KXLY profiled Doctor Hershey back in 1996 when he had a reputation for helping people who couldn't afford medical care.

Hershey never wanted his life -saving skills to go to waste even when he wasn't getting paid for them.

"I think he's just a totally selfless human being. I've seen that in here he genuinely thinks of helping people first and the minutia later or the economics later," Hull said, "He genuinely can't help being nice to people I think."

Watch video:

British Columbia: One dead after float plane crashes near Nakusp -- pilot speaks.

NAKUSP, B.C. – One person is dead and another has been injured after a float plane crashed into the Upper Arrow Lake in front of Nakusp this morning.

Nakusp resident Ray Lythgoe was taking a stroll along the Nakusp waterfront shortly after 8 a.m. He heard a plane engine sputter and die, and looked up to see the descending plane.

"I heard the motor go dead," Lythgoe said, "then a big splash." Conditions were sunny and calm at the time.

Lythgoe says he ran to the nearest phone and called 911. He was one of many who witnessed the crash and called it in.

Arrow Lakes Search and Rescue and the Nakusp Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched, speeding on small boats towards the downed plane, which was floating about 500 to 600 metres offshore from the Nakusp Marina.

Shortly afterward, rescuers on a small boat returned to the marina carrying the pilot of the plane. The man sat upright, bundled in a blanket. He was treated and transported to the nearby Arrow Lakes Hospital by ambulance.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Annie Linteau now confirms there were two people on the plane. The passenger is deceased.

Recovery operations are ongoing, and RCMP and search & rescue divers are scheduled to attend the scene shortly.

The crashed plane has been lashed to a barge to prevent it from sinking, and it is currently being moved back towards the marina.

Linteau said there is no indication as to what caused the crash, but she confirmed the plane was attempting a landing when things went wrong.

It was a clear, sunny morning and the lake was glassy.

RCMP are not releasing the names of those involved until family members have been notified.

UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.

An RCMP diver arrived on scene at about 11:15 a.m. to survey the scene. A search & rescue dive team is en route to Nakusp from Nelson.

Also, the pilot appeared to be in relatively good condition despite the crash. He was able to walk to the ambulance and was alert.

UPDATE: Aug. 24, 4:30 p.m.

The pilot has now been identified as a 79-year-old Nelson resident who has 40 years of flying experience and regularly lands on mountain lakes. He had departed from Nelson that morning and was on his way to a remote lake near the B.C.-Alberta border when the incident happened.

The Arrow Lakes News spoke to the pilot after he returned to the shore to monitor the recovery effort. He didn't want to use his name because next of kin of his deceased passenger hadn't yet been notified. The pilot suffered only very minor scratches.

He said that the crash was due to a perception issue created when landing on extremely smooth water. With the sun reflecting off the mirror-like surface, it can be very hard to perceive your altitude.

"I knew the problem with glassy water," he said. "You can't see how far you are from the water."

In mountain lakes, he usually lands closer to the shore, using the shoreline as his guide. Today, the glassy water fooled him. He was out further than he thought when the plane hit the surface of the lake.

"It bounced and next time it hit, it flipped over," he said, "and that was it."

He was flying with an as-yet unidentified adult male friend for a day of fishing and relaxation on the lake when his partner told him he didn't have a fishing license.

"You gotta have a fishing license I told him." They made the decision to land at Nakusp to pick one up.

That's when the fishing trip turned tragic.

Authorities are continuing recovery efforts. The plane hasn't yet been removed from the lake.

Original article and photos:

Piper J3L-65 Cub, N81BF: Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, plane crash report released.

"I'm not a pilot, but does it seem wise to perform a "hammerhead" in a Piper Cub? Any pilots care to share?"

The pilot of a Piper Cub that crashed into Lake Winnebago during this year’s Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture convention lost control of the airplane while attempting an aerobatic maneuver, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot and passenger of a second Piper Cub that was accompanying the airplane that crashed told investigators both planes had been flying at between 1,000 and 1,400 feet of altitude on a sightseeing trip when the crash occurred at 11:45 a.m. July 25.

The witnesses told investigators the pilot of the crashed plane, Steven A. Staples, 47, of Makanda, Ill., attempted a move known as a “hammerhead.” They said Staples’ airplane pitched up, climbed, and yawed to the left, entering a descent. During the course of the maneuver, the airplane became inverted and impacted the lake.

The airplane crashed in about six feet of water offshore of Wendt’s on the Lake on U.S. Highway 45 south of Oshkosh. Neither Staples nor his passenger, Michelle Palermo, 36, of Kimberly, were able to get out of the plane.

A witness on the ground said the airplane began to sink shortly after it hit the lake. An attempt by nearby boaters to rescue Staples and Palermo was unsuccessful. Both were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Staples was an airline transport certified pilot.

Original article and photos:

MASwings DHC-6 Twin Otter: Off runway. 16 passengers and 2 crew safe. Lawas Airport, Malaysia.

LUCKY ESCAPE: The aircraft lands just 5 metres short of the river at the end of the runway.

LAWAS: The front landing gear of a MASwings Twin Otter (DHC6) aircraft broke off upon landing at Lawas Airport about 3.30pm yesterday.

All 16 passengers and two crew – pilot and co-pilot – were lucky to escape unscathed as their aircraft skidded to a stop a short distance from the river at the end of the runway.

According to one of the passengers, the plane stopped just 5metres short of the river.

Fine weather was reported at the time of the incident.

The MH3516 aircraft, belonging to Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary MASwings took off from Miri Airport at 2.45pm.

MASwings ,in a statement emailed from Kuching yesterday evening, said that following the incident, the Lawas terminal was temporarily closed to traffic to facilitate investigation.

“The aircraft is being guarded by MAB airport security and police.

MASwings meanwhile is sending an investigation and recovery team from Kota Kinabalu by land to remove the aircraft from the site. For the time being, Lawas Airport is closed for all flight operations until the airfield is cleared,” the statement added.

It said the airline would extend its full co-operation to the Department of Civil Aviation which is investigating the incident. This is an isolated incident and that safety remains a high priority in the company.

MASWings makes six flights daily from Miri. In a week it makes 17 flights to Lawas from Miri, three from Ba Kelalan and one from Kota Kinabalu.

The 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft is one of four used by MASWings for its rural air services (RAS) in Sarawak.

Twin Otter veers off runway at Lawas Airport, 16 passengers and 2 crew safe

MIRI: A MASwings 19-seater Twin Otter aircraft crash-landed in Lawas Airport yesterday, with its nose taking much of the impact.

