Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leeds Bradford International Airport marks 80 years with a sky-high spectacle. (UK)

Eighty years of aviation history are being celebrated at the region’s biggest airport.

And to mark the milestone, two Belgian Airforce F-16 fighter planes took to the skies as part of a fly-past at Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBA) yesterday.

But the aircraft spectacle was not the only activity heralding the airport’s past.

A 24-hour exhibition of photographs was launched in the Landside Food Village on the first floor of the main terminal building. It will run until December 31.

Local aviation historian Ken Cothliff, who recently finished writing his first book, Yeadon Above the Rest, is behind the project.

The former owner of Air Supply in Yeadon spent the last five years piecing together the airport’s past. His book uncovers the human interest stories from the day Yeadon Aerodrome was opened in 1931 right up until the current day.

Ken, who was invited to be involved with the anniversary, said about his book: “I talk a lot about the early days, a lot about the times during World War II, when the airport was manufacturing Lancaster Bombers.

“It isn’t just about the history though. There’re many personal stories in there too, like the pilot who opened the cockpit window to get a face full of ash as the previous pilot had been using the sill as an ashtray.”

Yeadon Aerodrome began operating in October 1931 offering club flying and training flights on 60 acres of grassland along the Bradford-Harrogate Road. Flying was mainly in Cirrus and Gypsy Moth aircraft, and later Puss and Leopard Moth for training and charters.

By 1935 the airport had been extended by 35 acres and schedule air services were launched to Newcastle and Edinburgh with North Eastern Airways.

At the outbreak of World War II, all civil flying ceased and the runways were used for test flights for the thousands of aircraft built adjacent to the airport, including Ansons and Lancasters.

LBA was finally born in 1987, and got the go ahead for 24-hour flights in 1994.

Order Yeadon Above the Rest at www.airsupply.co.uk or Croft Publications on 01423 322558.


Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association: WWII vet gets birthday surprise. Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (KGKT), Sevierville, Tennessee.

Pilot Neal Melton greets WWII veteran Richard Gibian and his son Richard Gibian Jr., after the pilot landed his P-47 Thunderbolt on Saturday. Richard Sr. flew a P-47 during the war.

SEVIERVILLE — When it came time to celebrate Richard Gibian's 92nd birthday, close family and friends knew exactly how it should be spent — watching the type of aircraft he flew in World War II land at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport.

Though Richard got a front row seat as the plane flew overhead on Saturday, several months of planning occurred to make the experience possible.

Richard's son, Richard Gibian Jr., worked with Pierre Redmond earlier this year in California. During their six weeks together, the men shared plenty of conversations. During one chat, Richard Jr. learned that Pierre flew his own plane — a Cirrus Aircraft.

"He took me for a ride around Southern California," Richard Jr. said. "I loved it. I told him, 'My dad would go nuts to do this.'"

A few days later, after Pierre posted the idea on the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association website, the plan formed.

The group agreed to arrange the gathering wherever a P-47 Thunderbolt, the plane Richard flew during the war, would be.

"Everything was arranged around when a P-47 was flying in," Richard Jr. said.

Since Neal Melton and his P-47 Thunderbolt “Hun Hunter XVI” regularly fly in and out of the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport, that became the designated location.

After Dan Mikos, another Cirrus pilot, volunteered to pick Richard and his son up from Selma, Ala., and fly them to Tennessee, the plan was complete.

Pierre and several other members of the Cirrus association arranged a day full of festivities at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, before the P-47 arrived in early afternoon.

"The people in the museum were gracious about making this work," Richard Jr. said.

They toured the museum, ate lunch together and — most importantly — listened to Richard's stories about the war.

During the war, Richard was a dive bomber and provided close support for ground troops. He flew 87 combat missions in his P-47 Thunderbolt.

"(The eight .50-caliber machine guns) would damage almost anything you shot at," he said.

Richard was in the 9th Air Force in Europe, in the 373rd fighter group and the 411th Fighter Squadron. He spent time in England, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland during the war.

Throughout the war, his plane was hit several times. Richard admits that he escaped those close calls relatively unharmed.

"I never got hit," he said, "and I always managed to get the plane home."

As Richard stood silently, watching the plane circle overhead, he was flooded with memories and emotions.

"The plane looked exactly like (mine)," he said. "I brought back a lot of memories. It sort of choked me up a little bit. That was probably the most important and longest lasting memory that ever happened to me in my lifetime."

The last time Richard saw a P-47 in flight was 15 years ago. He didn't forget its sound during that time though.

"I can (still) tell when an airplane with a radial engine flies over," he said. "It's a different sound. (Neal's) airplane sounded wonderful."

He still remembered random facts about the plane too.

"The reason this airplane is so big, is because the engine is big," he told the small crowd gathered around him. "It hung two 500 pound bombs. (The area) under the belly could carry three bombs or an extra fuel tank."

After seeing Richard's reaction and listening to him share memories, stories and facts about the plane, everyone knew all the time spent arranging the trip was worth it.

"It was unbelievable," Richard Jr. said. "He's thrilled."

Richard adds, "This was a great trip."

Original article and photos: http://themountainpress.com

Ontario, Canada: Lake Simcoe Airport presents business plan

ORO-MEDONTE - Lake Simcoe Regional Airport manager Michael Drumm is a busy guy now that Buttonville Airport is closing in 2015.

“Not a week goes by that his phone doesn’t ring and somebody is asking about relocating their aircraft here or in many cases relocating their business here,” said Ward 6 Coun. Michael Prowse, who is on the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport Board.

“We are getting a lot of interest as well from Pearson (International Airport) customers,” he said, because there isn’t enough hangar space there.

That means the Oro-Medonte airport is in a good position to take advantage of its location near Toronto.
And at the Oct. 24 general committee meeting, Barrie councillors are expected to get a peek at the strategic plan for the airport.

“With the extension of our runway and the closing of Buttonville, we are one of the very few airports in proximity to Pearson that can even accommodate corporate jets,” said Prowse.

The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport just completed $14 million in retrofits and finished a 6,000-foot runway.
The airport is also served by the Canada Border Service Agency, which allows for international passengers and freight.

All of that means the local airport is now able to look at the option of bringing in scheduled commercial flights, said Prowse.

“Prior to the infrastructure work, these were not areas we were able to compete in,” he said.

“Plus we currently have approximately 142 acres of land that could be developed to accommodate businesses that rely on or service the aerospace industry.”

He said the airport isn’t waiting for Buttonville to close before enticing future business and customers.
He said the airport industry was affected by the economic slump, but there has been a recent “resurgence in both traffic movements and the related fuel sales.”

He said Transport Canada is forecasting modest growth in general aviation for the next decade.

