Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Myrtle Beach: County hopes new industrial park will diversify job market.

The acronym ITAP stands for International Technology and Aerospace Park, but for Horry County officials, the industrial park represents a diversified job market. The park is on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and county leaders say they are close to securing two companies to take up residence there.

Just off Farrow Parkway you can see the beginnings of the entrance into the new park. This infrastructure brings the project one step closer to attracting businesses.

"This just adds a little different dimension when you can actually drive out onto the site.and show it from the road," said Brad Lofton, President of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. The MBREDC is assisting the county in bringing businesses to the park.

"Historically because of our sole focus on tourism, people just think of us as a playground. They don't think of us as a place to do business truly we are a great place to do business," said Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice. "We are great at tourism. We're not good at it we're great at it, but we really need to diversify into some higher paying more stable jobs.

ITAP is 450 acres of undeveloped land that sits adjacent to the runway for Myrtle Beach International Airport. Because of its location, targeting the aviation industry is the main focus of the MBREDC.

"200 of those acres we're earmarking or identifying aviation companies that need to be near a runway that either fly in aircraft, do maintenance and repair on aircraft or perhaps do aircraft manufacturing," added Lofton.

Rice explained building a non-tourism based workforce is a marathon not a sprint.

"These things don't happen overnight. You don't talk a 500 employee company into moving on a whim there's a lot of groundwork that has to be done," said Rice. "We already had two reading on one lease out there and we're close to another so it's already having success."

Rice won't go into detail about the companies that may set up shop, but we are told the jobs will be on the higher end of the pay scale.

"One of these companies is 40 something dollar an hour which is four or five times the average wage for Horry County and both of these companies are very good paying, " said Lofton.

Lofton added Horry Georgetown Technical College will begin offering an aviation certification to train the people for the jobs that are coming

Once Horry County approves the businesses, the hiring process could begin in 60 to 90 days.

Apache Block III is delivered to Army

Amid fanfare and after Apache tribal blessing, the most lethal and technologically sophisticated attack helicopter in the world was delivered to the Army by its Mesa manufacturer.

Named after the Native American tribe, the AH-64D Longbow Apache Block III is geared to meet next-generation battlefield challenges with high-tech gear such as sensors that allow pilots to guide unmanned aircraft to their targets, Army officials said Wednesday.

"Our enemy is ruthless," said Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, commanding general of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala. "They are determined. They are adaptive ... and we must be adaptive and innovative."

Crutchfield was among 500 Army officers and enlisted personnel, Boeing employees and international customers, and public officials that celebrated the delivery of the first five Block III Apaches during Wednesday morning ceremonies at the Boeing Co. plant where the aircraft is made.

Though the festive event portrayed the helicopter's devastating power, White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairman Ronnie Lupe concentrated on its lifesaving ability as he blessed the helicopters in a spiritual ceremony.

Holding eagle feathers as white smoke from a nearby smoldering pot of sage dissipated in heavy wind gusts, Lupe and two other tribal members approached one of the helicopters, touching it with the feathers during the early morning ritual on an asphalt flight line.

"That prayer was to the creator for the warrior in hopes that the warrior would return," said Crutchfield, who is of Native American heritage.

Jerry Gloshay, Lupe's executive assistant, said the tribal leader views the aircraft as a "living bird that is sort of like the Apache warrior."

"He wants to have a blessing, not in the light of the helicopter being on the attack mode, but rather how it is going to protect the family's well-being in the future," he said.

Gloshay said Lupe, a Korean War veteran who served with the U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Division, blessed the original "A" model of the Apache helicopter when it was built in 1984.

The war, which began in 1950, gave birth to the Marines' first helicopter unit specifically formed for combat.

Public officials attending the ceremony talked of a different type of blessing from the continued production of the rotorcraft at the Boeing Co. plant in northeast Mesa.

"I like to say that Mesa is the epicenter of Boeing rotorcraft," Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said. "Apaches bring 4,500-plus employees to this site. ...We look forward to another 30 years of growth, accomplishment and pride."

The helicopters are being built under a $247 million deal with the Department of Defense.

The first phase of production eventually will lead to the manufacture of 690 of the Block III aircraft for the Army, which could extend production for nearly a decade or more, according to Boeing officials.

The Army plans to acquire the helicopters between now and 2026 at a production rate of roughly two battalions per year, according to the Army. Of this amount, 643 will be re-manufactured aircraft and 56 will be new.

Since the first Apache, called the A model, was delivered, more than 1,700 various models of the rotorcraft have been manufactured for the Army and nations that are not considered threats to the U.S.

Boeing in Mesa produces the AH-64D Apache Longbow. The Apache main assembly line is capable of producing 12 aircraft per month.

The site also produces an A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft and the AH-6i and H-6U helicopters.

The site's Strategic Manufacturing Center produces electrical assemblies and composite parts for a range of Boeing products.

In 2011, Boeing relocated the headquarters of its Unmanned Airborne Systems division to Mesa.

Estonian Air’s brand-new aircraft leaves passengers stranded

A suspicion of a technical fault in Bombardier, the newest aircraft of Estonian Air, left many passengers stranded in Tallinn.

Instead of departing at 13:50 to Stockholm, the airline replaced the aircraft with a Boeing and passengers were able to take off an hour later.

Estonian Air’s press spokesperson explained that the aircraft had a problem in the wing mechanism.

According to one passenger, a similar incident happened with mi two weeks ago when a flight out of Stockholm was delayed for two hours. At that time passengers were told that the problem was faulty fuel gauge.

Depressed, suicidal flyer bites airhostess & causes panic midair

AHMEDABAD: "I will kill myself and the all people onboard!" Panic seized the Jet Airways Mumbai-Ahmedbad noon flight passengers on Tuesday as a man threatened to break the window of the aircraft and open the door at the height of several thousand feet. Later identified as 30-year-old Hardik Trivedi, the frenzied man attacked an airhostess before being overpowered by the fellow passengers.

Before Trivedi actually attempted to open the door, he created a ruckus and bit an airhostess, who was trying to calm him down.

