Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WACO UPF-7, Owner/operator Kyle Franklin, N30136: Accident occurred March 12, 2011 in Brownsville, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA228 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Brownsville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2011
Aircraft: WACO UPF-7, registration: N30136
Injuries: 2 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.

On the day prior to the accident, the pilot performed a solo air show flight, and the engine lost power during the taxi after landing. No anomalies were noted that caused the loss of engine power. About one hour prior to the accident flight, the pilot performed a solo air show flight with no anomalies. After the solo flight, the airplane was refueled, and the pilot performed the wing walker performance. Approximately 5 minutes into the performance, the engine lost power. The airplane impacted terrain adjacent to the runway and a postimpact fire ensued. The wing walker, who was located in the front area of the fuselage, sustained multiple burns, and succumbed to her injuries approximately 2 months after the accident. Postaccident examination of the engine and its fuel system revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. Video and photographic evidence showed from the engine exhaust, prior to the loss of engine power, which can indicate a flooded condition; however, the reason for the flooded condition and loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 12, 2011, about 1500 central standard time, a Waco UPF-7 airplane, N30136, collided with the ground following a loss of engine power while maneuvering during an air show performance at Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport (BRO), Brownsville, Texas. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. A post accident fire partially consumed the fuselage. The airplane was registered to Jim Franklin Aviation Service, Inc., Ruidoso, New Mexico, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an air show flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from BRO approximately 1455.

According to the pilot, the airplane was transported to the air show venues via trailer and then assembled as necessary for flight. The day prior to the accident, the pilot completed a solo air show performance and during the taxi back to the ramp with the throttle at the idle position, the engine quit. The airplane was towed to the ramp for inspection. After completing a visual inspection of the engine with no problems noted, the pilot test ran the engine at various power settings for approximately 15 minutes. No anomalies with the engine were noted during the test run.

Approximately 1 hour before the accident flight, the pilot completed a solo air show performance with no anomalies.

The pilot conducted a preflight inspection 20 minutes prior to the wingwalker performance flight and found no discrepancies. Approximately 15 minutes prior to takeoff, the pilot started the engine and it ran without any problems. Prior to takeoff, an engine run-up and magneto check were conducted with no discrepancies noted. During the first 4 to 5 minutes of the wingwalking performance flight, the pilot noted no abnormal engine instrument readings or engine operations. About 5 minutes into the flight, the engine lost power. The pilot briefly attempted to restart the engine; however, the engine restart was unsuccessful. The pilot then signaled the wingwalker to enter the forward cockpit, and he executed a forced landing to vegetation-covered terrain adjacent to the runway.

Witness videos and still photograph images showed the airplane was maneuvering in a shallow climb when the engine lost power. Several images show fire and smoke emanating from the engine exhaust during the engine power loss.

The pilot reported that during the flight, the engine power was set at maximum, which was 36 inches of manifold pressure and 2,300 RPM. The pilot did not change the engine power configuration during that portion of the wingwalker performance. In addition, the airplane's fuel tank was topped off prior to each of the 2 solo and wingwalker flights.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. The pilot's second class medical certificate was issued on April 2, 2010. The pilot reported 2,273 total flight hours of which 728 were in the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

A review of the airframe and engine maintenance records showed a major overhaul on the Pratt & Whitney R-985 AN-14B engine (serial number 11482) was completed on November 6, 2009, at an engine total time of 8,204.45 hours, and was installed on the airframe on January 22, 2010. The Bendix RS-10B2 (part number 391783-4, serial number 638) servo fuel injector was overhauled on January 18, 2010.

The most recent conditional inspection was completed on January 22, 2010, at a total airframe time of 4,222.3 hours, and a HOBBS time of 223.3 hours. The pilot reported on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aircraft accident form the most recent conditional inspection was completed on February 19, 2011, at a total airframe time of 4,261 hours. On February 28, 2011, which was the last entry in the engine logbook, the number 9 cylinder was removed due to a problem with the exhaust valve, repaired, and reinstalled, at a HOBBS time of 285.2 hours, and 40.2 since major overhaul. The pilot reported the airplane had accumulated approximately 3 flight hours at the time of the accident since the completion of his 2010 air show events.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed the fuselage sustained fire damage aft of the engine firewall. The main landing gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest upright. An unspecified amount of fuel was noted in the center wing fuel tank. A fitting on the smoke oil system was found fractured and separated from the respective connection.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

The pilot, located in the rear seat, sustained facial injuries and briefly lost consciousness after the impact. Shoulder harnesses were not available in the rear seat, and the pilot was not wearing a helmet. The pilot exited the airplane and attempted to extricate the front seat passenger. The pilot reported the electric smoke oil pump was continuing to operate after the airplane came to rest. The smoke oil pump ON/OFF switch was located in the rear seat compartment, and the pilot did not recall turning the switch OFF prior to exiting the airplane.

The front seat, which was comprised of the smoke oil container and a lap belt restraint, was the position the wingwalker sat during the takeoff and landing phases of flight. After the impact, rescue personnel arrived at the airplane and assisted the pilot in attempting to extricate the passenger. The passenger was restrained in the front seat area via the tethering cable that was used for safety purposes during the wingwalking activity. Rescue personnel cut the cable in order to extricate the passenger. The passenger sustained burns to approximately 70 percent of her body and succumbed to her injuries on May 27, 2011.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On April 4, 2011, at the facilities of Tulsa Aircraft Engines, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the engine and fuel system components were examined by the NTSB investigator-in-charge. Examination of the engine showed damage to the number 5 and 6 cylinders. The cylinder damage was consistent with the impact sequence. The cylinders were removed and replaced to accommodate an engine functional test. The servo fuel injector was separated from the engine mount structure and could not be tested with the engine. A slave carburetor was installed and the engine was functionally tested for approximately 30 minutes at various power settings with no anomalies noted.