The plane skidded some 10m before coming to a standstill in a field by the runway.

A statement from MASwings last night said flight MH3156 from Miri had veered off the runway after it touched down at the airport around 3.30pm.

“However, there were no casualties and all 16 passengers and two operating crew of the flight disembarked safely after the aircraft came to a stop,” the statement said.

“MASwings is sending an inves- tigation and recovery team from Kota Kinabalu to Lawas by land to remove the aircraft from the site. For the time being, Lawas Airport is closed for all flight operations until the airfield is cleared.”

The plane, which is halfway down the runway, would be guarded by security personnel from Malaysia Airports Bhd and the police until it is removed.

The airline also said it would extend its full co-operation to the Civil Aviation Department which was investigating the incident.

“This is an isolated incident and safety remains a high priority in the company,” it concluded.

Meanwhile, Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, when contacted, said he was informed that no one was injured in the incident.

“My contact also informed me that the aircraft was slammed by strong wind as it was landing,” Baru added.

Former Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said his cousin Joel Bawar was at the airport when the incident happened.

According to him, Joel told him that none of the passengers suffered any serious injuries.

When contacted soon after the incident, a Malaysia Airports Bhd official at the Lawas Airport terminal said: “The plane is still at the crash site.”

Prodded further, the official said: “The airport has been closed until further notice and all flights into Lawas have been suspended for now.”


Pilot in critical condition in Fargo after crop duster crashes in Dickey County, North Dakota.

MONANGO, N.D. – A pilot from LaMoure, N.D., is in critical condition at a Fargo hospital after his crop duster crashed Tuesday in Dickey County.

David Lux, 46, suffered a head injury and was contaminated with pesticide in the crash, North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Josh Rude said.

Lux was airlifted by CareFlight emergency helicopter from Aberdeen, S.D., to Essentia Health in Fargo, Rude said. A hospital spokeswoman said Lux was listed in critical condition as of 3 p.m. today.

The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. three miles south of Monango, which is about 50 miles south of Jamestown.

Lux was crop dusting when the crash occurred, but authorities hadn’t been able to talk to him and didn’t know what caused the plane to crash into a ditch, Rude said.

Authorities impounded the airplane at a secure location at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash, Rude said. 


FAA investigates two reports of lasers pointed at Newark-bound flights

The first incident, which occurred shortly after 8:10 p.m., involved a Newark-bound United Airlines, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane, Flight 330, was 15 miles southwest of the airport when someone pointed a laser at it, and it landed safely.

The second incident, involving a Cessna corporate jet arriving form Dallas, occurred just after 9 p.m., Peters said. Someone shined a green laser at the plane about 2 ½ miles southeast of Somerset, Peters said.

Since flight crews began reporting laser events in 2005, the number of incidents has skyrocketed from 300 in that year to 2,836 last year, according to the FAA. Such incidents happen all over the country every day, the FAA said.

Aiming a laser at a plane is a federal offense, punishable by criminal and civil penalties. Lasers can temporarily blind a pilot, according to the FAA.


PHOTO: Air Libya plane on desert highway.

A pair of Libyan passengers sit under the tail of an Air Libya plane that landed on a desert highway while on its way to Benghazi on Aug. 24, in Zintan, Libya.

First Air passengers had no warnings before crash: Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Passengers aboard First Air flight 6560 had no warning that they were about to crash in the seconds before their plane slammed into a hillside in Resolute Bay, the youngest survivor of the crash has told investigators.

Shortly after the crash, investigators spoke with seven-year-old Gabrielle Pelky who told investigators that as the plane began to descend to the airport in the tiny Arctic hamlet, everything appeared fine.

She described seeing buildings and the landscape just before impact.

"When the plane was going down into Resolute, it all felt normal," said RCMP Supt. Howard Eaton.

"Next thing you know, it was bang. There were no bells, no warnings."

Eaton said Pelky gave a detailed description of the flight, including where everyone was sitting, and the final seconds before the crash.

"She was very together. Seven going on 20," Eaton said.

Saturday's crash killed 12 people. Pelky and two other passengers survived.

Pelky and Nicole Williamson, 23, walked away from the crash site. Robin Wyllie, 48, was helped away from the site by rescuers.

Williamson and Wyllie are recovering at the Ottawa Hospital. Pelky was released from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario on Monday.

Williamson is to have surgery on her foot, her father Mark Williamson said.

"She's in pretty good condition, considering what she's gone through," he said. "As you can imagine, walking away from something like that is a fairly traumatic thing."

First Air has said it lost communication with the Boeing 737-200 around 12:40 p.m. local time Saturday when the plane was eight kilometres from the airport. A few minutes later, the plane crashed, splintering into three pieces and sending debris across a one-kilometre area.

The RCMP have removed all the remains from the site, said Sgt. Paul Solomon in Resolute Bay.

Investigators have not been able to hand over the site to the Transportation Safety Board because of the weather. Solomon said high winds on Wednesday whipped up debris and forced investigators off the hillside for safety reasons.

The Transportation Safety Board will be responsible for determining what caused the plane to crash.

Rotting food attracts polar bears to site of deadly plane crash. First Air, Flight 6560, Boeing 737. Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

RESOLUTE BAY, NUNAVUT — Rotting food and strong winds are attracting hungry polar bears to the wreckage of a deadly Arctic plane crash.

Along with passengers and crew, the chartered First Air jet coming from Yellowknife was carrying 2,250 kilograms of food from when it crashed into a hillside near the Resolute airport on Saturday.

Twelve people died and three survived.

RCMP Sgt. Paul Solomon said Wednesday that the smell of rotting food and produce, scattered about for five days, has drawn at least two big beasts to the area.

“The wind we're having up here right now is blowing the scent,” he said. “We're doing everything we can to scare the bears away.

“So far we've been lucky.”

Members of the Rangers, a reserve unit with the Canadian army, have used noise devices and set up “predator security” around the area, said Solomon.

More bears are likely to come sniffing around, because the site cannot be cleaned up or disturbed, he added.

Human remains were removed from the crash site Tuesday and taken to a temporary morgue in Resolute. Mounties don't expect to finish their search of the area for another day or two.

The site will then be handed over to 23 investigators from the Transportation Safety Board. It's not known how long they will need to study the wreckage.

No cause for the crash has been determined, but witnesses have said there was fog and low cloud at the time the 737 jet came in for its landing.

Gabrielle Pelky, a seven-year-old girl who miraculously walked away from the crash, told investigators the plane was flying along just fine before it crashed into the hill near the runway.

The child's statement was the first indication that passengers had no warning the plane was in trouble.

