Saturday, October 01, 2011

U.S. Marines train to fight aircraft fires

Marines working in Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting risk their lives on a regular basis to ensure the air station, its personnel and Yuma's community are safe.

ARFF specializes in aircraft fires and trains every day to maintain a high level of proficiency in aviation fire protection.

“Our mission is to preserve life and protect property through fire prevention here on base and the airfield,” said Gunnery Sgt. Craig Johnson, ARFF operations chief and 36-year-old native of Apple Valley, Calif. “We are watching take-offs and landings of all aircraft, including visiting aircraft, at all times. We are also providing mutual aid to the federal fire department, city and county as well.”

According to Johnson, the station is the biggest and only category 4 airfield in the Corps. A category 4 airfield is defined by the number of aircraft flying in and out and the weight these aircraft carry, thus making Marine Corps Air Station Yuma the busiest air stations in the Corps. Marines work 48-hour shifts and 72 hours every other weekend. They train every day to complete 92 annual classes. These classes include egress procedures, aircraft checkups and training fire simulations that use mobile aircraft firefighting training devices.

“You have to be in shape and be ready to work and work hard,” said Johnson. “It's one of those jobs where you train for the worst. I think we help more people than we lose so it's worth it. It's a very fulfilling job.”

These Marines attend the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas and the second best fire academy in the country. It is a three-month-long school that gives Marines the skills required to become a first-class firefighter.

“The school was a mixture of being physically and mentally demanding,” said Johnson. “There are a lot of tests and milestones you have to reach. With a high dropout rate, you can see it's a very difficult school.”

Upon completion, they receive their firefighter one and two hazardous material certifications and are qualified as any other firefighter in the country with the same certifications as their civilian counterparts.

This is why many times ARFF Marines remain firefighters after the Corps.

Although ARFF is specialized in aircraft firefighting, they have emergency medical technician training and are also trained as a station and federal firefighter. They need to do so because, when deployed, they have to fill that duty.

“It's really important to have the capabilities of firefighting, especially with our specialties because we are aircraft firefighters,” said Johnson. “Because of the high risks involved with the numerous take-offs and landings here and the ordnance we carry on aircrafts, constant training cycles are necessary. That way we are able to respond quickly for any type of emergency.”

With approximately 150 emergency calls a year, the most common emergencies seen on station are landing malfunctions because of the hot weather. There are a lot of hot break engine fires, auxiliary power unit fires, bird strikes and a mixture of just about everything.

“We get things from fuel spills to engine fires and casvacs (casualty evacuations),” said Johnson. “In country the majority we have is about 100 casualty evacuations, in-flight problems with low fuels, hydraulic failures, landing gear malfunctions, bird strikes, hung ordnances and bombs not deploying out in the range.”

ARFF receive a wide array of emergencies on base, the Yuma International Airport and off base. They are responsible for 15 miles off base. Often they are called upon by the federal fire department to aid in emergency rescues such as automotive extractions.

“What makes us really unique is that Marine firefighters are really aggressive,” said Johnson. “I have been around firefighters for over 20 years now and I think this is the best group of that I have ever been around. They are extremely well trained and work really hard.”

Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB) to bring in new airline: Federal grant to help attract western destination

ASHWAUBENON - Austin Straubel International Airport is looking to expand flights in and out of Ashwaubenon next year. The airport is receiving a half million dollar federal grant to help make that happen.

Airlines at Austin Straubel make direct flights to Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. But airport officials would like to expand to a more western hub to increase traffic where service is deficient. And to help the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Austin Straubel a $500,000 grant to develop new air service.

"It is kind of like a carrot we can hang out in front of a couple of airlines that may be interested or we know are possibly looking at Green Bay," said Tom Miller, airport director.

The money can be used to help in subsidizing the start up costs of an airline.

"The money takes that risk away. That's what we're trying to do and the goal is of course is to get them to be fully functioning for the long-term," said Miller.

Frontier Airlines just recently ended seasonal service to Denver, but officials with the airline indicated the seasonal service would be back next summer. Airport officials though say their first choice would be to have that route take off year round.

If not Denver, then Dallas-Fort Worth through American Airlines. That route was offered in 2005 and 2006 that Miller says was very profitable.

Back up options would include non-stop service to Salt Lake City or Phoenix.

Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau president Brad Toll says either option would help bring in business.

"It helps us when we go out and sell our destination saying absolutely we have an airport that you can get into very easily," said Toll.

Travelers tell us options with fewer stops would keep them coming back.

"I go through O'Hare and I don't mind but people who don't travel a lot I think O'Hare is really difficult. if you could come directly here I think it would be wonderful," said Kay Crawford, who routinely travels to Green Bay to visit family.

The plan is to have the new service in place by May of next year. Although airport officials say they're shooting for a new destination to take flight closer to March.

Glasair III, N43KH: Fatal accident occurred September 30, 2011 in Falls of Rough, Kentucky

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

National Transportation Safety Board -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:
NTSB Identification: ERA11FA512 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 30, 2011 in Falls of Rough, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2013
Aircraft: HERONIMUS KEVIN A GLASAIR III, registration: N43KH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

According to witnesses, the airplane departed the airport and circled back to make a fly-by over the runway. As the airplane flew over the runway, a witness reported that the engine sounded like it “over revved.” Witnesses also stated that they saw what appeared to be a puff of smoke emitting from the nose of the airplane. The pilot made a left banking turn, and then entered a left downwind for the runway. The engine power seemed to surge as the airplane descended. Then the engine went silent and the airplane turned toward the airport but did not have enough altitude to reach the runway. The pilot appeared to level the wings, and the landing gear was lowered as the airplane descended into the trees, struck a building, and exploded.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that it was equipped an automotive Chevrolet LS1 engine. The airplane’s propeller was attached to a propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU). The system was designed with an automatic clutch and was tuned to remain disengaged at idle and engage with an increase in power. An examination of the PSRU revealed that the propeller drive shaft fractured as a result of fatigue. This fracture separated the propeller drive gears from the clutch, which resulted in the loss of power to the propeller. Given the witness accounts of the loss of engine power, it is likely that the airplane lost airspeed and altitude due to this condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the propeller power speed reduction unit, which resulted in a loss of engine power at low altitude.

On September 30, 2011, about 1303 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built, Heronimus Glasair III, N43KH, owned and operated by an individual, was substantially damaged after a loss of engine power and collision with a motel at Falls of Rough, Kentucky. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the Rough River State Park Airport (2I3), Falls of Rough, Kentucky, at 1255.

