Monday, September 26, 2011

Wannabe pilot sent to prision for crime spree. (New Zealand)

JAILED: Ethan Richard James Williams was arrested while eating a pizza.

The Nelson teenager with delusions of grandeur who modelled his life on that of a pilot, has been sent to prison for two years and three months.

Ethan Richard James Williams' dream run, in which he appears to have modelled a life on Leonardo DiCaprio's depiction of conman Frank Abagnale Jr in the movie Catch Me If You Can, ended after he was caught in New Plymouth in June.

The 18-year-old was sentenced in the Nelson District Court this afternoon when Judge Richard Russell said there was nothing smart or clever about what Williams had done. He was simply "cunning, manipulative and plain dishonest'' and his offending had hurt his victims.

Williams, who appeared well-groomed and passive in the dock, had earlier admitted 30 charges including burglary, dishonesty, using a document, theft, obtaining by deception, trespass, computer crime, breach of community work and driving while prohibited.

He admitted a fresh charge this afternoon related to the non payment of almost $1000 worth of stationery from a Nelson store through which he had set up an account, taken goods and not paid for them.

Williams' offending, which dates back several years and has resulted in earlier youth court appearances, picked up pace in June this year when he broke into the Nelson Pilot Training building at Nelson Airport where he had previously been taking flying lessons before being trespassed off the site, and took aviation equipment and a chequebook.

He then took a taxi to Picton and a ferry to Wellington, using cheques stolen from the pilot training school, and checked into backpacker accommodation. While there he obtained a tourist's credit card details and bought a pilot's shirt and other items online, and then used a cheque from the pilot school to buy an almost $17,000 BMW 4X4 vehicle.

He then bought CAA flight manuals and navigation charts from the Airways Corporation before driving the BMW to New Plymouth where he checked himself and four fabricated friends into backpacker accommodation, and ordered a pizza using the stolen credit card details.

He was arrested by police in New Plymouth while eating pizza and wearing his pilot's uniform.

Williams' explanation for the offending that led to his arrest was wanting to flee a situation where he had broken up with his girlfriend, which left him feeling stressed and abandoned.

He was also ordered to pay reparation of almost $5000

Aging fleet affects Pakistan International Airlines flight operations

KARACHI, Sept 26: More than 190 flights of Pakistan International Airlines have been affected — cancelled, delayed or rerouted — between Aug 15 and Sept 20 due to mechanical problems in aircraft, it emerged on Monday.

Over 125 flights were delayed up to 21 hours, more than 15 rerouted and over 50 cancelled during the past five weeks for want of aircraft repairs, said sources.

A PIA spokesperson, however, cited safety as the prime concern of the national flag carrier and claimed that if any problem emerged, such planes were immediately taken to the workshop until they became airworthy.

According to the sources, more than five and a half flights are affected on a daily basis on an average. Of them, 3.5 are delayed, 1.5 cancelled everyday while one flight is rerouted on alternate days.

The sources said that the maximum number of cancelled flights, i.e. more than 35, involved ATRs planes — the latest induction in the national flag carrier’s ageing fleet.

Similarly, they added, ATRs and B737s were involved in the delay of over 25 and 35 flights, respectively.

More than two dozens PIA flights were affected (delayed or cancelled) on a single day, the sources said. Ten flights were cancelled, 10 others delayed and four rerouted while one aircraft was hit by a bird on Sept 16, they added.

Two days later a PIA flight was delayed by more than 21 hours because of aircraft maintenance. The flight PK769 (Islamabad-Paris) was scheduled to fly at 9am on Sept 18, but it actually left the airport at 6am the following day, the sources said. They explained that the delay was caused by the change of aircraft AP-BHV (B773), which was sent for maintenance, with AP-BGY (B777).

The sources said that many aircraft developed faults during flight. In one such incident, an engine of ATR (AP-BHJ) shut down while the aircraft was on its way from Karachi to Turbat (flight PK501) on Sept 3. Subsequently, emergency was declared and the aircraft immediately returned. During initial inspection, it was found that its propeller (No 1) failed to rotate clockwise and there were pieces of metal in jet pipe.

Responding to Dawn queries, PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar said that the latest aircraft in the airline’s fleet, the ATRs, which were inducted a few years back, were having engine problems.

He said that after consultations and discussions, the manufacturers had reduced engine overhauling limit from 15,000 to 5,000 flight hours especially when the planes were flown in hot and sandy environment. He explained that since most of the aircraft were being used on the routes of Balochistan and the interior of Sindh, which usually had such a climate, they were often sent to the workshop for repairs. The subsequent shortage caused the cancellation of or delays in flights, he added.

He also said that as the Hajj season drew near the airline was sending its aircraft to the workshop for early maintenance and checking so that the Hajj operation would not be disrupted. This again resulted in shortage of aircraft leading to cancellations and delays, he explained.

Also, PIA attached high priority to safety, he said, adding that it would delay a flight rather than send the aircraft for operations by comprising on their airworthiness.

Sources in the PIA engineering department said that the airline was not modernising its fleet and ageing aircraft needed more time on ground for maintenance, which was not available as number of flights had not been reduced.

Currently, the sources said, eight aircraft — two each of ATR, 747, 737 and A310 — were in the workshop for want of maintenance.

They added that since the detention of a PIA aircraft in France on safety concerns, more attention was being paid to details so maintenance of aircraft was taking more time at present than in the past.

They said why PIA was operating so many flights if it did not have sufficient aircraft. Rather than imposing hardships and miseries on its passengers due to frequent cancellations and flight delays, the airline should either acquire more aircraft or reduce its operations, they added.

Onondaga County, New York: Future of helicopter service up in the air

OSWEGO — The potential elimination of the program that supports the Onondaga County Sheriff Department’s Air-1 helicopter was brought to the attention of the Oswego County Legislature’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee on Monday.

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel Todd, who brought up the Air-1 issue during a committee meeting inside the County Office Building in Oswego, said that without the use of the helicopter locally, lives would be lost.

Chartered helicopter damaged near Davies Creek. Juneau, Alaska.

A helicopter chartered by the U.S. Forest Service was damaged but a Forest Service employee and a pilot from Coastal Helicopters avoided major injuries during an unspecified incident, the Forest Service announced Monday.

Spokesperson Wendy Zirngibl said details are still being gathered, so no more specific information could be released yet.