He started running in the aisle of the aircraft like a man possessed, threatening to kill all.

Scared but fellow passengers overpowered Trivedi and bashed him into submission even before the cabin crew could initiate measures to bring the situation under control. In the fisticuff with the passengers, Trivedi tore his passport in a lame attempt to protect his identity.

On his way back from Muscat, Trivedi later said that he was angry as he was duped and had lost his job there. On the request of the cabin crew, a doctor, who happened to be on the same flight, injected Trivedi with tranquilizers to calm him down.

"He seems to be suffering from severe depression," the doctor who treated him in flight told the TOI correspondent who was also onboard. The cabin crew had to alert the medical and police staff for assistance before landing.

From airport, Trivedi was taken to Apollo Hospital for brief treatment. As requested by the crew, police were present at the Ahmedabad airport when the aircraft landed here, however it was decided not to file an FIR as Trivedi was obviously suffering from a severe mental set-back, officials said.

Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), New Jersey: Aviation Advisory Board ... City Seeks Volunteers to Serve on Boards and Commissions.

The city must fill several vacancies on the Zoning Board, Library Board, Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and other groups.

Ocean City is seeking citizens to serve on seven different boards and commissions.

Descriptions of the volunteer positions follow. Anyone interested in serving must complete a Citizen Leadership Form and submit it to City Clerk Linda MacIntyre by email at or by mail at: City Clerk, 861 Asbury Ave., Ocean City, NJ  08226. Deadline is Monday, Nov. 28.

Call 609-525-9328 for more information.

Aviation Advisory Board
Purpose: The board serves in an advisory capacity to the City Council and Administration in regard to the operation of the Ocean City Municipal Airport.
Vacancies: Two 3-year terms ending 12/31/2014
Meetings: On an as-needed basis

Read more:

Three dead in chopper crash in northern Ontario

KAPUSKASING, Ont. - Three people are dead after a helicopter crashed in northern Ontario on Wednesday.

The dead included the pilot from North Bay, Ont., as well as passengers from Kapuskasing and Val Rita, Ont.

The crash happened about 25 km southeast of Kapuskasing.

The Bell 206L helicopter was owned by Sunrise Helicopters Inc., based out of North Bay.

The three fatalities resulting were reported by a search and rescue team member from nearby Timmins.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it has has deployed a team to the site.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys team to investigate an Bell 206L crash near Kapuskasing, Ontario

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has deployed a team to the site of an air accident involving a Bell 206L, owned by Sunrise Helicopters Inc., that crashed 15 miles south of Kapuskasing, ON. The TSB will be assessing the occurrence and will provide more details later.

Republic Airlines pilots union considers strike

INDIANAPOLIS - When you fly out of Indianapolis, you're likely flying on a Republic Airlines plane even though you'll see the Frontier Airlines or US Airways logo painted on the side of the plane. Now an issue with Republic Airlines could affect those flights.

The Republic Airlines pilots union has taken a strike authorization vote, and turnout has been extraordinary. They have concerns about safety, training and salaries.

Some 2,200 pilots across the United States fly connecting flights to regional cities like Indianapolis. Republic Airlines pilots have been flying without a contract since 2007, which means they haven't had a pay raise since then.

Republic Airlines union captain Patrick Gannon says the pilots want the company to turn a profit, but they want to keep flight crews and passengers safe in the process.

"We're not trying to break the bank. We understand the company needs to be successful in order for us to be successful. We also understand the economy right now and a lot of people are out of jobs. We don't take for granted the fact that we have jobs. We're very thankful to have jobs. But that doesn't mean we should be walked all over and we should just say, 'Okay, we have a job, so you can pay us poverty wages,'" said Gannon.

"We have pilots who can actually make more on unemployment than they can flying you around the country," he added.

In an interview earlier this year, Gannon said five-year first officers make $30,000 a year.

The strike authorization will continue until Nov. 22. It would give the union the power to issue a strike. A national mediator will then step in for a 30-day cooling-off period. If during that time the company won't come to the table, a strike could happen as soon as December.

Drugs, braking: Pilot error, banned drug blamed for crash that killed Russian hockey team. Yakovlev 42, YAK Service. RA-42434. Yaroslavl-Tunoshna Airport, Russia. Accident occurred September 7, 2011.

MOSCOW — Russian air experts on Wednesday blamed pilot error and barbiturate use for the September crash that killed Russia's Lokomotiv hockey team — including Canadian coach Brad McCrimmon and several ex-NHLers.

As the plane took off from the central Russian city of Yaroslavl two months ago, one of the pilots accidentally pressed down the brakes, the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) said in a report published on its website.

"The direct cause of the crash of the Yak-42 plane . . . were the mistaken actions of the crew in pressing the brake pedals," said MAK, an expert body that investigates air disasters in former Soviet republics.

"The braking could have been carried out by the commander who was carrying out active piloting, or the second pilot," chairman of the technical commission of MAK, Alexei Morozov, said in a televised presentation.

The Russian-made Yak-42 crashed on Sept. 7 shortly after takeoff, killing 44 people, including players and support staff from Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, prompting an international outpouring of grief.

Among those who died were Pavol Demitra, who played for Vancouver and Ottawa; Karel Rachunek, who played for Ottawa, New Jersey and the New York Rangers; Karlis Skrastins, who played for Dallas; Ruslan Salei, who played for Detroit; Josef Vasicek, who played for the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders; Alexander Vasyunov, who played for New Jersey; and Alexander Karpovtsev, who was the team's assistant coach.

Saskatchewan native McCrimmon had just taken the head coaching job with Yaroslavl this spring. He played in the NHL from 1979 until 1997 with Boston, Philadelphia, Hartford, Detroit and Phoenix, and was a member of the 1989 Stanley Cup-winning team in Calgary.

Players were from Russia, Germany, Latvia, Belarus, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

One player, Russian Alexander Galimov, survived the crash, but died days later in hospital from horrific burns.

The report was the latest in a series to blame air crashes on human error rather than aging Soviet-designed aircraft.

