Saturday, October 22, 2011

Row may delay Chandni Chowk flyover project

ISLAMABAD, Oct 22: A National Logistics Cell`s request to the Civil Aviation Authority seeking permission to install its machinery close to the airfield of Benazir Bhutto International Airport for starting work on the Rs1.2 billion Chandni Chowk flyover remains in limbo since the authority has termed it `hazardous` fearing it may create smog for the aircraft approaching the runway; Dawn learnt on Saturday.

The Rs1.2 billion project has already been under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Defence and its attached departments – CAA and the Pakistan Air Force – because of the flyover`s height.

According to information shared with Dawn; the NLC, which has been awarded the contract for the construction of the flyover, has written a letter to the CAA saying: “The only open space, available in the area close to the development site, is required to be used by the NLC for installation of a batching plant and other construction activities.”

The NLC sought an initial approval for four months for setting up of the machinery at the open air space.

A senior aviation official close to the development while talking to this reporter said: “A batching plant is a very dusty and heavily trafficked operation and obviously it will be dangerous for the passenger and defence aircraft to make a smooth landing at the airport because visibility may become a concern for the pilots.”

The official said NLC had already installed heavy construction machinery at the open space near the airport runway without getting approval from the aviation authority.

“The CAA has not given any approval to the NLC for using the open space close to the Benazir Bhutto International Airport`s runway because it is against the national airfield clearance policy and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)`s rules.”

About the airfield clearance policy, the CAA`s website says: “In Pakistan, the control of obstacles around the airport is governed under Rule-68 of Civil Aviation Rules-1994 (Safeguarding at Aerodromes.)”

It requires restricted height of 500 feet within a radius of 15 km from the airport.

As such construction of high-rise buildings, structures and erection of antennas, poles, masts, chimneys within above mentioned areas requires height clearance from the CAA.”

The ICAO has also given guidelines and powers to countries for controlling the obstacles close to airfields, saying states may also establish their own legislation according to their requirements for the international airports.

“The matter is likely to be taken up by the Ministry of Defence with the Punjab government and the NLC that their construction machinery and batching plant is a concern for the flight safety operations,” added the official.

The official said in this regard letters were also written to the NLC to respond under which rules they had established the machinery close to the airfield.

When contacted, Commissioner Rawalpindi division Zahid Saeed told Dawn: “This is cement batching plant where only concrete is used for development operations and would not create any smog.” The batching plant, he said, was not bitumen.

The commissioner insisted that the matter had already been resolved after they discussed the issue with the CAA officials during three to four meetings specifically held on the issue.

“The concern is more related to an agreement regarding four months between the CAA and the NLC. The aviation authority wanted to sign an agreement as the open space is used by the NLC for its site office (located close to the runway),” he explained.

He said the Punjab government was hopeful that matters related to the flyover would be resolved. He also said the height of the flyover was not more than the buildings in its surrounding.

http://www.dawn.com

Plane makes forced landing in field at Lakes Hayes, near Queenstown - New Zealand.

Emergency services inspect the tourism plane that made an emergency landing near Lake Hayes on private farmland this afternoon.

A sight-seeing tourism plane has made an emergency landing in a field at Lakes Hayes, near Queenstown, this afternoon.

An eyewitness said the pilot had done an excellent job of bringing the plane down on to private farmland.

It is understood no one has been injured.

It follows on from last week when a Cessna 172 crashed at the Arrowtown Golf Course killing the pilot, Ian Sloan, of Tauranga.

 http://www.stuff.co.nz

Cessna 182P Skylane, Peach West Pty. Ltd, VH-TIS: Accident occurred October 15, 2011 near Ayr Airport, Brandon, QLD - Australia

During the approach, the aircraft struck a bird that shattered the windscreen. The pilot conducted a forced landing into a canefield. The aircraft sustained serious damage. The investigation is continuing.


Alan Moss of skydive Townsville had a very lucky escape with his 5 passengers after he had to bring his light aircraft down in a cane farm near Brandon following a bird strike. All passengers helped each other and managed to get out with minor cuts and ab

A Skydive Townsville plane in a cane field near Brandon.
 


A TOWNSVILLE pilot and his five passengers miraculously walked away from a crash landing in a Brandon cane paddock on Saturday night.

Townsville Skydive owner Alan Moss made the forced landing after his Cessna 182 was hit by a bird, breaking a glass window and resulting in the cabin being filled with winds while travelling at 160km/h.

Mr Moss, 43, has been a pilot for 14 years and described the incident as the "most surreal thing you could imagine".

"The most awesome thing was seeing everyone walk away from the plane virtually unscathed," Mr Moss said.

"I was doing 20 minutes circuits with our five students as part of their orientation (for skydiving).

"The plane started descending automatically when the wind came in and I just had to get the plane under control and bring it in.

"Everyone reacted really well.

"They knew there was a bird inside the plane and there was 160km/h wind inside the cabin ... everyone moved forward, which makes the plane perform better, and put their seat belts on."

Mr Moss said he picked the cane paddock out as the safest place to put the plane down.

"I knew we were not going to make the airport so I headed towards the cane," Mr Moss said.

"We're taught to land in cane because there are too many divots to land in an open field.

"It was great. When everyone got out the first thing they did was look around for everyone else and make sure they were safe," Mr Moss said.

Queensland Fire and Rescue crews said they were called to the Brandon scene at 6.45pm.

They said there was minor damage to the plane but the main issue was the fuel leak.

Ambulance crews also attended the crash, at the site just north of Ayr, but the most serious injuries sustained by the six people were some scratches and bruising.

No one was taken to hospital.

Mr Moss said flying again would not be a problem.

"I'll be flying tomorrow actually. It's business as usual" he said.

"I'm not a gambling man but I think I may just start.

"I've already had a couple of beers and I'll be having a lot more tonight."

Mr Moss did not think the incident would affect his business.

"I think this is positive for business," he said.

"The fact is there will be bird strikes in aviation and the fact that we were able to get away unscathed would make people more confident."

Mr Moss said it was up to aircraft engineers to decide the fate of the plane.