“Our business plan is conservative and only calls for modest growth, but even modest growth generates jobs and we continue to make the airport more attractive for businesses and as a result have attracted a lot of interest from start ups and relocation,” he said.

Prowse also said a vibrant airport is really just a business park that supports the aerospace industry. Maintenance jobs, manufacturing jobs, food industry jobs and service-related jobs, will come from a local airport.

“We already have 45 people working at our airport/business park through several different employers,” said Prowse. “That is what we are creating here, we are laying the foundation for future employers and employees to exist closer to home.”


Neighbors Complain About Noisy Helicopters. Marlboro Airport (9B1), Massachusetts.

MARLBOROUGH (CBS) – The helicopters hover just a few feet off the ground, and almost everyday young pilots from North Andover Flight Academy are learning how to fly. But some neighbors that live near by the Marlboro Airport want the noisy helicopters to fly away for good.

“You can hardly hear yourself talk and you have to keep the TV up and you can’t hear the phone ring,” disgruntled resident Ken Foret said.

The Marlboro Airport has been here for more than 80 years and has always run a pilot school.

Recently the airport has opened up a satellite school for helicopter training. About 32 hours a month the helicopters hover, take off and land disturbing some neighbors.

“It’s back and forth and it doesn’t stop for a long time. When you have the windows open then that’s really annoying,” resident Lakmini Prematillake said. Airport owner Robert Stetson says he’s trying to be a good neighbor but it is an airport. “I don’t claim it’s my right, but I do claim it’s a legitimate use of this property,” Stetson said.

The city does have a strict noise ordinance but the FAA has the final say. “I did take some noise readings and the noise levels were not that exorbitant,” Marlborough Code Enforcement Officer Pamela Wilderman said.

Ken Foret says the helicopter noise is robbing him and his neighbors of their peace and feels his complaints are falling on deaf ears. “Long and short of it is that we want the North Andover Flight Academy to move their helicopter training some other place other than Marlborough and out of my back yard,” Foret said.

Merpati Nusantara Airlines to receive cash to pay debts

JAKARTA: Ailing state airline Merpati Nusantara Airlines is scheduled to receive a loan from the government next week worth Rp 561 billion (US$ 57 million) to help improve its services and expand its flight network.

Merpati president director, Sardjono Jhony, said late on Monday that the fund would help improve business and would pay off the airline’s debts to the tune of Rp 280 billion.

“The asset management company, PT PPA, is scheduled to conduct a general shareholders meeting on Friday, and as soon as the shareholders agree to disburse the bridging loan, we’re going to settle our short-term debts,” said Sardjono.

Aside from the government, Merpati’s shareholders also include PT Garuda Indonesia. 

Qantas manager checked aircraft engine while mid-air, union claims

The engineers' union has lodged a complaint with the civil aviation watchdog that a Qantas manager checked an jet engine while it was still flying.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) has filed a complaint with Qantas and with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) over the incident, which they say occurred at Darwin airport on October 13.

Qantas says it rejects the allegation, and that its investigation found the engineer carried out maintenance properly.

Engineers have also written to the airline asking them to stop making "misleading statements'' about the ongoing dispute, ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said today.

Engineers lodged a complaint after they discovered a Qantas manager filed paperwork on a plane before it had even landed, Mr Purvinas said.

"Essentially our members have come into work and seen that the checks have been certified and signed up and the plane wasn't there yet.

"That, of course, is illegal.''

But Qantas has rejected the claims.

"Qantas received a complaint by a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer against another licensed engineer which was investigated in the normal manner,'' the airline said in a statement.

"The investigation found that the licensed engineer carried out the administration of maintenance work in accordance with Qantas engineering policies.''

The union also wrote to Qantas on Tuesday night asking it to "cease and desist'' from making misleading statements on the ongoing engineers' dispute.

"We've written to Qantas overnight and complained about the misleading statements they've been making to the public,'' Mr Purvinas said.

Yesterday Qantas said that two Boeing 767 aircraft would be grounded from Monday, which would cause the cancellation of 80 flights, mainly between the eastern states and Perth.

That takes the number of aircraft taken out of service by Qantas to seven, and the number of flights cancelled as a result to about 500, the airline said.

A ban on overtime by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) had forced the grounding of the aircraft, the airline's CEO Alan Joyce said.

But ALAEA has said some of these aircraft were actually put up for sale last April.

"They're saying that aircraft are being grounded because of industrial action when in actual fact, these aircraft were announced for sale in April,'' Mr Purvinas said.

"We want Qantas to be honest.''


Airline Industry, Customers Unfairly Targeted to Pay Down Deficit

Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, reported that the Administration's proposed tripling of the passenger security tax will do little to improve the security of passengers and likely will lead to the loss of air service and thousands of industry jobs.

As part of a proposed debt-reduction plan, the Administration is proposing two new taxes on airlines and their customers. The first would add a $100 departure tax to all flights; the second would double the passenger security tax to $5 per one-way trip in 2012, and triple the tax to $7.50 by 2017.

"Paying more taxes doesn't mean safer travel. There is no clear plan of how security will be improved, nor is there any accountability for whether the additional resources will be used efficiently or effectively," said ATA President and CEO President Nicholas E. Calio in a speech to the AeroClub of Washington.

Calio said that aviation is again being singled out with security and departure taxes that combined would cost airlines and their customers $36 billion over the next 10 years on an industry that during one of its best years collectively posted a $3.6 million profit or a 2.1 percent margin. "It makes absolutely no sense for the Administration - or the Congress - to propose two huge new taxes on aviation, a key creator of jobs growth that is among the least profitable industries and pays among the highest federal taxes while other profitable industries and transportation modes are left untouched," Calio said.

Within Congress, there is a growing bipartisan group opposed to the Administration's proposed tax hike. Calio commended congressional members who are rejecting the Administration's tax plan. "We have been meeting with congressional members to convince them that further taxes on the airlines are the wrong answer. Airlines will have no choice but to offset the higher taxes by trying to adjust airfares or reducing service."

To increase awareness and educate consumers and Congress, ATA recently launched a the website, www.stopairtaxnow.com, where visitors can urge Congress to reject punitive taxes against airline passengers and save American jobs and air service to their community.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For more information about the airline industry, visit www.airlines.org and follow us on Twitter @airlinesassn.

SOURCE Air Transport Association of America



Airlines Fight Proposed Takeoff Tax

DALLAS - President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction proposal calls for in part an increase in passenger security fees and a $100 takeoff tax on business and commercial airlines.

The administration’s goal is to raise $36 billion over the next 10 years to help trim $4 trillion off the national deficit.