It said the pilots could have committed the error of putting their feet on the brake pedals during takeoff because they were more used to flying another plane with that foot position.

The aircraft, built in 1993 and operated by the small Yak-Servis airline, overran the airstrip, wheeled for a further 450 metres (about 1,500 feet) before finally taking off.

The aircrew could have aborted the takeoff and stopped safely within the runway, the report said.

After reaching a height of only five to six metres, the plane crashed, falling partly into a river, and burst into flames.

The post-mortem also found that the second pilot had taken phenobarbital, a barbiturate medication banned for use by pilots that would have slowed down his reactions, the committee said.

"In the body of the second pilot was discovered phenobarbital, a medication that slows down the central nervous system and is banned for use by pilots," Morozov said.

In addition the second pilot had been diagnosed with nerve problems in his arms and legs that meant he would have difficulty in sensing how his feet were placed, Morozov said, adding that the condition should have barred him from flying.

The report slammed the airline for failing to ensure flight safety or to monitor its staff.

The crash prompted Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev to order his government to shut down unreliable airlines and raise penalties for air safety violations.

MAK earlier found that a plane crashed on a highway in northwestern Russia in June while attempting to land because of poor judgment by the crew, including a navigator with alcohol in his blood.

It also said that the errors of the Polish crew were the main reason that Polish President Lech Kaczynski's jet crashed in Russia last year, killing all onboard, a view only partially supported by Warsaw.

City says plans to buy land around Midway are for safety, not expansion. Chicago Midway International Airport (KMDW), Illinois.

Six years ago a Southwest Airlines flight overran a runway at Midway and went into traffic, killing a six-year-old boy. If the city and the property owners can't agree on a price for their properties, the Emanuel administration will buy the properties for a price determined under eminent domain.

City Council's Aviation Committee approved an ordinance yesterday allowing the city to buy property around Midway Airport to establish a "runway protection zone" around the World's Busiest Square Mile.

The properties slated for purchase by the city are available for view here

The City has negotiated with the property owners before, during the privatization discussions for Midway that never happened. Deputy Aviation Commissioner Erin O’Donnell, who's in charge of Midway, said FAA regulations have changed since Midway's 1927 opening that require "airports to acquire properties located within the runway protection zone.”

Four parcels surrounding Midway Airport — including a breakfast hangout for police officers and a drug store that’s been a neighborhood fixture for decades — would be demolished to make way for enhanced “runway protection zones,” under an acquisition authorized Tuesday by a City Council committee.

Nearly six years after a Southwest Airlines jet overran a snowy runway into traffic, killing a six-year-old boy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration got the go-ahead to acquire the properties to make the landlocked Southwest Side airport a little safer.

The four properties include: Central Drugs, 5600 W. 63rd St. with a single-room-occupancy building above; Continental Sales Co., 6323-53 S. Cicero; a neighborhood restaurant and bar at 5544 W. 55th ; and a Mobil station at 5448 W. 55th Street.

They will be demolished to make way for either “airport use” or green space. If the Emanuel administration and property owners cannot agree on a negotiated price, the city will use “eminent domain proceedings” to condemn the properties.

Negotiations with the four property owners were initiated, but never consummated prior to the $2.5 billion Midway privatization deal that collapsed for lack of financing.

City officials insist they are not acquiring the land for expansion of the neighborhood airport, but rather for safety.

Erin O’Donnell, the deputy aviation commissioner in charge of Midway, described the mixed-used drug store building as an “obstruction to the runway.”

“Its acquisition is quite critical — not only for runway protection zones, but also to improve the navigation approach path for aircraft to that runway,” she said.

Noting that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has changed “navigational procedures” since Midway opened in 1927, she said, “They encourage airports to acquire properties located within the runway protection zone.”

Ald. Marty Quinn (13th), whose ward includes Midway, called demolition of Central Drugs in particular a “safety concern.”

“It wasn’t too long ago [when] an airplane slipped off the runway. I can only imagine if that were to happen again and hit this building — what potentially could happen,” Quinn said, whose ward includes Midway.

“This is a great opportunity to take advantage of this [federal] money and make this a safer corner.”

Aviation Committee Chairman Mike Zalewski (23rd) noted that the greasy spoon is a cop hang-out.

“Are we gonna have grief counseling for the Police Department? They’re not gonna have anywhere to have breakfast,” Zalewski joked.

As a kid growing up on the Southwest Side, O’Donnell acknowledged that, “I bought my nickel candies from Central Drugs.” Although the building is architecturally distinctive, it is not a designated landmark, she said.

State legislation that authorized the failed Midway privatization deal would have prohibited a private operator from extending runways beyond the airport’s current boundaries, possibly leading to the demolition of homes and businesses.

Midway neighbors have been edgy about expansion since the fatal Southwest Airlines crash.

Bonds retired by Midway revenues will bankroll acquisition of the four parcels. Federal funding could reimburse the city for up to 75 percent of those costs, officials said.

Garmin profit falls 46% on weak N. America sales

Garmin Ltd.'s  third-quarter profit fell 46% on persistent weakness in North America sales, though its aviation and fitness businesses continued to show strength.

The company raised its guidance for the year, to adjusted earnings of $2.30 to $2.40 a share on revenue of $2.6 billion. Its August view was $2 to $2.15 a share with revenue of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion.

Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, and its Dutch rival TomTom NV (TOM2.AE) face increasing competition as smartphones offer more sophisticated global-positioning-system and mapping applications. Garmin is the market leader in the U.S., while TomTom is the biggest player in Europe.

Last week, TomTom launched a cost-cutting plan after its third-quarter sales fell on waning demand for its devices. Still, it posted a better-than-expected income gain thanks to lower debt financing costs.

For the quarter ended Sept. 24, Garmin reported a profit of $150.4 million, or 77 cents a share, down from $279.6 million, or $1.43 a share, a year earlier. Excluding currency impacts and other items, earnings rose to 71 cents from 70 cents.

Revenue decreased 3.7% to $667 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast income of 50 cents a share on revenue of $618 million.

