Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big pay-out for community from Queenstown Airport. (New Zealand)

The Wakatipu community will receive a $2.46 million pay-out from Queenstown Airport Corporation’s first-ever dividend.

A statement from QAC today (Friday) says record passenger numbers, increased aircraft movements and strong revenue from commercial activities helped bolster the amount that shareholders will receive.

Operating revenue for the year ended June 30, 2011, increased 17 per cent to $15.6m and the 2011earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $9m – a 31.1 per cent increase over the 2010 EBITDA of $7.54m.

As a result, shareholders of QAC – Queenstown Lakes District Council and Auckland International Airport – will receive $3.28m and $821,000 respectively, next year.

The amount exceeds the originally-anticipated figure of $1.5m-plus, which was revealed with QAC’s dividend policy in May.

The first-ever pay-out stems from the secret June 2010 strategic alliance between QAC and Auckland Airport, when AIAL bought a 24.99 per cent share for $27.7m.

The deal sparked an outcry within some areas of the community – with a local group of powerful businessmen trying to stop the deal through the High Court. The matter was later settled out of court.

This year’s net profit after tax (NPAT) of $4.58M represents a lift of 22.1% over
normalised NPAT of $3.75M in 2010, acting board chairman Murray Valentine says.

“The Airport saw a record 924,248 scheduled passengers travel – up 14 per cent on the previous year. International passengers were up 50 per cent at 161,089, while domestic passengers rose 8.5 per cent with 767,159 passengers moving through the Airport.”

Airport CEO Steve Sanderson says the seat capacity in and out of Queenstown grew by 14 per cent to 1.176m over the past year.

Retail spend, in particular in the areas of food and beverage and duty free increased and demand from rental car operators remains positive.

“Queenstown Airport has consolidated its position as the second largest base of New Zealand rental car operations and this activity is going from strength to strength,” Sanderson says.

The continued growth of the airport has also accelerated the company’s master plan.

“Queenstown Airport continues to grow and the year ahead is very exciting,” Sanderson says.

Source:   http://www.scene.co.nz

Emergency Landing, Gear Failure. Moree Airport, New South Wales, Australia.

Police say a pilot has made an emergency landing at Moree Airport after the plane's landing gear failed.

The pilot, a 50-year-old Victorian man, was flying from Bankstown to Moree.

He raised the alarm about 6:30pm (AEST), closing the airport for about three hours

The pilot was the only person in the single-engine light plane and flew for an extra 40 minutes to try and rectify the problem.

The crime manager with the Barwon local area command, Steve Laksa, says the plane eventually belly landed on the runway and skipped for about 200 meters before stopping.

"As a result there was a successful landing and no injuries to any of the persons or specifically the pilot," he said.

"There was no damage to the aircraft as a result of fire or fuel issues, so a very sort of touch and go incident involving the aircraft and in the end it all turned out good."

Lancair 235 (built by William C. Nichols) , Donny L. Asher (rgd. owner & pilot), N777BN: Accident occurred August 25, 2011 in Heath, Ohio

http://registry.faa.gov/N777BN

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA597
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 25, 2011 in Heath, OH
Aircraft: Nichols Lancair 235, registration: N777BN
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 25, 2011, at 1856 eastern daylight time, a Nichols model Lancair 235 airplane, N777BN, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during initial climb from Newark-Heath Airport, Heath, Ohio. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private pilot, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, who was located on the airport, the airplane had used runway 27 for the accident takeoff. The witness stated that the airplane appeared to be "very unstable" after it became airborne, alternately rolling right and left while remaining only a few feet above the runway. The witness noted that he did not believe the pilot had control of the airplane. The airplane then turned left and proceeded off the runway directly toward the witness's position. The witness noted that the airplane continued to fly erratically, with continuous pitch, yaw, and roll changes, and cleared a row of hangars by approximately 10 feet. The airplane continued in a climb to 100-150 feet above the ground before it banked sharply to the left and entered a nose-down descent into trees. The witness stated that the engine sounded normal throughout the entire flight, with no hesitations or misfires noted.

A postaccident examination of the airport property revealed that the airplane had veered off the left side of the runway, about 1,700 feet from the approach threshold, while still on the ground. The airplane's nose landing gear collided with a runway edge light and the observed tire tracks continued on a southwesterly heading for about 100 feet before the airplane became airborne.

The airplane collided with several trees and a residential backyard located immediately south of the airport property. All airframe structural components and aerodynamic control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control continuity could not be established due to damage; however, all observed flight control system discontinuities were consistent with an overload failure. No preimpact anomalies were noted with the main landing gear braking system that was used for directional control during ground operations. The airplane was not equipped with nose-wheel steering.

The experimental amateur-built airplane had accumulated 1,131 hours since being issued an airworthiness certificate on August 10, 1990. The pilot reportedly had not flown the airplane since he purchased it from the original builder on September 14, 2010. He had reportedly expressed concerns with the airplane's ground-handling characteristics, and in the weeks preceding the accident, was seen performing several high-speed ground tests.



http://www.newarkadvocate.com

HEATH — A Pataskala man was killed Thursday night when his single-engine plane crashed in a Heath backyard near the Newark-Heath Airport.

Donny L. Asher, 50, took off from the Newark-Heath Airport around 7 p.m. in a single-engine, single-prop, two-seat Lancair 235. The plane went down, striking several trees before it hit the ground in the backyard of 551 Heath Road, Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Darrin Blosser said.

Before a detailed investigation, it appeared the crash was caused by a mechanical problem, Blosser said.

Wayne County pilot Lynn Orr had just landed his plane at the airport and was talking to friends on the runway when the crash happened.

He said he saw the plane “porpoising” as it flew, then it went sideways, rolled over and crashed into the trees.

Greg Kirk, of Heath, was driving west on Heath Road when he saw the plane lose control and come down. He stopped his car and called 911.

“It was like the plane had no control,” Kirk said.

Alice Machwart was in her house when she heard a loud noise and noticed Kirk’s car in her driveway. Then she saw the wreckage of the plane in her yard.

No one in her house was hurt, and none of her property was damaged in the crash.
“It breaks my heart,” Machwart said. “I’ve been here since the ’70s, and we’ve never had a plane crash.”

The patrol and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Videos and Photo: http://www.newarkadvocate.com

HEATH, Ohio -- Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a plane crash that occurred near the Newark-Heath Airport in Heath Thursday evening.