But the airline industry says those new taxes simply won’t fly.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly is asking customers to write their representatives in Congress to help shoot down the president’s proposal. Ironically, Kelly was appointed to Obama’s council on jobs and competiveness.

The Air Transpiration Association has also been handing out novelty air sickness bags to make its point. The organization said if Congress approves the taxes about 181,000 jobs could be lost in the industry by 2012.

“I have a concern. At this point with the economy and the industry in a fairly fragile condition, this would just not be a smart thing to do,” said Bud Weinstein, a Southern Methodist University economist.

He said the $100 takeoff fee would probably hit Southwest Airlines and other short haul or regional carriers harder because they have more takeoffs.

“We’re already seeing airlines cut back on capacity in order to deal with these higher fuel costs. And then to throw additional taxes and surcharges and fees on top of that, I don’t think it would be good for the industry or the flying public, or for the economy,” Weinstein said.


Planned home helipad miffs neighbors

Jon Gonsoulin flies his Robinson R44 helicopter above Houma Monday evening.
Photo Credit:  Julia Rendleman/Staff
~ ~

A resident of a Houma subdivision has secured permission to build a helicopter landing pad near his home, a move that has some neighbors upset.

Jon Gonsoulin, 45, president of LeBeouf Bros. Towing, got the OK Monday at Terrebonne's Board of Adjustment meeting.

The decision allows Gonsoulin to put a helipad on his 18-acre residential property in Mulberry Estates, a subdivision along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Gonsoulin has flown his helicopter on and off the property several times, kicking up dust, rankling neighbors and parish officials and racking up at least two violation notices. Those notices came from the parish attorney and Jennifer Robinson, senior planner for the Planning and Zoning Department.

Gonsoulin, in turn, asked for a variance, or special exception to the land-use law, that would allow him to build a helipad so he can take off and land from his property.

The request was decided by the Adjustment Board, a separate body from the Houma-Terrebonne Regional Planning Commission. The former handles only zoning variances and exceptions while the latter makes the zoning regulations.

To get an exception, a number of conditions must be met. The exception cannot impact surrounding property, nor can it affect the public's health, safety or welfare.

Parish staff said they got seven phone calls prior to the meeting from neighbors opposing the request, but only two critics spoke at Monday's hearing.

Reuben Williams, one of the neighbors opposing the plan, told the board the decision could set a precedent, allowing commercial businesses to set up shop in the neighborhood.

“If I wanted to live near an airport, I would have lived on the east side of town,” he said. “Everyone in this room is going to be affected by the way this hearing goes. What will this board do once someone wants to put a beauty shop in the neighborhood? … They'll say you allowed this to happen with a helicopter, and that person's going to leave skid marks on the way to district court.”

Safety, noise and dust were among the Williams' other stated concerns.

The critics were far outnumbered, however, by the more than 50 signatures contained on a petition presented by Gonsoulin's attorney. Gonsoulin's supporters include state Rep. Gordon Dove, Terrebonne Parish Councilman, parish-president candidate Clayton Voisin and Tim Fanguy, who is running for Voisin's council seat.

Gonsoulin, who has been piloting for more than 20 years, said the four-seat helicopter is not for commercial use.

Several of his nearest neighbors said they cannot hear it from inside their homes.

Gonsoulin also proposed a flight pattern that takes the aircraft away from buildings.

“Safety is not an issue,” Gonsoulin said. “I'll be flying out over the Intracoastal, and if there were a mechanical failure, it wouldn't be over someone's house. I'd be swimming.”

Houma attorney Berwick Duval is among the neighbors who support Gonsoulin's variance request, which he sees as a compromise.

Had the request been denied, he said, Gonsoulin planned to ask that a portion of his property be rezoned as light industrial.

Had that happened, Duval said, having five acres of industrial land nearby would adversely affect the value of his home.

“This proposal is something no one's really happy with, but everyone can live with, especially if it means we don't have to go to the Parish Council, or, God forbid, court someday,” he said. “A helicopter truly does not bother us. But rezoning bothers the hell out of us.”

The Adjustment Board voted 3-2 to allow the variance. Katie Sims, Pete Konos and Joe Harris voted in favor. David Blum and Jay Tipton voted against it. Blum wanted restrictions on the helipad's placement and Tipton recommended consulting the parish attorney before deciding on the issue.

It's not clear when work on the helipad will start.


Dania Beach, Florida: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport neighbors face daunting decision

Having lost their battle to stop the runway expansion at FLL, Dania Beach homeowners now must decide whether to take cash assistance or move.

At the end of the cul-de-sac, the weathered sign in the yard has a simple message: No Runway Expansion.

“It’s one of the last ones left in the neighborhood,” said Rae Sandler, a Dania Beach resident who lives near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and is president of the Melaleuca Gardens Homeowners Association.

After more than 18 years of fighting the expansion of the south runway at the airport, it’s all over — except for making one last choice.

This past week, the Dania Beach City Commission unanimously accepted a settlement deal that would allow affected homeowners to sign up for sales assistance that may take years, accept a payoff in exchange for waiving their right to sue, or accept monetary assistance to soundproof their homes.

For Sandler, fighting the expansion project has been a family tradition. Her mother, Beulah Lair, also lives in Melaleuca Gardens, a mostly waterfront community on Griffin Road just across from the future runway. Less than a quarter of a mile will separate the homes from the runway.

Lair, 87, put up the “No Runway Expansion” sign two decades ago.

“They had really been fighting the airport for 20 years and my mother bought her home 21 years ago. That’s how she got involved,” Sandler said. “She was a real spitfire. She attended every meeting, she would rally the troops. She would literally knock on people’s door until they came to the door, and then tell them they had to be at that meeting.”

But a stroke has kept Lair from the most recent battles.

Sandler took up the fight soon after her mother began her initial crusade back in the 1990s. In 2010, she traveled to Washington, D.C. to witness a pivotal appeal court ruling. The ruling found in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration and Broward County, disappointing Dania Beach and its homeowners.

Dania Beach had been fighting with Broward County in court over the runway since 1993. The city signed an interlocal agreement in 1995 that required the county to consult with the city before making decisions involving noise mitigation and placed operational restrictions on the airport.

Over the years, Dania Beach’s main tactic had been to challenge the environmental impact statements generated by Broward County. After that tactic hit a dead end in December 2010, the city then began considering a payout deal from the County Commission and the FAA.

All of this — the lawsuits, the haggling over every detail from noise levels to financial compensation — seems so far removed from the neighborhood Sandler fell in love with when she bought her home on Northwest Seventh Avenue Street in 1978.

