Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Air Nelson: Pilot sacked for sex wins fight for job. New Zealand.

An Air Nelson pilot sacked for having sex with a flight attendant is expected to return to work following a Court of Appeal judgment in his favour.

Lawyer John Haigh QC, acting for the pilot who has permanent name suppression, said the latest Appeal Court judgment was a ''just and fair'' outcome in the ''sorry saga'' stemming from an unscheduled stopover in May 2008.

The married pilot was fired for serious misconduct after a 19-year-old flight attendant claimed they had sex without her consent following a night of drinking in a Napier hotel.

She said she had no memory of the encounter and he claimed she left his hotel room with ''a smile on her face''.

Air Nelson failed in seeking the Court of Appeal's permission to challenge an earlier Employment Court decision criticising Air Nelson's handling of the pilot's dismissal and ordering he be reinstated.

Air Nelson general manager Grant Kerr today refused to comment, saying the case was ''still with the courts as far as I'm concerned''.

A statement later issued by the company today said it was ''still considering its options''.

''Air Nelson remains disappointed that the Employment Court in its judgment sets a far lower standard of expectation on the behaviour and professional standards of pilots than the airline.

''The Court of Appeal decision declining Air Nelson's request once again highlights the very high threshold facing employers when trying to review Employment Court judgments believed to be erroneous. The process does not allow factual findings to be challenged.''

Haigh said there was no avenue for Air New Zealand to challenge the Appeal Court judgment although there may be ''another route'' for it to take the case to the Supreme Court.

He hasn't been notified of it taking any such action but said he'd be the ''last to know''.

''Nothing surprises me about Air New Zealand or Air Nelson.

''It's the end of it as far as I'm concerned.''

Haigh said it was now up to the airline to comply with the requirements of the Appeal Court judgment.

Air Nelson had argued that it was not practicable to reinstate the pilot to his position where he would be required to fly with crews who were aware of the incident and whose confidence in him may be impaired.

The court agreed with the Employment Court's conclusion that ''this evidence was exaggerated''.

Air Nelson was also ordered to pay the pilot's costs in the Appeal Court case.

Haigh expects Air Nelson to reinstate the pilot in accordance with the court order.

''They have to comply with the requirements of the Court of Appeal decision. It's early days. I don't think they've been asked to do it yet. These things take time.''

Haigh said it was up to the pilot or his union representatives to discuss with Air Nelson how that would occur.

A union spokesman told the Nelson Mail today that the issue was yet to be addressed but it was ''entirely feasible'' that it could seek a negotiated settlement with the airline.

''We'll be seeking whatever the member concerned is after. If he wants to return to work, that's what we'll be after.''

It was up in the air, on a wing and a prayer. Southern Cross Gliding Club, Australia.

Taking one for the team: Scott Dougherty prepares to take off. 
And: His shots from the sky during his first glider flight.

"YOU can sit in the front, so if we crash you're gone first."

With those words I slipped into the front of the glider, my fear larger than the space for my body in the cockpit of the missile-like craft.

The joke from Eddie Pahic, the instructor, surprisingly calmed me.

He's been doing this for 24 drama-free years, and the fact he could joke about crashing to a guy who was clearly scared, seemed like a good omen.

For Eddie, this is just like driving his car to the shops and I felt safe and ready to be dragged up to the clouds.

I get nervous on Boeing 747s, so to be tugged up 3000 feet and dropped back to earth with no engine wasn't my idea of a quiet afternoon. But quiet it was.

The calm as Eddie and I manoeuvred away from the "tug" (well, Eddie did, I just sat there) was unbelievable.

The best way to describe it is peaceful.

So quiet, so peaceful, as you start the slow descent down back down to the engine-relying earth.

What I didn't expect was to do a loop.

Yep, being above Camden in a cockpit the size of a toilet cubicle is one thing.

But being upside down above Camden is just crazy.

With a "here we go", Eddie let the glider drop a few hundred metres before pulling the aircraft up, and fast.

The G forces took hold of the skin on my face and pulled tight against my skull.

I may have yelled with excitement (sorry Eddie).

The rest of the ride was back to the peace and quiet, and the landing was as smooth as a baby's you know what.

I didn't expect to love it as much, but love it I did.

Thanks to Eddie and the Southern Cross Gliding Club for their time and hospitality.

Allegiant Air bails out of Gary before takeoff

A planned news conference Wednesday to unveil Allegiant Air’s plans to begin passenger service between Gary/Chicago International Airport and Las Vegas was abruptly cancelled Tuesday night, crossed up by railroad tracks that stand in the way of runway expansion.

Interim Airport Director Steve Landry, in a news release Tuesday evening, said cancellation of the air service announcement came suddenly.

“Allegiant informed the airport today that, despite their internal analysis conducted during the last several weeks, operational limitations of their aircraft and the railroad at the end of the runway prevent moving forward with the Gary-Las Vegas route at this time.”

The loss only seemed to hasten the urgency for the airport to get the runway expansion finished by its scheduled 2013 completion date.

Landry said the railroads — Canadian National, CSX and Norfolk Southern — received letters earlier this week sent from 10 U.S. legislators urging action, and negotiations are ongoing.

“This deal clearly shows there’s an interest by airlines in Gary,” Landry said. “It shows that we need to increase our focus on getting the railroads to sign off on the contracts and keep pressing on.”

Allegiant Air spokeswoman Kristine Cooper late Tuesday said the company did not plan to make an announcement on Wednesday, calling any mentions of a deal “premature.”

Earlier in the day, a news release and phone calls from Diversified Marketing of Crown Point trumpeted a “major airline announcement” to come at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the airport. Mayor Rudy Clay, Gary airport executives and local leaders would be on hand for the announcement, according to the marketing firm. Immediately after the announcement, a website with information about the airline would be up and running, the company said.

In fact, a trip to the airport made it clear which airline was coming as Allegiant Air signs were already there but not yet posted. A high-ranking Gary airport official confirmed Allegiant was coming. He said he expected service to begin soon, with two flights a day, although he was not sure to where.

But by evening, rumors swirled that there would be no news conference, and Allegiant had no plans to come to Northwest Indiana. Cancellation of the news conference came about 7 p.m.