RCMP Supt. Howard Eaton said the girl remembers sitting on the plane with her younger sister, who would die in the crash, and employees of her grandfather's hotel in Resolute.

All of a sudden, there was a bang.

“They didn't know they were in trouble,” said Eaton. “They were flying along one minute, and the next minute they're on the hill.”

Nicole Williamson, a 23-year-old Carleton University student, managed to walk away from the crash. She found Gabrielle, who had a broken leg, crying and sitting on a rock. Williamson carried her to safety.

Eaton said investigators have talked with both Williamson and the girl, but he doesn't believe the third survivor is well enough to be interviewed.

Robin Wyllie, 48, had his chest crushed in the crash and is on too much medication to speak clearly about what happened.

“I think he's doing fine now,” Eaton said “He's going to make a recovery.”

The survivors were transported to Ottawa for medical treatment. Eaton said one investigator who interviewed Gabrielle in hospital was impressed with her maturity.

“She's seven going on 20,” said Eaton. “She just gave a really good statement and spoke really easily about the incident.”

All of the remains will soon be flown to Ottawa where dental records, DNA and fingerprints will be used to officially identify them, said Eaton.

“The victims have all been through trauma, so they may not be recognizable, even to family.”

Eaton said the remains will then be released to relatives.

Dan Adamus, board president with the Air Line Pilots Association, said the union has been granted observer status in the crash investigation.

“Like all Canadians, we want to know what caused the Flight 6560 accident so that we can learn from it and prevent anything similar from happening again.”


Float plane towed to boat launch after wing collapses. Mercer Island, Washington.

A small kit-type float plane is beached after suffering a structural collpase after landing on Lake Washington on the East side of Mercer Island on Wednesday. No injuries were reported and the disabled aircraft was towed to shore by a passing boater.

A float plane was towed to the beach near the Mercer Island Boat Launch on Wednesday around noon. The plane, a small kit-type airplane, landed in the East Channel just south of Interstate 90.

According to the Mercer Island Police Department, a guy-wire snapped just after landing, causing a wing to collapse. There were not injuries and the pilot, who lives on Mercer Island, was able to load the aircraft onto his trailer and leave the scene with no extra assistance.


Flight Schools Demand Papal Compensation. (Spain)

Now that the Pope has left Spain, members of the aviation schools, which would normally operate on the site taken over by the papal visit, are demanding compensation for the fact that they had to close to allow the airfield to be taken over by the pilgrims.

The closure of the site was even worse than might have been considered, given the amount of rubbish that was left behind by those who visited. The smallest fragment of debris can have catastrophic effects to aircraft, as proven by the disaster that led to the fatal crash and subsequent grounding of Concord.

Given the circumstances of potential damage from foreign objects, some people have now questioned whether the site was in fact a good and correct choice. Meanwhile, a group of those affected have started a class action complaint to the Spanish airport authority, and will have their first meeting, along with their lawyer, on Wednesday of next week.

One of the companies involved has filed a loss of income of 50,000 euro as a result of the closure, collectively it is said that the group of companies have lost between three and ten thousand euro each day.

Normally operating around 137 flights per day, the site was closed for a period of two weeks. The site had to be closed for 15 days before the visit, for security reasons, and then afterwards when the 127 tons of waste was removed from the site.

New weapon against bird-strike at airports.

Aug. 24 - New Zealand scientists have developed a bird-repelling grass designed to reduce the number of bird strikes at airports. Marketed as ''Avanex'', the grass is infected with a fungus that birds won't eat and is seen as an important new weapon in a fight that costs the airline industry about $1.4 billion each year. Rob Muir reports.

Private planes, private no more. (United States)

Written by Steve Chapman

Anyone who drives much in states with tollways has learned to love those transponders that let you whiz through without stopping to hand over your cash. It doesn't bother most of us that the government could use the signals to track our travels. But how about if the government posted that information online for anyone with an Internet connection?

If that gives you the creeps, it should. A key element of privacy is keeping control of such personal information. But the federal government is showing a flagrant disregard for that trivial concern.

The Department of Transportation, which used to allow anyone with a private plane to choose not to have their flight plans made available for public consumption, has decided to eliminate that option. So if you want to snoop into someone else's travel itinerary, you can do it.

To have their information kept out of public view, airplane owners have to provide "written certification of a valid security threat." Otherwise, they're out of luck. But why shouldn't people be allowed privacy even when it's not essential for their safety?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has no good excuse for the change. "Both general aviation and commercial aircraft use the public airspace and air traffic control facilities, and the public has a right to information about their activities." Oh, please. We all use public streets and sidewalks, which doesn't mean the police have a right to monitor our movements and let the world know where we go.

General aviation groups aren't happy, and who can blame them? "There can be no legitimate reason for a government agency to facilitate the monitoring of wholly private activity by anyone with an internet connection," said Ed Bolen, head of the National Business Aviation Association.

But under LaHood's policy, Big Brother will be watching. And so will anyone else who wants to.

Float plane beaches on Mercer Island, Washington.

Mercer Island police were called out to the north end of the island at midday on Wednesday where a float plane had been beached.

Police Commander Leslie Burns said the plane ended up on the beach after the pilot of the home-made plane snapped a guy wire while trying to land. The plane’s wing was damaged, but there were no injuries, she said.

Cessna 207: Second emergency landing in a week. Rio Hondo, Texas.

A Cessna 207 sits in an empty field east of Rio Hondo after making an emergency landing Tuesday.
Courtesy photo

A private plane made an emergency landing in an empty field near Nelson Road in Rio Hondo just before noon.

This is the second time in a week this exact plane has had to make an emergency landing.

Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera said the pilot in today's landing was not injured.

Nelson Road is just east of Rio Hondo.

Barrera says last week the same Cessna 207 was forced to make an emergency landing in Willacy County as the plane flew from Corpus Christi to Harlingen. The pilot flying the plane on that day was another man.

On the same day a Valley Air Care medical helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing on South Padre Island.


One dead after float plane crashes near Nakusp. British Columbia.

Rescuers return to the Nakusp Marina with the survivor of a small plane crash on the morning of Aug. 24. The pilot is pictured wrapped in a red blanket.

NAKUSP, B.C. – One person is dead and another has been injured after a small float plane crashed into the Upper Arrow Lake in front of Nakusp Wednesday morning.

Nakusp resident Ray Lythgoe was taking a stroll along the Nakusp waterfront shortly after 8 a.m. He heard a plane engine sputter and die, and looked up to see the descending plane.

"I heard the motor go dead," Lythgoe said, "then a big splash." Conditions were sunny and calm at the time.