He has a second plane, which he will be using for business in the meantime.

http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news.html

U.S. Forest Service looks to add more air tankers to fight wildfires

Fighting fire from the air will remain a major tactic for the U.S. Forest Service, and the skies could start to get crowded soon.

"We want to have more than 11, but probably less than 44 large air tankers," U.S. Forest Service national fire director Tom Harbour said in a recent interview with the Missoulian. "I think ultimately we'll have between two and three dozen large air tankers."

Eleven multi-engine retardant bombers remain under contract with the Forest Service, down from a fleet of 44 in 2004. Missoula-based Neptune Aviation has nine of those tankers, while Minden Air of Arizona has the other two.

"We're looking all around to see what aircraft there are out there," Harbour said. "We're not doing any research in particular aircraft (within the Forest Service), but we're interested in all designs. There are lots out there: old, new, big and little. And there are dozens of folks who have a particular platform they want to try. Neptune's just been the first to take our criteria and put a plane in service."

That would be Neptune's new BAe-146 jet tanker, which won a short-term firefighting contract in September. The plane is the first new model in nearly three decades to be certified for forest fire work. It is currently fighting fires in Texas.

Assuming the BAe passes additional field testing during the interim contract period, Neptune officials said they plan to phase in as many as 11 more jets as market conditions dictate.

Neptune CEO Kristen Nicholarsen said she's heard of three or four companies developing retardant-dropping planes in pursuit of Forest Service contracts.

"We want new operators to come in and provide competition," Nicholarsen said. "It isn't healthy to be a stand-alone."

***

Aerial firefighting has hit rough times in recent years. After two Hawkins and Powers air tankers crashed in 2002, the Forest Service and National Transportation Safety Board required new testing to certify the remaining planes were airworthy. In 2004, the agencies grounded the entire large air tanker fleet.

At the time, large firefighting planes were often military surplus models using designs originating in World War II. Neptune's P2V rotary-engine bomber was originally a submarine chaser from the Korean War.

Even after Neptune was able to certify its P2Vs were strong enough regain their firefighting contracts in 2008, it still faced the challenge of maintaining the planes. Its Missoula shop now makes virtually all the spare parts from scratch.

In contrast, the BAe-146 is a civilian-made passenger and cargo jet that was in regular production through 2001. It still has industrial support for its maintenance, parts and crew training.

Another question is the value of aircraft in firefighting. Critics like Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics argue the planes are unsafe and ineffective.

In a June 24 letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Stahl wrote that 61 firefighters had died from aviation accidents between 1999 and 2009. He also cited a 2002 report that read "136 large air tanker crew members have died in aircraft accidents since 1958. As a comparative illustration, if ground firefighters had the same fatality rate, they would have suffered more than 200 on-the-job deaths per year."

Stahl's group sued the Forest Service over retardant misapplications that have killed, threatened or endangered species. In 2010, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy gave the agency until the end of 2011 to rewrite its environmental impact statement on retardant use.

On Friday, the agency released the final EIS, slightly increasing the acreage designated as off-limits to retardant drops to protect the environment - but giving the OK for any drops needed to protect human life. The agency does not expect to cut back on its use of retardant.

In his letter to Tidwell - and again on Friday, Stahl emphasized that the Forest Service has no evidence showing retardant use reduces fire size or improves initial attack success. Forest Service officials acknowledged that claim by removing such statements from the EIS.

Harbour maintained aerial fire retardant remains a crucial part of the agency's firefighting strategy.

"I continue to believe, in my over 40 years of firefighting, there absolutely is an appropriate role for retardant drops assisting firefighters in initial and extended attacks," Harbour told the Missoulian.

***

The Forest Service wants a national cohesive strategy for fighting wildland fire, Harbour aid. That means getting better definition of how the homeowner in Huson relates to the chief of the Frenchtown Rural Fire Department; how the fire department coordinates with the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; and how all of them dovetail with the Forest Service.

"We've got room for improvement in the nation as far as the effectiveness and efficiency in how we put those parts together," Harbour said.

And the Forest Service is still working out the balance of large air tankers, helicopters, planes that can scoop water from lakes and single-engine air tankers. On the fringe sit the Very Large Air Tankers - a converted Boeing 747 and a McDonald-Douglass DC-10. The 747 has no contract this year, while the DC-10 is active in Texas.

Harbour said current NASA assessments regulate the VLATs to a "niche platform" status, meaning they have few places where they're effective. The Forest Service is more focused on planes carrying 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of retardant that can maneuver in more kinds of terrain.

"One thing I do want is much higher speed," Harbour said. "I'm asking for 300 knots for platforms in the future. The BAe makes that."

The Forest Service has developed a network of tanker bases across the nation during the past 30 years. The idea was to have a base within an hour's flight time of any fire area. Faster tankers could reduce the need for some of those facilities.

"Then we think - if we update the platforms, how do we deploy them?" Harbour said. "The location of bases is a fire management issue. But communities enjoy having a base in their locale for a variety of reasons."

Who owns the planes is another question. The Forest Service now has the largest fleet of aircraft in the country after the Department of Defense, according to Neptune president Dan Snyder. But for firefighting air tankers, it's generally contracted with privately owned planes to do the work.

"There may be a role into the future to explore us owning some aircraft and getting them contracted to fly," Harbour said. "But I don't want to build and administer my own air force. I just always want them available. There will always be a major, significant role for contractor-owned/contractor operated aircraft like Neptune's. We're sure happy with privately owned, privately operated aircraft."

Neptune officials declined to reveal the price or operating cost of the new BAe-146 planes. But they did say the cost is going up as more companies observe Neptune's successful adaptation of the jet. This fall's Texas firefighting season could set the stage for the future of the large air tanker industry.

"Now we're seeing how it performs in the field under real conditions," Harbour said. "We're seeing how it works with the air attack team, with ground crews, with lead planes. When you've got to push that nose over the top of the ridge and make a drop on a lower slope, it's fairly silly. You're diving into a canyon fully loaded instead of flying 10,000 feet above it. But the boots on the ground depend on these things."

Short runway forces midway refuelling: Lufthansa

Here is another reason the much delayed runway extension at Pune Airport needs a push. Lufthansa, operating an international flight from the airport connecting the city to Frankfurt is compelled to take a refuelling stop due to payload constraints at Pune, arising out of the short runway. The break has been included despite it being a direct flight.

