Saturday, September 3, 2011

Olympic no-fly zone 'will bankrupt firms'. Aviation industry fears small companies will not recover from lockdown of airspace over 2012 venues

By Andrew McCorkell
Sunday, 4 September 2011

The aviation industry claims that the restrictions are too draconian

An unprecedented security lockdown of UK airspace over Olympic venues to prevent a 9/11-style attack will push British aviation companies to the brink of bankruptcy, according to the industry.

Aircraft that fail to comply with a no-fly zone over the capital and vast swathes of south-east England face being shot down by military Apache helicopters.

A month-long clampdown beginning next July will restrict all but essential flights over the capital to prevent any aircraft, including microlights and hang-gliders, from being used in a terrorist attack on Games venues or other disturbances.

Similar restrictions will apply over Weymouth and Portland, where sailing events will be staged, and over the football stadiums in Coventry, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle. Aircraft entering restricted airspace will require permission from RAF wing commanders seconded to the Metropolitan Police or face being shot down by the military.

But the aviation industry claims that the restrictions are too draconian and will drive some companies, such as flight schools, out of business. They warn the clampdown will span the industry's two busiest months. Some aviation firms estimate potential losses could amount to £250,000. No compensation is being offered.

Martin Robinson, the chief executive of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) said they were told the terrorist threat level for the Games is "severe". "If they have to shut the airspace down, the loss of income would be so damaging it's hard to see how the businesses will recover. That would be a terrible legacy for the Olympics."

In April, the Department for Transport admitted 67 private air fields, flight schools and leisure flight operators would be affected.

Denis Campbell, the deputy chairman of Booker Gliding Club near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, said: "It's an astonishing irony that as a direct consequence of a national sporting celebration, we, a recognised sporting club with a distinguished heritage, may be destroyed and that no provision has been made for compensation."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Our approach to security is risk-based and intelligence-led, and it is normal to put in place restrictions over large public gatherings, such as sporting events, on safety grounds."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman added: "It would not be appropriate to discuss any security plans in detail at this stage."


Empty Palm Beach International Airport tower would make great (insert idea here)

By Frank Cerabino
Palm Beach Post
Posted: 6:09 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011

Dear Federal Aviation Administration:

Can we borrow your tower at Palm Beach International Airport?

Not the runty one that you're using every day to guide flights into and out of West Palm Beach.

No, I mean the big one, the $19.2 million, new-and-improved air traffic control tower that has been sitting empty at Palm Beach International for the past year.

It's making for an unfortunate first impression for tourists, who upon their arrival in Palm Beach County might mistake the vacant tower as the first evidence of the area's foreclosure crisis.

"Look, Gladys. They're even evicting people at the airport!"

Even worse, visitors might wonder why an airport as sleepy as PBIA needs two control towers instead of one.

Either way, at 231 feet, the tower is tall enough to be a landmark. And who ever heard of an empty landmark?

So, while the FAA and the air traffic controllers union continue to bicker about whether a long-range radar system should go in the new tower - the reason for its lack of occupancy - allow us to put it to use.

Throw a sign on it. Make it buzz with activity. Get some life in the place.

I've been spitballing some ideas. Here they are:

The Tower of Error

Description: A bungee jumping attraction.

Pros: Nearby jet noise would drown out the screams.

Cons: As arriving passengers taxi on the runway, it might appear to them that the air traffic controllers are engaging in a mass suicide pact.


Description: The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Interview Facility is like the Tower of Error, except that the bungee jumping is involuntary.

Pros: Lower crime rate.

Cons: Yes.

Vista del Military Trail Condominiums

Description: The height of active-senior living. Rooftop card room has panoramic views of the county.

Pros: Free trolley service to the terminal.

Cons: Occasional flight delays at the airport due to lost drivers in Mercury Grand Marquises cruising on the runway.

TGI Wings!

Description: A fun-for-the-whole-familly aviation-themed restaurant. Diners feel as if they're on a plane.

Pros: You don't have to wear your seat belt for the entire meal.

Cons: Waitresses clad as flight attendants don't let you keep the whole can of soda.

PBIA Early Voting Precinct

Description: Funded by the Republican-led state legislature to blunt criticism it is trying to suppress voting in Democratic-heavy parts of the state.

Pros: Voters can enjoy the view after they cast their ballots.

Cons: Elevator to precinct replaced by stairs in cost-cutting move.


Listen to pilot's mayday call and plane wreckage recovered. Hughes Group Australian LightWing SPEED SP-2000. North Curl Curl, Australia.

A mangled mess of a plane wreck is recovered by police divers following Friday's deadly crash off the NSW coast.

Rain foils towing of stranded plane. Turkish Airlines Airbus A340-300. Mumbai, India.

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 04, 2011

The main runway at Mumbai airport has remained shut for close to 40 hours since 4.13am on Friday after a Turkish Airways flight misjudged a turn and skidded off the runway. Continuous rainfall made it difficult for the airport staff to tow away the plane, stuck in a soft muddy patch.

Chaos ensued at the airport as three flights were cancelled, six diverted to other airports, and several others delayed.

Rescue staff comprising engineers from Larsen and Toubro, Turkish Airlines, Air India and the airport operator scooped out approximately 100 truckloads of soil from beneath the plane’s belly to create a 20-feet temporary concrete path to tow away the plane.

However, the construction material laid down to create the path remained wet through the day on account of persistent rain. “Heavy rainfall since Friday evening has been posing a challenge,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson. Once the path is ready, the aircraft will be pulled back onto the main runway, after which it can be towed to a parking bay.

Earlier in the day, the cargo hold in the aircraft’s belly was emptied and the fuel from the aircraft was removed to make it lighter. An air balloon was also fixed to the aircraft bottom to help lift it from the slush.

Although the secondary runway was available for flight operations, an MIAL spokesperson revealed that the secondary runway was shut on four occasions on Saturday owing to fluctuating runway visibility, which delayed flights arriving and flying out of the city by at least an hour.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials questioned the pilots of the Turkish Airways flight, and are waiting to download data from the cockpit voice recorder (CVC) and flight data recorder for further investigation.


Air India bid to improve reliability


New Delhi, Sept. 3: Air India plans to revamp its operations to ensure better on-time performance.

The airline, which has been losing money, wants to regain its status as a leading airline and feels by improving its reliability it would command a better passenger load factor.

According to senior Air India officials, the airline was working hard on improving on-time performance of its flights, which had fallen to 71 per cent, lowest amongst all airlines in India.