Allegiant flies to a number of smaller, regional airports in the United States, including South Bend and Fort Wayne, and recently started service from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Those cities, plus Florida, comprise much of the airline’s business.

The local airport official said Allegiant considers itself a travel company, not just an airline, as it partners with businesses in the cities it serves to create travel packages.

Landry earlier in the day said he agreed not disclose the airline prior to Wednesday’s announcement.


Sarasota, Florida: A successful off field landing by John King Jr.

I recently passed my check ride and have been flying out of Sarasota/Bradenton Airport. My interest in flying has been life long but there were issues with the medical. I was taking prescription medicine that did not allow me to attain a license or to solo. The years passed and although I no longer needed the medication I just never got around to committing to the training. I felt that I was too far along in years and would not be able to complete the training.

Sport Pilot license was just the ''ticket'' for me. I found a FBO with a couple of Remos aircraft and finally made the commitment. My instructor had been around a few years and took his time to make sure we accomplished all that was required. It took a little longer but with what was about to happen to me I am glad we spent the few extra hours.

I was so proud of my new ability and wanted to share it with my wife. Karen took about ten hours of ''pinch-hitter'' training so she would be somewhat familiar with flying the Remos. We decided to go over to Sebring for a hundred dollar hamburger on the 3rd of September. We enjoyed the flight out and it was a beautiful day. While at Sebring we watched the racing taking place for a few minutes before we decided to head to Venice for a few practice landings.

The field was quiet and we taxied out and made an uneventful departure. I contacted Miami and asked for flight following and we began working our way to Venice Municipal. Just when I was handed off to Tampa I noticed a slight vibration. This airplane sometimes did that at a certain throttle setting so I reduced the RPMs a bit and there was no difference. As a matter of fact I was sure it was getting worse. Karen asked me if everything was alright......I was not about to try to ignore the vibration and indicated to her we had something going on that was not normal but I was not sure if it was a problem. That was decided for me in the next few minutes. The RPMs began to drop and the oil temperature began to increase.

I decided immediately to notify Tampa. I was only at 2,300 feet and as soon as I declared the emergency and they replied they had my location I lost radio contact with them. Either due to loss of altitude or decrease in revs. This aircraft needed about 2000RPM to operate the radios properly.

I told Karen to tighten her harness and to help me look for a field. She, to her credit, showed no upset and asked if she should get on the radio. I asked her to switch me to Sarasota Tower and I got off a quick advisory to them as I was descending and looking for a good are to land.

We were still out side of the city of Sarasota and it was rural area mostly. About a mile ahead was a golf course the Karen pointed out and off to the right was an obvious plowed field with some crop still on it. I was down to a thousand and decided it was better not to stretch it now as there were buildings and roads to the front of us and I was sure I wanted open area.

Looking down on the port side I could see a green field with no obvious structures or fences. I took as much time as I could to filter through the choices. Golf course. No. Too many trees and nothing that looked like it was laid out straight. Plowed field no. Too many furrows and I was actually thinking about not damaging the aircraft. I knew the wind was good for the field below us and so I considered this my downwind.

No time to grab the check list so I just did the things I could think of. I wanted what ever power I could get from the engine before it gave up so I left the fuel on and tried to make a mental note to cut it off when I had the field. I added flaps and turned on base leg. I said to Karen that everything was going well and this will be easy. And would she please open her door. I turned final and could see a line of shrubbery across the end of the field. We were sinking pretty fast and I did not want to get into those little trees. I pushed the throttle all the way and got about a hundred RPMs out of the Rotax before it quit.

That was just enough to get us over the bushes and the last bit of flaps sort of boosted us a little. I brought the nose up much farther than I would have in any landing I made in training. The stick was back as far as it would go. We hung for a second and then settled onto the field.
It was noisy but the plane behaved well. As soon as the nose wheel touched I got on the brakes, a bit too hard, but I wanted to get it stopped before any surprises in the tall grass.

I had forgotten about the fuel cut off so I did that and shut down everything else. We just sat there........

Not a scratch on either of us, or on the plane. It was amazing how quiet it was just then. I climbed out and checked the plane. No damage including the landing gear and nose wheel. My hands began to shake and I had trouble using my cell phone. When I called the FBO the owner was not upset just concerned and he said he would get things rolling right away. I remembered to assure him there was no emergency and to please advise the tower we were OK.

There was a lot more to this incident with the NTSB and with ATC, but it all went well. I am certain that taking the training seriously was a large factor in making this a successful day and a story with a good ending. I am careful by nature and that caused me to pay attention to the possibility of an emergency while flying. Having been in this situation and doing what was best and having a lot of luck got us on the ground undamaged. I cannot imagine being in that situation and not having any idea of what to do, or denying that there was actually an emergency until the airplane was done flying.

It seems odd that an emergency took place with so few hours of time. The best case would be high time with lots of flying experience and a hours of contemplating the event in order to prepare for it. Not after a short flight in a new airplane with two pages in the log book and a loved one in the right seat.

John King Jr. Sarasota Fl.
(There were metal filings in the oil and a cracked piston caused the engine to finally seize up just as we landed.)

A big week for aviation: Does it mean a turnaround for industry?

(WICHITA, Kan.)— It’s been a while since the aviation industry has seen a week like this one.

Boeing delivered the long-awaited 787 Dreamliner, Cessna unveiled its new Citation M2, and Spirit announced it will open a new plant in Chanute.

“I'd love to say jobs are right around the corner when we see something like this,” says Wichita aviation consultant Dave Franson.

Franson says while it’s good news, it’s not a turnaround.

“I would not come close to saying this is a recovery. This is companies doing smart things and taking advantage of the situation their presented with,” says Franson.

Franson says the industry has taken a huge hit.

“We've had a really tough couple of years, 13,000 people in the big companies.”
But Franson says positive talk is a good start to a recovery.

He says companies are positioning themselves to be in the right place when it happens.


Two injured in Madera County helicopter crash. Ahwahnee, California.

