Thursday, September 01, 2011

Aircraft on landing, struck the wingtip, cartwheeled and caught fire: Butte Valley Airport (A32), Dorris, California.

 Yreka, Calif. —  An Aviat Husky aircraft from Oregon crashed and started a vegetation fire at the Butte Valley Airport Aug. 30, 2011 after it was forced off the runway by a strong gust of wind.

CAL FIRE in Yreka reported that the pilot was practicing “touch and goes” at the time of the Tuesday crash, shortly before 4 p.m. The sole occupant of the aircraft, the pilot was medically cleared at the scene by first responders.

The 11 acre fire was quickly contained, according to CAL FIRE.

Crews responded from CAL FIRE, Klamath National Forest, Dorris Fire Department, Pleasant Valley Fire Protection District, and the Butte Valley Fire Protection District.

Hwy 97 was closed for an hour due to the smoke which caused poor visibility for drivers. NTSB and FAA officials were investigating the incident as of Thursday afternoon.


Possible Lawsuit After Navy Finds No Significant Impact From Helicopter Increase. Coronado and Imperial Beach.

In a final draft of an Environmental Assessment prepared by the Navy and ridiculed over the past months in Coronado and Imperial Beach, no significant impact was found for a 30 percent increase in helicopter activity and additional squadrons.

After months of dispute, a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) released by the Navy in February and made public last Friday found no significant impact to the local environment.

That means plans to increase helicopter activity in Imperial Beach by a maximum 30 percent at Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach (NOLF IB) and to station 800 additional sailors at Naval Base Coronado by 2016 can go forward.

Though Navy officials called the increase in activity important to objectives set by the Department of Defense for the future of American Armed Forces, it was recommended by City Planner Jim Nakagawa in Imperial Beach and Coronado City Manager Blair King, as well as by local residents, that a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be conducted in order to further examine the consequences of more helicopter activity.

Chris and Gene Hillger live in Imperial Beach's Seaside Point neighborhood and when they heard about the helicopter increase they went door-to-door to pass out hundreds of fliers to neighbors. The couple also made appearances in front of City Council to voice their opposition.

Now that a final EA has been released, Gene plans to file a lawsuit in the next few weeks together with other interested parties against the Navy to force them to do an environmental impact statement. A lawyer by trade, Gene plans to consult with other lawyers before filing the lawsuit but said an EIS is justified in part because the combined impact of training at NOLF IB and planned increases of training on the Silver Strand north of IB weren't considered as a whole.

He also believes the EA does not fulfill federal National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements.

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to comment.

"The EA that was issued was incomplete, inaccurate and insufficient," he said. "When they do [helicopter] training five days a week then Saturday evening there's loud booms on the Silver Strand… well that's fine but IB never gets a break. We'll got noise seven days a week."

Teresa Bresler with Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest said the Navy addressed this issue in the final Environmental Assessment.

"The cumulative noise effects of the helicopter realignment in addition to other actions like Silver Strand Training Complex training would not be significant because they are separated by distance," she said in an email. "As a result, there would be little to no change in the projected noise contours at North Island and Imperial Beach."

"I'm sure some folks aren't happy," said Mayor Jim Janney. "We had quite a bit of correspondence to the Navy and our elected representatives, and even some of those elected representatives in Congress and this is what we got."

"It sounded like we had pretty good Congressional support but that there wasn't anything they could do either," he said.

Though an increase in helicopter activity isn't what many who appeared before Council wanted, Janney thinks a process to hear the concerns of the public was carried out.

"I doubt you'll find anybody that's going to get up and cheer for it or anything but their process is their process," he said.

An original 30-day public comment period was extended an extra month and in addition to a public information session held in March and appearances before the Coronado and Imperial Beach City Councils, Captain Yancy B. Lindsey, Commander of Naval Base Coronado, met with residents of Imperial Beach.

A total 73 comments were received from residents, government officials and interested organizations. Comments made by the public were not included in the final Environmental Assessment.

Letters commenting on the proposed realignment plan were sent by Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Congressman Bob Filner, Mayor Jim Janney of Imperial Beach and more.

"The Navy have always been open. Not necessarily the easiest and they're not the most understanding community that much but I think they try," Janney said. "I know for the folks that live there it's not going to be satisfying answer that they're getting there but I don't know what to say for them there."

When asked to comment on the final EA, the South Bay Union School District Superintendent's Office said their original letter "speaks for itself."

In a letter sent to the Navy by Superintendent Carol Parish in March, the district disagreed with the Environmental Assessment's finding that there would be no disproportionate impact on children.

"Our view is that an increase of operations will have a definite direct impact on instruction and safety," the letter said, especially if the helicopters veer off their flight path and towards Oneonta Elementary School and VIP Village Preschool half a mile from NOLF IB.

"Since I have been at the school for less than two years, I still get distracted by the noise from the helicopters when I am in or out of the classroom," said a principal at one of the schools quoted in the letter. "It is much more noisy outside and communication to students on the playground is difficult when they fly overhead.

"All that students and staff can do is wait for the noise to go away. It is roughly about a 30-90 second wait to resume instruction or to resume communication to students on the playground if it is too distracting or loud," the principal said.

A major criticism of the draft EA was the fact that Sound Exposure Level tests which analyze the impact of a single flyover event were conducted in parts of Coronado, on the Silver Strand and at beach houses on Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach but not in neighborhoods bordering NOLF IB.

To address concerns by the school district and other stakeholders the Navy included five additional noise tests at Oneonta Elementary, the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, at the corner of Iris Avenue and Delaware Street, a nesting area east of NOLF IB and on the beach at Naval Air Station North Island.

SEL or Sound Exposure Level tests measure single overhead flights while CNEL or Community Noise Equivalency Level tests measure noise over a 24-hour period.

While some residents who live next to the helicopter training facility bought their own decimeters said they found sound levels near or above 90 decibels, the Navy results found SEL levels in the mid 70s to lower 80s at Iris Avenue and Delaware Street and in the mid to high 60s at Oneonta Elementary.