“I moved [to Dania Beach] because it was a quiet little town,” Sandler said. “It was very quiet, like a small town feel. The city hasn’t changed, but Broward County has. It’s overdeveloped. So now we feel the crunch here.”

The $790 million runway, 65 feet above current ground level and parallel to Griffin Road, is scheduled to be open for big commercial jets in 2014. It is expected to increase the number of take-offs and landings that can occur at the airport, thereby bolstering the local economy.

Not all Dania Beach residents will be eligible for compensation. The FAA used a computer model to determine the average amount of noise that would occur at various points over a 24-hour period and used the result to determine which residents will get benefits.

Those who live in areas that will receive over 65 decibels of noise, on average, over a 24-hour period are eligible for the payoff and the sales assistance. This option is available for about 857 homes.

Those who live in slightly less-noisy areas — about 1,700 homes — are eligible for soundproofing at the cost of $80,000. This includes approximately 1,700 homeowners.

The plan is complicated enough that next-door neighbors are receiving different benefit options.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” said Dania Beach Commissioner Anne Castro. “They put in data on the front end that says here are the anticipated flights, kind of aircraft, time of day, whatever other variables they have. Then, based on that information, it generates what it believes those aircrafts will create noise-wise.”

According to the FAA website, 65 decibels is roughly equal to an average conversation or the low hum of street traffic. A jet engine that is near a person can measure at anywhere from 130 to 160 decibels — loud enough to rupture an eardrum.

Most of the homes in question belong to middle-class families who have embraced an outdoor lifestyle: swimming, gardening, and boating.

Among them, Richard and Betty Sokol.

Their home is on Perimeter Road, which runs directly across from the airport, so the Sokols are eligible for the maximum benefits.

Richard Sokel, 78, said moving is out of the question.

“I’m not going nowhere,” he said. “I got my pool. I can’t build my house anywhere else.”

The Sokols have lived in their current home since 1999 and have extensively renovated it. They have redone the pool and the back deck, added flowers and a palm tree, repainted the whole house, and installed French doors.

Sokol said he is considering soundproofing his home. But that’s hardly compensation for what he expects to lose.

“I’m not an inside person,” Sokol said. “I’m going to have to live with it if I go outside. When you’re talking to people, you can’t hear them. You say wait a minute, wait a minute until this plane goes by. Then you can talk to me."

Sandler, as well, said she will stay put. Although her neighbors across the street have been deemed eligible for the maximum, because her home is just outside the area defined to be most impacted by the noise and other runway issues, she qualifies only for soundproofing.

Sandler said she won’t take the money. It comes with too high a price.

“You have to sign over too much of your rights,” Sandler said. “You’re giving up your right to sue.”

Christopher Johnston, a commercial airline pilot, moved to Dania Beach in 2006.

“It’s a tropical paradise,” Johnston said. “I love the people, the climate.”

Like Sandler, Johnston is eligible only for soundproofing assistance. But he wants to experience firsthand the noise and other impacts of the runway expansion before making his decision to stay or move.

“I will stay in the property a year or two to see if it’s tolerable,” he said. “If it’s tolerable, sure I’ll stay. It’s a nice area. It’s nice and convenient to the Intracoastal Waterway. Even though I don’t have a boat, it’s hard to replace ocean-access property.”

Indeed, Johnston’s biggest concern isn’t the settlement, but the lack of a timeline for soundproofing the homes.

“I would like to see them held to a specific time-frame for soundproofing,” he said. “It’s just a verbal agreement now to do 400 homes a year. I don’t know what their purpose is, either dangling a carrot or giving false hope to some of these people.”

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, Coleman Acquisitions LLC, N548C: Accident occurred November 23, 2010 in Destin, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA070 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 23, 2010 in Destin, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-350P, registration: N548C
Injuries: 3 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.

The instrument-rated pilot was executing a night instrument approach when the airplane impacted the water. The published approach minimums for the area navigation/global positioning system approach were 460-foot ceiling and one-mile visibility. Recorded air traffic control voice and radar data indicated that prior to the approach the pilot had turned to an approximately 180-degree heading and appeared to be heading in the direction of another airport. The controller reassigned the pilot a heading in order to intercept the final approach. The airplane was located in the water approximately 5,000 feet from the runway threshold. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the left main landing gear was in the retracted position and the right main and nose landing gear were in the extended position. Examination of the left main landing gear actuator revealed no mechanical anomalies. The pilot had likely just commanded the landing gear to the down position and the landing gear was in transit. It is further possible that, as the gear was in transit, the airplane impacted the water in a left-wing and nose-down attitude and the left gear was forced to a gear-up position.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Controlled flight into water due to the pilot's improper descent below the published minimum descent altitude.


On November 23, 2010, about 1930 central standard time, a Piper PA-46-350P (Malibu Mirage), N548C, was substantially damaged when it impacted water during an approach to Destin/Ft.Walton Beach Airport (DTS), Destin, Florida. The airplane had departed Lake Front Airport (NEW), New Orleans, Louisiana about 1820. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The accident flight departed NEW about 1820 and flew at a cruise altitude of 13,000 feet mean sea level (msl). According to the Eglin Radar Control Facility, recordings and radar data indicated that prior to the approach the pilot had turned to an approximate 180 degree heading and appeared to be heading in the direction of another airport. The controller reassigned the pilot a heading in order to intercept the final approach for the RNAV/GPS 14 approach. The airplane was cleared for the RNAV/GPS 14 approach to DTS, then approximately 200 feet msl, radar contact went into Coast mode followed by a loss of radar contact. A search of the local airports and ground environment began and the aircraft was located in the Choctawhachee Bay, in the water, about 2024. The last two recorded transmissions from the airplane were about two minutes apart and both were recorded on the Destin Unicom frequency. The last transmission was about 1929 and was "destin traffic mirage five four eight charlie is on a three and half mile final on the uh rnav one four." No transmission was recorded indicating a malfunction with the airplane.

According to Lockheed Martin Flight Service records, the accident pilot received a weather briefing at 1547.

Airport records indicated that the airplane was fueled the day of the accident at DTS and received 68.6 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The fuel invoice indicated a time of 1508 which coincided with family statements that the pilot departed around 1500 after requesting the fuel to be "topped off." According to a phone conversation with a representative of the family, the pilot played golf during the morning of the accident, had a conference call about 1300, departed for NEW with one of the passengers, picked up the other passenger at NEW, and was returning to DTS at the time of the accident.


The pilot, age 47, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on February 18, 2009. The pilot's flight time log book was recovered and the last entry was dated November 20, 2010. At that time, his total flight experience was 407.5 hours; of which, 33.7 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. According to documentation, the pilot had completed a flight review and instrument competency review on November 6, 2010.