The fuel injector was examined and functionally tested at Mike's Aircraft Fuel Metering Service, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Visual examination of the servo showed the mixture control linkage was fractured. The linkage arm was removed and replaced. All fuel lines and fuel strainer were found clear of debris. The idle mixture adjustment was in the mid-range position. The servo was functionally tested in accordance with the manufacturer approved test procedure. The fuel servo test was found within limits at the high (full throttle) setting and slightly rich at the low and mid-range settings. After the functional test, the fuel servo was partially disassembled. The regulator lever, which is located between and within the air and fuel chambers, was found to be bent when rolled on a sheet of glass. The air chamber was found to be dry and absent of fuel.

The fuel pump was examined and functionally tested at Aircraft Specialties Services, Tulsa, Oklahoma. No anomalies were noted during the visual examination. The pump was functionally tested in accordance with the manufacturer approved test procedure. The fuel pump functional test was found within specifications.





Eight months after Kyle and Amanda Franklin’s biplane crash landed at Brownsville’s Air Fiesta, the National Transportation Safety Board has ended its investigation without having determined the cause of the engine failure that led to the accident.

The report notes, however, that the aircraft’s engine had stalled while taxiing the day before the accident, though no cause could be found. The Neosho, Mo., husband and wife aerobatic team used a highly modified 1940 Waco biplane for their popular wing-walking act, which they called "Pirated Skies." Approximately five minutes into a March 12 performance, Kyle was forced to put the plane down in scrub trees off the runway at the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport. Amanda managed to climb off the wing into the forward cockpit before impact, but was badly burned in the post-crash fire. She died of her injuries on May 27 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Kyle’s injuries were less severe and he has since recovered.

After the accident the charred aircraft was transported to Tulsa, Okla., to the facilities of Tulsa Aircraft Engines, which had performed a major overhaul on the Waco’s Pratt & Whitney engine in 2009. According to the NTSB report, thorough testing of the engine and fuel system components "revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operations."

The report notes that photos and video of the plane just before the engine lost power show smoke and flames shooting from the exhaust. Though this is normally an indication of a "flooded" engine — meaning too much fuel in the engine — no reason for the flooding or loss of engine power could be determined, according to the NTSB.

The Franklins were in the habit of trailering the Waco to performances around the country rather than flying it. The reason, according to Amanda Franklin, interviewed by The Brownsville Herald a few days before the accident, was concern that the plane’s extra stiff landing gear would cause the aircraft to flip on its back in the event of an emergency landing on soft ground, such as in a field. In the Air Fiesta crash, the landing gear collapsed and the plane remained upright.

Something strange occurred the day before the accident. The NTSB report notes that while Kyle completed a solo aerobatic performance the day prior to the accident without incident, the Waco’s engine stalled as it was taxiing back to the ramp. A visual inspection turned up nothing out of the ordinary, nor were any problems revealed when Kyle ran the engine at various power settings for about 15 minutes, said the report. An hour before the "accident flight," Kyle flew another complete performance in the Waco without incident. The engine ran approximately 15 minutes prior to takeoff on the doomed flight, again without incident, according to the NTSB. Kyle told investigators that a pre-takeoff engine run-up revealed no discrepancies, and that no abnormal engine instrument readings or engine operations occurred in the first five minutes of flight.

David Hughston, Air Fiesta chairman, said it’s a case of things going wrong despite the best efforts to prevent it.

"Airplane engines normally are extremely reliable," he said. "It’s just like in a car. Sometimes your car quits for no reason. It couldn’t have quit at a worse time. If he’d been up a 1,000 feet or something like that, there wouldn’t have been any issue at all."

Article and Photos

A husband and wife aerobatics team is hospitalized after they were forced to make an emergency landing during Air Fiesta 2011 taking place at the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport Saturday afternoon. 

 Air Fiesta Operations Officer Chris Hughston said the Franklin's were at a key point of their wing-walking act when their plane suffered engine failure.

Amanda was on the wing of the plane and was able to get back inside while flames shot out of the back of the engine.

"We heard the plane sputter and knew something was wrong," said Esmeralda Torres of San Benito. "She (Amanda) was able to get back inside the plane and then we saw smoke and  flames."

Torres says after the plane crashed there was a cloud of black smoke and the smell of fuel filled the air.

Hughston said Kyle Franklin was able to make a crash landing, but then the plane caught fire.

Both of the Franklin's suffered burns to 60 to 70-percent of their bodies.

The couple was airlifted to a burn hospital in San Antonio where both are listed in critical condition.

Hughston said the modern military exhibition after the couple's act was suspended. Saturday's fly-by of a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit went on as planned. Officials said the pilot wanted to do so to honor the Franklins.

Sunday's program will continue, but will be shorter sans the Franklin's "Pirated Skies" aerobatic act which was one of the headlining acts at this year's Air Fiesta 2011.

Earlier this week Amanda Franklin talked to Brownsville Herald Reporter Steve Clark. She told him of the airshow accident in 2005 that killed her father and father-in-law. Franklin said despite the loss she and her husband never considered quitting.

“That never crossed our minds ever,” she says. “We both have such a passion for flying. It’s in our blood. There is risk in what we do. We acknowledge that. We take every precaution that we can to eliminate the risk to make it safe. But if you live your life in fear that something could go wrong, you’re not living your life.”

For fans like Torres it was a frightening afternoon.

"I hope I don't ever see that again. It was awful and sad."

PHOTO and VIDEO: Helicopter crashes installing Christmas tree in Auckland. Viaduct Basin, New Zealand.



James Cheng writes

A helicopter installing a Christmas tree on Auckland's waterfront on Wednesday morning crashes in dramatic fashion, however, the pilot escapes serious injury. See the dramatic video footage below.

Footage captured by Television New Zealand Wednesday morning shows the pilot slowly descending from about 25 feet (8 meters) when the chopper's blades appear to get caught in cables attached to scaffolding. The rear of the helicopter snaps and the pilot is tossed about as the helicopter smashes into the ground.