The loudest SEL was found on the beach at Naval Air Station North Island at 98 decibels.

CNEL tests were near or below 65 decibels at testing sites added to the report in IB. 65 decibels is "the accepted standard for compatibility
with residential areas and sensitive noise receptors, such as school," the report said.

Letters by Congressman Bob Filner and Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein urged the Navy to adopt noise abatement policies.

New policies were not adopted as part of the final Environmental Assessment but existing programs were underlined in the document.

In his letter submitted in March, Coronado City Manager Blair King argued that the logic of the Environmental Assessment was flawed when it concludes that a decline in fixed-wing aircraft activity will result in a decline in noise. Though planes create a single loud event, buzzing helicopters will create longer lasting noise problems and "contribute to significant noise and traffic within the community and the Navy should take responsibility for mitigating those impacts."

"These consistent, repeated over flights create elevated noise levels, which are noticeable and generate the majority of complaints received by the City," he said.

King recommended the Navy take steps to reduce noise and  to alleviate additional traffic, King suggested the Navy consider shuttles or ferries.

In an interview with KPBS Captain Lindsey said increases in traffic at Naval Base Coronado were addressed by tests conducted when a third aircraft carrier was considered.

A new 112,000 square-foot hangar to house new squadrons and helicopters will also be built at Naval Base Coronado.

Attached to this story is the final Environmental Assessment, comment letters from elected officials and City Manager Blair King, sound maps and sound test results extracted from the final EA.

You can also visit the Coronado or Imperial Beach library to view a copy of the final EA.


Flight makes emergency landing at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (KBTR), Louisiana.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Metro Airport reopened Thursday night after a plane with 53 people on board made an emergency landing. The Delta Connection Flight 5058 landed at 4:35 p.m.

Shortly after landing, the aircraft's left wing collapsed on the tarmac and passengers were rushed off the plane. There were no injuries reported. The flight was operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

9News is told the crew called ahead by radio alerting airport personnel they could not get the left wheel assembly down. Passengers onboard the plane tell us they were warned by flight attendants to leave the plane immediately and not to try to take anything, including overhead luggage, with them.

"I said a prayer like everyone else on the plane and that's all you can do under those circumstances," said passenger David Beard.

An airline spokesman says "the crew performed an emergency landing due to a deployment issue with one of the three landing gears." "All 50 passengers onboard exited the aircraft safely through the main passenger door, were taken to the passenger terminal and are being accommodated by customer service agents," said spokesman Jarek Beem.

Beem says Atlantic Southeast has contacted the FAA and the NTSB and will work with them on the investigation into the cause of the landing gear issue.


BATON ROUGE, La. -- A commercial airplane made an emergency landing Thursday at Baton Rouge Metro Airport because of a landing gear failure, an airport spokesman said.

No one was injured from the incident involving Delta Connection flight 5058 from Atlanta, said Jim Caldwell.

The landing happened about 4:35 p.m.

Caldwell said the left wheel of the Bombardier CRJ-200 never dropped down, but the pilot was able to keep the left wing up long enough so the wing stayed connected to the plane. The wheels under the right wing and nose of the plane functioned properly, he said.

"The pilot did a wonderful job slowing it down," Caldwell said.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which operated the flight, said there were 50 passengers and three crew members aboard. Everyone was safely removed, said spokesman Jarek Beem.

The airline has notified the FAA and the NTSB and will work with them on the investigation into the cause of the landing gear issue, Beem said.

Meanwhile, the airport has been closed because the plane has not yet been removed from the runway, Caldwell said. He was unsure when the runway would be cleared, allowing the airport to reopen.

Helicopter's rotors struck tail boom

Investigations into a fatal helicopter crash that killed two people on Sydney's north shore suggest the aircraft's main rotor blades chopped off its tail.

The seven-seater Bell 206 helicopter carrying businessman Bruce Campbell, 65, smashed into the base of a cliff in the Lane Cove National Park at South Turramurra on July 22 in wet and windy weather.

Also on board was freelance pilot Colin Greenwood, 35.

Both men were killed instantly and the helicopter destroyed.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published a preliminary report into the accident on Friday.

"Analysis of the wreckage distribution and key components has indicated that a section of the helicopter's tail boom had separated in flight, after multiple main rotor blade strikes," the report said.

"The loss of the tail boom section was consistent with its location 50 metres to the south of the main wreckage and also consistent with witness reports of the event."

The ATSB report said power was still being delivered to the main rotor blades when the helicopter crashed.

"Examination of the flight control system did not reveal any preliminary indications of a contributory failure or pre-existing condition that would have led to the separation of the tail boom section," the report added.

Mr Campbell, who owned the aircraft, was being flown back to his Wyee home on the NSW Central Coast when the accident happened.

He was the founder of western Sydney cement mixing business Davcron Engineering.

The ATSB is continuing its investigation and expects to publish a full report before May 2012.

It will investigate factors including the weather at the time of the accident and any possible human factors.


I built an Airfix Spitfire when I was just 8... I never dreamed I’d get to fly one says Al Murray

COMEDIAN Al Murray left his alter ego The Pub Landlord behind the bar yesterday to fulfil a childhood ambition to fly in a Spitfire.

The iconic aircraft is 75 years old this year and will be the star of this weekend's Duxford Air Show at the Cambridgeshire airfield where it first entered RAF service.

Here the 43-year-old comic, who is also a history enthusiast, explains what a thrill it was to fly in the Battle of Britain aircraft, and why it is so important to keep our history alive.

JUST the mention of the name Spitfire is enough to conjure up vivid images of one of the most important times in our nation's history.

To be up close to such an iconic aircraft is to soak up some of that past.

But can you imagine what it is like to actually fly in one?

I would call it a Boy's Own dream but I am not sure I ever really dreamt as a boy that it would be possible.

I am of that Airfix generation who had all of these aircraft hanging from the ceilings of their bedrooms. I even had a little airstrip.