According to witnesses, the airplane departed runway 20 at 2I3, circled, and returned to make a “fly-by.” As the airplane flew over the runway, witnesses reported that the engine sounded like it “over revved.” They also stated that they saw what appeared to be a puff of smoke emitting from the nose of the airplane. The pilot made a left banking turn, and then entered a left downwind for runway 02. The engine began to “rev” very high and then began to surge as the airplane descended. The engine went silent and the airplane turned towards the airport, but it did not have enough altitude to make it to the runway. The pilot appeared to level the wings and lower the landing gear before the airplane descended into trees. Shortly thereafter, an explosion was heard behind the tree line. First responders to the accident site found the airplane engulfed in flames behind a motel.


The pilot, age 61, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land privileges, issued November 29, 2010, and a third-class airman medical certificate issued November 3, 2010, with limitations for corrective lenses. The pilot reported 1,100 total flight hours at that time. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination.


The two-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number 3071, was manufactured in 2005. The airplane’s first flight was conducted on March 24, 2006. On October 26, 2010, an automobile engine conversion was completed. The originally-installed Lycoming IO-540 was replaced with a Chevrolet LS1 engine and equipped with a Vortech supercharger. The propeller was a Hartzell model HC-C2YK-1BF constant speed propeller. The propeller was attached to a propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU). A review of copies of the maintenance logbook records showed that on October 10, 2010, the airplane was inspected in accordance with Appendix D of 14 CFR Part 43. At the time of the inspection, the recorded tachometer reading was 1.4 hours. The tachometer was observed at the accident site; however, damage precluded determining a current reading. A review of the logbook records revealed that on March 3, 2011, the pilot/builder certified that the prescribed flight test hours were completed and that the aircraft was controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all maneuvers to be executed. The operating data that was demonstrated during the flight testing speeds were noted: Stall speed or minimum flight speed in landing configuration (Vso) 60 knots, speed that will allow for best angle of climb (Vx) 80 knots and speed that will allow for the best rate of climb (Vy) 170 knots.


The reported weather at Godman Army Airfield, Fort Knox, Kentucky, which was located about 31 miles northeast of the accident site, at an elevation 755 feet, at 1255, was: wind 310 degrees at 11 knots gusting 17 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 18 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 8 degrees C, and altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was located in the rear courtyard of a motel, approximately ¼ mile south of 2I3. A debris path originated at severed trees and continued approximately 50 feet on a 192-degree magnetic heading. The airplane collided with the rear motel wall before coming to rest. The post-crash fire consumed a majority of the fiberglass airframe.

The cockpit, cabin, and fuselage sections were completely burned by fire. The seat frames were present and in their respective positions. The control stick was identified and the push-pull tubes moved when the control stick was manipulated. The rudder pedals were melted and the rudder cables exhibited overstress fractures. The elevator control tubes could not be identified. The avionic instruments were fire damaged and no pertinent information could be obtained from them. Examination of the nose landing gear revealed that it was fire damaged and separated from the fuselage.

The left wing was fire damaged and separated from the fuselage. Further examination of the wing revealed that only cloth fibers remained. The left wing push-pull tubes were observed throughout the wing structure. The aileron moved correctly when the push pull tubes were manipulated. The fuel tank caps were not located. The left main landing gear was separated from the wing and located in the wreckage debris field.

The empennage and vertical stabilizer were fragmented and consumed by fire and only fiberglass cloth remained. The elevators and rudder were fragmented and consumed by fire. The flight control cables were located and were broken in multiple sections and exhibited overstress signatures.

The right wing was fragmented and consumed by fire. Fragments of the right wing push-pull tubes were observed throughout the wreckage debris field. The right wing tip was located on the wreckage path and was broken away from the rivet fasteners.

The engine assembly was located next to a concrete wall and was fire damaged. Visual examination of the engine confirmed that it was an automotive engine. The engine sustained impact damage and fire damage, which precluded rotation of the crankshaft by hand. The spark plugs were removed for examination and exhibited thermal damage on the ceramic insulator. The spark plug electrodes were covered with soot. The propeller remained attached to the PSRU, and the PSRU remained attached to the engine. Both propeller blades exhibited s-bending and chordwise scratching. The propeller blades were curled and melted near the tips.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 1, 2011, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Urban Government Center, Louisville, Kentucky, as authorized by the Grayson County Coroner. The autopsy findings included “blunt force injuries” and the report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no ethanol was detected in the liver or the muscle, and no drugs were detected in the liver.


Examination of the PSRU by the NTSB Materials Laboratory revealed that the components had reportedly less than 50 hours of service on the drive train components. The PSRU system was designed with an automatic clutch and was tuned to remain disengaged at dead idle and become engaged with an increase in power. The components included the PSRU housing, propeller drive shaft, clutch hardware, propeller reduction unit gears, bearings, and additional hardware. The propeller drive shaft passed through the forward half of the propeller reduction unit housing and mated with a gear mounted on the aft half of the housing. The propeller drive shaft was fractured at its aft end where it mated with the internal splines on the gear. Approximately one-quarter of the forward fracture face exhibited rotational smearing. Rotational smearing was also observed on the aft face of the fracture, moving clockwise from the smeared area. Approximately one quarter of the forward fracture surface had a smooth appearance and exhibited curved crack arrest marks. The fatigue crack formed an approximate 45° angle with the longitudinal axis of the driveshaft. The remaining forward fracture surface had a rough appearance, consistent with an overstress fracture. Four cracks were observed in the gear that mated with the propeller drive shaft. The cracks were located at or near the internal splines that mated with the external splines on the propeller drive shaft.

As authorities continue to investigate a plane crash in Grayson County, we are learning more about the pilot killed in the crash. We now know the man was an ER doctor from here in Louisville.

WDRB briefly spoke with one of Dr. Lyle Moss' sons at his home--who was too upset to talk, but an old friend felt moved to talk on behalf of the family. Sheila Schuster handed over the key to her home in the highlands this week to its new owners. "We closed on Tuesday and we said to them, oh you've got great next door neighbors."

Those neighbors were Lyle and Kathy Moss, who she had grown fond of. "They had given up his practice in Houston and they moved here so they could be close to their son," said Schuster.

So close, their son--also a pilot-- actually lives on the street behind them. "They loved it so much they talked their other son and his wife from upstate NY to move," she laughed.

The 61 year old was a dedicated ER doctor who had a hobby on the side--flying. "I think it was that freedom that flying gives you. It was a thrill for him, it took him up and away," Schuster said.

Before moving two years ago, he and his wife had been through a rough patch in Texas. "He and his wife had lost all of their belongings actually in Hurricane Ike, and so he had kind of resurrected a plane to work on it," said Schuster.

It was his plane he talked about during their last conversation. "And right before we moved he said 'I'm so excited I'm going to have my plane back.'"

