Friday, December 2, 2011

Vision Airlines says it has taken steps towards paying $260,000 airport debt

Vision Airlines still owes roughly $260,000 in unpaid passenger fees to Northwest Florida Regional Airport, but arrangements have been made to start paying off the debt.

In October, it was reported that Vision Airlines was behind in its passenger facility charge payments to Northwest Florida Regional Airport and other airports as well.

Since that time, the majority of the payments for the other airports have been sent or arrangements have been made to do so in the near future, including at Northwest Florida Regional, where Vision owned the most money, Clay Meek, director of sales for Vision Airlines, said.

“There has been an agreed arrangement made and (the passenger facility charges) will be paid in a timely manner,” he said.

Jon Morris, finance manager for the airport, said they were contacted by Vision Airlines on Friday and told to expect weekly payments starting soon.

“They’re making good faith efforts,” Morris said.

A $4.50 passenger facility charge is collected by each airline for every paying passenger who departs from Northwest Florida Regional. The airlines keep 11 cents from each charge for collecting the fee, but are supposed to pay the remaining $4.39 to the airport within 30 days after the end of the month in which it is collected.

Vision Airlines started offering flights out of Northwest Florida Regional in December 2010, but did not make its first passenger facility charge payment until early October, when it sent in $55,000.

In October, Meek said Vision’s credit card processor, First Data, was withholding millions of dollars in revenues from the airline. On Friday, he said their situation has not changed.

“As long as we’re doing scheduled service, they’re holding those funds,” Meek said.

According to figures released by Visit Florida, each visitor the airline brings to the Emerald Coast spends an average of $975. The study states Vision Airlines has brought $72 million in economic impact to the region since starting service in December 2010.

Meek said the airline is currently evaluating its future plans and anticipates announcing its expanded spring and summer 2012 schedule later this month or early next month.

“We’ve looked at the different cities and some of the cities that we worked with performed really well and some of them performed very poorly,” Meek said. “If we come back in, it will be based on the cities that performed well for us.”

NTSB to Hold Hearing on Air Shows and Races

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board has announced plans to hold a hearing in Washington D.C. next month on the safety of air races and air shows.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams tells The Associated Press the hearing is "not directly related" to the Sept. 16 crash that killed 11 people and injured more than 70 at the National Air Race Championships in Reno.

He said on Friday the NTSB has investigated a number of fatal incidents at air races and air shows over the years and decided it was time to review them as a whole. He says Reno is the only place where air races of this type still take place.

Williams says NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman and all five board members plan to participate in the hearing Jan. 10.

http://www.kolotv.com
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Alabama: Trial in lawsuit over Huntsville Air Show death set for 2013

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The lawsuit brought by the family of a 5-year-old boy killed at the 2008 Air Show at the Huntsville International Airport has been given a February 2013 trial date.

The lawsuit was brought in July 2008 on behalf of the family of Josiah Miller. The boy was killed after a sudden storm hit the air show, lifting a string of hospitality tents from the ground and causing a large air conditioner to fall on the child.

The lawsuit argues required inspections were not performed on the tents and air-conditioning units and generators were set up much closer to the public than is allowed by Huntsville fire code.

It also argues there was not a proper evacuation plan for severe weather, other than sending people into the tents, even though possible thunderstorms had been forecast the day before the fatal accident.

The lawsuit names tent provider All Needz Rental, the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority and Air Show 2008. Authority marketing director Barbie Peek and authority operations director Doug Kreulen were also named for their roles in organizing the show.

Aggreko LLC, who provided the air-conditioning unit to the air show and Empresas Mayer, a Mexico-based air-conditioning unit manufacturer.

Aggreko has also filed a cross-claim against All Needz.

The parties agreed on the trial date, after learning there were only two available civil trial dates in 2012 on Madison County Circuit Judge Karen Hall's full court calendar.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (KIWA) seeks FAA aid on noise

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is much busier and noisier than it was 12 years ago, the last time the federal government thoroughly evaluated how communities deal with its roaring and whining aircraft.

A rapidly growing airline that serves 32 cities wasn't on the airport's radar at the time, nor were the three large service centers of major aircraft companies that attract corporate jets and other general-aviation traffic.

And it didn't have to worry about population increases in now-burgeoning communities like east Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

The new businesses are part of decibel-building developments that are expected to increase as the Valley's only reliever airport evolves into a sprawling, jobs, education and research center over the next several decades.

Now Gateway officials say they are asking the Federal Aviation Administration to take another hard look at developing a balanced and cost-effective plan for reducing the impact of noise from airport operations where practical.

Although the number of noise complaints has actually decreased during the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period last year, airport officials say more noise is a certainty.

"The airport will get louder," said Casey Denny, Gateway's assistant director.

The 12-to-18-month assessment, he said, will be used to rewrite the airport's noise compatibility plan, control land development, reduce aircraft noise and mitigate the impact of noise on development.

Casey said the FAA will finance approximately 90 percent of the assessment, and because of current budget constraints, is more likely to conduct the so-called Part 150 study in 2013 or 2014

The results will be used to overhaul the airport's Noise Compatibility Plan and ensure that it is workable, efficient and improves the compatibility between aircraft and various land uses in Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

"The reason for the full study is because of changes in the communities that it needs to take into account, not as much for changes at the airport," Denny said.

"Community General Plans for Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek look different than they did during the last study, and we want to reconfirm that all of those plans are still compatible," he said. "We look at every case (community building request) that comes through on a case-by-case basis. But we need to step back and look at the bigger picture."

Planning directors for the communities told the airport's governing board that their municipalities have grown and developed in other ways since 1999 when the last comprehensive noise study was conducted.

Denny said it will also help the airport continue its mission to serve the Southeast Valley and the state by heightening awareness that increasing noise is inevitable and Gateway will continue to work with communities to lessen its impact.

He said he wasn't raising a caution flag to builders contemplating residential development near the airport, although community planners and municipal officials have discouraged home construction under flight contours where aircraft operations are noisiest.

But as new technologies soften the impact of noise, government regulators' attitudes about keeping all home construction at bay are also changing.

Mesa Planning Director John Wesley said noise-attenuation products used in today's buildings make it more difficult to "draw hard, fast lines" on an airport area planning map.

"If you can show us a way it can be done and not negatively impact the airport we are willing to listen and consider," he said.

Gilbert Planning Manager Kyle Mieras told airport board members that most property near the airport's highest decibel contours is commercial development along the west side of Power Road on Gateway's eastern boundary.

But the community that most often takes the brunt of aircraft noise is Queen Creek, the town's planning administrator, Wayne Balmer, said during a recent airport governing board meeting.

The longest portion of the airport's loudest noise contour extends over Queen Creek, which is immediately south of the former Air Force base, and includes a landing path for commercial and military aircraft.

Airport spokesman Brian Sexton said about 70 percent of arriving aircraft approaches runways from the south.

"Though planes are traveling at slower air speeds and their engines are not at full thrust, they are closer to the ground for a long duration and that may seem noiser," he said.

Balmer said Queen Creek has tried to set aside as much of the area as possible for manufacturing and related uses.

Sexton said noise complaints declined 38 percent this year compared with the number of complaints filed from Jan. 1 through Oct. 31, 2010, while the number of airport flights, most of them general aviation and military, dropped by 2 percent.