Troopers tell NBC4 they are investigating a plane crash happened near the Newark-Heath Airport in Heath around 6:45 p.m. Thursday.

Fire officials confirm that one person was on board of the aircraft. That person was pronounced dead on the scene.

The aircraft, a fixed wing single-engine Lancair 235, is registered to a Donny Asher of Pataskala, Ohio. It is unknown if Asher is the identity of the pilot.

The aircraft crashed across the street from the airport at 551 Heath Road.


Airport honored with statewide awards. Everett-Stewart Regional Airport (KUCY), Union City, Tennessee

Officials at Everett-Stewart Regional Airport are going to have to make room on the walls of their terminal for a couple of new awards. The local airport has been honored by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission with awards recognizing the local airport’s appearance, management and programming.

Local airport manager Jo Ann Speer and airport commission chairman Dr. Chris Gooch were on hand at the Tennessee Airports Conference in Nashville last week to accept the two major state awards. Also attending the conference’s awards banquet were Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire and Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick; Gooch’s wife, Cissy; and Mrs. Speer’s husband, Kerry.

The local airport won the Governing Body of the Year Award and the 2011 Red Carpet Award. In making the award presentation, Robert Woods said, “To be chosen as the Governing Body of the Year, they must demonstrate a superior leadership effort in overseeing their airport. The 2011 recipient formed a joint airport board in 2006 as a partnership of two counties to better serve the interest of both counties and the airport.

The (airport) board made a decision to jointly operate the airport and to equally share in the financial responsibility.” Woods, who is director of the state Department of Transportation’s aeronautics division, went on to say, “Since the formation of the airport board they have completed several projects, including extending the runway 1,500 feet, the installation of a new fuel farm, constructing a 10-unit T-hangar and airport security improvements.

The relocation of the existing ILS (Instrument Landing System) is currently under way.” “The organization of this joint airport board is a unique partnership between two neighboring counties that is a prime example of what a working partnership can accomplish,” Woods said. “The Everett-Stewart Regional Airport has positioned itself nicely for economic development, which will be coming to the area,” he said. “Weakley County joining with Obion County really made the difference in speeding up the expansion projects for the airport.”

This was the first year for the Red Carpet Award and the local airport was one of only three airports statewide to earn one of the awards. There are 73 public airports in Tennessee, according to Mrs. Speer. Of the two awards earned by the local airport, Mrs. Speer said she is particularly proud of the Red Carpet Award. “It’s very special because it’s based on what we offer as an airport to our customers,” she said.

Everett-Stewart Regional Airport won the prestigious Red Carpet Award based on exterior appearance, cleanliness of the airport, terminal and public areas, the airport’s service plan and airport activities, maintenance and operation of the airport and the airport’s unique programs and activities. “The work that has been done by all those involved is very deserving of these awards,” TDOT Aeronautics project manager David Moss said. “Momentum is picking up and the task now is to keep it going. Congratulations to you and the board for the recognition. I enjoy working with everyone and there is still work to be done.”

The awards will formally be presented to the airport commission at the board’s next scheduled meeting, set for the morning of Sept. 15. The state awards should have come as no surprise to local airport officials. There has been a major transformation taking place at and around the facility since it became a regional airport several years ago.

The airport’s regional status has helped pave the way for major investments from Obion and Weakley counties to go along with state and federal funding. Local, state and federal funding have already exceeded $6.3 million and the local airport commission is far from finished. One of the most significant upgrades at the local airport was the recent extension of the runway from 5,000 feet to 6,500 feet, allowing the airport to accommodate a significantly wider range of aircraft.

The airport commission held a special runway dedication ceremony in late June to promote the new runway and other airport improvements. Work is continuing on an access road from the airport to Highway 22 East and a new airport entrance sign will be going up soon. Coming up next month, the airport again will be in the spotlight when it hosts the 2011 Cornfest Airport Extravaganza on Sept. 10-11.

Events such as the runway dedication and Airport Extravaganza contributed to the airport’s recognition at the state conference. The upcoming Airport Extravaganza will cover two days of events that will include aerobatics demonstrations, a barnstorming show, a performance by the Special Forces Association Parachute Team and a wide variety of exhibits and children’s activities on the ground at the airport campus.

VIDEO: Chasing After Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Hunters based in MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

on Aug 25, 2011 by Associated Press

Hurricane Hunters based in MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, fly into Hurricane Irene as she moves northeast through the Atlantic Ocean. Their instruments and radars collect data that will help predict Irene's next move.


VIDEO: Hurricane hunters fly into the eye of the storm

As the Eastern states prepare for Hurricane Irene's wrath, others are doing some remarkable feats to help protect us. Pilots from the U.S. Air Force have stared the beast in the eye and lived to tell about it.

Brave pilots form MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, along with scientists have the daunting, dangerous task of tracking Irene to collect data. This involves flying directly into the eye of the hurricane, which they did early Thurday morning.

Click on the video below to view this fascinating yet terrifying flight, which took 8 long hours.


Pakistan International Airlines aircraft safety.

LOCAL dailies have been highlighting cases of carelessness and the poor state of affairs of aircraft safety in PIA. Most recently one of the airbuses was grounded in Paris during a surprise inspection of the aircraft that was about to take off.

There was another news report that a bird hit a 737 aircraft which was flying from Delhi to Lahore.

It was allowed to take off again with speedy checking, lasting only two hours.

The third incident occurred a few days ago when an aeroplane’s wheels failed to pull up at Sialkot on a Jeddah-bound flight.

I would like to draw the attention of the CAA/PIA’s quality assurance personnel to observe both passenger safety and aircraft quality procedures that are set by International Air Safety Boards.

Apart from a few 777 airplanes, none of the PIA fleet meets the minimum criteria of international safety standards. Aircraft that are used on the Middle East route are in a deplorable condition.

Can a senior official view the condition of 737 aircraft that are used on the Lahore-Abu Dhabi sector?

The sooner they do, the safer it will be for passengers.

Hypersonic plane flies at 20 times the speed of sound in video released by DARPA.


An unmanned glider streaks over the Pacific Ocean at 20 times the speed of sound in a video released by a US defence research agency experimenting with technology that could give the military the ability to strike any part of the globe within an hour.