Both the Pilot and his passenger are expected to recover from their injuries.
  Photo Credit:  Madera County Sheriff's Department

Both the Pilot and his passenger are expected to recover from their injuries.
(Madera County Sheriff's Department)

(Photo:  Madera County Sheriff's Department)

A helicopter crashed into some trees on private property Tuesday morning near Road 601 and Songbird Lane in Ahwahnee.

There were two men on board the chopper when it went down.

Authorities have identified the pilot as 71 year old Lee Haley of Ahwahnee.

His passenger was 53 year old Kenny Bartholomew of Terra Bella.

Both men are expected to recover from their injuries.

Authorities say the helicopter did not catch fire, but the chopper is leaking fuel.

Firefighters are on the scene cleaning up the spill.


A helicopter crashed into some trees near Road 601 near Songbird Lane in Ahwahnee.

The man piloting the helicopter was 71-year-old Lee Haley of Ahwahnee. His passenger was Kenny Bartholomew.

The shattered shell of a 1960 Bell helicopter is still tangled in the same brush where it crashed Tuesday morning. The chopper is wrecked, but neighbors say it went down in a fortunate location.

"It was suspended up in the brush and that was probably a good thing because it didn't really go crunch," said neighbor Raymond Blakeslee.

Blakeslee and Gary Joslin live down the road from the crash site. They say their 71-year-old neighbor, Lee Haley, takes frequent trips in the helicopter.

But when he came in for a landing this time, the chopper didn't sound right. Then, they heard a crash.

"It wasn't really a boom," Joslin said. "It was more the noise you get from a big backfire or engine problem."

Blakeslee rushed to his neighbor's property and saw emergency crews cut Haley out of the helicopter. He says the passenger, Kenny Bartholomew, was an inspector checking recent changes to the aircraft.

By the time Blakeslee arrived, he says the inspector was walking around, but neither man looked good.

"Lee has a little bit of blood on him and apparently the guy who certified the helicopter has some broken ribs -- some busted ribs," he said, "but [they were in] pretty good shape for a helicopter crash."

Both the Pilot and his passenger are expected to recover from their injuries.


Brundidge Municipal Airport, Alabama: City vehicle thefts prompt policy change

BRUNDIDGE, AL (WSFA) -  Two teens are accused of causing a stir in Brundidge.Police say they stole two city vehicles. It happened Saturday at the local airport. This incident has Brundidge city leaders concerned because officials say the keys were left in the vehicles. As a result, a policy change is in the works.

"No, it's highly unusual," Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said.

Brundidge officials are scratching their heads about why keys were left in the ignition of one city vehicle and the spare under the seat of the another.

"[The teens] found the keys in two of the vehicles and seemed to have a good time with them," Ramage said.

Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport says two teenaged boys broke the gate, stole an old patrol car that is now being used as a spare vehicle and crashed it. Then hopped in a city electric department truck that they eventually ditched in a wooded area. It was later recovered in drivable condition. One teen had the key to the car in his pocket, the other had the key to the truck.

"The guy that drove the truck, the office was locked, he had nowhere to put it," Chief Davenport said.

Brundidge Municipal Airport is not a functional airport. City electric equipment and vehicles are kept her. Chief davenport says now spare keys can no longer be kept in any of the city vehicles. He's considering keeping them at the police station or Brundidge City Hall.

"We don't need vehicles, stolen, easily stolen and tore up," Davenport said.

Davenport ensures police car keys are removed from the vehicles as is the case for most city vehicles. Even though this was an isolated incident, the mayor says the city cannot afford to put the other 30 city vehicles at risk.

"Since the incident's happened I've been thinking about and I'm thinking the police department would be a perfect place because it's open 24 hours a day so you can have a board and any key anybody needed could be on that board," Ramage said.

One teen was sentenced to 18 months probation. Chief Davenport said the other teen had a prior criminal record and is serving time in a juvenile facility.

Opinion/Letter: Upset by helicopter noise


To Mayor Casey and council:

I have lived in Canmore for many years, in the neighborhood of South Canmore, which was a quiet peaceful place until the noise from helicopter tours has recently become problematic.

I know that you as mayor have received complaints from the residents of Three Sisters, but they are certainly not the only citizens in town affected.

Alpine Helicopters has an excellent, well-deserved reputation for skill and safety. They are specialists in working in the mountains, and, as you know, provide services including search and rescue, fire and avalanche control, and medi-vacs (all for which they are paid). According to their website, they also purchased Canadian Mountain Holidays heli-skiing and heli-hiking in 1995.

However, the current problems have nothing to do with the services described above. With search and rescue, etc., the helicopter is heard taking off, flying up the valley or over the mountains and then the noise is gone, usually for quite some time.

But now the company is selling helicopter tours to tourists at an amazing volume. These flights are numerous and short (10 to 15 minutes long). There are busloads of tourists paying to fly over the residential areas of the town. Because more than one helicopter is used, the noise is virtually constant. It is loud, it is extremely unpleasant and disruptive and destroys the peace of our quiet community, severely diminishing our quality of life.

Council and residents must be commended for their efforts in two similar situations. Over 10 years ago helicopter flights to the Lady MacDonald tea house were successfully stopped due to the negative impacts on the neighborhood of Cougar Creek. Also, the Town has been actively trying to reduce the amount of highway noise residents are subjected to, in ongoing negotiations with the Government of Alberta Transportation Department.

I believe this current situation is a very important issue for the Town to address. Some neighborhoods are affected more than others, but it is a problem that involves all townsfolk. I realize that the Town does not have control over Alpine’s business practices, but at the upcoming lease negotiations, it could have some influence over Alpine’s behavior.

Perhaps even voluntary changes could be facilitated. CMH (owned by Alpine) has written a ‘stewardship’ policy on their website that says: ‘We actively care for the lands we use, the wildlife habitat we share, and the communities in which we live, work, and play.’

Alpine needs to be made aware of the magnitude of this problem. The Town needs to take what actions it possibly can. The company must also be reminded of, and held accountable to, its own policies.

Joan Patterson,



Washington: Coupeville braces for when 'Barefoot Bandit' comes to town

COUPEVILLE, Wash. -- Island County is bracing for the most notorious criminal it has ever prosecuted -- the teenage "Barefoot Bandit" suspect, Colton Harris-Moore.

