Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rescue chopper gone missing in Papua

Sunday, September 11, 2011 09:41 AM
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian Army's Bell 412 chopper, which has been sent to locate a crashed Susi Air aircraft at Wamena mountains in Papua, lost contact with the control tower on Saturday afternoon.

Cendrawasih Military Commander Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu said that the helicopter might have made an emergency landing.

Erfi confirmed that the chopper departed from Timika at 2:45 p.m. local time in a mission to help locate Susi Air aircraft.

At 3:51 p.m., the control tower reported that it lost contact with the five-crew chopper, Erfi was quoted by on Saturday evening.

According to the flight plan, the helicopter should have landed in Wamena at 6 p.m..

"Perhaps, it may have made an emergency landing somewhere," Erfi said.

Erfi said that the Army would track down the route taken by the missing chopper on Sunday morning.

Pilot feeling safer in the air:Taft Stallings, chief flight instructor at Dillon's Aviation. Pitt-Greenville Airport (KPGV), Greenville, North Carolina.

Taft Stallings
The Daily Reflector

By Courtney Lindstrand
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Regulations in the aviation industry have changed drastically since 9/11. That makes Taft Stallings feel safer in the air than ever before.

Stallings, a pilot for 13 years, is the chief flight instructor at Dillon's Aviation at Pitt-Greenville Airport.

Prior to Sept. 11, the threat of terrorism wasn't on the radar, he said.

“We were always taught a little bit about safety and the threat that an aircraft can be hijacked ... but that type of awareness for terrorists wasn't really emphasized or stressed prior to 9/11,” he said. “Most pilots didn't even consider it a possibility.

“Before 9/11 we were kind of complacent and relaxed, and 9/11 was kind of a wake-up call.”

Stallings said aviation security tightened after the attacks. An example is a greater use of temporary flight restrictions, called TFR's by pilots. TFR's dictate airspace where pilots are temporarily prohibited to fly.

From keeping the president safe, to putting East Carolina University football fans at ease, TFR's have become another rule that pilots have to follow to keep the peace in the air.

“We just have to be more knowledgeable pilots. We have to be more aware of where we are and where the TFR's are,” Stallings said.

Stallings said stricter regulations make the general public feel safer. People have become more cautious about flying since the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

“The public is becoming concerned, and it's fine to be concerned, but I think there is a (baseless) fear that small airplanes are going to fly into their house intentionally,” Satllings said.

“I just don't think that is going to be the case because of all the increased securities, policies and limitations we now have in aviation.”

Stallings doesn't feel nervous about flying since the attacks, even when flying a commercial plane full of passengers. However, he has noticed a shift in the attitude of pilots within the tightly knit aviation community.

“They appreciated being able to fly; they appreciated each other a little bit more,” he said, of how such a momentous event rocked their careers.

Now, 10 years later, Stallings is able to reflect on how his outlook has changed because of the attacks, from both the standpoint of a pilot and that of an everyday citizen.

“Definitely I don't take things for granted as much as I used to, whether it be flying or anything else related to our freedom,” he said. “

I know it made me appreciate our freedoms and what we can do.

Business owner who fed pigeons near runway pleads not guilty. Near Bob Hope Airport (KBUR), Burbank, California.

Charles Douglas, 59, of Burbank pleads not guilty to creating a nuisance and potential danger for aircraft by feeding hundreds of pigeons near Bob Hope Airport. He's long battled authorities over the birds.

By Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times
September 11, 2011

A 59-year-old Burbank business owner pleaded not guilty Friday to creating a nuisance and potential danger for aircraft at Bob Hope Airport by feeding hundreds of pigeons near the runway.

Charles Douglas appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Burbank with attorneys Bruce Kaufman and Donald Ingalls to answer to the misdemeanor charges of disobeying a court order and creating a public nuisance.

They declined to comment about the case, which was continued to Oct. 21 for a pretrial hearing.

Douglas, a Glendale resident, has long battled with police and city officials over feeding a growing flock of pigeons at his business, Precise Roofing Co., which is near the airport.

Police say feeding the birds at his business on Hollywood Way and Tulare Avenue has created a safety hazard for airplanes using the airport.

Bird strikes had been increasing because of the influx, police said, prompting Douglas' arrest in August.

The birds caused a Southwest Airlines flight in July to be diverted to Ontario, officials said.

In December 2010 and again in February, Douglas was found guilty of feeding pigeons so as to create a nuisance, court documents show.

Police cited Douglas again in July for feeding the birds.

If Douglas is convicted of one of the charges, city attorneys said, he faces six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Bahrain International Airport: Aviation services firm appoints consultant.

Posted on Sunday, September 11, 2011

MANAMA: MENA Aerospace Enterprises has appointed Dheya Towfiqi Consultancy Bureau (DTEB) as its chief consulting engineers and architects for its general aviation and hangar complex at Bahrain International Airport.

"DTEB brings a wealth of experience to the table, and numerous past success with similar projects," MENA Aerospace managing director Dr Mohamed Juman said.

"We are placing significant pressure on our consultants in order to complete the project quickly as there is much interest in the market for the services which will be available at the hangar complex.

"We are certain that this project will continue the established momentum which Bahrain Airport Company and the Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs have started towards making Bahrain a regional aviation hub."

DTEB's assignment is to manage all aspects of the development, including design, subcontracting, oversight and handover management.

"We welcome this challenging assignment. This project is the first of its kind for the airport and the first in Bahrain," DTEB founder and executive director Dheya A Aziz Towfiqi said.

"We appreciate the confidence MENA Aerospace has expressed in us through this appointment.

"Our experienced and seasoned team of professionals will bring this project in on time and on budget.

"It is usually a challenge to co-ordinate amongst all the stakeholders in a project such as this. But we are pleased and thankful for the attentiveness and professionalism of our colleagues at Bahrain Airport Company, Civil Aviation Affairs and Hochteif."

Last year, Bahrain Airport Company signed a unique and key agreement with MENA Aerospace to build and operate one of the region's larger private and general aviation hangar complexes.