Senior officials said the airline hoped to jack up its on-time performance to 81 per cent and to achieve it the airline might take drastic measures, including action against non-performing employees.

“Employees are being told that if the on-time performance does not improve in the next 15 days then action against anyone guilty of dereliction of duty would be taken. As improving the on-time performance is part of the turnaround plan, the management is not taking any chances to make sure that results are positive,” said a senior AI official.

Analysts said Air India employees were slow in clearing and loading aircraft and conducting passengers to seats.

Air India’s 70-72 per cent flights are on time, compared to Jet Airways’ 91.4 per cent, followed by IndiGo and Kingfisher, both of which had an on-time performance of 89-90 per cent in June.

DGCA data revealed only 71 per cent of Air India flights were on time in the same month, the lowest among all airlines.

According to officials close to new AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan, the idea is to increase on-time performance to 93 per cent in the next 60 days. The new CMD has also directed the airline to improve its in-flight service and cabin cleanliness.

Air India operates over 400 domestic and international flights every day. Senior officials claim that the national carrier suffers in punctuality because of its shorter “block time”.

“Our block time is shorter than that of private airlines. A block time commences when an aircraft moves on its own power for the purpose of flights and ends when it comes to rest after landing. This includes taxi plus airborne time,” the official said. 


Flying Tiger veterans roar in for reunion. (With Video)

Published: Saturday, September 03, 2011, 5:49 PM
By Brian Albrecht

"There are no ordinary lives," said Ken Burns of those who served in a global cataclysm so momentous that the filmmaker simply entitled his 2007 documentary "The War."

Many who served in so many different ways during World War II are gone now.

Some took their stories with them.

But not this one.

In the summer and fall of 1941, a group of about 300 American pilots and ground crews boarded ships bound for Burma on a mission to help China fight the Japanese during World War II.

At that time, America was not at war with Japan, so these members of the 1st American Volunteer Group -- recruited from the aviation ranks of the U.S. Navy, Marines and Army Air Corps -- traveled in civilian clothes, many listing fictitious occupations on their passports.

They'd been discharged from the service for a year's employment with the ersatz Central Aircraft Manufacturing Co. to "manufacture, repair and operate aircraft" at salaries two to three times their military pay. (Pilots got a $300 bonus for each Japanese plane they shot down.)

Read More, Photos and Video:

Plane loaded in Albany, Georgia, headed to help hurricane victims in Bahamas

by Allen Carter,  FOX 31 News

ALBANY, GA -- A plane full of supplies is on its way to the Bahamas. It's going to help some of the victims of hurricane Irene on the island of Eleuthera.

“They are part of our community, no matter where we're at and we love them and if there is a need, we're going to rise to that need and that challenge and make sure they are taken care of,” said Ladonna Urick of Mission Change.

The shipment was organized and packed by Mission Change. It all came together in about a week, but they got a lot of help for people outside of the organization; even outside of the state.

“People came from Roswell, Georgia, which was absolutely incredible. We've had people from Cleveland Ohio, that have sent things and we've had people from Albany Georgia send things and people that have just heard about the need,” said Urick.

Those people also include the pilot, a volunteer from Alabama.

“It’s not like here in the states. Here in the states if we have a problem we all group together. There they don’t have any resources locally, they have to be flown in or brought on a boat,” said Pilot David Robertson.

For many of the hurricane victims, the biggest challenge has been keeping water out of their homes, so the items they're going to be receiving are things like tarp and rope to tie it all down. Items that are going to help keep their houses dry.

“This came at the perfect time, because there are some storms brewing out there and they are really nervous about those storms blowing through, so once they get those items on Tuesday, they will be able to go and tarp all the houses that they can,” said Urick.

“The generator; there is not power on the island so that will serve a small community,” said Robertson.

Mission Change also collected money. They want to use it to help shingle houses for a more permanent solution for some of the victims.


Santa Monica: City Response to August 29th plane crash. Cessna 172, N5155Q

Posted by Peggy Clifford on Saturday, September 3, 2011 

The following information item was sent to the Mayor and City Council on September 2, 2011, by Martin Pastucha, City Public Works Director

Subject: City Action Taken Following the August 29, 2011 Airplane Crash from Santa Monica Airport


This report provides the community with information on action that the City is taking in the aftermath of the near-tragic August 29, 2011 aircraft accident by a student pilot into the residential neighborhood adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport (SMO). In response to concerns of residents in the immediate area and the community at-large, staff is aggressively pursuing multiple approaches in an attempt to reduce the impact of flight schools on the community.


On August 29, 2011, a small Cessna 172 aircraft attempting to land at Santa Monica Airport crashed immediately adjacent to a house in the residential neighborhood two blocks west of the Airport. Staff and the community are grateful that the pilot sustained only moderate injuries as a result of the accident. The pilot was a student who had rented a plane from one of the flight schools at SMO. This terrible near-tragic plane crash has generated many inquires about increased regulation of flight schools at SMO.

The public has requested that the City review flight school activity at SMO. This is the first known accident involving a student pilot directly associated with one of the Airport’s flight schools (see PLANE CRASHES story below). Staff is reviewing flight school operations since they do constitute a significant amount of aircraft operations at SMO. Staff is also pursuing multiple approaches involving discussion with the FAA, lease analysis, and discussions with the flight schools on frequency of and time of operations.


Following the accident, painters who were working on the house successfully extricated the student pilot who was on a solo cross country flight when he returned to the Airport for landing. The community is  grateful to these “good Samaritans” for their heroic effort.

The pilot sustained injuries and two of the painters sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris from the accident. No one was in the house at the time of the accident.

Santa Monica Fire and Police responded to the scene and assisted with site stabilization and control. Fire Department personnel foamed down the ground to prevent any possible aircraft fuel ignition, and treated and transported the injured. Public Works/Airport staff responded to deal with operational questions, City Manager’s Office staff responded, and Building and Safety staff inspected the damage to the home.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) staff, and a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator responded to the scene to take charge of the accident investigation. During the course of the NTSB investigation, staff facilitated site access and provided assistance to the investigator as requested. Staff responded to media requests as did the NTSB investigator. We anticipate that a preliminary report on the accident will be issued by the NTSB next week.

Since the accident, Staff has developed multiple approaches to attempt to reduce the impact of the flight schools on the community. First, City staff will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with FAA officials to discuss flight school operations and safety at SMO.

