Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Airport land to be cleared for development

The city is preparing the Covington Municipal Airport for future development, and the council approved the clear cutting of 16 acres of trees on land south of the runway.

The Covington City Council approved a contract with Madison-based M.K. Crowell Grading, which will clear cut the trees at no monetary cost in exchange for keeping the lumber.

The city will have to purchase construction fencing to protect the creek running from City Pond southeast along the line of trees. The fencing will be installed by the land application department, Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello said. The land will be cleared up to 25 feet from the creek.

The land will be clear-cut, but the tree stumps will not be removed. Grubbing, as the stump removal process is called, requires a separate land disturbance permit, Passariello said.

This area cannot be developed until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves a construction permit; however, Passariello said M.K. Crowell was available to do the clear cutting now, so city officials moved forward with that preliminary step.

The city is planning to move all major operations to the southeastern side of the airport property, which will be accessible by a new entrance off Ga. Highway 142. Plans call for a new $1.5 terminal building complete with restaurant and several offices, as well as hangar spaces, parking, a taxiway and another fuel farm.

The terminal will be located close to Ga. 142, east of the creek, in an area which can be developed now. The first step will be to create a new entrance and lay the asphalt.

City Manager Steve Horton told the council he hoped to bring it concept designs for the overall layout and the terminal building sometime in January. A initial concept was presented in October, but Horton said the Georgia Department of Transportation requested some changes.

In other airport news, Horton said he will ask the council in January to approve transitioning the duties of airport manager, which currently fall upon the city manager, to Passariello, who is airport engineer and oversees operations.

Horton said the airport is essentially its own operation and is not related to other city business and that it would make more sense for a dedicated employee to be official airport manager. He suggested the transition take place from January to June 30. Horton is planning to retire sometime in 2012.

Next meeting
Because of the Christmas holiday, the city council will have its second monthly meeting Dec. 13.

Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority director says commercial airline could take off in Topeka

What worked to bring a commercial airline to Manhattan will work for Topeka — and now is the time to try it.

At least that is what Eric Johnson, director of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, told Shawnee County’s legislative delegation Tuesday.

And the nine members present seemed to agree: The delegation directed Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, to enter a bill in the Ways and Means Committee allocating $2 million toward bringing a commercial airline to Topeka.

That is the same amount Kansas allocated to Manhattan for the same purpose — an amount returned to the state, in full, early this year.

The $2 million served as an insurance policy to get American Eagle flying out of Manhattan — providing compensation when flights weren’t more than 70 percent full. Manhattan used only the $250,000 local match to supplement those flights, and only in the first few months, leaving the state’s $2 million untouched.

That not only proves the revenue guarantee model works, Johnson said, it also means the state has $2 million already allocated to beefing up the state’s air services. Why not repeat what has proven to be a successful model in Topeka, Johnson said.

“We see that there is a success story, with an exact model,” he said. “How can you go wrong with a proven model?”

The airport bill was one of two the delegation saw it could put forward so far after seven straight hours of presentations from 23 county officials.

The other bill would allow counties to sell cemeteries they have taken over out of bankruptcy, a request from Shawnee County counselor Rich Eckert. It will go through Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, in the local government committee.

The remaining proposals either had no action or required more information.

Eckert’s proposal to reduce the lame duck session for county treasurers from 11 months to two, for example, was delegated to Mah, who also serves in the elections committee, for further vetting.

The delegation directed Eckert to get input from the Kansas County Treasurers Association, as well as other counties, before it would go forward with the idea. Members expressed some concern trying to push it forward during this legislative session, because it would short incumbents’ term by 11 months. However, most agreed the idea made sense.

“I’ve thought about this for a long time, regardless of the actions of our current treasurer,” Rep. Lana Gordon, R-Topeka, said. “This seems to me to be a good policy, so I feel like whatever I can do to help, I’d be happy to do that.”

The county’s third agenda item, to heighten the liability threshold for inmates who hurt themselves, was sent back for more information.

And so were two of District Attorney Chad Taylor’s proposals — one regarding grand jury changes and the other having to do with the election process of district attorneys.

Taylor’s third item requested more funding for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation crime lab, which is severely backlogged, he said. The item was sent to the legislative research department so the representatives could have more information to analyze the problem.