The airline has been operating a Boeing 737-800, a 90-plus seater between Pune and Frankfurt four times week and has been taking the fuelling stop at Tbilisi in Georgia. This is because the short runway at Lohegaon makes it impossible to take off with full payload. It takes off from Pune Airport with partially filled fuel tanks and refuels at Tbilisi. The same fuel break is not taken while flying back from Frankfurt to Pune as by the time the flight reaches Pune Airport, most fuel is consumed resulting in a reduced payload.

In reply to an email sent by The Indian Express, Lufthansa said, “The operation of LH-769 from Pune to Frankfurt includes a brief technical stopover for refuelling. This is due to payload restrictions at Pune Airport.”

P S R K Sudhakar, airport director, said, “It is an internal matter of the airlines. The existing runway length is adequate aircraft the airline is flying. In fact a number of domestic airlines operate the same make of aircraft. As far as runway extension is concerned, land acquisition by the district collector has been handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF).” Spokesperson, 2 Wing of the IAF Lohegaon Station, wing commander R R Lall, was not available for comment.

The civil aviation subcommittee of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) has been representing the industry as far as the need for a new airport is concerned. S K Jain, vice-president and chairman of the committee, said, “Last week, when we met the collector, he said the work in this regard at the collector office is complete.”

Lufthansa started the Pune-Frankfurt flight in 2008-09. Initially, a fully business class flight with 56 seats, the airlines responded to changing market dynamics and introduced an economy class in April last year increasing capacity to 92-60 economy class and 32 business class seats.

The length of the runway, shared with IAF, is 8,300 feet and is expected to be extended by 2,200 feet. “The runway cannot be extended on the eastern side and thus the extension will have to be on the western end. It will change the airport boundary and even the outer road leading to IAF station will have to be redrawn,” said Jain.

http://www.indianexpress.com

Behave yourself or risk losing that seat on the plane

Article by: KERRI WESTENBERG , Star Tribune

Southwest Airlines welcomes checked luggage -- as their entertaining TV ads remind us -- but not always their passengers.

Just last month, the airline booted Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong off a flight because his pants sagged so low his boxers showed. A few weeks later, actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend faced the same fate after kissing (excessively, according to the airline).

Southwest is not alone. Delta removed a woman after she questioned the pilot's sobriety. Canada Air Jazz did the same to a man with a strong, unpleasant odor.

Circumstances that can get you a one-way ticket back to the terminal (at least temporarily) are similar from airline to airline and include appearing intoxicated, going barefoot and having, in the words of Delta's Contract of Carriage, a "malodorous condition." And then there are the subjective, vaguely worded rules: when "conduct creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance" (Delta), or wearing clothing that is "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive" (Southwest).

Just to be safe, I suggest fliers cover up undergarments, don't sweat as they run to the gate and be Minnesota nice -- to everyone.

Certainly, anyone whose behavior threatens safety does not belong on a plane, and no one wants to sit mere inches from a smooching couple or someone doused in perfume.

But on sartorial matters, I hope the airlines get more specific in their guidelines or at least err on the side of tolerance. I also wish people would polish their appearance when they fly. I've seen sweat suits in the air that are worse eyesores than a little show of boxers, especially if the undies are in a pleasing plaid.

http://www.startribune.com

Russia: Camera Records Helicopter Crash from Inside

by Waechtermovie on Oct 18, 2011

MOSCOW -- A camera mounted on the ceiling captures the stalling of the helicopter, taken off to record a flight show with three journalists on board in the Yerzovka town of Volgograd in Russia.

According to media reports the helicopter crashed to the ground on the nose side during the demonstrations due to the sudden drop in air circulation.

Witness Alexander Bockarev said that there was a unexpected stall at the helicopter's speed.

Organizer of the program Sergei "Pilot made difficult maneuvers. Helicopter could not stand the load," said.

Two passengers and a pilot slightly injured in the accident, Andrey Mireyko, one of the journalists seriously injured was taken to hospital.

Helicopter is damaged according to officials; Volgograd Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation about the accident.

Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Airport could get new manager by November

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Airport could have a new manager as early as next month, the Airport Authority announced Wednesday night.

Committee Chair Ron Whitford said he expects the board to have a recommendation from Daniel Prather, a Middle Tennessee State aeronautic professor whose consulting firm, Prather Airport Solutions, is in charge of the search, as well as the long-term plan at Outlaw Field. Whitford said interim manager John Patterson, who took over last month when after John Ferguson’s resignation, is doing a great job so far and could have an advantage over other applicants.

Earlier this week, Prather said he already has started the process of contacting some applicants from a previous search he did for a different Tennessee airport. Because of the state’s complex laws for block grants and other issues, he said the search will be limited to those with experience at airports in Tennessee.

Prather said he expects to have a list of his top three candidates ready by mid-November. The committee could then vote to approve a new manager at its Nov. 16 meeting.

http://www.theleafchronicle.com

British Airways killer pilot Robert Brown to marry French mistress in prison

A British Airways pilot who battered his millionaire wife to death is to wed his stewardess lover behind bars.

Just a few months after Robert Brown was jailed for 26 years, his mistress Stephanie Bellemere has confirmed they are to marry.

The £120,000-a-year pilot, who was locked in a bitter divorce battle with ­estranged wife Joanna, 46, killed her with at least 14 blows to the head and buried her in a grave he prepared in advance.

His trial heard how the couple’s daughter, nine, and son, 11, watched from a window as he dragged the body from the family home to his car.

Brown, 47, was cleared of murder but got 26 years for manslaughter. Stephanie, who has a seven-month-old son by him, is standing by the killer despite the brutality of his crime, ­insisting that he is “not a murderer”.

The BA stewardess, 41, who lives in France but regularly visits Brown in jail, would not discuss details of the forthcoming ceremony, but she said it would be “low-key... out of respect for the children involved”.

Read more and photos: http://www.mirror.co.uk

Lake Michigan: Water landing prompts false plane crash response

CHICAGO - A plane practicing a water landing prompted emergency personnel to rush to Lake Michigan near Navy Pier after somebody misreported the landing as a possible plane crash Saturday afternoon.