Flight schools are a prescribed activity under the 1984 agreement. The City alone cannot restrict flight school operations outside of the Santa Monica Municipal Code, Federal Air Regulations or provisions of their respective lease agreements. Second, City staff has begun a review of flight school leases to ascertain what flexibility we have in relation to their operations. Third, City staff will meet with flight school operators to discuss strategies to lessen their impact on the community.

The City is very concerned about safety at the Airport and is currently engaged in a visioning effort for its future. Staff is preparing for the upcoming October 4 special Council meeting where staff and consultants will review preliminary research findings on airport best practices, global trends, compatible land use development and economic impacts of the facility. This research will inform the proposed public process on the future of the Santa Monica Airport. A number of community workshops will take place between this fall and next April. Community input will assist in development of a range of potential Airport scenarios that the Council and community may want staff to explore for feasibility, and cost/benefit analysis. The City will then undertake a final planning process to present options for Council consideration and a more focused planning phase, well in advance of the impending end date of the 1984 Settlement Agreement with the FAA in mid-2015. Any decisions about the future of the Airport will eventually be made within the context of a complex jurisdictional and legal environment. However, the expiration of the 1984 Agreement presents opportunities for the City to determine what is in the best interests of the City and its citizens.


The City takes very seriously the implications of the recent near-tragic airplane crash from Santa Monica Airport. Staff will provide periodic updates on each of the strategies undertaken.

Prepared By: Martin Pastucha, Public Works Director, Kathryn Vernez, Assistant to the City Manager


Evergreen International Aviation pilots' union seeks relief

Sep 3, 2011
By Nicole Montesano
Of the News-Register

Evergreen International Aviation is scheduled to resume negotiations with its pilots and flight engineers this month, and union officials are calling on the company to commit to reaching a tentative agreement.

Though they have received some small increases in living allowances for the time they spend on the road, their wages have been frozen since 1999, a span of 12 years now. And they have had no improvements in wage or benefits the last seven years.

They received a new contract offer from Evergreen last year that would have ratified a continued wage freeze, and rejected it overwhelmingly in August. Two months later, they passed resolution of no-confidence in the company.

The company proposal would have frozen wages at the 1999 level for the foreseeable future. The vote by members of Evergreen flight crews was 96 percent no to just 4 percent yes.

The Air Line Pilots Association, known as ALPA, now represents Evergreen's 224 pilots and flight engineers. Previously, their union had no national or international affiliation.

At the time of last year's contract vote, William Fink, chairman of the unit's Master Executive Council, said pilots and engineers were especially soured to see Evergreen engaged in a $25 million expansion of its museum complex on Three Mile Lane, across from its corporate headquarters, even as the company was pleading that its finances didn't permit wage increases.

"The Evergreen pilots call on management to fully engage in the upcoming talks with the goal of reaching a tentative agreement by the end of the session," said Capt. James Touchette, chairman of ALPA's Evergreen chapter. "Our crews have continued to work over the ensuing years of negotiations without compensation for the soaring cost of living, while the company continues to pursue lucrative, guaranteed-paid government contracts that insulate it from any cost increases."

The union said, "Evergreen crew members have been paid subpar wages and endured substandard working conditions, which include 16-hour or longer duty days, for more than a decade.

"When contrasted with comparable cargo carriers, the average hourly rate of pay for Evergreen captains is as much as 23 percent less than their peers across the industry. Similarly, first officers at Evergreen are paid up to 56 percent less, and flight engineers are paid up to 33 percent less, than others in the same seat position based on longevity."

Touchette said, "We have invested our careers in this company, are dedicated to its success, and only ask for a fair and equitable commitment from Evergreen in the form of industry-standard wages, cost-of-living adjusted benefits and modern work rules. Flying to far-flung places around the world - many of them quite volatile - for weeks at a time takes stamina, professionalism and family sacrifices.

"Tangible enhanced working conditions and t-standard pay would go a long way to improving our pilots' quality of life and making our sacrifices more palatable. Surely that translates into a good business model for a successful company."

The upcoming negotiating session follows rounds of talks in February and May of 2011 that resulted in little if any tangible progress. The parties remain under National Mediation Board jurisdiction.

In January, just before the first round of 2011 balloting, 97 percent of crew members voted to authorize a strike in the event contract negotiations failed to produce results. More than 86 percent participating in the balloting, according to the union.


3 in critical condition after helicopter crash. Heber, Utah.

(Joe Austin )

Updated: 2:38 pm | Published: 2:28 pm

HEBER, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Three people are in critical condition after the helicopter they were flying in malfunctioned Saturday afternoon.

Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office tells ABC 4 News that the crash happened at Lake Creek Farms in the area of 1200 South 4800 East in Heber.

Several eyewitnesses reported to police that the helicopter was not flying normally before the crash.

Two passengers, a mother and son where on a sight seeing trip from Ogden along with the pilot before the crash.

ABC 4 News has learned that all three on board where transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

Mumbai: Three international flights cancelled

TNN | Sep 4, 2011, 02.00AM IST

MUMBAI: Some of the worst flight delays took place over Friday night and Saturday morning after the Turkish Airlines aircraft skidded off the main runway onto a nearby plot of mud. Flight schedules were off track by more than hour with departing aircraft forced to wait in long queues for over 90 minutes for their turn to take-off. By Saturday evening, most carriers were running behind by an hour. Not only was the main runway out of action, the secondary runway had closed four times due to poor visibility. Many aircraft that were waiting to land were forced to fly in Pune airspace just to hold as bad weather made it difficult to circle over Mumbai airport.

Singapore Airlines cancelled its arrival and departures to Mumbai, while Continental Airlines only cancelled its departure. Six flights were diverted to other airports. Passengers, too, had a harrowing experience. "My flight from Bangalore was scheduled to land at 11 pm on Friday, but we d landed past midnight as we were circling for over an hour," said a passenger.

A commander said: "The weather over Mumbai was so bad with clouds and winds that we diverted to Pune only to hold there for an hour and return to land in Mumbai. We had carried around an hour-and-half of extra fuel."


Mumbai: Runway closure costs airlines

Manju V, TNN | Sep 4, 2011, 01.59AM IST

MUMBAI: With Mumbai airport's 11,300-ft long main runway closed for more than 48 hours, the airline industry is looking at losses running to crores of rupees. An unplanned runway closure at any airport is a nightmare for the industry, but the collateral damage and ensuing delays is magnified when the city airport's runway 09-27 is compromised. A top official with an airline said: "Considering that over 1,400 flights were scheduled to land or take-off from Mumbai airport in the last 48 hours, the losses that airlines would have incurred due to cancellations, rebookings, fuel burn, man-hours wasted, to name a few, goes up to crores." According to a senior commander, if the Turkish Airlines aircraft had gone off any other runway in the country, flight disruptions would not have been so severe.