The incident happened at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the north end of Davies Creek drainage, approximately 33 miles north of Juneau. The two were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital for evaluation. Two other Forest Service employees were also at the scene at the time of the incident.

The helicopter flight was intended for research work on the Heen Latinee Experimental Forest north of Juneau.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. The Forest Service will conduct its own investigation.

Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter, PK-UCE, Yajasi Aviation/JAARS Aviation: Accident occurred September 22, 2011 in Paspalei, Yalimo Regency - Indonesia

Paul Westlund

A former Lancaster County pilot died doing the two things he loved best.

Paul Westlund, a missionary pilot for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Indonesia for 25 years, was killed Thursday when his plane crashed in a remote Papuan jungle, according to the Associated Press.

Westlund, 57, had been making a routine delivery run in a single-engine Pilatus PC-6 when the plane went down in bad weather, Dan Fox of Lititz, a friend of the Westlund family, said Monday. Two Indonesian passengers also were killed, AP reported.

"If he had been in control of his airplane, he would have done what he'd always done and come home at the end of the day," Fox said. "Something took the plane out of his control and plunged it onto that mountain."

Westlund came to Lancaster County from the Chicago area in 1982, moving with his wife — LaVonne, an East Petersburg native — and children to be near his recently widowed father-in-law.

They lived on Spruce Drive, near Manheim, for about five years, Fox said. During that time Westlund worked for Henry Weber Aircraft Services at Lancaster Airport and was a member of Calvary Church.

But Westlund, the son of a West Chicago pastor, felt a calling.

"His faith was a very big part of his life," Fox said. "He wanted to serve God and fly airplanes."

Westlund moved to Indonesia in 1987 to work for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Fox said it was a match made in heaven for the eager pilot.

"He wanted to provide the Bible to people who never had a Bible, who never knew there was a God," Fox said.

"He tried to give them a better life and a hope of heaven at the end. Those people were living in fear of evil spirits."

The remote jungles there have few roads and travel depends on airplanes, Fox said.

Westlund worked with missionaries who were providing a religious and secular education, as well as health care, Fox said.

In addition to distributing Bibles, he carried mail, food and people, and he responded to medical emergencies. He was carrying agricultural supplies on his final flight, Fox said.

The hop from Pagai to Wamena was short, Fox said — about 30 minutes in the air.

"He was almost to his destination," Fox said. "He had flown that route many times over the past 25 years."

There is no air traffic control or radar contact, like in the U.S., Fox said.

"He would have had somebody following him by radio so they would always know where he was," he said.

"He would call in every so many minutes. If he did not call in, they would know something was wrong, and they would know where to look."

His last call to the airport tower was at 1:13 p.m. local time, Fox said. When he missed his next check-in, authorities sent another plane to search for him and natives scrambled to reach him by land from a nearby roadway.

"They found him in short order and were able to land near the crash site," he said.

Within a matter of hours, the three bodies were recovered from the wrecked plane on Yalimo Mountain and flown to the provincial capital, Jayapura, for autopsies, according to, an Indonesian news website.

Fox said Westlund's funeral was scheduled for Monday evening in Indonesia.

The cause of the crash has not been determined, although Fox said officials suspect bad weather conditions.

"He had emailed me a week or so ago and said the weather was horrendous out there. Visibility was bad," Fox said.

"They suspect he ran into some nasty conditions, possibly a wind shear," he said. "That would have put the plane totally out of his control. There wasn't anything he could have done."

A team from the Jungle Aviation & Radio Service, a Wycliffe affiliate, is on its way to the site to investigate, Fox said.

"He did not have a heart attack. The autopsy showed it was not a pilot issue," he said.

"They're looking for mechanical failure, although they're fairly certain that wasn't it," he added. "But if there was anything wrong with that airplane, they want to know."

There was another crash in the area earlier this month, when a Cessna 208-B Caravan crashed in the neighboring Yahukimo district, killing two pilots, AP reported.

Manheim native David Clapper died in a plane crash there in August 2008. Clapper was a pilot for Associated Mission Aviation, a Catholic mission organization, according to newspaper records.

Every few years, Fox said, Westlund visited the United States, typically splitting his time between Chicago, where his parents live, and Manheim.

"He would be here anywhere from a month to a year. Then he would be gone again," Fox said.

"He was a wonderful guy who loved to fly. He would rather fly than eat. He always said he wanted to fly until he couldn't fly any more.

"If he had to die, it's probably the way he would have wanted to go."

Fox, who has visited Westlund in Indonesia and flown a few missions with him there, said the two men were born on the same day and shared many interests.

"I feel like I lost a brother," he said.

Besides his wife, Westlund is survived by a daughter, Joy, who attended Lititz Christian School in the mid-1980s, and a son, Mark.

1942 Boeing Stearman: Pilot violates airspace for Obama visit, gets intercepted by military jet

Robyn Marshall

This is a photo of an unexpected flyover in Watsonville Monday.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A local pilot got a loud military reminder about presidential security Monday afternoon, after he violated a temporary no-fly zone triggered by President Barack Obama’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.

People near downtown Santa Cruz and the harbor were treated to an aerial exhibition that the pilot of a small 1942 Boeing Stearman biplane would probably rather not have been a part of. With a top speed that barely cracks freeway speed limits, the vintage plane was circled several times by an F-15 fighter jet enforcing a 30-mile restricted zone as Obama visited the Silicon Valley company LinkedIn.

“I just heard this huge roar. I’ve never heard anything like that from an airplane,” said Conan Knoll, who was at home near the harbor around noon when he heard the ruckus. Several local residents witnessed the encounter, which apparently took place near the shore at a low altitude. The pilot quickly scurried back to Watsonville, where the plane landed safely.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak was also a witness, picking up the fighter as it was streaking to the scene.

“I see this thing coming at me and I said, ‘Dang, that looks like Top Gun,’ ” Wowak said. The Stearman is registered to John Bernard of San Francisco. When reached, Bernard said he doesn’t know what happened. “I don’t know anything about this incident,” said Bernard, who did not indicate whether he was flying the plane during a brief phone interview.

The plane’s other listed owner could not be reached. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregory said the pilot faces a license suspension. A spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it was one of four intercepts coinciding with Obama’s visit.

Watsonville Municipal Airport Interim Manager Rayvon Williams said the situation is not totally uncommon, particularly on the East Coast. As a general aviation airport, Watsonville-based pilots don’t typically file flight plans, but they are supposed to make a preflight check of notices that would alert them to temporary flight restrictions. Williams said the airport is proactive in trying to alert pilots through email and other means, but it’s difficult to make sure everyone gets the message.