The airplane was manufactured in 2001 and was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate on December 11, 2001. It was equipped with a Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A engine. According to the airplane's maintenance logbooks, two annual inspections were completed within the 12 months prior to the accident. The most recent annual inspection was completed on September 14, 2010; however, the logbook entry was not signed by an FAA licensed airframe and powerplant (A&P) with inspection authorization (IA) mechanic. At the time of the inspection, the reported aircraft total time was 717.5 hours. A signed annual inspection was conducted by an FAA A&P IA on May 21, 2010 and the reported aircraft total time was 711.5 total hours. The tachometer was located in the wreckage and indicated 760.7 hours. According to FAA records, the airplane was purchased by the accident pilot on October 29, 2010.


The 1953 recorded weather observation at DTS, located approximately 1 mile to the south of the accident location, included winds from 140 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 1/4 mile due to fog, vertical visibility of 100 feet, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter 30.11 inches of mercury.

The closest Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF) were issued for Eglin Air Force Base (VPS) located 5 miles northwest and Hurlburt Field (HRT) located 10 miles west. Both forecasts issued at 1654 CST (2254Z) expected 1/2 mile (0800 meters) in fog, with a ceiling or vertical visibility of 100 feet at the time of the accident.


The airport was equipped with a single runway oriented northwest to southeast and designated as 14/32. The runway was 4,999-feet-long and 100-feet-wide, constructed of asphalt, was equipped with a 4-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) on the left side of the runway, and had a displaced threshold of 200 feet on both ends of the runway. The airport did not have an air traffic control tower. Communication was accomplished utilizing a common traffic advisory frequency; however, it was not recorded.

The airport was served by two RNAV approaches. The accident flight had been cleared for the RNAV runway 14 approach. The approach required a minimum of 1 mile of visibility and a ceiling no lower than 460 feet msl. The inbound course for the approach was 143 degrees. The approach had two step down fixes, the first was located 10 nautical miles (NM) from the runway threshold and was 2,000 feet msl, the second was 4.8 NM from the runway threshold and was 1,600 feet msl. After the second fix the flight could descend down to the minimum descent altitude of 460 feet, the altitude required to be maintained until the runway was visually acquired or the missed approach point, which was the runway 14 threshold.


The airplane was found inverted in the water and the right wing, cabin, and cockpit area remained attached. The main wreckage was located 512 yards (approximately 1,500 feet) from the shore and approximately 5,000 feet from the runway 14 threshold. The engine was impact separated and located approximately 30 feet northwest of the main wreckage. The left wing was located approximately 80 feet to the south of the main wreckage. The tail section was located approximately 25 feet from the main wreckage. The airplane was recovered and transported to the Destin Coast Guard Station.

Examination of the airplane indicated that the right main and nose landing gear were in the down and locked position. The left main landing gear was in the retracted position and the landing gear door was not recovered. Examination of the landing gear revealed no anomalies; the left landing gear was moved to the down position, by hand, and locked automatically. The landing gear actuator was removed for testing. The flaps were in the retracted, or zero degree position. The flap actuator was examined and indicated one exposed thread which correlated to zero degrees.

The left wing had impact crumpling on the wingtip and was bowed in the positive direction beginning approximately halfway spanwise on the wing and extended towards the wing tip. It was separated from the fuselage, the aileron was fractured, and the outboard section remained attached; the inboard section and counter weight had separated and were recovered. The wing skins had become separated causing a breach in the integrated fuel system. The fuel cap remained secured and in place. The right wing had impact crumpling on the wingtip and remained attached to the fuselage, the aileron was impact damaged, and the flap remained attached. The fuel cap was secured and in place; however, the retractable handle was extended.

The empennage was separated, at the cabin door area, from the forward cabin section. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the empennage. The horizontal stabilizer and tail cone section were twisted to the right and attached by the airplane skin only; all support structures were impact separated.

The fuel gascolator screen was clean and void of fuel or water. The fuel selector valve located in the right wing was found beyond the "OFF" position and off the cam.

Aileron, rudder, and elevator cables were all attached to the cockpit controls. The aileron trim had one exposed thread, which correlated to a full nose down position. The cables were attached to their respective attach points at the control surfaces.

The cockpit seats shoulder harness reels remained attached to structure, were impact damaged, and attached at all attachment points. No stretching of the webbing or tearing was observed and the belts were found latched. The left front seat was deformed toward the right, separated from the floor, the seat pan was fractured, and the seat cushion was separated. The right front seat remained attached to the flooring; however, the flooring was separated from the rest of the structure and the seat was deformed slightly to the right.

The center row seats remained attached to the structure; however, the structure was damaged but remained in place, and the lap belt and shoulder harness reel remained attached. The restraint system was unlatched and no stretching of the webbing was observed. The seat bottom was detached from the Velcro bottom and the pan was broken and separated.

The right rear seatbelt was detached from the structure but remained latched and evidence of stretching on the webbing was observed. The shoulder harness retract reel was pulled out of the structure and the attach bolt was not in the mounting lug. The seat back and frame were separated from the structure. The left rear seatbelt was unlatched and remained attached at all attachment points to the structure. The left seat back and frame were separated from the structure; the bench seat was separated from the pan. The seatbelt webbing was not stretched.

The throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were located in the full forward position. The fuel tank selector lever was broken; however, the piece that remained was indicating that it had been set to the right fuel tank. The speed brake lever, located on the pilot's control wheel, was found in the stowed position. The Kollsman window on the pilot's altimeter was set to 30.11 inches. The airplane was equipped with two Garmin 530s, an Avidyne 750, and an enhance digital display indicator, which were removed and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Recorders laboratory to be downloaded.

The engine remained attached to the firewall. The engine was equipped with a three bladed composite fiber propeller. All three of the blades were impact separated at the hub and only two of the blades were recovered. The spark plugs were removed and appeared medium gray in color with normal wear and were salt contaminated. The engine was rotated by hand and salt water was observed coming out through the spark plug holes; internal gear and drive train continuity was confirmed. All six cylinders produced compression and borescope examination of the top end components revealed no anomalies. The oil suction screen and filter were free of debris. The propeller governor was recovered intact and the control arm was approximately 1/2 inch from the high rpm stop. The unit was removed, the spline shaft remained intact, the gasket oil screen was clean and free of debris, it contained oil, and pumping action was noted when the shaft was rotated by hand. The right side engine turbocharger remained attached to the crankcase, the turbine shaft rotated freely, and the compressor and turbine wheels were intact. The left side turbocharger was impact separated from the engine. The turbocharger shaft could not be rotated and the unit was opened by investigators. The compressor vanes were damaged and score marks were present on the housing interior and the turbine was intact. The waste gate valve was observed in the open position. The turbocharger controller was recovered intact and the waste gate actuator was impact damaged, and the actuator shaft was bent while in the retracted position. The turbocharger system overboost valve was intact.