While Delhi may be the busiest airport in India-handling around 870 flights every 24 hours-it has three runways, two of which are parallel to each other and the third, independent of the other two. "An accident on one of its runways will not hamper flight operations as much, as there are two other runways open for use," said the senior commander. But Mumbai, which is the second busiest airport in the country, handles 710 flights in a 24-hour-cycle with only two runways. Worse, these are cross-runways and the load is borne by the main runway, 09-27. The result? A cascading effect of delays that worsens with every passing hour, and mounting losses.

It's little wonder, then, that airlines are still calculating their losses. "The Bangalore-Mumbai-Bangalore flight I operated used 1.9 tonnes of extra fuel on Friday night as we spent an hour holding over Pune before we could land in Mumbai. While departing from Mumbai, we had to wait for 40 minutes on ground," said a commander. That is about Rs 1.46 lakh spent extra on fuel to do a flight, which generally takes only three hours to and fro. "Also, in the event of a disruption in Mumbai, you'll find a greater number of planes (and hence pilots) either waiting on ground or circling to land than any other airport. This increases the total man-hour losses for airlines," he added.

The secondary runway does not have the infrastructure to take the load off the main runway. For one, it has an air traffic control tower in its vicinity, making it a substandard runway by International Civil Aviation Organisation standards, because of which it is shunned by a few international carriers such as Singapore Airlines. "So when the main runway of Mumbai airport closes, it's a nightmare for airlines, pilots and passengers. No other airport in India is capable of causing so much trouble," said the airline official.


Man chokes to death on flight

By Abby Gillies
5:30 AM Sunday Sep 4, 2011

A woman watched in horror as her boyfriend choked and died while he ate a Jetstar in-flight meal.

She has told how she sat next to his body for the remainder of the 11-hour trip from Singapore to Auckland this week.

Robert Rippingale, 31, was pronounced dead by an onboard doctor 90 minutes into the flight.

Ahead of the Aucklander's funeral yesterday, his girlfriend, Vanessa Preechakul, said she was struggling to come to terms with the death of her "outgoing and generous" partner.

"One minute we were sitting next to each other kissing, holding hands and the next minute he was choking," she said.

"I kept thinking 'How could you do this to me?'

"He wanted to come back [to New Zealand] so much and he just left me there," said the 27-year-old architect.

Yesterday, Rippingale's mother should have been celebrating her 50th birthday. Instead she, with family and friends, buried her eldest son.

More than 150 people remembered the kind, generous man with the "infectious smile" who loved his family, partying and eating fast food.

Rippingale had lived and worked in Singapore for three years, where he met Preechakul. He was bringing her to New Zealand to discover the country and to celebrate his parents' 50th birthdays.

He was so excited about the trip, Preechakul said, that they arrived at the airport six hours early for the 8pm flight.

An hour and a half into the flight, the crew started serving beef and chicken for dinner.

Rippingale was tucking into his beef dish while watching a movie when Preechakul noticed him shaking, but at first she didn't realise anything was wrong.

"I thought he was laughing very hard; then I looked at his face and his eyes were rolling and he couldn't talk. His lips were turning purple."

A doctor and two nurses quickly rushed to help after hearing her scream for help.

They performed CPR on him in the galley, but were unable to save him.

"The doctor came to me and said he was so sorry; he did his best."

The body was moved to the crew rest area behind a curtain and Preechakul asked to sit next to her deceased boyfriend for the remaining nine hours of the flight.

Crew members used a blanket to cover his body.

"I had to cope - I had no choice," Preechakul said.

Jetstar spokesman Andrew McGinnes expressed his condolences to the family and his thanks to the doctor and nurses who tried to save Rippingale.

"This was a very difficult and sad event and our sympathies are with the passenger's family," he said.

Jetstar said the cause of death was unknown. A coroner's report was expected this month.


Santa Monica: Plane Crash Prompts Trip to Washington. Officials will visit the Federal Aviation Administration to review flight school leases at Santa Monica Airport.

The plane crash that occurred Monday afternoon in Santa Monica is prompting city officials to renew efforts to re-examine flight schools at Santa Monica Airport, according to a staff memo released late Friday.

In the wake of the crash, city staff will go to Washington, D.C., to meet with Federal Aviation Administration officials; review flight school leases; and meet with flight school operators.

Around 2:30 p.m. on Monday, a single-engine Cessna flown by a student pilot traveling across the country crashed into a home near 21st and Navy streets during an attempt to land at SMO.

No one died in the crash, but the pilot suffered a broken leg, and a painter who was working on the house also sustained injuries. According to a memo, a second worker was injured as well, and no one was in the house at the time of the crash.

The pilot had rented a plane from one of the SMO flight schools, according to the memo, which was sent by Public Works Director Martin Pastucha to Mayor Richard Bloom and the Santa Monica City Council. The accident is the first one known to have involved a student pilot directly associated with an SMO flight school.

"This terrible near-tragic plane crash has generated many inquires about increased regulation of flight schools at SMO," Pastucha and Kate Vernez, assistant to City Manager Rod Gould, wrote in the memo. They also noted that, in the wake of the accident, members of the Santa Monica community have requested that the city review flight school activity at SMO.

(Santa Monica Patch readers have been extensively discussing the plane crash and flight schools at SMO.)

Regarding the plans to meet with FAA officials, review flight school leases and meet with flight school operators, Pastucha and Vernez noted that flight schools have been "a prescribed activity" per the 1984 Settlement Agreement with the FAA.

"The city alone cannot restrict flight school operations outside of the Santa Monica Municipal Code, Federal Air Regulations or provisions of their respective lease agreements," they wrote.

In reviewing the flight school leases, city staff plan "to ascertain what flexibility we have in relation to their operations."

As for the meeting with the flight school operators, city staff will "discuss strategies to lessen their impact on the community."

In addition to those efforts, a special meeting of the city council—during which preliminary research findings on SMO will be presented—will be held Oct. 4. Also, multiple community workshops will be staged from the fall through April.

After that, city staff will begin a final planning process in the lead-up to the 2015 expiration of the 1984 Settlement Agreement.

"The expiration of the 1984 Agreement presents opportunities for the city to determine what is in the best interests of the city and its citizens," Pastucha and Vernez wrote.