The August 11 test ended early when a problem caused the craft's safety system to force it down into the ocean but the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency said valuable data was collected in the nearly three minutes of free flight at the hypersonic speed of Mach 20 — about 20,921km/h.
At its top speed it could travel the 17,000 kilometres between London and Sydney in about 49 minutes.

The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, atop a Minotaur 4 rocket that carried it to the edge of space, performed what DARPA described as a series of aggressive banks and turns, and then released the glider.

The video release on Thursday in the US taken by a crewmember on a tracking ship shows the rocket and vehicle together as a fast-moving contrail and then the HTV-2 as a faint dot zipping away on its own.

"It gives us a visceral feel for what it means to fly at Mach 20," DARPA Director Regina Dugan said in a statement.

Hypersonic is the term for speeds greater than Mach 5. Various hypersonic programs have typically produced brief flights — measured in seconds or minutes.

This month's test was the second of two missions in DARPA's HTV-2 program, which is aimed at learning how to fly at such speeds and advancing the technologies needed for long-duration hypersonic flight.

The HTV-2's dimensions are among details kept secret by the agency, which seeks to provide technology breakthroughs for the Defence Department.

The first HTV-2 was launched on April 22, 2010. It returned nine minutes of data, including 139 seconds of aerodynamic data at speeds between 17 and 22 times the speed of sound, DARPA said. That craft detected an anomaly, aborted its flight and plunged into the ocean, the agency said.

DARPA said preliminary analysis of this month's flight showed that the Minotaur rocket placed the HTV-2 at the planned release point and at the proper velocity and orientation, and the separation from the booster was clean.

In a statement, Air Force Major Chris Schulz, the HTV-2 program manager, likened the rocket's performance to making "a three-point shot from the California coastline into a basket between California and Hawaii".

The test also returned more than nine minutes of data. Dugan said that included approximately three minutes of "stable aerodynamically controlled Mach 20 hypersonic flight".

When the problem occurred, the HTV-2's flight safety system autonomously guided it in a controlled descent to splashdown along the planned trajectory, DARPA said.

After the first flight, changes were made to the second HTV-2 and its flight problem was not believed to be related to the previous one, DARPA said.

Read more, videos and photos: http://www.smh.com.au

New aerobatic teams make debut in Beijing

BEIJING - The People's Liberation Army Air Force announced on Thursday the formation of two aerobatic demonstration teams, which will make their debuts at an air show next month.

The teams, named the Flying Wings and Red Eagles, will make their debuts at the Changchun Air Show to be held in Northeast China next month. They are meant to help pave the way for international military exchanges and to make the public more aware of China's national interest in airspace security, said Zhao Jingbo, deputy chief of the Chinese Air Force Command's training department.

To that end, they will work alongside the August First Air Demonstration Team, the aerobatic demonstration team of the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

"If we call the August First Air Demonstration Team the national team or professional team, the other two will be province teams or amateur teams," Zhao said.

"These three teams will learn from each other and improve the image of China's air force in the eyes of the national and international public."

The Flying Wings are affiliated with the Aviation University of the Air Force, the alma mater of Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut. The Red Eagles, meanwhile, are affiliated with the No 3 Aviation College of the People's Liberation Army, which trained Zhai Zhigang, the first Chinese man to walk in space.

The three teams have all chosen to fly planes that were developed by China.

The Flying Wings will use the Nanchang CJ-6, a two-seat plane that China has produced and exported more than any other aircraft. The Red Eagles, for their part, decided to use the Hongdu K-8, a new type of subsonic jet aircraft.

Unlike the August First team, the two new teams will enlist pilots who are considered to be first-class flight instructors. The Flying Wings in particular will have pilots who can boast 2,000 hours of flying time on average, which is double the number of those hours that can be claimed by the August First Air Demonstration Team.

The August First team, which uses Chengdu J-10 fighters in its shows, is among the top four aerobatic demonstration teams that perform in somewhat outdated fighter jets in their shows.

The other three are the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the Knights and Swifts both Russian.

Cessna 206 makes emergency landing, beach resort in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines.




CEBU CITY (Updated) -- A six-seater Cessna plane with three persons on board dove in the waters off a beach resort in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City at 10:46 a.m. Thursday.

Three hours later, a pump boat carrying Koreans on their way to dive capsized near the islet of Nalusuan in the adjacent town of Cordova.

No one died in either accident.

The Cessna plane 206 crashed and flipped upon impact after it met a mechanical problem while hovering above Lapu-Lapu City.

The single-engine plane with body number RP C1175 was on a test flight when its engine lost power.

Pilot Captain Joseph Brent Chiong Jr., assistant pilot Saturnino Dela Cruz, and on-the-job trainee Ditto Adrian Rodriguez were not injured. They got wet though.

The plane left Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) at 10:39 a.m.

Seven minutes later, the pilot called the radio tower for an emergency landing.

Witnesses told Sun.Star Cebu that the plane was hovering when it suddenly descended and nosedived into the waters, some 100 meters from the shores of Hadsan Cove Resort, a dive spot.

Brothers Jupiter and Premo Amorin, who were fishing near the area, paddled immediately to the plane when they heard the plane passengers shouting for help.

Premo said they thought it was an air show.

Fearing that the plane would explode, they hesitated in approaching it. Chiong, the pilot, had assured them it would not.

The fishermen had the two pilots and the trainee ride with in their boat. Rodriguez, the trainee, was in shock and couldn’t speak.

Premo said it was a good thing that the tide was low and there were no swimmers, otherwise, someone could have gotten hurt.

A rescuer from General Aviation, who asked not to be named, said the Cessna plane was recently acquired by the Mactan Aviation Technological Center.

He said Chiong and company were on a test flight to acquire a license that would have allowed the plane to be used for commercial air service such as island hopping. The plane has been used for cloud seeding in Mindanao.

“There are various reasons that can cause a plane to crash. It’s hard to identify,” he said when asked why the plane lost power.

Rescuers, with the help of curious residents, dragged the plane to shore with the use of ropes.

After four hours, they retrieved the plane.

Rescuers told reporters they would have to dismantle the plane so it can be carried. The plane’s body can still be used.

Apron Hiyas, 11, who helped in the rescue, will be given a share of the P2,000 cash intended for the rescuers.

Hiyas said he can buy rice with it.