The deal involves MENA Aerospace investing in the development of a dedicated general and private aviation complex at Bahrain International Airport to provide comprehensive maintenance and support services to private and corporate aircraft.

Emirates Airlines aircraft: Smoke alarm. Kolkata airport, India.

TNN | Sep 11, 2011, 05.34AM IST

KOLKATA: Smoke emitting from an Emirates aircraft after it landed on Saturday morning caused an alarm at Kolkata airport. Though fire tenders were rushed to the parking bay, the smoke ceased on its own. The plane later took off after engineers repaired a minor snag. The aircraft was undergoing routine checks when staff noticed smoke emitting from the rear of the aircraft. While 209 passengers bound for Dubai were yet to board the aircraft, the 13-member crew was asked to disembark immediately. Fire tenders reached the spot immediately but were not called into action as the smoke petered out. Later, engineers found that a crack in the lubricant chamber of the plane's auxiliary power unit (APU) had caused a leak and the smoke.

tnn Though the leakage was plugged, Directorate General of Civil Aviation cleared the aircraft on the condition that the APU would remain shut during the flight. The APU is primarily required to power essential systems of the aircraft when its engines are idle on the ground.

The plane finally took off for Dubai at 11am, one hour and 20 minutes behind schedule.

Rescue helicopter crashes in eastern Indonesia while on a mission to find two missing pilots.

September 11, 2011 - 10:49AM

Officials say a rescue helicopter has crashed while on a mission to find two missing pilots, one of them Australian, whose plane went down in eastern Indonesia.

Military spokesman in Papua Lieutenant Colonel Ali Bogra said the Bell 412 carrying five Indonesian soldiers lost contact with authorities on Saturday afternoon, about 20 minutes after it took off from the mining town of Timika. It was unclear if there were any survivors.

The helicopter crashed a day after a Cessna 208-B Caravan went missing with pilots David Cootes, 29, from Queensland and Slovakian Thomas Munk.

Rescuers have spotted the wreckage of the single engine aircraft, belonging to Susi Air, that crashed on Friday in the mountains of Yahukimo district. Weather has prevented them from reaching the pilots, who are feared dead.

NATO exercise set for Indiana military base

EDINBURGH, Ind. (AP) — Pilots and soldiers from 14 countries will be at central Indiana's Camp Atterbury this month for a NATO training exercise on how to avoid opening fire on friendly forces.

The exercises are scheduled to begin at the Indiana National Guard base starting Thursday and last through Sept. 25.

Military personnel from the U.S., Canada and several European countries will take part in the training, including the use of high-tech sensors that allow them to distinguish friend from foe, Navy Capt. Kent Davis said.

They'll familiarize themselves with different types of technology, including radar, infrared and radio systems. For instance, pilots will train with radios that automatically exchange challenge and password signals with ground forces.

"A pilot could only have seconds to determine whether to engage a target," Davis told the Daily Journal of Franklin ( "There's little margin for error, so you need instantaneous information about the battlefield conditions."

About 500 soldiers will participate in the training at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh and the Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex near North Vernon.

Those living near those bases should expect to hear more fighter jets and helicopters day and night than normal during the training period, National Guard Maj. Lisa Kopczynski said.

The goal of the training is to prevent friendly fire deaths, such as when an American fighter pilot killed four Canadian soldiers in a 2002 bombing in Afghanistan.

The technology that works best at Camp Atterbury will be shared by NATO countries during ongoing and future combat and peacekeeping missions. All allies need to use the same devices to recognize each other on the battlefield to avoid any friendly fire deaths, Davis said.

"Warfare is a fallible process," he said. "Unfortunately, tragedies happen, and that's why we're refining our processes for target identification and developing new processes."


Information from: Daily Journal,

Betty Skelton, 'fastest woman on Earth,' dies at 85

Betty Skelton in her Pitts Special aircraft in Tampa in 1951
[Betty Skelton via Associated Press (1951)]

Times wires
In Print: Sunday, September 11, 2011

Betty Skelton, 85, a daredevil pilot who was a three-time national aerobatics champion and became known as the "fastest woman on Earth" when she set speed records in airplanes and automobiles, died of cancer on Aug. 31 in the Villages. She made her first solo flight — illegally — at age 12 and went on to become a pioneering and charismatic pilot in the days of propellers and open cockpits. She gave her first aerobatics performance at 19, appearing in the same show in Jacksonville in which the Navy's precision flight team, the Blue Angels, debuted in 1946.

12K low-cost flats to be built in Navi Mumbai

Chittaranjan Tembekar | Sep 11, 2011, 04.28AM IST

MUMBAI: The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) plans to build 12,000 low-cost homes over the next three years. probably the biggest ever scheme since 1987.

The apartments will be constructed in Ghansoli, Vashi, Kharghar and Taloja.

While 7,566 houses, at a cost of Rs 951 crore, will be built for the lower income group in Ghansoli, Vashi and Taloja. Nearly, 1,118 flats will be constructed for the middle and the high income group in Kharghar. "Though rates will be decided later, we are committed to building affordable houses for all groups.

Flat booking will start within a year," said Pramod Hindurao, chairman of Cidco. After the Navi Mumbai international airport received environmental clearance, prices in Kharghar, Belapur, Kamothe, Khanda Colony, Panvel, and Kalamboli went up from Rs 300 to 500 per sq feet.

Suspicious item prompts gate evacuation at Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD), Washington, District of Columbia. Photo
Updated at 08:01 PM today

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) - September 10, 2011 (WPVI) -- Officials at Dulles International Airport have evacuated an area around a cargo container including several gates in a concourse that houses mostly international carriers after a suspicious item was found there.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Rob Yingling says the item was found Saturday afternoon and the Virginia state explosive ordinance disposal team is on the scene. He says investigators are taking their time and keeping the perimeter in place as a precaution.

He says officials are being extra vigilant in light of recent terror threats, and taking all precautions if something out of the ordinary is discovered. He would not say what kind of item it is, or why it was deemed suspicious

Yingling says two outbound flights have been delayed because the aircraft were within the perimeter.