The television station reports that pilot Greg Gribble, who has 20 years experience, says he's "doing fine" after his ordeal.

See Photo

New Jersey: Cleaner at Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. is charged with sexually assaulting girl.

Francisco Rodriguez of Ridgefield Park.


RIDGEFIELD PARK — A borough man has been charged with sexually assaulting and endangering the welfare of an underage female acquaintance, authorities said Tuesday.

Francisco Rodriguez, 57, was arrested Monday after a joint investigation by the Ridgefield Park police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse unit.

Rodriguez, a cleaner at the Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. in Little Ferry, allegedly had sexual intercourse with the girl on numerous occasions, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement. Molinelli said the girl is under age 16.

The incidents were first reported to the Ridgefield Park Police Department, which contacted the prosecutor’s office, Molinelli said.

Rodriguez was being held at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack in lieu of $250,000 bail. He was ordered to stay away from the girl and to surrender his passport, pending a court hearing, Molinelli said.

http://www.northjersey.com

Elko, Nevada: Civil Air Patrol seeks cadets

Front row from left are Civil Air Patrol members David Metz, Curtis Jones and Wyatt Mowray. A.J. Wilson is in the back. The cadets prepare to go on orientation flights with Jones, a senior member of CAP.

ELKO — Searching the Nevada terrain for a missing plane and learning to fly aircraft before hitting adulthood are among the training offered by the Elko squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.

The benefits require a dose of commitment, however. The local CAP is searching for dedicated youths between the ages of 12-21 to join the senior cadet program.

CAP has an aerospace education program, cadet program and emergency communications network that teaches members to properly conduct search and rescue missions.

CAP is the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and flies more than 95 percent of all federal inland search and rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base.

The local squadron wants youth to be interested in all facets of CAP, from learning to fly aircraft to becoming a member of the color guard.

“We want them to want everything out of it and not go and just be part of a ground team or just go flying or just be on a color guard team and do parades,” said 17-year-old David Metz, who is a cadet commander and has advanced to the rank of first lieutenant after joining CAP four years ago.

“We want them to be active and to see and learn everything,” he added.

CAP teaches self-discipline and moral leadership, said Diana Jones, Elko squadron commander. Jones is a senior member of CAP. Senior members act as supervisors and are there to lend support to the cadets and senior cadets, as well as oversee the program and missions.

“We watch them grow into adults,” said Deputy Commander for Cadets Kelly Howard.

CAP is structured like the military and cadets can move up in rank every 60 days or more, depending how quickly they work toward advancement. Although CAP cadets can enter different branches of the military at a higher rank, Howard said the program is not simply for youths with a desire to enter the military.

“If a cadet decides to go UNR, we’ll push him in that direction and work with him in scholarships, and if he wants to go to the military we’ll help,” said Curtis Jones, senior member of CAP.

Metz said the CAP taught him responsibility and leadership. He said it not only prepares members for military life, but for adult life in general.

“It teaches you how to be a good leader. If you get into the business world or you’re out in an office you’ll have that knowledge of what you need to do and how to do it,” Metz said.

Howard said they don’t want cadets to concentrate solely on CAP and encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities.

Cadets can advance at their own pace, which is helpful when many youths around the Elko area are involved in sporting and other school activities.

Howard said, for example, the Air Force Academy looks for individuals who are well-rounded.

“They want you to come to them and say all the things you are involved in. They don’t want you to say all you’ve ever done is Civil Air Patrol, they want you to be able to adapt and overcome and improvise in everyday situations and in life.”

Although cadets can advance to a new rank every 60 days, it takes about four months on average to advance because of other activities youths are involved in. Cadets can advance to a level where they are able to not only fly in aircraft, but learn the controls and how to pilot it.

Howard said they are in need of senior cadets, meaning youths who are dedicated and willing to get to that status.

Time commitments vary depending on missions that cadets can be called on. Metz has been called on missions in the early morning hours.

“Last year, I was in the middle of my proficiencies and got a call at 6 a.m. about a missing airplane and had to go run radios,” he said. “You never know when it’s going to happen and that turned out to be a really good mission.”

A large portion of CAP is assisting with disaster relief and search and rescue missions. The organization also conducts counter drug missions and seeks out grow sites from the air.

Search and rescue missions are the main reason Diana and Curtis Jones continue to be a part of CAP. As aircraft owners, it gives them comfort to know there is an organization in existence that is properly trained and knows how to find them should they need to do an emergency landing.

To be a member of the CAP, Howard said they ask interested cadets to attend Monday night meetings that are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to see if it’s something they are interested in before officially joining.

The cost to become a cadet is an annual fee of $31. Senior members meet from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays. On the first and third Thursday of every month, all CAP members are asked to attend. Meetings are held at 820 Murray Way.

For information on CAP, call Diana or Curtis Jones at 738-3069 or 340-495.

Airport manager is fired. Monroe Regional Airport (KMLU), Louisiana

Monroe airport manager Cleve Norrell has been fired, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo confirmed Tuesday.

Mayo said he could not give details on why Norrell was terminated.

“We do appreciate Cleve’s involvement with the airport for a number of years, and we appreciate him being a part of moving into a brand new terminal, but we have decided to go into a new direction,” Mayo said.

Norrell could not be reached for comment.

Ron Phillips, the airport marketing manager, will serve as interim airport manager until a replacement is chosen.

Mayo said there will be a national search for the next airport manager.

“We will be putting that together very soon,” he said.

Public Works director Tom Janway said two new airport employees have been hired, both with aviation management degrees.

“The airport is in good hands during this transition,” Janway said.

Norell oversaw the construction of the airport’s new terminal building, Since its opening, however, problems at the terminal have been reported.