VIDEO: Flexjet's Reid on Private, Fractional Jet Sales

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Fred Reid, president of Flexjet, talks about sales of private jets and fractional airplane ownership. He speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock."

Blind ex-pilot turns his energy to helping others

In early 1996, Abbas "Bobby" Quamar was a 22-year-old captain with Air India. He had graduated at the top of his class from the Indira Gandhi National Flying Academy, and had been a licensed commercial pilot for two years.

But on March 23 of that year, everything changed. Quamar was landing an 11-seat turboprop in Patna, in northern India, when a vulture flew into the windshield.

Vultures -- common to Patna because of its butcheries -- had hit planes before and usually were sucked up into their engines. This time the Plexiglas windshield shattered, sending shards and splinters into the pilot's face and eyes.

The co-captain managed to land the plane safely. Quamar was transported to a New Delhi hospital, which treated his broken nose and jaw and facial wounds. But with no specialized treatment for his eyes, Quamar lost his sight.

His quest to begin a new and useful life eventually led him to the U.S., and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, where he is working on a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling.

Initial attempts to restore his vision were unsuccessful. The splinters had damaged the retina, the beginning of the optic nerve with its millions of fibers and cells. No medical facility in India had the technology for restoration surgery. The delay in obtaining surgery caused further damage. Scar tissue formed.

He and his father, Mafood Quamar, an anesthesiologist, traveled to Belgium, but it was too late for surgery to be effective. An operation there restored less than 1 percent of his vision - just enough to allow him to see light colors and make out a little bit of shadow.

Now, 15 years later, Quamar says, "My search for a cure or treatment will never end. No stone will be left unturned. But whether I gain that or not, I still need to move forward."
"I did not want to live a life of mediocrity. I had excelled at aviation and all the sciences, and now it was as if the world was moving at jet speed and I was standing still. I knew that unless I started moving, I wouldn't achieve," he said.
From the earliest days of his recovery, his mother, Bano Quamar, urged him to strive to reach his potential, and that still is his goal.

"I did not want to live a life of mediocrity. I had excelled at aviation and all the sciences, and now it was as if the world was moving at jet speed and I was standing still. I knew that unless I started moving, I wouldn't achieve," he said.

His hometown of Indore in Central India had limited rehabilitation resources. He learned to use computer screen readers and other technology designed for people with vision impairment. He mastered Braille in just six sessions -- the shortest time of any student at that particular center.

His next step was to pursue a degree in tourism studies, but he arrived at an unexpected turning point when Deshraj Arya, the director of a complementary medicine center, told him, "You are a young healthy man. You can help others."

"His comment changed my perspective," Quamar said. "I began to think about what I could do for others, not just what I could do for myself."

He began to study acupressure and worked in Dr. Arya's center for a number of years. He earned a degree in therapeutic massage, worked in London, and then decided to pursue a degree in physical therapy in the United States. After 18 months in the physical therapy doctoral program at Pitt, difficulty with accommodations led him to switch to rehabilitation counseling. He will graduate in 2013.

"Compared to other countries, there's a big difference here in the U.S. in regard to disability. But in spite of all the laws, it's not always a level playing field," he said.

Nevertheless, he said he is pleased with his decision to join the rehabilitation counseling program. "The school is fortunate to have Bobby," said associate dean Kathryn Seelman, one of his professors this term. "He is an engaged and excellent student."

Quamar's life took another turn in 2008, when he met his future wife, Tina, a native of India who was a physical therapy student at Michigan State. The couple connected through a singles group sponsored by their religious community, and discussed his blindness in many phone and email conversations before finally meeting.

"When we were planning to meet in Pittsburgh for the first time, I told him that if I felt I could not handle his blindness, I would immediately turn around and return to Michigan. That didn't happen," she said with a laugh.

 http://www.therepublic.com

Airport Manager Selection Ends a Year Long Search. Roberts Field (KRDM) Redmond, Oregon

REDMOND, Ore. -- The city of Redmond announced Thursday it has hired San Francisco airport official Kim Dickie as its next airport director, succeeding long-time Roberts Field Manager Carrie Novick.

Dickie is currently assistant deputy airport director for security at San Francisco International Airport, where she has served in various management positions for over 20 years.

Dickie is an experienced civilian and military officer with comprehensive experience in many facets of aviation operations.

She is currently a colonel in the Air Force Reserves, and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Southern California.

City officials said Dickie will join the Redmond team in January 2012.

SFO is the nation's 10th-largest airport, with more than 18 million annual boardings. By comparison, Roberts Field had 236,000 boardings last year.

The new selection actually comes on the third search for an airport manager. Earlier this year, two finalist candidates were invited to interview, but both dropped out of the running. In May, the job was offered to Wisconsin resident John Reed, but he declined the offer over concerns about whether his wife, a high school teacher, would be able to find a job in the area.

Novick had planned to retire June 30, but agreed to stay on until the position was filled.

 http://airnav.com/airport/KRDM

 http://www.ktvz.com

Adventure aviation in Tauranga, New Zealand

Adrenalin junkies will now be able to take joyrides over Tauranga in a Russian fighter-trainer plane at speeds of up to 320km/h.

Double X Flight, started by experienced pilot Peter Meadows, has become the first tourist operator in the country to be certified under the new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) adventure aviation regulation.

John Lanham, CAA's general manager general aviation, yesterday presented Meadows with his Part 115 operating certificate in his hangar at Tauranga Airport.

Standing behind them was the two-seater, red and white Yak-52, initially designed for military pilot training and now a part of the local adventure tourism scene.

The new regulation, signed into law on November 10, applies to sport and recreational aircraft, including warbirds, that are used to carry passengers for "hire and reward".

Lanham said New Zealand was the first country in the world to apply a rule for adventure aviation. Australia, Britain and Canada have been following the introduction of the regulation.

"For the first time, people can legitimately operate without charades, such as 'buy a T-shirt and get a free flight'. We've facilitated a commercial operation under clearly defined standards, and this ensures the public can buy a ticket and be assured they will be safe," said Lanham.

The rule, having the same standards as general aviation operators, also covers tandem parachuting, hang-gliding and gliders, hot air balloons and microlights.

Lanham predicted that over the next 18 months, up to 50 operators would be seeking an adventure aviation certificate.

"For some time people have been using aircraft for adventure aviation but they haven't been entirely legitimate. We have empowered them as long as they meet the required standards," he said.

Lanham said adventure aviation would be a burgeoning sector because New Zealand was the adventure capital of the world. It could become a major part of the tourism industry here, he said.

"For instance, the biggest tandem parachuting business in the world is in Taupo. A spin-off is that people can come to air shows and then enjoy a (legitimate) flight themselves," he said.

Meadows, a pilot for 29 years and a member of the Warbirds Association for 17 years, bought the Yak-52 from an Australian owner four years ago.

His plane, with a maximum speed of 420km/h, was built in 1996 and has flown only 700 hours, but the Yak-52s were initially used to train fighter pilots behind the Iron Curtain.

Once the Eastern Bloc was opened up, there was a lot of demand from the West for the plane because of its relatively low cost and high performance, and it continued to be produced. The Yak-52 has dual controls and is easy to fly aerobatic manoeuvres.