Moss died when his plane crashed Friday afternoon into the Pine Tree Inn, near the Rough River Dam State Resort Park. The motel owner was the only one inside and made it out okay. But, Schuster says, a man who saved lives in the emergency room and touched many hearts with a kind smile, will be truly missed.

Some witnesses told WDRB it sounded like the engine went out--and went silent just before the plane went down.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Winnipeg irked Air Canada won't let employees stay downtown

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg city councillor said she is “incredibly disappointed” that Air Canada is no longer allowing its flight crews to stay in downtown hotels.

“I think that our downtown has a lot to offer,” said Paula Havixbeck city councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo.

“Yes, there is the need to take precaution, but I think that our downtown is pretty safe. I’ve stayed there. I think that it’s disappointing that Air Canada has made that decision.”

Air Canada issued a bulletin to its crews saying staff will no longer be staying at the downtown Radisson Hotel due to increasing concerns over violent crime in the area.

“Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local police,” the Sept. 23 bulletin reads.

“Based on concern generated by crew reports, corporate security, and keeping in mind our obligation, to the extent possible, for ensuring the safety of layover locations, a decision has been made to relocate.”

Crews will now stay at a hotel near James Armstrong International Airport.

Havixbeck admitted there are some safety concerns, and just a few days ago, her own car was broken into downtown.

“My window was smashed and some things were taken,” she said. “We have to continue to be more vigilant, and have good policing downtown. I think adding cadets has been an improvement.”

Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone , said downtown is “relatively safe.”

“Crime downtown has been going down quite a bit, and continues to be going down quite a bit,” he said.

Public intoxication and panhandling are issues they continue to deal with, Grande said.

“Our outreach program is there for everyone, including the Radisson and other hotels. When there is public intoxication, we respond within minutes.”

Grande said new apartments going up and the Winnipeg Jets bringing thousands of people downtown will help deal with the negative perception.

“There are a lot of positive things that are happening,” he said, adding he would like to see more cadets in the downtown area. “We continue to find solutions to those social issues and, obviously, there’s a lot of work that we have to do, but it’s an unfortunate call by Air Canada,.”

30 years later, Orlando International Airport (KMCO) modern vision still soars

Someone forgot to tell Orlando Mayor Carl Langford and his airport planners in the 1970s that they should run concepts through committees, consultants, political stakeholders and lobbyists until the most fiscally conservative and least-imaginative ideas emerged.

Instead Langford, John Wyckoff and Justus Hellmuth pushed through a concept for a new airport that was big, bright and so ambitious that The Wall Street Journal scoffed, a few weeks before it opened: "Hardly anyone considers those expectations realistic."

Thirty years ago today, Oct. 2, 1981, the $300 million first phase of the Orlando International terminal complex officially opened — and immediately began proving its doubters wrong.

Today, an airport that started as a shared runway at McCoy Air Force Base and a World War II-era converted missile-assembly building as a passenger terminal is the nation's 13th-busiest, handling nearly 36 million passengers a year, and is the country's second-most-popular final destination for fliers.

The terminal design, first tried in Tampa, was considered radical: a central "landside" terminal connected by rail to multiple "airside" gates. Today, OIA is recognized as one of the most efficient and passenger-friendly airports anywhere, and always ranks in the top five in airport-convenience surveys that J.D. Power and Associates conducts every few years.

And by carefully adhering to 41 design criteria that planners now revere as gospel, OIA has developed an enviable mix of revenue streams, with nearly 70 percent of its $385 million annual operating budget coming from a hotel, restaurants, concessions and other nonaviation sales. It requires no local tax subsidies.

"These people were long-term visionaries," said Cesar Calvet, current chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority board. "A lot of those people [OIA planners] were looking at a crystal ball that was pretty clear at the time."

Clear to them, maybe. But even before it opened, there were complaints that the facility was too big, too fancy, too ahead of its time.

Langford, who died in July at age 92, developed an airport that opened with 48 gates, enough to handle 12 million passengers, though its predecessor handled just 4.5 million passengers in the late 1970s. And they bought enough land — OIA's 14,000 acres are more than New York's John F. Kennedy, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined — for expansion to increase capacity toward 30 million — now 40 million — passengers.

GOAA Executive Director Phillip Brown wonders whether such a plan could get approved today.

"If you go back to the inception [of OIA], that was, 'Build it and they will come,' " Brown said. "That's what The Wall Street Journal argued: that they're not going to come, and this will be a white elephant."

What Langford and his planners foresaw, however, was how theme parks would change Orlando. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom had opened in 1971, and Epcot was under construction. SeaWorld opened in 1973. The Orlando-Orange County Convention Center was being developed.

And as the theme parks expanded, so did the airport. Disney opened its third theme park in 1989; Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990 — and the airport added its third airside, for $130 million, that same year. In 1992, the terminal was expanded with a hotel and parking garages, for $390 million. Disney added its fourth theme park in 1998; Universal opened its second in 1999 — and in 2000, the airport added a fourth airside, for $200 million.

"There's no question our success is directly linked to Orlando International Airport's success, and vice versa," said Gary Sain, president of Visit Orlando, the area's convention and visitors bureau.

What's more, said Rick Weddle, president of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, OIA — with its low-cost airfares and direct flights to 116 cities — is a major part of his pitch to businesses he's trying to persuade to locate in the Central Florida area.

He said such businesses have almost universally positive opinions of OIA.

"The most important part is cost and access. To companies, time is money. If I can fly there and back in a day, and I don't have to spend all day traveling, we're going to do very well," he said.

OIA's biggest drawback today has haunted it from the beginning: international service. Though foreign flights are its fastest-growing segment — more than 3 million passengers a year now fly to or from foreign cities, and Air France (Paris), Lufthansa (Germany) and TAM (Brazil) now fly regularly from here — accommodating these passengers remains difficult.

OIA's foreign gates, first added in 1984, have required awkward retrofits at two airside terminals. Arriving passengers have two unattractive choices. They can claim their bags and go through customs at the international-baggage carousel — but they then have to recheck those bags and pick them up a second time at the landside terminal's baggage carousels. Alternatively, they can lug the bags from customs hundreds of yards through the airport to get to the rental-car, bus or taxi stands.

Many international travelers come through New York, Atlanta, Miami, Houston or Los Angeles — and then fly to OIA on a domestic airline.

But accommodations for international traffic aren't likely to get better for years. The terminal complex essentially is built out now. And a proposed $2 billion second terminal complex, called the South Terminal, is seven to 10 years or more away.

Still, after 30 years, OIA still seems like a fresh and modern facility — and a tribute to its planners.