“The reality is, pilots get lazy from time to time” and don’t check the notices, said Williams, who also witnessed the incident. Military aircraft and scheduled commercial flights are allowed in restricted air zones. Private pilots may fly in the outer zones of a restricted area if they file a flight plan, but the Stearman pilot apparently did not. Obama visited the Bay Area to raise money and tout his jobs plan at LinkedIn, the popular professional networking site.

NORAD spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys said the F-15 was already “on station,” meaning it was in the air when dispatched to Santa Cruz. He did not say where the jet was based, and some details are kept secret for security reasons. “I can tell you that we did intercept,” Humphreys said.

Cessna 206: Pilot walked away - literally - from downed aircraft on Friday.

The Cessna 206 went missing Friday morning on a flight from Fort Simpson to a bush camp southwest of Wrigley.

The downed aircraft was located, still intact, Friday afternoon in a mountainous area north of the camp, which is located about 105 km southwest of Wrigley.

However, the pilot - the lone occupant of the aircraft - was nowhere to be seen.

The pilot was located just after 5 p.m. by a search helicopter.

It is believed the man was trying to walk to the camp from the site where the plane went down, according to Capt. Tanya Coates of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre with the Canadian Armed Forces in Trenton, Ont.

"The location is near where the camp is that he was trying to get to, within about 13 miles of it," said Coates.

According to the RCMP, the pilot was transported to Fort Simpson to be checked at the health centre.

The police report it does not appear the man suffered any serious injuries.

Coates did not have details about the condition of the wheeled plane or the cause of it going down, noting it could have been a precautionary landing without a suitable runway.

The aircraft is owned by Wolverine Air Ltd. of Fort Simpson.

The first satellite detection of an emergency locator beacon from the plane was at about 10 a.m. on Friday.

The plane had left Fort Simpson at about 9:05 a.m. and was due at the camp at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Weather conditions at the time included snow and a low ceiling.

Coates noted there had been no radio contact with the aircraft after it went missing.

A Canadian Forces Hercules dispatched from Winnipeg participated in the search for about 30 minutes before the pilot was located.

Manufacturer Blamed for Air Control Computer Glitch

A glitch in the air control system at the Incheon Air Traffic Center which paralyzed air traffic control for nearly an hour on Sept. 14 was caused by errors in the devices manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin recently notified the Korean government of the fault.

The government sent flight data to Lockheed Martin the same day to find the cause. At the time, it suspected a data entry error, but Lockheed Martin found no traces of errors and asked the government for additional data and concluded that the glitch occurred due to design faults in the system.

"Lockheed Martin tentatively admitted the fault,” an official with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said.

The government may ask for compensation from the American firm but will first take advice from experts. However, the three-year warranty has already expired.

The ATC moved from Daegu to Incheon in 2001, when Incheon International Airport opened. There were also lapses in November 2004 and in June 2006 due to problems with the radar power supply.

The ATC bought air control equipment and programs from Lockheed Martin for about W45 billion (US$1=W1,200) in 2001. The maintenance and service contract is renewed every year.

The system error will take two or three months to fix.

T.F Green Expansion Draws Concerns to Warwick. Theodore Francis Green State Airport (KPVD) Providence, Rhode Island

T.F. Green Airport will soon be getting a brand new look. An approved project by the FAA will extend the main runway which will allow for heavier planes to take off and travel further across the country.

Councilman Steve Merolla is all for the economic benefits of the expansion, but also has some concerns for the city of Warwick.

There is concern for the residents who are in jeopardy of losing their homes. Another issue is run off from the airports de-icing material, glycol. Due to the airport outflow, fish and clams have been killed and beaches have had to close. A soccer field and softball field will also be taken by the airport.

Merolla hopes the FAA will re-examine these issues before they move forward with the expansion.

Kitfox IV (floatplane, built by Tom Bins), N211KF: Accident occurred September 24, 2011 near Lafayette Regional Airport (KLFT), Louisiana

NTSB Identification: CEN11LA415 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 24, 2011 in Lafayette, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2012
Aircraft: BINS TOM KITFOX IV, registration: N211KF
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot initiated a 270-degree turn back to the runway after a partial loss of engine power during takeoff. As he was turning back, the engine continued to lose power and the pilot made a forced landing to a grass field. The pilot said that he was in control of the airplane until it was 15 to 20 feet above the ground when it lost lift, landed hard, and flipped over. A postaccident test run of the engine revealed no mechanical anomalies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s loss of control during a forced landing after a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons during takeoff.

On September 24, 2011, at 0852, N211KF, an experimental Tom Bins Kitfox IV equipped with floats, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Lafayette Regional Airport (LAF), Lafayette, Louisiana. The private pilot/owner sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he departed Lafayette with 15 gallons of fuel on board with the intentions of making just one circuit in the traffic pattern followed by a full-stop landing. Shortly after takeoff, when the airplane reached an altitude of 400 feet, the pilot heard a "swoosh" and a "loud bang" followed by a 50 percent reduction in power. He elected to return back to the runway and initiated a 270 degree turn. As he was turning back, the engine continued to lose power. The pilot was unable to maintain altitude and made a forced landing to a grass field about 1/8 of a mile from the runway. The pilot said he was in “complete control” of the airplane but it "lost lift" when it was 15-20 feet high. The airplane "dropped" on to the ground, landed hard, and flipped over.

Examination of on-site photos revealed that the airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and the wing struts. Both floats and one propeller blade were also damaged. The engine was test-run under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The engine was started utilizing fuel in the carburetor bowls and then run until the fuel was exhausted. The carburetor bowls were refilled and the engine was re-started. This time engine power was increased and both magnetos were checked. No anomalies were noted with the magnetos or the engine.

A pilot forced to make an emergency landing in a field is down but not out.

He says he can't wait to fly again.

But when you see the condition of his plane, you might be surprised by his jovial spirit.

The experimental aircraft took a beating, it wound up upside down, with the wings bent out of shape.

The FAA is now investigating the Sunday crash.

And KATC's Mike Magnoli has a story you'll see only on 3.

The pilot explains what was happening in the cockpit and why he was able to remain calm.

"I don't know if its safer than the regular airlines but it's just as safe and it's so much fun."