Coast Guard law enforcement training in South Bay, California. Training involves transferring personnel from aircraft to Coast Guard vessels.

Posted: Sep 10, 2011 7:24 PM EDT 
Updated: Sep 10, 2011 7:24 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The U.S. Coast Guard has scheduled law enforcement training in the southern end of San Diego Bay Saturday evening, according to Coast Guard officials.

The training involves one or more transferring personnel from the aircraft to Coast Guard vessels.

The training is a fairly routine operation and has already been held in the area several times this week, according to officials. It involves members of the Coast Guard's Maritime Safety and Security Team.

These teams provide anti-terrorism force protection for strategic shipping, high interest vessels and critical infrastructure. These units are a quick-response force capable of rapid, nationwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation in response to Maritime Homeland Security mission requirements.

IN PICTURES: Crash Site/Wreckage of Robinson R44 Raven II, Three Fatalities. Accident occured August 30, 2011 in Sao Sebastiao, north coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Villagers observe the wreckage of a crashed helicopter, in dense forest of Sao Sebastiao, north coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Three people died in the helicopter crash that left Campinas bound Angra dos Reis, in Rio de Janeiro, on Tuesday.
View 4 images

Lancair IV P, N71DM: Steep dive cited in air crash. Accident occurred August 20, 2011 near Hammonton Municipal Airport (N81), New Jersey. Report

6:56 PM, Sep. 10, 2011

HAMMONTON — A Voorhees pilot who died in a midair crash last month collided with another plane making a steep dive in an area set aside for aerobatics, a federal safety agency says.

David N. Mitchell, 71, came “out of nowhere” moments before the deadly accident in the skies above Hammonton Municipal Airport on the afternoon of Aug. 20, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Neither airplane appeared to have altered its course before the collision,” says the NTSB report.

Mitchell, the founder and president of a poultry-processing firm, suffered fatal injuries in the 1:15 p.m. crash. The other pilot, Kirill Barsukov of Jersey City, parachuted to the ground and was hospitalized with serious injuries.

According to the report, Barsukov was flying in an aerobatic practice area to the east of a runway at the Hammonton airport. Although an “observer/coach” was watching Barsukov, the area was not monitored by air traffic controllers, the report notes.

A witness on the ground said Barsukov had been flying his Russian-built YAK-55M for about 20 minutes before the accident occurred.

“She saw the Yak make a steep climb, then enter a steep dive,” says the report. “As it did so, she saw a white airplane traveling “really fast come out of nowhere” in level flight and collide with the Yak.”

Mitchell, who was flying an “amateur-built” Lancair IV P, had taken off from South Jersey Regional Airport in Lumberton for an unknown destination, the report says. He was flying at about 3,500 feet as his plane approached the airport, according to preliminary radar information. Report

Oman Air exceeds 1.8m passenger mark

Sun, 11 September 2011

Oman Air exceeds 1.8m passenger mark - MUSCAT — Shaikh Said bin Ali bin Nafl al Mas’haali, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for Civil Aviation Affairs, Deputy Chairman of Oman Air’s Board and Head of its Executive Committee, said that the national carrier is currently witnessing rapid growth in all its operations.

In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Al Mas’haali said that Oman Air managed to transport 1,845,341 passengers during the first half of 2011, a 24 per cent increase compared to that in the corresponding period last year. Oman Air’s catering unit also provided 2,450,151 meals constituting an increase of 16 per cent of last year’s corresponding period.

Al Mas’haali pointed out that the company raised its revenues by 40 per cent, its passenger traffic by 38 per cent (3.3 million passengers), seat occupancy rate by 72 per cent from 61 per cent and transported 28,600 tonnes of goods (an increase by 99 per cent in air freight).

The revenues also grew by 238 per cent and the number of meals presented on board of the company flights increased to 4.5 million from 3.5 million meals (a growth by 29 per cent), he said.

Al Mas’haali added that during 2010, Oman Air launched 8 new destinations, taking up the total to 41 destinations, including countries of the region and a number of Arab, Asian, African and European countries.

Al Mas’haali pointed out that the company’s fleet now comprises 26 aircrafts, namely 15 Boeing 737, 4 Airbus A330/200, 3 Airbus 330/300 and 2 Embraer 175 jet aircrafts. Two more aircrafts will be received in 2012, he added, noting that the company is set to purchase 6 Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which are expected to be delivered in 2015.

Al Mas’haali also said that the company will launch two new destinations in the near future to Zurich in Switzerland and Moscow in Russia. As for the air fares, he said that Oman Air fares are in line with the market prices. In response to a question on the efforts undertaken by Oman Air to promote for the Sultanate as a tourist hub and attract more visitors, Al Mas’haali pointed out that Oman Air supports all efforts undertaken by the Tourism Ministry by providing unique travel experiences and high quality services.

As for domestic (inbound) tourism, Al Mas’haali said that Oman Air is pressing ahead with its steady efforts alongside with the Tourism Ministry to enhance the national economy. Towards this end, Oman Air continues sponsoring many events and forums held in the Sultanate including Khareef Salalah Festival and Muscat Festival.

During July 2011, Salalah Tourism Festival season, Oman Air provided 53,483 seats to Salalah compared to 38,256 seats during the corresponding period last year. It also enhanced its air flights on this line by operating 201 additional flights during July 2011, said Al Mas’haali, adding that the company launched the new air fare for Muscat-Salalah-Muscat line, (RO 51) with effect from July 2011.

Al Mashaali added that Oman Air re-operated its flights between Dubai and Salalah (two flights weekly) to meet needs of customers while maintaining the air fares at (RO 85).

Speaking about human resources development, Al Mas’haali said that Oman attaches great importance to the Omanisation policy. The company goes ahead in implementing the Omanisation policy through ambitious strategies and plans that aim at attracting attracting more Omani people and increasing their knowledge and skills to keep pace with the new developments in all fields.