Sun.Star Cebu tried but failed to interview the pilot at the hangar of the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Meanwhile, in Cordova, a pump boat capsized at 1:05 p.m. but none of its passengers was reported injured.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron Commander Simplicio Gilig told Sun.Star Cebu that there were five Koreans, a Filipino dive master and two crew men on board the pump boat.

The pump boat left the Fun and Sun Diving Shop in Buyong, Lapu-Lapu City at 11 a.m.

Gilig said the boat was good for five passengers but was carrying eight passengers and 12 oxygen tanks.

The boat was making a turn toward Nalusuan when big waves hit it and caused it to overturn.

All passengers were picked up by another pump boat.

Source:  http://www.sunstar.com.ph

US airlines cut flights, make plans to move aircraft

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - U.S. airlines on Thursday began to cut flights at East Coast airports and made plans to move aircraft from the region due to approaching Hurricane Irene.

Major airlines encouraged travelers to consider changing flight plans or postponing trips with the massive storm threatening to sweep north through mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states over the weekend.

Airlines affected include Southwest Airlines US Airways, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines.

Most waived fees for rebooking tickets.

Shares fell 3.5 percent on the Amex Airline Index .XAL. Those with service to the Caribbean, where Irene lashed the Bahamas with 115 mph winds, took hard hits on Wall Street.

Jetblue Airways, which is based at New York's Kennedy airport, shed more than 7 percent. US Airways was off more than 4 percent and Delta, 5.7 percent.

Southwest, American and United also ended lower.

New York-area air space is the most congested in the United States, and Irene threatened the region at the busiest time of the year for airlines.

Cancellations and delays in the East affect flights across the country and overseas, prompting advisories of more widespread delays.

Irene threatened air service just two days after an earthquake centered in Virginia disrupted travel along the eastern seaboard.

Separately, U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak canceled most train service south of Washington for Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to potential affects of the storm.

Most trains in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York and Washington are not currently affected, Amtrak said.

New flying doctor planes take off. (Australia) Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Queensland Health Minister Geoff Wilson says three new planes will be added to the fleet of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Mr Wilson says the specially fitted King Air planes will be based in Townsville, Rockhampton and Brisbane.

He says extra crews and staff have been employed to help deliver the high quality service to Queenslanders in rural areas.

"Where you've got rural and remote patients, or even regional Queensland patients who to get the very top quality care that their complex and serious conditions might require, particularly on an urgent basis ... the Royal Flying Doctor Service is all geared up now, so much better to be able to pick them up wherever they are," he said.

Region in shock. 2 killed in ultralight plane crash. Flight training and pre-sale session in Emerald. Australia.

Warwick resident Rob Behrend was one of two men who died in a plane crash at Emerald last Wednesday.

WARWICK aviation identity Rob Behrend, 51, has been named as the second man tragically killed in an ultralight plane crash while conducting a training and pre-sale session in Emerald.

Mr Behrend, who was chief instructor and owner of Warwick Flying School, flew to Emerald last Wednesday morning and spent the day teaching local Ian Baldwin, 55, how to fly an aircraft he was planning to buy.

The men are believed to have spent the day completing training sessions before setting off for their final trip at about 3pm.

The alarm was raised when the men did not return by last light on Wednesday and police confirmed the bodies of the two men were located in a paddock 4km east of the township at 1.50pm on Thursday.

Mr Behrend, believed to have been the passenger at the time of the accident, leaves behind his wife Lynne and the couple’s three daughters.

Friend, colleague and former student Kelvin Hutchinson spoke of the “absolute shock” at Mr Behrend’s death.

“He has trained hundreds and hundreds of pilots and we’re all good, safe pilots because of him,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“That is what everybody is reeling with – there couldn’t have been a safer pilot.”

Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham said to hear the news one of the men involved was Mr Behrend was truly shocking.

Mr Bellingham said Mr Behrend had contributed substantially to aviation in the Warwick district.

A police investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

Mr Baldwin’s funeral will be held at 11am on Friday at St Patrick’s Church in Emerald.

Mourners will then go on to the lawn cemetery.

Source:  http://www.cqnews.com.au

SOLD! Cessna Citation Bravo. New Mexico state jet sold for $2.5M to Alaskan couple. Ceremony at Santa Fe Municipal Airport (KSAF)

2005 Cessna Citation Bravo 
(Kim Holland/KRQE)

2005 Cessna Citation Bravo 
(Kim Holland/KRQE)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez waved goodbye Thursday to a state-owned jet she calls the "ultimate symbol of waste and excess." Her administration sold the plane for $2.5 million.

Martinez presented keys to the aircraft to the new owners, a retired couple from Anchorage, Alaska, at a ceremony at Santa Fe's municipal airport.

"Last year when I was running for governor, I not only promised taxpayers that I would not use this state jet as a personal air taxi, I promised New Mexicans across the state that I would get rid of this symbol of greed and excess in state government. And today, I make good on that promise," Martinez said.

The new owners, Richard and Linda Felland, stood next to the governor at the airport news conference — the jet as a backdrop with a large "SOLD" sign affixed to it.

"I hear it is a sweet ride but I will just have to take their word for it," Martinez said.

The couple and their pilots later took off for Wisconsin, where they also maintain a home. Martinez waved at the couple as the plane headed toward a runway.

The twin-engine business jet, a Cessna Citation Bravo, was purchased new in 2005 by Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's administration for $5.5 million. Richardson was a frequent flier on the jet, but Martinez never used it.

The jet was sold through a broker, which will receive a commission of 2 percent of the purchase price — $50,200.

Since Martinez took office in January, the jet remained grounded except for routine maintenance.

With the jet's sale, New Mexico will have two planes in its fleet available for travel by government officials: a 2006 Beechcraft King Air and a 1983 Gulfstream Turbo Commander, both five-seat turboprops.

New Mexico isn't the only state to get rid of aircraft to trim expenses during tough financial times.

Florida sold two planes earlier this year, including a 2003 Cessna Citation Bravo for $1.9 million. Michigan sold three of its planes in 2005.

New Mexico's Cessna features seven leather seats in the main cabin. The jet can fly at more than 450 mph and go from Santa Fe to Hobbs in far southeastern New Mexico in about 45 minutes — a trip that can take more than five hours by car. Martinez said the state's twin-engine King Air can reach Hobbs in a little over an hour and it costs half as much to operate as the jet.