Lythgoe says he ran to the nearest phone and called 911. He was one of many who witnessed the crash and called it in.

Arrow Lakes Search and Rescue and the Nakusp Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched, speeding on small boats towards the downed plane, which was floating about 500 to 600 metres offshore from the Nakusp Marina.

Shortly afterward, rescuers on a small boat returned to the marina carrying the pilot of the plane. The man sat upright, bundled in a blanket. He was treated and transported to the nearby Arrow Lakes Hospital by ambulance.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Annie Linteau now confirms there were two people on the plane. The passenger is deceased.

Recovery operations are ongoing, and RCMP and search & rescue divers are scheduled to attend the scene shortly.

The crashed plane has been lashed to a barge to prevent it from sinking, and it is currently being moved back towards the marina.

Linteau said there is no indication as to what caused the crash, but she confirmed the plane was attempting a landing when things went wrong.

It was a clear, sunny morning and the lake was glassy.

RCMP are not releasing the names of those involved until family members have been notified.

This story will be updated throughout the day as details become available. Check back to for more.

Beechcraft 100 King Air, C-FAFD: Pilot negligence caused fatal plane crash -Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The crash of a Kenn Borek plane near Kirby Lake, Alta. in October killed one person and injured nine others. CBC

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - Too much conversation in the cockpit and the crew's inability to see the runway were partly to blame for a fatal crash near a remote northeastern Alberta landing strip in October 2010.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board released the results of the investigation Tuesday.

Pilot Andrew Fielding , 31, was killed in the crash that seriously injured four others. Five others on the plane were able to walk away with only minor injuries.

The 12-seat Beechcraft King Air 100 slammed into muskeg just short of the 1.4 kilometres-long Kirby Lake air strip.

The passengers were travelling to Kirby as part of a regular crew change to the BP Kirby natural gas operation.

In the 11-page report, the TSB noted that during the initial stages of the approach to Kirby Lake, the crew was engaged in a conversation seemed unrelated to the operation of the flight. The casual nature of the conversation between the two-crew airplane - the pilot flying and the pilot not flying - suggests that they were not overly concerned with the approach and may not have been at a heightened level of attention, according to the report.

The report said that while a majority of the standard operating procedures were completed during the approach, a number of critical items, such as proper descent were not.

The crew also had difficulty identifying the runway during the descent in light snow, the report concluded.

Airspeed dropped to a point the plane stalled, said investigators. And though the aircraft was equipped with a stall warning system, it did not activate.


Anger over airline's 'breast check-ups': Indonesia airline under fire for near-naked interview. Garuda in hot water over bizarre recruitment process.

Is it a simple cultural difference or a sexual insult? Garuda Indonesia has come under fire for its flight attendant recruitment method of requesting palpation and semi-naked physical checkup.

While the Indonesian flagship carrier insist the system is based on cultural and religious beliefs and conducted with the consensus of applicants, Korean flight attendants do not buy them, calling them sexist and insulting.

According to Yonhap news agency on Wednesday, a health check up for Garuda’s recruitment of female cabin crew candidates was conducted last month. There, the applicants were asked to remove all their garments, except for their underwear, and lie on a bed. Then an Indonesian male doctor began to palpate their breasts and elsewhere.

After the test, many applicants complained the procedure was embarrassing and that they have felt extremely uncomfortable about being naked and touched.

Garuda’s spokesperson did not answer The Korea Herald’s phone call, but earlier told a local newspaper that the examination was an ordinary process for all branches of the airline.

“The candidates have given their consensus to proceed with the process,” the spokeswoman was quoted as saying. “In case of the breast palpation, we conduct it to screen out those who have breast implants. We have a regulation to screen those persons because a sharp drop of air pressure inside the carrier could sometimes cause them health damage. Also, we conduct full examination of skin on the basis of the religious guideline prohibiting tattoos,” she added.

The company has also reportedly said that the same examination process is conducted in other branches including Japan and Australia, and argued that all other airline companies have similar examination processes.

However, many industry insiders said such all-over-the-body palpation is not common.

“I cannot believe that an international carrier has actually conducted a test in such way,” a domestic airline company insider confided. “Of course there is a medical test. But it never involves getting semi-naked and touched on the breasts. The checkup closer to revealing the skin is taking an X-ray with their gowns on,” he added.

A flight attendant of a foreign airline said the examination was “insulting and inhumane.”

Women’s rights groups were furious. “It is unconvincing in any situation. I cannot help but question whether it is a sexual assault,” LeeKoo Kyung-sook of Korean Women’s Association United told Yonhap.

“The ban on breast implantation sounds almost absurd. Does that mean people who have received plastic surgeries shouldn’t be on board? Taking into account all the cultural differences, there needs to be a clear explanation,” she added.

Topless air hostesses and champagne pool parties 'could lead to British Airways scrapping flights to lucrative destinations'.

British Airways bosses fear having to scrap lucrative flights because of mounting complaints about raucous cabin crew parties at luxury hotels.

Topless air hostesses and champagne-fuelled pool parties have prompted a flood of protests about wild behaviour.

Now BA has warned its captains to control their crews during overnight stops – or the airline may be forced to abandon at least one route.

The problem is particularly acute on routes crewed by young recruits – so-called ‘mixed fleet’ which was at the heart of the recent BA industrial dispute.

A BA source said: ‘Mixed fleet crews are basically kids of 18 and 20 years old, in their first jobs on pretty low pay, who think it’s a wonderful life staying in posh hotels.

‘They pilfer champagne from the aircraft to drink in the crew hotels because buying their own drinks in a five-star hotel is too expensive.

‘Then they run amok, holding wild room parties and going topless in the pool.’

Crews on long-haul flights to the Kenyan capital Nairobi have been told the route could become ‘financially unviable’ unless they rein in their behaviour.

BA flies thousands of passengers a month to Nairobi, and the route is worth millions of pounds.

But in an internal memo sent to BA captains recently, a manager warns: ‘We continue to receive complaints from our management team at our crew hotel in NBO [Nairobi] regarding the behaviour of some of our crews.

‘In the current security environment, the current hotel is the only approved hotel available to us.

‘Should they choose to terminate our contract, or elect not to renew it later this year, the route will become financially unviable.’

The note begs captains and senior cabin crew members to ‘sensitively manage pool/room parties and any raucous crew behaviour’.

Other routes allegedly suffering ‘crew behaviour issues’ include Mauritius, Las Vegas, San Diego and other U.S. destinations where the legal drinking age is 21 – meaning crews who cannot drink alcohol in public bars are more likely to party in their hotel rooms.