Perhaps their most novel design criteria called for the atmosphere to be defined by Florida and Orlando experiences. That began with the airfield, which was developed with lakes, swamps and forests, to give arriving visitors a first impression of natural Florida.

"Back then, if you went to New York, Chicago, St. Louis, you couldn't tell one airport from the other. We asked people what they thought Florida was like. Water. Trees. Birds. Palm trees. Flamingos. We got everything except the flamingos," said Wyckoff, 80, then GOAA's deputy executive director in charge of airport construction.

With Walter Taylor as lead architect, the terminal's interior borrowed from the theme parks' design features, with high ceilings, rounded corners and expansive, well-lit open spaces dotted with fountains and palm trees. Designated "art walls" display Orlando-centric works. Disney and other attractions were invited inside to add their touches and sell their wares.

"We wanted to make sure the family coming from Alaska or New Jersey in the winter, that they immediately knew that they had landed in Orlando, Florida," said Hellmuth, 72, then GOAA's airport planner.

Now, airports everywhere are attempting such theming, said Chris Oswald, a vice president with the airports trade group, Airports Council International-North America.

"They were very much ahead of their time," he said.

Weddle likens the effect to the old "Welcome to" billboards that greeted highway travelers driving into towns.

"We don't have those anymore. Our airports serve that purpose," Weddle said. "They are most people's primary point of entry into a community, and how they feel about that community or region is largely impacted by how they feel about that first and last experience."

OIA timeline

1928: Orlando Municipal Airport (later Herndon Municipal; now Orlando Executive) opens east of downtown Orlando.

1940: Orlando buys land near Pine Castle in south Orange County for second airport.

World War II (1939-1945)

1941-42: Army Air Forces takes over Orlando Municipal and Pine Castle airports during World War II. The Army keeps Pinecastle Airfield.

1957: Pinecastle Air Force Base renamed for Col. Michael McCoy, killed in crash. The resulting MCO designation remains the airport's call letters today.
Video: World financial leaders gather at IMF

1962: First commercial air service begins at McCoy, from civilian terminal fashioned from a converted missile-assembly building.

1969: With Walt Disney World coming, Orlando decides to move service from Herndon and plan new airport.

1974: McCoy Air Force Base closes, and property is deeded to Orlando, including two 12,000-foot runways.

1976: Remaining commercial flights and airport operations move from Herndon to McCoy, renamed Orlando International Airport.

1978: Construction begins on permanent OIA terminal.

1980: Legal disputes over concessions contracts nearly halt construction; U.S. District Judge John C. Young orders resumption.

Oct. 2, 1981: New terminal opens with central "landside terminal" connected by rail to two "airside terminals" and 48 gates.

1984: International-arrivals concourse added.

1986: Airport tops 12 million passengers, the maximum the two original airsides were designed to handle.

1989: Third runway, 10,500 feet long, opens. Two terminal parking garages, with 7,000 spaces, open.

1990: Third airside terminal opens with 24 more gates.

1992: New 42,000-square-foot atrium and 446-room Hyatt Regency hotel open in terminal. Airport tops 20 million passengers.

2000: Fourth airside terminal opens with 16 more gates. Airport tops 30 million passengers.

2002: 345-foot air-traffic-control tower opens.

2003: Fourth runway, 9,000 feet long, opens.

City, airport contractor dispute runway deadline. Clovis Municipal Airport (KCVN), New Mexico.

The meter is running — to the tune of $1,500 a day — as far as Clovis city officials are concerned.

But the contractor building a $5.5 million runway extension at Clovis Municipal Airport doesn’t figure it that way.

At issue is the completion date of the project. The city contends it was Sept. 17, and David Montoya Construction of Albuquerque is past due.

If the city prevails, Montoya could be forced to pay a $1,500 a day fine for each day the project continues past Sept. 17 under a liquidated damages provision of the contract.

Montoya contends the required completion date is Oct. 17 and Project Manager Robert Watson in Albuquerque said they are on schedule. The problem, said Watson, is a miscommunication between Montoya and the project engineer, WHPacfic of Albuquerque.

Ultimately, all sides agree, the Federal Aviation Administration will make the final decision since it is paying for 95 percent of the project. The city is on the hook for the remaining 5 percent.

The dispute between the city and Montoya centers around a document known as a notice to proceed (NTP). City Manager Joe Thomas said the city sent Montoya an NTP on Dec. 6. What follows is a series of events Watson described as “more of an administrative issue.”

Watson said he contacted WHPacific’s project engineer for Clovis, Mark Huntzinger, and asked about delaying the NTP until Jan. 10. Watson said he sought the delay because he was concerned about weather conditions and the proximity of the start date — Dec. 6 — to upcoming holidays. It wasn’t a good time to start, he said.

Huntzinger said he did receive an e-mail from Watson. “He mentioned we needed to talk about a suspension or delay,” said Huntzinger. “I advised him that he needed to submit to the city an NTP, notice to proceed change request.”

Whether that happened or not remains at issue. Thomas doesn’t believe it did. He said the request was made by Montoya representatives during a Sept. 19 meeting between the contractor and the city with the explanation of the proximity to the holidays.

“We had concerns about that,” Thomas said.

As far as liquidated damages, Thomas said the city intends to invoke the penalty. “We feel it has been invoked unless they (Montoya) supply reasonable justification.”

Watson said he is also putting together data to justify an unspecified number of weather delay days.

Airport Director Steve Summers said all sides will submit their cases to the FAA in the next few weeks and the agency will make the final determination.

Airport director asked to empty hangar: Clovis Municipal (KCVN), New Mexico

Clovis homebuilder Bob Linn checks the oil on one of his airplanes, kept at Clovis Municipal Airport. Linn's complaint prompted City Manager Joe Thomas to order Airport Director Steve Summers to stop using a hangar to store personal items.
Photo Credit: CNJ - Robin Fornoff

Clovis’ city manager has ordered Clovis Municipal Airport Director Steve Summers to stop using an airport hangar to store personal items.

City Manager Joe Thomas said a previous city manager 13 years ago had given Summers written permission to use the hangar, but Thomas ended the practice when he learned about it this summer.

Thomas said former City Manager Ray Mondragon gave written permission for Summers to use the hangar on Aug. 28, 1998.

Thomas said he told Summers to empty the building after learning of the agreement after a local resident complained.

Summers, who earns $68,717 a year, said he considered use of the hangar part of his compensation. Summers also stays in a city-owned home at the airport rent free, receiving a monthly $400 credit for providing around-the-clock security, Thomas said.

Thomas said the $400 a month credit is the fair market value the city could charge for renting the home Summers occupies.