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, N6249C: Accident occurred August 31, 2011 in Provincetown, Massachusetts

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA480 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 31, 2011 in Provincetown, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N6249C
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 non-instrument-rated pilot of the single-engine airplane was departing on a dark night from an airport located at the tip of a peninsula. Analysis of global positioning system data showed that the pilot initiated a takeoff from the runway and prior to reaching an altitude of 100 feet, he began turning the airplane on course to the destination airport. After crossing over the left boundary of the runway and with the airplane oriented toward a non-lighted area of the landmass and water below, the airplane ceased climbing and impacted trees about 900 feet beyond the left boundary of the runway. The wreckage path orientation and length were consistent with a shallow, powered descent, and signatures observed on the wreckage were consistent with a relatively level impact attitude. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions of the airframe or engine.

Toxicological analysis detected elevated levels of ethanol in postmortem samples of the pilot’s blood, urine, and brain tissue, the distribution of which was consistent with ingestion. The levels of ethanol present in the pilot’s samples were present in levels known to degrade psychomotor performance. Toxicological testing also detected an inactive metabolite of cocaine in postmortem samples of the pilot’s urine, but not in samples of blood. This was a likely indication that the pilot had used cocaine, but neither the drug nor its metabolite was active at the time of the accident.

The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot experiencing a form of spatial disorientation known as the somatogravic illusion, in which a pilot misperceives acceleration cues as increasing pitch and makes corrective nose-down inputs. These circumstances include the accelerating phase of flight during takeoff, the dark night lighting conditions associated with an early turn on course, and a non-instrument-rated pilot whose judgment and psychomotor performance were degraded by alcohol consumption. The airplane subsequently impacted the trees and terrain below in a shallow, un-arrested descent.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from trees and terrain during the initial climb. Contributing was spatial disorientation due to a vestibular illusion and the pilot’s likely impairment due to alcohol consumption.


On August 31, 2011, about 2240 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181, N6249C, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain shortly after departure from Provincetown Municipal Airport (PVC), Provincetown, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which was presumed to be destined for Falmouth Airpark (5B6), Falmouth, Massachusetts. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several flight crew members of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter witnessed the accident and recounted a similar series of events during separate telephone interviews. According to the flight crew, they were returning from a mission when, while passing PVC, they heard a faint radio transmission from an aircraft “departing to the west.” Even though the radio was tuned to the common traffic advisory frequency at PVC, they were uncertain if the transmission originated from PVC as another nearby airport utilized the same radio frequency. The crew subsequently announced that they were about 3 miles northwest of the airport, and shortly thereafter observed an alert on the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS). The TCAS target's altitude was not reported, but shortly thereafter one pilot of the crew observed the accident airplane on runway 25 at PVC.

The other pilot visually acquired the accident airplane as it was taking off from runway 25. He initially saw the airplane at the mid-point of the runway, and noted that the airplane's strobe lights were operating. He looked inside the helicopter, and next saw the accident airplane in a left turn, which it had initiated prior to reaching the departure end of the runway. Due to his night vision goggles, he could not distinguish the airplane’s altitude as it flew over trees located on the south side of the runway. He further recalled that one moment he could see the airplane, and then it was gone. Shortly after, he observed smoke and flames on the ground, and then realized that the airplane had crashed.

The flight crew subsequently contacted local first responders through their operations base, assisted them in locating the accident site, and assisted in extricating the passenger from the scene.


According to records maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land, and did not hold an instrument rating. The pilot’s most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on November 22, 2002, at which time he reported 340 total hours of flight experience. None of the pilot’s personal flight records or log books could be located.


According to FAA airworthiness and registration records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978 and registered to the pilot in 1999. No airframe, engine, or propeller maintenance logs could be located. An aircraft maintenance provider located in Plymouth, Massachusetts provided an invoice for maintenance and an annual inspection performed on the accident airplane and billed to the pilot on July 21, 2010. The invoice indicated that on that date, the airplane had accumulated 1,630 total hours of operation.

Review of fueling records at 5B6, where the accident airplane was based, showed that the pilot serviced the airplane with 8 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel on August 30, 2011 at 1615.


The weather conditions reported at PVC, at 2235, included clear skies, 10 statute miles visibility, calm winds, a temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (C), a dewpoint of 13 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.21 inches of mercury.

According to sun and moon data provided by the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset occurred at 1917 and the end of civil twilight occurred at 1945. The moon (waxing crescent with 9-percent of the visible disk illuminated) had set at 2021.


The Provincetown Municipal Airport was comprised of a single runway that was 3,502 feet long by 100 feet wide, and was oriented in a 07/25 configuration. The airport was located on the northwestern tip of the Cape Cod Peninsula, and was surrounded by the Cape Cod Bay to the south and west. The closest populated landmasses to the south and west were located between 15 and 20 nautical miles from the airport.


The accident site was located about 860 feet southeast of the runway 7 displaced threshold at PVC. Several freshly broken tree branches, at a height of about 25 feet above the ground, identified the initial impact point. The wreckage path continued on a 190-degree magnetic heading, and was roughly 125 feet long. Numerous freshly cut tree branches, which varied in diameter from 1 to 3 inches, displayed approximate 45-degree-angle cuts and black paint transfer. All major portions of the airframe were accounted for at the scene.

The right wing was located about 60 feet from the initial impact point, and had separated from the fuselage at its root. A concave depression, oriented roughly perpendicular to the chord line of the wing, was located about 12 inches outboard of the left wing fuel tank. The fuel tank remained intact, and was filled to roughly 3/4 of its total capacity with fuel that displayed a color and odor consistent with 100LL aviation fuel.

The rudder remained attached to the upper portion of the vertical stabilizer and was separated from the remainder of the empennage. The rudder and vertical stabilizer were located near the right wing, while the remainder of the empennage was entangled with a tree about 15 feet forward, along the wreckage path. The empennage displayed significant fire damage. The stabilator trim jack screw was extended to a position that correlated roughly to a neutral trim tab deflection.

The right wing was located about 20 feet forward of the empennage. The wing displayed a large concave depression, about 12 inches in diameter, about 18 inches inboard of the wing tip. The right wing fuel tank was significantly impact-and fire-damaged.

The fuselage came to rest inverted, adjacent to and separated from the right wing, and was oriented roughly in the direction of the wreckage path. The cockpit and cabin areas were destroyed by impact forces and post-impact fire.