Separately, BA has sent out an internal message to all crews warning they face dismissal if they are caught taking alcoholic drinks off planes without paying for them. However they are allowed to buy them under the ‘crew purchase scheme’ at cheap rates.

Although cabin crew are banned from drinking alcohol in uniform, another BA source said: ‘Those rules are only adhered to “in public”. What goes on in the hotel room is different.

‘Often when away from home, crew have room parties. Crew are able to buy cheap alcohol on board the aircraft and consume this in hotel rooms, thereby avoiding expensive bar prices. Games often played are variations on “spin the bottle”, “truth or dare” and “I have never...”.

‘The room parties often get quite wild. I have seen damage occurring to the hotel, I have seen nudity and streaking. I once saw two male crew members leaving the room party with a male pilot, and they reported the next day that they had a ‘threesome’ with the pilot.

‘In Cyprus once, crew returning to the hotel from a night out found a donkey tied up in a field. The donkey was led back to the hotel and the crew managed to get it into a lift and up to the fourth floor, before hotel security intervened.’

The source added: ‘A phrase often used is: “What happens ‘down-route’ stays down-route”, however this is not always the case. Rumours do the rounds all the time.

'The rumours are known as “Galley FM”, and cover everything from who's sleeping with who, to what plans the company has for routes or expansion and so on.

‘When away from home, crew are accommodated at British Airways' expense in luxury hotels. The agreement between the union and BA means we have to be put up in somewhere with restaurants/bars etc, therefore we end up staying in some of the world's finest hotels.’

A BA spokesman said: 'We speak to all of our hotel suppliers on a regular basis. We purchase around 5,000 hotel rooms a year in Nairobi for our crew and have received a small number of concerns from the hotel.

'We take any complaint extremely seriously and have reminded our Nairobi crew of the high standards that are expected of them when off duty overseas.'

Russia: Plane Accidents Double in 2011

The number of plane accidents has doubled compared with last year, and the number of deaths has quadrupled, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday in a report criticizing small airlines.

Thirteen crashes killing 81 people took place from January to mid-August, Ivanov told a government transportation commission in Moscow.

Another 26 accidents without deaths occurred over the same period, he said.

The statistics did not include the Monday crash-landing of an An-2 biplane that killed one in the Tuva republic and the Saturday crash of a Yak-18T plane near St. Petersburg that left four people dead.

Ivanov did not provide precise comparative figures.

The majority of this year's crashes with fatalities involved obsolete planes, Ivanov said, adding that most of them were owned by small airlines that operate "five or six airplanes, if not less," Interfax reported.

Ivanov reiterated his earlier criticism of the small carriers, saying they were unable to maintain and update their fleets.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Ministry banned long-haul airlines with less than 10 similar aircraft from operation starting January, with the bar to be raised to 20 planes from 2013.

The number of certified airlines has been halved over the past year, Interfax said. The 15 biggest airlines — each with fleets of more than 20 planes — handle 90 percent of all air traffic in the country, it said. But small airlines serve many remote localities.

Small airlines to be squeezed out of Russian skies -Sergei Ivanov, Russian Deputy. No way to avoid crashes -Oleg Panteleyev,Russia's Aviaport analyst.

Russian deputy premier Sergei Ivanov wants to see small airlines grounded, and has ordered aviation watchdog Rosaviatsiya to restrict regular flights for companies with small fleets.

Experts say this would be unprecedented in world aviation practices, and will not make any economic sense.

New rules for regular flights

The new rules coming into force on Jan. 2012 will affect 57 per cent of Russia’s 139 officially registered airlines, said head of Rostransnadzor Alexander Kasyanov.

Starting next year airlines will need more than 10 aircraft to earn the right to fly scheduled routes, and in 2013 the bar will be raised to 20.

Ivanov hopes that this force smaller companies into niche markets and improve safety in the commercial sector.

“It is impossible to stand-by and watch planes of these so-called airlines crash,” Ivanov said.

He argues that the new rules will not kill off small companies, but warns that they will have to demonstrate that they can provide appropriate passenger security.

Small companies squeezed out

Figures show that about 90 per cent of the Russian market is already controlled by the top 15 companies, according to Rosaviatsiya.

The other 124 companies registered in Russia, share between 10 and 20 per cent of the market, depending on statistical data used. And the authorities believe that safety records on these flights leave a lot to be desired.

Rosaviation is sure that the top 15 companies have aircraft that follow all the criteria.

Aeroflot and Transaero could also gain an advantage in taking the best international routes. Russian transport ministry supported the recent suggestion of Aeroflot boss Vitaly Savelyev, that only companies that “have modern aircraft locally produced” can be granted licenses for international transportations.

Illogical move

Experts do not support the new initiative, saying it will not affect air safety in any way.

“It is very difficult to find a logical explanation for this decision,” editor in chief of Aviatransportnoe Obozrenie Alexey Sinitskiy told Moskovskie Novosti.

He is sure that the first result of the new rules will be a decreased investment attractiveness of airlines.

“It will be simply impossible to create a new company. The size of the necessary investments will be prohibitive, both for Russian and foreign investors,” the expert said.

No way to avoid crashes

The head of Aviaport agency’s analytical service Oleg Panteleyev is also not impressed.

“The companies that will be affected by these unprecedented restrictions are shocked. And the new measures will not help avoid plane crashes. Not one country in the world evaluates the airline’s safety judging by the size or age of its fleet. The only things that matter are how exactly it follows the set procedures on keeping the fleet operational.”

However, “the airlines understand that in Russian conditions, if the authorities decided on the forceful division of the market, it is impossible to resist it, but they still hope that common sense prevails.”

Poor safety record

In the last year the number of plane crashed doubled in Russia, while the number of victims quadrupled, said Ivanov.

In 2011 so far there were 26 incidents with planes, 13 crashes, and 81 people died.

He noted that all the crashes happened with old planes, belonging to companies with less than ten similar planes.

Ivanov also said that fines for operating without a license should increase tenfold, and should be up to 500,000 rubles ($17,000) for companies.

The fines would be the main stimulus to ensure passenger safety, he said.


Cockpit crisis: In five years, over 50 commercial airplanes crashed in loss-of-control accidents. What’s going on?

See full article:

by Chris Sorensen on August 24, 2011 

With low clouds and a fine mist hanging in the morning air, the pilots of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 anticipated a routine approach to Amsterdam’s busy Schiphol Airport on Feb. 25, 2009. But instead of touching down gently on the runway, the white and red Boeing 737 dropped out of the sky and slammed into a muddy field just short of the airport, smashing into three pieces. Nine people died, including all three pilots. Another 84 were injured.