“I moved from a 2,000-square-foot home with a garage to a single-wide trailer when I took this job 17 years ago,” said Summers. “There was no storage.”

Questions about the hangar arrangement were raised by Clovis homebuilder Bob Linn, who demanded Summers be charged with embezzlement in complaints filed last June with Clovis police and the state attorney general.

On Wednesday, Linn said police told him there would be no charges, citing the Mondragon memo granting Summers permission to use the hangar that rents for $110 a month. A police investigation started July 7 also notes that 9th Judicial District Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrea Reeb concluded “no criminal charges are appropriate in this matter.”

“I am disappointed,” Linn said, noting a long waiting list of airplane owners anxious to rent an airport hangar. “There have been names on that waiting list for at least a year,” said Linn.

Thomas and Summers said the hangar was emptied in July and has since been rented. While acknowledging using the hangar for personal storage was unusual, Thomas said having department chiefs live on-site in city-owned homes is not an unusual arrangement, and such agreements require the employee to work enough hours of overtime to offset a fair-market rate for the rent.

Thomas said the city has had similar arrangements with wastewater treatment plant superintendent Durwood Billington and city zoo director Vince Romero. Thomas said it saves the city costs of providing 24-hour security.

Thomas and Summers said a waiting list for the hangars is a new phenomenon they believe coincides with the recent expansion at Cannon Air Force base. Thomas noted there was an abundance of empty hangars at the airport when Summers was originally granted permission by Mondragon.

Summers said he doesn’t think using the hangar was unusual or wrong. He said his predecessor as airport director had a similar arrangement.

Pakistan International Airlines stops media from covering its inefficiencies

LAHORE - To avoid more criticism on the hotchpotch pre-hajj operations, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has taken the easy way out of barring reporters covering the first pre-hajj flight from Lahore, which left for Saudi Arabia on Saturday afternoon.

Arrangements for the first pre-hajj flight witnessed complete mismanagement and lack of coordination among government departments. Federal government official information arm, Press Information Department (PID), announced that Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo would see off intending holy pilgrims at Lahore Hajj Terminal, but they had to start their holy journey without being seen off by the worthy minister.

Airport Security Force (ASF) officials deputed at the Main Gate of the Lahore Hajj Terminal indicated that they had strict instruction from the highest office that no reporters should be allowed to enter the premises of the Hajj Terminal. Even the Press Information Department officials were also barred from entering in the Hajj Terminal.

PID officials were also seen in total confusion as they did not know the status that whether the federal minister was coming or not. They did not have any explanation to the queries of reporters. They considered it easy to abandon the newsmen without give a clarification.

Ironically, it was also learnt that PIA Managing Director Nadeem Khan Yousafzai held a press conference on pre-hajj operations in a local hotel on Saturday, but the national flag carrier’s local management and public relations wing were unaware about this news conference. No official in the PIA’s public relations department knew that their boss held a press conference in Lahore.

A national flag carrier official disclosed that PPP Lahore Secretary Information Tahir Khalique made all arrangements to hold a news conference in Lahore.

PIA public relations issued a press release in the evening, which stated that the national flag carrier had operated 10 pre-hajj flights on time, carrying a total of 3,648 intending holy pilgrims from Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore between September 30 and October 1.

It stated that PIA managing director bid farewell to the intending pilgrims at Lahore Hajj Terminal, while PIA Deputy Managing Director Salim Sayani and PIA Director Airport Services Aijaz Mazhar at Karachi Hajj terminal and PIA Director Marketing Anjum Amin Mirza sent off the intending holy pilgrims from Quetta. According to the pre-hajj operations schedule, PIA would carry about 109,000 intending pilgrims on 305 pre-hajj flights to Jeddah from seven major cities of Pakistan. The pre-hajj operation will continue till October 31.

Earlier, Yousufzai said PIA was going to acquire a fleet of 80 new aircraft without the government support. PIA has made special arrangements for the pre- and post-hajj operations and will carry some 120,000 passengers this year. He said the recent incident of ATR aircraft engine failure was not a result of negligence in maintenance, but was an outcome of an inherent industrial fault in the aircraft and the company had also acknowledged it.

PIA had booked a Haji Camp in Jeddah close to the airport building to facilitate holy pilgrims in case of the flight delay. In addition, the national flag carrier had made arrangements to transport their luggage before them to the airport so that their hassle could reduce, he maintained.

Yousufzai indicated that PIA was facing some technical problems owing aircraft spare parts procurement procedure. However, the new deal with a spare parts manufacturer would give some relief as the vendor had promised to allow $700 million credit facility. It would help PIA in getting speedy delivery of parts and better maintenance. In addition, the new deal would help the airline in saving $15-20 million, he estimated. He blamed fluctuations in fuel prices for pushing airline in to losses. However, he underscored that under his leadership the airline would bring back to breakeven in the next five years.

EasyJet's founder prepares to lift off again – but is he serious? Stelios Haji-Ioannou says he is ready to launch a new airline, but experts think it's pie in the sky

The aviation industry does not typically do jokes. Make a sarcastic crack at security about your bags being packed by a stranger and your words will always be taken seriously.

Yet there was widespread amusement in the industry at the pronouncements of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, one of Britain's best-known airline figures, as he made the latest outlandish move in his long-running dispute with the board of easyJet, the budget carrier he founded.

Last Monday it emerged that Haji-Ioannou – who remains a 38% shareholder – had penned his latest piece of correspondence to easyJet chairman Sir Michael Rake, in which he threatened to take on his most successful creation by launching a rival airline, as well as accusing the easyJet management of running a smear campaign against him (a charge which it denies).

The putative airline, this time branded in red rather than orange, quickly had a website promising: " by Stelios. Coming soon!", while a similar-looking site trailing another venture also emerged at the cheekily entitled, an address owned by Haji-Ioannou's holding company, easyGroup.

Even by the standards of the turbulent relationship between airline and founder this was an incendiary move, particularly as it came days after it emerged that Haji-Ioannou and family will pocket £72m from their stake in the airline after the company finally succumbed to pressure and paid a special dividend.

It also followed a supposed peace treaty negotiated last October, when easyJet increased the annual royalty to easyGroup to as much as £65m over 10 years, and during which Haji-Ioannou agreed "not to use his own name or a derivation of it to brand any other airline which flies to or from any country in Europe for a period of five years". He now says that the non-compete agreement had been invalidated.

But is Fastjet for real? Andrew Lobbenberg, airline analyst at easyJet's broker Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "I don't think so, no. His efforts [in his battle with the easyJet board] have been directly focused on optimising cash payments to shareholders and minimising capital expenditure. He has come up with a series of moves that have been disruptive for the board. "He went down the road of threatening an extraordinary general meeting to get rid of directors. After two attempts, that strategy appears to have run its course. This looks to be the next move to try to disrupt the board. It's fairly colourful, if a little extreme, but we do not think it will become a real airline."