Control continuity was traced from the cockpit controls to all primary flight control surfaces through cable separations that exhibited signatures consistent with overload. The flap actuator was observed in the 10-degree position. The fuel selector valve was recovered, but its internal components were melted.

The engine displayed varying degrees of impact and post-impact fire-related damage. The propeller spinner was absent and not recovered. The propeller blades were bent aft at roughly half their span, and displayed chord-wise scratching and small nicks in the blade leading edges. One blade displayed 2 small gouges on the trailing edge; the opposite blade displayed slight inward curling at its tip.

The starter bendix was engaged to the starter ring, however the engine crankshaft was free to rotate. The valve covers and top spark plugs were removed, and the crankshaft was rotated by hand at the propeller. Valvetrain and drivetrain continuity were confirmed from the propeller to the vacuum pump drive pad. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The removed spark plugs’ electrodes exhibited normal wear, and were light-to-dark gray in color. The carburetor was removed from the engine and disassembled. The carburetor bowl was absent of fuel and the floats were intact. The solder attaching the floats to their respective arms was melted.

The engine oil filter was cut open, and the paper filter element was charred and disintegrated. The oil suction screen was removed and was absent of debris. A small quantity of oil drained from the suction screen attachment. The engine-driven fuel pump and both magnetos displayed extensive fire damage, and could not be removed from the engine. The vacuum pump was removed and its rotor and vanes were intact, while the plastic drive coupling was melted and absent. The engine exhaust baffling was intact. The electric fuel boost pump was disassembled, and its internal filter was disintegrated.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The cause of death listed was “blunt trauma.” Toxicological testing performed by the University of Massachusetts Medical Center was positive for the presence of ethanol in blood, urine, and vitreous humor.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. Ethanol was detected in samples of urine, blood, and brain tissue in quantities of 81, 76, and 61 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dl). Methanol was also detected in samples of brain tissue in a quantity of 5 mg/dl. Ecgonine Methyl Ester was detected in samples of urine, but not in samples of blood.


Global Positioning System (GPS) Device Data

A Garmin GPSMAP 296 portable GPS device was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory. After applying power to the device, the startup was consistent with normal operation and data was downloaded. The data extracted included 24 total flight tracks, spanning a recorded flight time of nearly eight hours. The date and time stamps associated with 22 of the 24 records appeared to be inaccurate, indicating flights on dates between 1991 and 1992; however, the relative timing and position information of the final recorded flight strongly correlated with the known facts of the accident flight.

The track data associated with the accident flight began in the vicinity of the parking ramp at PVC. The track then moved toward the approach end of runway 25, and taxied onto the runway. About 1.5 minutes after the track recording began, the track accelerated down runway 25. Two additional track points were recorded at a relatively constant GPS altitude, accelerating to a calculated groundspeed of 55 knots, covering a distance of about 900 feet. The next track point was recorded at a GPS altitude of 52 feet, a calculated groundspeed of 72 knots, and about 1,600 feet from where the track began the presumed takeoff.

The next track point was recorded about 2,400 feet down the runway, and about 200 feet south of the runway extended centerline. The recorded GPS altitude was 112 feet and the calculated groundspeed was 72 knots. Another track point was recorded 4 seconds later, at a GPS altitude of 115 feet and a calculated groundspeed of 88 knots, about 500 feet south of the runway centerline and near the departure end of the runway. The initial impact point was located about 550 feet southwest of the final recorded track point, on a magnetic bearing of 220 degrees.

Analysis of the track data showed that for the final ten seconds, and between the four final recorded track points, the track turned about 30 degrees left to the southwest, away from the previously established heading down the runway. A course line from the initial recorded position for the accident flight to 5B6 was superimposed onto a map. The resulting image showed that after becoming airborne, the track appeared to turn left directly toward the superimposed course line.

The track data also recorded a flight that departed from PVC and terminated at 5B6 about 27 hours prior to the accident flight. Examination of the track data from that flight showed a departure from runway 25, with a left turn to the previously projected course line shortly after liftoff, but several seconds after and about 100 feet higher than the left turn initiated during the accident flight.

Spatial Disorientation

According to Spatial Disorientation in Aviation (F.H. Previc and W.R. Ercoline), the otoliths (tiny organs of the inner ear), sense the acceleration of gravity and the acceleration associated with translational motions. Because the otoliths cannot distinguish between these two types of acceleration, they can only sense a combination of these two forces, the gravitoinertial force (GIF) vector. During coordinated, unaccelerated flight, the GIF vector is directed straight down through the pilot’s seat. When an airplane accelerates rapidly, however, the GIF vector is displaced aft, causing a false sensation of pitching up. This misperception, known as the somatogravic illusion, is normally dispelled when the pilot views the external horizon and/or the flight instruments. If no external horizon is visible and the flight instruments are not continuously monitored or are not correctly interpreted, the somatogravic illusion can persist, leading to an inaccurate understanding of airplane orientation and direction of motion known as spatial disorientation, a condition that can lead to inappropriate pilot control inputs.

Spatial disorientation illusions are described extensively in FAA pilot training literature. For example, the 2012 Aeronautical Information Manual states, “A rapid acceleration during takeoff can create the illusion of being in a nose up attitude.” Similarly, the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook states, “A rapid acceleration, such as experienced during takeoff, stimulates the otolith organs in the same way as tilting the head backwards. This action creates the somatogravic illusion of being in a nose-up attitude, especially in situations without good visual references.” The Manual and the Handbook warn that, “The disoriented pilot may push the aircraft into a nose-low or dive attitude.” Identical information is included in the FAA’s Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. This particular illusion is so well recognized that information about it is included in the FAA’s private pilot, instrument rating, and airline transport pilot knowledge test guides; and the FAA practical test standards for private pilots.
According to FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-4A, “Pilot's Spatial Disorientation,” tests conducted with qualified instrument pilots indicated that it can take as long as 35 seconds to establish full control by instruments after a loss of visual reference of the earth's surface. AC 60-4A further states that surface references and the natural horizon may become obscured even though visibility may be above VFR minimums, and that an inability to perceive the natural horizon or surface references is common during flights over water, at night, in sparsely populated areas, and in low-visibility conditions.

Runway change at Naples airport not leading to noise complaints

Posted September 3, 2011 at 3 p.m.

Fast facts
The authority is extending the runway’s safety zones by 510 feet on the south end and 800 feet on the north end. This would increase the declared distance of the runway to 5,800 feet for takeoff, but it would remain 5,000 feet for landing.

NAPLES — Ted Soliday admits that the Naples Airport Authority could use a little less rain in the forecast.