When the new terminal opened last month, passengers had to walk from the new terminal building to the old one either for baggage pickup or to rent a vehicle. Only days after opening the new terminal, airport officials swiftly changed the baggage claim system to curbside baggage pickup at the new terminal so passengers wouldn’t have to walk to the old building, exposed to the elements.

The city of Monroe is constructing a covered, lighted walkway from Monroe Regional Airport’s new terminal building to the old terminal building, finally giving passengers safe cover as they traverse outdoors for baggage claim or car rental services.

American Airlines reported incompatible wiring at the airport’s new terminal made its de-icer unusable until an airline electrician could arrive and rewire the outlet.

One of the improvements touted at the airport was passenger bridges that would allow travelers to walk from the plane to the terminal under cover. But some passengers arriving at the new terminal had to deplane onto the tarmac using stairs and enter the terminal building from a ramp, because the markings on the pavement indicating where planes should park were too far from the terminal building. The loading bridges couldn’t reach the aircraft doors.


http://www.thenewsstar.com

Navy Flyover Tuesday Was Part of a Commercial. Eight fighter jets and some refueling tankers were seen flying over parts of San Diego county.

Watch Video
When it all hits the fan, will you run away from it or toward it, with the Marines?

That's the theme of a Navy recruitment commercial coming out in 2012, and some San Diego county residents got a peek at the action Tuesday when they saw eight fighter planes and some refueling tankers flying over. The planes were seen in Ramona and Lakeside.

"We had two KC-130s and eight F/A-18s flying in formation today to support the filming of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command's new commercial," said First Lt. Maureen Dooley, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, to Patch by email on Tuesday.

"We had done filming a few weeks ago off the coast of Camp Pendleton, but the weather was bad one day with a low ceiling so they could not get the footage they needed initially," she said.

The commercial will be called Sounds of Chaos, and will highlight "the full spectrum of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force carrying out an attack against an enemy, including troops on the ground and an assault from the air," according to an article on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS).

Dooley said the F/A 18s can refuel from the KC-130s—the big belly planes—while in the air.

Click here to see other images that will be included in the commercial, which is due to be shown on television, the Internet and other outlets in spring next year.

Watch Video

Transport Canada's 9 Citation C550 jets flew with passengers just 2 percent of available time: Government jets fly empty at high cost.

Canadian taxpayers are doling out millions of dollars a year for a fleet of sleek government executive jets that spend most of the time either flying empty or parked on the tarmac.

Detailed federal flight logs obtained by CBC News show that each of Transport Canada's nine Citation passenger jets spent an average of just over 300 hours in the air all of last year — less than six hours a week.

More than 70 percent of that time, the seven-passenger luxury planes flew empty.

That means, on average, each of the roughly $5-million jets is actually transporting passengers for only about 90 hours a year, or under two per cent of their possible annual flying time.

Transport Canada pilots apparently have so little demand for their services that they frequently burn up jet fuel flying the planes empty just to maintain the minimum flight-time requirements of their aviation licenses.

Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation says the government should junk the jets and force its officials to fly on commercial airlines like most people.

"Keeping a few jets for VIP occasions makes sense, but most of these fleets should be mothballed," Fildebrandt said in an interview with CBC News.

"It is the symbolism of it: If the government is going to be cutting back and there is going to be pain for some people, they should at least take away some of the more extreme perks at the top."

In a prepared statement, Transport Canada said the planes often appear to be flying empty because "the pilots are also inspectors."

"This is why the aircraft may not have passengers on an inspection since the inspectors flying the aircraft will also be carrying out the inspection."

A spokesman for Transport Canada says inspectors are rarely involved in crash investigations or other emergencies.

That raises the question: If the inspectors are not in a rush, why are they not travelling to their work on commercial aircraft at a fraction of the cost of flying around on empty government executive jets?

Transport Canada figures suggest the jets cost about $1,900 for every hour they are flown, although private operators peg the price at upwards of $3,000 an hour.

Either way, a simple round-trip on a Citation from Ottawa to Hamilton, for example, costs taxpayers at least $3,500, a lot more than any commercial air service.

Flight logs raise questions

Transport Canada claims its fleet of jets "is mainly used to move inspectors to sites not easily or readily available via commercial means, to conduct inspections."

But the official flight logs for the Citations show a majority of their flights are to the country's metropolitan airports in not-so-remote places such as Ottawa and Montreal.

The logs indicate the government jets have also flown to a number of U.S. cities including Atlantic City, Miami, Denver and New Orleans.

Transport's veritable ghost-fleet of Citations should not be confused with the six Challenger jets operated by National Defence, and have been the target of much controversy.

Those DND jets are used to ferry around the prime minister, other members of cabinet, the Governor General and a lot of military brass who would apparently rather not have to fly commercial.

Like the Transport Canada passenger jets, the DND Challengers are mostly under-utilized, decorating their hangars more than they are flying government poobahs anywhere.

In total, Transport Canada has 27 aircraft — the Citation jets, nine turbo-prop propeller airplanes, six helicopters and three short-take-off planes.

Among the nine Citation jets, six are based in Edmonton, Hamilton and Montreal, while the other three are in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Moncton.

Rare passengers include bureaucrats, ministers

The flight logs show that during the relatively minimal time the jet fleet was carrying anyone last year, the passengers were mostly senior bureaucrats, and occasionally federal cabinet ministers.

CBC News asked Transport Canada to explain how a fleet of jets that spends about 95 per cent of its time parked or flying empty is a prudent use of taxpayers' money.

In a prepared statement, the department stated: "Aircraft must have regular maintenance in order to be operating properly. That is the law."

The department also said inspectors fly the jets to maintain "their aviation qualifications and competency."

In fact, the department says, that's about all they do with the jets in Ottawa.

"This is the reason why we eliminated most inspectors flying in Ottawa and have sold a number of aircraft."

Federal cabinet ministers and their staff have occasionally used the expensive planes.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, for instance, caused a stink last year when he cost taxpayers at least $3,800 for a Citation to fly him from Ottawa to London, Ont., for a political event.