Gross margin widened to 51.6% from 49.7%.

The automotive and mobile segment, Garmin's largest by revenue, reported 13% lower sales. The aviation segment saw sales increase 18%. The outdoor business saw sales improve 5% as fitness sales increased 29%.

Revenue was down 15% in North America, its biggest geographic market. Sales were up 19% in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, and down 10% in Asia Pacific.

Shares closed Tuesday at $34.19 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 10% year to date.

Pilot makes emergency landing after suffering heart attack

A 65-year-old man suffered a heart attack while piloting an experimental aircraft in northwest suburban McHenry County on Tuesday, but made an emergency landing in a farm field and was hospitalized in critical condition after emergency responders resuscitated him.

At about 5:33 p.m. Tuesday, members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s office and Hebron Alden Greenwood Fire Protection District responded to the 7000 block of Miller Road, southeast of Hebron in McHenry County, for an airplane pilot having a heart attack.

Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Laufer and a retired paramedic administered CPR to the victim, Steven R. Nusbaum, and police brought an external defibrillator to assist. Two shocks were administered to Nusbaum, who was taken to Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

Nusbaum had been flying an experimental aircraft and made an emergency landing in a field, police said. The plane sustained no apparent damage. The pilot’s son, Chance A. Nusbaum, had been monitoring his father’s flight and saw the plane land in the field, police said. He arrived first on the scene and found his father lying back in the seat on the plane.

The FAA was notified of the incident.

The defibrillator was one of five donated to the sheriff’s office by the Sara Kathleen Schacht Memorial Foundation. Fire District Capt. Thomas Linneman said that in such instances, “early CPR and early defibrillation are key to the chain of survival.”

Boeing's luxury offices in the sky

  • The 747-8 Intercontinental is the latest, longest and about the most expensive corporate jet in the world
  • The new "MAX" engine can offer fuel-savings of up to 16 percent over competitors, Boeing says
  • Boeing is tight-lipped about who, exactly, is buying these "flying castles"
( -- Donald Trump seems to have hit hard times. The unfortunate fellow has been forced to buy a second-hand 757 from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for a paltry $100 million -- though he did then coat every metal surface in gold.

But had he been feeling really extravagant, he could have thrown the kids' inheritance at a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) with a new MAX engine -- the latest technological jump from the company that recently unveiled the 747-8, their largest offering to-date and the longest commercial jet in the world.

Boeing Business Jets -- the division dedicated to pimping out their commercial airliners and selling them to embarrassingly rich people -- has taken this beast under its wing.

The 747-8 Intercontinental is the latest, longest and about the most expensive corporate jet in the world -- a shiny new, "green" (empty) 747-8 will set you back $300 million, but with a VIP fit-out the figure is closer to $500 million.

But what else is there out there for those with a few hundred million to splash?

Read more and photos:

Air India aborts training schedule for Dreamliners pilots

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: With Air India deferring a training programme for pilots to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliners by a month, division between its pilots came to fore with those belonging to erstwhile Indian Airlines opposing the contention of their AI counterparts.

While the erstwhile AI pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) demanded that all Boeing planes be flown by them, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said this was "unreasonable" and contrary to the agreement reached between the two unions and the management last month.

As talks progressed between IPG leaders and Air India management in Mumbai, the erstwhile AI pilots said a comprehensive plan and a road map should be drawn up for such training programmes for all pilots of the national carrier.

But "until this road map is drawn up - we propose that the management maintain status quo; that is, pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines fly the airplanes ordered by erstwhile Indian Airlines, and pilots of erstwhile Air India fly the aircraft ordered by erstwhile Air India."

On the other hand, the ICPA shot off a letter to AI CMD Rohit Nandan saying, "We are deeply disturbed over IPG decision to oppose ICPA pilots flying the B787 Dreamliners after an understanding was signed between ICPA, IPG, and management on this October 8."

The IPG represents around 200 pilots of the pre-merger Air India, while the ICPA, that went on a flash strike in April-May this year, represents around 1,400 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

The ICPA letter came after a division bench of the Bombay High Court, hearing a petition filed by IPG, was informed by that the airline had decided to defer the B 787 training programme by a month. The matter would now come up for hearing on November 14.

Air India management also recalled the first batch of pilots who had left for Singapore and Gatwick for the training programme which was to have begun tomorrow.

Air India officials, however, said a Boeing 787 simulator would be installed in Mumbai by January end next year after which the airline would be able to launch in-house training for the Dreamliner pilots.

Duration of training would be about a week-and-a-half for pilots trained to fly a wide-body Boeing 747 or 777, while those who have been operating the Airbus type would require about three weeks, they said.

The protesting pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG which represents the cockpit crew of the erstwhile AI, have charged the management with adopting discriminatory attitude in the training schedule against them vis-a-vis their erstwhile Indian Airlines counterparts.

They have been contending that the experience of Indian Airlines pilots was less than theirs on Boeing wide-bodied planes and the management should not adopt a policy to have equal number of pilots from both the erstwhile carriers for the 787 training. Only AI pilots should be assigned duty on these new advanced aircraft, according to IPG.

The IPG petition sought a stay on the schedule issued by AI on October 20 for the proposed slots for training of pilots for the Dreamliners, which would be inducted in its fleet over the next few months.

IPG counsel Jamshed Mistry contended that such a policy, which requires assigning flight duty on a Boeing 787 aircraft to one pilot each from Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines, is "arbitrary" and "contrary to the agreements".

FirstNation Airways begins flights operation

Ikeja – The FirstNation Airline on Tuesday announced that it would commence its Lagos-Abuja- Lagos operation on Wednesday.

The commencement of flight followed the receipt of its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

In a statement, the airline’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Pelu Awofesan, said the airline would extend its operations to Port Harcourt and Kano as from Dec. 1.

Awofesan added that the airline would operate a fleet of modern Airbus A320 passenger aircraft.

According to the statement, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, commended the management of FirstNation for its dedication and courage throughout the certification process.