Emergency personnel responded just before 4:45 p.m. to a reported plane crash in Lake Michigan near Navy Pier, police News Affairs Officer Darryl Baety said. The U.S. Coast Guard said they sent two boats to the area, about a half-mile from shore.

The Chicago Fire Department said the plane was doing “touch and go” water landing practice and did not crash.

Fire department personnel initially responded to a single report of a plane down in the water and reviewed video footage from the area.
 

Plane's emergency signal traced to courier in downtown Regina, Canada. Emergency Locator Transmitter was armed and transmitting.

Aviation officials scrambled on Thursday when they received an emergency signal. It turned out that a shipment containing an emergency device had been activated as the package made its way through downtown Regina. Aviation officials scrambled on Thursday when they received an emergency signal. It turned out that a shipment containing an emergency device had been activated as the package made its way through downtown Regina.

Emergency crews were led on a wild-goose chase Thursday when a shipment containing an airplane emergency transmitter device was activated as the package made its way through downtown Regina.

According to a report by federal aviation officials, the device, known as an ELT, emitted a signal shortly after 7 a.m. CST Thursday.

It triggered an emergency response, dispatched by aviation officials in Winnipeg.

"An extensive communication search failed to locate the signal," officials noted in a report about the incident.

Believing a plane may have crashed, search and rescue aircraft were sent to investigate, one from Regina and another, a military Hercules, from Winnipeg.

The Regina search team was able to trace the signal to downtown Regina.

"The signal was homed to an incoming express post truck with a live, armed ELT inside," officials said in their report. "The shipper was contacted and it was found to belong to an amateur-built aircraft."

According to officials, the owner apparently shipped the ELT via express post without removing the battery.

The report noted that the Regina search plane was in the air for about 45 minutes while the Hercules plane was in the air for just over 30 minutes.

"[The shipper] was informed of the scope of trouble caused," the report noted.

http://www.cbc.ca

GULFlight 1 helicopter service out of Twin Cities Hospital to end next month

NICEVILLE — Okaloosa County and Air Methods Corp. will close GULFlight 1 medical helicopter service out of Twin Cities Hospital on Nov. 30.

The helicopter, which has been operating since June 2006, is no longer needed because of a decrease in calls and because there are more medical helicopters in the area than needed, according to Larry Hall, field operations manager for Air Methods, which runs the service.

“We found we do have an overabundance and can perform with the same coverage with one less helicopter,” Hall said. “We are working on some strategic plans to ensure that we give the same level of care. The coverage is still going to be there.”

Dino Villani, the county’s public safety director, said there are three other medical helicopters located in the surrounding counties — two in Walton County and one in Escambia County.

Air Methods also operates those helicopters.

The helicopter based in DeFuniak Springs could be moved to Okaloosa County or to a closer location in Walton County to ensure fast response times.

Even with GULFlight operating, the other helicopters were used often to airlift trauma patients in Okaloosa County, according to Villani.

“Our strategy is to bring another (helicopter) to this county, probably in the north part of the county,” Villani said. “We’re working with Air Methods now to make a decision. We should have something solid next week. We’ve been talking on a lower level for a while, so this is no surprise, and we’re hoping to have our plan ready so it will be a seamless transition.”

Hall said GULFlight 1 employees will be given other job opportunities with the company if they choose.

“Our relationship with Twin Cities and those working with GULFlight 1 have been exceptional,” he said. “This is really a corporate decision. However, I can’t expunge on the financial aspects of the decision.

“We’re going to see what works best, but nothing official has been decided yet,” Hall added. “We will make an announcement when the decision has been made.”

http://www.nwfdailynews.com

Frenchman runs berserk at Ninoy Aquino International Airport; girlfriend a no-show


This French guy must have been truly enchanted by Filipina beauty.

George Fremond, 55, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 Thursday afternoon normal and sober and proceeded to the lobby area to eagerly wait for his Filipina girlfriend whom he said was scheduled to fetch him. He arrived from France via Riyadh at past 1 p.m.

At around 8 p.m. or about seven hours later, Fremond started feeling desperate as he repeatedly tried to contact his supposed girlfriend identified only as “Michelle,” in vain.

By that time and up to 10 p.m., Fremond was already bothering everyone on sight, asking if they had seen his girlfriend. Moments later, he went berserk and started throwing his things while at the arrival lobby.

He also smashed to the floor his laptop and professional camera, prompting airport personnel to call for the police and security who immediately responded.

As authorities brought Fremond to the clinic, he even tried to escape by running toward the restricted tarmac area but was prevailed upon.

His continued unruly behavior prompted Dr. Cesar Ocampo, NAIA’s senior medical officer, to inject him with valium. That was the only time he became sober again.

As of this writing, Fremond remains asleep at the airport clinic while authorities, including those from the French Embassy, are trying to locate his girlfriend.

http://www.journal.com.ph

Beech G35, N156RP: Accident occurred July 31, 2011 in Byron, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA431 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Byron, GA
Aircraft: BEECH G35, registration: N156RP
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On July 31, 2011, about 1319 eastern daylight time, a Beech G35, N156RP, experienced an in-flight break up during a descent over Byron, Georgia. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot in a residential subdivision and was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Stuart Powell Field Airport (DVK), Danville, Kentucky at approximately 1119; destined for Perry-Houston County Airport (PXE), Perry, Georgia.

According to information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was in cruise flight at 9,200 feet when he cancelled visual flight rules flight following with the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center. Radar data tracked the airplane descending from 9,200 feet, at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute, and a ground speed of 180 knots. At an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet, the ground speed was reduced to 178 knots before radar contact was lost with the airplane. No radio transmissions were received from the pilot after radar contact was lost.