Investigators attributed the crash to a faulty radio altimeter, aggravated by pilot errors and oversights. Radio altimeters use radio waves to measure a plane’s altitude—a key piece of equipment, which is why a 737 is equipped with two of them. But what nobody in the cockpit of Flight 1951 realized was that the malfunctioning altimeter happened to control the 737’s auto-thrust systems. So while the co-pilot was busy monitoring the autopilot (which used data from a different altimeter), and Capt. Hasan Tahsin Arisan was watching the co-pilot as part of a training exercise, and a third “safety” officer was supposed to be watching everyone to make sure nothing got missed, the auto-thrust erroneously engaged its “retard” mode, thinking it was just above the runway. The throttles were cut and the plane’s nose pitched up, causing the plane to drift into an aerodynamic stall. The flight crew tried to recover by returning the throttles to full power, but their initial efforts were thwarted by the confused auto-thrust system, which they forgot to disengage. There was no time for a second try.

Statistically speaking, modern avionics have made flying safer than ever. But the crash of Flight 1951 is just one of several recent, high-profile reminders that minor problems can quickly snowball into horrific disasters when pilots don’t understand the increasingly complex systems in the cockpit, or don’t use them properly. The point was hammered home later that year when Air France Flight 447 stalled at nearly 38,000 feet and ended up crashing into the Atlantic, killing all 228 on board. Investigators recently released transcripts from the Airbus A330’s cockpit voice recorder. It reveals a flight crew gripped by confusion as they tried to diagnose and respond to what should have been a manageable mid-air emergency, but instead resulted in a terrifying 3½-minute plunge in total darkness. “I don’t have control of the airplane anymore,” the co-pilot at the controls said at one point. “Now I don’t have control of the airplane at all.”

Despite being responsible for the lion’s share of passenger deaths over the past decade, it’s only recently that the industry has begun to treat so-called “loss-of-control” accidents as a serious issue. Sunjoo Advani, an expert in flight simulation and the president of a Netherlands-based simulation and engineering consulting firm, says he received puzzled looks when, back in 2007, he suggested that Britain’s Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), an influential safety group, hold a conference on the issue. Not anymore. Advani has spent the past two years coordinating the International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes, or ICATEE, a panel of experts asked by the RAeS to look into stalls and other loss-of-control accidents and find ways to prevent them. “Many of these accidents are recoverable,” he says. “They simply shouldn’t have happened. In many incidents, the airplane has gone into a stall and every automated safety procedure kicked in, but the pilots failed to recognize the situation and failed to recover.

See full article:

NORAD exercise planned in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command says training flights will be held in the Washington area.

NORAD says aircraft will practice interception and identification procedures between midnight Wednesday and 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate.

NORAD, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is a joint U.S.-Canadian command that patrols the skies over North America.

Memorial service for Michigan wing walker Todd Green to be held Thursday

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Michigan for the wing walker who died after falling during the air show Sunday at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County.

The memorial for Todd Green of Ann Arbor will be at 1 p.m. at American Legion Post 117, 203 Adrian Street in Manchester, about 60 miles west of Detroit, according to the International Council of Air Shows.

Selfridge officials said Monday that they are working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate.

The Green family expects to also establish a memorial fund in his memory later this month. Details will be provided through the council’s Web site, For more information about the memorial, call American Legion Post 117 at 734-428-8500.

First Air victims’ bodies to be handed over to families soon.

Nicole Williamson heard crying, made her way over to Gabrielle Pelky and walked her to safety after First Air Flight 6560 crashed in Resolute Bay Saturday.

The RCMP said Williamson, 23, and Pelky, 7, were found sitting on a rock near the crash site moments after the plane went down, bodies and debris around them.

Williamson’s Ottawa-based family said they are feeling “very lucky” that she survived the crash.

While the three survivors of the First Air crash — Pelky, Williamson and Robin Wyllie, 48 — were flown out of Resolute Bay for treatment, the bodies of the 12 victims in the crash remain in the North.

Investigators were still identifying remains Tuesday and expected to release the bodies to family members over the next few days. With debris and remains strewn about the site, forensic investigators have not had an easy time identifying bodies, said Sgt. Paul Solomon.

Solomon said remains were expected to be moved into a temporary morgue today. Bodies that can’t be positively identified in Resolute Bay will be flown to Ottawa for an autopsy, he said.

Once the RCMP has identified each victim, the remains will be handed over to the families, Solomon said.

First Air spokeswoman Judy Skoczylas said the airline would be talking with families to see what the company could do to help get the bodies home.

She said the airline has provided counsellors for bereaved families, friends and co-workers of those killed in the crash.

“We would be assisting the families any way we can,” Skoczylas said.

The First Air Boeing 737-200 crashed shortly before 1 p.m. local time Saturday. The plane was last heard from at 12:40 p.m. about eight kilometres from the airport.

The plane slammed into the ground, breaking into three large pieces. Debris is spread over a one-kilometre area, according to the Transportation Safety Board.

Canadian Forces members in the area were the first on the scene.

“Saturday’s tragedy was felt by all Canadians across the country and around the world,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said shortly after he met with rescuers in Resolute Bay.

“Once again, I want to extend my gratitude to all those involved in the rescue efforts, including the herculean efforts by Canadian Armed Forces personnel.”

The same day that Flight 6560 crashed in Resolute Bay, a second First Air Boeing 737-200 lost power in one engine and had to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Rankin Inlet.

A Transport Canada occurrence report said the plane’s crew called for emergency vehicles at the Rankin Inlet airport before landing safely. There were no injuries reported.

Pita Aatami, chairman of First Air’s board of directors and president of its parent corporation, Makivik Corp., dismissed concerns about the safety of First Air’s fleet. He said the airline follows strict national safety standards, while aircraft and crew are well-versed in northern travel.

“I’m still flying today. I don’t feel unsafe,” he said, calling Saturday crash an “unforeseen accident.”

Solomon said the RCMP expect to hand over the crash scene to the Transportation Safety Board today.

Board investigators will go through the wreckage and may fly parts of the plane to Ottawa for tests if investigators suspect there was a mechanical malfunction on the aircraft.

The plane’s two flight recorders — commonly known as black boxes — are at the board’s lab in Ottawa. The two recorders should provide investigators with at least the last 30 minutes of audio from the cockpit and 25 hours of flight data.

The board said Monday it doesn’t expect to have any preliminary information to report for at least 60 days. A final report on the crash along with any recommended regulatory changes could take a year, or possibly two years, to produce.