The plane flew back to Ottawa empty.

Flight logs show that, last year, Flaherty also flew three times on Transport Canada's fleet of nine turbo-prop planes the department operates for the benefit of its own staff and occasionally political VIPs.

Other members of the Harper government who have used the jets have been mostly ministers of transport, such as John Baird, Lawrence Cannon and Chuck Strahl.

Costs hard to pin down

It remains a matter of contention exactly how much all this high flying on a wing and a taxpayer is costing.

Documents obtained from Transport Canada under access to information laws show the Citations last year cost taxpayers about $5.3 million.

But that figure does not include a number of expenses such as training, aircraft and administration facilities, security and equipment.

In its written response to CBC News, the department claims: "There is no extra cost associated with the training of inspectors as the simulators are part of the department's capital budget, and the inspectors are hired and paid for by Transport Canada."

The federal auditor general's office has yet to turn its sights on Transport Canada's fleets of aircraft.

But in 2008, then auditor general Sheila Fraser found National Defence was wildly understating the real costs of its Challenger passenger jets by about 300 per cent .

As for Transport Canada's fleets of turbo-prop aircraft and helicopters, no one seems able to say how much those cost.

CBC News requested the information using criteria established by the auditor general to establish the true costs of DND's Challenger jets.

Transport Canada replied that CBC would have to pay for more than 30 hours of departmental staff research to ascertain those details.

The CBC declined.

A spokesman for Transport Canada says the department put 15 of its aircraft up for sale in 2009, and has sold eight of them.

So far, however, the department is keeping all of its luxury jets.

http://www.cbc.ca

Barefoot Bandit: "The problem with stealing planes -- you can't fill the tank before you leave" - Former cell mate.



SEATTLE -- The notorious teen known as the Barefoot Bandit says he's worried about his victims.

Colton Harris-Moore reached out to KOMO News from behind prison walls with the help of a former detention inmate.

"He felt like it was important that the word get out. I'm doing what a friend would do," said Mike Maki who spent two weeks locked up with Harris-Moore at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.

Maki said when he first met Harris-Moore, he didn't know much about the teen, but the two bonded over time. He said Harris-Moore told him his story, including where he was headed when he crash-landed a plane in the Bahamas after evading police for more than two years.

"He thought he could get to Cuba. But the problem with stealing planes -- you can't fill the tank before you leave," said Maki.

Police said Harris-Moore criss-crossed the country, breaking into homes and taking what he wanted, including five airplanes and several expensive boats.

"He knows he did something wrong," Maki said.

Maki, who was released last week, said Harris-Moore begged him to contact KOMO News, and more specifically, reporter Michelle Esteban.

He said Harris-Moore is remorseful and worried his uninsured victims won't get paid back.

"(He said,) 'If you would get Michelle the word that I really want to see folks get restitution before the money all gets spent otherwise.' That's justice, and that's what he'd like to see done," Maki said.

Next month, Harris-Moore is expected to plead guilty on state charges as part of a plea deal. But Maki said Harris-Moore is worried the deal with three counties will fall through and affect his victims.

"(He is worried) the money from his movie rights, which is being used for restitution, wouldn't get to the right people," he said.

Twentieth Century Fox reportedly paid more than $1 million for the rights to the Camano Island teen's life story. He can't profit from the movie, but his victims can.

"He's not trying to make a deal for himself. He just wants to make sure uninsured victims get taken care of in the restitution process, and that politics get set aside so justice can really be done," Maki said.

After months of negotiating a potential plea agreement, Skagit County reportedly dropped charges against Harris-Moore to pave the way for a plea agreement with three other counties.

Harris-Moore faces those state charges in court on Dec. 16. He has already pleaded guilty to federal charges.

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Ex-baggage worker awarded €45,000 against Ryanair

A FORMER baggage handler who suffered a back injury while manoeuvring an aircraft stairs unassisted at Dublin airport has been awarded €45,000 damages against Ryanair Ltd at the High Court.

In making the award, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said he regarded the evidence of Damian Warcaba as to the circumstances on the ground leading to his injury in July 2008 as more probable and credible than the evidence of Ryanair.

While Ryanair contended it deprecated the “dangerous manoeuvre” of moving aircraft stairs unassisted, there was nothing to indicate employees were put on report or otherwise dealt with when they took such risks so as to speed up the turnaround of an aircraft, he said.

While Ryanair had set a standard in training concerning this manoeuvre, it was to be regretted that standard was not adhered to in practice, the judge said. He was satisfied nothing in the Ryanair rostering records indicated there was an abundance of, or even sufficient workers, to effect the task Mr Warcaba had carried out.

Mr Warcaba (25), The Rill, Waterside, Malahide, Co Dublin, had brought the case over an incident on July 17th, 2008. Ryanair, sued as a ground handling agent, had denied any liability and claimed Mr Warcaba had breached its standard operating procedures in engaging in a dangerous manoeuvre and was solely responsible for the accident.

In his judgment, the judge said Mr Warcaba was told by Ryanair during training that at least two people had to effect the moving stairs manoeuvre which involved moving an aircraft stairs manually for about three metres to rest against an aircraft.

During that training, other staff members – not the trainers – had made comments that, while that was “the theory”, the reality on the ground would be different, he said.

http://www.irishtimes.com

Airport commission makes second effort. Alva Regional Airport (KAVK), Oklahoma.

It took two meetings, but the Alva Airport Commission set some wheels in motion under the leadership of the new airport manager, Tyson Tucker.

Monday’s regular meeting included only the manager’s report, the approval of the minutes, and comments from board members, but those comments pointed up some immediate needs. Specifically, it was time to dispose of the semi-retired antique Lincoln Continental courtesy car; explore the practicality of the board constructing their own turf runway; and come up with a plan for the location of new hangars.