Both magnetos were intact, and remained secure on the engine case. The magnetos were removed and their drives rotated freely. The steel drive gear was also intact; however, spark could not be produced when the drives were turned by hand.

Both vacuum pumps remained attached to the engine and were intact. They were removed from the engine, rotated smoothly, and the internal vanes were intact.

The engine-driven fuel pump was intact, the drive shaft was intact, pumping action was noted when rotated by hand, and fuel was found throughout the engine fuel system.The fuel injection servo was found intact, the throttle was found in the open position, and the mixture control arm was in the idle cut off position. The fuel inlet screen was free of debris. The regulator assembly was opened and the diaphragm valve was intact. The flow divider was intact and remained attached to the top of the engine; it was removed, and opened. The unit contained water and fuel, the diaphragm valve was removed, found intact, and free to move. The fuel injector nozzles were removed and found to be free of debris and unobstructed.


The Office of the Medical Examiner for the District 1, Florida, performed an autopsy on the pilot on November 24, 2010. The reported cause of death was "multiple blunt impact trauma."

Toxicological testing was performed post mortem at the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs, legal or illegal.


Left Main Landing Gear Actuator

The left main landing gear actuator was taken to the manufacturer facility for examination and testing. According to the Acceptance Test Procedures at the facility the actuator performed within the tolerance allowed. A detailed examination report with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this accident.

GPS devices

Several GPS devices were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download and analysis. Due to the salt water intrusion and loss of internal battery charge, no information could be extracted from any of the units.


Federal investigators cited pilot error as the cause of a plane crash in the Choctawhatchee Bay that killed three people almost a year ago.

The Texas pilot, 47-year-old Gregory Scott Coleman, was flying his Piper Malibu too low as he approached Destin Airport on Nov. 23, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report issued late Monday.

He flew the plane into Joe’s Bayou just short of a mile from the runway.

Coleman, who served as Texas solicitor general, his mother-in-law, Charlene Black Miller, 63, and her brother, James Patrick Black, 58, were killed in the crash as the plane returned to Destin from New Orleans.

He was flying in his wife’s family to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Coleman purchased the single-engine, Piper PA-46 Malibu Mirage less than a month before the crash.

Investigators did not find evidence in the wreckage indicating any mechanical problems with the plane.

Coleman and one of the passengers took off from the Destin airport about 3 p.m. Nov. 23.

They picked up the other passenger at Lake Front Airport in New Orleans and began their flight back to Destin at 6:20 p.m., according to the report.

The last radio transmission from the pilot came at 7:30 p.m. It did not indicate any malfunction with the plane, according to the report.

Heavy fog had settled along the Emerald Coast and weather conditions indicated a one-mile visibility, investigators noted.

Prior to the plane’s approach to the runway, it appeared the pilot was headed for a different airport, but the report did not cite the reason that may have occurred.

“The controller reassigned the pilot a heading in order to intercept the final approach,” the report said.

Shortly after, the plane crashed into Joe’s Bayou.

The pilot died from multiple blunt impact traumas, according to the report. There was no indication in Coleman’s autopsy that he was under the influence of drugs or had suffered from any medical conditions during the crash.

The conditions of the two passengers were not mentioned in the report.

Rescuers found the wreckage about 8:30 p.m. 1,500 feet from shore.

The plane’s left landing gear had not extended, but investigators did not find any mechanical problems with it, according to the report.

“The pilot had likely just commanded the landing gear to the down position,” according to the report. “It is further possible that as … the airplane impacted the water … the left gear was forced to a gear-up position.”

The crash was the last of three in the area in 2010.

Pilot error was also cited as the cause of a crash March that killed two people and in July that killed two more.

Those pilots were both flying T-6 Texans, World War II stunt planes, when they crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The NTSB reported that they were performing stunts too low over water.

Air New Zealand unveils $340m plane spend-up

Air New Zealand said today it would spend up to $340 million on 12 new ATR72-600 aircraft for its regional fleet.

The company said it would buy seven of the new planes, with an option for an additional five.

It currently owns 11 ATR72-500s.

Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe said today's announcement, which was subject to contract signing, would significantly boost air service connections to regional New Zealand.

"This order potentially doubles the size of Air New Zealand's ATR fleet and will put a further two million seats into the New Zealand regional market annually. For our customers that will mean a big increase in the number of business timed seats and seriously cheap grabaseat fares we have on regional routes every day."

The first of the 68 seat ATR72-600 aircraft will be delivered to Air New Zealand in October next year followed by a second in December.

Two will arrive in 2013 and another each year for three years.

"At a time when other businesses have shown little appetite to invest significantly in assets, particularly where revenue is derived from regional New Zealand, we have not waivered in our belief in the long-term strength of the domestic economy," said Fyfe.

"Thanks to the purchase of larger aircraft and the lowering of fares we have seen regional passenger numbers increase by an average 5.6 per cent annually since 2003, resulting in our regional airlines carrying 54 per cent more passengers to 4.3 million in the year ended September.

"Today's significant capital investment also signals that we will be upping our promotion of key regional centres at home and overseas as we will need to encourage even more people to fill those two million more seats coming on stream over the next few years."

Fyfe said the new-generation ATR72-600 was the most efficient aircraft in its class and features a new cabin layout with larger overhead bins, improved seating and advanced cockpit.

Air New Zealand's ability to maintain services during inclement weather to and from destinations like Queenstown, Rotorua and Wellington will improve with the better navigation technology.

Airline Group General Manager Australasia Airline Bruce Parton said the new plane gave it the means to "up-gauge" its Q300 operated routes that would require more capacity in the coming years.

This in turn, would release Q300 aircraft to up-gauge on some Beech 1900D operated routes, enabling it to look at new "start-up" routes.

"So there is benefit in bringing in the larger turbo-props and cascading growth down throughout our regional operation," he said.

It was likely that some routes currently serviced by the smaller Q300, such as Nelson-Auckland and New Plymouth-Auckland, would see this larger turbo-prop in use.

"It is likely that the new fleet will be Auckland-based, providing us with an excellent spread of regional aircraft including bases in Christchurch, Nelson and Hamilton. This will give us a solid platform for regional growth particularly into and out of Auckland."



Former civil aviation employee challenges court over damages - Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.

FORMER senior official with the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, Joseph Ngiloi, has appealed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the payment of the 50m/- awarded to him as damages by the High Court, for illegal and premature retirement.