It quoted Demuren as saying that the airline was among the first new airlines to pass through the NCAA’s certification after Nigeria attained the United States of America Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Category 1 status.

“The Civil Aviation Regulatory Regime in Nigeria has progressively improved over time and is now acknowledged as one of the most demanding AOC application processes internationally.

“It is, therefore, challenging for any airline without a strong capital base, competence, technical knowledge and management depth to complete the certification process under the current Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig CARs),’’ he was quoted as saying.

He added that the authority had embarked on a thorough re-certification of all airlines holding Nigeria’s AOC; while already established airlines would transit to the new process over time.

FirstNation applied for the AOC on April 5, 2010, and the processing took about 18 months, including extensive flight proofing across Europe and Nigeria.

Marine pilot charged with indecent exposure

JACKSONVILLE — A Marine Osprey pilot stationed aboard New River air station was charged with indecent exposure after allegedly performing a lewd act in front of a woman at a Jacksonville gas station.

Maj. Danny Cohlmeyer, 37, of Edgecombe Court, was arrested Sunday evening by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office after a woman reported she had been pumping gas at Friendly Mart on U.S. 17 when a man, naked from the waist down, stepped out of his maroon pickup while performing a lewd act, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

According to reports, the man made a point of making eye contact with the woman as he performed the act. When she told him she was calling law enforcement, he allegedly pulled up his clothing and drove off. The women had taken down his license plate number, and sheriff’s deputies later arrested Cohlmeyer without incident at his Jacksonville home and charged him with misdemeanor indecent exposure.

According to Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown, the woman’s 14-year-old daughter was with her at the time of the incident, but the girl was reclined in her seat and did not see Cohlmeyer.

Cohlmeyer, an MV-22 Osprey pilot and assistant operations officer for squadron VMM-263 aboard New River, was promoted to major in July.

Cohlmeyer is the latest in a series of high-ranking local Marine officers to be charged with a civilian crime. Last year, Cherry Point air station commander Col. Douglas Denn was convicted of DWI and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unite commander Col. Robert Petit was convicted of misdemeanor larceny.

Capt. Daniel Nilsson, a former aide to a Camp Lejeune three-star general, awaits a November court date for six counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor alleging that he possessed child pornography.

Brazil police smash into plane to stop suspects escape. PF bate com carro em avião e impede fuga de suspeitos; veja

Watch raw video:
Federal police in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil employ bold tactics to stop a light plane from taking off, smashing their car into the wing at high speed.

In a scene belonging more to an action movie than real life, officers filmed the moment they crashed into the plane to prevent it taking off from a rural airstrip in the northeastern region of Sao Paulo.

The aircraft appeared ready for take off as the police car sped towards it with the driver shouting to his armed colleague in the passenger seat, "I hit the wing, I hit the wing. Do not shoot, no."

Dramatically colliding with the left wing, the car then ploughed into the plane before police stormed out of the vehicle to confront the suspects on-board.

Local authorities later confirmed that the aircraft, specially fitted for smuggling goods and often used for drugs, was carrying thousands of pounds worth of computers and surveillance technology, as well as a bicycle.

Five suspects were arrested in the high octane finale to what had been a month long police investigation involving 30 men, according to local police officer Edson Geraldo de Souza.

Counting the cost of the arrests, Mr de Souza said the windscreen of the police vehicle had been damaged and would cost around 700 Brazilian Reals (£250) to fix, a sum that the "benefit" of downing the plane well outweighed he said.

PF bate com carro em avião e impede fuga de suspeitos; veja

Para impedir a fuga de suspeitos de transportar carga ilegal para o Brasil, policiais federais de Ribeirão Preto (314 km de São Paulo) atiraram um carro da corporação contra o avião que era usado pelo grupo. Com a ação, os agentes da PF--que filmaram o momento da abordagem-- conseguiram impedir a decolagem do avião.

A operação terminou com a prisão de cinco suspeitos --incluindo o piloto do avião-- e apreensão de uma carga estimada em R$ 200 mil em notebooks, equipamentos de vigilância eletrônica e uma bicicleta.

Os produtos, que foram colocados numa camionete, vinham provavelmente do Paraguai e seriam comercializados na região de Ribeirão Preto, segundo a PF.

Conforme as imagens da ação, no momento em que a aeronave começa a levantar voo em uma estrada rural entre as cidades de Pontal e Orlândia, no interior de São Paulo, o carro da PF começa a aproximação.

"Vou bater na asa, vou bater na asa. Não atira, não", grita o policial.

O veículo da PF atinge a asa esquerda do avião, que roda na estrada e para. Armados, os policiais descem do carro e anunciam a prisão.

Parte da mercadoria ainda estava na aeronave, mas alguns produtos já tinham sido colocados pelos suspeitos em uma camionete, que levaria a carga para ser vendida em lojas da região, de acordo com o delegado Edson Geraldo de Souza.

Dez policiais trabalharam na operação que, de acordo com Souza, foi antecedida de 30 dias de investigações.

A PF não divulgou informações dos suspeitos. Eles devem ser indiciados sob suspeita de contrabando.

O avião era "preparado" para o transporte de cargas, segundo o delegado, já que todos os bancos tinham sido retirados para facilitar a acomodação das peças.

Segundo a polícia, uma aeronave clandestina como a apreendida nesta terça-feira é comercializada por valores entre R$ 300 mil e R$ 500 mil.

"Além do preço, é importante retirar um avião desses de circulação para que não seja mais utilizado para contrabando ou mesmo para o tráfico de drogas", disse o delegado.

Questionado sobre os estragos causados no carro da polícia, Souza afirmou que "o benefício" de apreender o avião compensa o dano --as imagens serão usadas em processo interno para justificar o prejuízo.

Segundo o delegado, apenas o para-brisa do veículo foi danificado e o reparo deve ficar em aproximadamente R$ 400.


NORAD exercise planned in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-02 beginning late Thursday evening, Nov. 3, in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. The exercise will conclude early Sunday morning, Nov. 6.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, Civil Air Patrol and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place during two different time periods each day: 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 5:30 a.m.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System. Civil Air Patrol aircraft will participate in the exercise.