I probably built my first Mk IX Spitfire when I was eight so I have been imagining this moment for 35 years – roughly half the life of this aircraft.

Models are one thing, but this was the real deal.

This actual Mk IX Trainer, built in 1942, was one of the first aircraft to arrive at the D-Day beaches in 1944.

Read more and photos:

Air mishap averted at Mumbai airport

New Delhi: A major mishap was averted on Friday morning when a Turkish Airways flight veered off the taxiway after landing in Mumbai. The incident occurred at 4:13 am at Mumbai Airport's Rapid Exit Taxiway - N8. All 97 passengers on board Turkish Airways flight TK 720 are safe.

The main runway of the Mumbai airport was closed and a probe has been ordered by the DGCA into the incident.

Another disaster was averted at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday after an Air India flight landed under emergency conditions. The Jeddah-Mumbai flight had 260 passengers on board.

All passengers disembarked safely, an Air India spokesperson said.

Reports say that the flight developed a technical snag in its hydraulic control system, following which it made an emergency landing.


Mumbai: Turkish Airways plane skids off taxiway.

Mumbai: A Turkish Airways flight arriving from Istanbul to Mumbai veered off the rapid exit taxiway after landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai at 0413 hrs this morning.

Flight TK-720 had 97 people on board; no casualties have been reported.

Mumbai International Airport Limited has said all emergency procedures were immediately activated and passengers were disembarked safely and taken to the terminal.

Flight operations have not been affected.

More details are awaited.

Frustrated Pilot and Air Traffic Controller at Chicago O'Hare Airport (KORD) on August 27th

by Cessnator on Aug 27, 2011

A Pilot and an Air Traffic Controller got frustrated when they got their call signs mixed up. It's a stressful job for both of them! This happened at Chicago O'Hare Airport (KORD) on August 27th around 1PM Local Time.

Palm Beach International Airport $19.2 million air traffic control tower stands completed but empty

By Jennifer Sorentrue
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 9:44 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

At 231 feet tall, the new control tower stands more than double the height of the old one, providing unobstructed sightlines for the air traffic controllers who guide 300 flights a day at Palm Beach International Airport.

Completed 10 months ago, the $19.2 million tower is empty.

Planned during the county's building boom to accommodate growth and replace the stubby old tower, the new structure instead serves only as a highly visible testament to a five-year dispute over employment and safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration said this week it doesn't know when air traffic controllers might move into the new building, which was scheduled to open this year.

The tower won't be used until federal officials resolve a battle with the air traffic controllers union over the placement of a long-range radar system, known as Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, which directs airplanes below about 10,000 feet, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

"Nothing is being done, pending a decision on the TRACON," Bergen said.

PBIA watchdogs say the empty tower, one of the county's tallest landmarks, is example of wasteful government spending at the airport.

"Airports and the FAA slide under the radar," said Nancy Pullum, a resident of West Palm Beach's historic El Cid neighborhood, which is in the airport's flight path, and a member of PBIA's noise committee. "They don't have to go to the public to spend their money. In these economic times, in any economic time, can we tolerate poor planning and poor use of funds that might be needed somewhere else? That is the thing that is so disheartening as a citizen."
As part of a cost-cutting measure, the FAA has planned to combine PBIA's TRACON with one at Miami International Airport, more than 60 miles away.

Air traffic controllers and federal lawmakers have raised concerns that the cost-cutting step would cause havoc in the skies if the system went down. If a natural disaster or terrorist attack damaged the Miami radar system, controllers at the Jacksonville airport, more than 350 miles away, would be left responsible for all South Florida airports, they say.

TRACON controllers work on the lower level of PBIA's older tower, where they use radar screens to track aircraft within 50 miles of the airport. The controllers behind the glass windows at the top of the tower guide takeoffs and landings within 5 miles of the runways.

Bergen said this week that the FAA is continuing to work with the air traffic controllers union to evaluate TRACON's location. "No decision has been made," she said.

As a result of the consolidation plan, the FAA built the new tower without space for the TRACON system. To keep the system at PBIA, space would have to be added to the tower, local officials have said.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, has opposed the consolidation plan since it was announced in 2006. He said this week that he will continue to push for federal money to build a TRACON facility at PBIA.

"In order to ensure that air traffic controllers are best equipped to continue delivering the highest levels of service to those flying within our airspace, we must build and keep a TRACON facility at PBIA," Hastings said in a prepared statement.

The push for a new tower was fueled by a runway expansion that officials said was needed to keep up with projected growth at the airport. That expansion has since been put on indefinite hold because of a drop in air traffic.

Despite that decision, officials say the new tower is needed because from the current 90-foot-tall tower, near Southern Boulevard, controllers can't see the eastern end of the existing runway.

But while the dispute drags on and the FAA pays to maintain the new structure, no equipment has been installed and no controllers will move in until the radar issue is resolved, Bergen said.

Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, declined to comment on the issue and directed questions to the FAA.

PBIA officials also declined to comment Thursday, saying the project was controlled by the FAA.

"They make comments on their own projects," PBIA spokeswoman Casandra Davis said.

Tower built despite feud

Events leading up to construction of PBIA's new, and idle, traffic control tower: 

February 2006: FAA announces a consolidation plan that would eliminate 14 Terminal Radar Approach Control Centers (TRACONs) in nine states, including the one at PBIA. 

March 2006: PBIA air traffic controllers raise safety concerns over FAA plans to move Palm Beach International's TRACON to Miami. 

March 2006: Four congressmen tell FAA its plan could make South Florida skies a 'dangerous place to be.' 

Sept. 2007: The U.S. House votes to prohibit the FAA from moving the radar system. It was the third time in 16 months that representatives opposed the measure. 

Jan. 2008: The FAA holds a meeting in West Palm Beach to discuss the plan with more than two dozen concerned pilots, air traffic controllers and elected officials. 