In his appeal, Ngiloi, who was Senior Airworthiness Surveyor Grade One before his controversial retirement, is asking the Appellate Court to quash the decision by then High Court Judge, William Mandia, on August 13, 2008.

He is also asking for orders of payment of 1.092bn/- being loss of salary, to the date of compulsory retirement, special and general damages and costs of the appeal.

Mr Ngiloi was appointed by the president on June 1, 1987 to the post of Senior Airworthiness Surveyor Grade One in the Directorate of Civil Aviation with the then Ministry of Communication and Transport.

Following satisfactory performance, the president confirmed him on January 21, 1992.

He later underwent training on Aircraft Engineering in India, Europe, United States, Holland and Ethiopia and was the most trained in the field.

Surprisingly, on June 29, 1999, he was unlawfully and prematurely retired purportedly in the public interest.

According to him, such retirement was flawed as it disregarded the principle of first in, last out, lacked transparency, openness and competitiveness and that the government did not take into consideration that he was the most qualified engineer within the authority.

He filed a suit to challenge such retirement.

On August 13, 2008, Judge Mandia declared his retirement null and void because the ministry's Deputy Permanent Secretary had no powers to terminate Mr Ngiloi as he was a presidential appointee.

The court awarded him 50m/- in damages.

In the process of executing the court's decree, Mr Ngiloi discovered that the court wrongly said that he had already gone past his age of retirement.

Such holding, he said, affected the quantum of damages awarded to him.

When receiving and recording the testimony by Ngiloi on September 20, 2006, the judge recorded two different ages, indicating that he was 53 years and 60 years at the same time.

But in his findings, the judge chose the wrong age of 60 years hence denying him all other claims.

In the memorandum of appeal, Ngiloi states that the trial judge erred in law and fact by finding that he had reached the age of compulsory retirement and, hence, failed to award loss of salary from the date of termination to the date of compulsory retirement.


Government of the Student Body to discuss aviation club funding request. Iowa State Model Aviation Club.

The Government of the Student Body will discuss a request from the Iowa State Model Aviation Club for $681.75.

The club is asking for money for several capitol project items because it lost its unlimited access to building facilities for their own planes, according to the request.

GSB also will be presenting an internal GSB report at its meeting.

GSB currently has more than $11,000 in its discretionary account, $47,684 in the events account and more than $243,000 in its capitol projects fund.

South Africa airport tariffs climbing too high

South Africa must act to prevent airport tariffs rising by 161 percent in the next five years, the International Air Transport Association said yesterday.

“If Acsa (Airports Company South Africa) increases charges as allowed over the next five years, it could have the world’s highest charges,” Iata CEO Tony Tyler told the Conference of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa in Durban.

“This unenviable title will be a drag to the South African economy, deterring both business and leisure travellers and making high-value South African goods exported by air less competitive,” he said.

Acsa’s latest tariff hike – which increased passenger service, landing and aircraft parking charges by almost 70 percent – came into effect on October 1.

Further increases of 5 percent in 2012, 5.6 percent in 2013 and 5.5 percent in 2014, were planned. This would result in a cumulative 161 percent increase over a five-year period, the Airlines Association of Southern Africa said last month.

Tyler said the situation was not irreversible and called for a review of Acsa’s capital expenditure.

“We don’t believe that the new mid-field terminal at Johannesburg or the Cape Town runway re-alignments need to be included in the next price permission from 2013,” he said.

“And proceeds from the sale of the old Durban airport should be allocated to pay down Acsa’s debt. After all, airlines paid for the asset through charges.”

Acsa’s pricing should reflect costs incurred, he said. This meant stopping differential pricing between international and domestic services at its airports, and moving to a transparent system with no cross-subsidisation and much more consultation with airlines.

“And we need a strong independent regulatory framework for both Acsa and ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services).

“Included in this should be improved consultations with industry on capital expenditure planning and a process that is free from political influence,” Tyler said.


Airports Will Hurt Tourism - South Africa

THE huge increases in airport tariffs will hurt the tourism industry and damage a range of specialist export industries that bring much needed new money into the country, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

Airport tariffs are set to rise by 161 percent in the next five years and the result, according to the International Air Transport Association, would be the highest airport tariffs in the world.

“What makes the situation even worse is that the highest fees are applied to international flights and those are the ones that are critical for the growth of our economy,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, president of the Chamber.

He pointed out that tariffs for an international passenger arriving in Cape Town would be R262.28 while a passenger on a domestic flights would pay only R96.46.

“We have to ask why it costs so much more to land a flight from overseas than it does to land a domestic flight? They use the same runway, the same control tower and all the services are similar. In addition the airports make more money out of international travellers through their duty-free shops.”

The differential between international and domestic charges has also been criticised by IATA which feels charges should be based on actual costs and that there should be no cross-subsidisation.

“It is clear that ACSA treats tourists as cash cows,” said Mr Bagraim. “It is a disastrous policy for these are the kind of visitors the country should be encouraging. They are the people who bring new money into the country and it is estimated that one job is created for every 16 foreign tourists.

“The price of long-haul air tickets puts us at a disadvantage when compared to other tourism destinations and now ACSA has made the situation worse by piling excessive airport charges on to foreign travellers.”

Mr Bagraim said it was not surprising that IATA regarded South Africa’s regulator as a phantom figure. “Surely the regulator should be able to stamp out this organised fleecing of international travellers!”

Also affected by the high airport tariffs are South Africa’s high value exports. “These are the exports that create the most jobs and it is essential that they are protected from exploitive airport charges because this undermines their ability to compete in international markets.

“One is these exporters is Quantum Sails, a winner in the Chamber’s Exporter of the Year competition. Quantum told us that almost every night they load sails onto aircraft bound for France so these huge tariff hikes are going to hurt them and they could lose business.”

Other high value exports that went by air ranged from flowers to electronic goods and components.

“These exporters are important and the country should do everything possible to encourage them. If anything, there is a case to help them and not undermine their ability to compete with overseas rivals”.


Dassault Falcon Extends Little Rock National Airport Lease Another 40 Years

The Little Rock National Airport (LIT) and Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation announced Tuesday an amended lease agreement effective through at least 2040 with an additional 10-year option at the end of 2040. This agreement will keep the jet fabricator at the airport through the next four decades.

Under the new lease, Dassault will gain use of additional land and facilities at LIT for its operations that currently employ 1,800 people with an annual payroll of $150 million. Dassault is one of the largest employers in Arkansas.