Meadows will be taking his customers on a 20-minute flight, first over the Mount Maunganui beaches for some aerobatics and then entering a loop at 320km/h, pulling four G-force acceleration.

"I'll then let them take over the controls for a nice flight over the city," he said.

For the past two years Meadows was flying the Stearman and Ag Cat aircraft for Classic Flyers, and before that he flew a Cessna 337 Skymaster for VIP Air, based in Hamilton.

With his wife Brenda, he also ran an adventure tourism business in Coromandel called Pauanui Adventures, and they also developed the Charlemagne Lodge in Te Puna.

Meadows said he would like to increase his fleet for his new adventure aviation business. He is looking to introduce another Yak-52 so he can do combat and formation flying, and he wants to see a jet - such as an L39 Albatross - operating out of Tauranga.

"Now we have a proper licence, we have something to build on," Meadows said. "I believe it's really exciting for Tauranga, and we can get adventure aviation up and running from a tourism perspective.

"People see Queenstown as the adrenalin capital, but Tauranga has the activities to match them."

Graham Skellern is business editor of the Bay of Plenty Times

Convenience store near Elmira/Corning Regional (KELM) burglarized.

BIG FLATS, NEW YORK — The Chemung County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at the Harnas Readi Mart, located on Sing Sing Road near the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.

The burglary occurred in the early morning hours Friday. The store was forcibly entered and cash and merchandise were stolen, deputies report.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 737-2933.

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

CANADA: Air safety proposal aims to prevent fatal crashes for smaller planes

The federal government has proposed new safety measures for private and commercial airplanes that would equip the aircraft with a warning system geared to prevent often-fatal collisions with natural terrain and other obstacles.

The terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) would be implemented for aircraft with six or more passenger seats, resulting in improved safety and increased competitiveness in the international market, Transportation Minister Denis Lebel said Friday.

"Our government will continue strengthening aviation safety for Canadians," Lebel said in a statement. "Using TAWS will significantly reduce the risk of airplane crashes with land, water or obstacles."

The TAWS uses alerts, both audible and visual, to warn pilots about potential collision risks and aims to provide sufficient time to take action to prevent an air crash.

The Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities said most Canadian air carriers that operate internationally now use the system, but the proposed requirements would extend to all aircraft that meet the six-seat criteria.

The proposal was forwarded to the Treasury Board in October. In a news release, the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities said the implementation of the program to all applicable aircraft in the country would result in a cost savings of $215 million over 10 years through death prevention and a reduction in serious injuries and property damage.

Without knowing precise figures, airline analyst Robert Kokonis, of Air Trav Inc. said implementing the safety systems would costs six figures per aircraft, which he said could be a tough burden to bear for some smaller airlines.

"It would be something to enhance safety — at any airline, safety is always your No. 1 concern," Kokonis said.

"For some of these smaller carriers that work on tighter margins, especially in an era of (high fuel) costs and uncertain economic times and now we'd add on an extra cost. Of course, if it's mandated by the government, they're going to have no choice."

The proposal estimated that it would cost a total of $59 million for "equipping and retrofitting the remainder of the fleet" with both TAWS and an enhanced altitude accuracy system.

"There would be some cost associated with the implementation of these proposed amendments, but the risks associated with . . . accidents would be reduced, resulting in fewer deaths, serious injuries and material loss," the proposal reads. "Businesses and consumers would therefore benefit from the increased safety of aircraft. Moreover, airlines travelling to the United States and to the European Union would be in compliance with similar regulations in those jurisdictions, strengthening Canada's ability to compete economically in those markets."

It is not clear whether the First Air plane that crashed into a hillside in foggy conditions in Resolute, Nunavut, on Aug. 20, had similar safety mechanisms in place or whether that crash, which claimed 12 lives and left three survivors, led to the TAWS proposal.

The proposal notes that between 1977 and 2009, 35 planes "were flown into the ground while under pilot control" in Canada, leading to 100 deaths and 46 serious injuries.

Chicago/Rockford International Airport (KRFD) Makes Security Improvements after Drunk Drivers Crash through Fences


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Rockford Airport is making some security improvements after a drunk driver crashed onto the property. Some employees are calling people crashing onto the airport property a chronic problem.

The installation of barricades are what some airport leaders are calling two weeks too late. Just last weekend police say a drunk driver broke through this fence and ended up cruising around a section of the airfield.

RFD Supervisor Zack Oakley said, “Before this incident happened on Sunday we actually started this project already it's unfortunate this wasn't completely before this happened.”

RFD's operations department is spending more than five thousand dollars to fix the problem. On Monday, employees will install six wooden reflective barriers to stop cars from crashing through the fence at the corner of Kishwaukee Street and Airport Drive. That's actually where a second drunk driver crashed and landed on a taxiway in March.

Oakley said, "It still is a concern no matter when it happens because of the fact that we may not have anything moving on the ground but there might be an aircraft we want to make sure everything is clear and ready to go at all times."

Airport spokespeople say night time drivers are constantly running through the stop sign causing accidents in the same area. They hope the eight thousand ton barricades will keep us safe on the street and in the air.

Oakley said, "We want to make sure we stop this problem from this point forward.”

The barriers will be installed Monday and Tuesday. Airport leaders believe this will fix the problem. The FAA is now investigating last weekend's crash.

Library hosts Alaska Photo Pilot Slide Show

Photo-pilot, naturalist and author Mark Stadsklev will present his Alaska Photo Pilot Slide Show and sign copies of his book in Ramona Library at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6.

Stadsklev is a long-time Alaska resident and bush pilot. At his “day job” he captures scenic panoramas and close-ups of nature in Alaska and other locations portraying majestic American scenery.

Much of his work is available at www.alaskaphotopilot.com or on his DVD “My Alaskan Journey.”

National Geographic Magazine featured his unique photography in its special Summer 2011 edition. Many of his photos have been purchased for personal/public collections and won national awards, while others have been printed in books, magazines and calendars.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to pick up his beautiful, reasonably priced, book for a holiday season gift,” said Eleanor “Ellie” Slade, branch manager of Ramona Community Library.

The library is at 1275 Main St. and may be contacted at 760-788-5274.


http://www.ramonasentinel.com

Airport improvements continue: Leesville (L39), Louisiana.

Leesville, La. —  At its regular meeting Monday, the Leesville City Council approved invoices totaling more than $127,000 to Pan American Engineers, Inc. for work on Phase I of the Runway Safety Area Improvement Project at the Leesville City Airport.

KDC Construction of Pineville is also involved in the project. The $348,588 contract will improve and enhance aircraft and runway safety and ultimately add approximately 19 acres of level ground for future expansion.

Phase II will continue improvement efforts of Phase I and create an overrun area north of the runway. All funding for airport improvement projects comes from federal and state aviation trust funds. The trust funds are maintained by excise and sales taxes that aircraft operators pay on aviation fuel purchases.

Paul Jackson, Leesville’s airport director, was at the meeting to answer questions from council members concerning another issue: a resolution to advertise for bids for the sale of timber at the airport.

He said that timber running the entire length of the runway on the east side and to some degree on the north, has become a hazard, since it has grown up into protected air space. The timber has not yet been appraised, said Jackson, but he opined that most of it is suitable for wood chips with a small percentage useful for saw timber.
The council unanimously approved the resolution.

http://www.leesvilledailyleader.com

Millions More in Upgrades Coming to Arlington Municipal Airport. Set to add a new runway and make improvements by early 2013.