It's estimated the state will save nearly $500,000 a year that would have spent on fuel and maintenance for the jet. Martinez said the jet wasn't practical in New Mexico because it was designed for long-distance travel rather than short trips within the state.

Felland, 72, is chairman of the board of Dicom Corp., a printing and publishing company based in Madison, Wis.

"I've been dreaming about an airplane like this for years," he said.

The couple plan to use the jet for personal travel, including visiting children and grandchildren in Minnesota, Kansas and Washington state. The plane will be based in Anchorage.

He has owned a single-engine turboprop plane but said his wife didn't like using it over the Gulf of Alaska.

"That started the hunt," Mrs. Felland said of their jet purchase.

Source:  http://www.chron.com

India: Behala airport recce to iron out hitches.

KOLKATA: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has lined up a joint recce of the abandoned Behala airfield and its neighbourhood with local political heavyweights to identify the areas where help will be required to convert it into a functional airport. AAI sources said the trip will be organised after the monsoon session of assembly concludes on September 2.

While AAI regional executive director Gautam Mukherjee will lead the technical team, Behala East MLA and Kolkata mayor Sovon Chatterjee, Behala West MLA and industries minister Partha Chatterjee and transport minister Subrata Bakshi are expected to represent the government during the inspection. The priority is to stop incursion into the airfield and demolition of tall structures that pose a hazard to flight safety. The air strip has been lying defunct for years and locals cut through the compound daily. Also, several highrises have sprung up around the airfield, violating height restrictions.

"Behala can easily become a low-cost regional airport with ATR and small chartered flights to neighbouring states and Northeast. But before that, we need to adhere to certain norms," Mukherjee said.

Three kilometers of the 5-km perimeter wall have been constructed but there are pockets of resistance from locals. The mayor and industries minister can play a crucial role in resolving the issue and the demolition of towers and buildings that violate the flight path rules.

The blueprint, submitted three months ago, wants the runway length to be increased from 3,100 ft to 4,600 ft. Also needed are apron for two aircraft, a terminal for 50-75 passengers, an administrative building and modernization of the control tower. "A team from the headquarters has conducted a survey and the chairman has agreed in principle to ATR operations. Once we can sort out the basic issues, the scope of work and cost estimate will be placed before the board for approval," an official said. The project may cost Rs 60-75 crore.

Tiger Airways to raise $126m to buy aircraft, strengthen balance sheet

TIGER Airways plans to raise $S158.6 million ($126m) in a rights issue to fund aircraft purchases and strengthen its balance sheet as the budget carrier recovers from loss of business in Australia, where it was grounded for six weeks on safety concerns.

The airline plans to offer one rights share for every two shares held by its investors, totalling 273.4 million new shares at S58 cents apiece, it said in a statement last night.

Tiger's shareholders -- Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings, which collectively own 40.2 per cent of the carrier -- will subscribe to the rights issue. They have also committed to underwrite 90 per cent of the sale, according to the statement.

"The company is undertaking the rights issue to strengthen its balance sheet by increasing equity, therefore reducing leverage and providing the company with financial flexibility to fund its expansion plans," Tiger said.

The issue price represents a discount of approximately 39 per cent to the last traded price of S95.5c per share yesterday, Tiger said in the statement.

Many analysts had said the carrier may need to raise cash to fund its aircraft purchases and bolster its weak balance sheet, which is likely to be further hit by expected losses at its Australian unit.

The company said earlier this month that its Australian unit, which was grounded for nearly six weeks because of safety concerns, is likely to report a loss this financial year and that that will drag down the company's performance.

In a note to investors earlier this month, Citigroup said Tiger's debt level looked high "and we do not rule out more aircraft sales and leasebacks or an outright equity issuance to reduce gearing". It added that the latter move "would be a convenient option for Singapore Airlines to raise its stake in Tiger".

Tiger Airways Australia resumed flights on August 12 with a reduced fleet after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority lifted the flight ban. The airline said the ban had cost Tiger at least $S2m a week.

Tiger Airways reported a net loss of $S20.6m in its first quarter that ended June 30, compared with a net profit of $S1.9m in the same period a year earlier due to high fuel and tax costs and flight disruptions due to volcanic eruptions.

DBS Group Holdings and Standard Chartered have been appointed managers of the issue.

Hurricane hunters fly into uncertainty

CHRIS URSO/STAFF

Cmdr. Carl Newman looks into the eye of Hurricane Irene from a P-3 Orion turboprop plane over the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. The hurricane hunter program at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa could lose 40 percent of its budget as Congress looks to cut expenses.


By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: August 25, 2011

TAMPA --  When an ominous-looking tropical wave morphed in a matter of hours into Tropical Storm Irene over the weekend, a team of pilots, scientists and technicians based at MacDill Air Force Base readied for action.

They knew that before Irene came close to the U.S. mainland they would be in a P-3 Orion turboprop plane winging their way over the Atlantic Ocean. While their mission was specialized, fly into the eye of the storm and record the atmospheric characteristics of what eventually would become Hurricane Irene, such flights are relatively routine during the June-through-November storm season.

That routine is in danger of ending, though. Facing a perfect storm of a lousy economy and a budget-cutting Congress, funding for the MacDill-based hurricane hunter program is on the chopping block.

A House appropriations subcommittee is looking to trim $1 billion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's budget, slicing it to $4.4 billion "with a big chunk of that coming from aircraft operations," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. She said the hurricane hunter program could lose 40 percent of its budget.

At MacDill, that could mean trimming about $12 million from the aircraft operations center, which runs two P-3s and a Gulfstream G4 jet, according to Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service Southern Region.

The proposal has brought a fight from Tampa Bay area politicians and those who track storms for a living. They argue the costs pale when compared to the lives and money saved with the increasingly accurate predictions that come from information provided by the P-3s and G4 flying out of MacDill.

"They have the most talented folks" at the NOAA aircraft operations center at MacDill, Castor said. "They are developing new science and advancements that have made tracking of hurricanes and storms so much more accurate than in the past."

The budget cuts, as proposed, would cut the hours flown by the MacDill-based planes in half, from 700 to about 350, according to Proenza, who called such cuts "damaging" to efforts to improve forecasting.

But in an age where satellites can peer down from space and tell what kind of golf ball Rory McIlroy is hitting, why do we need to spend so much money on airplanes, especially 40-year-old propeller driven aircraft like the P-3 Orion?