He said that the company’s board has approved a number of ambitious plans that aim at employing more Omanis this year.

In this context, Al Mas’haali dded that IATA recently named the training centre in Oman Air as one of the best 10 training centers in the region. This stresses the company's commitment to apply the best training practices and human resources development. Oman Air training center provides a number of training programmes not only for the company's employees, but also for foreign bodies in a bid to provide constant support and enhance safety and quality criteria in all civil aviation fields.

Al Mas’haali said that Omanis currently occupy a number of senior executive posts in Oman Air. “While the current Omanisation rate of the company is high (64 per cent), this rate is expected to rise more as more qualified citizens will be employed in the coming period,” he said.

Oman Air is very keen on sponsoring different career exhibitions organised in the Sultanate, said Al Mas’haali, adding that Oman Air is committed to preparing the Omani manpower to join the civil aviation field and occupy posts, such as pilots; one of the major jobs for which there is a growing demand in different parts of the world. Oman Air continues announcing for registration of the secondary education graduates who meet requirements to work as pilots or engineers.

Oman Air bears 70 per cent of the costs of their education abroad, he furthered.
“The number of Omani pilots at the company is now 213 or 57 per cent of the total number of pilots working for the company,” Al Mas’haali said, adding that the company announced that it will conduct assessment tests for graduates with effect from September till the end of this year (2011), said Al Mas’haali.

“The company also published advertisements about its keenness to recruit aviation engineers from among the secondary education graduates after receiving the required training courses,” he added. “By the end of this year (2011), the company will name 3 to 5 accredited colleges, so those interested in aviation field may join to avoid not recruiting them in the company,” he continued.

Bulgaria’s Air Force 1 Airbus Rescues Stranded Russian Tourists

The Airbus of the Bulgarian government will join in the efforts to transport home hundreds of tourists who have been stranded in Burgas Airport for days now. Yesterday night the aircraft set of to Moscow. About 900 Russians, Finns and Estonians became hostages of Alma Tour travel agency which owes seven million leva to the national air carrier Bulgaria Air. 

Friday, the air company cancelled all flight for Alma Tour until the money issue is not settled. Yesterday’s talks yielded no results and PM Boiko Borisov ordered to provide the government airbus to help out the stranded tourists. It is expected that today the airbus with a sitting capacity of 90 passengers will make two flights to Riga nad Scandinavia. The Premier himself will fly to Estonia for a working visit by the VIP Falcon.

Karibian Hurant THORP T-18, N407HK : Accident occurred September 10, 2011 in Panama City, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA11CA487 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 10, 2011 in Panama City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2012
Aircraft: KARIBIAN HURANT THORP T-18, registration: N407HK
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, he entered the traffic pattern with the intention of landing on the southern part of the private turf runway in order to avoid construction on the new paved runway. According to a witness, the pilot executed a normal landing. During the landing roll, the right main landing gear impacted a culvert. The airplane veered to the right and came to rest inverted, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and vertical stabilizer. The pilot reported there were no preexisting mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's selection of an unsuitable landing site, which resulted in a collision with a culvert.

According to the pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane, he entered the traffic pattern with the intention to land on the southern part of the private turf runway, to avoid the construction on the new paved runway. According to a witness, the pilot executed a normal landing. During the landing rollout, the right main landing gear impacted a culvert. The airplane veered to the right and came to rest inverted, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and vertical stabilizer. The pilot reported there were no preexisting mechanical anomalies with the airplane.


CALLAWAY — A pilot of a small aircraft crashed at Sandy Creek Air Park Saturday at 1:48 p.m. Saturday.

The plane was a small, ultralight plane that said “Amateur Made” on a side plaque, according to Lt. Tony Bruening with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane sustained a broken windshield, propeller, but damage was not deemed massive.

The pilot of the plane, whose name was not available Saturday, was taken to a local area hospital for treatment for broken bones.

The crash is under investigation by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Sandy Creek Air Park is off County 2297, east of Callaway.

Pilot responsible for rough landing in NW Iran: Minister. Mahan Airbus A300-600, EP-MNT, Performing Flight W5-613.


TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iranian Minister of Roads, Transportation and Urban Development said the pilot is responsible for a plane's rough landing which came in northeastern Iran last week.

"The barrier in front of the plane was a natural barrier for fighters and the pilot's mistake caused the plane crashed into the barrier," Ali Nikzad told reporters Friday.

"We are doing our best for safety of flights, since the first mistake in flights is the last one," he added.

A passenger plane operated by the private Iranian airline Mahan Air has made a rough landing in Mashhad in the northeast of the country.

Mahan Air Flight 613 took off from the capital Tehran headed for Iran's second largest city, Mashhad, at 10:30 p.m. local time last Saturday.

The aircraft's front tire burst as soon as it touched down on the runway at Mashhad's Shahid Hashemi Nejad International Airport.

The pilot of the Airbus jet managed to avoid disaster and saved the lives of all 230 passengers on board.

However, the incident left several people with minor injuries taken to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

RAW VIDEO: Iran F-5 fighter aircraft crashes in Tabriz during Velayet-3 Air Defense drill. September 10, 2011.

by UNITY4IRAN on Sep 10, 2011

"Pilot ejected before impact and is lying on the ground as people try to help him! The pilot survived according to reports."

TEHRAN, Sept 10 (KUNA) -- A warplane of the Iranian Army crashed on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Tibriz, the national media reported on Saturday.

The pilot parachuted to safety shortly before the fighter jet crashed near Tibriz Airport. No casualties were reported in the accident, caused by technical fault, according to the Iranian media.

The Iranian Army is currently carrying out a drill In the Tibriz region -- with employment of locally-made warplanes, F-4 and F-5 jet fighters.

Air India Express: Aussie pilot vanishes, derostered.