The Arlington Municipal Airport will make millions more in improvements next year, including a 4900-foot taxiway and connector that will serve as a temporary runway.

According to airport officials, the new taxiway's dimensions will accommodate 70-80 percent of the different types of aircraft that land at the airport.

"Our goal is to land as much as possible in case the primary runway is closed," said Assistant Airport Manager, Karen Vanwinkle.

Currently, the airport only has one runway. The added taxiway would allow the airport services business to continue as normal when the main runway closes.

Among the improvements, the airport will replace all runway and taxiway signs, improve the drainage system, add lighting equipment, and relocate Taxiway "B" to the north side of the airport.

"The construction of the project is designed to provide as minimal an impact as possible on airport operations," Vanwinkle said, one of the reasons why the construction will take place at night.

These $7.8 million changes come after a $5.1 million terminal built last year. The majority of the $7.8 million needed for this new project will come from a federal grant while $1.4 million will come from the city.

But some of the business owners around the airport seem to be more concerned about spending city money to complete the project.

"Do an addition just because of the federal government?" President of RVR Aviation, Ron Whitehead questioned. "The city still has to pay."

Airport officials, however, believe that the changes coming to the airport are necessary to reflect future business partnerships that can be fostered because of the added space. Eighty percent of the available land on the east side has already been developed.

By providing a new taxiway, another 100 acres of suitable land can be developed on the western side, which they argue, would equip the Arlington Municipal Airport to better handle corporate clients who fly into the Metroplex.

Construction is scheduled to begin in late February and conclude in early 2013. 

Qatar Airways flights to Syria fully operational

Contrary to recent media reports, Qatar Airways confirms scheduled passenger flights to and from Syria are fully operational and that reports the airline has suspended services are completely unfounded.

Qatar Airways has only reduced frequency from 10 flights a week to 7 services each week to and from Damascus due to a reduction in traffic. Passengers holding reservations on the three cancelled flights have been re-booked on the other Damascus services. The airline continues to operate flights to both Damascus and Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the airline has expanded operations in China with the launch of scheduled flights to Chongqing, the airline’s fifth Chinese destination and 15th route start-up this year. Flight QR848 arrived at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport to an impressive water salute following its non-stop journey from the airline’s operational hub of Doha. Passengers and operating crew were given a red carpet arrival by airport officials. The new thrice-weekly flights join Qatar Airways’ four other Chinese destinations — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

As a major manufacturing centre, Chongqing is a key transportation hub located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, a vitally important shipping waterway in China. With Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, it is also one of only four municipalities in China, which report directly to the national government.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the new Chongqing flights reflected the importance of China’s growing economy in the eyes of the world. “Qatar Airways has been closely monitoring the dynamic Chinese market and looking at viable opportunities,” he said, adding, “we are extremely delighted to spread our award-winning services to our fifth Chinese gateway with our latest route.

“Qatar Airways is demonstrating confidence of doing business with partners in China and the opening of Chongqing, particularly being an up-and-coming city, shows our commitment to a vibrant economy.”

Caribbean Airlines plane makes emergency landing

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC - A Caribbean Airlines plane en route from the Bahamas to Kingston made an emergency landing at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Thursday night.

A brief statement from the airline said flight BW62, which departed Nassau for Kingston with a scheduled stop in Montego Bay, undertook a controlled emergency landing. It did not say how many people were on the flight.

Reports said that the plane took off from Sangster International but had to return shortly after due to technical issues.

No details were provided by the Trinidad-based airline.

Caribbean Airlines said the aircraft landed safely and none of the passengers was injured.

Thursday night’s incident came three months after one of the airline’s planes crashed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana.

The plane broke in two, however, the 157 passengers and 6 crew members, survived.

Watch Liam Neeson In New THE GREY Trailer

Watch Liam Neeson as a unlikely hero who is forced to lead a group of roughnecks in their fight to survive and return home when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling injuries and merciless weather, the men must escape the icy elements – and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt – before their time runs out.


From director Joe Carnahan (THE A TEAM, NARC, SMOKIN’ ACES), THE GREY stars Liam Neeson (TAKEN, UNKNOWN) along with Frank Grillo (WARRIOR, upcoming LAY THE FAVORITE, GANGSTER SQUAD), Dermot Mulroney (J. EDGAR, upcoming BIG MIRACLE), Dallas Roberts (THE L WORD) and Joe Anderson (ABC’s upcoming series THE RIVER, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE). The film will be in theaters everywhere on January 27th, 2012.
Official Site: www.thegreythemovie.com
Official Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TheGreyMovie
Official Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/#!/TheGreyMovie

Troubled airport hotel gets grounded. LaGuardia Plaza Hotel will close in March.

Travelers looking for a convenient place to stay near La Guardia won't be able to book a room at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel for much longer. Located just one mile from the Queens airport, the hotel will close in March of next year.

The 358-room property at 104-04 Ditmars Blvd, which boasts an indoor pool, has had a troubled past.

In 2004, its owner, Martin Field, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the property and another one he owned, a Holiday Inn, located near John F. Kennedy International Airport. According to published news reports at the time, Mr. Field defaulted on more than $87 million in city-backed bonds that originally financed the hotels' construction.

The hotelier also appeared on a list in 2000 of companies and their officers who owe the city business taxes. The city said Mr. Field owed more than $1.2 million in occupancy taxes for a Days Inn hotel near LaGuardia Airport.

Over the years, there have also been labor walkouts at his properties. Local 6, which represent hotel workers, won an election at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel but it has never been able to secure a contract with management, according to sources familiar with the situation.

“There has been picketing at that hotel for years,” said one source.

The LaGuardia Plaza Hotel, which employs 64 workers, will close in March 2012, according to a notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor.

A hotel manager declined to comment and Mr. Field did not immediately return a phone call. The reason stated for the closure is “economic.” The property used to be part of the Crowne Plaza chain, but last year it became and independent hotel.

The parent corporation for the property, Field Associates, is located in Valley Forge, Pa.

The Government of Canada takes action to enhance air safety

No. H120/11
For release - December 2, 2011

OTTAWA — The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced proposed new regulations to enhance the safety of Canadian aviation. These regulations would require private and commercial airplanes with six or more passenger seats to be equipped with an alert system known as the "terrain awareness and warning system" (TAWS).

“Our government will continue strengthening aviation safety for Canadians,” said Minister Lebel. “Using TAWS will significantly reduce the risk of airplane crashes with land, water or obstacles.”

TAWS provides acoustic and visual alerts to flight crews when the path of their aircraft is predicted to collide with terrain, water or obstacles — a situation that can occur when visibility is low or the weather is poor. This gives the flight crew sufficient time to take evasive action.

These types of accidents often happen when pilots are unaware of the danger until it is too late. The risk is even greater for small aircraft, which fly further into remote wilderness or mountainous areas but are not currently required to have the same proximity warning equipment as large airliners.

The proposed regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization's standards and help harmonize Canadian regulations more closely with those of other aviation authorities, including those in the United States and European Union. Canada's Transportation Safety Board also recommends the wider use of TAWS to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain.