Frank Marks, research meteorologist and director of the NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory Hurricane Research Division, said current technology still can't beat the visual and technical evidence collected by a small group of humans bouncing in an aging plane in the middle of a huge storm.

"You cannot measure the wind (from a satellite) because the clouds obscure the area you want to see," Marks said. "Aircraft are the only way to get good, solid information."

And while the Air Force has its own fleet of C-130s that fly into storms, only NOAA's P-3s — like the ones stationed at MacDill — have Doppler radar. That, said Marks, is a game-changer.

"The P-3 is the ultimate tool for looking at tropical cyclones," he said.

The aircraft have helped narrow the cone of uncertainty by as much as 50 percent in the past decade, Proenza said.

"For each mile that we can narrow the cone, that usually means we are able to save at least a million dollars in unnecessary business closures and evacuations," he said.

But even with the aircraft, there is room for improvement, particularly with storm intensity forecasting, say Proenza and Marks.

The P-3s — which, unlike the Gulfstreams, can fly directly into the eye of a big hurricane — are key, to NOAA's 10-year Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, which is headed up by Marks.

The benefits of improving intensity forecasting are even more important than predicting the track, Proenza said, "because you are getting into direct protection of life. It's not just a matter of narrowing evacuation. It is a matter of saying the storm will be of such intensity it will endanger life."

Marks and Proenza are blunt when it comes to the value of the planes flying out of MacDill's aircraft operations center.

"Take them out of the equation and our research is dead in the water," Marks said.

"There is a lot of support ahead for a lot of the concerns we are expressing," he said. "I am hoping that when the budget process continues, the funds will be restored," he said.

Source:   http://www2.tbo.com

Southwest Florida International Airport. Editorial: Airport noise ... At least Estero neighbors had a chance to be heard.

The Estero area has completed an exercise and public comment period on airport noise.

Consultants to the Federal Aviation Administration came to our area to hear concerns and ideas or options for revised flight patterns at Southwest Florida International Airport.

We are reminded that community is a balancing act between progress and the status quo, and we are all in this together.

For the most part, comments at public hearings came from residents who had little idea that traffic and noise would be issues in neighborhoods that were peaceful and quiet when they moved in — even if only a few years ago.

It is good that these residents had the opportunity to be heard. Chalk that up to efforts by the Estero Council of Community Leaders, a group committed to that area’s quality of life.

The noise situation invites comparisons with the experiences at Naples Municipal Airport, which, like Southwest Florida International, was “there first” in most cases.

One difference: We heard nobody in south Lee belittle complainers as we did, and still do, in Naples.

Another difference: There is more public benefit from the international airport’s commercial jet traffic than there is with the private jet traffic at Naples.

In both situations, as is the case with traffic on the ground, we see there are few easy solutions. When problems are relieved in one area, they usually are merely moved to another.

Source:  http://www.naplesnews.com

Airlines start canceling flights as Irene nears

Airlines began to cancel flights and move planes out of the way as Hurricane Irene barreled toward the U.S. mainland on Thursday.

The storm will likely force hundreds of cancellations through this weekend and create delays that could ripple across the country.

Airlines said passengers could rebook those trips to many East Coast destinations, from Boston to the Carolinas, for free.

American Airlines and its American Eagle affiliate, with an extensive network in the Caribbean, canceled 126 flights on Thursday. Most were in the Bahamas and south Florida, including Miami, a jumping-off spot for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Delta Air Lines reported four cancellations, and United one. Those and other airlines were watching Irene's path before deciding how many flights to scrub and where on Friday.

Even before Irene's arrival, unrelated thunderstorms were causing delays of up to two hours Thursday at major airports in the New York and Washington areas, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. The service's CEO, Daniel Baker, predicted that Irene-related cancellations would pick up Friday afternoon and become significant on Saturday.

The storm is expected to come ashore in North Carolina on Saturday then churn up the East Coast, bringing heavy rain and high winds to Washington, Philadelphia and New York on Sunday.

Rail travel will also be affected. Amtrak announced it will cancel most passenger service south of Washington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Amtrak still planned to operate trains between southern Virginia and Washington and between Atlanta and New Orleans.

The airlines' preparation reflects a new approach to dealing with big storms. In recent years, they have waived ticket-change fees and canceled flights long before storms arrive. That has helped reduce the number of travelers and flight crews who get stranded at airports. Canceling flights ahead of time keeps planes out of the path of damaging storms and lets airlines resume normal schedules more quickly after the bad weather passes.

But sheltering planes far from a storm carries risks. If the storm changes path and misses big airports, hundreds of flights will have been canceled unnecessarily.

Irene presents another challenge. Because major travel hubs such as Washington and New York are in its potential path, flights that are canceled or delayed there tend to ripple across the country.

"Most everyone expects New York to get hit, so you're obviously not going to leave a lot of planes on the ground in New York, waiting for a problem," said Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines.

He said all the airline's Thursday flights in the Bahamian capital of Nassau were canceled and there were delays in Miami due to heavy rain. He said the airline would track forecasts before making decisions about cancellations for Friday.

The airlines announced policies for changing trips free of the normal ticket-change charges.

Travelers on American, United, Continental and Delta could change flights to about two dozen Eastern cities. The policies differed — American let passengers delay trips up to two weeks, others were more restrictive as of Thursday afternoon.

The offers were too late for some travelers whose long-planned trips turned soggy.

Noelia Chacon of Spain, touring the East Coast with her husband and son, were evacuated from the Smithsonian in Washington after Tuesday's earthquake and now might limit their New York sightseeing because of Irene. Their tickets and hotel in Newark, N.J., are nonrefundable.

"We've had an earthquake and a hurricane so far. We'll see what's next," Chacon said, as rain fogged the windows of the hotel lobby. "This is a trip we will not soon forget."

Source:  http://www.cbsnews.com

Military Moving Aircraft Out Of Hurricane Irene's Path

Marine helicopters from New River and jets at Seymour Johnson Air Force base were moved out of Irene's path.

Eastern Carolina military installations are taking no chances with Hurricane Irene.

At Seymour Johnson Air Force Base dozens of jets are being moved to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The 78 jets include F-15E Strike Eagles and KC-135R Stratotankers.

As the jets are being moved to safety the base says the 5,000 people stationed at Seymour Johnson are getting ready for possible high winds, and flooding.