Witnesses reported that they were working in a field when they heard a loud "popping" sound. They looked up and saw an airplane and what looked like a wing separating from it. The airplane began to spin before crashing into the ground. One witness called 911 and went over to the crash site to see if he could help.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 44, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. He also held a third-class airman medical certificate issued on March 31, 2010, with no limitations or waivers. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for review. A review of the pilot's application for insurance revealed that in January 6, 2011, he reported on an updated application that he had 400 total hours and 140 hours in make and model.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The three-seat, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane, serial number D-4492, was manufactured in 1956. It was equipped with a Continental E-225-8, 225 horsepower engine, which was equipped with a Hartzell two-blade propeller. A review of the aircraft logbooks indicated that on October 1, 1995, the original logbooks were lost and the previous owner at the time estimated the aircraft to have 4,000 hours. A review of maintenance logbook records revealed that the last annual inspection was completed on June 4, 2011 at a tachometer time of 366.18. The airframe total time was 4,172.2 at the time of the annual inspection. The airplane’s tachometer was damaged during the accident.

Further review revealed that on July 2, 1996 the left and right elevators were re-skinned. The Airworthiness Directive (AD 94-20-04) was documented as paragraph 3 note 2-3 of AD by Supplemental Type Certificate Kit No. 35-4016-3 was verified.

During the examination of the airspeed indicator dial, it was noted that it was marked per the airplane flight manual with "MPH" on the outside and "Knots” on the inner ring. "VNE = 202 MPH (175kph) Yellow 175 MPH (152 kph) to 202 MPH." During the postaccident examination of the airspeed indicator, the indicator needle was stuck at the 192 MPH position.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The reported weather at PXE, which was located about 8 miles south of the accident site, at an elevation 418 feet, was: wind 290 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles; clear skies; temperature 33 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 22 degrees C; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane was examined at the accident site on July 31 and August 1, 2011. The accident site was located in a vacant lot in a residential subdivision. The wreckage debris was spread throughout the subdivision on a path approximately 970 feet long. The wreckage debris path was on a magnetic heading of 230 degrees.

The cockpit cabin was crushed and breached, and left wing remained attached at the wing root and carry through spar. The entire right wing was separated at the wing root and was located approximately 500 yards from the main wreckage site, and was also on a 230 degree heading.

Diagonal wrinkles were present along the upper and lower wing skins. Pulled rivets were present on the leading edge at the lap joint outboard of the stall vane. The left wingtip separated, and was located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The left aileron separated at the inboard edge of the outboard hinge. The left flap remained attached. The left flap actuator measured 1.75 inches, corresponding to a flaps retracted position. The left main landing gear was folded in the gear well. Residual fuel remained in the left main and aux tanks.

The right wing separated from the wing carry-through structure inboard of the attach fitting. The forward spar carry-through was fractured. The upper portion of the forward spar carry-through separated in the vicinity of rivets in the wing attach fitting. The nested C-channels in the lower portion of the spar carry-through was separated, with small portions of aluminum deformed upward approximately 90° in the bottom of both C-channels. The forward portion of the forward spar web was bent forward and downward. The right landing gear push rod was bent downward and aft. The inboard rib of the right wing was damaged where the right landing gear push rod had been pulled downward through the lightening hole. The aft upper wing attach fitting was fractured on the inboard side at the furthest outboard line of rivets. All associated structures were separated. The aft lower wing attach fitting remained intact with associated structure that remained attached, bent downward and aft. The right main landing gear remained attached and folded in the gear well. The right flap remained attached. The right aileron cables separated at the bell crank and pulled through the wing.

The left stabilizer separated from the aft fuselage, but remained attached by the elevator trim cables. The trim cables tore through the bottom surface of the left stabilizer to the area of the inspection plate. The trim cables tore down through the aft fuselage structure approximately 1 inch. Wrinkles were present on both the upper and lower portions of the stabilizer. The left stabilizer skin was deformed laterally along the aft stabilizer spar. Fractures were present on the forward and aft stabilizer spars. The left ruddervator separated from the left stabilizer and separated into four pieces and revealed buckling throughout the span of the stabilizer. The left ruddervator horn separated from the hinge and the left ruddervator push rod. The ruddervator horn was located at the beginning of the wreckage path.

The right stabilizer separated from the aft fuselage. The trim cables tore through the bottom surface of the right stabilizer to the inspection plate. The trim cables tore through the aft fuselage skin approximately 6 inches. The forward spar of the right stabilizer exhibited a small portion of the bottom of the C-channel bent downward. The right elevator remained attached. The right elevator counterweight separated from the elevator. The right ruddervator horn separated from the hinge and the right ruddervator push rod. The right ruddervator push rod also separated from the differential mechanism. Buckling was observed throughout the span of the stabilizer. The right ruddervator horn was located on side of a home and had impacted a roof at the beginning of the wreckage path.

The fuselage was resting on its right side with compression toward the left side of the fuselage. The upper aft fuselage structure separated from the fuselage. Rudder and elevator control continuity was confirmed from the differential mechanism to the aft spar. The airspeed indicator read approximately 192 mph. The 256 inch bulkhead was bowed aft in the area of the left and right stabilizer forward spars. The upper spar cap of the right portion of the forward spar carry-through structure was bent upward with the outboard 4inches was bent downward and aft.

Examination of the engine revealed it sustained impact damage. The impact damage was concentrated on the lower left side of the engine. The starter motor, left-magneto, and vacuum pump separated from their respective mounting locations. All of the ignition leads exhibited varying degrees of impact related damage. The upper six spark plugs exhibited normal wear signatures when compared to the Champion-Aviation Check a plug chart. The spark plugs were removed and the cylinder combustion chambers borescope revealed a normal amount of combustion deposits. The crankshaft was rotated and compression and valve train continuity were established on each of the six cylinders during the rotation of the crankshaft. Examination of the engine and its components did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Examination of the propeller revealed that both blades exhibited evidence of rotational scoring. The propeller blades were marked A and B. Blade A was relatively straight with little bending. Blade B had multiple bends with twisting. There were no discrepancies noted that would have precluded normal operation of the propeller.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 8, 2011, by Georgia Bureau of Investigation, DeKalb, Georgia, as authorized by the Peach County Coroner.

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.





About 100 people came together in Houston County Saturday morning, to pay tribute to a Macon man who died in a plane crash in July.

They gathered at the Warner Robins Air Park Estates for a flag pole and plaque dedication ceremony in honor of Robert Pelissier.

Pelissier's daughter read a bible verse during the ceremony. People also released balloons.

Chapter 38 of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) held the ceremony.