Transport Canada is committed to the continuous improvement of aviation safety. These proposed amendments will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 3, 2011. Stakeholders will have a 75-day consultation period to comment on the proposed regulations before they are finalized and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

– 30 –

Contacts:

Pierre Floréa
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa
613-991-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
 
(Hat tip to Graham)

Former Norfolk eagle found injured in Northern Neck

A bald eagle that was released in August after being rescued from the nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden was found injured Thursday night in Ophelia.

The eagle, called NX, was found about 10:45 p.m. in the middle of the road near the Ophelia, Va., post office, according to The Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

The female eagle was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator. The eagle was reported to have a wing droop and blood in its mouth, but was feisty and in good condition otherwise.

The eagle was being taken to the wildlife center in Waynesboro this afternoon for care.

The eaglet and two others were removed from their nest in the Norfolk garden in April after their mother was killed in a collision with an airplane at Norfolk International Airport. Wildlife experts feared the eaglets' care would be too much for the father eagle and made the decision to take them to the center in Waynesboro until they were able to be released.

The other two eaglets were released in July. 

Qantas black mark

 Scott Salisbury was far from impressed when his Qantas flight taxied twice before aborting take-off due to mechanical failure. 
Picture: BRAD FLEET

A QANTAS plane bit the dust in a mission to taxi a packed Perth-bound flight to the runway of Darwin International Airport - twice.

Flight QF793 was delayed until 8am today after the plane's engine packed it in.

One passenger, Scott Salisbury, said: "There are a lot of pissed-off people in this airport."

He said he was sick of "lame excuses about safety first" and believed the maintenance issue was a roll-on problem from last month's heavy industrial action.

QF793 was meant to take off at 2.30pm on Friday.

A Qantas spokeswoman told the NT News the crew noticed an engine control light was on as the aircraft prepared for take-off.

Passengers disembarked - to the bar - and the problem was investigated.

The same aircraft was re-boarded - but the warning light was still on.

Passengers were told a "new part" would be needed.

Mr Salisbury, who works at Adelaide River, said: "The underlying question is why is there a safety risk?

"What really pisses me off is you get on to their website and there's the nice lady telling you everything is 'back on schedule' - when really very few of my flights have been right in the past few months.

"They gave us enough information not to make us feel like total mushrooms.

"But it was all pretty low-ended."

He said he flew with Qantas about twice a week.

"It is getting annoying with flights not going on time - or at all."

He said it was the first time his plane had twice not made it on to the runway.

 http://www.ntnews.com.au

Supreme Court notices to Jet Airways, Sahara on sellout dispute

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today issued notices on cross appeals by Sahara India and Jet Airways challenging a Bombay High Court order directing the latter to pay a renegotiated amount instead of the original determined price for purchase of Sahara Airlines (now Jetlite) in 2007.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar granted six weeks to the two parties to file their counter-affidavits and two weeks thereafter for the rejoinders.

On October 17, the high court had upheld its earlier order by a single judge asking Jet Airways to pay nine per cent interest on the balance amount of purchase price to Sahara.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice G S Godbole had dismissed appeals of Sahara India and Jet Airways challenging the May 5 order of the single bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud.

The bench had ruled that the two appeals filed by Sahara India and Jet Airways were "not maintainable" as only an SLP was maintainable against the order of the single judge.

Earlier, Jet had given an undertaking that it will not dispose of the property during the pendency of the appeal filed by Sahara.

Sahara had contended that Jet Airways was liable to pay Rs 2,000 crore, the original buyout price, instead of the renegotiated amount of Rs 1,450 crore because the latter had defaulted in paying installments by deducting income tax dues.

Both sides had agreed to the renegotiated price on condition that Jet would not default in paying installments.

Jet Airways contended that they were not liable to pay interest on balance amount at nine per cent as they had not defaulted in payments but had only deducted income tax dues which were liable to be paid by Sahara.

In its appeal, Sahara has staked its claim for Rs 2,000 crore, the original price for the buyout. It said the court had erred in holding that Jet Airways was liable to pay the renegotiated amount of Rs 1,450 crore.

Sahara sought a stay on the order passed by Justice Chandrachud on May 5. The single judge had asked Jet Airways to pay the remaining amount of Rs 478 crore (from the purchase price of Rs 1,450 crore) within two weeks to Sahara for the buyout.

The Rs 478 crore comprised interest accrued at the rate of nine per cent, as ordered by the judge, on the initial pending amount of Rs 402 crore.

Sahara pleaded in its appeal that nine per cent interest was less and it should get more. After the deal was signed, Jet had paid Rs 900 crore to Sahara and agreed to pay the remaining amount in four installments from 2008.

The Income Tax department had earlier slapped a notice of Rs 107 crore on Sahara. While Jet said Sahara was liable to pay this amount as it pertained to period before acquisition of the airline, Sahara argued it was not liable to pay for it.

On account of the I-T notice, Jet deducted Rs 37 crore and Rs 50 crore respectively, from the two installments it had paid to the Lucknow-based corporate group. This prompted Sahara India to contend in the high court that Jet Airways had defaulted in payment, a charge which the latter contested.

European Union Says It’s Terminated Launch-Aid Deals in WTO Airbus Case

The European Union said it secured repayment of so-called launch aid loans to Airbus SAS and terminated all related accords to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling that such payments break global rules.

WTO judges said in June 2010 that loans from EU governments including Spain, the U.K., France and Germany were unfair subsidies that had an adverse effect on Airbus’s U.S. rival, Boeing Co. (BA) While the Geneva-based WTO can’t force nations to scrap illegal aid, it can authorize sanctions against governments that fail to comply with its rulings.

The EU said in its compliance report today that it had raised fees and lease payments on infrastructure support to meet market principles and ensured that capital contributions and regional-aid subsidies have “come to an end.” The EU said its measures affect Airbus’s A300, A310, A320, A330, A340 and A380 aircraft “as well as derivatives thereof.”

“As a result of these steps and other intervening market events, the European Union has addressed the forms of adverse effects covered” by the WTO ruling, according to the report.

Boeing declined to comment on the report and referred to its statement yesterday that said the EU would be in compliance with WTO rules only if it scrapped launch aid. The U.S. Trade Representative also declined to comment.

The document was submitted to the U.S. and the WTO yesterday in the seven-year legal battle over aid to Airbus and Boeing, the world’s two biggest commercial planemakers. Boeing has said Toulouse, France-based Airbus received $18 billion in illegal subsidies, including $15 billion in launch aid, while the EU has called that a “fantasy figure.”

Boeing Subsidies

A WTO panel concluded in March that Chicago-based Boeing received at least $5.3 billion in illegal U.S. support, unfairly tilting the $70 billion civil-aviation industry. Both the EU and U.S. appealed that judgment.

The two WTO panel reports finding that both aircraft makers got illegal subsidies may establish industry-defining guidelines for government support that become even more important as competitors from China, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere emerge.

The U.S. and Europe filed counter-cases at the WTO in 2004 after the administration of President George W. Bush unilaterally walked out of a 1992 aircraft-aid accord with the EU. Boeing lost its industry lead to Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., in 2003.