Other analysts were also sceptical about how quickly Fastjet could get off the ground. Gert Zonneveld, of Panmure Gordon, said: "If Stelios is genuinely looking to set up an airline that is a mirror to easyJet, you have to ask why he is doing it. EasyJet and Ryanair have been around for 15 years and have spent that time wisely, developing the best routes and slots. It would take at least 10 years to get the slots. Just because Stelios says he wants to set up an airline wouldn't overly concern me if I was an easyJet shareholder."

Those investors have had an interesting ride since Haji-Ioannou decided to turn into an activist investor who battles the board on a number of major areas including the purchase of new aircraft as well as dividends – reserving particular ire for former chief executive Andy Harrison.

There has been success, although having handed Haji-Ioannou and other shareholders what looked like a victory with the announcement of the special dividend, easyJet's current chief executive, Carolyn McCall, insisted that the £190m payout was not due to pressure from just one investor.

"Market sentiment has definitely shifted. There is no question that since things got harder in the eurozone shareholders have definitely shifted their emphasis to capital returns," said McCall, former chief executive of Guardian Media Group, publisher of the Observer and Guardian.

Despite Haji-Ioannou's vocal opposition, and his letter to Rake a few days later, the entrepreneur has not uttered a further word about his plans since last Monday evening, when he was spotted dining at Boisdale, an upmarket restaurant in London's Belgravia. Meanwhile, friends as well as many in the industry profess ignorance of his next move.

The Civil Aviation Authority says it has not received an application for an airline operating certificate, which would require Fastjet to pass tests relating to areas such as the fitness of its key personnel and its financing. Should the new company be certified outside the UK, the process need not necessarily be lengthy, however. It is thought that when easyJet received its licence, the procedure took about five months to complete.

Industry queries to aircraft lessors have drawn a similar blank, while the UK's Intellectual Property Office has no record of an trademark application.

However, industry watchers speculate that something other than creating a budget airline from scratch is the most likely Fastjet result, with some suggesting that the new business could run services using other airlines' aircraft on a similar model to tour operators, be a transatlantic service, or even another attempt at the tricky budget business jet market. Others flagged up potential acquisitions.

In a note to clients on Friday, Peter Hyde of Liberum Capital identified five barriers to entry in the airline industry: access to capital, access to cheap aircraft, the business model, the brand name and access to networks.

"Start-ups need to find some routes where they can generate positive cashflow relatively quickly," Hyde said. "If Fastjet offers services within the intra-EU market, we believe it will be relatively difficult for it to find routes where the rate of cash generation is quick."

One alternative, analysts say, could be for Haji-Ioannou to acquire a company or some assets from an existing carrier. Liberum reckons that Lufthansa, which is currently undertaking a strategic review of bmi, might be a possible seller.

Assuming Haji-Ioannou could pull that off, it would silence the doubters for a while – simultaneously making Stelios both fast and easy.

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport: Passengers strong through August

WEST BAY — Passenger count remained strong at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport through August, with the month being “one of our best months ever,” airport Executive Director John Wheat said last week.

The facility, which opened in May 2010, also continued to capture a large portion of the market share between the four major Panhandle airports, with 516,402 passengers for the January-July period and 78,235 for August, or a 21.3 percent share.

The airport’s January-July count represented a 66 percent rise in passengers compared to the same months in 2010, with August numbers showing a 7.8 boost over last year.

Wheat said his August passenger numbers were keeping pace with increases in business felt by hotels, restaurants and the Bay County Tourist Development County (TDC) compared to August 2010.

“We are pretty well following suit on that,” he told Airport Authority board members.

TDC Executive Director Dan Rowe said August bed tax revenue had not been finalized by last week but was projected to be about 30 percent more than August 2010, when collections totaled $807,936.59, 14.7 percent lower than 2009.

Of the other three Panhandle airports, only the Tallahassee Regional Airport experienced a loss in passengers over the January-July period this year, with 371,157 travelers, or a drop of 5.4 percent from 2010. Its 53,588 passengers for August represented a decline of 1.6 percent from 2010, according to figures released by Wheat.

Tallahassee airport director of aviation Sunil Harman said the opening of the new West Bay airport and the addition of low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines to the Panhandle had contributed somewhat to his passenger decline but was not the only factor. The airport’s market share stood at 15.3 percent.

Sunil still considered his main competitors to be Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, all of which also have low-cost carriers like Beaches International and are within a three- to four-hour drive from Florida’s capital.

“We have lost some passengers, but not equally to the Panama City airport,” said Harman, who is projecting a 6 percent decline in Tallahassee for 2012.

The Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Okaloosa County was reporting 602,369 passengers for the January-July period, up 38 percent over last year, and 86,679 passengers in August, an increase of 34 percent over 2010. Its market share was 24.9 percent.

In Pensacola, the Gulf Coast Regional Airport reported 929,570 for January-July, up 7.9 percent over 2010, for a 38.4 market share. August numbers for Pensacola were unavailable.

Air taxi to begin three new charter flights on October 5 - Indore, India.

Indore: The air taxi service will begin three new charter flights on October 5. One of the charter flights will take-off from Indore towards Jabalpur while another flight will take-off from Bhopal towards Indore.

The managing director of Ventura Air Connect, UK Bose, revealed the introduction of three new charter flights under the air taxi service, on Saturday. He stated that the second passenger aircraft will arrive on October 5 that will be used for the new charter flights. The air taxi aircraft, on Sunday, will be taken out on rent as a charter aircraft that will cost Rs 45,000 per hour.

The first flight will take-off around 8am from Indore and will reach Jabalpur by 9:30am. The aircraft will leave around 9:45am from Jabalpur and will reach Indore by 11:45am. The next flight is scheduled for 2pm from Indore that will reach Jabalpur by 3:30pm. After reaching Jabalpur, the aircraft will leave for Bhopal. The third flight is scheduled for 7am, next day, and will reach Indore by 7:40am.

INDORE: India's first intra-state air taxi service connecting the cities of Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur will take off from October 5, once again. The joint venture, promoted by Venutra Airconnect and Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department, launched last month will add charter services and connect new tourist destinations soon.

Making the announcement at a press meet on Saturday, Ventura Airconnect MD Uttam Kumar Bose said that Indore-Bhopal and Indore-Jabalpur flight will start regularly from October 5. The service will be available in the morning and evening on weekdays. The service will not be available on weekends.

Bose said the company is also starting charter service soon, under which one can book the charter flight after 6.30 pm on weekdays or on Sundays. "We have been receiving several queries about charter flight service and so we have decided to launch charter service as well."