After all, when you have a major construction project going on, rain can cause delays.

But Soliday, the executive director of the airport, said the airport’s runway paving project is coming along just fine and will be completed before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s on schedule. It will happen,” he said of meeting the completion date. “In the middle of this month, if they are behind, we will be going to double or triple shifts. But we want to make sure it is done on time and on budget.”

The authority, which receives no city or county tax dollars, is paying $3.2 million for the airport’s runway extension.

The authority is extending the runway’s safety zones by 510 feet on the south end and 800 feet on the north end. This would increase the declared distance of the runway to 5,800 feet for takeoff, but it would remain 5,000 feet for landing.

As a result of the paving project, the airport has closed Runway 5/23, asking planes to use the crosswind runway, which crosses the main runway in the middle.

Soliday told the Naples Airport Authority board last month, after board Chairman Cormac Giblin asked, that the airport has received one noise complaint, which was forwarded to him by Mayor Bill Barnett.

Soliday said the complaint came from the Lake Park neighborhood in Naples.

“It is not an area where we typically see noise complaints,” he said this past week. “And it has to be because of the crosswind runway use.”

Although he said he didn’t know how many total complaints the airport had received in the month since construction began on the runway, Soliday said complaints should be at a minimum because August typically is the slowest month at the airport.

“That’s why we are doing the project right now,” he said. “We need to get it done before the Wine Festival and season comes around.”

Still, Soliday told the authority board last month that the airport usually gets three or four noise complaints a month.

But while August may be the quietest month, Soliday said July was one of the busiest at the airport, with the numbers of planes landing up significantly from July 2010.

Soliday said he expects that to change in August, however, not only because of decreased traffic, but also because he said more planes are using Page Field in Fort Myers to land due to the construction at the Naples airport.

The Lee County Port Authority didn’t immediately have its airplane traffic numbers for August. Victoria B. Moreland, director of public affairs for the Lee County Port Authority, said those numbers would be released in late September.


Hughes Group Australian LightWing SPEED SP-2000: North Curl Curl, Australia

Wreckage of the plane after the accident near Curl Curl beach.

PAUL GRAHAM tried desperately to save his pilot friend Gary Malane as their small plane sank off North Curl Curl beach.

Mr Graham's father, Brett, told of how his son tried to rescue the pilot after the two-seater ultralight plane plunged into the ocean on Friday.

Mr Graham, 32, a plumber from Campbelltown, survived the crash but was being treated for spinal injuries at Royal North Shore Hospital yesterday.

''They have given him a room looking out over the cemetery,'' Mr Graham snr said.

''Paul said, 'That's where I should be - over there.' He knows he's lucky to be alive but he's feeling very depressed about losing Gary.''

Mr Graham snr said his son recalled every moment of the crash, which is believed to have been caused by engine trouble. ''He remembers everything about the accident, about the plane ditching,'' he said.

''He tried to help Gary but he just couldn't get him out. He really tried to save him. They were good mates. He's really upset about losing him. He's beating himself up about that.''

Paul Graham managed to free himself from the wreckage and swim to the surface, where he was helped ashore by people at the beach.

He is the oldest of six siblings. His father briefly thought he had lost a son.

''I got the call every parent dreads and I thought I was down one,'' he said.

''When I got the call from the hospital and they said, 'Are you Brett Graham, the father of Paul Graham?' I just knew it was the plane. They said he had been involved in an accident and I thought he was dead.''

He said his son was still in much pain but his condition was stable.

Mr Malane, 60, a Bonnet Bay retiree, bought his ultralight craft in Ballina and flew it there regularly to have it serviced.

Marine police recovered the wreckage in a four-hour operation yesterday.

An inflatable device was attached to the the destroyed aircraft, and it was towed to Fishermans Beach, between Long Reef and Collaroy, where it was lifted on to the tray of a tow truck. A large crowd gathered.

An investigation into the crash will be conducted by Recreational Aviation Australia.


Two Pakistan International Airlines planes in emergency landing

4 September 2011

KARACHI — Two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) ATR aircraft on scheduled commercial flights on Saturday had to make emergency landings after developing technical and engine faults.

A spokesman for the national carrier, however, claimed that on the first occasion PK501 bound for Turbat did not make an emergency landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport as reported by the media and it was a routine landing.

ATRs are manufactured in France and have been inducted to replace now obsolete Fokker fleet and are exclusively used for shorter trips with a maximum capacity of 40-45 seats. “The plane developed some technical fault and as a precautionary measure the pilot after informing the control tower decided to return to the airport for a check-up,” the PIA spokesman said.

There were 20 passengers and the crew members on board the flight PK 501. Neither anyone was hurt nor any damage was caused to the aircraft.

Later in the day another ATR on way from Punjgur to Karachi had to make emergency landing but all the passengers remained safe.

The flight PK-508 landed safely after one of its engines failed forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing on the advice of the control tower.

Mumbai airport's main runway shut till 8 am Sunday, flights delayed

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 04, 2011 00:34 IST

Mumbai: Passengers at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) continue to face a harrowing experience as the main runway of the airport remained closed for a second day on Saturday. It is expected to be operational again at 8 am on Sunday.

The runway was shut down on Friday after a Turkish Airways plane skidded off the rapid exit taxiway after landing early in the morning and got stuck in some mud just a few feet away. Airport authorities have so far been unable to move the plane; intermittent rain is hampering their efforts.

Since Friday, the airport has been using its secondary runway. The average delay on arrivals and departures is 45 and 55 minutes respectively. Six flights were also diverted on Saturday.

The CSIA authorities on Saturday had to suspend all operations on the secondary runway as well for a few minutes, four times during the day, on account of poor visibility.

The CSIA also grappled with an emergency landing of a Spicejet Bangalore-Mumbai flight with 137 passengers on board. There were no casualties in the incident.

Airport officials said that continuous downpour over Mumbai and surroundings further hampered the retrieval operations launched on Friday evening.

The Turkish Airlines aircraft, an Airbus 340, had 104 people on board including 11 crew members. No injuries were reported. The airline issued a statement that said its plane skidded off the runway after landing "as a result of excessive rainfall."

The flight from Istanbul to Mumbai landed at 4.13 am. The plane exited the runway onto the recently-refurbished taxiway N8 that leads towards the terminal. Suddenly, the plane skidded and its nose wheel and main landing gear hit the mud.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which supervises flight safety, has said this is a serious incident, and has begun a formal inquiry to determine what went wrong. The fact that the plane first skidded off the taxiway and then veered so close to the busy runway is a double-whammy as far as safety concerns go.