Range Regional Airport (KHIB) Welcomes Delta Jets. Hibbing, Minnesota


HIBBING, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)--The Chisholm Hibbing Range Regional Airport welcomed the arrival of its first 50 passenger jet from Delta Air Lines Thursday afternoon.

The regional jets will replace the 34 passenger turbo prop aircrafts that provided air service since the 1970s.  Upgrading to jet planes helps the airport provide a more modern, quieter and faster service to its travelers.

But, Executive Director, Shaun Germolus says the upgrade signifies something bigger. It means continued air service from Delta Air Lines.

"We are waiting for the DOT to come out with the Essential Air Service announcement to extend the contract for two years," Germolus said. "We all believe that Delta will be here in our market serving us for quite some time."

The airport will see a decrease in its daily air service from Delta Air Lines, from 3 to 2 flights per day.


Baltic Aviation System Opts Out From Tender for JAT Airways

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Baltic Aviation Systems, the only potential bidder for JAT Airways, withdrew from a tender for Serbia’s state-owned flag carrier.

Baltic Aviation Systems gave no reason for its withdrawal and the Serbian government is now working on a proposal on what to do with the unprofitable company, the Infrastructure Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. This was the third attempt to sell the airline that flies to 29 destinations with 14 aircraft whose average age exceeds 15 years.

The government said earlier it would try to restructure the company to create a smaller, leaner carrier with a renewed fleet and free from liabilities worth more than 19 billion dinars ($247.8 million). JAT’s net loss widened to 2.5 billion dinars in 2010 from 1.1 billion dinars in the previous year.

The announcement came a day after Latvia bought out Baltic Aviation System’s minority stake in AirBaltic AS.

Jet turns back after possible bird strike near Ottawa Airport

A jet carrying 93 people landed safely on Thursday evening after an engine started smoking and had to return to the Ottawa International Airport.

Just before 9 p.m. on Dec. 1, Ottawa Fire Services were called to the airport because the jet had experienced a “vibration” in one of its engines after take-off.

Fire fighters were escorted to inspect the plane once it had landed. The engine was smoking, but had not caught fire.

Airport officials suspected a “possible bird strike” as the cause of the problem.

Ottawa Fire’s hazardous materials team responded as a precaution, but were not needed.

Only 10 hours before the incident, a National Research Council turbo prop plane carrying two pilots and six researchers landed at the Ottawa Airport with only one engine after the plane’s RPM measurements stopped working.

The pilots shut down the engine as a precaution and plane landed safely around 11 a.m.

There were no injuries in either incident.

Cirrus SR20, N223CD: Accident occurred November 26, 2011 in Crystal Lake, Illinois

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA083
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 26, 2011 in Crystal Lake, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2012
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N223CD
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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


The noninstrument-rated pilot was conducting the accident flight under visual flight rules (VFR) without a flight plan. The pilot contacted the tower air traffic controller at the intended destination airport and inquired about landing. The controller informed him that the airport was currently under instrument flight rules (IFR). About 30 seconds later, the pilot informed the controller that he had inadvertently flown over the airport. The controller ultimately cleared the flight to land; however, the pilot decided not to land, informing the controller that he did not want to get delayed at the airport due to the weather. The pilot subsequently told the controller that the flight was “in and out of the clouds.” After asking the pilot if he was IFR qualified (and learning that the pilot was not), the controller transferred the flight to the local radar-equipped approach control facility for further assistance. That controller advised the pilot of several airports in the vicinity that were under VFR. After initially indicating that he would divert to one of those airports, the pilot told the controller that he did not want to “mess with the weather” and did not want to “get stuck in here,” and he declined to proceed to that airport. Radar data depicted that, shortly after the pilot’s radio transmission, the airplane entered a gentle right turn. About 90 seconds later, the right turn tightened abruptly, consistent with the airplane entering a steep spiral. The last 19 seconds of radar data depicted the airplane entering a climb of about 2,500 feet per minute (fpm) followed by an approximate 3,600-fpm descent. Witnesses reported hearing an airplane overhead, but they were not able to see it due to the cloud cover. They described the sound as similar to an airplane performing aerobatics. The witnesses subsequently observed the airplane below the clouds in a steep, nose-down attitude before it struck the ground. Based on reported weather conditions in the vicinity of the accident site, the flight encountered instrument meteorological conditions. A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The noninstrument-rated pilot's decision to continue flight in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control of the airplane.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On November 26, 2011, at 1026 central standard time, a Cirrus Design SR20, N223CD, was substantially damaged when it collided with a tree and terrain near Crystal Lake, Illinois. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to Marion Pilots Club and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, without a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site. The personal flight originated from Marion Regional Airport (MZZ), Marion, Indiana about 0830. The intended destination was DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois.

The line service representative at MZZ reported that the airplane was fully fueled prior to departure. The pilot informed him that they were going to Chicago. When asked, the pilot commented that he was aware of the weather west of Chicago and that conditions were forecast to be visual flight rules (VFR) at their estimated time of arrival.

Radar track data depicted the airplane on a 1200 (VFR) transponder code approaching DPA from the southeast. At 0942, the airplane was located approximately 3 miles east of the Chicago Heights VHF Omni Range (VOR) navigation facility at 2,400 feet mean sea level (msl). The airplane maintained a northwest course at 2,400 feet msl until about 0957. About that time, the airplane turned right and became established on a north course. The aircraft was located about 5 miles south of DPA, approximately 1,600 feet msl, at that time.

At 0958:05 (hhmm:ss), the pilot contacted DPA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and inquired about landing at DPA. Radar data indicated that the airplane was approximately 2 miles south of the airport at that time. The controller advised the pilot that the airport was under instrument flight rules (IFR). About 30 seconds later the pilot informed the controller that he had inadvertently flown over the airport. At 0959:40, the controller authorized the pilot to reverse course and land at DPA. The pilot acknowledged this transmission. About 1000, radar data indicated that the aircraft began a turn to an east course. At 1002, the pilot informed the controller that he no longer had the airport in sight. The controller provided a suggested heading to DPA.

At 1004, the pilot asked if there was another airport with better visibility because he did not "want to get in there and get stuck all day." The controller noted that Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), located about 20 miles northeast of DPA, was reporting VFR conditions. The controller asked if the pilot would like to be transferred to Chicago approach for assistance navigating to PWK. The pilot replied, "I'm still trying to decide if I want to try to land at DuPage or not . . . would you think that's a good idea or not." The pilot subsequently informed the controller that the flight was "in and out of the clouds." When the controller asked the pilot if he was instrument flight rules (IFR) qualified, the pilot replied that he was in "IFR training and I've let this get around me." At 1008, the DPA controller provided the pilot with a frequency for Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON).

At 1012:39, Chicago TRACON initiated contact with the pilot. The controller subsequently provided weather conditions at airports in the vicinity of the accident flight. At 1015:28, the pilot advised the controller that he would proceed to PWK. However, at 1022:49, the pilot advised the controller that he did not "want to mess with the weather . . . I'm gonna get out . . . and I don't want to get stuck in here." The pilot confirmed that the flight was no longer inbound to PWK. At that time, the flight was approximately 2.5 miles west-northwest of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK). The controller subsequently transmitted, "frequency change is approved." The pilot acknowledged that transmission at 1024:23. No further communications were received from the accident flight.