Aug. 2008: Despite those concerns, FAA signs a contract with Orlando-based PCL Construction to build a new control tower at PBIA that does not include room for a TRACON. 

October 2010: Construction on the new $19.2 million control tower is completed. 

September 2011: New tower stands idle, with the TRACON dispute at a standstill.


Lightwing Speed: Plane crash off North Curl Curl; one dead. On Sydney's northern beaches.

A survivor is winched from the scene. 
Picture: Simon Cocksedge 
Source: The Daily Telegraph 

Emergency services treat the survivor while the rescuer (at left in board shorts) gives his account to police. 
Picture: Simon Cocksedge
Source: The Daily Telegraph

Ambulance officers treat the survivor next to the rock pool at North Curl Curl Headland. 
Picture: Simon Cocksedge  
Source: The Daily Telegraph

A pilot has died and his passenger has been injured after a plane crashed into the water on Sydney's northern beaches.

The pilot's body has been retrieved from the two-seater aircraft, which sank in about six metres of water, 50 metres from the shore at North Curl Curl.

A 32-year-old male passenger was helped to shore and has been treated for spinal injuries.

Local resident Bruce Giffin was sitting in his car in the Curl Curl beach car park when he saw the plane was heading from north to south.

"You could see it was losing altitude, it was going very slow," he said.

"I'm pretty sure from a distance it looked like the propeller had actually stopped, so pretty much from North Dee Why heading into Curl Curl it was gliding.

"He got to probably mid Curl Curl beach losing altitude and decided, I'm not too sure why, to do a 180-degree turn.

"Probably thought he couldn't land on Curl Curl Beach, running out of room and didn't make it. Went straight into the water at North Curl Curl.

"He was heading into the wind. That would have been his best bet to get elevation. I'm not quite sure why he didn't try and land at South Curl Curl beach, possibly thought he was going to run out of beach and maybe end up in houses, so he turned.

"But it was probably a fatal error because once he turned and went with the wind he lost altitude and hit the water."

Mr Giffin said the plane then sank quickly in shallow water and he saw a man swimming out of the wreckage, before locals assisted him.

"He probably freed himself; it's not very deep there.

"He had bad back injuries, it did take him some time before he was able to tell anyone there was someone else in the aeroplane.

"People had gone in the water in their clothes and in their undies."

Mr Giffin said he immediately dialled triple-0 when he saw the crash.

"It was quite surreal; you had to kind of look twice."

The air traffic control website,, recorded the mayday call as follows:

Light plane: "Mayday, mayday mayday, Light wing 5040. Engine failure just north of er ... north ... we're going to try a beach landing.

ATC: "Station calling Sydney radar say again?

(no reply for several seconds)

ATC: "Station calling Sydney radar for the forced landing say again."

Light plane: "Light wing 5040 we have a er, engine failure."

Nothing more. Sydney radar asks another pilot if he sees or hears anything to let her know.

Rescuing the survivor

A witness who gave his name only as Travis, said he had helped rescue the survivor but believed the pilot remained trapped underwater.

"Me and another guy ... we ran out, swam out, we pulled one guy out, the passenger," Travis told Macquarie Radio.

"But mate ... we couldn't get back out there. There's still a guy down at the bottom, in the plane.

"We got to the aircraft but [the passenger] had already popped out, he was sort of floating.

"He couldn't swim, he'd hurt his back pretty bad so we paddled him over to the shore."

Travis said the survivor was able to move his feet and legs.

The Ambulance Service of NSW said the survivor was treated on the shore for suspected spinal injuries, before being winched off the rocks and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital.

Cliff Curll, who lives on the headland above the crash site, said he saw the man being treated on the rocks.

"The plane is underwater ... there's a chopper looking around the water and police boats are out there."

Constable Jacob Gow and Chief Inspector Colin Green were first on the scene.

After helping rescue the passenger they swam out to search for the pilot.

"Jacob and I ... very quickly, without even thinking, got partially undressed and then swam out to the plane," Chief Inspector Green told reporters at the scene.

"There was a person in the plane but due to the depth of the water and not having any diving equipment, we weren’t able to access inside the plane."

The pilot:

David Rittie, the president of the NSW Sport Aircraft Club, said the pilot had been flying for about six years.

Mr Rittie said he did not want to release the man's name until his family had been told.

He said he believed the plane was a Lightwing Speed, with a Rotax 912 engine.

The rescue helicopter spokesman said the aircraft sent a mayday alert before crashing about 10.15am.

It disappeared off the radar shortly afterwards.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was aware of the accident.


Pilot's body retrieved from plane crash

Four people, including two policemen, risked their lives trying to save a pilot and his passenger when a light plane crashed into the ocean just off a northern Sydney beach.

The passenger in the two-seater plane, which nosedived into rough seas just off Curl Curl beach around 10.25am (EAT) on Friday, was helped to shore but the pilot's body was later found inside the wreckage.

Constable Jacob Gow and Chief Inspector Colin Green were first on the scene. After helping rescue the male passenger they swam out to search for the pilot.

"Jacob and I ... very quickly, without even thinking, got partially undressed and then swam out to the plane," Chief Insp Green told reporters at the scene of the incident on Friday.

"There was a person in the plane but due to the depth of the water and not having any diving equipment, we weren't able to access inside the plane."

Superintendent Doreen Cruickshank said the plane appeared to get into difficulty as it was flying north across the beach.

"It nose-dived into the water, it stayed on the surface for about a two minutes (and then) sank," she said.

The passenger is being treated for spinal injuries at Royal North Shore Hospital.

An ambulance spokesman said the 32-year-old man was in a stable condition.

Strong winds, pounding surf and the rugged cliff terrain complicated the rescue of the man who was winched off the rocks in a stretcher.

"Obviously, with coastal winds it is always difficult ... it's difficult to hear with the noise of the helicopter and the surf.

"(But) it looks like it has been quite a clean extrication of the patient," the ambulance spokesman said.