The company is also planning to connect tourist destinations of the state with air taxi. "State government has asked us to connect tourist destinations of the state with air taxi. This is expected to give boost to tourism in state," said Bose adding that they are also going to connect cities like Rewa and Satna.

To make the ticket booking process convenient the company is engaging around 160 travel agencies across the state. Besides, one can book tickets on company's website or either at the airport. About the objection of Air force about service to Gwalior, he said efforts were on to resolve the issue and it may take some more time to resume air taxi service to Gwalior. The company has plans to acquire 20 more aircraft in next three years, said Bose.

Helicopter crashes at Jefferson City Memorial Airport (KJEF) Jefferson City, Missouri

Authorities are investigating the cause for a helicopter crash at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport, Saturday afternoon.

The crash occurred just before 2 p.m.

The aircraft reportedly got up about 20 feet in the air before coming down on one of the runways.

Reports from the Jefferson City Fire Department indicate this was a military helicopter that was on it's way to San Diego and had stopped to refuel in Jefferson City. They said this was a Navy Seahawk that only had been in service for about 20 hours.

Witnesses told reporters that the helicopter had taken off with no problem , but shortly afterwards the rear rotor appeared to have malfunctioned, causing the chopper to come back down onto the runway. The rear section of the helicopter appeared to have the brunt of the damage.

The chopper was not part of an airshow that was taking place Saturday afternoon at the airport.

One of the three personnel who were in the helicopter at the time of the crash was transported to a local hospital. The extent of this person's injuries was not known. It was believed this person was riding in the rear of the helicopter which is where most of the damage occurred.

Another crew member also was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor cuts and scrapes while the third crew member stayed behind at the airport.

Air traffic into the airport was shut down for about two hours.

The FAA has been notified and will have investigators coming to Jefferson City to look into what caused the crash.

The helicopter was to be left in it’s crash position and will not be removed until the investigators are through looking at it.

80 aircraft for Pakistan International Airlines soon: Managing Director

PIA Managing Director Nadeem Khan Yousufzai has said that the PIA will soon have a fleet of 80 aircraft without the government s financial support or guarantee.

Blaming fluctuating fuel prices for the losses, he said that the National Carrier was facing Rs 130 billion deficit at present, some of which was loaned amount and the rest operational debt. However, he claimed that, under his leadership, he would be able to get the PIA back on track in one year and drive the airline to break even by the next 5 years. Addressing a press conference at a local hotel, the MD said that PIA s recent issues with the aircrafts had been blown out of proportion by the media. Explaining the failure of the engine of the ATR aircraft, he said the failure was not a result of any negligence in maintenance but a result of an inherent industrial fault in the aircraft. He said that the manufacturing company of ATR had acknowledged this fact and had agreed to give 60 percent discount on the repair and modification of ATR engines.

He said that the PIA had made special arrangements for the Hajj operation this year. He mentioned that 1,20,000 passengers would be flown through 305 flights for Haj this year. The PIA tried to buy in exclusive landing/takeoff slots but that could not be materialized. But the PIA had booked a Haji camp in Jeddah close to the airport so that, in case of delay in any flight, the Hajis would not be bothered by being stranded at the terminal, he said. Their luggage would be transported before them to the airport to reduce their hassle. This year, the PIA had arranged a janitor on every flight, he added. He said the PIA s aircrafts had technical issues to a certain degree due to glitches in the procedure of procurement of aircraft spares. The new deal with the spares company was a great reliever in this regard, he said, stating that they would give the PIA a credit window for $ 700 million, which would help speedy provision and better maintenance. The airline would benefit 15 to 20 million dollar through this deal.

Around the world in our home-made plane (... and we’re still speaking to each other!) ♥ ♥

All points east: Patrick and Linda on a runway in Bali, Indonesia, one of the 23 countries visited

After a year and a day, 99 flights, 23 countries and bags of teamwork, an intrepid couple have flown around the world in a tiny home-made plane they spent 16 years building.

Retired British Airways pilot Patrick Elliott and his wife Linda Walker are believed to be the first married couple to have circumnavigated the globe in a home-built aircraft.

On their epic voyage they diced with death and saw wonders including the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids at Giza.

But according to Linda, 57, their greatest achievement is ‘the fact that we’re still speaking’.

The former City worker said: ‘You are cooped up in a tiny cockpit together and when you land you can be in stressful situations, unable to speak the language and having to think on your feet. But we worked brilliantly as a team. I can’t wait for our next adventure.’

The couple used 1,320 gallons of fuel costing £12,000 and Patrick admitted it probably would have been cheaper to get first-class tickets round the world, ‘but that would be missing the point’.

He said: ‘Now we are home, it’s hard to believe we have actually done it.’

The pair, from Reigate in Surrey, started work on the plane, a Rutan Long-EZ, in 1991 between Patrick’s BA flights.

They paid £500 for a third-hand manual of instructions and plans for the self-build aeroplane written by leading Nasa engineer Burt Rutan.

Patrick said: ‘As a BA pilot, I was flying passengers all over the world but I had only 24 hours at each destination.

'I wanted the chance to fly round at my own pace and see some of these amazing places. I read about these self-build planes and decided that was how I could do it.’

He had to sculpt, shape and put together every part of the body by hand, carefully following the complicated directions, many of them hand-written and drawn.

Each part was made with different types of foam, covered in fibre glass to withstand pressures of flying, then sealed in resin. The couple went shopping all over America for the more obscure parts, bringing them home in four suitcases and a ski bag, and had an engine imported from New York.

Patrick said: ‘I lost count a long time ago of the hours I spent on it. I can’t even guess. The same for the money. I could have easily bought a commercially made aeroplane for the amount it cost.

‘The record for building one is 18 months. I didn’t expect to take 16 years. I had to extend the garage half-way through when we outgrew it.’

Linda said: ‘At first I called it The Canoe. I could never imagine flying in it. Then the wings went on, and it started to look like a real aeroplane. I realised we were really going up in it.’

Their first flight was in 2007 and they took short trips, such as dropping in to the Isle of Wight for ‘a cup of tea’, before venturing further afield.

After 18 months of planning and negotiations with far-flung airfields, they took off around the world in September 2010. The couple spent 241 hours and 22 minutes in the air in the 16ft 7in long plane before returning home last month.

Speaking of the 37,398-mile journey, Patrick, 57, said: ‘The plane was brilliant and was a real talking point wherever we landed and helped us meet some really interesting people.’

He said there had been a couple of hairy moments, especially when making a difficult approach in strong winds to a small landing strip in Crete.