At 1021, the airplane was established on a north course at approximately 1,800 feet msl. About 1023:03, the airplane entered a left turn to momentarily become established on a west course. About 1024:03, the airplane entered a right turn from the west course at 1,800 feet msl. The right turn continued until the final radar data point. About 1025:08, the airplane was established on an approximate east course at 2,000 feet msl. At 1025:31, the airplane was on an approximate southeast course at 2,400 feet msl, and 18 seconds later, the airplane was on a south course about 2,100 feet msl. At this point, the right turn appeared to tighten. At 1025:58, the airplane was established on a west course about 1,800 feet msl. The final radar data point was recorded at 1026:22. The airplane appeared to be on a south course about 1,800 feet msl. The final data point was located approximately 0.4 miles northwest of the accident site.

A witness located within 1/2 mile of the accident site reported hearing an airplane in the area; however, he was not able to see it because of the cloud cover. He noted that it sounded like the airplane was doing aerobatics, with the airplane climbing and descending. Less than 1 minute later, he observed the airplane south of his position in an approximate 70-degree nose down attitude. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground. He noted a faint fuel smell when he responded to the site shortly after the accident. He reported weather conditions as misty, with a light rain at the time of the accident.

A second witness at the same location also heard an airplane that sounded like it was performing aerobatic stunts; however, he was unable to see it because of the low cloud cover. About one minute after hearing it, he observed that airplane exit the clouds in a 60 to 70-degree nose down attitude. He estimated the visibility at 1/2 mile in light rain and mist at that time.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating issued on April 22, 2010. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot did not hold an instrument rating. He was issued a third-class airman medical certificate, with a restriction for corrective lenses, on June 28, 2011.

The pilot had logged about 207 hours total flight time, with approximately 114 hours flight time in the accident airplane. The pilot's logbook included a high performance airplane endorsement, and he met the requirement for a flight review (14CFR61.56) based on successful completion of the private pilot practical test within the preceding 24 months.

The pilot had logged 153.7 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC) and 78.7 hours as dual instruction received. Of that flight time, 42.0 hours were logged as both PIC and dual received, which is permitted under regulations when a current, certificated pilot is receiving flight instruction. However, of the 42.0 hours logged as PIC and dual instruction received, 38.1 hours were not endorsed by a flight instructor, which is required by regulations.

The pilot had logged 3.1 hours of simulated instrument flight time. He had also logged 28.6 hours of actual instrument flight time. However, for each flight in which actual instrument flight was logged, the actual instrument time entered was equal to the total time for the entire flight. Regulations (14 CFR 61.51) permit pilots to log instrument flight time only when they are controlling an aircraft solely by reference to the flight instruments.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The accident airplane was a Cirrus Design model SR20, serial number 1110. It was a four-place, low wing, single engine airplane, with a tricycle landing gear configuration. The airplane was issued an FAA normal category standard airworthiness certificate on December 30, 2000. The airplane was powered by a 210-horsepower Continental Motors IO-360-ES six-cylinder, reciprocating engine, serial number 827771-R. The engine was manufactured in August 2008.

The airframe had accumulated 1,758.7 hours total time in-service at the time of the accident. Maintenance records indicated that the engine was installed on the airframe in December 2008. At the time of the accident, it had accumulated 459.8 hours since new. The most recent annual inspection was completed on April 5, 2011, at 1,604.4 hours airframe time.

According to maintenance records, the most recent maintenance action was accomplished on November 21, 2011. The engine spark plugs were replaced and the fuel injectors were cleaned. In addition, both main landing gear tires were replaced, and the right main landing gear brake pads were replaced. There were no subsequent entries in the maintenance logbooks.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart, valid at 0900, depicted a low pressure system over Wisconsin, with an occluded front extending southward. The occluded front extended into a cold front across eastern Iowa and into Missouri. The NWS Weather Depiction Chart, valid at 1000, depicted an extensive area of IFR conditions over northern Illinois.

A review of DPA surface weather observations indicated that marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions prevailed until approximately 1 hour prior to the accident. MVFR conditions are defined as cloud ceilings of between 1,000 feet and 3,000 feet above ground level (agl), and /or visibilities of between 3 and 5 miles. After that time, instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions prevailed at DPA. IFR conditions are defined as cloud ceilings below 1,000 feet agl and/or visibility below 3 miles.

Weather conditions recorded by the DPA Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), located about 22 miles south of the accident site, at 1029, were: wind from 170 degrees at 11 knots, visibility 1-3/4 miles in light rain and mist, overcast clouds at 900 feet agl, temperature 10 degrees Celsius, dew point 8 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.85 inches of mercury.

Prior to the accident, at 0852, the DPA observation included overcast clouds at 1,300 feet agl and 9 miles visibility. At 0935, the DPA observation included overcast clouds at 900 feet agl and 10 miles visibility. At 0952, weather conditions at DPA had deteriorated to 900 feet agl overcast, with 3 miles visibility in light rain and mist.

Weather conditions recorded by the Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), located about 23 miles east of the accident site, at 1024, were: wind from 200 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 7 miles in light rain, overcast clouds at 1,300 feet agl, temperature 10 degrees Celsius, dew point 9 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.88 inches of mercury.

Weather conditions recorded by the Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), located about 40 miles southeast of the accident site, at 1051, were: wind from 200 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 6 miles in light rain and mist, broken clouds at 1,700 feet agl, overcast clouds at 3,000 feet agl, temperature 12 degrees Celsius, dew point 9 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.85 inches of mercury.

An Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) advisory warning of possible IFR conditions was valid at the time of the accident flight. AIRMET Sierra (update 3) was issued at 0845 and was valid until 1500. The area specified in the AIRMET included northern Illinois, eastern Iowa, and southern Wisconsin.

The DPA Terminal Area Forecast (TAF), in effect from 0600, expected weather conditions at 1000 to be: wind from 200 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 19 knots; visibility 6 miles in light rain showers and mist; broken clouds at 2,500 feet agl, and overcast clouds at 3,500 feet agl. The DPA TAF was amended at 0915. The amended forecast expected weather conditions at 1000 to be: wind from 190 degrees at 12 knots; visibility 5 miles in light rain, drizzle, and mist; and overcast clouds at 800 feet agl.

The current Area Forecast (FA) was issued at 0545. Between 0900 and 1100, the FA expected a broken to overcast cloud layer from 1,500 to 2,500 feet agl, and an overcast cloud ceiling at 4,000 feet agl with cloud layers to 26,000 feet mean sea level over northern Illinois. It also forecast scatter light rain showers. The outlook was for IFR conditions due to cloud ceilings, with rain showers and mist.

There was no record that the pilot had contacted flight service for a formal preflight weather briefing related to the accident flight. In addition, there was no record that the pilot logged into the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) to obtain weather or flight information.

A pilot and flight instructor reported that they were en route from Rockford (RFD) to 3CK on an IFR training flight at the time of the accident. They were in solid instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) at their cruise altitude of 5,000 feet msl. They both recalled breaking out of the clouds at 1,300 feet msl (approximately 400 feet agl) during the instrument approach into 3CK. They encountered light rain; but they did not encounter any icing during the flight.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted a tree and an open agricultural field about 4 miles north-northwest of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK). Multiple tree limbs up to about 4 inches in diameter exhibiting fresh breaks were distributed over an approximate 45-foot by 45-foot area immediately north of the tree. The wreckage path was oriented on a bearing of approximately 009 degrees magnetic. The debris field was about 400 feet long by 85 feet wide originating at the tree struck during the accident sequence.