Police divers retrieved the body of the pilot early on Friday afternoon, but authorities said the wreckage of the aircraft would not be raised from the sea bed until Saturday.

An eyewitness to the crash, who gave his name only as Travis, later told reporters he and another man helped rescue the passenger.

Travis was working at a nearby building site when he saw the aircraft circle overhead before pitching into the ocean at a 45 degree angle.

"Me and another guy ... we ran out, swam out, we pulled one guy out, the passenger," Travis told Macquarie Radio.

"(He) had already popped out, he was sort of floating.

"He couldn't swim, he'd hurt his back pretty bad so we paddled him over to the shore."

The man was able to move his feet and legs, Travis said.

Local resident Alison Butler, who was on South Curl Curl beach at the time, said she saw the survivor standing on top of the plane.

"I clearly saw the wing of the plane with the man standing up on it," she told AAP.

"But it was choppy and when I looked again he was gone."

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft.

Police divers were also en route as the joint emergency services operation continued.

The rescue helicopter spokesman said the aircraft sent a mayday alert before crashing at around 10.15am (AEST).

It disappeared off the radar shortly afterwards.

ONE person is dead and another has survived after an ultra light plane crashed off Sydney's northern beaches this morning.

A construction worker has told how he and a friend dove into the water and pulled the only survivor free from the wreckage.

Travis Lamb was working in the area when he saw the plane circling in the air before plunging into the water "at a 45 degree angle and flipping’’.

Mr Lamb drove to the beach with a friend, with both diving into the water and pulling out the injured passenger.

They dragged the 32-year-old man to rocks and waited for rescuers.

"He was muttering something about a joyride,’’ Mr Lamb told The Daily Telegraph online.

The survivor has since been rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital with spinal injuries.

Meanwhile, the president of the NSW Sport Aircraft Club said the pilot who died in the crash was well-known and liked among members of the club based at Wedderburn.

"He often flew the aircraft to Ballina where it was built so as he could get it serviced," said club president David Rittie.

"He had just returned to flying after a year off due to some injuries he had sustained not related to flying and he will be sadly missed."

Ambulance Tripe '0' operators were flooded with calls from witnesses to the crash just after 10am this morning.

The plane crashed into the water about 50m offshore and is submerged in 6-metre deep water.

It is confirmed it was a ultralight plane - a Hughes SP2000 - and was registered with the Recreational Aviation Australia - a government body which licences smaller craft.

The sophisticated ultra-light left Ballina aerodrome this morning and was heading to Wedderburn airstrip in western Sydney when it crashed.


UPDATE 11.53am: THE pilot of a joy flight off Sydney is feared dead and one man has been rescued after a plane crashed off a beach.

A NSW ambulance spokesman confirmed the pilot was believed to still be in the plane, which crashed and sunk into water several metres deep about 50m offshore at Curl Curl beach, north of Sydney.

"We do believe the pilot is in the plane, police will be conducting an operation to retrieve the pilot," he said.

Police divers are expected to try to retrieve the pilot, but an hour-and-a-half after the crash, the chances of their survival appeared very slim.

Earlier paramedics were involved in a dramatic rescue, winching a man with suspected spinal injuries mission off rocks at Curl Curl beach, north of Sydney.

A Westpac rescue helicopter pilot earlier said it appeared there were at least two survivors in the water, but in the confusing scene, it is not clear whether rescuers and local surfers were confused for those being rescued.

But rescuer Travis Lamb, a builder working on a local site, told Channel 9 he swam out with a mate to help one man to shore after seeing the plane circle then dive almost directly into the water.

But he said he could not get to a pilot who he said was "still in the plane".

He said the man he rescued could not say much of what had happened.

"He just said, 'Get me out of the water, my back's gone."

"He popped out of the plane when the plane went into the water."

"He was in a pretty bad way. But he's alive so that's the main thing."

He said he was working on a house nearby when he saw the plane in trouble.

"The plane did a circle then bang straight into the ocean, 45 degrees pretty much," he said.

"Paramedics have accessed one patient who has washed up on rocks and are treating the patient for suspected spinal injuries,'' an Ambulance Service of NSW statement said.

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft for any other survivors.

The rescue helicopter spokesman said the aircraft sent a mayday alert before crashing at around 10.15am (AEST).

Water police were among those first at the scene, and helped paramedics get the injured man onto a spinal board, before he was winched from the scene.

Shortly after 10am this morning Sydney Airtraffic Control received a mayday call from the distressed plane.

A Channel 9 chopper pilot hovering above the scene said there were good weather conditions with a light breeze and fine conditions.

Minutes later it disappeared off the radar screen.

Soon after Ambulance 000 operators were flooded with calls from witnesses to the crash.

Spokesman from Westpac Stephen Leahy said: "We have no idea of survivors at this stage - we are just trying to get someone down to the crash site."

He also said he had no information on where the plane had come from.

Surfers also appear to paddled over to see if they could assist.

One of the victims of a light plane crash in water 50m off North Curl Curl is being treated in hospital for spinal injuries amid reports the pilot is still trapped inside the aircraft.

The two-seater Cessna crashed into the sea about 10.15am.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter dropped a diver to the scene where the light plane lies in 7-10m of water.

Warringah Council lifeguards at Freshwater are also at the scene on jetskis, while Northern Beaches duty officer Insp Col Green swam out to the scene and tried to dive down to it.

Police divers are on their way to North Curl Curl but little hope is held for the person trapped in the plane.

A man who was among the first on the scene told 2GB radio that no one else was around when the plane went down.

``When I got down here there was no-one else here’’ he said.

``So me and another guy just went straight out.’‘

He said he managed to help one man to safety but there was still another person trapped in the plane.

``We got to the aircraft but he’d already popped out,’’ he said.

``He could not swim he hurt his back pretty bad.’‘

The person was helped to the shore by men from a nearby building site and was briefly treated on the rocks before being airlifted to hospital with suspected spinal injuries.