‘I thought the aircraft was going to hit the ground harder than it eventually did. My heart was in my mouth, but we got down safely.’

The couple did an average of 155mph at an average altitude of up to 6,500ft.

They now hope to fly from the north to the south of Africa, before attempting an ambitious journey from Pole to Pole.

Read more and photos:

Council approves expenditures at Klamath Falls Airport (KLMT), Oregon

The Klamath Falls City Council approved three expenditures, worth $356,268, as part of a Klamath Falls Airport improvement grant.

Federal Aviation Administration grant money will cover 95 percent of the cost, and the remaining $17,814 will come from the airport budget.

With $251,190 of the grant, the airport will purchase a new heavy-duty snow removal truck from Western Systems & Fabrication.

Airport Operation Manager Bill Hancock specified the snow removal equipment be a heavy duty, conventional full truck with a diesel-powered chassis unit, runway plow, and dump body.

None of the six bids received, between $243,300 and $288,700, met the exact specifications, but Hancock determined Western Systems & Fabrication's truck, the third-lowest bid, was the closest match.

TOMCO Electric, of Bend, was awarded an $81,078 contract to finish installing runway weather information system equipment along the full length of the runway. The equipment measures surface conditions to gauge snow removal and deicing.

One other company, Winema Electric, quoted nearly $100,000 for the project.

Webb Asphalt of Klamath Falls was awarded a $24,000 contract to pave the munitions road at the Klamath Falls Airport.

Two other companies quoted amounts more than $36,800 and nearly $50,000 for the paving.

Copper Crimes Rising, Airplane Parts Falling. When police activity is weird, wild or just plain ridiculous, you’ll find it in OMG PD.

Suspects Steal a Ton of Copper

It’s hard to find good help nowadays, especially when that person steals $12,000 worth of copper from a former employer. Two men reportedly stole 2,633 pounds of the metal. This marks a rising trend in Branford.

“Thefts of wire and precious metals are on the increase,” said Capt. Geoffrey Morgan. There was a recent attempted theft of a local artist’s copper sculpture.

Airplane Part Crashes in Woodbridge Yard

A Woodbridge resident called the police after finding a plane propeller on their yard. Police were baffled and called the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what happened. As it turns out, a plane heading to Tweed Airport last week lost a propeller while flying. The plane landing safely, and the mystery of the propeller was solved.

Cargolux to Take Boeing 747 After Resolving Fuel-Burn Issue

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co.’s new 747-8 jumbo jet will enter service in mid-October, a month later than planned, after initial customer Cargolux International SA resolved a fuel-burn dispute with engine-maker General Electric Co.

Cargolux rejected delivery of the first two 747-8 freighters because of a 2.7 percent shortfall in fuel-efficiency guarantees, said Akbar Al-Baker, chief executive officer of Cargolux investor Qatar Airways Ltd. The carrier made the decision three days before it was to accept the planes, during a Sept. 16 board meeting that was Al-Baker’s first after Qatar Airways took a 35 percent stake in June.

“Unfortunately, the management of Cargolux did not take the action they should have taken during the process of the aircraft acceptance,” Al-Baker said yesterday as he prepared to pick up a 777 at Boeing’s wide-body jet plant in Everett, Washington. “As we sit on the board of Cargolux, we have full right to object if we find something is not fair as far as Cargolux is concerned.”

The GEnx engine was underperforming, “and this issue was very strongly raised and was appreciated by the board,” he said. The problem has been resolved with GE, and the delivery will now occur around Oct. 12, pending another board meeting on Oct. 7, Al-Baker said. Luxembourg-based Cargolux confirmed the “tentative agreement” in a statement today.

GE Engine

“We will do delivery planning once the Cargolux board has approved” the plane’s handover, said Jim Proulx, a spokesman for Boeing, which had to cancel three days’ worth of events and ceremonies planned last month to mark the plane’s intended entry into service. He declined to comment on the jet’s performance guarantees or on contractual agreements with customers.

Al-Baker declined to comment on compensation or say how the issue was resolved. A GE Aviation spokeswoman, Deborah Case, declined to comment on Al-Baker’s remarks.

GE Aviation reiterated in August that it was developing a performance improvement package, first discussed in April, for the GEnx-2B engine used on the 747-8. The PIP, as it is known, should be ready in mid to late 2013, Case said.

Cargolux’s delivery deferral was followed the next week by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc.’s decision to reject the first three of 12 747-8s it had ordered, citing “lengthy delays and performance considerations.” Boeing has said the planes, two years behind schedule, won’t initially meet performance guarantees, though they will be improved.

Cargolux Board

“Even these first airplanes we deliver will have double- digit gains in fuel efficiency” over the 747-400, Proulx said.

Boeing now has orders for 75 of the $319.3 million freighters and for 36 of the 747-8 Intercontinental, the $317.5 million passenger version that’s still being tested and is set for its first delivery by year-end. Airlines typically get discounts off the list prices.

Qatar Air has three representatives on Cargolux’s board, including Al-Baker, who has criticized Boeing for delays on the 787s he has ordered.

The matters are “absolutely unrelated,” he said yesterday. “I cannot use Cargolux to get additional concessions from Boeing.”

Qatar now expects its first 787 delivery by mid-2012, not February as planned, Al-Baker said. The delay is because of certification needed for special equipment Qatar wants to add rather than the plane itself, he said.

‘A Few Hiccups’

Al-Baker in 2009 threatened to cancel his order of the plastic-composite 787 if there were any further setbacks, saying the Chicago-based planemaker was being run by “bean counters.” The 787 was delivered to its first customer this week, after seven delays put it more than three years behind schedule.

Al-Baker yesterday described his relationship with Boeing as strong, “despite a few hiccups along the way.” The 777 Qatar Air picked up yesterday is the 14-year-old carrier’s 100th Boeing plane.

“We have absolute confidence in Boeing and its fine aircraft, and of course we will be interested once we see what Boeing will do” in tweaking the 777 to better compete against Airbus SAS’s A350-1000, he said. The planemaker has said it may revamp the 777’s wings and engines and use more lighter-weight composites to improve fuel efficiency.

Qatar is still evaluating its fleet requirements for smaller aircraft, he said, adding that he wanted to wait until the Dubai Air Show next month before making an announcement regarding Airbus’s A320neo.

Al-Baker said the airline is “too busy with our other aircraft programs” to decide whether to order Bombardier Inc.’s new CSeries model. A planned order for that model at the Farnborough Air Show in 2010 was shelved after Qatar Air said it hadn’t been able to reach terms with engine supplier Pratt & Whitney.

“We hope we will reinvigorate our interest once we have finished the current programs we have on hand,” Al-Baker said yesterday.