Coupeville, a scenic and peaceful island town, is world-famous for its mussels. But soon the teen who prosecutors say went on a whirlwind theft spree, accused of stealing everything from airplanes to boats, will put Coupeville in the international spotlight.

In about two weeks, on October 14, Colton Harris-Moore is scheduled to appear at the Island County Courthouse to plead guilty to state charges stemming from that county as well as Snohomish, Skagit and San Juan counties. Harris-Moore has already pleaded guilty to seven federal felonies.

He will also spend time in the Island County Jail. With its new control room and surveillance system, the jail is ready for it's fifty-ninth inmate.

"We're not going to make a circus of it," said Chief Deputy "De" Dennis, administrator of the Island County Jail.

Harris-Moore will be booked and suited up in orange jail garb, just like any other prisoner. His crimes qualified him for the minimum security section, which means sleeping in the cell with several other prisoners. Any of them could end up playing cards or checkers with the Barefoot Bandit.

"I don't think he'll be a problem here as far as a risk of escape," said Dennis. "I do think some of the inmates will want to toy with him, because of his notoriety."

The jail is prepared to house Harris-Moore for two weeks, which is the standard time from arraignment to sentencing. But if the Island County Prosecutor has his way, it will take just one day.

"Because we expect it to be a guilty plea to a number of charges and sentencing, there is no reason not to [do it]," said prosecutor Greg Banks.

With requests from network news crews and media from as far away as France, Banks knows the courtroom, with just three small aisles, won't be enough to accommodate everyone interested in the case.

"It's not big," he laughed.

Victims who want to be present will have special seating in the courtroom as well.

"I think some people want restorative justice," said Banks. "They want to bring it home to Colton, what it meant to them.".

"I think it's negative attention for our beautiful county space," said Coupeville store owner Cindy Olson.

Prosecutors from all four counties are expected to participate in the proceedings. Harris-Moore will be sentenced for his federal crimes on October 28.


Indian Air Force’s starry, starry plight: IAF is strengthening their pilots’ night-flying skills to prepare them for war. But, Pune’s civil airport’s increasing flight load is taking a toll on their ATC systems

Night flying is a tough deal for any fighter pilot, especially during war. Which is why three squadrons based at the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Pune base are focusing on improving their night flying skills in a bid to strengthen their capability to destroy any attack on the country.

These fighter pilots are training hard at the Pune base with IAF’s finest fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi 30MKI. However, according to IAF officials, increasing commercial flights at the Pune airport is burdening their air traffic control system. They are of the opinion that the new airport can reduce their burden.

The IAF will celebrate the 79th Air Force Day on October 8 and before the occasion, the officials displayed their might of frontline fighters SU-30 MKI — a display of Pune’s role in national security. The three SU-30 MKI squadrons — Lightening, Rhinos and Lions — are based at Lohegaon. A senior IAF official said, “Pune is one of the most important bases because of its location.

Therefore, three squadrons of SU-30 MKI are placed here. Our fighters are undergoing rigorous night training sessions. If a pilot is skilled in a night flying exercise, he will be ready for any kind of flying.”

The two squadrons at the Lohegaon base had recently undertaken a night flight mock combat exercise by creating a war like situation. Officials explained that one squadron was assigned the task of getting into each other’s territory and bomb targets, while the other squadrons had to defend. The task went on for two hours, after which the pilots reviewed the exercise, to identify mistakes.

The regular SU-30 MKI exercise is interrupted by commercial flights as the runway is used by the civil airport, which shares the runway with the IAF. The movement of both the fighter and commercial aircraft on the runway is monitored by the Air Force’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.

However, Air Force officials feel that the increasing number of commercial flights is putting an additional load on the ATC. Senior air traffic control officer Wing Commander PCP Anand said, “Though the runway belongs to the Air Force, it is shared with commercial flights, which are on the increase.

Earlier, there were 36 flights, but now the number has gone up to 42 daily flights, which add to the ATC system’s load. We have to monitor the daily exercise of the fighter aircraft too. If Pune has a new airport, it will have a separate ATC unit and that will reduce our burden.”

► We have to monitor the daily exercise of fighter aircraft too. If Pune has a new airport, it will have a separate ATC unit and that will reduce our burden

- Air traffic control operator, Wing commander PCP Anand


More Time Granted to Start Introducing New European Pilot Licenses

National aviation authorities across the European Union are to be given more time to prepare to issue new Europe-wide pilot licenses (subject to the agreement of the European Parliament). As a result, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) now intends to begin issuing the new licenses and medical certificates from July 1st 2012.

The European Commission has agreed with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Member States to propose a short deferment to the European Parliament. The original implementation date was April 8th 2012.

The implementation of new rules for pilot licensing (including medical certification) across the EU is part of a process that has already seen EASA take responsibility for other areas of aviation policy, such as flight operations and airworthiness. Most UK pilots, private and commercial, will be affected by the switchover and will have to obtain new EASA licenses to continue to fly aircraft that have EASA airworthiness certificates. However, some pilots, such as those who fly microlights, ex-military and kit built aircraft, will be able to continue to use their existing licenses. This is because EASA does not regulate these categories of aircraft.

In many cases the transition will be automatic, as existing JAR-FCL licenses will become EASA Part-FCL licenses on 8 April 2012. JAR-FCL licenses issued in the UK up until July 1st will also be deemed to be Part-FCL licenses. Pilots with JAR-FCL licenses will not receive a new EASA Part-FCL license until they submit their JAR license for renewal or amendment after July 1st 2012. Holders of non-JAR, national licenses will have to obtain EASA licenses within specified transitional periods; (by 8th April 2014 for any flight for commercial purposes). The new EASA licenses will be valid for the owner’s lifetime. Pilots whose licenses expire before July 1st 2012 will still need to renew as currently.

Similarly, existing JAR medical certificates will become EASA medical certificates on April 8th 2012 and from July 1st 2012 EASA medical certificates will be issued by UK AMEs when pilots attend for initial, revalidation or renewal medical assessments.

Ray Elgy, Head of the CAA’s Licensing and Training Standards, said: “Preparing for the transition from national to EASA licenses is an extremely challenging and complicated process for the CAA. The Commission has recognized that allowing the CAA more time will help to ensure the transition runs more smoothly for UK pilots.”