It is believed the pilot of the plane was trapped in the aircraft, which sank soon after hitting the water.

A spokesman for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft.

He said the aircraft sent a mayday alert just before crashing at around 10.15am.

The Cessna disappeared from the radar shortly afterwards.

A man was killed in August 2005 when his plane crashed into the sea off Warriewood Beach.

THE pilot of a plane that crashed into the ocean off Sydney's northern beaches is trapped underwater in the aircraft, according to an eyewitness.

The aircraft plunged into the water about 50 metres off North Curl Curl about 10.15am (AEST) today.

A male passenger was being treated for spinal injuries.

An eyewitness who gave his name only as Travis, said he had helped rescue the survivor but believed the pilot of the aircraft remained trapped underwater.

"Me and another guy ... we ran out, swam out, we pulled one guy out, the passenger," Travis told Macquarie Radio.

"But mate ... we couldn't get back out there.

"There's still a guy down at the bottom, in the plane.

"We got to the aircraft but (the passenger) had already popped out, he was sort of floating.

"He couldn't swim, he'd hurt his back pretty bad so we paddled him over to the shore."

Travis said the survivor was able to move his feet and legs.

The Ambulance Service of NSW confirmed a person was being treated.

"Paramedics have accessed one patient who has washed up on rocks and are treating the patient for suspected spinal injuries," an Ambulance Service of NSW statement said.

He was placed on a medical gurney and television pictures showed him being winched up a cliff face to safety.

The injured man's age was not immediately clear.

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft.

The rescue helicopter spokesman said the aircraft sent a mayday alert before crashing at around 10.15am (AEST).

It disappeared off the radar shortly afterwards.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was not immediately aware of the incident.


A LIGHT aircraft has crashed into the water at North Curl Curl Beach in Sydney and a mission is underway.

The plane crashed into the water about 50m offshore and is submerged in 6-metre deep water.

A Westpac helicopter is at the scene and a rescue mission is underway with a paramedic being winched to the aircraft.

One person is being treated for spinal injuries. The injured person's age and sex were not immediately known.

"Paramedics have accessed one patient who has washed up on rocks and are treating the patient for suspected spinal injuries," an Ambulance Service of NSW statement said.

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft for any other survivors.

"There appears to be a couple of survivors on the surface of the water," a spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter told Macquarie Radio.

"We're hoping there are survivors, we know there are two people that are being supported by local surfers."

Shortly after 10am this morning Sydney Air Traffic Control received a mayday call from the distressed plane.

Minutes later it disappeared off the radar screen.

Soon after Ambulance 000 operators were flooded with calls from witnesses to the crash.

Spokesman from Westpac Stephen Leahy said: "We have no idea of survivors at this stage - we are just trying to get someone down to the crash site."

He also said he had no information on where the plane had come from.

There are claims that the plane carried two people.

Emergency services are responding to reports of a light aircraft crashing on Sydney's northern beaches.

The aircraft came down near North Curl Curl beach, the Ambulance Service of NSW and NSW Police said.

Two people appear to have survived the accident at North Curl Curl.

The aircraft crashed around 10.30am and sank in about 20 feet of water 50 metres from the beach.

It can be seen upside down just below the surface of the water.

The Ambulance Service says its emergency SCAT team has treated one patient for spinal injuries.

It says the patient had been washed up on to rocks a short distance from the wreckage of the aircraft.

Helicopters from Westpac Rescue and police as well as a police launch responded to the incident.

Local surfers paddled out to the wreckage to try to help anyone on board.


A plane has crashed into water on Sydney's northern beaches, witnesses have told police.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said emergency services were called about 10.15am.

Two people appear to have survived the accident at North Curl Curl.

The aircraft crashed and sank in about six metres of water, 50 metres from the beach.

A spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crewmen were diving down to check the interior of the aircraft.

''There appears to be a couple of survivors on the surface of the water,'' he told Macquarie Radio.

''We're hoping there are survivors. We know there are two people that are being supported by local surfers.''

Cessna TU206F, N338F: Aircraft crashed into trees. Near Bremerton, Washington.

Credit: KING

BREMERTON, Wash. -- Federal investigators are in Kitsap County Wednesday, trying to figure out why a plane crashed in West Bremerton.

The plane went down around 10 p.m. Tuesday near Werner Road and Ida Street, but it took hours to rescue the pilot.

Several residents in Bremerton reported hearing a plane in distress near the Bremerton National Airport late Tuesday night. Emergency crews then received another call, one from the pilot himself.

"Shortly thereafter we received a 9-1-1 call from a pilot saying he indeed crashed, which we began searching for the pilot," said Lt. Peter Fisher, Bremerton Police.

Search and rescue teams eventually found both the pilot and the crashed plane in a densely wooded area just west of Bremerton. Some businesses and homes were in the area, but the pilot managed to avoid hitting them, landing in the trees.

The pilot was able to walk away from the plane with non-life threatening injuries. He was taken to Harrison Medical Center for evaluation and has since been released. His name has not been released.

It's still unclear what caused the crash. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Ryanair considers launching more services from Manchester. (UK)

Budget airline Ryanair today said it would consider bringing yet more services to Manchester if its new base at the airport proves a success.

The carrier will launch its new hub in two months’ time and has already sold 20,000 seats for its winter programme.

Ryanair, spearheaded by chief executive Michael O'Leary, said there has been huge demand for its Oslo service in particular, from Scandinavian football fans eager to follow both Manchester United and City in the Champions League this season.

It added the Canary Islands are proving popular with winter sunseekers from the region looking for short breaks during the holiday season.

In July, the low-cost carrier announced it was investing £175m in Manchester, with the aim of creating 2,000 jobs by launching 17 winter routes, growing to 26 by the summer of 2012.

Marketing executive Maria Macken told the M.E.N: “We are eight weeks away from opening the base and things are looking very good.

“At the moment, there is a huge demand for winter sun flights from Manchester, as well as huge demand on the Oslo service from people flying into Manchester for the football.