Fake pilot scam: 1 more arrested by Delhi Police

New Delhi , September 03, 2011

Branch of Delhi Police have arrested another pilot on Wednesday in connection with fake pilot scam. Police said the arrested pilot, identified as Dipak Daulat Asatkar (25), had procured commercial flying license using forged documents. With this, Delhi Police have arrested 21 persons in the case — 13 pilots, three DGCA officials and five middlemen.

Jaipur police have arrested two fake pilots since March 7 after the fake pilot scam was unearthed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Asatkar (25), who was absconding for the past six months, allegedly obtained commercial flying license by using forged marksheets and also later acted as a middleman between agents and pilots who wanted to forge.

Asatkar came in contact with one Capt. Pradeep Tyagi, who was arrested earlier through one of his friends. Tyagi through his contacts in DGCA allegedly helped him in getting his Indian Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in February 2009. Till date, the Crime Branch has smashed four modules.

In the first module relating to the grant of Airlines Transport Pilot License (ALTP), the kingpin was Tyagi. Rest of the modules was related to the grant of CPL.

VIDEO: FELIPE CAMIROAGA - EL HALCÓN. Crash of CASA 212 Aviocar, Grupo 10, Fuerza Aerea de Chile. Isla Robinsón Crusoe Airport, Chile.

Chile was shocked on Friday night after confirming the disappearance of a plane of the Chilean Air Force (FACH) with 21 passengers on board, including the popular local television animator Felipe Camiroaga.

Chile estaba conmocionado la noche de este viernes tras confirmarse la desaparición de un avión de la Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACH) con 21 pasajeros a bordo, entre ellos el conocido animador de la televisión local Felipe Camiroaga.

VIDEO: Accidente Aereo En Juan Fernadez. CASA 212 Aviocar. Desaparece avión FACH en Juan Fernández con Felipe Camiroaga y equipo de TVN - 24 HORAS TVN 2011

24 HORAS NOTICIAS 2011 TELEVISION NACIONAL DE CHILE (02/09/2011) Un avión caza de la FACH se perdió esta tarde en el archipiélago Juan Fernández sin que a esta hora se conozca su paradero. En la areonave viajaba un equipo del programa Buenos Días a Todos de TVN encabezado por Felipe Camiroaga.

Un avión CASA de la Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh) desapareció en el archipiélago Juan Fernández, con 18 pasajeros y 3 tripulantes, entre ellos el animador Felipe Camiroaga con un equipo de Televisión Nacional.

El ministerio de Defensa, Andrés Allamand ya dio aviso al presidente, Sebastián Piñera, sobre el hecho, mientras la FACh entregaría información en unos minutos.

Entre los pasajeros se encontraba un equipo del programa de TVN Buenos Días a Todos, conformado por el animador Felipe Camiroaga, el periodista Roberto Bruce, un productor y un camarógrafo, además un grupo de personas que habían participado en la reconstrucción de la isla luego del terremoto del 27 de febrero, entre ellos el empresario Felipe Cubillos y el arquitecto Matías Klotz.

De acuerdo a informaciones, el avión tuvo su último contacto a las 16:51 horas y luego se dio aviso de su desaparición.

El alcalde de la zona habló de las malas condiciones climáticas del sector, lo que podría haber provocado el accidente.

Los aviones de la FACh realizan constantes vuelos hacia el archipiélago para llevar recursos y materiales a sus habitantes.

Kenya Airways Embraer jet order likely to cost $428m

Kenya Airways has ordered 10 E-190 jets from Embraer, making it among the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s top 10 customers in the world and the biggest in Africa.

While the deal will help Embraer expand deeper into Africa, it brings with it major opportunities and challenges for KQ, which has similar ambitions.

This deal is expected to transform the capital structure of KQ from that of a middling African carrier, to a more complex one of a carrier that is now hungry for cash to finance its expansion. Already, the carrier is asking existing shareholders — with the government of Kenya and KLM the biggest of them — to increase common equity by $247 million. The Treasury has already budgeted nearly $60 million for this.

While such a rights issue may look ambitious going by recent efforts by KCB, this cash alone will not be sufficient to pay for KQ’s expansion over the next five years. For one, as Ghislain Boüan, Embraer press officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told The EastAfrican, a new Embraer E190 is selling at a pre-discount price of $42.8 million. So in KQ’s case, which is buying its E190s in cash, the 10 planes will cost $428 million.

It is clear why KQ has taken the cash route, going by the debt covenants it maintains with the banks and other lenders. At its current level of capitalisation, the airline has a gearing ratio of 79 per cent, meaning that every shilling of shareholders net equity supports 7.9 shillings in debt. Simply put, creditors have little headroom with KQ — if the airline started racking up huge losses without government support, it would face difficulties staying afloat and repaying its debts.

However, if KQ were to dip into its treasure chest of profits reserve currently valued at $200 million — which could be paid out as bonus shares — and proceed to raise the $250 million it plans to raise through a rights issue, it will significantly expand its capacity to borrow aggressively to pay for expansion. Then there would be the question of generating robust free cashflows to repay the loans and still pay out a regular dividend.

Expansion means KQ has to increase its fleet — and the airline indeed plans to double its fleet of 31 aircraft in five years’ time to protect its lucrative African market.

Africa accounts for nearly half of KQ’s $1.1 billion turnover, a figure that is likely to increase with more African routes being launched during the current financial year ending March 2012.

With KQ last week finalising the contract for acquisition of the 10 Embraer jets — each with a capacity of 96 passengers — by 2013, the airline aims to reduce the average age of its fleet from 8.3 years to around 6.2 years. This will help reduce operational costs.

The Embraer 190 has a range of about 4,500km, which means the farthest KQ can fly the plane is between Nairobi and Equitorial Guniea to the west in a non-stop flight and between Nairobi and South Africa to the south.

KQ has the option of buying an additional 16 planes from the Brazilian manufacturer.

Short and medium haul routes

Acquiring the narrow-bodied Embraer means KQ is eyeing short and medium haul routes as well as increased frequencies on the African continent, where there is great potential for growth.

“Foreign interest in Africa’s resources and manufacturing potential is prompting new developments in many industries. This in turn should promote new airline links as regional economies improve,” say Embraer in their outlook on the aviation market for 2011 to 2030.

But the fleet expansion means KQ has to raise cash to expand its fleet, recruit pilots and strengthen top management to drive the 10 year expansion plan.