Present for Monday’s meeting were Acting Chair Paul Kinzie, Secretary Mary Strickland, Gary Lehl and Garrett Steggs along with visitors Mayor Arden Chaffee and City Business Manager Steven Brown. Absent was Bob Baker. Kinzie announced he would call a special meeting for Thursday night to address the above issues.

Special Meeting

The special meeting was again led by Kinzie with Lehl and Steggs present and Strickland and Baker absent. Mayor Chaffee and City Manager Brown also were present along with visitors Bruce Papon and Dale Logsdon.

The board unanimously authorized Tucker to advertise the Continental courtesy car for sale. Although it needs a battery, paint and interior, it’s basically sound, and its 460 engine makes it a popular restoration target of collectors.

The airport’s cross-wind turf runway was destroyed during construction of the new 5,000-foot jet-capable runway, but many light aircraft require a cross-wind option in high east or west winds. Also, many owners of antique tail-draggers insist on operating only from turf.

With the agricultural background of the area, the board appointed Dale Logsdon and Bruce Papon plus board members Paul Kinzie and Bob Baker to a committee along with Tucker to investigate the practicality of simply having board members and staff do the dirt work and plant the grass. However, to maintain FAA grants, it would need to be built to FAA requirements.

The board appointed Mary Strickland and Garrett Steggs to investigate the market and work with the airport consultants to come up with a long-range plan for additional hangars.

Growth of the airport means the probability that hangars will need to be built west of the new runway. Tucker noted Monday he had already been in a preliminary meeting with Garver representatives to discuss the need for new hangars and issues with drainage that needed to be addressed during any new construction.

Airport Manager’s Report

Returning to Monday’s report from Airport Manager Tyson Tucker, he said fuel sales were up with 1,743.4 gallons of 100 low-lead and 5,370.3 of Jet-A. The seismic helicopter from TransAero accounted for 3,790.4 of the Jet-A. Tucker noted the new fuel truck can pump about 100 gallons per minute and suggested advertising we have one of the fastest turn-around times in the Midwest.

Tucker said jet traffic has picked up a lot in the past two weeks and noted the photographs published in the Alva Review-Courier of three jets lined up at the airport with another cleared for arrival. Tucker said the pilots always compliment him on the airport’s service, hospitality, facilities and clean restrooms.

As for personnel, Tucker hired a new part time employee, Greg Robison, and he is learning airport operations quickly. Since the October meeting, the airport crack repair project was completed, Tucker said, and mowing and weed-eating have been completed for the season.

The noise in the rotating beacon was a matter of adjustment, lubrication and the replacement of a v-belt. Problems with navigation lights were traced by Northwest Electric and repaired along with a faulty photocell, Tucker said. The Automated Weather Observation System is still awaiting two parts to be in full service.

At the FAA Southwest Region Conference in Fort Worth Nov. 7- 9, Tucker said he learned a lot and established a working relationship with members of the OAC and FAA that should help resolve current issues with the new runway that have delayed it’s final FAA certification.

The Civil Air Patrol program is still in the process of signing up members and young cadets, Tucker said, and when they have enough members to make up a flight, they will begin to use the terminal every Thursday. Gil Michaelis will be commanding officer for the local flight, Tucker announced.

In other items, Tucker said sealed bid notices will go out on the old road graders and he is obtaining bids on a new concrete floor for the South Building and adding electrical service to it. He is also looking at the possibility of a three-sided building for the fuel trucks and courtesy cars. 

http://news.mywebpal.com

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KAVK

Fly private jet 'empty leg' flights for a fraction

Credit: Jeff Vaughn / KENS 5

Credit: Jeff Vaughn / KENS 5

Credit: Jeff Vaughn / KENS 5

Credit: Jeff Vaughn / KENS 5

Watch Video
San Antonio is becoming a bigger hub for air travel. As more airlines announce more destinations, one type of travel is becoming increasingly accessible. It's a type of air service you probably wouldn't think of using - but you should.

Do you want to spread your wings in a Gulfstream or a Learjet?

Travelers we talked to at San Antonio International Airport think the jet-setting lifestyle is too far out of their reach economically. The average price for a one-hour flight in a private jet is $4,500, but climbing aboard a jet can be affordable and is available in the Alamo City and it's not just for rock stars.

Eric Wells, chief pilot with Private Jets Incorporated says anybody can fly.

“The key point is we are flying, anyway," Wells points out.

There's an emerging market taking flight in San Antonio. The FAA reports 60,000 flights a year land in the Alamo City and hundreds of those are private arrivals with customers paying for the one-way trip.

Those return flights could mean luxury for you at a fraction of the cost.

Pilots call those return flights "empty legs." They are your opportunity to fly in a private jet, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Wells says his empty leg flights out of S.A.'s airport can be purchased for a rock bottom price.

"You can neg your own price and general prices start at 50 percent of a round-trip commercial, and we're always willing to negotiate," he says.

And the negotiated price covers the entire plane.

Fill up a seven-seat Learjet 55, one of Private Jets' planes with family and friends.

“They can take a flight anywhere on this side of the globe,” says Wells.

Your negotiated price is a flat fee. There are no bag fees, no gate fees, and that price includes no lines, little security and no waiting.

But like any deal that sounds too good to be true, there are strings attached.

To take advantage of an empty leg flight, you have to be flexible...and spontaneous.

Wells says you can't pick the day or the time and you can't be late. But if you negotiate an empty leg price, you can go anywhere the private jet is already flying.

This is a new service where negotiating empty leg flights is wide open and going for any price.

Private charter companies are even allowing drop off points. An empty leg to Dallas means you can stop in College Station along the way.

For more on private jet companies offering empty leg flights in and out of San Antonio, check out these websites:



Pilot 'error' blamed for crash

A jury has found a plane crash during an aerobatic display in West Yorkshire which left a pilot dead was caused "primarily by an error of judgment".

Chris Penistone, 31, a pilot for the commercial airline Jet2, was taking part in The Methley Bridge Boatyard Festival when the crash happened during an aerobatic manoeuvre in June last year.