“Customers appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity to book five or 10-day stays, rather than full package holidays at that time of year.”

July's announcement came less than two years after Ryanair pulled out of Manchester, sparking a war of words with its former bosses.

In setting up its base, it is bringing four aircraft to Manchester and, by next year, it expects to be running 260 flights a week.

Ms Macken added: “Michael O’Leary has said he will consider adding routes to the summer service and, if things go well, there is every chance of that.

“Announcing the base was a huge step for us, as Manchester is one of the most important airports in the UK.”

The new routes being launched include cities in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Baltic states and Scandinavia.

Meanwhile the Office of Fair Trading has resumed its probe into Ryanair’s minority stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus and expects to reach a decision by the end of next month.

The OFT inquiry began last year a year ago into whether Ryanair's near 30 per cent holding gave it the power to influence the former state carrier's commercial policy and hampered competition.

Ryanair first acquired a stake in Aer Lingus in 2006 and mounted a public bid for its entire shareholding late that year, but the European Commission investigated the bid and decided to prohibit it in June 2007.

Ryanair said it was surprised that the OFT 'continues to waste time and resources' on a failed merger offer between two non-UK companies.


Tiger Airways to resume Melbourne to Perth flights.

Tiger Airways will resume flights to Perth next week, their first since its six-week safety ban was lifted last month.

The Perth flight will leave Melbourne Airport daily at 7.10am (AEST) with a return flight leaving Western Australia at 9.45am (AWST) from September 7.

It's the fourth route the airline has revived since its flight ban ended on August 12.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority grounded the airline on July 1, citing concerns over pilot training, safety management and its overall safety systems.

The airline is now flying daily Melbourne-Sydney, Melbourne-Brisbane and Melbourne-Gold Coast return services.

Tiger spokeswoman Vanessa Regan said the airline will announce the resumption of more routes in "due course".

She noted the Melbourne-Perth flights will come days ahead of the AFL finals match between Collingwood and West Coast.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce meanwhile will inspect the first works to transform the interior of a Boeing 747 on Friday.

The works to date include the fitting of A380 style seats.

Fledgling domestic carrier Air Australia will also unveil its new crew uniforms on Friday.

The airline operates under the name Strategic Airlines on routes including Melbourne-Phuket and Brisbane-Bali, but will become Air Australia from December 2011 and begin flights between Melbourne and Brisbane.


'Flying Wild Alaska' receives $400,000 state subsidy

From Kyle Hopkins --

The budget box score for Unalakleet-based "Flying Wild Alaska" has been posted on the Alaska Film Office website. 

The production reported $1,182,247 in Alaska spending. It'll get more than one-third of that money back from the state in the form of tax credits totaling $398,917.

Principal photography on season one of the Bush pilot reality show lasted 60 days and the project created the equivalent of two full-time jobs, according to the application. 

Note that most of the report is blacked out, meaning it's unclear just how the show's budget was spent. The state hides nearly all financial information about all Alaska-based productions.

Discovery Channel announced earlier this year that the hit show would return for a second season. (I watched the film crews gather around Lance Mackey at the Unalakleet Iditarod checkpoint during this year's race.)

The series, starring the Tweto family and the pilots they work with, was a favorite in an informal Daily News poll of Alaska readers back in February. Discovery's other new hit, "Gold Rush: Alaska?" Not so much. Though look for a second season of that series too. 

Meantime, the state also recently approved $53,437 in tax credits for "Hillstranded," a "Deadliest Catch" spinoff. That show reported a meager Alaska spend of $175,681. 

The tax credits are awarded under the state's film incentive program. They allow filmmakers and producers to sell tax credits to other companies in order to recoup up to 44 percent of the cost of making TV shows and movies in Alaska. The credits are a subsidy because the money awarded in tax credits is money that would have otherwise filled state coffers.

Transportation Safety Board team ends on-site probe of fatal Arctic crash. First Air Boeing 737-200, C-GNWN, Flight 7F-6560. Resolute Bay, Canada.

RESOLUTE BAY, Nunavut — The Transportation Safety Board has completed the first stage of its investigation into the cause of the Aug. 20 crash of First Air flight 6560 near the Resolute Bay airport that killed 12 and injured three.

Chris Krepski, spokesman for the TSB, said Thursday that the board's team of 23 investigators was on its way back to Ottawa. The TSB investigators expect to take many months to complete their investigation into the crash of the Boeing 737.

Meanwhile, First Air said it has assumed responsibility for the final stages of the crash site remediation and environmental cleanup.

Qater Earth Science Assoc. Ltd., Atco and a local hunters and trappers organization will "assist and consult during the cleanup," First Air said.

The governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada have approved the plan.

Government inspectors are on-site to oversee the process, First Air said.

How Heritage Media decided to publish, and then remove, Todd Green photos

By Tanya Wildt, Heritage Media

Death is messy. The well-known phrase covers the overwhelming emotions of the family and friends of the deceased. To an extent, it also applies to media covering any death.

When a death is as public as that of wing walker and Ann Arbor resident Todd Green, who died Aug. 21 while performing a stunt during an air show Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County, hard decisions have to be made about what to publish. Since Green’s death was witnessed by thousands in a public setting, it was decided to publish photos of Green as he was falling through the air.

Yes, the photo gave us the chills. Yes, it was a graphic scene. Yes, it will emotionally affect those who saw the accident take place. However, it happened and it was documented by journalists and bystanders and we stand by our decision to originally publish the photos.

In a new digital-first era, however, journalism has changed. Unlike a physical copy of a newspaper, photos and stories posted online can’t be thrown away and forgotten. A digital footprint is left forever.

Over the last few days, the Enterprise has received several requests from family of Green and Enterprise readers to remove the photos from our website, which after much discussion, we have decided to do.

The photos of Green’s accident supported the original reports of his death. Now, they are not vital to the reports regarding his death.

