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: Fatal accident occurred July 25, 2011 in Van Dyne, Wisconsin

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA505 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 25, 2011 in Van Dyne, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: PIPER J3L-65, registration: N81BF
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was one of a flight of two that departed for a local sightseeing flight over the lake. The pilot of the other airplane stated that they flew east to the lake and followed the lake shore south at altitudes varying between 1,000 and 1,400 feet. He stated that the accident airplane began a maneuver by pitching up and then climbing. The left wing then dropped and the airplane yawed to the left and descended. During the descent, the airplane became inverted, and the nose of the airplane started to rise and the airplane began to roll to the right. As the airplane rolled, the right wing contacted the water and the airplane crashed into the lake. Rescue divers reported the rear seat passenger was not restrained and the pilot was restrained in his seat. It is possible that there could have been some inadvertent interference with the flight controls by the passenger, but it could not be determined conclusively. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any failures or malfunctions that would have resulted in the loss of control. An autopsy performed on the pilot determined that multiple cysts that were caused by a parasite were located in the white matter of his brain. It could not be determined if this condition played a role in the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s inability to maintain airplane control while maneuvering for reasons that could not be determined from the available evidence.

On July 25, 2011, at 1145 central daylight time, a Piper J3L-65, N81BF, collided with the waters of Lake Winnebago, near Van Dyne, Wisconsin, following a loss of control while performing an aerobatic maneuver. The airline transport certificated pilot and the passenger onboard were both fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The local personal flight was being operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at 1127.

The pilot flew to OSH on the day prior to the accident to attend the EAA AirVenture fly-in.

The accident airplane departed OSH along with another Piper Cub for a local sightseeing flight over Lake Winnebago. The pilot and the pilot-rated passenger in the other airplane stated both airplanes flew down the coastline at altitudes varying between 1,000 feet and 1,400 feet. They stated the accident pilot was performing a maneuver when the accident occurred. The 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. They contacted air traffic control at OSH and circled the area until they saw a boat approach the accident site at which time they returned to OSH.

A witness reported seeing two airplanes flying at an altitude estimated to be about 300 feet above the water. The airplanes were traveling from the north to south. The witness stated that both airplanes were flying slow and making slow turns above the lake. He stated they were not flying aerobatic maneuvers. He stated he looked away momentarily when his wife stated that one of the airplanes was flying upside down. He stated he looked back toward the airplanes and saw one of them upside down and descending into the lake. He stated he did not see how the airplane got to be upside down. 


The pilot, age 47, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine rating and commercial privileges for single-engine land airplanes. The pilot held type ratings in B747, B727, B737, B757, B77, CE-560XL, and L-1011 airplanes. He held a first-class airman medical certificate dated February 14, 2011. The medical certificate did not contain any limitations. 

The pilot’s wife provided four pilot logbooks the first of which began in May 1983, and the last of which ended March 1997. The pilot’s wife stated he kept an electronic logbook on his cell phone and that he had stopped logging small airplane time some time ago. 

The pilot was currently employed as a Boeing 747 first officer for a CFR Part 121 operator. The operator provided the resume that the pilot submitted to them when he was seeking employment. On the resume, the date of which is unknown, the pilot listed having 12,256 hours of flight time, of which 1,840 hours were in single-engine airplanes. The operator also supplied a Pilot Flight and Duty Time Record listing the hours the pilot had flown during his employment. This document contained flights between December 5, 2010, to July 28, 2011, which totaled 534 hours. 

The pilot purchased the accident airplane in April 2010. It could not be determined from the records available, how much flight time the pilot had in the accident airplane. 


The high-wing, fabric covered, tail-wheeled airplane, serial number 6084, was manufactured in 1940. The 2-place airplane contained a tandem seating arrangement. Shoulder harnesses and seatbelts were installed in both the front and rear seats in October 2009. A Continental C90-8 engine, serial number 30158-5-A., powered the airplane

The airframe and engine logbooks were not located during the course of the investigation. The tachometer hour meter indicated 219.7 at the time of the accident.


A review of the recorded surface observation weather data from the Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin, located approximately 8 miles northwest of the accident site, revealed the conditions at 1153 were: wind from 230 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear sky; temperature 26 degrees Celsius; dewpoint 16 degree Celsius; and altimeter setting 29.97 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was located in Lake Winnebago, approximately ½ mile east of Wendt’s Harbor. The crew of a barge that was in the area heard about the accident on the marine radio and went to the area to try and assist. With the assistance of rescue divers, they were able to place straps around the airplane and lift it from the lake onto the barge. The airplane was then brought to shore and transferred to a flatbed truck.

The fuselage aft of the rear seat was intact and relatively undamaged with the exception of fabric wrinkles. The elevator and rudder were intact. Both the left and right sides of the cockpit were crushed inward. The top of the fuselage was broken open. 