Elkind Cozy MK IV, N795DB: Accident occurred October 23, 2011 in Lexington, North Carolina

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA021 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 23, 2011 in Lexington, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2012
Aircraft: ELKIND BRUCE COZY MK IV, registration: N795DB
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

According to the passenger, when the cross-country flight was about 20 minutes from the destination airport, the pilot informed him that they had 7 gallons of fuel remaining in the right fuel tank. The passenger encouraged the pilot to switch to the left fuel tank, but he declined. The passenger asked the pilot if he was going to land straight ahead on the runway that was aligned with their course. The pilot stated no, he was going to enter a left downwind for the opposite direction runway. About 2.25 hours into the flight, the pilot lowered the nosewheel and was about to turn from the downwind leg to the base leg of the traffic pattern, when the engine began sputtering. The pilot initiated a steep descending turn toward the runway and did not attempt to change the fuel tank. The airplane collided with trees and terrain about 1/8 mile before the runway.

Examination of the crash site revealed that the airplane impacted an isolated clump of trees in an open, flat soybean field. During postaccident examination of the airplane, the fuel selector valve was found positioned between the left tank position and the off position; however, this may not represent the pre-impact position of the valve, because the cables connected to the valve could have moved during the impact sequence. The left and right fuel sump tanks were not ruptured, the left sump tank contained about 1 gallon of fuel, and the right sump tank was empty. The left and right main fuel tanks were ruptured and contained no fuel. No evidence of fuel leakage from either main tank was noted.

Examination of the airframe, flight controls, and engine assembly did not reveal evidence of any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Based on the passenger’s statement and the fuel quantities found in the sump tanks, it is likely that the pilot delayed switching to the left fuel tank and allowed the right fuel tank to run dry.

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

The pilot's inadequate fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.


On October 23, 2011, at about 1100 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Elkind Cozy MK IV, N795DB, collided with a tree, in a soy bean field, while performing a forced landing following loss of engine power near Lexington, North Carolina. The airplane was registered to a private owner, and was operating as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the airframe. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR), flight plan was filed. The certificated private pilot was killed and the certificated airline transport pilot passenger received serious injuries. The flight departed from Craig Municipal Airport (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida, at 0846 en-route to Davidson County Airport (EXX) Lexington, North Carolina.

The passenger stated they departed CRG on an IFR flight plan. They canceled their IFR flight plan about 60 miles south of EXX and proceeded VFR to the airport. About 20 minutes from EXX, the pilot informed the passenger they had 7 gallons of fuel remaining in right fuel tank. The passenger encouraged the pilot to switch fuel tanks, but he declined. Upon approach to EXX, the passenger asked the pilot if he was going to land straight ahead to runway 6. The pilot stated he would enter the traffic pattern on a left downwind leg for runway 24. The pilot lowered the nose wheel and was about to turn onto base leg when the engine began sputtering. The pilot initiated a steep descending turn towards the runway and did not attempt to change the fuel tank. The airplane subsequently collided with a tree about 1/8 mile from the runway 24 threshold.

A lineman at EXX stated he observed the airplane in a steep descending turn east of the airport, before the airplane descended from view behind a tree line. Two other witnesses, who lived in the vicinity of EXX, stated they heard the engine sputtering, follow by an impact sound similar an object hitting a tree.


The certificated private pilot, age 69, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, issued on July 29, 2009. The pilot’ logbook was not recovered. According to the pilot's wife, his logbook was kept in a flight bag located in the airplane. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate, issued on November 18, 2010, with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses." The pilot indicated on his application for the third-class medical that he had 725 total flight hours, and he had flown 25 hours in the last 6 months. The pilot’s last flight review was conducted on July 2, 2011.
The certified flight instructor (CFI), who administered the flight review, stated the pilot purchased the airplane about 1 year before he started flying with the pilot in April 2011. The pilot informed him that he had around 1200 to 1300 flight hours. The CFI gave the pilot 13 hours of instruction in the Cozy MK IV before he signed-off his flight review.


The Cozy MK IV is a four-place composite canard airplane, with a fixed main landing gear, and a retractable nose landing gear. The airplane, serial number 165, was manufactured in 1996. An experimental Lycon IO-360, 220-horsepower, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine powered the airplane. The last condition inspection was conducted on February 9, 2011 at a recorded tachometer time of 387 hours. The tachometer at the crash site was destroyed and the total airframe time and engine time could not be determined. The airplane was last refueled at Palatka, Florida, on October 16, 2011, with 37.62 gallons of 100 low lead fuel.


The 1115 EXX surface weather observation was: wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 6 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.16 inches of mercury. The flight crew received a weather briefing and filed their flight plan with Miami Contracted Flight Service at 0756 on October 23, 2011.


The wreckage was located 1/8 mile east of runway 24 at EXX, in a soy bean field. Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane’s right wing collided with a tree 32 feet above the base of the tree, inboard of the right winglet in a left descending turn, on a heading of 291 degrees magnetic. Fiberglass from the leading edge of the right wing was embedded in the tree. The right wing, right elevator, and right canard were located adjacent to the tree. The airplane continued down the crash debris line (CDL) and impacted the ground 91 feet down the CDL. The canopy separated and was located 105 feet down the CDL. The left wing separated and was located 139 feet down the CDL. The main fuselage came to rest inverted, 140 feet down the CDL on a heading of 261 degrees magnetic. The CDL was 140 feet long.

The right side of the canard and right elevator were damaged and separated at the fuselage. The elevator control rod separated in overload at the fuselage.

The nose cone and cockpit were fragmented and separated from the fuselage forward of the leading edge of the left and right strakes. The nose wheel was separated from the nose strut and the nose wheel strut was extended. The canopy and hinges separated from the fuselage. The canopy lock remained attached to the fuselage, and the canopy lock actuator rod was separated. The locking bolts on the canopy were distorted. The left side forward and rear canopy hinges were separated from the fuselage canopy rails. The forward canopy windscreen and left canopy side window were broken. The right canopy side window was not damaged. The main landing gear separated from the fuselage at its attachment points. The landing brake was not damaged and was in the retracted position.