Pilots are advised to read closely the detailed information on the CAA website www.caa.co.uk/eupilotlicensing.

Source: CAA


British Columbia: Volunteers discover wreckage of a AS350

Tony Ellis of Ellis Air and Ian Wilson of Wildcat Helicopters at Jacobson Lake ready to assist volunteers from Hope and Princeton with transporting supplies up to 1849 Hudson Bay Heritage Trail. They both donated their time and machine to help with the restoration efforts of this historically important trail. Their day ended on a sad note when they discovered the wreckage of a AS350 helicopter that had been missing for four days in the Tulameen mountains .

Tony Ellis of Ellis Air and Ian Wilson of Wildcat Helicopters, started out their day helping local trail contractor Kelley Cook and members of the Hope Mountain Centre on a special volunteer mission. They were transporting building supplies into a remote area in the Tulameen Valley. Cook sent out an email to Ellis who is a semi-retired aircraft maintenance engineer and private pilot who owns a helicopter leasing business out of Delta. “Know anyone with a helicopter?” Ellis replied, “What do you need?”

Ellis, Cook and friend and business associate Ian Wilson pulled together for a productive day hauling camp infrastructure supplies such as bear caches, fire rings and outhouses. It was October 20. Wilson and Ellis flew in with a 14 passenger helicopter, a Bell 212​, to do their part.

“We were happy to help,” Ellis said.

“Funding opportunities just haven’t been available recently,” stated Cook. “We are still waiting for B.C. Timber Sales to complete their rehabilitation work on the eastern section of this important trail. With people like Tony and Ian, we are getting closer to making this historic trail a treasure for southern B.C..” The 1849 Hudson Bay Heritage Trail has been a work in progress for Cook and others including B.C.’s Backcountry Horsemen.

The supplies were purchased through a partnership with Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. and the Hope Mountain Centre. “We did two drops on either side of Mt. Davis. Ian and Tony are both long time pilots and they donated their time plus the machine to the tune of an $8000 donation,” Cook stated. “We were really really appreciative.”

After the supply drops were made and the group enjoyed a celebratory lunch, Tony and Ian flew off to explore and fish. “This whole time we were aware that there was still a missing helicopter somewhere between Hope and Kelowna,” said Ellis. “Ian had notified the Search and Rescue crew we were working the area and we could see and hear the helicopters all day long. I had made a deal with Ian that I would take him fishing in an alpine lake after we finished our work day, so we did some catch and release before flying off to do some sightseeing...our day had been great.”

Wilson and Ellis have both been flying long enough to know that not all flight missions end well. “Both Tony and I have been involved in rescue and recovery missions before,” said Wilson, “and the missing helicopter was definitely in the back of our minds. Tony is very familiar with the area so as we were flying around we were looking...we couldn’t help, but think of it.”

It was at this point in their travels that a fun day turned sad. Missing pilot Rod Phillipson’s helicopter remains were spotted in a saddle of Kelly Peaks by Tony who was flying at the time. “As I made the approach into a crystal blue lake at Kelly Peaks, I noticed the downed helicopter,” stated Tony. “Something wasn’t right in the familiar landscape and as we drew closer there among the rocks and dark shadows was something out of place.”

“We spotted something glinting,” added Wilson, “and the wreckage was just above it. We called with the GPS coordinates to the SAR techs.”

“Then, we landed,” added Ellis, “and waited for the Search and Rescue Cormorant to arrive. They winched down two technicians and confirmed there was a fatality. At this point, we departed back to Tulameen.”

“The whole experience brings you back to Earth,” Ellis concluded. “While we were saddened by our discovery, we were glad we could at least bring closure to the family.”

“It was very sobering,” added Wilson. “We didn’t know this pilot, but we all have friends who have died in aviation. It is one of the very real risks of flying.”


Plane makes an emergency landing in Harrison County, Texas.

HARRISON COUNTY, Texas -- A private plane made an emergency landing around 4 p.m. Tuesday in eastern Harrison County today according to Harrison County officials.

The man and young child who were on board are fine and the plane was not damaged.

The property where the plane landed in the vicinity of Strickland Springs Road and South FM 2625 was also not damaged.

The plane’s pilot reported to officials that there was fuel and engine problems and had to make an unexpected landing.

Airport sues over heavy burden of presidential visit. Marlboro Airport (9B1), Marlboro, Massachusetts.

MARLBORO — The owner of Marlboro Airport filed a federal lawsuit today against the U.S. Secret Service seeking $700,000 to recover the cost of runway damages after a surprise visit last year by President Obama.

The complaint comes after a claim by the small airport off Route 20 was denied by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the airport's lawyer, Evans J. Carter of Framingham. The complaint was filed today in U.S. District Court in Worcester.

On April 1, 2010, President Obama landed in a helicopter at the airport, one of a handful of privately owned airports in the state. The president was on his way to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Framingham.

In previous interviews, G. Robert Stetson Jr., who owns the airport at 685 Farm Road, said he received a surprise phone call from the presidential entourage's frontman. The president had been in Maine and wanted to visit while Massachusetts worked on recovery efforts after devastating floods ripped through the state.

The president landed in a Marine helicopter and hopped into one of his limousines.

“In supporting the visit, the airport suffered significant damage to its property and particularly to the paved areas of the airport runway and taxiways and also significantly damaged the airport turf or grassed in areas,” the complaint states.

Officials allegedly assured the airport that the helicopters would not damage the runway, which has a 9,000-pound clearance. The six Marine helicopters did not damage the runway, the complaint states.

“However, ground vehicles brought onto the airport by or under the Secret Service, such as, but not limited to, a ‘foam truck,' which weighs approximately 44,000 pounds, was negligently driven onto the airport…,” the complaint said.

The damage is listed as $676,048.13. Through his lawyer, Mr. Stetson said no one cleared the use of the ground vehicles on the airport or checked the limitations of the airport.

The claim is that the Secret Service failed to verify the airport's load limit and brought equipment that was too heavy onto the paved area.

Mr. Carter said his client's claim could have been higher because the ability to fully operate the airport has been affected. They opted to ask just for the damage amount and hope a federal magistrate judge can quickly mediate the claim.