That doesn't sound like a man who just survived a plane crash, but 73 year old Don Johnson did. He was taking off for a 45 minute joy-ride over Lafayette. As he was climbing, he heard a bang. Something was wrong.

When Don realized he couldn't make it to the runway, he aimed for a nearby field.

"I was still in control of the plane and I could guide it to a safe place to land."

But when you fly, trouble at low altitude is more dangerous than being above the clouds. Being low means less space and time to make a correction. And then--

"I lost all lift, I fell like a rock."

He ended up upside down. After he stumbled away from the wreck, he used his cell phone to call his wife- told her to call the control tower.

Do you think this ordeal will keep him grounded? Nope.

"I don't want people to be afraid of small planes. There are car accidents and motorcycles accidents but small plane crashes really upset people. Even in a small plane, you have options."

Crowded skies - Cessna Citation M2

A good deal of the marketing effort of Kansas-based Cessna, the world’s leading business-jet manufacturer by volume, is aimed at telling companies that they should invest in their businesses during the darkest days of the economic upset, so as to steal a march on less adventurous rivals.

It is good to know that the Wichita company has been following its own advice. On Tuesday, Cessna unveiled a project that has kept it busy in spite of having had to retrench half its workforce during the recession.

The Cessna Citation M2 will fit between its entry-level jet, the Mustang, and the CJ2+, and is intended as a response to the wishes of current owners and users of their aircraft.

“We set out to make an airplane that could be a step up from the Mustang,” Mike Pearson, Cessna’s director of technical marketing, says. “Mustang owners typically love the airplane, but say they want another seat or two, more room, and an aft lav.”

The Mustang has seats for four, plus two in the cockpit, though it is certified for single-pilot operation. The passenger cabin, with seats in a club arrangement, allows intertwined legs to make the most of the space between them. And the lavatory, placed opposite the door between the cockpit and the passenger compartment and using sliding screens to give a semblance of privacy, is treated by all but the most unselfconscious as a last-ditch resort, to be used when legs cannot be crossed any further.

The M2 will have an extra side-facing seat by the door, a more serious lavatory in the rear of the aircraft, and the cover over the toilet will have a belt and be certified as a sixth passenger-cabin seat.

The extra dimensions to accommodate these changes are not the only changes to the aircraft’s numbers, though.

“There will be a speed improvement,” says Mr Pearson, “but the plane will retain the short-field capabilities of the Mustang.”

Thus maximum cruise speed will rise 60 knots to 400kts true air speed at 33,000 feet altitude – and even at 41,000ft, out of the way of commercial jets and where the thinner air gives better economy but less thrust from the engines, 385kts is promised for the M2.

At its maximum weight, take-off distance for commercial operations will be 3,250ft, says Mr Pearson. The Mustang needs in the region of 3,100ft, he points out.

Precise weight limits for the M2 have yet to be worked out, he adds, but the payload will be equivalent to that of the Mustang – about 500lbs with a pilot and full fuel on board. So, like all similar aircraft, it can be filled with fuel or passengers, but not both.

With full fuel, though, the new aircraft will improve on the Mustang’s 1,150 nautical mile range by a significant 150 nautical miles.

The engines will be from the Williams International FJ-44 series, although the precise output level has yet to be worked out. Pilots will not have auto-throttles, but they will have cutting-edge equipment in the form of a touch-screen controlled G3000 avionics system from Garmin, the innovative US avionics company. It will comprise three big, 14-inch displays for flight information, navigation and aircraft systems.

All this will come at a price: $4.195m against the $3.1m-$3.2m current price of a Mustang. The smaller aircraft has attracted a mix of fleet buyers and owner pilots, and Cessna expects a similar selection for the M2 – with most interest from North America and Europe. The aircraft will co-exist in the Cessna jet line-up, too.

“I’m convinced that there’s room in the market for the two planes,” he says.

The Mustang has been good for the Kansas aircraft maker. It was rushed out as the promise of very light jets (VLJs) became evident, particularly that of the EA500 from Eclipse Aviation, the aircraft whose design and hype set the tone for the sector. Not only did Cessna beat the Eclipse to certification and delivery, but it also became a fleet favourite because, while small, it is scaled down from proven larger siblings. The Eclipse had sophistication going for it – but that turned into a drawback when the systems took a long time to start running properly. More than 380 Mustangs have been delivered since 2007 – putting it among the top three Cessna jet sellers.

The Eclipse, reborn as the Total Eclipse, is now a very capable aircraft, and very cheap at about $2.15m. But it is also very small.

For some, the Mustang has lost out in comparison with the Phenom light and mid-sized jets from Embraer. While they are clean-sheet designs, introduced after the Mustang, many buyers deem that the Brazilian aircraft-maker applies the same standards of toughness and reliability to its executive aircraft as to the small commercial aircraft it is more widely known for. Production of the Phenoms was, however, slowed this year to allow a number of necessary modifications to be incorporated into the line.

Even the Phenom 100 is a larger aircraft than the Mustang – and faster. But the other fast-approaching, larger-cabin rival is the HondaJet from the giant car and motorcycle manufacturer. The development of Honda’s first jet has already taken longer than expected, but its imminent arrival is eagerly awaited. A 420kt top speed and claimed high levels of efficiency from its Honda-GE turbofans make it a good target to aim for.

Cessna can, however, once again emphasise the fact that the M2, when it comes into service in 2013, is a development of a winning formula – with a tried, tested and global maintenance network. Aviation is surprisingly conservative – and especially so in a downturn. That may serve Cessna well with its new son of Mustang.