The instrument panel was fragmented and separated from the fuselage. The throttle was at mid-range and the throttle friction was loose. The mixture lever was full rich. The fuel selector valve was positioned between the left main fuel tank and off positions.

The left and right cockpit molded seat bottoms were destroyed and the seat backs were damaged. The seatbelt mounts were separated from the fuselage. The roll over structure separated from the fuselage and the seat backs. The left and right shoulder harnesses remained attached to the roll over structure. The combined left rear seat bottom and sump tank separated from the cabin floor. The left sump tank was not ruptured. The fuel lines to the left sump tank were ruptured. The left sump tank had about 1 gallon of fuel present. The left seat back remained attached to the cabin floor. The rear seatbelt and shoulder harness were fastened and not damaged. The combined right rear seat bottom and right sump tank remained attached to the cabin floor. The right sump tank was not ruptured and no fuel was present. The right seat back separated from the cabin floor. The right rear seatbelt and shoulder harness were fastened and not damaged.

The pilot’s control stick and control linkage were intact extending rearward to the passenger backseat area, where the left aileron torque tube failed consistent with overload. The pilot’s canard linkage also failed consistent with overload. The passenger’s control stick and linkage were intact and damaged. The passenger’s canard linkage was also intact and damaged. The left aileron push rod bell crank separated from the inboard end of the wing, consistent with overload. The right aileron rod end also failed consistent with overload.

The right wing and a section of the center spar separated from the fuselage. The right wing remained bolted to the center spar. The right strake (fuel tank) separated at the wing root. The right main fuel tank was ruptured. No fuel or browning of vegetation was present. The right main fuel cap was secure with a tight seal. No fuel staining was present on the strake, or surface of the right wing. The leading edge of the wing was damaged 9 feet outboard of the outboard edge of the right strake. The inboard and outboard vortilions remained attached to the wing. The middle vortilon was bent rearward. The upper wing fiberglass layers were buckled. The right winglet remained attached to the wing and the leading edge was damaged. The right rudder remained attached to the winglet at all hinge points. The rudder was not damaged. The rudder cable was separated from the Army-Navy cable fork, consistent with overload. The right aileron remained attached at all hinge points. The right aileron linkage was intact up to the right aileron control rod end at the junction of the right wing. The rod there was separated in overload.

The aft pusher engine compartment remained attached to the fuselage and the firewall was not damaged. The lower and upper engine cowlings were fractured and remained attached to the fuselage. The engine assembly remained attached to all engine mounts. The composite propeller remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. The propeller blades were not damaged, and the composite spinner was fractured.
The center section of the canard remained attached to its mounts on the fuselage. The left side of the canard and the left elevator were fragmented.

The inboard portion of the left wing remained bolted to the fuselage. The remainder of the left wing separated outboard of the left strake. The leading edge of the wing was damaged from the wing root extending outboard to the left winglet. The inboard, middle, and outboard vortilions remained attached to the wing. The left winglet separated from the wing at the winglet wing intersection. The rudder was damaged and remained attached at all hinge points. The rudder control cable remained attached to the rudder. The rudder cable failed within the wing structure consistent with overload. The aileron was damaged and remained attached at all hinge points. The aileron torque tube failed at the inboard aileron universal joint. The left main fuel tank was ruptured. No fuel or browning of vegetation was present. The left main fuel cap was secure with a tight seal. No fuel staining was present on the strake, or surface of the left wing.

Examination of the engine assembly revealed the left and right engine exhaust pipes were not damaged. All induction tubes were attached to their respective attached points. The oil sump was intact and the oil dip stick remained in place. The oil suction screen was removed and no anomalies were noted. An unmeasured amount of oil was present in the oil sump. The National Automotive Parts Association oil filter was removed and opened. The filter media was free of contaminants. The front oil cooler was damaged and the rear oil cooler was not damaged.

The alternator and drive pulley remained attached to the engine assembly and was not damaged. The alternator cooling fan was not damaged. The starter remained attached to the engine and the drive pinion was retracted. The left magneto remained attached to its mount. The magneto produce spark at all ignition leads when the propeller was rotated by hand. The right magneto mounting location was blocked off with a cover plate. A Light Speed Engineering plasma capacitive discharge (CD) ignition system was installed in lieu of a right magneto with an ignition box installed behind the firewall. Two ignition coil packs were installed on top of the engine with automotive style ignition leads. The leads were routed to automotive style spark plugs in the top spark plug holes. The CD ignition was not tested because the airplane battery had been removed by first responders. The top and bottom ignition harnesses were not damaged. The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine. The vacuum pump was removed and disassembled. The composite drive unit was intact and the vacuum pump produced air at the vacuum pump outlet port when the drive was rotated by hand.

The aircraft fuel strainer bowl was removed and contained about 1 teaspoon of blue liquid that smelled like aviation gasoline. The fuel screen was removed and was free of contaminants. The fuel lines leading to engine driven fuel pump and the fuel injector servo were removed and contained fuel. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and contained fuel. The engine driven fuel pump produced pressure at the outlet port when it was actuated by hand. The throttle cable remained attached to the throttle control arm on the fuel injector servo and was at mid-range. The mixture control remained attached to the mixture control arm and was in the full rich position. The fuel injector servo was removed and contained fuel. The fuel injector servo fuel inlet screen was removed and free of contaminants. The fuel injector servo regulator section was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel flow divider was removed, disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel injector nozzles were removed from all cylinders and no anomalies were noted. All spark plugs were removed. The upper spark plugs displayed dark gray combustion deposits and worn normal condition. The bottom spark plugs exhibited dark brown combustion deposits and worn normal condition.

The engine was partially disassembled. The engine was rotated by hand using the propeller. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was observed through all cylinder rocker arms. The accessory drive gears were observed rotating. Crankshaft and valve train continuity was verified. All cylinders were examined using a lighted bore scope and no anomalies were noted.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, conducted an autopsy on the pilot on October 24, 2011. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The Bioaeronautical Research Science Laboratory, FAA, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed a postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The specimens were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol in the blood. No ethanol was detected in the vitreous and no drugs were detected in the urine.