He was surprised the government denied their claim. A bad winter could worsen the conditions of the pavement damaged during the visit, Mr. Evans said.

“The client is anxious to keep it open and going,” Mr. Carter said. “There aren't too many small airports in the area. It would be a shame to do anything that would have an adverse effect on its operations.”

A Secret Service spokesman said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.


Lawsuit: Obama Visit Caused $676K In Airport Damage – Boston Business Journal

President Barack Obama’s entourage for a 2010 visit to Massachusetts caused $676,048 in damage to Marlborough Airport – and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has refused to compensate the company that runs the field, a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court alleges.

Obama landed at the field on April 1, 2010, so Obama could visit an emergency bunker in the state.

Marlborough Airport Properties Inc. states in its complaint that prior to the visit, the squadron that runs the Marine One helicopter – the designation given to any helicopter carrying the president – established that the aircraft would not damage the tarmac. Indeed, the suit states, the helicopter “did not cause any property damage to the runway.”

“However,” the suit continues, “ground vehicles brought onto the airport by or under the Secret Service, such as, but not limited to, a ‘foam truck,’ which weighs approximately 44,000 pounds, (were) negligently driven onto the airport and proximately caused property damage in an amount of $676,048.13.”

“Turf or grassed-in areas” also were “significantly damaged,” the suit states.

“As to ground vehicles, there was no clearance in advance,” the suit states.

The suit says the company asked the government for compensation and was denied.

“They stated we haven’t shown or proven any negligence,” Evans J. Carter, the lawyer for the airport operator, said in a telephone interview.

Marlborough Airport Properties is seeking a jury trial.

Obama has returned to the state several times since then.

Mr Money Bags: Malayan Emergency.

To avoid communist ambush during the Emergency, the salary of plantation workers was dropped from a plane. Here’s one a man who did such drops for two years.

Talalla with son Rohan

ONE plane, two men, three bags of money. They flew 423 times this way, for two years, during the Malayan Emergency.

Earnest Walter Talalla, known affectionately as Ernie, would fly with the instructor in either an Auster or Tiger Moth aircraft and assist in dropping bags of money, the salaries of plantation workers, to the eager workers waiting below. The cash was stuffed in thick leather bags because canvas bags would burst upon impact. Each bag weighed between 10 and 18 katis (about six to 11kg).

After making the paydrops – three to four per flight with each bag containing almost 80,000 Malayan dollars (around RM45,000 now) – Ernie would then take over the aircraft controls while the pilot, after giving him directions, kicked back with an issue of Times magazine on the journey back to the Kuala Lumpur airstrip.

“The paydrops saved the lives of the people working in the estates as land routes were prone to ambush by the communists,” says 93-year-old Ernie at his home in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The two men would take off at nine in the morning, and circle around the plantation while keeping a lookout for a smoke signal indicating where to drop the money.

“Once we saw the signal, we would fly very low, almost at the level of the treetops, and then drop the bags from the plane,” he recalls. Ernie assisted with paydrops all over the Kuala Selangor district, lower Perak (Slim River, Tapah), Pahang (Bentong, Raub), Johor (Mersing, Kluang) and Malacca. Timing was crucial as the plane only had enough fuel for a 130-minute flight.

Canada: Helicopter from hard-pressed rescue fleet ferried Defence Minister Peter MacKay from salmon camp

Just weeks after a Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter flew him from his vacation spot to an awaiting Challenger jet, Defence Minister Peter MacKay was warned there were barely enough of the choppers to meet normal rescue requirements, according to newly released documents.

MacKay was told by the air force that for years ongoing technical problems and a lack of parts had significantly reduced the Cormorant fleet's "mission readiness for both training and operations."

"A high rate of SAR activity this summer and a corrosion repair program has further exacerbated this capability gap," the Sept. 1, 2010, briefing note for MacKay pointed out. The term SAR refers to search and rescue.

MacKay has been under fire in the Commons after his office requested the Cormorant pick him up at the salmon fishing lodge he was vacationing at near Gander, N.L., in July 2010.

Opposition MPs have complained MacKay used the search-and-rescue helicopter as a "personal taxi" and that he redirected scarce military resources for his own purposes.

Concerns about the lack of search-and-rescue aircraft in Newfoundland has been a particular sore point among provincial government officials and those who make their living from the ocean. But MacKay's office has countered that the flight gave the minister a chance to see search-and-rescue personnel at work.

The minister, however, has been on board Cormorants on at least two other occasions, according to the Defence Department.

MacKay was picked up at the salmon fishing lodge by the Cormorant and flown to Gander. He was later taken by a military Challenger jet to London, Ont., for a news conference to announce a $34-million contract to upgrade armoured vehicles. He then took the Challenger jet to attend a lobster carnival in his home riding in Nova Scotia.

MacKay has defended himself against opposition claims by arguing that he cut his vacation short to "participate" in a Cormorant exercise.

His office has stated that previous efforts by the Canadian Forces to demonstrate search-and-rescue capabilities had been cancelled over the last three years and this time the situation presented itself with an opportunity for the minister to see such an exercise.

Canada had 15 Cormorants, but one crashed in 2006.

According to the briefing note for MacKay, three of the helicopters have been continually grounded as they were "robbed" of critical parts to service the remainder of the fleet. At the time, the military had various initiatives under way to get critical spare parts, it added.

"In the meantime, Cormorant fleet availability is barely adequate to meet normal SAR standby requirements," the document informed MacKay. The Citizen obtained it through the Access to Information law.

The military has said that Cormorant training had already been planned that day and the flight to pick up the minister was considered training. If needed, the helicopter could have been used in a rescue, it added. MacKay was hoisted on board the helicopter, which then flew to Gander. Military officials did not know whether other search-and-rescue activities were displayed to the minister.

MacKay also invoked the war against the Taliban and support for Canadian soldiers in his explanation as to why he used the Challenger to fly to London instead of taking a commercial flight. His office noted in a statement that in London "he announced a $34.4-million Armoured Vehicles Upgrade Project to better protect our men and women in uniform fighting for Canada against the Taliban."