On Tuesday, First Air released information about the four crew members killed in Saturday’s accident.

Captain Blair Rutherford, 48, was from Leduc, Alta., near Edmonton, and served 15 years with First Air. He is survived by his wife Tatiana, a First Air flight attendant since 1997, and two young children.

First officer David Hare, 35, served four years with First Air. He is survived by his wife Jane and three young daughters. Hare worked and lived in Yellowknife.

Ann Marie Chassie, 42, served 22 years as a flight attendant with First Air. She is survived by her two teenage children.

Ute Merritt, 55, served four years with First Air as a flight attendant. She is survived by her husband Jim, a First Air pilot, and five children.

With files from the Nunatsiaq News


VIDEO: Red Arrow jet could have been downed by bird strike.

A catastrophic bird strike could have brought down the Red Arrow jet at the Bournemouth Air Festival in England. The plane, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, crashed following the Red Arrows display at the festival in southern England. The pilot steered the plane away from houses in a nearby village, but he failed to eject and was killed.

Aero Commander A-9B, Marshall Soaring Club Inc., N7638V: Accident occurred August 21, 2011 in Marshall, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN11LA585 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 21, 2011 in Marshall, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/2012
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER CALLAIR A-9B, registration: N7638V
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The accident occurred during a glider tow operation. The glider pilot reported experiencing some turbulence during initial climb, followed by a high intensity thermal. The glider pilot lost sight of the airplane (towplane) briefly then relocated it below and to the right of the glider. He released from the towplane and landed without further incident. The glider pilot noted that the towplane appeared to be in stable flight at the time of the release. A witness stated that the takeoff appeared to be normal, but the towplane and glider encountered some turbulence near the end of the runway. He commented that the glider pilot appeared to be having some difficulty staying in position behind the towplane. At one point, the glider was subjected to a tugging motion, which appeared to be due to slack being taken out of the tow rope. The glider subsequently separated from the towplane. The towplane turned right, while the glider continued straight ahead briefly. The towplane was about 350 feet above ground level when the right wing dropped and it entered a 60- to 70-degree nose-down attitude. The towplane completed about one-half of a rotation before the witness lost sight of it behind trees. The towplane impacted an open field about 1/2 mile west of the departure end of the runway. A postaccident examination of the towplane did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. It is likely that, when the glider pilot allowed the glider to climb above the towplane to the extent that he lost sight of the towplane, the resulting tension on the tow rope reduced the towplane pilot's control authority. The resulting loss of airspeed subsequently induced an aerodynamic stall. Although the glider and the towplane separated, there was not enough altitude for the towplane pilot to recover from the upset before the towplane impacted the ground.

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

The towplane pilot's loss of control during an aerotow operation due to the glider pilot's inability to maintain a proper position behind the towplane while encountering turbulence on initial climb.

On August 21, 2011, about 1800 eastern daylight time, an Aero Commander Callair A-9B airplane, N7638V, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a glider tow operation at Brooks Field Airport (RMY), Marshall, Michigan. The pilot was airlifted from the scene in critical condition and died about 7 hours later of injuries sustained in the accident. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Marshall Soaring Club. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from RMY about 1758.

The pilot of the glider being towed by the airplane (towplane) reported that the aerotow takeoff was normal with the exception of some gusty winds. Beginning about 15 seconds into the flight, the glider's airspeed began to repeatedly increase and decrease, with the airspeed oscillations increasing in amplitude as they progressed. During the third or fourth airspeed cycle, he encountered a high intensity thermal. He lost sight of the towplane briefly, relocating it below and slightly to the right of the glider. Tension on the tow rope was high and he elected to release from the tow. At that time the towplane wings were level and it appeared to be stable. He subsequently returned for a landing.

A witness stated that the takeoff appeared to be normal, but the towplane and glider encountered some turbulence near the end of the runway. He commented that the glider pilot appeared to be having some difficulty staying in position behind the towplane. At one point, the glider was subjected to a tugging motion, which appeared to be due slack being taken out of the tow rope. The glider subsequently separated from the tow. The towplane turned right, while the glider continued straight ahead briefly. The towplane was approximately 350 feet above ground level when the right wing dropped and it entered a 60 to 70-degree nose down attitude. The towplane completed about one-half of a rotation before the witness lost sight of it behind trees.

The airplane impacted an open field about 1/2 mile west of the departure end of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

The airplane pilot, age 59, held an airline transport pilot certificate with single and multi-engine land airplane ratings. His pilot certificate also included single-engine sea airplane, helicopter, and glider ratings, which were limited to commercial pilot privileges. The certificate also included Boeing 737 and Cessna 500 type ratings. He held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument airplane ratings. His pilot certificate was issued in October 2010, with the addition of the glider rating. His flight instructor certificate was renewed in March 2010.

The pilot was issued a first class airman medical certificate on January 19, 2011, with a limitation for near and intermediate vision corrective lenses. The pilot's subsequent application for a first class airman medical certificate, dated August 3, 2011, was deferred by the aviation medical examiner pending further evaluation by the FAA. A decision regarding the pilot's medical certificate application was still pending at the time of the accident.

On his most recent medical certificate application, the pilot indicated a total flight of 31,000 hours, with 325 hours in the preceding 6 months. He noted that he was employed as an airline pilot. The pilot's personal flight time (non-airline) logbook included four entries related to 2011. Three of the entries noted the accident airplane and totaled 2.0 hours. One additional entry was dated the day of the accident and noted the accident airplane. There was no flight duration listed with this entry.

According to records provided by the glider club, the accident pilot applied for membership in September 2009. He had accumulated about 30 hours in Aero Commander A-9B airplanes (same make/model) and 35 hours in gliders.

The accident airplane was a 1968 Aero Commander Callair A-9B, serial number 1366. The single-place, single-engine airplane was configured with a tailwheel landing gear configuration. It was being operated on restricted category special airworthiness certificate for agriculture/glider towing purposes. The airplane was powered by a 300-horsepower Lycoming IO-540-K1A5 engine, serial number RL-14096-48A.

According to the airplane maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 26, 2011, at 6,833.3 hours total airframe time. The engine had accumulated 444.7 hours since rebuild at the time of the inspection. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 27.1 hours since the inspection. Airplane records did not contain any record of unresolved maintenance issues.