Pelissier died in July when his single engine plane crashed in a Byron subdivision. 


14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Byron, GA
Aircraft: BEECH G35, registration: N156RP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 31, 2011, about 1320 eastern daylight time, a Beech G35, N156RP, experienced an in-flight break up during a descent over Byron, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot in a residential subdivision and was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Stuart Powell Field Airport (DVK), Danville, Kentucky at 1919.

According to a witness, he was in a field cutting corn when he heard a loud "popping" sound. He looked up and saw an airplane and what appeared to be a wing separating from it. The airplane began to spin before impacting the ground. He called 911 and went over to the crash site to see if he could help.

According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was in cruise flight at 9,200 feet when he canceled VFR flight following with the Atlanta air route traffic control. Preliminary radar data tracked the airplane descending from 9,200 feet, at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute, and a ground speed of 180 knots. At an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet, the ground speed reduced to 177 knots before radar contact was lost with the airplane. No radio transmissions were received from the pilot after radar contact was lost.

Aviation enthusiasts patrol runways at St Cloud Regional Airport (KSTC), St Cloud, Minnesota

An airport sign points to more than 15 volunteers who spanned a taxiway Saturday morning during the semiannual FOD (Foreign Object Debris) Walk at St. Cloud Regional Airport. The event, put on by the American Association of Airport Executives, is designed to clear the main runway, 13-31, and taxiways of debris that could get sucked into jet engines or cause other problems. 
Photo Credit:  Kimm Anderson, tcloudtimes.com

Pilot and volunteer Mikaela Mahoney holds a broken bolt and nut that she found during the FOD Walk.
Photo Credit: Kimm Anderson, stcloudtimes.com

With clear blue skies, cool air and a healthy dose of sunshine, Saturday morning was a perfect time for a walk.

Sixteen members of St. Cloud State University’s American Association of Airport Executives chapter took advantage of that good weather with a walk of their own — up and down the runways of St. Cloud Regional Airport.

The group traversed nearly 2.5 miles of runway looking for detritus during the foreign object debris walk — or FOD walk. While they weren’t logging flight miles or directing air traffic, those that participated said that it was time well spent.

“We do this every semester ... it’s a great experience,” President of the St. Cloud State chapter of the AAAE Christopher Spaulding said. “You don’t usually get to come out and do something like this.”

FOD walks are done regularly at airstrips so debris doesn’t get picked up by planes. Loose debris can cause malfunctions with plane equipment. In the military, FOD walks are a required daily task, Spaulding said.

“I’ve always wanted to do it, but I’ve always been busy,” St. Cloud Sate senior Anthony Luu said.

It was Luu’s first FOD walk yesterday and while pieces of debris were few and far between, Luu — who’s studying to be an air traffic controller — said he enjoyed the experience of being at the airport.

“It’s really cool,” Luu said. “Doing events like this get you out there and gets you experience. I rarely get to come out here and do something like this.”

The beating sun splashing across a group of almost 20 people stretching across a runway looked more like a movie poster than an organizational outing, but there wasn’t much action to be found Saturday. Spaulding said that it’s rare that at a smaller airport like the one in St. Cloud that people would find anything all that significant during a FOD walk. The significance instead lies in the experience in going somewhere that most people don’t get to visit.

“(Students) love it, we get a lot of good feedback,” Shavjive Jeganathan, vice president of the St. Cloud State chapter of AAAE, said. “I think it’s extremely important that while we still can do it, our students get this experience.”

With the school’s aviation program shutting down in the coming years, the group wants to take as many opportunities as it can to let current aviation students experience different aspects of an airport. The group — which has 30 members this year — is open to all majors and caters to people with a “passion for aviation,” Jeganathan said. The group also tours airports and tries to connect students with people in the business. The basic idea is to help people get familiar with the industry and that will continue with the group even after St. Cloud State stops offering an aviation program Jeganathan said.

“I don’t think (the AAAE) will be measuredly affected by the closing,” he added.

“Just because the department is closing (doesn’t mean) we want to keep students from being able to do things like this,” Spaulding said. “It’s just a great experience.”

http://www.sctimes.com

Plane makes safe wheels-up landing in Saskatchewan, but then falls on mechanic

BUFFALO NARROWS, Sask. - An aircraft made a safe wheels-up landing in northwest Saskatchewan airport, but a mechanic who worked on the plane afterward wasn't as fortunate.

RCMP say the plane reported problems Friday afternoon.

It circled the airport in Buffalo Narrows to burn off fuel before doing a belly landing.

None of the six people on board were hurt, but police say about an hour later, a mechanic was trapped underneath the plane while he was working on the landing gear.

Emergency workers were needed to free the man, but police say his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Both NAV Canada and Occupational Health and Safety are investigating.

Aircraft makes emergency landing in Buffalo Narrows
Six passengers unharmed after small plane makes emergency landing

Buffalo Narrows RCMP and emergency crews responded to a report that an aircraft was attempting to land with mechanical issues at the local airport Friday afternoon.

The aircraft reportedly burned off excess fuel prior to landing safely with the rear landing gear in the up position.

The plane received moderate damage and all six passengers were unharmed during the incident.

After the incident, a mechanic working on the aircraft's landing gear was injured when the plane fell on him trapping him underneath.

The mechanic, a male in his 30's, suffered injuries that are considered not life threatening.

Both NAV Canada and Occupational Health and Safety are continuing their investigation.

NORAD: 2 aircraft intercepted in DC region; 1 in restricted airspace, 2nd lost communication

NORAD says military aircraft intercepted two civilian aircraft in separate incidents in the Washington region Saturday morning.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command told the Associated Press that the first aircraft was out of radio communication Saturday morning. The plane was intercepted by two Air Force F-16s, but once it regained communication it was allowed to proceed.

NORAD says the second aircraft was intercepted by an F-16 and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter about an hour later after it entered into restricted airspace. Once it was escorted out of the restricted airspace, the aircraft was allowed to proceed to its original destination.

NORAD did not have details about the aircrafts' fight plans or exactly where they were intercepted.

http://www.norad.mil

http://www.nbcwashington.com

Virginia: F-22 Raptors at Langley Grounded After Oxygen Problem

All F-22 Raptors at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia were grounded Friday, after a pilot reported losing oxygen in mid-flight. The new grounding comes a month after the Air Force lifted a four-month stand-down order for the entire Raptor fleet.