The upgrade program had been announced a year before at a news conference held by MacKay in New Brunswick. The contract MacKay announced in London marked the beginning of the initial work on the upgrade program. The main contract has not yet been signed and it's not clear whether the vehicles will be operating with front-line units by the time Canada is expected to pull out of its training mission in Afghanistan in 2014.

MacKay's office also defended his use of the Challenger to travel to the annual Pictou Lobster Carnival in his Central Nova riding by stating that the trip was official business. It noted that the lobster carnival is a major tourism event and the defence minister was there in his role as a regional minister.

This year MacKay also attended the carnival, but there is no indication he used a military jet to get there. His website pointed out that at this year's event "he retained his lobster banding champion title in the celebrity division."

Seconds from disaster: Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 and Dragonair Airbus A330

Two passenger flights carrying more than 600 people came within seconds of a head-on collision over Hong Kong International Airport this month, an investigation by The Standard reveals.

Both pilots had to activate the collision avoidance system - with one climbing and the other descending - 17 seconds after they allegedly did not respond to instructions from the air traffic control center.

The Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 and Dragonair Airbus A330 had 613 passengers and crew aboard.

Former civil aviation chief Albert Lam Kwong-yu estimated the flights were about six seconds from crashing, judging from the distance between them and the normal speed of aircraft. "The chance of a crash is absolutely high," he said. "The passengers really came back from hell."

But a Cathay Pacific spokesman insisted: "There was no risk of collision and at no time was the safety of the flights compromised. At the closest, they were one nautical mile apart when abeam from each other with increasing vertical separation."

At about 1pm on September 18, Cathay Pacific flight CX841, returning from New York with only 10 minutes of holding fuel, requested permission to land. Five other aircraft were waiting to land at that time, including Dragonair flight KA433 returning from Kaoshiung, Taiwan.

Another flight, KA330, was circling at 22,000 feet, while the other aircraft were at lower levels. They were about 66 kilometers southwest of the airport, flying in poor weather.

According to the Civil Aviation Department, another Cathay Pacific flight offered to swap its landing slot with the CX841 Boeing, but the controller detected "a conflict" between CX841 and KA433. They were getting so close at the same altitude that they were already in visual contact.

Sensing the danger, the department said, the controller immediately ordered the KA433 Airbus to turn, but the crew "did not accept the instructions."

The controller then instructed CX841 to climb for vertical separation to avoid collision, but it received no response.

About 17 seconds later, KA433 activated "TCAS climb" - or traffic collision avoidance system. CX841 also activated "TCAS descent," according to the department.

They passed each other at a distance of one nautical mile, or about two kilometers. The department said: "The avoiding actions were executed in a controlled manner and as both pilots had the other aircraft in sight well in advance, there was no risk of collision."

There were 18 crew members and 299 passengers aboard the Cathay Pacific Boeing and 12 crew and 284 passengers aboard the Dragonair Airbus.

Lam said he never saw such a dangerous and serious situation during the six years he served as chief of the department. He called for the establishment of an independent panel to probe the incident.

"Are the staff [at the control center] overloaded with work? Have they received enough training? Are they sufficiently experienced?

"There are many questions behind this incident. Someone must accept responsibility."

A Cathay Pacific spokesman said there was never any danger. He stressed that the aircraft's TCAS equipment generated appropriate alerts.

He also said the aircraft was left with 50 minutes of fuel after it landed.

However, the Civil Aviation Department said the standard horizontal distance between two aircraft is five nautical miles, or around nine kilometers. It is conducting an investigation with the help of both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.


'Like a horror movie': Cathay-Dragonair near-miss incident

The Dragonair Airbus in a near-miss drama this month avoided a collision with another Cathay Pacific flight within minutes of the first incident.

The series of near-misses came to light yesterday after an investigation by The Standard.

A senior air traffic controller on duty on September 18 said Hong Kong's entire airspace was in "utter chaos" at the time, with at least three incoming Cathay flights calling "Mayday" due to low fuel and at least five flights waiting to be diverted because of bad weather.

"There was total disarray and even very experienced controllers like myself have never seen anything like it and were deeply shocked - we still are," he said. "It really was like a bad horror movie."

The controller revealed that, just a few minutes after Dragonair flight KA433 almost collided with Cathay flight CX841, it had to act fast to avoid slamming into another Cathay flight, CX347 from Beijing. "These two aircraft were just too close," he said.

KA433 was an inbound Airbus A330 from Kaoshiung, Taiwan, while the Boeing 777 on flight CX841 was in- bound from New York. There was a total of 613 passengers and crew members on the two planes.

The controller also criticized the Civil Aviation Department, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair for saying there was no risk of collision, even though the flights were so close they were already in visual contact.

He said two aircraft that collided near Uberlingen in Germany in 2002 also had each other in sight for several minutes but they still crashed. All 71 people onboard those planes were killed.

"You have two aircraft flying at each other at 22,000 feet at a speed of 300 miles per hour each while still turning, and no risk of collision?

"You must be joking! If they had not turned so sharply the distance would have been zero miles," he said.

Former director-general of civil aviation Albert Lam Kwong-yu said on Monday the two flights were about six seconds from crashing, judging from the distance between them and the normal speed of aircraft.

A senior Dragonair pilot who was flying that day - although not one of the aircraft involved - confirmed the near collision between KA433 and CX841.

"In 15 years of flying I have rarely heard of a single event happening, let alone that many," he said.

A CAD spokeswoman confirmed KA433 had a "loss of separation" after avoiding a collision with CX841.

She said that, due to severe weather, KA433 could not accept the initial radar headings and subsequent instructions from the air traffic control center.

"They passed each other 3.8 NM [nautical miles] horizontally and 500 feet vertically apart," she said.

She also said three Cathay flights declared fuel emergencies on that day.

The department said on Monday that CX841 and KA433 did not respond to the controller's instruction to turn. A collision was prevented after the avoidance systems on the two flights were activated, with KA433 climbing and CX841 descending.

But in another twist yesterday, the department announced that, although KA433 did respond to its instructions, it did not make the turn as it was already turning in another direction.

As for CX841, the crew responded to instructions at first, but then the department said the flight did not receive other instructions given later.