Both wings were bent forward, the wooden wing spars were broken at the fuselage, and the wing struts for both wings were bent. With the exception of the spar near the fuselage, the remainder of the left wing was intact and it sustained relatively little damage. The right wing sustained impact damage. The fabric along the entire right wing was wrinkled in a relatively uniform manner. The right aileron remained attached to the wing. The outboard section of the aileron and the wing tip were crushed upward. 

Control continuity was established from the cockpit to all of the flight control surfaces. 

The fuel selector was positioned to Both, the throttle was in the Open position, the carburetor heat was Off, and the airplane was trimmed to nose down. 

The engine remained attached to the firewall. The outboard section on both wooden propeller blades was shattered. An examination of the engine revealed the spark plugs exhibited normal operating signatures. The propeller was rotated by hand and thumb compression was achieved on all four cylinders. Sparks were viewed on all of the spark plug leads when the engine was turned by hand. Oil was present in and around the engine. No anomalies were noted that would have prevented normal operation of the engine. 


Autopsies were performed on both the pilot and passenger on July 26, 2011, at the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office, 134 Western Avenue, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935. 

The cause of death for the passenger was listed as drowning with a significant factor of blunt force trauma. 

The cause of death for the pilot was listed as drowning with a significant factor of blunt force trauma to the head. An autopsy finding listed “multiple cysts to white matter of cerebral hemispheres of brain, consistent with Cysticercosis” and that no larvae were found during a microscopic examination. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Cysticercosis is a parasitic tissue infection caused by larval cysts of the pork tapeworm. These larval cysts infect brain, muscle, or other tissue, and are a major cause of adult onset seizures in most low-income countries. An individual acquires Cysticercosis from ingesting eggs excreted by a person who has an intestinal tapeworm. “

The pilot’s wife was not aware that he had Cysticercosis. It is unknown if the pilot was aware of his condition. 

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The test results were negative for all substances tested. 


The occupants of the other airplane that was flying with the accident airplane made a MAYDAY call informing OSH tower that the accident had occurred. They then circled the area until they saw a boat approach the accident site at which time they returned to land at OSH. 

OSH tower contacted Milwaukee approach control to coordinate the search for the airplane. A Civil Air Patrol (CAP) airplane was in the area and heard the MAYDAY call. The Lieutenant on the CAP airplane stated they coordinated with Milwaukee approach control and proceeded to the area where the accident occurred. They descended to 2,500 feet and circled the southwest portion of Lake Winnebago. They saw the other airplane circling the lower part of the lake near the shore line. He stated that after circling a couple times, they did not see any wreckage so they headed north along the western shoreline which is where they located the wreckage at 1205 to the southwest of Warbird Island. After reporting that they located the wreckage they were informed that a rescue helicopter was en route to the site. The helicopter arrived and the CAP airplane stayed on scene until 1225. By this time the helicopter had made several trips to the shore and there were numerous boats in the area. 

The depth of the water at the accident site was approximately 6 to 7 feet. Several pleasure boats that were out on the lake responded to the area after the accident. A Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy who arrived at the scene was transported by a pleasure boat out to the accident site. He stated he was able to see a female victim in the airplane. He put on a life vest and entered the water in an attempt to remove the female. He stated that after he entered the water, EAA personnel from the seaplane base arrived and attempted to hold the wing up. According to the Deputy’s statement, two other people then entered the water and tried unsuccessfully to assist him in removing the occupants. 

The occupants were recovered from the wreckage by Fond du Lac Sheriff’s Department rescue divers. The divers reported the pilot was restrained in his and the back-seat passenger did not appear to be restrained with either seatbelt or shoulder harness. The passenger was floating within the airplane when they located the wreckage. 


A Garmin GPSMAP 295 was located in the cockpit of the airplane. The GPS was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division for a data download. 

The tracklog data began at 1127:53. The data showed the airplane taking off from OSH in a northerly direction. The airplane turned to the southeast and continued to climb until reaching the western shoreline of Lake Winnebago. Upon reaching the shoreline the airplane descended to a GPS altitude of 756, prior to beginning a climb. The airplane reached a GPS altitude of 1,055 feet prior to descending to an altitude of 759 feet. During this time period the calculated groundspeed varied from 59 knots to 72 knots. The airplane continued on a south-southeasterly heading prior to making a climbing left turn. During the turn, the airplane climbed to a GPS altitude of 1,339 prior to descending while still in the turn. The last GPS data point placing the airplane above the surface of the lake (748 feet, based on Google Earth imagery) was at 1144:22. This data point placed the airplane at a GPS altitude of 1,251 feet. The calculated velocity at this point was 73 knots.

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.

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.

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