Velocity RG (built by Kenneth A. Hutchinson), Kirk C. Aragon (rgd. owner & pilot), N360TV: Accident occurred September 25, 2011 in Sanford, North Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA504 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 25, 2011 in Sanford, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: HUTCHINSON KENNETH A VELOCITY RG, registration: N360TV
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

Examination of pilot, airplane, and fueling records revealed that the pilot/owner had flown the airplane about 24 total hours over the 7 years since he purchased it. He had last flown the airplane 18 months before the accident, and, on his most recent application for a medical certificate made 10 days before the accident, he reported that he had not flown at all in the preceding 6 months. Two pilots operating in the traffic pattern of the departure airport at the time of the accident described a takeoff roll for the airplane that was twice as long as expected. They observed the airplane at “very low” altitude, in a continuous, descending left turn in the vicinity of the crosswind to downwind legs of the traffic pattern. The airplane then disappeared from view, and a fireball appeared from the woods. Examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies in the flight control system, but it did reveal that the turbocharger waste gate was frozen in a nearly full-open position due to corrosion. This discrepancy resulted in a loss of available boost pressure and significantly reduced the available power. The most recent annual inspection of the airplane was completed 3 years before the accident, and, 5 months before the accident, the pilot requested that the local maintenance facility draft a list of discrepancies that would require correction in order to return the airplane to an airworthy condition. The discrepancy list included the frozen turbocharger waste gate. A review of the pilot's medical records revealed that the pilot was treated for medical and psychological conditions that he failed to report on his most recent medical certificate application. It could not be determined if the medical conditions or medications present at the time of the accident posed a significant hazard to flight safety. If the pilot had flown more recently, it is possible that he may have recognized that the airplane was not performing normally and aborted the takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot/owner's intentional flight of his airplane with known mechanical discrepancies (frozen turbocharger waste gate), which resulted in a partial loss of engine power and subsequent collision with trees and terrain shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of recent experience.


On September 25, 2011, about 1243 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Hutchinson Velocity RG, N360TV, was substantially damaged during collision with flat, wooded terrain shortly after takeoff from Raleigh Executive Jetport at Sanford-Lee County Airport (TTA), Sanford, North Carolina. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a flight instructor and student pilot, they were performing touch-and-go landings at TTA at the time of the accident. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the instructor heard the accident pilot announce the taxi to the takeoff runway, and during the downwind leg of the subsequent traffic pattern, the accident pilot announced the takeoff roll.

The student noticed the accident airplane at the hold-short line of runway 03 as he landed his airplane, and on the downwind leg of the subsequent traffic pattern, he noticed the airplane did not rotate for takeoff until it reached the 2,000-feet marker on the runway. He thought this was unusual, as his single--engine Cessna was normally off the ground in half that distance.

While on the base leg of the traffic pattern, the student noticed the accident airplane at “very low” altitude, in a continuous, descending left turn in the vicinity of the crosswind to downwind legs of the traffic pattern. He said the airplane then disappeared from view, and a fireball appeared from the woods. The instructor contacted air traffic control on an emergency frequency and advised them of the accident and its location.

According FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 15, 2011. On that date, he reported 375 total hours of flight experience, and zero hours of flight experience during the previous six months.

The pilot’s logbook was recovered at the accident site, but was destroyed by fire. No useful information was recovered.


According to FAA records, the airplane's airworthiness certificate was issued in 1996. According to airplane and maintenance records, the airplane had accrued 143.8 total aircraft hours as of May 2011. The most recent annual inspection was completed March 1, 2008, at 131.8 total aircraft hours.

Over the approximate 15-year maintenance history of the airplane, the engine was disassembled 3 times, but none of the disassembly/reassembly repairs qualified as an overhaul. A Lycoming Service Instruction recommended that engines which have not reached the recommended limit for operational hours be overhauled in the 12th year after the last overhaul.

According to fueling records at TTA, the airplane was last fueled on March 21, 2010, at which time the airplane was serviced with 43 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline. The airport manager stated that he was "reasonably certain" that the airplane had not flown since that date.

In an interview, the airport manager said that the pilot/owner would come out to the airport, tinker with the airplane, start the engine, and taxi the airplane, but that the airplane had not flown "for years."

In May, 2011, the pilot/owner asked the aircraft maintenance facility at TTA to draft a list of discrepancies on the airplane that required correction in order to return the airplane to an airworthy condition for possible sale. Among the discrepancies listed were, “Landing Gear Switch Inop[erative]” and “[Turbocharger] Waste Gate Froze[en].”

According to the Lycoming TO-360 series operator's manual, the engine's rated power output was 180 horsepower at 36.5 inches of mercury manifold pressure. The horsepower output rating with the waste gate open approximately 2/3 of its travel, the position in which it was frozen, could not be determined.


The 1235 weather observation at TTA included a scattered cloud layer at 2,100 feet, a broken ceiling at 2,500 feet, and an overcast ceiling at 3,200 feet with 10 miles visibility. The winds were from 070 degrees at 4 knots, the temperature was 25 degrees C, the dew point was 21 degrees C and the altimeter setting was 30.06 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was examined by NTSB at the accident site, on September 26, 2011. The wreckage path was on flat, wooded terrain, about 210 feet long, and oriented 180 degrees magnetic. It was measured from the first tree strike, about 40 feet above ground level, to the main wreckage. Several pieces of fiberglass, foam core, and pieces associated with the propeller, rudders, and canard, were scattered along the wreckage path. The main wreckage, which was comprised of the cockpit, cabin area, and engine compartment, were completely destroyed by fire. The main wreckage rested on its right side and faced opposite the direction of travel. All three landing gear were down and locked.

Because of the fire damage, almost all remaining control cables, push-pull tubes, and bellcranks were visible. Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit area to the throttle, mixture, propeller, and turbocharger waste-gate manual control. Flaperon cable and push-pull tube continuity were established from the cockpit to the wing roots.

The composite propeller and spinner were fire-damaged, the outboard half of each propeller blade was separated, and the fractured ends were melted. The starter ring gear was separated from the flywheel, and the starter case was smeared at the bendix.

The engine was examined by NTSB at TTA on September 27, 2011. The engine displayed severe fire and impact damage. The accessory case and oil sump were almost completely melted from the engine, and the crankcase displayed several holes due to impact and fire.

Partial rotation of the crankshaft was achieved at the propeller flange, and movement was noted at all four connecting rods and pistons. Camshaft movement was impinged by impact and fire damage to the engine case, but borescope examination through the crankcase openings showed no abnormal wear or pre-impact mechanical failure of the crankshaft or camshaft.

Examination of the turbocharger waste gate revealed that the waste gate was frozen in a partially opened configuration (about 2/3 open) due to heavy corrosion.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, performed the autopsy on the pilot.

Toxicological testing for the pilot was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) was detected in the pilot's urine. All other drugs noted were consistent with treatment from emergency medical personnel.

The pilot reported the following medications on his most recent FAA medical application form:

Lisinopril/hydrochlorothiazide (Prinzide®, Zestoretic®) – Lisinopril was a prescription medication that was an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor. It was used to control high blood pressure.

Hydrochlorothiazide was a prescription diuretic used to treat fluid retention in high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver.