The main wreckage came to rest approximately 97 feet north of the tree. The engine was separated from the airframe and the engine mount was fragmented. The engine came to rest inverted about 155 feet from the main wreckage. The propeller assembly separated from the engine aft of the propeller flange and came to rest approximately 131 feet from the main wreckage. The vertical stabilizer, with the rudder attached, separated from the fuselage. It came to rest about 30 feet north of the main wreckage.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, right wing, and horizontal stabilizer. The cabin area was compromised and the fuselage was fragmented. The right wing was separated from the fuselage. Portions of the fiberglass wing structure were separated and delaminated. The right aileron remained attached to the wing. The right flap was separated and located within the debris field. The horizontal stabilizer was separated from the fuselage. The fiberglass stabilizer structure was delaminated and fragmented. The left and right elevators had separated from the stabilizer and were located within the debris field.

The left wing had separated from the fuselage. The outboard section, from the wing tip to about midspan, came to rest approximately 55 feet east of the main wreckage. A section of the lower left wing structure, including the left main landing gear strut and wheel assembly, was located about 30 feet west of the main wreckage. The remainder of the inboard portion of the left wing was fragmented. The left aileron was separated from the wing and came to rest about 275 feet north of the main wreckage. The left flap had separated from the wing and was located within the debris field.

Postaccident examinations did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed by the McHenry County Coroner's Office, Woodstock, Illinois, on November 28, 2011. The pilot's death was attributed to injuries received in the accident.

Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Testing results were negative for all substances in the screening profile.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
A review of radar track data for the accident flight indicated that it was operating in Class E airspace while in the Chicago metropolitan area, with the exception of the vicinity of DPA. Within approximately 5 miles of DPA, the flight was operating in Class D airspace. Regulations require pilots operating under basic VFR in Class D and Class E airspace to remain at least 500 feet below and 2,000 feet horizontally from any cloud formation. Visibility of at least 3 miles is also required for such operations.

In order to takeoff or land at an airport located within Class D airspace under VFR, any cloud ceiling must be at or above 1,000 feet agl and the visibility must be at least 3 miles. In the case of weather conditions that are less than basic VFR, a pilot may request a special VFR clearance from air traffic control. Regulations pertaining to special VFR operations (14 CFR 91.157) require pilots to remain clear of clouds, with no additional cloud clearance distance requirements. The flight visibility must be at least 1 mile.

FAA procedures for air traffic control (Order 7110.65U) allow controllers to authorize special VFR operations for aircraft operating in class D airspace. However, special VFR may only be initiated by the pilot [§7-5-1 (a)(3)]. The order makes no provision for the controller to suggest special VFR operations to a pilot or to initiate special VFR operations on behalf of a pilot.

A ticket for an Indianapolis Colts football game, valid for Sunday, November 27, 2011, was located in the accident debris field.





Ray A. Harris
Born in Hyden, Kentucky on Jun. 30, 1965
Died on Nov. 26, 2011 and resided in Marion, IN.



Cemetery: Grant Memorial Park

Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Memorials may be directed to the Harris Family Fund for Scholarships through the Community Foundation, 505 W. Third Street, Marion, IN; Wheaton College, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187; Community School of the Arts, 305 Adams Street, Marion, IN 46952; God's House Ministries, 216 W. 6th Street, Marion, Indiana or Blake Harris College Fund, c/o Star Financial Bank, 1127 N. Baldwin Ave., Marion, IN 46952
More:   http://www.nswcares.com

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA083
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 26, 2011 in Crystal Lake, IL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N223CD
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 26, 2011, about 1025 central standard time, a Cirrus Design SR20, N223CD, impacted a tree and terrain near Crystal Lake, Illinois. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to Marion Pilots Club and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site. The flight originated from Marion Regional Airport (MZZ), Marion, Indiana about 0830. The intended destination was DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois.

At 0958, the pilot contacted DPA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and inquired about landing at DPA. The controller advised the pilot that the airport was under instrument flight rules. However, the flight inadvertently flew over the airport. The pilot reversed course in an attempt to return to the airport but lost sight of it. He subsequently informed the controller that he was not sure if he wanted to land at DPA because he did not want to "get in there and get stuck all day" due to the weather. The controller noted that Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), located about 20 miles northeast of DPA, was reporting visual flight rules (VFR) conditions. The pilot subsequently informed the controller that the flight was "in and out of the clouds right now." When the controller asked the pilot if he was instrument flight rules (IFR) qualified, the pilot replied that he was in "IFR training and I've let this get around me."

About 1012, the flight was transferred to the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility. The Chicago TRACON controller also provided weather conditions at airports in the vicinity of the accident flight. The pilot initially advised the controller that he would proceed to PWK, which the closest airport reporting VFR weather conditions at the time. However, the pilot later advised the controller that he was no longer inbound to PWK. He commented that he didn't want to "mess with the weather" and didn't want to "get stuck in here." The controller subsequently approved a frequency change and the pilot acknowledged that transmission. No further communications were received from the accident flight.

A witness located within 1/2 mile of the accident site reported hearing an airplane in the area; however, he was not able to see it because of the cloud cover. He noted that it sounded like the airplane was doing aerobatics, with the airplane climbing and descending. Less than 1 minute later, he observed the airplane south of his location in an approximate 70-degree nose down attitude. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground. He noted a faint fuel smell shortly after the accident when he responded to the site. It was misty, with a light rain at the time of the accident.

The airplane impacted a tree and an open agricultural field about 4 miles north-northwest of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK). Multiple tree limbs up to about 4 inches in diameter exhibiting fresh breaks were distributed over an approximate 45-foot by 45-foot area immediately north of the tree. The wreckage path was oriented on a bearing of approximately 009 degrees magnetic. The debris field was about 400 feet long by 75 feet wide originating at the tree bordering the field. The main wreckage came to rest approximately 97 feet north of the tree. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, right wing, and horizontal stabilizer. The remaining airframe components, including all control surfaces, were located within the debris field. The engine and propeller had separated from the airframe and were each located 155 feet and 131 feet north of the main wreckage, respectively.

Weather conditions recorded at DPA, located about 22 miles south of the accident site, at 1029, included overcast clouds at 900 feet above ground level, 1-3/4 miles visibility in light rain and mist, and wind from 170 degrees at 11 knots.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating issued on April 22, 2010. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot did not hold an instrument rating. He was issued a third-class airman medical certificate, with a restriction for corrective lenses, on June 28, 2011. Prior to the accident, the pilot had logged about 205 hours total flight time, with approximately 114 hours flight time in the accident airplane. The accident flight was approximately 2 hours in duration. The pilot's logbook included a high performance airplane endorsement.

The accident airplane was a Cirrus Design model SR20, serial number 1110. The airplane was powered by a 210-horsepower Continental Motors IO-360-ES six-cylinder, reciprocating engine, serial number 827771-R. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated about 1,758 hours total time in-service. The engine was installed on the airframe in December 2008 and had accumulated about 459 hours since new. According to the airplane maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on April 5, 2011.