Both the senior controller and the Dragonair pilot claim the air traffic control center is seriously understaffed.

The controller said morale among controllers is at an "all-time low" and their feelings about the management are "very negative."


Elmira/Corning Regional (KELM), New York: Airport begins expansion of runway. $9 million project may bring larger jets, more destinations.

Ground was broken Tuesday for the final phase of the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport's runway extension project -- 400 feet of new blacktop that will increase the runway's length to 8,000 feet and allow it to be used by larger jets.

The $9 million project, scheduled for completion late next year, will also include extending the airport's taxiway, an engineered material-arresting system to meet safety standards, lighting and the relocation of the facility's aircraft navigational aids.

Allowing larger jets to service the airport and the growing number of passengers there could also mean the addition of more destinations from the Big Flats facility, airport manager Ann Crook said. Fifty-passenger regional jets used by Northwest-Delta and USAirways are to be retired over the next 12 to 18 months and replaced with 100-passenger regional jets that require a longer runway.

"Any jets that the air carriers want to fly here, we'll be ready for and we can now talk seriously about more destinations," Crook said. "Our next step will be doing things to accommodate the people who will be using the airport."

County officials have reported a 25 percent increase in passenger counts at the airport and that growth rate hasn't shown any signs of slowing. At the same time, the airport's parking lots have been expanded, the bathrooms in the terminals have been renovated, new storage hangars have been built and a concrete apron was added to the existing runway.

"Runway extension is the one project that really brings out anti-airport factions in a community," Crook said. "But we were able to work with the community, address their concerns about this project so there'll be no slowing of our growth."

While the project was being developed, neighboring residents were concerned about the possibility that Sing Sing Creek would have to be diverted and a portion of Chambers Road would have to be realigned to accommodate the longer runway.

But by incorporating the engineered material-arresting system into the end of the new runway, the need for a longer extension was eliminated. The system is a crushable concrete that acts like mud to slow the aircraft more quickly than if it were on solid ground, in the event the aircraft overruns the runway.

For the future, Crook's to-do list includes relocating the taxiway, which runs parallel to the main runway, farther away from the terminal to help reduce crowding near boarding gates. She also said she and her staff would begin developing a new airport master plan to chart the way for projects that would enable the airport to handle the increased passenger traffic.

Ninety-five percent of the runway extension project is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration. New York's Department of Transportation is providing an additional grant that will cover half of the remaining 5 percent. The remainder will come from a local $4.50 passenger facility charge.

"The extension of our main runway will substantially upgrade the capacity of the local airport by supporting larger aircraft and will enhance the safety for all who use it," said Tom Santulli, Chemung County's executive.

"The airlines serving our airport are at a high-load factor. Passenger numbers are up, business is strong and we are building onto our facilities to meet growing demand. This project will have significant benefit to the region's business community."

Santulli also said the airport's growth is primarily due to the natural gas drilling boom in Pennsylvania's Northern Tier. But the Interstate 86 conversion project, railroad access and the airport's growth are helping to create positives for employment, investment and growth, he said.

"The airport has made a massive difference in the county's ability to achieve what it's achieved," Santulli said.


Four British tourists died in Peru plane crash 'after pilot who had been drinking forgot to turn on fuel supply'. Accident occurred October 2, 2010. Cessna 185, Air Nasca, OB-1808. The Nasca Lines.

  • Pilots 'rushed pre-flight checks'
  • Party booked sightseeing trip 20 minutes before curfew
  • Captain found with alcohol in his system

A pilot at the controls of a sightseeing plane which crashed in Peru killing four British tourists forgot to turn on the fuel supply, an inquest has heard.

The Cessna 185 crashed just 90 seconds after takeoff, killing Gayle Callow instantly along with her friend and boss Andrew Brown and two other holidaymakers, Warren Denham and Alistair Lowe.

Captain Ricardo Cardenas Garcia, aged 40 years, and co-pilot Gilberto Zuniga Sanchez, aged 56 years, also died in the crash, on October 2 last year.

Investigators discovered the pilots had rushed pre-flight checks after getting a booking just 20 minutes before a curfew began on the remote site in Peru, a coroner heard.

The curfew had been introduced following a previous plane crash in the area, and the inquest was also told how witnesses had seen the pilots arguing before the ill-fated flight.

The flight's captain had been drinking, the inquest was told, and while his alcohol level - 51 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood - was less than the UK drink-drive limit, it was above the drinking and flying limit in this country.

In Peru, no one is allowed to operate a plane if they have consumed any alcohol in last 24 hours.

The aircraft had set off with the tourists for an aerial tour of one of Peru's top tourist attractions, the mysterious ancient Nazca Lines.

The ancient geoglyphs, a world heritage site dating pre-Inca times in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru, is best seen from the air.

The plane had only reached heights of 300 feet when the crash happened, the coroner for Buckinghamshire heard.

Lisa Fitzsimons, an inspector from the Air Accident Investigation Branch, reviewed her Peruvian counterparts' report and told the inquest in High Wycombe: 'The loss of power was due to the fact that after four-and-a-half minutes the engine consumed 0.85 gallons of fuel, equivalent to the capacity of the fuel reserve and additionally in the pumps, valves and filters.

'The aircraft took off with the fuel selector in the OFF position.'

She said that that meant the main tanks were 'isolated' so no fuel would flow from them.

The doomed Air Nazca flight had spent three minutes on the ground before taking off. Had it been delayed a further 90 seconds the engine would have stopped before the plane had taken to the air.

Ms Fitzsimons said that at such a low height the pilots would have had very little time to react and would have had to lower the nose to maintain airspeed over the wings.

Witnesses reported hearing spluttering and seeing the Cessna trying to make an emergency landing

She added: 'However, when it came in the engine was heard to roar and the aircraft was seen to rise again.

'It's possible some fuel in the lines got through and the pilots may have thought they had resolved the engine problem.

'It is at that point they raised the nose and attempted to climb again and that served to slow the wings and rendered the aircraft uncontrollable.'

She said the plane's instruments indicated the rate of descent when it crashed at 1,150ft per minute.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Coroner Richard Hulett said: 'They may well have been better off opting for the crash-landing.'