In a narrative verdict, the jury at Leeds Coroners Court said other "cumulative personal and professional pressures" also contributed to the accident.

The jury of five men and six women returned their verdict after an inquest lasting more than a week in which they saw video footage of the crash.

This showed Mr Penistone's light aircraft plunge into the ground after performing a number of spins.

The jury foreman said Mr Penistone was under pressure in the build-up to the crash from a number of sources.

He said these included a building project he was undertaking and a heavy work schedule in the days before the accident. The inquest heard how Mr Penistone "led his life at 150mph" but that he took "every precaution possible" when he flew.

A number of witnesses to the crash on June 19, 2010, said they were concerned at how low the plane seemed to be flying. They described the aircraft climbing vertically before going into a flat spin from which it seemed to recover before crashing.

After the verdicts, Deputy West Yorkshire coroner Melanie Williamson made a series of recommendations about the process through which pilots are certified to perform display aerobatics.

She paid tribute to Mr Penistone, who was from Knottingley, West Yorkshire, and told his family: "He is, no doubt, badly missed by you and his friends."

http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk

Grumman American AA-5A, N26067: Accident occurred November 22, 2011 in Bulverde, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12CA085 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in Bulverde, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/06/2012
Aircraft: Grumman American AA-5A, registration: N26067
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.


The pilot said that he was on a short final approach to land. The airspeed was between 70 and 75 knots indicated, and one-third flaps were extended. When he felt he was in a position to land, he retarded the throttle to idle. The airplane settled rapidly, and the pilot reapplied power. The airplane struck trees in a ravine 300 feet short of the runway. Both wings and the fuselage were buckled. The pilot said that if he had come in higher and faster, the accident most likely would not have occurred.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper glidepath while on final approach.


The pilot said he was on a short final approach to runway 34. The airspeed was between 70 and 75 knots indicated and one-third flaps were extended. When he felt he was in a position to land, he retarded the throttle to idle. The airplane settled rapidly and he reapplied power. The airplane struck trees in a ravine 300 feet short of the runway. Both wings and the fuselage were buckled. The pilot said if he had come in higher and faster, the accident most likely would not have occurred.






Bulverde authorities report a Grumman aircraft crashed just short of the runway late Tuesday afternoon.

The accident happened at around 4 p.m.

The plane, which was out of El Paso, was heading north and was reportedly flying too low when it clipped some trees and crashed into Cibolo Creek.

David Norgart told reporters the pilot of the aircraft was going hunting in South Texas and was picking up another passenger at the Bulverde Airport when he attempted to land, but crashed instead.

The pilot apparently walked off and emergency crews are looking for him.

There are no reported injuries.


http://www.airnav.com/airport/1T8


http://www.kens5.com

More emergency landings at airports than you know


NEW YORK (WABC) -- A passenger's cell phone captured the terrifying minutes of an emergency landing last year at JFK Airport.

A malfunctioning landing gear sent sparks flying as the wing scraped the ground.

None of the 60 passengers was hurt but Eyewitness News discovered these kinds of emergency landings are occurring more often than you would think.

FAA documents Eyewitness News obtained through Freedom of Information reveal an emergency landing occurs nearly every day at JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark Airports.

"American heavy, remove everyone from our way we've declared an emergency," the pilot said in the recording.

Daily operation logs show pilots declaring emergencies for many rather scary reasons: a cargo fire, loss of cabin pressure, a number one engine problem, smoke in the cockpit, a fuel emergency or loss of hydraulics which is what forced frequent flyer, Michael Uslan to text his children goodbye two months ago during an emergency landing at JFK.

"I have never heard a noise like this before on a plane. It was a deep, sounded almost like a zzzzzzzzp, and there was a vibration with it, and I immediately turned to my wife, she was already looking at me and I said, 'I have never heard anything like that before, we're in trouble,'" Uslan said.

"Be aware we're going to be disabled. Emergency," the pilot said.

With loss of hydraulics and brakes, the Continental pilot declared an immediate emergency.

"Just make sure you advise tower that we'll be stopping on runway, we will be disabled," the pilot said.

"We are painfully aware of that sir there is equipment standing by," air traffic control responded.

"People were really concerned and wondering if we were actually going to make it," Uslan said.

They did touchdown safely, but these kinds of emergency landings occurred 66 times at JFK from February through June of this year.

That's more than three times a week.

At Newark, 50 flights made emergency landings while 34 emergencies were declared at LaGuardia during the same 20 week period.

''Everyone is a bona fide emergency, because they do involve the safety of the aircraft in flight, which means that a pilot is going to execute his emergency powers," said J.P. Tristani, a former commercial airline pilot.

J.P. Tristani spent 43 years as a commercial airline pilot.

He believes the sheer number of flights, plus today's aging fleet of planes could account for some of the emergencies.

"Emergency landings within a 20-week time period that come out to about one plus per day yes, I think they deserve further scrutiny and better explanation from the FAA," Tristani said.

http://abclocal.go.com

AĆ©rospatiale AS 350B2 Ecureuil, Helisika Agricultural Ltd, ZK-HIG: Viaduct Harbour, Auckland - New Zealand

GREG GRIBBLE: Has been involved in a helicopter crash at the Auckland Viaduct.

LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax Media
The scene of the crash on Auckland's waterfront.





LATEST: The pilot of a helicopter which crashed in central Auckland while installing the Telecom Christmas tree has miraculously escaped without serious injuries.

Pilot Greg Gribble, of Auckland firm Helisika Helicopters, assured his son he was OK on the way to hospital.

The crew and pilot are OK, Telecom said. A St John ambulance spokesman said it was taking one person to Auckland City Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

Telecom wrote on Twitter: "Can confirm the helicopter that crashed was putting up our Xmas tree. We're really happy to confirm pilot and ground crew all OK."