It's not the first time the jets have taken refuge at Barksdale. When Hurricanes Floyd, Bonnie and Bertha struck Eastern Carolina the jets from the Goldsboro base also when there.

In Jacksonville, Marines are moving aircraft from the New River Air Station. Those include V-22 Ospreys, AH-1W Super Cobra Helicopters, CH-53-E Super Stallion Helicopters and the  UH-1N Huey Helicopters.

Source:  http://www.witn.com


Cessna 402B, Skystream, opf. Blackhawk International Airways, N8097W: Fatal accident occurred August 25, 2001 in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Islan - Bahamas

NTSB Identification: MIA01RA225 
 Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2001 in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
Aircraft: Cessna 402B, registration: N8097W
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 25, 2001, about 1845 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402B, N8097W, registered to Skystream Inc. and operated by Blackhawk International Airways Inc, as a 14 CFR Part 135 air taxi flight, crashed shortly after takeoff from runway 27 at Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. A VFR flight plan was filed, but not activated. The airplane was destroyed, the commercial-rated pilot and eight passengers were fatally injured. The flight was originated at the time of the accident and was destined to Opa-Locka, Florida.

The airplane was seen lifting off the runway, and then nose down, impacting in a marsh on the south side of the departure end of runway 27. The baggage from the airplane was removed and weighed. The total weight of the luggage, fuel on board at the time of the accident, plus the weight of the passengers showed that the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded. Preliminary center of gravity calculations showed that the center of gravity was significantly outside the flight envelope past the aft center of gravity.

Preliminary information indicated that the pilot was not approved to act as pilot-in-command in the accident aircraft under 14 CFR Part 135. The owner of Blackhawk International Airways Inc, Mr. Gilbert Chacon, has only communicated to investigators through his attorney, and has not produced the aircraft or engine logbooks. The complete maintenance history of the airplane is unknown.

The engines and airframe were torn down and examined at Marsh Harbour; no discrepancies were found. The propellers will be shipped to Miami, Florida, for examination at a later date.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Civil Aviation, Nassau, Bahamas. This report is filed for informational purposes only and contains that information released by the Bahamian authorities. For additional information contact:

Director of Civil Aviation, Bahamas
P. O. Box N-975
Nassau, N. P. Bahamas
Phone: (242) 326-0339



Aaliyah Dana Haughton 
(January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001)
Rest in Peace 






Ten years ago, a private Cessna carrying singer Aaliyah to Miami-Dade crashed on takeoff in the Bahamas, killing the rising R&B star and eight others.

Although Aaliyah was only 22 and was on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream music market, she had developed loyal fans who on Thursday — the 10th anniversary of her death — have revived her unusual name on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Here are some social media messages in her honor:

“Aaliyah I miss you...Rest in Peace.”

“You will never be forgotten.”

“I’m spending this rainy day listening to Aaliyah.”

And South Florida has a connection to Aaliyah’s death: Her ill-fated private plane was headed to Opa-locka Airport and had been chartered from a Fort Lauderdale company.

A Cessna 402B carrying the singer and her crew was returning to Florida when it crashed. The singer had traveled to Marsh Harbour to shoot a video for the song Rock the Boat off her third album, Aaliyah.

Her parents sued the plane's operator, Blackhawk International Airways Corp., owners Skystream Inc. and Gilbert Chacon and flight broker Atlantic Flight Group. In 2003, they reached a secret settlement in Miami federal court.

It turned out that at the time of the crash, Blackhawk did not have permission from the Bahamas for commercial flights.

Though Bahamian investigators never officially determined what caused the crash, police initially speculated that the plane foundered because it was 700 pounds over the aircraft's specified 6,300-pound limit.

In the days after the crash, it was revealed that Blackhawk has received several citations for safety violations, including a warning for not adequately testing employees for drugs.

And pilot, Luis Morales, of Fort Lauderdale, also had a troubling past. Less than two weeks before the crash, he pleaded no contest to charges of possession of crack cocaine and attempting to sell stolen airplane parts and was on probation.

He began working at Blackhawk two days before the accident, and the company hadn't licensed him to operate the plane used for Aaliyah's fatal flight.

The singer had released her first album at 14 produced by Chicago R&B kingpin R. Kelly, called Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, which sold more than 1 million copies. Reports surfaced that she had married Kelly when she was only 15 and he was 27; Aaliyah denied it, although a marriage certificate was found in a Chicago county clerk's office, Rolling Stone magazine reported.

In 1996, she relased One in a Million, which sold 2 million copies and launched to stardom its producer-songwriter team of Timbaland and Missy Elliott.

Aaliyah began modeling for Tommy Hilfiger. She landed a role in Romeo Must Die (2000).

Aaliyah, released in July 2010, had already gone gold when she flew to Abaco Island in the Bahamas to finish the video for the album's third single.

Also killed that day 10 years ago today: pilot Morales; video-production director Douglas Kratz, 28; bodyguard Scott Gallin, 41; hairstylists Anthony Dodd, 34, and Eric Forman, 29; Blackground Records executive Gina Smith, 30; makeup artist Christopher Maldonado, 32 and Keeth Wallace, 49.


"On August 25, 2001, at 6:45 pm (EST), Aaliyah and various members of her record company boarded a twin engine Cessna 402B (N8097W) at Marsh Harbour, Abaco Islands, The Bahamas, to travel to an airport in Opa-locka, Florida, after they completed filming the music video for "Rock the Boat".The crew had a flight scheduled the following day, but Aaliyah and her entourage were eager to return to the United States due to the filming finishing early, so they demanded that their heavy equipment be loaded on the plane rather than left behind. It resulted in the aircraft being well beyond the standard weight and balance tolerance provided by Cessna.

The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, about 200 feet (60 m) from the runway.Aaliyah, pilot Luis Morales III, hair stylist Eric Forman, Anthony Dodd, security guard Scott Gallin, video producer Douglas Kratz, stylist Christopher Maldonado, and Blackground Records employees Keith Wallace and Gina Smith were killed.According to findings from an inquest conducted by the coroner's office in The Bahamas, Aaliyah suffered from "severe burns and a blow to the head", in addition to severe shock. The coroner theorized that, even if Aaliyah had survived the crash, her recovery would have been virtually impossible given the severity of her injuries.The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report stated that "the airplane was seen lifting off the runway, and then nose down, impacting in a marsh on the south side of the departure end of runway 27."It also indicated that the pilot was not approved to pilot the plane he was attempting to fly. Morales falsely obtained his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license by showing hundreds of hours never flown, and he may also have falsified how many hours he had flown in order to get a job with his employer, Blackhawk International Airways.Additionally, an autopsy performed on Morales revealed traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system.