The following medications were listed in medical records obtained by the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) from the pilot’s primary care physician:

Niacin supplement
Antihistamines (unidentified)

The following medical conditions were identified in the pilot’s private medical record obtained by the AME from his primary care physician:

Anxiety disorder
Dyslipidemia with low HDL
Allergic rhinitis with seasonal allergies
Pyogenic granuloma of the left thumb

Review of all FAA medical certificates and supporting documentation indicated that the pilot reported a history of high blood pressure and the AME identified no significant issues on physical examination.

Based on available history and physical examinations and private medical records the pilot had a history of anxiety disorder, dyslipidemia (low, low density lipids) and allergic rhinitis with seasonal allergies. These conditions were not reported by the pilot to the FAA. In addition, the pilot was taking niacin to treat his dyslipidemia and an unreported antihistamine, which were also not reported to the FAA. Therefore, these conditions and medications were not evaluated by the AME and it could not be determined if the airman posed a hazard to flight safety.

According to the airport manager, the pilot/owner had mentioned on more than one occasion that he was trying to "get his medical back." However, the review of his records revealed that the pilot's medical certificate was still valid at the time of the accident.

SANFORD, N.C. --  There have been three small plane crashes in our area in the past three months. NBC 17 wanted answers about what it takes to get in the air.

We found out there are five different types of pilot licenses, each requiring a different minimum amount of flying hours.

Sport pilot license, 20 hours

Recreational pilot license, 35 hours

Private pilot license, 40 hours

Commercial pilot license, 250 hours

Airline transport pilot license, 1,500 hours

Airline transport pilots are the ones who fly commercial airplanes.

Apart from the difference in experience, commercial planes and small planes are also inspected differently.

"A commercial pilot flying on the big airline, they have a whole team of people," said Ronney Moss, a flight instructor at Wings of Carolina Flying Club in Sanford.

Most privately owned small planes get inspected by maintenance one a year. Before takeoff, the pilot is solely responsible for making sure everything is working properly.

"There is nothing particularly hard about flying, but there are 200 or 300 easy things that will kill you if you don't get them right," said Moss.

NBC 17 spoke to American Airlines, one of the most popular carriers at the Raleigh Durham International Airport, about what they do for inspections. They said before each flight, there are two separate checks from the pilot and maintenance. Each plane is also checked overnight, then there are routine inspections, and every 15 to 30 months the plane is completely taken apart and thoroughly inspected.

The Federal Aviation Administration said most small plane crashes have nothing to do with the plane, but are cause by pilot error.

A small plane crash on Sunday in Sanford left Kirk Aragon of Apex suffered third degree burn and died at the hospital. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause.

"At this point it does not look very promising at recovering data from the airplane, it is significantly damaged by fire," said Air Safety Investigator Brian Raynor.

Sunday's crash is the third in as many months.

Investigators said in the other two crashes, the pilot is partly to blame.

In July, a Cessna went down in Harnett County leaving Bennie Williams and Ronald Forbes dead; and, in June, four people survived after officials say Joe Guyton crashed a small plane in Cumberland County.

Williams and Aragon both had private pilot licenses. Guyton had a commercial license.

Moss said the type of license and hours should not be the focus.

"A 90-year-old person behind the wheel of a car, are they safer than a 25-year-old because they have more hours behind the wheel?" Moss asked.

Moss went on and said proficiency is what is important, the same message Gene Weaver tells his students.

"One needs to concentrate every time," said Weaver, a flight instructor at Wings of Carolina Flying Club in Sanford.

Weaver has 10,230 flying hours in a small plane.

Even though you can fly a small plane with less experience, a United Airlines pilot told NBC 17 flying a small plane is harder than flying a commercial plane.

Aragon's plane was homemade from a kit called a Velocity. The plane's designer Duane Swing said they have never had a structural failure.

A-10C Warthog: U.S. Air Force Jet Crashes in South Georgia. Moody Air Force Base.

An A-10 War Plane from Moody Air Force Base crashed in South Georgia at 2:45pm Monday.

Authorities tell us the plane went down Monday afternoon in the area Antioch Church Road in Cook County.

The Cook County Sheriff says the pilot ejected and the plane crashed in a wooded area off Antioch Church Road near Hempstead Circle.

Authorities say the pilot was said to be "OK".

He was taken to a hospital in nearby Adel, released, and then taken to medical facility at Moody Air Force Base.

There did not appear to be any injuries on the ground where the plane crashed.

Moody Air Force Officials say there was no ordinance on the plane.

Moody will hold a press conference at 8:00pm to discuss the Plane Crash.

Below is a Press Release from Moody Air Force Base

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- An Air Force A-10C pilot assigned to the 23rd Wing ejected from an aircraft during a routine mission at approximately 2:45 p.m. today in a non residential area northeast of Berlin, Georgia in Cook County.

The pilot was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital of Adel for medical evaluation and is currently under examination and is reported to be in stable condition.

The pilot has been in contact with base leaders.

The pilot's name is being withheld until his family is notified.

Moody and Cook County emergency response personnel were dispatched and proceeded to the accident scene. They are securing the scene.

The A-10C did not have any ordnance on board.

The aircraft incident is still under investigation.

Additional details will be provided as information becomes available.

Pilots to Possibly Create Air Races Crash Memorial

Some pilots who have businesses at the Reno-Stead Airport are looking to create a permanent Air Races memorial, possibly where the P-51 Mustang hit the tarmac.

"Hoping that the air races would continue; we thought about something as simple as perhaps a bronze plaque permanently laid on the tarmac depicting the names of the deceased, as well as the date, and the box being permanently set aside, perhaps some empty chairs with some flowers as a long-term memorial that we had a tragedy here on the 16th of September."

Tim Brill runs a flight school at the Stead airport, and he and others would like to run the idea by airport officials, when the time is right.

In the meantime, people have been leaving notes and flowers along a fence just outside the airport, to honor the dead and injured. But as far as Brill knows nothing has been planned for the site of the crash. We visited where the plane crashed into the VIP boxes. It's still covered by a tarp, and is still off-limits to visitors. Brill would like to put the memorial there eventually.

"The folks I talked to out here at Stead seem to be in support of that. They all thought it would be a cool idea, not very costly; something that reminds us that a tragedy did occur here."

Brill hasn't put in an official request, but at least one person has offered to donate money to create some type of memorial.