Notations on the pilot’s printed flight plan, on October 23, 2011, indicated the left main fuel tank had 15 gallons of fuel and the right main fuel tank had 24 gallons of fuel. The airplane has 2 gallons of un-usable fuel. The passenger stated the left main fuel tank had 20 gallons of fuel and the right main tank had 17 gallons of fuel. He also stated that 4 gallons of fuel would be utilized for engine start, run-up, and climb to cruise altitude. The total flight time from takeoff to the accident time was 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Estimated fuel consumption data for the Ly-Con experimental engine was provided by a representative of Ly-Con Engines and Accessories. Review of the fuel consumption data provided indicates a fuel burn rate of 10.33 gallons per hour at 65 percent rated horsepower. At 75 percent the fuel burn rate would be 13.75 gallons per hour. At 85 percent the fuel burn rate would be 14.66 gallons per hour. The calculated total fuel burn for a flight time of 2 hours and 14 minutes at 65 percent power would be 23.04 gallons. At 75 percent power the calculated fuel burn would be 30.66 gallons. At 85 percent power the calculated fuel burn would be 32.69 gallons. These figures do not take into account additional fuel required for start, taxi and climb to cruise altitude.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary investigation into last month's fatal crash near the Davidson County Airport that resulted in the death of a Florida man.

The preliminary report lists the details that led to the death of Roland Augustus Bremer, 69, who was the pilot of a Elkind Bruce Cozy MK IV, and injured another Floridian. The airplane, which was carrying two people as it made its way from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Davidson County Airport, was experimental and amateur-built.

The plane departed from Craig Municipal Airport in Jacksonville at 8:46 a.m. on Oct. 23. About 20 minutes from the Davidson County Airport, Bremer informed the passenger, Farshid Yaghmelee, 53, of Jacksonville, that they had seven gallons of fuel remaining in the fuel tank, according to the report.

"The passenger encouraged the pilot to switch fuel tanks but he declined," the report stated.

As the pilot began to near the Davidson County Airport, he lowered his nose wheel and the engine began sputtering. The pilot initiated a steep descent turn toward the runway and did not attempt to change the fuel tank, according to the report, which stated the plane was attempting a forced landing after the loss of engine power.

Bremer's airplane collided with a tree and a soybean field near Brown Street and Henry Link Road around 11:10 a.m., according to the NTSB. The plane came to rest about 0.8 mile east of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to its frame.

A witness at the airport, told the NTSB he observed the airplane in a steep descent, turn east of the airport before the airplane descended from view behind a tree line. Two other witnesses who live in the airport's vicinity reported hearing a plane engine sputtering followed by an impact sound similar to of an object hitting a tree.

The preliminary report stated weather conditions were clear at the time of the crash.

Yaghmelee received serious injuries from the crash. He was listed in good condition last week at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Peter Knudson of the NTSB said the final investigation could take up to 12 months to complete.

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 23, 2011 in Lexington, NC
Aircraft: ELKIND BRUCE COZY MK IV, registration: N795DB
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 October 23, 2011, at about 1100 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Elkind Cozy MK IV, N795DB, collided with a tree, in a soy bean field, while performing a forced landing following loss of engine power near Lexington, North Carolina. The airplane was registered to a private owner, and was operating as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the airframe. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR), flight plan was filed. The certificated private pilot was killed and the airline transport rated passenger received serious injuries. The flight departed from Craig Municipal Airport (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida, at 0846.

The passenger stated they departed CRG on an IFR flight plan. They cancelled their IFR flight plan about 60 miles south of Davidson County Airport (EXX), Lexington, North Carolina, and proceeded VFR to the airport. About 20 minutes from EXX, the pilot informed the passenger they had 7 gallons of fuel remaining in right fuel tank. The passenger encouraged the pilot to switch fuel tanks but he declined. Upon arrival at EXX the passenger asked the pilot if he was going to land straight ahead to runway 6. The pilot stated he would enter a left downwind for runway 24. The pilot lowered the nose wheel and was about to enter base leg when the engine began sputtering. The pilot initiated a steep descending turn towards the runway and did not attempt to change the fuel tank. The airplane collided with a tree and the soybean field.

A lineman at EXX stated he observed the airplane in a steep descending turn east of the airport before the airplane descended from view behind a tree line. Two other witnesses who live in the vicinity of EXX stated they heard the engine sputtering follow by an impact sound similar an object hitting a tree.

Medvedev calls for light aviation take-off in Russia

Antonov An-2 biplane

Legendary “Cropduster”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for a revival of light aviation in Russia on Tuesday, including purchases of foreign aircraft in the absence of domestically-produced equipment.

“Light aviation has degraded and revived as much as it probably could have in the central part of Europe, but it absolutely cannot survive in a country like Russia,” he said at a meeting with activists from the ruling United Russia party after the issue was raised by Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Medvedev reiterated that in Russia there are 28,000 locations where it is possible to travel to only by helicopter or airplane.

“We need to revive light aviation. We have good provision for it here. If there aren’t the right aircraft for some reason, or they don’t work, we need to get foreign ones,” he said.

He noted that replacement of the ageing Antonov An-2 biplane had not happened and the intended replacement, the turboprop An-3, had not made any progress.

“We need to build something new. It’s good if we can design our own and produce it, but we have to live for today and so I think we need to buy or lease foreign equipment to get services running,” he said.

Medvedev said it was vital to plan this process.

“We can solve this problem in ten years if we start now,” he said.

Light aviation lobby groups in Russia such as the Russian United Business Aviation Association have cited problems such as unsuitable legislation for registering small airlines, a lack of competition for ground services at airports and import duties on light aircraft as reasons for the decline of the sector.

A number of foreign manufacturers including Czech firm Evektor and Canada's Viking Air have announced plans to build general aviation aircraft in Russia to replace the An-2.