At 1800, the RMY Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) recorded conditions as: wind from 280 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 19 knots; 10 miles visibility; scattered clouds at 5,500 feet agl; temperature 23 degrees Celsius; dew point 12 degrees Celsius; and altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

Brooks Field Airport (RMY) was served by a single east-west oriented, asphalt runway. Runway 10-28 was 3,501 feet long by 75 feet wide. Glider operations were conducted from the grass area south of the asphalt runway.

The accident site was located approximately 1/2 mile west of the departure end of the runway. The airplane came to rest upright, oriented on a north bearing. The forward fuselage was damaged, with deformation of the skin and airframe substructure. The engine remained attached to the engine mount and firewall. Both wings were partially separated from the airframe, and each exhibited crushing and buckling damage. The flight controls remained with the airplane; although, the ailerons and flaps were partially separated. One exception was the left aileron, which remained completely attached to the left wing.

A postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. Elevator and rudder control continuity was confirmed. Damage to the aileron control system appeared consistent with overload failures resulting from impact forces. Engine examination confirmed internal continuity via crankshaft rotation. Compression was obtained on all cylinders, and both magnetos exhibited spark when rotated. Fluid consistent with fuel in appearance and odor was observed in the gascolator and flow divider. The fuel filter appeared free of contamination. The fuel pump operated when provided electrical power. Engine throttle and mixture control continuity was confirmed. The two-bladed propeller assembly remained attached to the engine. One blade was intact and appeared undeformed. The second blade was bent approximately 90 degrees at the root. The airspeed indicator was tested and determined to indicate within 2 mph throughout the operating range.

The tow rope was recovered about 400 feet east of the accident site. The 200-foot long tow rope was separated approximately 166 feet from one end. The corresponding tow ring remained attached. The remaining portion of the rope was not recovered.

An autopsy of the pilot was performed on August 23, 2011. The pilot's death was attributed to multiple injuries received in the accident.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) toxicology report stated:
No Ethanol detected in Vitreous;
Atropine detected in Liver;
Atropine detected in Blood (Periph.);
Atropine not detected in Heart;
Etomidate detected in Liver;
Etomidate detected in Blood;
Lidocaine detected in Heart;
Lidocaine detected Blood (Periph.);
Midazolam not detected in Blood (Periph);
Midazolam detected in Liver;
Ondansetron detected in Liver;
Ondansetron detected in Blood.

The pilot of the glider being towed held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. He was not glider rated. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate on July 20, 2011, with a restriction for near vision corrective lenses. On the medical certificate application, he reported a total flight time of 472 hours, with 4 hours flown within the previous 6 months. According to records provided by the glider club, the glider pilot applied for membership in June 2011. Since that time, he had completed a total of 36 glider flights, totaling 9.2 hours. Of that total, he had accumulated approximately 3.8 hours of solo glider flight time. His initial glider solo flight was on July 17, 2011.

The glider pilot was fatally injured in an unrelated airplane accident on October 6, 2011, in Holland, Michigan.

The FAA Glider Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-13) provides information and guidance related to glider operations. Regarding launch procedures, the handbook notes that once airborne and climbing, the glider can fly one of two tow positions. High tow is aerotow flight with the glider positioned above the wake of the towplane and is preferred for climbing out. However, the handbook cautions that "one of the most dangerous occurrences during the aerotow is allowing the glider to rise high above and losing sight of the towplane." The tension on the tow rope by the glider may ultimately limit the towplane elevator authority. Additionally, the towplane pilot may not be able to release the tow rope." This situation can be critical if it occurs at altitudes below 500 fee agl. Upon losing sight of the towplane, the glider pilot must release immediately."


Officials say the pilot of a plane who was critically injured during a crash in a field near the southwestern Michigan community of Marshall has died. The Battle Creek Enquirer and the Kalamazoo Gazette report 59-year-old John Hoffman of Marshall died Monday at a Lansing hospital. Authorities say the plane spiraled down and crashed west of Brooks Field Airport on Sunday evening. The site is in Calhoun County's Marshall Township. He was flying a plane with a glider attached behind it by a cable. The crash happened shortly after the glider was released. The person in the glider wasn't hurt.

John Riske, manager of Marshall's Brooks Field, stands next the glider that was towed by the airplane that crashed on Sunday.

Officials say the pilot of a plane who was critically injured during a crash in a field near the southwestern Michigan community of Marshall has died.

A 59-year-old Marshall man died Monday morning from injuries sustained in a Sunday evening plane crash.

Officials from Lansing's Sparrow Hospital Tuesday afternoon confirmed the death of John Hoffman.

"It looks like this plane was towing a glider when it separated the glider and spiraled into the field," said Tony Molinaro, the Federal Aviation Administration's Great Lakes Region spokesman.

Officials said the glider made it safely back to the Marshall Brooks Field Airport, but the airplane, piloted by Hoffman, crashed in a nearby field around 6 p.m. Sunday.

Hoffman was extracted from the wreckage and airlifted to Sparrow on Sunday night but died of his injuries the next morning.

Long-time friend Robert Horton, who lived next door to Hoffman, said Hoffman was passionate about flying and about life. Hoffman told Horton that he'd loved flying ever since he was a child.

Hoffman was a mentor and was always supportive and positive, Horton said.

"He'd probably want to say, 'Just live life to the fullest,'" Horton said. "That's what he did. He was always on the go. He was always happy and always doing something."

His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the J. Kevin Tidd Funeral Home, 811 Finley Drive in Albion. A family member said he was unsure whether the family would comment.

The FAA is investigating the crash and may take as long as six months to complete its probe, Molinaro said.

To determine what caused the crash, the FAA will be looking at the plane itself and the attachment to the glider as well as maintenance records. Officials will also talk with the glider pilot, witnesses and anyone who was in contact with Hoffman before the crash, Molinaro said.

A witness told the Enquirer that he saw the cable detach and the plane nosedive toward the ground.

Hoffman was flying a 1968 single-engine aircraft owned by the Marshall Soaring Club Inc. Soaring Club members declined to comment.

Marshall Airport Manager John Riske recalled Hoffman's passion for flying. And he wouldn't have wanted his accident to scare people away from flying, Riske said.

"It could have been worse," Riske said. "We could have had two planes down."

The Soaring Club has about 25 or 30 members who are trained to fly the gliders, Riske said.

The towing planes normally drag the gliders into the air and release the cable attaching the two, allowing the glider pilots to land independently, Riske said.

On Sunday, the glider pilot may have released the cable early, he said.

The glider generally is released when it is 2,500 to 3,000 feet in the air or higher. This time, the disconnection was made at 300 to 400 feet, Riske said.

The glider is one of four the soaring club uses, Riske said.

"Every once in a while, you are reminded of why you practice emergency procedures," Riske said.