Manju V, TNN | Sep 11, 2011, 02.09AM IST

Vanishing Act

* Capt Goran Pavicevic joined Air India Express as a commander in 2008

* The airline received a mail from the pilot leasing firm expressing doubts over the veracity of entries in his log book

* He took a phone call from the airline saying that he had been taken off duty and should report to the DGCA

* He checked into a hotel in Mumbai and took the first flight out of the country

MUMBAI: An Australian national working as a commander for Air India Express since 2008 went missing on Friday morning. A day earlier, the 53-year-old commander was on duty in Abu Dhabi from where he was supposed to operate a flight to Trichy.

But he received a call from the airline saying that he had been taken off duty and should report to the Director-General of Civil Aviation with his pilot's license and personal flying log book as there were doubts regarding the veracity of his documents. The commander flew back to Mumbai and, instead of going to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) office, apparently took the first flight out of India to Australia.

Air India Express has derostered the pilot. The DGCA has ordered an inquiry.

Though investigation into the matter is not over yet, it is likely that this is yet another case of fake documents submitted by a pilot to secure a commander's job. Only, in this case, it is an expatriate pilot and he has managed to evade arrest by fleeing the country.

Since the time he joined AI Express as a commander in 2008, Capt Goran Pavicevic has flown over 2,800 hours. It roughly translates to having operated about 460 flights. He was rostered to operate the Abu Dhabi-Trichy-Chennai AI Express flight IX-614 on Wednesday night.

The flight was eventually operated by another commander as, hours before the flight, the airline received a mail from Rishworth Aviation, the New Zealand-based pilot-leasing company through which Pavicevic secured a job in AI Express. The mail expressed doubts over the veracity of some flight entries in his log book. These were done prior to his appointment in AI Express.

"It seems that some flight entries in his log book were forged to meet the eligibility criteria laid down by AI Express," said a source. The airline then informed the DGCA. The aviation regulator in turn asked them to file a police case and ordered the airline to ask the commander to report to the DGCA office with documents.

"He checked into the city hotel meant for AI Express pilots, but he has not been reachable since Friday morning. We learnt that he boarded the morning Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore and from there he would have flown to Australia," the source said. Said an AI Express spokesperson: "After we received the mail, we had tipped off the Foreigner Regional Registration Office. They issued a look-out notice to the immigration authorities."

Director-General of Civil Aviation Bharat Bhushan said, "We will look into how he managed to get employed in Express." It is not known if the documents he submitted were fake, he added. The official in charge of India-operations of Rishworth Aviation said he could not comment as he would need the company's permission.

Singapore Airlines joins sustainable aviation fuel users group

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has taken another step towards greener skies by joining the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), the airline said. Established in 2008, SAFUG is a working group that aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of lower-carbon renewable aviation fuels, derived from environmentally and socially sustainable sources.

“We are pleased to be the newest member of SAFUG. This is in line with our longstanding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations,” said Ng Chin Hwee, Singapore Airlines’ Executive Vice-President Human Resources and Operations, in the statement.

“It will take time to research and develop alternative fuels that meet the stringent safety requirements of civil aviation and at the same time are commercially viable. But through SAFUG, which brings together both airlines and aircraft manufacturers, we hope to be one step closer,” he added.

Singapore Airlines maintains a young and modern fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft. The average age of its passenger fleet, as of September 1, 2011, is six years and four months. The airline is also an early adopter of technology, having been the first airline to operate the fuel-efficient Airbus A380, for example, and having placed orders for the latest-generation Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

Southwest Airlines: Plane headed for Baltimore diverted to Nashville for security reasons. 1 passenger behaving suspiciously

UPDATED: 3:06 p.m.

One passenger continues to be the subject of an investigation at Nashville International Airport.

"To my knowledge, I don't believe he will be continuing on the flight," said Chris Mainz, spokesman for Southwest Airlines.

According to Mainz, the flight crew coordinated with air traffic control and a decision was made to divert after the flight crew observed one passenger acting suspiciously.

UPDATED: 2:56 p.m.

A 3:15 p.m. departure time has been set for a Southwest Airlines 737 passenger plane after the flight was diverted to Nashville for security reasons.

According to a Southwest Airlines spokesman, 117 people are on board. The plane can hold up to 137 passengers.

UPDATED: 2:30 p.m.

A Southwest Airlines spokesman said a plane that was diverted to Nashville for security reasons was stopped because of one passenger.

"Our flight crew witnessed suspicious behavior specifically with regard to one passenger on board," said spokesman Chris Mainz.

Mainz would not elaborate on the behavior. No arrests have been made, according to Emily Richard, a spokeswoman with Nashville International Airport.

"I don't know if that passenger will continue or not," Mainz said.


A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Baltimore was diverted to Nashville for security reasons at 1:10 p.m.

Police ordered all passengers off the plane, sent them back through security and examined the contents of the plane before allowing the passengers back on at about 2 p.m., according to Nashville International Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard.

The departure time remained uncertain.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Richard was unable to comment about what was on the plane or why airport police are investigating, but she did confirm that the flight, a Southwest Airlines plane, left from Albuquerque this morning.

A check shows it left at 8:55 a.m. and was scheduled to land in Baltimore at 2:40 p.m.

An FBI spokesman who declined to be identified said he was aware of the situation and added, "We are addressing it."

Posted: Sep 10, 2011 4:27 PM EDT 
Updated: Sep 10, 2011 4:27 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Southwest Airlines flight destined for Baltimore has been diverted to Nashville after what an airline official described as "suspicious behavior" by a passenger.

The flight, which originated in Albuquerque on Saturday morning, was reset for a 3:15 CDT departure. Nashville International Airport spokeswoman Emily Richard told The Tennessean that no arrests were made.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz declined to elaborate on the passenger's behavior. The plane landed in Nashville at 1:10 p.m. CDT.

Police ordered all the passengers off the plane, sent them back through security and examined the plane before passengers were allowed back on.

Mainz could not say whether the passenger in question was allowed back on the flight.


Safety personnel gather to train for plane emergency. Piqua Airport - Hartzell Field (I17), Piqua, Ohio

9/10/2011 8:35:00 AM
By Will E Sanders
Ohio Community Media

Sometimes in the field of safety services, first responders hope for the best and train for the worst.

That is why safety personnel from around the area have spent the last three days conducting training in the event of a plane crash, or a plane-related emergency.
Since Thursday and running through today, the Piqua Airport-Hartzell Field has been been closed to the public as personnel with various emergency departments got an up-close, firsthand look at what it would be like should an aviation incident - from a plane crash to an large, ignited fuel spill - ever transpire.

The training exercises, being conducted in conjunction with Miami County Emergency Management and the West Virginia Fire Academy, will serve as a real-life scenario in the event of an aviation-related disaster, said Derrick Wood, a representative of the academy.

Some of the exercises public safety members performed during the three-day training exercise were a simulated plane crash, a cabin fire and a large, simulated fuel spill that caught on fire.

A key component of the training is a state-of-the-art airliner crash and fire simulator that area police, fire and emergency management departments trained with and aboard.

One of the scenarios first responders dealt with was a commuter plane crash with about 50 people on board that had to make an emergency landing, but crashed instead.

The scenario involved other factors related to such an incident, including hazardous materials, mass casualties and the prospect the incident was caused by terrorists.

But the training just wasn't all real-life scenarios, as some of the training also involved in-class presentations.

Wood, one of several instructors, said that in the world we live in today, such training is needed - calling it "crucial."

"We are teaching an introduction to aircraft firefighting," Wood said. "It's a good idea to have this class to get (first responders) familiar with the types of aircraft and how to put out fuel fires."

While the Piqua Fire Department was the lead agency, along with Miami County EMA, the training scenario involved several jurisdictions throughout Miami County and parts of Montgomery County.

The scenarios were a chance for local first responders to prepare and train for a disaster, such as a plane crash, in the future, said Piqua Assistant Fire Chief Vince Ashcraft.

"It does open up something that we are not typically prepared for," he said.
"We don't have a lot of planes that drop out of the sky, but this reinforces everything we have learned, like hazardous materials, with special precautions we take with any aircraft, the high flammability rate of the fuel and other unique hazards that can happen."

Ashcraft added: "It can happen. It has happened."

The assistant chief said the Piqua Fire Department will be prepared in the event of a plane crash.

"Are we going to be prepared for the exact incident if it happens?" Ashcraft said. "No, we never are. But we are being given some exposure and getting our mind set in a certain way to think what will happen so we can respond properly. I think we will be very well prepared. Every time we go to an incident it is a new incident. We never have anything that is exactly the same."

Since the training began on Thursday, the airport has been shut down to air traffic.

Landing gear gives way on plane during landing, no injuries. Bishop International Airport (KFNT), Flint, Michigan.

Published: Saturday, September 10, 2011, 4:08 PM
By Kayla Habermehl | The Flint Journal

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Michigan — A small plane's landing gear gave way as the plane came in to land at Bishop International Airport Friday.

The plane was carrying two people when it came in a bit too fast to the runway at about 12:40 p.m., causing the gear to give out, said Pat Corfman, spokeswoman for Bishop International Airport.

There were no injuries and no delay of any flights from the airport, she said.

The plane sustained some damage, she said.

The Flint Township Fire Department initially received a call to respond but they were called off.

Efficiency Metallic Leading Edge Structure Bird Strike Resistant Design

Journal Advanced Materials Research (Volume 338)
Volume Product Design and Manufacturing
Edited by Xiaodong Zhang, Zhijiu Ai, Prasad Yarlagadda and Yun-Hae Kim
Pages 84-89
DOI 10.4028/
Citation Mei Ying Zhao et al., 2011, Advanced Materials Research, 338, 84
Online since September, 2011
Authors Mei Ying Zhao, Jing Jing Li

Abstract This article investigated a new metallic leading edge bird strike resistant structure, using corrugate board as its enhanced component to absorb more bird kinetic energy. This structure was called as Corrugate Board Leading Edge (CBLE) structure. To verify the structure’s bird strike resistant ability, numerical simulation based on the LS-DYNA was carried out, and succeeding experiments were performed. However, the experimental results were not exciting. They were not as the simulation results we expected. The reasons were analyzed through this article. Finally a rivet-relative model was created considering the influence of riveting. This model was proved to be accurate by comparing with experimental results. Based on the analysis above, an Optimized CBLE (O-CBLE) structure was used to optimize the bird strike resistant ability, the energy absorption rate of O-CBLE structure increased 11.4% while the structural quality was only slightly increased.
Full Paper PDF Get the full paper by clicking here


Bad weather delays search for Australian pilot. Cessna 208B Grand Caravan. West Papua, Indonesia.

September 11, 2011

Bad weather has prevented authorities from reaching the site where a light plane piloted by a Queensland man crashed in the Indonesian province of West Papua.

Grave fears are held for the man, identified by the plane's owners as David Cootes, 29, as well as another pilot who was aboard the Cessna turbo prop single-engine aircraft when it crashed en route to the village of Kenyam about midday on Friday.

The second pilot was identified as Slovakian man Thomas Munk.

An Indonesian transport ministry spokesman said rescue workers held out little hope of finding anyone alive because of the extent of damage to the aircraft.

Indonesian authorities said a search and rescue helicopter was sent to the crash site yesterday morning but was forced to return to base because of bad weather.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the condition of both men was still not known.

"Due to bad weather, Indonesian authorities have not yet been able to access the crash site to confirm whether there are any survivors," a DFAT spokesperson said in a statement yesterday.

Consular officials from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta were in direct contact with a representative of the plane's owner, Susi Air.

The Cessna 208-B Caravan, which was carrying four drums of diesel fuel as well as other cargo, is believed to have crashed midway into its one-hour flight from Wamena to Kenyam.

Susi Air flights not operating Saturday

Solid air: The president director of Susi Air, Susi Pudjiastuti (2nd right), wipes her tears prior to holding a press conference in Pangandaran, West Java, on Saturday on the plane crash of one of the company’s aircraft in Papua in which two foreign pilots are feared dead. Susi said bad weather could be the reason the accident occurred. (JP/Nurhayati)

The Jakarta Post, Pangandaran 
Sat, 09/10/2011 4:55 PM

Owner of Susi Air Passenger and Cargo Aircraft Charter, Susi Pudjiastuti, says the company will mourn for the loss of lives after one of its plane's crashed, and will shut down all operations Saturday.

“I apologize to all passengers. Today we will not be operating because staff are mourning over this accident,” Susi said Saturday from her house in Pangandaran, Ciamis, West Java.

She said this time would enable the crew to regather before starting operation as usual on Sunday.

The police earlier reported that a Cessna 208-B Caravan, belonging to Susi Air, crashed Friday in rugged mountainous Yahukimo district, on its way to Kenyem from Wamena.

The single turboprop engine aircraft was carrying four drums of diesel fuel, and was flown by two foreign pilots identified as Australian David Cootes and Slovakian Thomas Munk.

Susi Air is now operating 45 aircrafts serving dozens of routes from Sumatra to Papua.

Air Force cuts some training flights in new plan

Updated 01:25 p.m., Saturday, September 10, 2011

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) — The Air Force says it determined that its controversial proposal for low-level night-time training flights over New Mexico and Colorado would have no significant impact on the environment, but still made adjustments to proposed fly-zones.

A map released with an updated proposal last week cut out planned flights over northern New Mexico's population corridor from Albuquerque north through Santa Fe and Taos. It also removed proposed flights over Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Trinidad in Colorado.

In addition to cutting back some areas for the flights, the Air Force proposed letting the flights go as low as 300 feet rather the 200 feet initially proposed. It is seeking the flights, planned for after dusk, to help the Air Force train in mountain conditions.

The military branch found the plan had "no significant impact," which would allow the Air Force to begin 688 proposed flights a year without going through a more rigorous process of developing a full-blown environmental impact statement.

But the finding is not final. The Air Force is putting the draft analysis, along with the revised plans, out for public comment through Nov. 5.

One group opposing the flights, the Peaceful Skies Coalition, said the Air Force's finding makes a mockery of federal laws protecting the environment. Other opponents fear flights could disrupt wildlife and ranching.

"Our belief that the decision was made to put this program here, no matter way, has been shown to be true," Cliff Bain, a leader of the coalition, told the Albuquerque Journal.

After the flights were first proposed last year, the Taos, Santa Fe and Rio Arriba county commissions, as well as the city councils of Taos and Las Vegas, passed resolutions opposing the flights. Other counties, such as Curry County, which is near the base, passed resolutions supporting the training flights.

Japanese air traffic controller suspected of posting Air Force One flight plan on blog

(Mainichi Japan) September 10, 2011

The government said on Sept. 9 that it is investigating whether a senior air traffic controller posted images on his blog of the flight plan of Air Force One during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Japan last November.

The blog post has already been deleted, but the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said the chief air traffic controller, whose name was withheld, may have breached confidentiality.

According to the ministry, a total of 12 images were posted on the blog, two of which appeared to be flight plans. All the images, including 10 of radar screens, the control room, and the like, were apparently taken by a digital camera, and there is a possibility that one of them was the flight plan for Air Force One.

The ministry was tipped off by an anonymous caller, who said, "improper images are posted on a blog." The blog carried a picture of the air traffic controller himself, and when the ministry contacted him for confirmation, he admitted to posting the images.

The man started work as an air traffic controller at Tokyo's Haneda Airport in October 1981. The ministry quoted the man as saying, "I started up my blog in 2001 and uploaded pictures within several days of taking them. I wanted as many people as possible to see them. I am truly sorry."

Flight plans must be submitted to air traffic controllers because they contain information on types of aircraft, places of departure and destination as well as flight altitudes and speeds.

TOKYO An air traffic controller at Haneda Airport posted secret Air Force One flight plans for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Japan in November on his personal Web site, according to government sources.

The security breach, which one Defense Ministry official described as "terrible," could possibly require Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to apologize to Obama when they meet this month in New York.

The air traffic controller, in his 50s, posted 12 images on his blog, including images believed to have been photographed at a control room and a radar room. The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is investigating the case.
According to the ministry, two images showed computer screens displaying aircraft flight plans. A government source said an aircraft identification number on one image indicated the flight plan was for Air Force One on Obama's flight to Japan from Seoul on Nov. 12 to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Yokohama.

The air traffic controller was quoted by the ministry as saying: "I took photos of my workplace and computers with my digital camera. I posted the photos on my blog several days after taking the photos.

"I wanted to show the photos to my friends and acquaintances."

However, it would have been technically possible to post the photos on his blog almost immediately by using a mobile phone.

The other flight plan was for a U.S. warplane, believed to be a Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft, the source said. The aircraft has been occasionally flying over the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to collect information since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis there. The flight information included scheduled takeoff and landing locations, flight paths and altitudes.

Also posted on the controller's Web site were three images of radar screens showing aircraft flight routes. The images had no captions and have been deleted from the blog, the ministry said.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Law, aircraft operators must submit flight plans to air traffic control and obtain approval before flying. During flights, air traffic controllers confirm flight plan information displayed on computer screens, such as flight routes and aircraft altitude, to ensure air traffic flows smoothly and safely.

Once an aircraft completes its flight, the plans are blocked from appearing on computer screens.

"I believe the photos were taken during flights and just before landing," a senior transport ministry said.

According to the ministry, flight plans should be kept secret for flight security, such as preventing terrorist attacks.

The controller said he launched the blog in 2001, according to the ministry.

All 12 images were believed to have been taken in the airport's control room and radar room. Aviation regulations prohibit taking photos in these rooms.

Some pictures showed his colleagues making phone calls and checking computer screens in the rooms. One image that showed the controller in a radar room apparently was taken by a colleague.

"The movements of Air Force One have never been made public, even in the United States," a senior Defense Ministry official said. "It's terrible that such important information has been leaked online."