The Enterprise staff also takes into account the feelings of our readers and appreciates any respectful comments regarding our stories. While the Enterprise may make decisions that not all readers agree with, we will always agree they deserve to be heard.

The Enterprise sends its condolences to the Green family during this difficult time. 


An attempted aerial transfer of an individual (wing walker) from a Boeing A75N1 Stearman airplane, N49739, to a Hughes 269C helicopter, N7505B, resulted in a fatal injury to the wing walker during an air show performance at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (MTC), Mount Clemens, Michigan.

CANADA: Safety board calls for increased hot-air balloon regulations

OTTAWA — A "lack of adequate standards" leaves a gap in hot air balloon safety, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Thursday.

In a news release the safety watchdog called on Transport Canada to more strictly regulate the ballooning industry to ensure passengers are not put in danger because of lax practices.

"What we're sayings is that passenger-carrying commercial balloon operations should provide the same level of safety — equivalent to other aircraft operations of about the same size. We're looking for an equivalency there in terms of the regulatory standards and the safety standards," TSB chair Wendy Tadros said.

"We're saying, 'If you have six people flying in a hot-air balloon, they should expect the same level of safety as if you have six people flying in a (small aircraft),'" Tadros said.

The TSB recommended that commercial hot air balloons be strictly regulated by Transport Canada and that all balloons be equipped with an emergency fuel cut-off valve.

Transport Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette said the agency is already moving forward to implement improvements to existing regulations.

"The department had previously responded to the recommendations and the Transportation Safety Board assessed our course of action as satisfactory," Durette said in an email.

Durette said that while the regulatory process was moving forward, "the department is speeding it up to implement aviation regulatory actions at a quicker rate in response to recommendations from the TSB."

Currently, Transport Canada requires all hot air balloons to be inspected by someone certified by the government agency once a year and after every 100 hours of flying time.

The general manager for Belmont, Ont.-based Sundance Balloons, Barry McGonigle, said ballooning is a very safe activity and the industry takes inspections seriously.

"We work diligently to make sure we not only meet regulatory requirements, but we exceed all regulatory requirements," McGonigle said. "If TSB and Transport Canada decide they want to change or enhance or whatever they decide, we'll be happy to work right alongside them to ensure that . . . ballooning is as safe as possible."

The TSB said it has made these recommendations in the past, but Transport Canada has yet to enact any changes.

"Things move fairly slowly with the regulator," Tadros said. "We know that they are taking some steps and there's some work in progress, but it hasn't progressed in four years far enough along to put any new standards in place or to address the safety issues that we found."

McGonigle said ballooning accidents are rare, but when they do happen they attract attention.

"Balloons are big and colourful and beautiful, so if anything happens that's out of the ordinary it attracts attention," he said.

"We make sure all the balloons are maintained properly, inspected properly and are in tip-top condition."

Tadros said the industry will sometimes implement TSB regulations on its own, which she said is "a good interim step."

"Often, we're looking for standards that apply to the whole industry. So that's why we look to Transport Canada because they are the regulator in aviation," Tadros said.

The initial TSB recommendations were brought about after two serious crashes in 2007, one in Surrey, B.C., and the other in Winnipeg. Two people were killed and 11 injured when a balloon caught fire on takeoff in Surrey. In Winnipeg three were seriously injured after high winds forced a heavy landing that resulted in a fire.


Plane Truths: Homebuilt aircraft can land amateurs in sticky situations

Gulf Times
By Ted Gregory

On the wings of fancy

‘Homebuilt’ experimental planes are a popular mix of passion, prudence and risk.

As a flight adviser, Ron Liebmann’s official duty is to evaluate the skills of a pilot preparing to fly an aeroplane for the first time. He starts by talking about experience. Then Liebmann morphs into something of an aviator psychologist, which he insists is necessary to deal with “homebuilders,” amateurs who construct their aeroplanes in garages, basements, even a firehouse Too often, the devotion needed to make such a craft can blind a do-it-yourselfer to potentially fatal mechanical flaws, Liebmann said. The pilots can become a little obsessive. He knows. In 1991, after spending 1,300 hours building a gleaming, red and white, 65-horsepower Kitfox — mostly in the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, firehouse where he worked — Liebmann accelerated down the runway in Marengo, Illinois, for its test flight and stopped, unable to take off.


A case of pilot error, says probe team. Gulf Air Airbus A320-200, A9C-AG, Flight GF-270. Cochin International Airport, Kochi, India.

Two days after a Gulf Air aircraft skidded off the runway and into heavy undergrowth and slush at the Cochin International Airport here, an independent investigating committee set up by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has found that the pilot has not made efforts to correct the landing course.

“From existing evidence, it appears to be a case of pilot error,” E.K. Bharat Bhushan, Director-General of Civil Aviation told The Hindu .

According to him, it is clear from the CCTV footage that the plane had landed about 10-12 metres right of the runway central line while the pilot made no efforts to correct the wrong course.

“Our officials in Kochi will examine the markings on the runway and get the cockpit voice recorder for decoding its data,” he said adding that officials would inspect the disabled aircraft and question its crew members.

Ruling out bad weather and slippery runway as the cause of the accident, Mr. Bhushan said no evidences of aquaplaning (water getting into the wheels) or collection of water on the runway had been collected so far.

Further, a friction test by the Airport Authority of India conducted at the airport here a couple of weeks ago had proved that the runway was in a stable condition. The DGCA is still through to its preliminary assessment process, the report of which will be out in a couple of days. The final investigation report is due in six weeks time.

Meanwhile, the civil aviation authority of Bahrain has de-rostered the pilots who are detained in Kochi to enable them to appear for an interrogation.

Airport sources said data obtained from the India Meteorological Department clearly showed that except a moderate rain, there were no unusual weather conditions at the time of the aircraft's landing here.

Despite the accident, Gulf Air had not yet made any comments on the cause of the accident.

The Bahrain civil aviation authorities and an expert team of the airline had reached Kochi to launch an investigation into the incident.