Jonesboro, Arkansas: Crop dusting businesses are getting busier

Jonesboro, Arkansas - You can expect to see more yellow-colored airplanes in the sky soon.

Local crop dusters are taking orders and getting shipments of chemicals to spray on the cotton.

The recent rain has pushed plans back, but Mike James of Bootheel Ag Air Services says this week's forecast is perfect for flying.

"Tomorrow we're supposed to spray forty acres of cotton. We'll hit it the first time with some Folex and Boll Buster."

They've already got the schedule figured out on one of the first days of spraying.

"He does all the prepping, I fuel it. Then we mix the chemicals and shoot the chemicals in it. Then I write his time down on the sheet when he leaves, and what chemical he's taking out, and his time of arrival back."

Mr. James says that as long as the rain will hold off, they'll only need to spray the defoliant twice.

"We'll go back in four to five, or seven days and hit it again with Takedown, which will knock the green leaves off."

James says the first round of spray will knock the leaves off the plant, while the second will help open the cotton boll.

As cotton modules start to fill up the gin yards around Region 8, we'll know that cooler weather is just around the corner.

Brundidge Municipal Airport: Teens plead guilty to stealing, wrecking city vehicles.

BRUNDIDGE, AL (WSFA) - Two Brundidge teens are in hot water after stealing two city vehicles to take on a joy ride and severely damaging one of them.

According to Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport two teens broke into the lot where the city stores official vehicles and equipment at the Brundidge Municipal Airport around lunchtime on Saturday.

The pair managed to bypass the fence around the facility and steal an older model Crown Victoria that had once been a police patrol vehicle and was now being used as a city general use car. Chief Davenport said the teens removed the vehicle from the lot, took it for a drive and wrecked it causing serious damage to the vehicle. The teens then went back to the lot and took off in a truck owned by the electric company. When they learned they were being pursued the teens ditched the truck in a wooded area and took off on foot.

Brundidge Police were able to catch up with the teens later the same day. One teen had the key to the Crown Victoria in his pocket, the other teen had the key to the truck.

The two teens, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old pleaded guilty to vehicle theft on Monday morning. The 15-year-old was sentenced to 18 months probation. The 16-year-old had a previous record and as a result was sentenced to serve time in a juvenile facility.

The monetary damage inflicted to the vehicles and the storage facility is not yet known. Chief Davenport said the city kept the keys to each vehicle in the vehicles themselves since they were fenced into the lot. He said the city will probably have to re-think that in light of this incident.

Relocate monkeys, Army tells Camp Hanuman temple. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport

AHMEDABAD: Shree Camp Hanuman Mandir, which is located on the premises of cantonment here, has been served a notice by the Indian Army over monkey menace, which is said to be threatening the safety of aircraft at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.

The station headquarters, Indian Army, Ahmedabad, had been recently served a notice under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, by the Gujarat government over the problem of bird hits and dog and monkey nuisance at the airport.

Colonel S Raman, administrative commandant for station commander, in his notice to the Hanuman Mandir Trust said: "The root causes of monkey menace are willful feeding of monkeys by mandir authorities and by devotees, improper and inadequate garbage disposal by mandir authorities and littering of coconuts, bananas and sweets by people."

The army officer on September 24 directed Vishnuprasad Sharma, managing trustee, Shree Camp Hanuman Mandir, to forward an action taken report to the Indian Army within 10 days of the receipt of the letter. The letter said, "You are hereby directed to tranquilize and relocate the monkeys, presently thriving at the behest of Hanuman Mandir, posing a threat to SVPI Airport."

Sharma said the temple trust was ready to cooperate with the army and will be seeking help from the local civic body and the zoological park in the relocation of the monkeys.

The trust will also be starting a campaign to create awareness among the devotees to not feed the monkeys near the temple or on the army premises.

The state's forests & environment department in its notice to the Indian Army on September 19 had asked it to: provide sufficient numbers of waste bins; manage proper collection and disposal of kitchen waste; close down and relocate the butchery in the cantonment and carry out trimming of the trees.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army has trimmed and cut many trees but said that the demand for the closure of the army butchery was unwarranted.

India: Army blames Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for animal menace at airport

Ahmedabad: Army officials have blamed the slums, Hanuman temple and the butcheries outside the cantonment for the menace of the rise in number of monkeys, birds and dogs on the airport runway. The officials' reaction came following a government notice to the army regarding the same.

The notice had directed the cantonment in Sahibaugh area of the city to carry out efficient garbage collection, close down the abattoirs and trim the trees adjacent to the airport wall. The notice had stated that these things were responsible for the increase in the numbers of monkeys, birds and dogs on the runway at Ahmedabad airport.

An army official, on condition of anonymity, said the resolution of the problem lies with the Gujarat government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC). "We have issued several notices to authorities of the Hanuman temple. The temple is the reason why the numbers of monkeys have increased in the area as the devotees feed the animals," the official said. "We have requested the AMC to capture and relocate all monkeys in the cantonment," the official said. A legal notice should be issued to the authorities of the temple to curb this problem.

The army officials have been continuously writing to the AMC to capture the stray dogs living on the outskirts of cantonment. "The government should direct the AMC officials to immediately act on the several requests made by the army," the official said.

The officials also blamed the slums and unorganised colonies mushrooming outside the airport for the bird menace. "Dead animals, meat-shops, fish markets, roof-top accumulated garbage and inefficient waste disposal in civil areas should be the prime concern of the government of Gujarat," the official mentioned. The official had also requested that government undertake a ground visit and accordingly the army will co-operate with it.

Vintage plane lands in Arizona field after engine failure.

THATCHER, AZ - Authorities say a pilot escaped injury after making a forced landing in a field in eastern Arizona Monday morning.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane lost partial engine power and the pilot was forced to land in a field in Thatcher around 8:50 a.m.

The pilot was the only person on board and was not injured.

Neighbor Dale Holladay told ABC15 he "heard this strange noise that sounded like a truck coming down the road with a flat tire."

His son-in-law then called and told Holladay to check out the plane that had landed in a cotton field to the east of his home.

Holladay described the plane as a WWII vintage Japanese "Kate" torpedo/dive bomber and explained the pilot said he was headed back to Texas after a weekend airshow in Buckeye.

The FAA will investigate the incident, according to Gregor.

A pilot flying a post-WWII-era military training plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a cotton field in Thatcher Monday morning after the plane's engine lost power.