The accident around 10.30am was seen live on the TVNZ website as it was streaming the event.

The seven-storey-high tree was being put up near the Te Wero Island bridge connecting the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront.

Fire communciations spokesman Tony McDonald said the pilot was the only person in the aircraft during the accident.

"All it's basically done to him is spun him around like a car crash so he'll still have his wits about him."

McDonald said they were bombarded with 111 calls as a result of the accident occuring in such a populated area.

Five trucks and two specialist fire engines were at the scene including one equipped to deal with any fuel leaks though it did not appear the fuel had leaked at this stage.

Civil Aviation had been informed, he said.

The helicopter appeared to be hovering just above the ground when the accident happened.

Witness Steve Hall said the helicopter appeared to be trying to lift a tower near the drawbridge.

It then hovered below the tip of the tower where the blades clipped the connecting wire, threw the wire into the air and sent the helicopter into a spin before it crashed into the ground, with the cockpit pointing up into the air.

Hall and several others, including Grant Cantlay were watching from a boat moored in the viaduct and said they remarked that the blades were getting close to the wire before they struck.

They had seen one person get out of the crashed helicopter on to Te Wero Island in the viaduct, near where a number of superyachts are moored.

The helicopter remains tangled in a tower.

Fire, ambulance and police are at the scene.

The Telecom Christmas tree has been an Auckland institution. Once erected, it was expected that more than 100,000 people would visit. It was scheduled to open on December 2.

- Auckland Now

Watch Raw Video

http://www.stuff.co.nz

Pilot stunt hearing scheduled for May. (New Zealand)

PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media

IN THE DOCK: TV presenter Ben Boyce, right, with crew Daniel Watkins, Bryce Casey, Craig O'Reilly, Gregory Clarke and Andrew Robinson at an earlier appearance in Manukau District Court.


Comedian Ben Boyce will have to wait until half way through next year to find out his fate following his botched made-for-TV airport stunt.

A three-day defended hearing on the case has been scheduled for May for Boyce and five of his colleagues.

The six men pleaded not guilty in the Manukau District Court after being charged when the stunt for his TV3 show WannaBen backfired. It allegedly involved a man in a fake pilot uniform trying to board an Air NZ plane in September.

Boyce, The Rock host Bryce Casey, TV producer Andrew Robinson, Daniel Watkins, Craig O'Reilly and Gregory Clarke all face a charge under the Civil Aviation Act of providing false information in an attempt to gain access to a secure area.

At one of their initial appearances one of the men's lawyers sought diversion, but police recently confirmed that had been denied.

Police confirmed the men face a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Last week lawyer Paul Dacre's application for a variation on bail drew laughter from the public gallery.

He told Judge Anna Johns that the men were barred from going to Auckland Airport but with summer holidays approaching and the Rugby World Cup over, he sought to amend the bail conditions so they could go to the airport "for the purposes of travel".

Judge Johns agreed to the amendment.

At the time, the stunt was widely condemned by the aviation industry which said the men could find it difficult to travel internationally if convicted.

Prime Minister John Key said the stunt, in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and close to the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, was "irresponsible from a bunch of clowns that should know better".

"We are in the middle of hosting a Rugby World Cup and if these are people who are just playing games, they need to grow up."

In a statement issued in September by TV3's owner MediaWorks, Boyce said he was "very sorry for all the trouble [the stunt] has caused".

"This was an attempt at humour which we fully accept was misplaced.

"I cannot say how sorry we all are."

- Auckland Now

http://www.stuff.co.nz

MASWings gets go ahead to become regional airline

KUCHING (Nov 22, 2011): The Federal Government has agreed to Sarawak's proposal for MASWings to become a regional airline, operating within the BIMP EAGA region.

Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg announced this while winding up the debate in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today.

However, he declined to reveal more about the details, saying it involves a lot of technical formalities.

Abang Johari said he will be meeting with his counterpart in Sabah to discuss the organisational structure and the routes which is aimed at enhancing commerce, trade and tourism for Sabah and Sarawak, while connecting Kalimantan, Brunei, Philippines and by extension, to Australia in the future.

“I had said give me three months to sort out the problems arising from the MAS-AirAsia collaboration and I am pleased to say that I have fulfilled my task – at least by obtaining the federal government's approval to make MASwings as a regional player,” he said.

Abang Johari thanked the Federal Government, particularly Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, for agreeing to the state’s proposal..

He said that air connectivity will continue to be the biggest challenge in Sarawak's effort to promote itself as a sustainable tourism destination.

“All our promotional and marketing efforts will be futile if we are not well connected to the main airline hubs and frequency of flights are constantly interrupted,” he said.

He said the recent collaboration exercise and share swap between MAS and Air Asia has already created uncertainty and anxiety among the state’s tourism players.

He said travel agents have to plan and sell their packages abroad well in advance therefore any cancellation of flights is detrimental to consumer confidence in the state’s tourism industry.

“With the termination of Firefly flights into Kuching (which ran seven time daily) from Kuala Lumpur and Johore (twice daily), accessibility into the state will be adversely affected, bearing in mind the favourable load factor of at least 90% on Firefly flights.

“The vacuum left by Firefly will definitely affect the number of visitor arrivals into Sarawak especially for the coming months,” he said.

Abang Johari said the State Tourism Ministry had adopted a number of action plans to minimise the impact of the termination of Firefly flights to Kuching.

These include the continuation to engage with MAS and Air Asia to ensure that the frequency of flights into Sarawak is not interrupted and to explore the possibility of opening new routes.

He said he will lead a special delegation to meet with the relevant federal agencies to express and convey Sarawak’s concern and the need to give priority to air travel and air connectivity into Sarawak in view of the state’s geographical size and lack of a comprehensive road network.

“My ministry is also looking into the feasibility and viability of introducing amphibious planes to serve selected remote tourism destinations such as Batang-Ai and Bakun to value add visitors’ experience,” he said.

http://www.thesundaily.my