According to Wired.com defense blog Danger Room, the Air Force issued a statement on the incident Friday embracing the authority of individual Raptor units to ground their aircraft over oxygen-system problems, which prompted the earlier fleetwide order.

“Part of our protocol is to allow units to pause operations whenever they need to analyze information collected from flight operations to ensure safety,” the Air Force said in the statement. “That is what is happening at Langley at the moment, and we support that decision.”

The larger stand-down, which was ordered in May after more than a dozen reports from Raptor pilots of hypoxia-like symptoms, was ended Sept. 20 without a formal cause being identified.

All F-22 Raptors at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia have been grounded after a pilot experienced loss of oxygen while flying.

Air Force officials are meeting on Friday to determine whether it is necessary to extend the grounding to the rest of the F-22 fleet. The pilot experienced what is known as "hypoxia," and had to return to base.

America's premier fighter jet has experienced similar problems in the past, though it is not clear what is causing the problem. The Air Force last month brought the jets back into service after a grounding months earlier over oxygen issues.

"There is no conclusive cause or group of causes that has been established for the incidents that prompted the stand down earlier this year," the Air Force said in a statement Friday.

While the Air Force is again using F-22s, the statement said officials are making improvements and pausing when needed.

"Part of our protocol is to allow units to pause operations whenever they need to analyze information collected from flight operations to ensure safety. That is what is happening at Langley at the moment, and we support that decision," the statement said.

Nigeria: Report on aviation fuel scarcity ready soon

The report of the six-man committee set up by Stella Adaeze Oduah, aviation minister, to look into the scarcity and high cost of aviation fuel in the country will soon be submitted for consideration and onward implementation by the government. 

Victor Oche, technical adviser to the minister of aviation, who disclosed this at the Annual General Meeting and 40th anniversary of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in Owerri, Imo State, said the minister would look at the report critically to know the core indices. 

Oche explained that the essence of the committee was to ensure that aviation fuel was available, affordable and sustainable for the comfort of every Nigerian, adding that the more the air fare was hiked the fewer the travellers while the airlines would continue to lose revenue.

“I am very sure that any moment from now, it will be Eldorado. I assure you with the zeal and the drive of the minister, that it will soon be over for the two parties. The marketers and the airline operators and Nigerians will smile,” assured Oche.

http://www.nigeriannewspapersworld.com

Michigan: Lakeview airport first in state to install LED runway lights


LAKEVIEW - The Lakeview Municipal Airport continues to lead the state in implementing green energy.

New light-emitting diode (LED) taxi lights were installed this week and LED runway lights will be installed early next week, along with an LED wind cone.

The improvements come after new LED runway end identification lights (REILs), which were installed in 2009 – also the first in the state – all thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation Aeronautics Block. The grant covers 95 percent of the $37,891 project, while the state will fund 2.5 percent and the village will fund 2.5 percent.

Prein & Newhof in Grand Rapids is the engineering firm representing the village’s airport to MDOT.

“A lot of airports around the state have the taxiway lights, but Lakeview is the first in the state to have runway lights,” said Project Engineer John Stroos. “Several other airports are interested in it.”

A total of 90 runway and taxi lights will be installed in Lakeview when the project is complete.

“They cost a little bit more to install up front, but within a couple of years they pay for themselves in energy savings,” Stroos said.

Lakeview Village Manager James Freed said using LED lights will cut energy costs by 45 percent at the airport, located at 9081 Cutler Road. He said the general fund savings can be used for other village projects, such as improvements to parks and the police department.

Besides energy savings, LED technology features a longer life span for lights and elimination of ozone generated by flash laps.

“I don’t know why people dither with innovation,” Freed said. “For small-town America, this is some bold innovation.”

About 16 people work full-time at the Lakeview airport. The airport’s general fund has been reduced from $30,000 in 2008 to $15,000 to $20,000, thanks to cost-saving changes and improvements.

http://www.villageoflakeview.com

Great Barrier Airlines Britten-Norman Trislander ZK-LGC: Pauanui, New Zealand

All on board escaped unharmed. 


People at an airfield screamed in terror as a plane with 10 passengers aboard plunged through a safety rail and off the end of the runway towards them.

Eyewitnesses said a group at a skate bowl at the end of the Pauanui Airstrip stood transfixed yesterday as the plane's engines roared in reverse to slow its progress.

The Great Barrier Airlines plane wound up nose-down in a garden at the end of the airstrip about 6pm. Passengers and two pilots got off the plane unharmed even as emergency staff raced to help.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has launched an investigation.

It is the latest in a string of events to plague the small air carrier that runs passenger services between the Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and Auckland.

The airline had two incidents in 2009. In July that year, passengers were horrified when an engine exploded and a propeller tore into the plane in flight. In September, a passenger plane heading for Auckland crashed shortly after take-off.

Hayley Kerr said the plane had started to take off yesterday on the Pauanui airstrip, which runs the length of the exclusive development on the east of the peninsula, but it failed to leave the ground.

Eyewitnesses said the engines roared as the female pilot fought to keep the plane under control.

Kerr said it ploughed through a wooden barrier at the end of the strip and headed for a skate bowl. "Everyone at the skate bowl was screaming just before it stopped."

The plane stopped in a garden about a metre short of a public walkway before the skate-bowl.

Bonnie Parker was in a large crowd at the weigh-in of the Big Catch Fishing Tournament when the plane careered through the barrier.

She said the person running the weigh-in watched his crowd turn and run outside to see what had happened.

Great Barrier Airlines owner Gerrard Rea did not return calls.

Warren Buffett’s NetJets and Bombardier’s Flexjet battle for piece of the sky

Las Vegas – NetJets Inc., Warren Buffett’s biggest headache, has mended its ways and is finally making money, and its rivalry in the fractional ownership of jets with Bombardier Inc.’s Flexjet is as tough as ever.

Fractional ownership has seen its ups and downs since way before the 2008 crisis, which hammered the rest of the business aviation industry.