Janlyn Nesbett-Tucker, CEO of the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority, asked the delegation to write a letter in support of building a $25 million multi-modal system near Forbes Field. The delegation said it wanted to review the federal grant application for the system before writing a letter.

Three members of the county’s 12-member delegation weren’t present Tuesday: Rep. Sean Gatewood, D-Topeka; Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka; and Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka.


Twin County Airport undergoing numerous improvements

This work site at Twin County Airport will soon be occupied by one of two new T-hangars. The airport is undergoing numerous changes in order to serve the community better.

While Carroll County hopes steps taken today lead to a local industrial boom in the future, Twin County Airport is setting itself up to be a partner in facilitating that growth.

While the region has high hopes for Wildwood Commerce Park, the airport has numerous projects either ongoing or ready to begin soon that will help bolster the Twin Counties’ profile when it comes to attracting and maintaining business.

“It’s all in the effort of hopefully improving the community and giving the community more options and businesses more options,” said Airport Manager Dave Ritter.

Ritter noted a lot of work is nearing completion, including one of two new T-hangars and the second phase of the fencing project. He said the pad for the first T-hangar is just about ready.

“We’re creating a new pad to eventually put two six-unit T-Hangars. To build the second we’ll have to build a retaining wall where the road is. We’re eventually going to relocate the road next to the fence. Once we do that, the second T-hangar can be built,” Ritter said. “That will create more revenue. There’s a waiting list of about 12 people waiting for T-hangars. These over here are about 40 years old and they don’t offer the greatest accommodations but they’re better than nothing. We only have six and there’s a lot of folks needing hangar space.”

Ritter said the majority of the airport’s fencework is nearing completion as well.

“We’re getting Phase II of our security fence put up. That runs from the southeast corner of the airport and down the hill from the Twin County Aviation building,” Ritter said. “At that point, two thirds of the airport will be fenced in. That should be done by the end of December.”

Ritter said once all that work is done, there’s still plenty more to do, including a new multi-purpose building where one of the two larger hangars used to be. Ritter said he hopes it can be started in the spring.

“In 2009, we tore down the maintenance hangar beside the Twin County Aviation hangar,” he said. “It was about 40 years old and falling apart. We decided to tear it down and what we’re doing is putting out invitations for bids for the T-Hangar and an 80x100 multi-use building.”

A new terminal is also on the wish list.

“Hopefully we would like to start building a terminal. We hope in the late summer next year, we can start on it. We’ve got the design and plans done for it,” Ritter said. “Once that happens, we can relocate the road, get our second T-hangar built and get into Phase III of the fence. Then, the whole airport will be fenced in.”

Ritter said while a terminal might not bring the financial benefits of hangars, they have many uses. He said it’s going to take some convincing for some people to see the importance of a new terminal.

“A lot of people look at it two ways. It’s senseless because a terminal doesn’t make any money but it’s the first thing when people come here to visit, it’s the first thing they see,” Ritter said. “People can have business meetings here and we don’t have any space for it now. We think it’s just as important for the future.”

Another big piece of the puzzle is an extended runway. Ritter said once that is done, corporate aircraft can land at Twin County, which helps the attractiveness of the area in terms of bringing in business.

“We eventually would like to see the runway extended to at least 5,000 feet. We’re at 4,200 feet,” Ritter said. “It takes a lot to get that done; it’s about a five-year process. There are studies that have to be done. The first thing is the justification study the FAA will do to see if it’s justifiable putting the money in it. That’s where we’re at right now. We’re trying to collect as much data as we can for the study. What we’re looking for is companies that have aircraft that would like to fly in here but can’t because the runway is too short. A lot of airplanes can land here but it’s the insurance that keeps them from doing it. With the industrial park across the way, in the next few years, it’s going to be developed, I’m sure. I’m sure some of those companies have aircraft that they would like to get in and out of here. That’s one of the things we really want to get done.”

Once those undertakings are complete, Ritter said he has plans to make the airport more of a destination for locals, as well.

“Once we get the fence completed, I’m talking with the Virginia Tourism Department about some grants,” he said. “I’d like to have a walking path built all the way around the airport on the outside. We’re putting the fence 15 feet inside the property so there’s 15 feet there for that. It will be 2 and a half to 3 miles all around. It would be an option for people to go walking and maybe see some airplanes take off and some wildlife.”

Review response to helicopter crash. Robinson R22 Beta, C-GVAR. Ontario, