Saturday, September 24, 2011

Plane from Hubli a threat to Mumbai airport?

MUMBAI: A private plane taking off from Karnataka's Hubli airport could be used to carry out a terror strike at Mumbai airport, authorities have been warned. Security agencies said fears of such an attack remained till November 15. Earlier, they had issued an attack-by-plane alert but didn't specify from where it could come.

Guidelines issued in the alert state that access control and security arrangements at the Kalina (VIP) gate and other gates leading to terminal areas and parked aircraft may be re-assessed. Accordingly, security has been tightened at the Mumbai airport.

The security agencies are also examining whether any flight request for a private aircraft from Hubli to Mumbai airport has been made within November 15. "Any permission to use private aircraft from Hubli to Mumbai may be denied unless the bona fides are very well established," the alert said.

The warning added that the attackers may try "action" like 9/11, but didn't identify any group or groups that may mount the strike. Air traffic controllers at the domestic and international terminals in the city have been put on high alert. It further stated that arrangements would be necessary at Juhu airport to ensure that a helicopter or a plane doesn't take off from there and serves as a missile for the air-borne attack.

The alert gave three possibilities for the attack. First, a private aircraft could hit the main terminal building. Second, terrorists may gain entry through the VIP gate and a private aircraft could be taken over. It could take off and return immediately for a direct strike on the terminal building. Third, a four-wheeler, most likely a truck, packed with explosives could be driven through the Kalina gate and rammed into the terminal building.

"We have passed on this information to the concerned agencies and are closely working on the security arrangements. The alert clearly indicates the November 15 deadline, so we have to be on high alert. We cannot take any chances," said a senior security official.

United Arab Emirates plane fares to get cheaper as competition ramps up

Airfares are expected to be driven down as competition between airlines flying out of the UAE heats up and more carriers add routes, travel agents say.

Even among UAE carriers, there is fierce rivalry for passengers. "It's one of the burning issues," said Sunil D'Souza, the UAE country manager for Kanoo Travel. "The competition among the Gulf carriers is increasingly rapidly. In the UAE, you have Emirates Airline, Etihad [Airways], Air Arabia, and now RAK Airways, and another private carrier from Fujairah is also going to start.

"More and more regional carriers are coming up. It's good news for the customer. The customer is getting better options and better rates. But for the airlines obviously that means there is a price crunch or capacity crunch because they are competing for the same pie."

Albert Dias, the co-founder of, an online travel agency based in the UAE, said that in particular there was increasing competition between Emirates and the Indian carriers, with the UAE airlines now aggressively pushing promotions to fill seats.

"That's always going to be there," he said. "Emirates is trying to secure their loads, versus the Indian carriers like Kingfisher and Jet Airways that are trying to fill up their seats as well."

Such competition has already led to calls from India for Gulf airlines to reduce their services to the subcontinent.

Travel agents have also noticed that UAE airlines are now prepared to negotiate with them on fares, whereas once they would not adjust prices.

"Airlines now are far more willing to negotiate in terms of special deals to promote underperforming sectors in particular," said Mr Dias. "We've seen a lot of those deals coming through this summer, and far more in far greater value this summer than last summer."

Etihad has more than 100 aircraft on order. The carrier flies to more than 70 destinations in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. It has a fleet of 61 aircraft and operates more than 1,000 flights per week. Etihad expects its fleet to serve more than 100 destinations by 2020. The airline has also made it much easier for passengers based in Dubai to fly out of Abu Dhabi with the launch of additional bus services.

As Emirates Airlinecontinues to grow at a rapid pace, the carriers based in the UAE are launching destinations that overlap.

Still, travel agents say that air fares are up, more than 10 per cent on last year in many cases, largely because of higher fuel costs, so it is more a case of competition keeping prices in check rather than prompting them to fall sharply.

Passenger traffic for the region's carriers grew by 8.3 per cent in the first seven months of the year, while capacity rose 9 per cent, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Sheldon Emmanuel at Al Tayer Holidays in Dubai said certain airlines, including British Airways and KLM, were being much more aggressive with their advertising of special deals.

"One of the things we're seeing is the reducing difference between the rates on full-service airlines and low-cost airlines," said Mr Dias. "So if you wanted to purchase a ticket from Dubai or Sharjah to India or most Middle Eastern countries, previously you'd see a Dh500 (US$136.27) to Dh1,000 difference in some cases between a low-cost airline and a full-service airline, but today that difference is down to maybe Dh50 to Dh150."

Florida: Crash a reminder of dangers near small neighborhood airports. Those who live and work near smaller airports are at the highest risk of a plane crashing on top of them.

Plane crashes in South Florida regional airports.  A look at past accidents involving aircrafts from local airports

A Lear Jet lands at the Boca Raton Airport (KBCT), Florida.
Photo Credit:  MARK RANDALL, Sun Sentinel
September 24, 2011

When an experimental plane smashed through a fence after a botched takeoff at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines a few weeks ago, some nearby homeowners asked themselves a familiar question: Are we safe here?

"I hear the engines stop sometimes in the sky, in mid-flight, and I'm afraid they're going to crash," said Ernesto De Leon, who has for 17 years lived just a few hundred yards from the chain-link fence that encloses North Perry. "I do worry about it."

Every year there are anywhere from two or three to more than a dozen wrecks of planes taking off from or landing at the small, general aviation airports in Broward and south Palm Beach County – North Perry Airport, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Boca Raton Airport and Pompano Beach Air Park.

There's no way to stop all crashes, officials said. Airports already do "as much as possible" to keep those nearby safe, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.
Video: Two former Plantation cops sentenced to more than 3 years on fraud charges

Pilots have to keep their planes and themselves flight-worthy, and if a random inspection or accident investigation shows they didn't they can be fined or their license can be revoked or suspended. License renewal requires a medical checkup. Airports are required to maintain runway lights and markings, runway widths and to keep a certain amount of land around the runway empty.

Still, accidents happen.

"I don't know if there's anything you can do about ensuring nothing is going to happen, because you have a house in close proximity to an airport," said Boca Raton Airport spokeswoman Kim Singer. "There's risk inherent in flying, period. Any time you get in an airplane, there is risk."

There are about 1,800 crashes of general aviation aircraft — private planes, student piloted aircraft, experimental planes, banner-ad planes, news helicopters — for every one commercial plane crash in the U.S., according to National Transportation Safety Board statistics.

That's because pilots of commercial planes undergo more rigorous training, Bergen said, because they will be responsible for so many passengers.

And most crashes happen during or near takeoff and landing, according to the FAA.

That means residents living near general aviation airports are at the highest risk of having a plane smash through their roof.

Barbara Pearce and her daughter Cindy live near North Perry. For them, crashes are a part of life. They can tell a dozen stories off the tops of their heads.

"There was one landed on the church, but that was years ago," said Cindy Pearce, who has grown up across the street from North Perry and is now raising her son there.

She's seen the smoking wreckage of three crashes in her lifetime, all within walking distance of home. And once, she saw a crash — while playing volleyball as a child, she watched a plane do three cartwheels just inside the airport fence, both pilot and copilot jumping out of the careening propeller plane.

Nationally, the rate of wrecks has been the same for ten years. In South Florida, some years are great, with just a few crashes, and other years see many more wrecks.

The exceptions are Boca Raton and Pompano Beach, where there haven't been more than two wrecks a year in a decade and a half. Those airports have fewer takeoffs and landings than the others in South Florida.

North Perry and Executive both do between 150,000 and 175,000 takeoffs and landings a year, about twice as many as Pompano does and four times the number at Boca.

Airport and federal aircraft safety officials said there still aren't that many crashes, though.

Over the last twenty years, said Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport spokesman Chaz Adams, there have been more than 4.7 million takeoffs and landings at that airport, and only 33 crashes.

That "equates to approximately one accident for every 142,000 operations," Adams said.

South Florida's crash history has some scary moments, though.

An experimental plane piloted by an 80-year-old man fell from the sky onto Oscar Nolasco's Oakland Park home after taking off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in 2009. It exploded. Neighbors a block away felt the windows rattle.

Luckily, no one was home. Nolasco's 17-year-old nephew had left a few minutes earlier. The house was destroyed. It's an empty lot now. Nolasco moved away.

Nolasco's next-door neighbor, Troy Pierce, still lives in the same house. He said he doesn't worry about getting hit, even though he sometimes sees planes "tangled in the power lines" on Powerline Road near his home.

"The chances of it happening here again are so low," he said.

The recent incident at Pembroke Pines' North Perry brought to mind a horror story from 1986, when a small jet failed to take off properly and tore through the airport fence to skid across a city baseball diamond — where a little league game had ended just minutes before.

"The nose landed on home plate," Cindy Pearce said. "That made you think, because there would've been kids there not much earlier."

Of course, Bergen added, there weren't people living next door when these airports were built. In every case in South Florida, the houses crept up to the airport, not the other way around.

"It's no different than buying a home on a busy street where cars are going up and down in front of your house every day," said Boca Raton Airport's Singer. "You hope no one is going to run into your house."

That hasn't kept some from fretting. Those living near Perry periodically begged for the airport to be shut down permanently throughout the 1990s. Elected officials from Pembroke Pines and Miramar supported the effort. But the movement fizzled because that just would've meant more planes at other nearby airports.

Airports don't need to close for people nearby to be safe, officials said.

The FAA's safety regulations are rigorous, Bergen said, but they're not the only thing shoring up safety. The agency analyzes crash data to identify risk areas and educate pilots and airport workers on how to avoid them.

Individual airports are encouraged to do something similar. At North Perry, for example, a group of pilots and airport employees meet once a month to discuss "close calls" and possible safety "hot spots," said spokesman Greg Meyer.

Maybe that's why some folks don't worry, even if they can hear the planes passing overhead every few hours.

"The odds of it hitting me are low," said John Frost, who also lives across from North Perry. "I trust the air-traffic controllers and the pilots."

President of Zimbabwe Stuck In New York: Aircraft burst four of its rear tires

Harare, September 24, 2011- Zimbabwe’s aging leader, President Robert Mugabe and several government officials are stuck in New York after an Air Zimbabwe plane that was supposed to ferry them back home burst its tires on Friday.

Informed sources said the long haul aircraft burst four of its rear tires as a result of hard landing when it landed at an airport in New York to pick up the aging leader and his delegation which include ministers and senior government officials who had been in the US attending the UN summit.

The sources said the aircraft which was parked at an airforce base close to New York burst its tires as it landed at an airport in New York due to bad weather.

Engineers traveling with Mugabe secured two tires to replace the burst ones in the US and were on Saturday awaiting delivery of the fourth tire from Air Zimbabwe’s spares store in London.

The tire burst resulted in the cancellation of Mugabe’s flight on Friday. The Zimbabwean leader was scheduled to arrive in the country on Saturday. He is now expected to leave on Saturday and arrive in the country on Sunday on condition that the tire from London arrives on time in New York.

Sources said engineers on Saturday faced another challenge as they were failing to fix one of the tyres which was reportedly not compatible with the specifications on the aged aircraft.
The sources said the aircraft’s captain identified as Madungure was likely to be in trouble for botching the octogenarian leader’s trip.

Mugabe chartered one of Air Zimbabwe aged planes to travel to New York to attend the just ended UN session. He traveled with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera and other government officials.

Vice President Joyce Mujuru also chartered an Air Zimbabwe plane this week when she traveled for the swearing in ceremony of Zambian new leader Michael Sata.

Air Zimbabwe has in recent months been rocked by a plethora of problems ranging from wild cat strikes, fuel shortages and mismanagement.

Traveler With 5 Stun Weapons and Pepper Spray Arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York.

One of the stun weapons confiscated at JFK.

A man was arrested and accused of traveling with a barrage of weapons at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday.

Transportation Security officers found a stun gun, three stun batons, a stun pen and a can of pepper spray during a routine baggage check on Thursday.

Mohamed Hefni, 54, told officials he was taking them home to Saudi Arabia to protect his family.

The screeners didn't buy his story and called the Port Authority Police.

Hefni now faces weapons possession charges.

Watch Video:

Possibility of continuous air service to Kargil by this year end: Minister

The government Saturday said that there was a possibility of a round the year civil air service to the Kargil region in the state by the end of current year.

Minister for CA&PD and Transport Qamar Ali Akhoon along with the Committee, set up to conduct survey of Airport to ensure round the year air connectivity, visited Kargil and made on the spot inspection, an official said.

Talking to our Correspondent, Qamar said that this is the fourth meeting in this regard and the three member committee will present a detailed report of their findings to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry.

He said that there is a possibility of operating civil air service from Kargil by the ending of this year if all goes as planned.

The team also conducted a meeting with the LAJDC and discussed about the flow of passenger in case of operation of Air Service, Cargo Service and flow of tourists and other business points.

The committee was assured for adequate flow of passengers in case of operation of civil air service and the company who starts operation will be in great profit, the official said.

Private planes for regular Joes: Social media, charter companies and brokers are opening the world of private jet travel to people at prices on par with first-class.

Article by: MICHELLE HIGGINS , New York Times
Updated: September 24, 2011 - 11:41 AM

Flying in a private jet may not be as far out of reach as you think. Though it's still not cheap, prices are rivaling first- and business-class tickets -- and even, occasionally, coach -- thanks in part to new websites, social media and a greater willingness by charter companies and private jet brokers to negotiate in an era of high fuel prices. 

Here's how you can land a seat on a private plane for less.

Search for last-minute, one-way discounts: Air Partner, a charter broker based in London, introduced last year to help fill empty legs (when the aircraft flies without passengers back to base or between jobs) at discounted rates. Travelers can view which flights are available online but must call for pricing. Other brokers and private jet operators like JetSuite also make empty legs available to individual travelers, so it can pay to shop around.

"The dirty little secret of the industry is, about a third of our flights are empty," said Alex Wilcox, chief executive of JetSuite, based in Southern California, which began posting last-minute $499 deals on Facebook for empty legs on the company's four-passenger Embraer Phenom jet. "Say a Gulfstream pulls into San Francisco and is going back to Vegas empty," he said. "A few years ago, if you were to say, 'If I give you $500 will you take me and my family?' you would get laughed at." But the recession changed such attitudes, Wilcox said. Now, he said, more companies are saying, "Sure, it'll help pay for the gas."

But empty-leg flights involve a bit of a gamble. If the private jet owner's arrangements change (say, the client they were planning to meet in Miami cancels at the last minute), you're out of luck.

Split the cost through social media: Social media are also opening new avenues to private jet travel.

Last month, for example, JetSuite started SuiteShare, which allows a customer to charter a four-passenger aircraft and then offer seats that won't be needed through Facebook ( Each time another customer joins your flight, the price everyone pays falls, though JetSuite makes a little more.

Here's how it works: A four-passenger jet from Oakland, Calif., to Las Vegas starts at $1,500. If a second person joins, you pay $750. If a third joins, you pay $375. While that may not be cheaper than simply buying a one-way first-class ticket from San Francisco (such seats were going for about $285, based on a recent online search), if a fourth person joins, the person who booked the charter gets to fly free. The other passengers pay $450, $600 and $750 respectively, based on booking order, and JetSuite makes an additional $300 on the deal.

Social Flights, a new collective buying company in Smyrna, Tenn., started an online service in February that uses social networking to help charter companies fill seats and travelers lower their costs by sharing a plane. Already 57 private plane operators have signed on.

Travelers register with the site,, and post messages to online groups called Travel Tribes, which are based in the same city or share similar interests -- for example, football fans who want to follow their team to the Super Bowl. If enough people want to travel to the same place at the same time, each passenger simply pays the cost of his seat.

SocialFlights also posts one-way empty legs. A recent search pulled up open seats from $200 between Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., and $300 between Teterboro, N.J., and Big Flats, N.Y.

Use a broker to find you the best deal: If you don't have the time or inclination to hunt online for empty legs or to organize a charter flight, you can hire a broker to do it for you. For a commission, independent private jet brokers can act as your agent to solicit bids and negotiate the best rate from jet companies they have vetted.

They can also help walk you through the fine print of the contract. "If something happens with your child or your health and you can't fly, you need to have a reputable broker who can be your advocate," said Chet Dudzik Jr., president of JetWay Private Air. "If that broker or agent has a good relationship with the charter company, the chances are good you can cancel." In addition, he said, "We assume every aircraft won't take off, so we have a recovery aircraft in place," and no one is left on the ramp.

Even if flying private costs more than you'd like to pay, when you factor in all the hassles of commercial travel that you can avoid -- from long security lines to overcrowded airplanes to long drives to major airports -- some travelers may find the splurge worth it.

"Once you've had a taste of it, it's really hard to go back to commercial," said Katrina Garnett, founder of, a high-end travel site that partners with Lufthansa Private Jet, a brand of the European carrier, for connecting flights in Europe.>

Check safety ratings: Like commercial carriers, charter operators must adhere to government rules, called Federal Aviation Regulations. Still, it is a good idea to check the safety record of the private jet company you are considering flying on. While the number of private charters involved in crashes has dropped in recent years, accidents do occur more frequently outside the commercial mainstream of scheduled flights.

To ensure the plane and crew you're getting are up to snuff, ask for an Argus TripCHEQ or Wyvern PASS report, offered by the two largest private jet safety firms -- Argus International Inc. and Wyvern Consulting Ltd. -- which audit charter companies and conduct background checks on crew members, making sure pilots have the requisite number of flying hours. Either your broker or the private jet company itself (if you're booking directly) should be able to provide this.

NASA's dead satellite falls, starting over Pacific

WASHINGTON — NASA's dead 6-ton satellite plunged to Earth early Saturday, but more than eight hours later, U.S. space officials didn't know just where it hit. They thought the fiery fall was largely over water and the debris probably hurt no one.

The bus-sized satellite first penetrated Earth's atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA and the U.S. Air Force's Joint Space Operations Center. But that doesn't necessarily mean it all fell into the sea.

NASA's earlier calculations had predicted that the 20-year-old former climate research satellite would fall over a 500-mile swath and could include land.

Because the plummet began over the ocean and given the lack of any reports of people being hit, that "gives us a good feeling that no one was hurt," but officials didn't know for certain, NASA spokesman Steve Cole told The Associated Press.

The two government agencies said the 35-foot satellite fell sometime between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday and 1:09 a.m. EDT Saturday, but with no precise time or location.

There was rampant speculation on the Internet and Twitter, much of it focusing on unconfirmed reports and even video of debris over Alberta, Canada.

Cole said that was possible because the last track for the satellite included Canada, starting north of Seattle and then in a large arc north then south. From there, the track continued through the Atlantic south toward Africa, but it was unlikely the satellite got that far if it started falling over the Pacific.

Cole said NASA was hoping for more details from the Air Force, which was responsible for tracking debris.

But given where the satellite may have fallen, officials may never quite know precisely.

"Most space debris is in the ocean. It'll be hard to confirm," Cole said.

Some 26 pieces of the satellite representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal had been expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the post-Apollo 75-ton Skylab space station and the more than 10-ton Pegasus 2 satellite, both in 1979.

Russia's 135-ton Mir space station slammed through the atmosphere in 2001, but it was a controlled dive into the Pacific.

Before UARS fell, no one had ever been hit by falling space junk and NASA expected that not to change.

NASA put the chances that somebody somewhere on Earth would get hurt at 1-in-3,200. But any one person's odds of being struck were estimated at 1-in-22 trillion, given there are 7 billion people on the planet.

The satellite ran out of fuel and died in 2005. UARS was built and launched before NASA and other nations started new programs that prevent this type of uncontrolled crashes of satellite.



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de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Texas Turbine Otter, Servant Air, N361TT: Accident occurred September 23, 2011 in Kodiak, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC11FA107 
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, September 23, 2011 in Kodiak, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-3T, registration: N361TT
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

According to a passenger who was seated in the front, right seat, as the flight progressed toward the destination, the pilot decided to make an unscheduled landing at a lake that was surrounded by rising terrain. The passenger said that after making an easterly approach to the lake, before touching down, the pilot initiated a go-around. The passenger said they flew low over the surface of the lake toward a “V” shaped notch formed by a creek with hills on either side at the east end of the lake. He said that while flying through the notch, he thought the left wing of the airplane had hit the hillside. He said the pilot reacted by pulling back hard on the control yoke and rolling the airplane to the right. The airplane entered a steep climb, it began to shake, and stall warning horn sounded. The airplane then rolled left into a steep descent and impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude. The airplane’s left wing had impacted a tree on the creek bank prior to the crash. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. 

Toxicological tests detected the pilot’s recent use of over-the-counter medications used for relief of cold and flu symptoms. Two of these medications are sedating. The use of these sedating medications on the day of the accident or the underlying illness may have affected the pilot’s performance. Given the lack of mechanical deficiencies with the airplane, and the passenger's account of the accident, it is likely the pilot failed to maintain adequate clearance with a tree while performing a low altitude maneuver following a go-around.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a tree during a low altitude maneuver and his failure to maintain control of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s use of over-the-counter sedating medications. 


On September 23, 2011, about 1930 Alaska daylight time, a single engine, turbine-powered, amphibious float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3T airplane, N361TT, sustained substantial damage during a go-around and subsequent low altitude maneuver at Heitman Lake, about 5 miles south-southwest of Kodiak, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by Paklook Air Inc., Kodiak, as a visual flight rules (VFR) on-demand air taxi flight, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135, when the accident occurred. Of the three people aboard, the commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries, one passenger received serious injuries, and the remaining passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The airplane departed Old Harbor, Alaska, bound for Kodiak, about 1905.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 23, an agent for the operator said that a passenger on the airplane reported that during a go-around on a lake, the airplane struck a tree on the shoreline and crashed. The passenger was able to make a cellphone call, and report the accident to authorities.

On September 24, the NTSB IIC and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations inspector from the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) examined the airplane at the crash site. The NTSB IIC noted evidence of the tree strike. The airplane collided with terrain in a steep, nose-low attitude, about 200 feet past the tree.

On September 24, during an interview with the NTSB IIC, the passenger in the rear passenger cabin said he boarded the airplane at Old Harbor. He said during the flight he knew that the airplane had descended and was flying over the surface of the lake. He did not know what had happened until he exited the wreckage.

On September 27, during an interview with the NTSB IIC, the front right seat passenger said that he was an employee of the company, and had accompanied the pilot to Old Harbor. At Old Harbor they picked up one passenger, and headed to Kodiak. He said that during the flight to Kodiak the pilot decided to land at Heitman Lake, for no particular reason. The passenger said after making an approach to the lake, but before touching down, the pilot decided to proceed to Kodiak without landing. He said the pilot flew low over the surface of the lake toward the “V” shaped notch at the east end of the lake. He said that as the airplane flew through the notch, he thought the left wing of the airplane had hit the hillside, but he didn’t see the tree. He said that after the initial impact the pilot reacted by pulling back hard on the control yoke and rolling the airplane to the right. As the airplane entered a steep climb, it began to shake, and he heard the stall warning horn come on. The airplane then rolled left before entering into a steep, nose down descent, which was followed by an impact with the ground. 


The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The right front seat passenger was seriously injured, and the passenger in the rear cabin received minor injuries.


The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.


The 49 year old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. He was issued a second class FAA medical certificate on May 2, 2011, with limitations to wear corrective lenses for distance vision, and have lenses available for near vision. 

In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the operator, the pilot's total aeronautical experience was listed as 3,000 hours, with 280 hours in the accident airplane make and model. He had flown 180 hours in the previous 90 days, including 6 hours the day of the accident. The accident flight was his third flight of the day. The pilot had completed a required biennial flight review or equivalent on July 1, 2011. 


The accident airplane was a de Havilland DHC-3, which was manufactured in 1952. The airplane had been modified under a supplemental type certificate (STC) SA 09866SC, for the installation of a 900 shaft horsepower, Honeywell TPE-331 turboprop engine by Texas Turbine Conversions, Inc., Denison, Texas. The engine was installed on June 6, 2003. The airplane was maintained under an Approved Airplane Inspection Program (AAIP), and at the most recent inspection, the engine had 3,424.0 hours. The airplane was also equipped with amphibious floats. 

The last required inspection of the airplane was completed on June 10, 2011. Examinations of the airplane, engine, and propeller logbooks did not reveal any mechanical anomalies or concerns. 


The accident occurred during daylight hours. The closest weather reporting facility was at the Kodiak Airport, Kodiak, about 5 miles north-northeast of the accident site. The Meteorological Terminal Air Report (METAR) at 1953 ADT was reporting, in part: sky condition, broken at 4,500 feet; temperature, 48; dew point 43 degrees F; altimeter 29.34 inHg; wind 260 degrees true at 4 knots.


No aids to navigation were involved in this accident.


The pilot had a Garmin GPSMAP 696, which was recovered from the wreckage. The Garmin GPS was examined at the NTSB Recorder Laboratory, and data recovered from it showed the track of the accident flight. Track data includes latitude, longitude, GPS altitude (height above ground), groundspeed, and track heading. The data points are 10-15 seconds apart. 

The track data showed the airplane depart Old Harbor, en route to Kodiak. About 5 miles south-southwest of Kodiak, the airplane descended toward the west end of Heitman Lake. Once over the lake, the airplane turned toward the east end of the lake while descending. About midpoint on the lake, the last data point shows the airplane descending toward the surface of the lake, in the direction of the creek (outlet) at the east end of the lake, and the airplane had slowed to 64 knots of groundspeed. At the east end of the lake there is a creek outlet, with descending terrain beyond.


All of the airplane's major components were found at the main wreckage site. The airplane wreckage was located on a hillside, on the north side of a creek originating from the east end of Heitman Lake. The wreckage was about 300 feet east of the lake. The lake’s elevation is about 900 feet above sea level, and the terrain is predominately rolling hills with sparse tree cover. The creek runs predominately west to east, and forms a “V” notch at the east end of the lake. 

A single evergreen tree on the hillside, on the north side of the creek, about 20 vertical feet above the creek, is believed to be the initial point of impact. The tree was within the “V” notch created by the hills on either side of the creek. The terrain beyond the “V” notch descends steeply from the lake toward the Island’s coast. Orange paint chips were found at the base of the tree. The distance between the initial impact point and the main wreckage site was about 200 feet.

The airplane impacted the ground nose first in a near vertical attitude, creating an impact signature slightly larger than the diameter of the propeller. The left wing had broken away at the wing root, but remained with the airplane. The left wing leading edge had an impact mark, about 18 inches from the tip. The impact area on the wing was painted orange, and orange paint chips found at the base of the lone evergreen tree were physically matched with missing paint at the wing’s point of impact.

Aside from the single impact mark on the left wing the remainder of the leftwing leading edge, and the right wing leading edge were relatively undamaged. 

The upper leading edges of the wing flaps were creased, consistent with the flaps being extended during impact.

The airplane impacted on its nose and the tip of both floats. The tips of both floats showed impact damage, and the retractable land wheels were retracted. The float support structure had collapsed. 

The nose of the airplane had been crushed aft, and the engine and support structure intruded into the cockpit. The cockpit was open to the elements.

The aft passenger cabin was relatively intact, and the empennage was bent at the aft passenger cabin bulkhead. The tail was intact, however the left horizontal and elevator were pushed inward toward the fuselage when the wreckage landed on its left side.

Control continuity was established for all controls.

The engine had plastic folding of the exhaust manifold, and the propeller blades had extreme longitudinal bending, leading edge gouging, and torsional twisting.

There were no preaccident mechanical problems discovered during the NTSB IIC's on-scene wreckage examination.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, 5455 Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force injury to the head, and the manner of death was accidental.

A toxicological examination was conducted by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on January 24, 2012. The examination revealed the presence of Doxylamine (0.047 ug/ml) in the pilot's blood, and both dextrorphan and ranitidine in the pilot’s urine.

Ranitidine is an over the counter medication used for the suppression of gastric acid and reflux symptoms. It is not generally considered to be sedating.

Dextrorphan is a metabolite of Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan and Doxylamine are commonly found in over-the-counter cold medicines used for relief of cold and flu symptoms. Doxylamine is a sedating antihistamine with a therapeutic blood level range of 0.05-0.15ug/ml; the pilot’s level was just below therapeutic at the time of his death. This medication carries the warning that it may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). 

The FAA recommends that pilots allow five dosing intervals to elapse (30 hours for dextromethorphan and doxylamine) from the time of the last dose of any sedating medication before returning to flying.

One person is dead and two injured after a de Havilland Otter crashed Friday night near Kodiak, troopers say. The Servant Air flight was headed to Kodiak from the village of Old Harbor, according to troopers.

The Servant Air flight was headed to Kodiak from the village of Old Harbor when it crashed at 7:55 p.m., about six miles south of Kodiak, according to reports by Alaska State Troopers and the FAA.

Pilot James Andie, 49, was killed, troopers say. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter hoisted two passengers, who authorities have not publicly identified, to safety at 8:11 p.m., the Coast Guard reports.

The passengers were flown to the Kodiak air station and met by emergency medical crews, who transported them to Kodiak Island Providence Medical Center for treatment, according to the Coast Guard.

The pair suffered "serious" injuries, according to the FAA.

Andie, a Kodiak resident, was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said. The crash site is near Heitman Lake, near Mile 14 of the Chiniak Highway, according to a trooper report.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. The float plane, tail number 1 dead, 2 injured in Kodiak-area plane crash, troopers say, was substantially damaged in the crash, according to the FAA.


A de Havilland Otter with three people aboard crashed Friday evening on approach into Kodiak airport, said an employee with the downed plane's operator, Paklook Air. According to the employee, who declined to give his name, the plane was headed to Kodiak Airport and was about 5 minutes out when the plane went down with two passengers and the pilot aboard. 

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a Jayhawk helicopter was flown in to assist with the rescue, and arrived at the scene at Kalsin Bay at 8:11 p.m. The Coast Guard was able to rescue two people from the downed aircraft and transferred them to medical crews, who took them to Kodiak Island Providence Medical Center. Alaska State Troopers and the Kodiak Fire Department stayed behind to attempt to rescue the third person, who was still in the plane.

The identities and condition of those involved in the crash were not immediately available.

India: Directorate General of Civil Aviation officer taken off duty preparing safety manuals

New Delhi, Sep 24, (PTI):  Senior DGCA officer R S Passi, who was stripped of responsibilities as Director (Air Safety) five months ago, has been asked to prepare safety manuals as the government is yet to decide on the action to be taken against him on charges of nepotism.

"Passi is a Class-I Officer of the government. He was neither suspended nor sacked, but was taken off duties with immediate effect in April. As he has been drawing his salary and doing nothing, some work like preparing safety manuals has been given to him. His work is completely unrelated to anything concerning airlines," top officials of the aviation regulator said here.

Passi was removed from his position in DGCA's Air Safety Directorate this April following investigations into the fake licence scam which revealed that his daughter had not cleared a flight test in the US but was working in an Indian carrier as pilot after getting a Commercial Pilot License. She quit after the probe began.

The officials, requesting anonymity, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had forwarded all cases involving its officials and staff to the Civil Aviation Ministry "six months ago".

"It is for the government to take a decision on them. But till the decision comes, we can't let such senior officers sit idle, especially when there are only 14 officers handling aviation safety issues in the DGCA," they said.

Some officers and staff had come under the scanner in the fake pilot licenses scam and three of them were arrested. DGCA had lodged 13 First Information Reports with Delhi Police's Crime Branch.

Emirates’ A380 celebrates Saudi National Day

Dubai carrier Emirates last night landed its flagship aircraft A380 at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to mark Saudi Arabia’s 81st National Day celebrations.

The award-winning A380 flight, touched down to a water cannon salute before Captain Ali Kashwani and First Officer Yousuf AlShamsi, both UAE Nationals, waved the Saudi flag from their cockpit windows in honour of the country’s national day.

The 489 passengers on-board were welcomed by senior officials including Mohammed bin Saeed Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al Anqari, VP Saudi Civil Aviation General Authority and Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates VP, Saudi Arabia.

Travelling on the flight from Dubai was Ahmed Khoory, Emirates senior VP, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.

Emirates also played host to a number of key UAE officials including; Mohammed Al Marri, director general, Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs and Salah Rashid Al Ansari, director of Dubai Tourism.

“It is fitting that on the occasion of the country’s 81st National Day we have landed our flagship aircraft in the country’s capital,' said Khoory.

'For Emirates our A380 is symbolic of our determination to succeed in much the same way that the Kingdom’s National Day embodies the passion of this great nation,' he noted.

'Today’s A380 service to King Khalid International Airport reinforces the strong bond that Emirates shares with Saudi Arabia and we congratulate the country on their National Day,' Khoory added.

Abdulla Al Tassan, the airport director general, said, 'I deeply thank our brothers in the UAE and Emirates for sharing our celebration. It is the first time this incredible aircraft has touched down here and is a unique way of celebrating this important day.'

On arrival Emirates and King Khalid International Airport held an airport reception for around 80 VIPs and media.

Guests were then invited on a guided tour of the aircraft’s interior, gaining an appreciation for its incredible design and aesthetics.

Emirates currently operates to four cities within Saudi Arabia including; Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Madinah.

Florida: Honor Flight trips in Brevard struggle to stay afloat

MELBOURNE — Leo Carter's determination to be on an Honor Flight paid off.

The waiting lists are long and with World War II veterans in their 80s and 90s, volunteers say it's a race against time to take as many of them as possible on a trip that means so much.

Honor Flight takes veterans from around the country to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at veterans' memorials there.

Carter's excitement and anticipation after being selected for the inaugural trip from Brevard County last October were deflated when he had to cancel just a few days before takeoff. He had to undergo
surgery for a broken neck and compressed disc that had left him temporarily paralyzed.

Well enough now to travel, he is eager to make the trip.

"I'm going to make it this flight if I have to hang onto the tail," said the 87-year-old Cocoa Beach resident.

The flight leaving Sunday is the third since the Oct. 30, 2010, inaugural trip for Honor Flight of East Central Florida, which serves veterans in Brevard, Seminole and Osceola counties. It will take 26 veterans, including Carter, and volunteer guardians.

The local organization is struggling to find additional sponsors and volunteers to take more veterans on future trips.

Carter, a Navy veteran who served on submarines, said he had been on waiting lists of Honor Flights hubs in other areas but never made it to the top because of the high number of veterans wanting to go.

"I missed the first one and had to cancel the second, all because of a broken neck," said Carter, who now uses a wheelchair and occasionally a walker to get around. "This looks like it's a go this time."

The highlight of the 20-hour trip is the World War II Memorial, which honors the 16 million who served and the 400,000 who died during the war, in which the United States fought from 1941 to 1945. Veterans also get to visit Arlington National Cemetery.

Since it started flights in May 2005, the Honor Flight Network has flown more than 73,300 veterans to Washington, D.C.

Despite there being a waiting list, the organization schedules trips and the number of veterans traveling on them based on funds it can raise and the number of people who come forward to volunteer as guardians.

"We'd like to find some corporate sponsors," said Pat Nelson, chairman of the local Honor Flight. "We have a lot of vets that want to go."

She said sponsors could help by providing goods, a meal or cash.

Karen Precord, of One Senior Place, a clearinghouse for information and services for Brevard seniors, said that even small organizations and companies could make a difference.

"If all businesses around would do a little, it would make a huge impact," she said.

The veterans do not pay for any part of the trip, which costs about $400 per person.

Volunteers, however, must pay their own way or get their employers or someone to sponsor them.

Dan Wolf, a chaplain for Vitas in Orlando, is going Sunday on his second trip as a guardian because he saw how important it was for the veterans. He will serve as a guardian for Carter.

"I went on the last flight in June," he said. "I enjoyed seeing the meaning of it for the vets that I wanted to go again. It was such a joy that they had in the recognition."

Mesa, Arizona: East Valley Institute of Technology hopes facility takes aviation program to new heights

Students look over an airplane engine in which they work on in an Aviation Maintenance Technology class being offered on the EVIT East campus, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 in Mesa.
[Tim Hacker/ Tribune] 

From their desks in the third floor classroom at the new East Valley Institute of Technology campus, students can look out and see Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport sprawling out before them. If the automated window shades are not down, they can watch planes land and take off, and dream about one day flying planes of their own, or working on the aircraft, or in the air traffic control tower.

The room is a perfect place to envision a career in aviation and the building it is in represents EVIT’s commitment to take its programs to new heights.

“That building is going to be really valuable and there is a lot more room for more people, so they can have a lot more students that are going to go through the class and it’s going to be crucial for the future,” said Jake Hoskins, a senior at Gilbert’s Highland High School who is in his second year in EVIT’s aviation program. “And that classroom, I like that classroom. It looks just like the inside of an air traffic control tower.

“If the windows were open, I’d be watching all of the planes taking off, the helicopters and other military aircraft since Gateway has so much traffic now.”

The reason EVIT’s aviation program is going to reach new heights is the newly-opened, state-of-the-art East Campus.

Located on 10 acres at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus along Power Road in southeast Mesa, the new EVIT campus features two classroom buildings and a lab building for the school’s aviation program. In all, there is 78,000 square feet of space.

The campus gives EVIT a state-of-the-art facility for aviation technology classes. Students get introduced to all facets of the aviation industry: Piloting, air traffic control, maintenance and repair, as well as flight attendant experience.

“A lot of them think they know what they want when they start; everyone wants to fly,” said Alan Mittelstaedt, EVIT’s director of aviation programs. “In our first-year aviation spectrum course, they get a taste of everything and then in their second year, they can specialize in what they want to do.”

Also, EVIT will offer courses in its popular health sciences program in the new facility, meaning students from the Queen Creek, Combs, Higley and Gilbert school districts won’t have to travel to the main EVIT campus to take courses in that program.

“Health science is our largest program by enrollment. Of our 3,000 students, 1,000 are in that area,” said EVIT spokeswoman Tiffani Nichols. “The biggest thing is we can now really accommodate those students coming from districts in the south East Valley. Some were coming an hour each way on the bus. Now, they get the same programs, much closer to their home school in less time as far as transportation.”

In the two classroom buildings there are 28 classroom or lab areas, five conference rooms, student and staff break rooms and plenty of space available for future expansion as the need arises.

The new facility just went through the final stages of completion, although classes began on time for the 250 students currently taking courses there this semester. The main classroom building was finished first, so both the aviation and health science courses are being taught there.

The majority of unfinished work was in the health sciences building, which houses the 150-seat lecture hall, as well as the student lounge and health science classrooms and labs. EVIT began moving into the health science building on Thursday.

The $17 million facility features some unique energy saving systems. The cooling system is comprised of 12 ice storage tanks. Simply, the system fills the tanks with ice during the off-peak hours and then a fan circulates the cold air from the tanks to cool the buildings during the day.

It also features high efficiency glazing on all of the windows, high efficiency light fixtures and water efficient plumbing fixtures. All of the water produced from condensation in the air conditioning system is collected and used to supply the water feature in the courtyard between the two buildings. And, there are rainwater collection tanks on the building rooftops that will collect and store rainwater to be used in the campus irrigation system.

Also, there is a garden on the third floor of the main classroom building that will be used for educational purposes as an outdoor student lab.

Major plane accident averted in Chennai, India

Over 300 passengers escaped a major air accident here Saturday when a flight cleared for take-off stood on the runway and another plane that was about to land was asked to circle overhead instead.

"A Delhi-bound Jet Airways plane was on the runway when a Air India plane from Delhi was to land. On noticing the Jet Airways plane still on the runway, the Air India plane was asked to circle overhead," Chennai Airport director E.P. Hareendranathan told IANS.

When asked about the presence of an Indigo plane on the runway at the same time, as reported, Hareendranathan said: "The Indigo Airline plane was cleared from the runway. Only the Jet Airways plane was on the runway when the Air India flight was coming in."

When the Air Traffic Control (ATC) was alerted about the Jet Airways plane still on the runway, the pilot of the Air India plane was asked to circle overhead.

According to him, there are standard procedures to be followed during circumstances like this and they were followed. Situations like these are quite common in busy airports, he added.

South Yorkshire Police to keep helicopter. (UK)

South Yorkshire police Helicopter in Action

SOUTH Yorkshire Police is set to keep its own helicopter after the force’s governing authority defeated proposals to join a new National Police Air Service.

Under the plans, the county would have lost its own dedicated chopper from 2013 - and would have had to rely on aircraft based in West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Humberside.

But at a meeting of South Yorkshire Police Authority, members voted by a large majority not to join the national service, amid concerns over the cost of the scheme and the quality of the region’s cover.

Authority chairman Charles Perryman said joining the national service was ‘not right for South Yorkshire’.

“The helicopter strengthens the force’s ability to reduce crime, protect vulnerable people and reduce vehicle accidents - and the value of this cannot be underestimated,” he said.

Mr Perryman added response times would have increased from three-and-a-half minutes to up to 20 if South Yorkshire had joined the national scheme.

“With some of the types of incidents the helicopter attends, the time taken to arrive is critical,” he said.

Figures quoted for the cost of joining NPAS could have increased if more of the country’s 43 forces declined to back nationwide helicopter cover.

South Yorkshire is understood to be first force to confirm it will not be joining the service.

“It’s not in the best interests of the people of South Yorkshire,” Mr Perryman added.

South Yorkshire Police is dealing with budget cuts of £40m over four years.

Mr Perryman said additional savings will now have to be found in ‘low-risk areas’.

“The risk associated with losing the helicopter was greater than the additional cost to retain it,” he said.

Water-Dropping Choppers Now Within 30 Seconds of Chatsworth, Bell Canyon, California. Fire Department prepares for 2011 wildfire season on the ground and in the air.

Command Pilot Scot Davison flies this AW139 helicopter, a new addition to Los Angeles Fire Department’s fleet. The water-dropping helicopter is one of six helicopters among the city’s arsenal of fire-fighting equipment.
Photo Credit Marianne Love 

When every moment is critical, water-dropping helicopters will be just 30 seconds away from any wildfire in Chatsworth, fire officials said on Friday.

Since the 2010 fire season, the Los Angeles Fire Department gained exclusive access to four helicopter pads at a helispot above the Chatsworth Reservoir at the north end of Fallbrook Avenue.

Before, the water-dropping and air ambulance helicopters had to make their way to Chatsworth from Porter Ranch or Kittridge landing sites six minutes away in opposite directions.

The Chatsworth Neighborhood Council supported installation of the helipads for refueling and loading water back in August of 2009.

“It was a major accomplishment to get this helispot built. It will save time (during Chatsworth emergencies),” said Command Pilot Scot Davison. “We can fill four helicopters simultaneously (to protect) the Chatsworth area, the Chatsworth Reservoir and Bell Canyon.”

Davison said the fire department is working on keeping the noise from the helicopters to a minimum. He stressed, however, that if they are in the air it’s because of either an emergency or for training purposes.

Davison was one of many fire fighters, top fire brass officials and volunteer 
crews who held a news conference from the Chatsworth helispot to unveil the city’s preparation tactics and the department’s “Ready, Set, Go” campaign designed to help residents prepare in the event of a major disaster and the threat of the 2011 brush fire season.

Fire Chief Brian Cummings said those living near brush-covered hillsides, canyons, state and national forests and rugged terrain also need to be prepared to protect their homes and families as wildfire season approaches.

“Have an emergency plan and discuss it with your family especially where living space encroaches hillsides,” Cummings said. “We are prepared. Now it’s time to prepare your families.”

Cummings said his department is ready to handle emergencies.

“We have equipment and plans in place,” Cummings said.

On Tuesday, however, Cummings told the city's Fire Commission that the fire department was strapped for cash to pay overtime in emergencies and he planned to ask the City Council for more money.

On Sept. 5, the department deployed 53 firetrucks and ambulances and two helicopters to three separate brush fires, one of which scorched about 40 acres off Mandeville Canyon Road in Brentwood. The other two blazes were near Agua Dulce and Sun Valley.

At the day's peak, 14 fire stations were left without any firefighting

vehicles. Department officials said adjacent stations were equipped with fire engines.

On Friday, a “red flag” warning was issued due to winds and dry lighting. The warning means there’s a high risk of wildfire. The culprit may be thunderstorms that could produce bolts of dry lightning, resulting in the possibility of setting a fire especially in vulnerable locations where the vegetation is extremely dry.

Cummings said it’s important for homeowners to adhere to brush clearance regulations. He said his department is out there citing those who are out of compliance.

Some of the ways to prepare for brush fires include removing brush for a minimum of 100 feet to creating what fire officials call “defensible space” around a home.

Also remove tree limbs hanging over a house and remove all leaves, pine needs and debris from roof gutters.

It’s a good idea to replace shake-shingle roofs with tile or other fire-resistant materials and have emergency supplies ready in case of evacuation.

And also, plan at least two escape routes out of a neighborhood and establish a meeting place with family members.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has six helicopters in its fleet, five of which are water-dropping units. An Erickson Air Crane, an aerial suppression unit, has been leased until January and three dozers and other heavy equipment are at the department’s disposal.

For more information about the “Ready, Set, Go” campaign, visit

Original article and photos:

Engineered Material Arresting System: $13.4 Million Grant Secured for Trenton-Mercer Airport (KTTN). Grant will pay for the installation of safety devices designed to help stop a plane that overruns a runway. Trenton, New Jersey.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes [on Friday] announced that Trenton-Mercer Airport has received a $13.4-million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the installation of EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) beds at the ends of Runway 16-34. Work is due to commence in the spring of 2012.

EMAS beds consist of high-energy absorbing concrete blocks of selected strength, which will reliably and predictably crush under the weight of an aircraft that has overrun the runway. The aircraft is slowed by the loss of energy required to crush the blocks.

The aircraft is stopped with hopefully no injuries to passengers and crew, or damage to the aircraft. According to the FAA, there have been seven incidents where EMAS safely stopped overrunning aircraft, with no injuries to the 230 passengers and crews involved, and little to no damage to the aircraft reported. Currently, there are 36 airports that are utilizing the EMAS system.

“This FAA grant makes possible the installation of EMAS beds on the shorter runway at our facility. These beds will greatly enhance the safety of flight crews, passengers, and the public, in the event of an aircraft overrun. We are grateful that the FAA recognizes the need for such a system at Trenton-Mercer Airport,” said County Executive Hughes.

Installation of EMAS beds on the primary Runway 6-24 is scheduled for the spring of 2013.

FAA gives final OK to longer runway, improvements at T.F. Green Airport. Theodore Francis Green State Airport (KPVD), Providence, Rhode Island.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave its final approval Friday to plans to extend the main runway at T.F. Green Airport and to make safety improvements to the airport’s crosswind runway.

“This is a great day for the airport,” said Kevin A. Dillon, president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, which runs the state airport in Warwick.

Airport officials for more than a decade have said the airport needs a longer runway to make it more competitive economically.

A longer runway allows heavier planes to take off, including those loaded with fuel to reach more distant destinations, such as the West Coast, the Caribbean and parts of Europe. It also prevents airlines from having to bump passengers to other destinations on days when weather conditions require a longer runway.

Dillon said construction on the $165-million runway projects could begin as early as the spring of 2013. “We want to move as quickly as possible,” he said.

Local officials, who have fought the expansion plans, said Friday that they were not surprised by the FAA’s decision. They expressed continued concerns for the safety of those who live near the airport, as well as for nearby environmentally sensitive areas, including the Buckeye Brook wetlands at the southern end of the crosswind runway.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian said he will talk to the City Council president about how to address the health and safety concerns of residents in the shadow of the airport who will be most affected by a runway extension.

He noted, however, that the decision issued Friday shows that the city’s long-running efforts to have the FAA recognize local concerns paid off somewhat because, when the airport first proposed expanding its airfield more than 10 years ago, before Dillon came on board, it wanted to extend both runways to nearly 10,000 feet each.

Councilman Steve Merolla said no one will argue that a thriving airport is good for the state’s economy but “there are also detriments for the residents who live around the airport.”

Although the FAA’s assent is the final federal approval, some portions of the project require state or city approval. The runway extension would affect two historic cemeteries, over which a city commission has jurisdiction. Plus, the state Department of Environmental Management and the city have jurisdiction over the Buckeye Brook wetlands.

Dillon said no further reviews are needed for the safety work at the northern end of the crosswind runway. “We’re essentially free to move forward with it.”

The runway projects require the airport to take privately owned businesses and homes, primarily to relocate two roads near the airport.

David J. Barger, president and chief executive of JetBlue Airways, which airport officials have been trying to lure to Green, praised the proposed runway extension this week.

“We’re really impressed with what we see with the infrastructure with Providence,” Barger told a Boston business group on Thursday.

He also posted praise on his Twitter account last weekend, including, “The terminal + rail link + and infrastructure plans are all very impressive.”

The safety improvements to the crosswind runway would include installation of a special type of concrete at each end that could stop a jetliner that overshot the runway by collapsing underneath the aircraft wheels, much like gravel on a runaway truck ramp on many highways.

The project calls for relocating Airport Road on the northern end of the airport and taking 10 business properties and a house, Dillon said.

Construction of the safety improvements could begin as soon as spring 2013, Dillon said. Preliminary work will begin almost immediately on two fronts: acquiring the privately owned land and developing final plans. Although federal grant money covering 75 percent of crosswind runway project would not be available until next year, Dillon said the airport could begin work now and get reimbursed later.

The airport would use bonds to borrow the other 25 percent of the estimated $77-million cost and pay them off through airport revenue, such as fees charged to airlines and to people who park at the airport.

Extending the main runway by 1,500 feet to the southwest to a total of 8,700 feet calls for the relocation of Main Avenue and the taking of 10 homes, Dillon said. The extension is estimated to cost $88 million.

It remains unclear when work on that project would begin. The Airport Corporation cannot apply for federal money for the project until next March, with a decision expected by next fall. By then, work should be well under way on the crosswind runway, and engineers would have to coordinate work to make sure the airport could stay open. 

The first construction work associated with the main runway extension would probably be relocating the Winslow ball fields off Main Avenue, Dillon said. It could begin as early as the fall of next year.

A copy of the FAA decision is available online at