"We are happy to announce the extension of our agreement with Dassault Falcon Jet here at the Little Rock National Airport," said Airport Executive Director Ron Mathieu. "This is a great accomplishment for LIT, the City of Little Rock and Central Arkansas. I would like to thank the Commission for their vision and leadership during the lease negotiation process, and staff for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank Dassault for being a good corporate partner and their commitment to Arkansas."

"We are pleased to continue our 30-year relationship with Little Rock National Airport, the City of Little Rock and the State of Arkansas," said Jeff Griffin, Vice President of Finance for Dassault Falcon Jet. "I commend the Airport Commissioners and staff as well as local leaders in Little Rock for continuing this partnership that has created good paying jobs for this area."

The City of little Rock in conjunction with the federal Economic Development Administration committed to improve the access to the Dassault facilities, and other job sites on LIT property, resulting in the new 9th street extension.

"I am very pleased that all our hard work and discussions with Dassault Falcon Jet, both here and in France, have paid off ensuring the continuation and future expansion of one of Little Rock's most important industries," Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said.

"I am very proud of our staff for working diligently over the last two years to secure this extension that will save jobs and also add good paying jobs in Little Rock in the future. I am also proud of the leadership that was provided by Governor Beebe and Mayor Stodola in helping to make today's announcement a reality. This announcement along with our current terminal expansion project are clear examples of the economic impact and benefit of the airport to the City of Little Rock and the State." said Virgil Miller, Chairman of the Little Rock Airport Commission.

Under the new agreement, Dassault will lease more than four million square feet of land and 900,000 square feet of total hangar and office space.

"This announcement once again proves that LIT is a job creation engine for Little Rock and the entire state," said Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jay Chesshir. "State, City and Little Rock National Airport officials have worked closely with Dassault leaders in Little Rock and in France to ensure that we keep these jobs right here at our airport."


Sertoma Cajun Air Festival This Week - Lafayette Regional Airport (KLFT), Louisiana

The 2011 Sertoma Cajun Air Festival will be held at the Lafayette Regional Airport October 29th and 30th. This year's air show will feature the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Forces' elite demonstration squadron.

"The Thunderbirds had such a wonderful experience in Acadiana in 2008, they expressed an interest in returning. We are honored to again host the Thunderbirds and have the opportunity to present a premium air show experience to the people of Acadiana in 2011", said Ron Chauffe, Air Show Chairman. "When we decided to host an air show, the club's goal was to build on the success and popularity of the 2008 show and bring in the industry's top performances and attractions", Chauffe added.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, the air show will feature performances by the U.S. Air Force A-10 West demonstration team, the Navy's F-18 Super Hornet, Mike Goulian Aerosports, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Corkey Fornof, Bill Stein, Kevin Coleman, the Greg Koontz and the Alabama Boy's flying circus. The show will also feature the Glory Days jet dragster and a musical performance by Jaryd Lane.

Monroe continues to smooth out kinks at airport. Monroe Regional (KMLU), Louisiana

Monroe Regional Airport’s new terminal was unveiled only last week, but already airport staff and city officials are working to address kinks in operations for the new terminal building.

For one, passengers initially were directed to the old terminal building to collect their baggage upon arrival. They would exit the new terminal building and walk about 100 yards outside on a dirty unpaved path to the old building, which contains remnants of debris.

However, in the last couple days airport officials have changed that to a system that allows for more convenience, according to airport director Cleve Norrell: : curbside baggage claim.

Signs with arrows and airport skycap Albert Betson were directing arriving passengers to the curbside outside the new terminal building Tuesday as passengers donned their jackets to wait outside, muttering to each other, “Is this really baggage claim?” and “Are they going to bring it to us?”

Many walking outside said they first thought it was some kind of joke until the luggage trolley pulled up.

Former Monroe resident Sandra Clark, 49, said the new airport terminal itself was beautiful, even state-of-the art, but it wasn’t pleasant to be waiting outside in the cold.

“It’s OK, but it could have been better planning,” she said.

“That’s as bad as the short-term parking,” added Karen Stiles of Bernice. She and her husband said signage for the parking lot was poor, and they had to circle a few times before figuring out where to park.

According to Norrell, this baggage claim system is in an experimental stage as airport staff and airlines’ representatives establish the most convenient way to deliver passengers their luggage.

Now that the new terminal is in operation, the former terminal will be torn down and construction on the a new building will begin where car rental and baggage claim will be located.

Furthermore, it will still be a few more days until passengers arriving at the new terminal can deplane onto loading bridges connected to the airplanes. As of now, many passengers still have to deplane onto the tarmac using stairs and enter the terminal building from a ramp, Norrell said.

That’s because the markings on the pavement indicating where planes should park are too far from the terminal building, so the loading bridges don’t reach the aircraft doors, airport staff learned last week.

“That’s still annoying, that you don’t have a jetway,” Hill said while waiting for her baggage.

On Thursday, Monroe Public Works Director Tom Janway had said he expected the markings to be replaced by early this week. Janway couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Norrell said the airport hasn’t yet repainted the pavement markings on the tarmac, but he expected a design plan to be submitted to the engineers at consulting firm LPA Group on Tuesday afternoon. Work on the pavement markings could start as early as Wednesday, weather permitting, he said.

“With this wet weather, lines can’t be painted. Things got to dry out,” Norrell said.
The bridges are 76 feet long while the pavement markings are 106 feet away from the terminal. In the interim, only Delta Air Lines’ aircraft can park using the markings because they are close enough to the terminal for the loading bridges reach the planes, Norrell said.

Consulting firm LPA Group of South Carolina was charged with overseeing the new airport terminal’s construction, and Lincoln Builders of Ruston completed construction of the 58,000-square-foot terminal.

The original design was submitted by an engineer with the airlines, Norrell said. LPA took that information and other engineers laid it out on the pavement. Then airport crews painted the markings, he said.

According to Norrell, “it was a joint effort on the screw up.”

“I think everything in the next couple of days will be normal,” he assured.

Mayor Jamie Mayo said he will be visiting the airport at the end of this week to test the the loading bridges with the new pavement markings.

The repainting isn’t costing the city anything, but neither Mayo nor Norrell could say who would be footing the bill. They said they would know by the end of the week.

Initially, airport officials thought the bridges weren’t fitting with the aircraft parked in the terminal, but later city officials discovered the markings on the tarmac were off.

As of last week, Delta and Continental Airlines both confirmed their aircraft fit with the current passenger loading bridges, and Norrell said Tuesday an American Airlines representative also inspected the bridges on Friday and confirmed they would work with American’s aircraft as well.

However, Norrell noted that even when the pavements are re-marked, not all planes will be compatible with the bridges, for instance, Continental’s Saab 340 aircraft.

“They do not match up to any loading bridge,” he said.