Pilot William Fier who was the only occupant in the aircraft, landed the single-engine Harvard Mark IV just before 9 a.m. and walked away without a scratch.

"He did an excellent job of getting it down with very minimal damage to the aircraft," said Thatcher Police Sgt. Mark Stevens. He said the prop and some sheet metal would need to be repaired.

Stevens said that Fier was with a group of seven planes coming from an air show and heading to Santa Teresa, N.M. Five of the other pilots continued on to their destination and one landed at a nearby airport.

The damaged plane will be hauled out of the field on a flatbed truck and repaired in Thatcher, according to authorities.

The plane, built in the early 1950s, is owned by American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, Texas. It was painted to look like a Japanese airplane from World War II.

Families settle for £15m over air crash

THE families of men killed in a North Sea helicopter crash have received a share of about £15 million in compensation.

All 16 people on board a Super Puma helicopter were killed when it crashed just off the Aberdeenshire coast in April 2009. Ten claims lodged by families of the 14 passengers, who died in the worst oil industry accident since Piper Alpha, have been settled.

Insurers at Bond Offshore Helicopters, which was operating the flight, confirmed yesterday that payments had been made to some of the victim's loved ones.

But Carolanne Dunn 39, from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, whose brother Vernon Elrick, died in the disaster, said the money was little compensation for her and parents Frances and Denis, as they await the outcome of an investigation into the tragedy.

Ms Dunn said: "We are happy with the compensation payments, but we are still not able to draw a line under this. We still have the publication of the official Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB] to face."

The Super Puma came down off Crimond, between Fraserburgh and Peterhead, as it returned to Aberdeen from BP's Miller platform. The AAIB report into the tragedy - which happened just seconds after pilots issued a mayday call to air traffic controllers in Aberdeen - is expected to be published before the end of the year. Bond has always insisted it followed all procedures laid down by the authorities and manufacturer.

Those who died were Paul Burnham, captain of the Super Puma; co-pilot, Richard Menzies; passengers Brian Barkley, Vernon Elrick, Leslie Taylor,, Nairn Ferrier, Gareth Hughes, David Rae, Raymond Doyle, James Edwards, Nolan Goble, James Costello, Alex Dallas,Warren Mitchell, Stuart Wood and Mihails Zuravskis. The partners of Cpt Burnham and Mr Menzies have raised separate actions - understood to be for about £4m.

Beechcraft 1900D, 9N-AEK, Buddha Air: Fatal accident occurred September 25, 2011 near Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM), Nepal

The chief rescuer at Nepal’s international airport yesterday blamed human error for a plane crash that killed 16 holidaymakers returning from a tour around Mount Everest at the weekend.

The Buddha Air aircraft carrying 10 Indians, two Americans, a Japanese citizen and three local tourists crashed into a hill in dense fog on Sunday on the outskirts of the capital, killing all on board including three crew.

Bimlesh Lal Karna, head of the rescue department at Tribhuvan International Airport, ruled out mechanical failure, saying: “If there was a technical problem, there should have been some hint of it.”

“The plane had already flown for 45 minutes. No problem was noticed during that period. The bad weather prompted the pilot to take the wrong decision,” he said.

Buddha Air, the private airline operating the tour, said it had launched its own investigation into the crash of its Beechcraft 1900D plane while a government inquiry team said it would take three months to report on the cause

The Kathmandu-based airline said it had grounded yesterday’s flights as a mark of respect.

Investigators found the black box flight recorder several hours after the crash.

“We are meeting at the ministry to decide how to proceed ahead. I’m sure we will be able to find out the truth in the given period of three months,” said Rajesh Dali, who is heading the government probe.

Buddha Air offers a Rs8,240 ($140) “Everest Experience” package, taking tourists from Kathmandu and flying them around the world’s tallest mountain and surrounding peaks.

The one-hour flights are popular among tourists, and several companies offer daily trips to view the 8,848m (29,029ft) Everest summit.

Industry insiders have speculated that the pilot of Sunday’s tour may have lost control after deciding to fly below the dense cloud line minutes before he was due to land.

Several local media reports suggested the pilot had descended to 5,400ft (1,500m) at a point where the minimum safe altitude was at least 1,000ft higher.

Aviation expert Hemant Arjyal said the pilot would not have deliberately put his passengers in danger, but he might have made a mistake while attempting to fly below the cloud line using only his eyes for guidance.

“He had the option of following instrumental flying rules in which he wouldn’t have had to rely on the naked eye. He was following quite a normal approach but he went too close to the hill,” he said.

Tourist flights around Everest were launched by government-run Nepal Airlines
in 1969.

Michigan Businessman Among Helicopter Crash Victims. Privately-Owned Helicopter Crashes En Route To Alpena

A Macomb County businessman was one of two men killed when the company-owned helicopter they were in crashed in a remote area of Alcona County near Hubbard Lake in the northern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, according to state and federal investigators.

Michigan State Police in Alcona County said the names of the victims were being withheld pending notification of family members.

WDIV-TV (Channel 4) identified one of the victims as Dan Logghe, 46, of Richmond Township in northern Macomb County, and co-owner of Logghe Stamping Company in Fraser. The other victim reportedly was an employee of the company.

Sgt. Gary Nesbitt of the Michigan State Police post in Richmond said Logghe’s family became concerned when the two hadn’t returned home Sunday after they left in the helicopter for a routine hunting trip on Friday afternoon.

“While the family was in our post making a missing persons report, we received word from the Alpena MSP post that they had found the helicopter wreckage,” Nesbitt said.

“Apparently it was quite common for the two to go to a cabin near Alpena for hunting almost every weekend and then come back on Sunday night. This time, the family hadn’t heard from him on Sunday so by (Monday) morning, they came in to file a report.”

Logghe is vice president of Logghe Stamping Company, family-owned stamping supplier to the automotive and military industry, according to the company website. The company is located on 13 Mile Road near Utica Road in Fraser.

According to a state police news release, the crash site was discovered by a hunter Monday morning in a wooded section of private property in Calendonia Township in the northwest section of Alcona County. Troopers determined the Robinson R-44 helicopter departed the metropolitan Detroit area Friday morning for Alcona County.

Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said FAA investigators are on their way to the site to begin their investigation into the cause of the crash.

FAA records show the helicopter, which was manufactured in 1995, was owned by Logghe Stamping Company.

Logghe, who ran the company with several cousins, is married with children.