Further investigations determined the plane was over its total gross weight by 700 pounds and was loaded with one more passenger than it was allowed to carry.John Frank of the Cessna Pilots Association stated that the plane was "definitely overloaded". The NTSB reported that the total gross weight of the plane was "substantially exceeded", which caused the center of gravity to be pushed too far aft. Aaliyah's funeral was held on August 31, 2001, at the Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in New York, which was attended by over 800 mourners. After service, 22 white doves were released to symbolize each year of her life.Aaliyah was buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery.

The day of the crash was Morales' first official day with Blackhawk International Airways, an FAA Part 135 single-pilot operation. In addition, Morales was not registered with the FAA to fly for Blackhawk. As a result of the accident, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Aaliyah's parents and was later settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.Barry & Sons, Inc., a corporation formed in 1992 to develop, promote and capitalize Aaliyah and to oversee the production and distribution of her records and music videos, brought an unsuccessful lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court against Instinct Productions LLC, the company that was hired in August 2001 to produce the music video for "Rock the Boat". The case was dismissed due to New York's wrongful death statute only permitting certain people to recover damages for wrongful death. 

Source: http://www.listown.com/group/how-did-aaliyah-die-6206



NTSB Identification: MIA01RA225
Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2001 in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
Aircraft: Cessna 402B, registration: N8097W
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

On August 25, 2001, about 1845 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402B, N8097W, registered to Skystream Inc. and operated by Blackhawk International Airways Inc, as a 14 CFR Part 135 air taxi flight, crashed shortly after takeoff from runway 27 at Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. A VFR flight plan was filed, but not activated. The airplane was destroyed, the commercial-rated pilot and eight passengers were fatally injured. The flight was originated at the time of the accident and was destined to Opa-Locka, Florida.


The airplane was seen lifting off the runway, and then nose down, impacting in a marsh on the south side of the departure end of runway 27. The baggage from the airplane was removed and weighed. The total weight of the luggage, fuel on board at the time of the accident, plus the weight of the passengers showed that the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded. Preliminary center of gravity calculations showed that the center of gravity was significantly outside the flight envelope past the aft center of gravity.


Preliminary information indicated that the pilot was not approved to act as pilot-in-command in the accident aircraft under 14 CFR Part 135. The owner of Blackhawk International Airways Inc, Mr. Gilbert Chacon, has only communicated to investigators through his attorney, and has not produced the aircraft or engine logbooks. The complete maintenance history of the airplane is unknown.


The engines and airframe were torn down and examined at Marsh Harbour; no discrepancies were found. The propellers will be shipped to Miami, Florida, for examination at a later date.


The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Civil Aviation, Nassau, Bahamas. This report is filed for informational purposes only and contains that information released by the Bahamian authorities.



NASSAU, Bahamas (CNN) -- The small aircraft that crashed last weekend on the island of Abaco, killing singer Aaliyah and eight others, was overloaded by hundreds of pounds, officials said Thursday.

The extra weight -- and the way in which it was distributed -- most likely contributed to the plane's crash shortly after takeoff, said John Frank, executive director of the Cessna Pilots' Association.

According to a report released Thursday by the Bahamian Civil Aviation Department, the plane was loaded to within 805 pounds of its maximum takeoff weight, not counting the weight of the nine people on board -- one of those a 300-pound bodyguard.

"Clearly the airplane was above its certificated gross weight when it took off, by several hundred pounds at least," said Frank.

A private funeral for Aaliyah will be held Friday in New York, as will a public event at a restaurant near Grand Central Terminal. The 22-year-old actress and singer had been in the Bahamas filming a video for her latest album.

Immediately after the crash Saturday at Marsh Harbour airport, airport employees told CNN that baggage handlers and the pilot of the Cessna 402 had complained before takeoff that the aircraft was overloaded with luggage, but the passengers insisted on taking everything with them.

Thursday's report said the authorized takeoff weight of a Cessna 402 is 6,300 pounds. Weight and balance information recorded for the aircraft showed it weighed 4,117 pounds empty. The recovered baggage was weighed at 574 pounds -- not counting one suitcase that sank in the marshy area where the plane crashed -- and the fuel weighed 804 pounds, the report said.

That left 805 pounds available for the eight passengers and pilot -- or just under 90 pounds apiece.

Based on the weight of the luggage and the aircraft's full capacity of nine people, Frank said, "every nook and cranny of that airplane was packed."

He said the placement of the plane's cargo was as important as the weight, because a tail-heavy load can cause a pilot to lose control of an aircraft.

"When you start talking about control, weight doesn't matter so much, although it makes it harder to fly," Frank said. "Control is based on where the weight is placed."

Officials at the medical examiner's office in Nassau weighed the remains of the passengers. The Civil Aviation Department's report said that total has not yet been confirmed.

The report said the on-scene phase of the accident investigation has been completed. It said both of the plane's engines were examined and appear to have been producing power at the time of impact. It said the propellers will be examined in the United States, and the rest of the investigation will be continued in Florida, with the Bahamian team traveling to the FAA office there.

On Wednesday, the Broward County, Florida, sheriff's office told CNN that the pilot of the plane, Luis Morales, had been charged with cocaine possession on July 7. After being stopped for running a stop sign, he gave sheriff's deputies permission to search his car, and the crack cocaine was found, authorities said. He posted bond, and his case was later adjudicated.

Morales had 60 days to voluntarily report this incident to the FAA, which could have suspended or revoked his flight certificate. He was still within that period when he was killed.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told CNN that Morales had no rules violations against him but confirmed he had a criminal record that might have affected his flying record.

The FAA is still attempting to pinpoint the charter company of record for the flight. The FAA's records show that the flight's operator, Blackhawk International Airways, is cleared to fly only as a "single pilot certificate." That is, only one pilot is licensed to fly for Blackhawk, and it was not Morales.

The registered owner of the plane is a Pembroke Pines, Florida, company, SkyStream. FAA officials said they are trying to determine the link between the two companies.