"Prime Minister Noda will need to apologize to President Obama at a Japan-U.S. summit meeting," a senior government official said.

The leaders are next scheduled to hold talks in New York on Sept. 21.

Yoshitomo Aoki, a commentator on aviation and military affairs, said flight plans are usually stored on computers and it is easy for air traffic controllers to access this information.

"It's difficult to predict government plane schedules. If terrorists could obtain flight plans, it would be easier for them to plan attacks on the planes," he said.

"With this incident, other countries will perceive Japan to be a country that leaks important information easily to others. It will likely erode other nations' trust in Japan. I can't believe the air traffic controller's lack of awareness as a government official," he added.

The air traffic controller has been working at Haneda Airport since October 1981.

Experienced controllers are usually deployed at Haneda Airport because its skies and runways are often crowded.

According to the transport ministry, the controller has never been moved to other airports.

A senior ministry official said: "I've heard the ministry refrained from transferring him to other airports after he strongly requested to stay (at Haneda). This is unusual - air traffic controllers are often moved from one airport to another."

"It's possible his colleagues felt unable to express their opinions against someone who had worked there for so long, which could have become the underlying cause of this information leak," he said.

IN PICTURES: DC-10 Air Tanker Drops Fire Retardant. Waller County, Texas.



Justice sought for pilots in 2000 Osprey crash

September 10, 2011 1:43 PM

It may be 11 years since a V-22 Osprey plunged to the earth in Marana, Ariz., killing its two pilots and the 17 other Marines aboard, but a Jacksonville military widow believes she may finally be close to setting the history books straight regarding the tragedy.

The doomed flight of April 8, 2000, began as a night training exercise near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, with two V-22s conducting non-combat maneuvers. Though the aircraft was still in early stages of use by the military and by the crews aboard, the flight went smoothly, up until the point that the following Osprey, codenamed Nighthawk 72, attempted to land at the nearby Marana Airport. With the lead Osprey descending quickly from much higher than planned, the following aircraft found itself in rotor stall, its pilots apparently unable to control its final descent. Veering right, the Osprey crashed into the ground in a fiery explosion.

Though the event was an unthinkable tragedy for the loved ones of all aboard, another moment of horror was in store for the widows of the V-22’s pilots, Maj. Brooks Gruber and Lt. Col. John Brow, when results of an investigation into the incident were made public several months later. While the Judge Advocate General Manual Report was more nuanced, a press release from the Marine Corps summarizing the findings announced that a combination of human and other factors had caused the crash, with the chain of events leading to the Osprey’s fate involving deviations from the scheduled flight plan and the rapid rate of descent.

In the release, then-Marine commandant Gen. James L. Jones issued a statement backing the findings.

“The tragedy is that these were all good Marines joined in a challenging mission,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the pilots’ drive to accomplish that mission appears to have been the fatal factor.”

Immediately, media reports broadcast to the world that pilot error had caused the fatal crash, a conclusion that widows Connie Gruber and Trish Brow instantly and vehemently contested.

“It was a rude awakening for me, and I knew right then and there that whatever information released to the media to imply this accusation was false; and I intended from that day forward to do whatever necessary to protect my husband’s professional reputation and guarantee him the honor he and his comrades so deserved,” Gruber told The Daily News.

She appeared on 60 Minutes soon after the crash, saying that Maj. Gruber had been pulled into the role of test pilot, operating an aircraft about which much still was unknown. She has since reaffirmed her belief in a variety of media interviews that her husband was not to blame. In 2009, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who promised to assist Gruber after meeting her at a memorial service soon after the crash, introduced a House resolution absolving the pilots of guilt for the record and blaming the crash instead on Vortex Ring State, a stalled condition to which the Osprey was particularly prone and for which the pilots were not adequately trained.

While the resolution died in committee, new voices have surfaced in recent months to give credence to these claims. Between June and July, Jones received letters from each of the three Marine investigators who had been responsible for establishing findings from the Marana crash. For the cause, the reports were heartening.

Then-Lt. Col. Michael Morgan, the lead investigator, wrote to Jones that no ambiguity should remain in records of the incident.

“In my opinion ... John Brown and Brooks Gruber performed as model wingmen on this mission. They were doing exactly what is expected of wingmen on a tactical flight,” he wrote.

In summary, Morgan said he looked forward to the day when Defense officials accurately recognized the pilots’ sacrifice.

Then-Lt. Col. Ronald Radich wrote to say the crash had served to highlight the hazards of VRS, then a little-known phenomenon, even in the aviation community.

But for the sacrifice of the 19 Marines, he wrote, “the highly adverse effects of V-22 VRS would have continued to remain dominant ... For the price the crew and passengers paid to discover this, it would be morally wrong to place the blame on the pilots of Nighthawk 72.”

Phillip Stackhouse, then a captain, wrote to say that blame was never intended to be set at the feet of the aircraft’s pilots.

“For any record that reflects the mishap was a result of pilot error, it should be corrected,” he said. “For any publication that reflects the mishap was a result of pilot error, it should be corrected and recanted.”

Stackhouse, now a military defense attorney in Jacksonville, told The Daily News the point had been clear from the conclusion of the investigation.

“From my perspective, it was never my intent with the command investigation to place blame on the pilots with the mishap,” he said.

Though Navy Secretary Ray Mabus issued a clarification for Maj. Gruber’s file stating that “no single action by any single pilot would necessarily have caused the mishap; it was not pilot error,” Jones said the wording does not satisfy.

“The family would like one of two things: an amendment or addendum to the JAGMAN report or a public declaration from the commandant of the Marine Corps or secretary of the Navy stating that the two pilots were not at fault,” he said.

Jones is now working to gain support for a new legislative effort to establish the pilots’ innocence.

For Gruber, the new support may mean some light at the end of a decade-long tunnel for her, her 11-year-old daughter Brooke and the Brow family, as well as a chance to see the pilots’ legacy rightly honored.

“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “After all this time, it is time that it be corrected. We’re not going to give up at this point.

“We’ve been involved too long now to just let it go.”