Both companies said in interviews at the 64th annual National Business Aviation Association last week that business is still in the doldrums, very much in lockstep with the rest of business aviation.

NetJets, a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway investment firm, has accumulated $157 million in losses since the Oracle of Omaha bought it in 1998, prompting Buffett to call it his biggest problem two years ago.

It seems to define the mysterious magnetism that gleaming, wing-swept soaring machines hold even for hard-nosed money-men like Buffett, who would never tolerate such losses in any of his other businesses.

NetJets actually began life in 1964 as a charter operation with actor and aviation buff James Stewart and U.S. general Curtis LeMay – the model for Dr. Strangelove – among the initial investors, and invented the fractional ownership model in 1986, when Goldman Sachs partner Richard Santulli bought the company.

Buffett fired him eventually and brought in David Sokol, who cut staff and cleaned up the company’s balance sheet in short order, just before exiting last year in a mini scandal over controversial stock purchases.

“Like everyone else, it’s been difficult since late 2008,” said Jordan Hansell, a lawyer who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and who was recently appointed chairman and CEO of NetJets. “But since then, it’s been a slow and steady, and we’re pleased by that.”

Bruce Peddle, the new vice-president of sales and marketing for Flexjet, said that “we saw a significant retraction in our business in the downturn, and three years on, it’s still flat – and somewhat declining. In August, we were down about nine per cent from August 2010. We’re treading water right now.”

The two companies have an estimated combined market share of roughly 80 to 85 per cent, 63 per cent for NetJets, according to Hansell – although Peddle pegged his competition at closer to 57 per cent, and about 22 per cent for his own Flexjet. But he notes that the 22 per cent is of a much shrunken market since 2008, when its market share was closer to 12 per cent.

The other two main players are CitationAir and Flight Options. Cessna Aircraft Co., which owns CitationAir, cancelled an interview with company president Scott Ernest and Flight Options, owned by private equity firms, was not available.

Commonly called fractional ownership, the model actually refers to three different types of buying time on private jets; the pure fractional model, or buying a share in a plane – sold in 16ths for 50 hours a year, in Bombardier’s case; card programs that give customers a set number of flying hours; and charter. NetJets also does fleet management – managing aircraft owned by others.

At daggers drawn for many years, the relationship changed in March, when NetJets placed the first order in its 25-year history for Bombardier business aircraft – the first because Bombardier, oddly, refused to sell planes to their competitor, perhaps wary of feeding a rival.

And quite the order it was. At a list price of $6.7 billion U.S., NetJets called the deal for up to 120 Global large-cabin jets “the largest aircraft purchase agreement in the history of private aviation.” Indeed it was, even if NetJets will pay far less than the $6.7 billion after discounts.

It was a double win for Bombardier if Hamzah Mazari is right. The Wall St. analyst for Crédit Suisse AG said in a note to clients in March that “we believe Bombardier beat out Gulfstream (Aerospace Corp., a major rival aircraft maker)” for NetJets’ favour.

Hansell said that “we really like the Globals” on several fronts, but hinted at significant throw-ins. “We got better terms for maintenance. We got a good deal, and we think they did, too.”

The two compete ferociously to capture as many wealthy individuals and corporate customers as possible around the world, so it’s not on record if Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi gagged when he called NetJets “the worldwide leader in private aviation” at the signing ceremony.

But in fractional ownership, at least, the numbers are indisputable.

NetJets operates 776 aircraft – much more than many airlines. In fact, it is in the top 10 companies in North America in terms of fleet size. It has 4,000 share owners and 3,500 card customers for its Marquis brand. It employs 6,400 people, more than a quarter the workforce at Air Canada.

Flexjet has 84 aircraft, about 30 of them Challenger 300s, 356 pilots and about 800 employees. Peddle said it has 590 fractional customers and 1,000 clients in all.

Hansell would not provide figures, but Peddle said that using a 2007 Challenger 300 – Flexjet’s workhorse aircraft type – as a benchmark, a share would cost $850,000 U.S., with monthly management fees of about $12,500 and an hourly flight rate of $7,800.

But numbers are misleading, Peddle said.

“We have the youngest fleet in the industry by far, and our retention rate is 75 per cent,” referring to people who sign up again.

“And the majority of the other 25 per cent left because of under-utilization of the aircraft” rather than dissatisfaction, he said.

That’s not how Mike Riegel sees it.

“There are a lot of angry and dissatisfied customers out there. The industry is nowhere near where it was before (2008),” the president of AviationIQ Consulting said.

In fact, a pox on both their houses, said Riegel, for causing their own misfortune.

“How do you think Sokol was able to stem losses after years in the middle of a major downturn and turn a profit?” asked Riegel, a former Bombardier executive who has seen the industry from the inside as one of Flexjet’s founders and early manager more than a decade ago.

“These fractional providers made a lot of money on (the soaring price of) fuel,” and the plummeting value of their shares far exceeded what they had been told when buying.

“A NetJet or Flexjet or whoever would tell them they would typically lose 30 per cent over five years. Many of my clients actually lost 70 per cent.

“As wealthy as they are, at some point they will a) stop paying or use a charter or b) cut back significantly on flying, period.

“It’s completely untrue that these people are so rich they don’t care what things cost. Wealthy people are practical, sensible people whether they can afford it or not. They do pay attention, and what they see is that fractional ownership has become very expensive.”

He praised NetJets for “finally waking up to reality” by buying Bombardier aircraft – a move that will pay big dividends in fuel costs. The Global brand will cut fuel expenses by about 20 per cent compared to NetJets’ aging Hawker Beechcraft and other planes.

He said NetJets must also cut down from the 15 aircraft types it flies to “about five or six, and it looks like they’re doing that.” As with airlines, maintaining different aircraft types is a hugely expensive proposition, he noted.

Riegel predicted that the fractional model may experience the same upheaval that rocked the airline industry – a low-cost fractional provider might push disabused customers back into the fold.

The next order from NetJets will eclipse even Bombardier’s 120-plane order in March, Riegel said.

The firm is negotiating with Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer, from which NetJets purchased 125 Phenom 300 light jets last October.

“That order will determine a lot for the future industry,” Riegel said, “basically that providers will have to focus on operating costs, not just growth.”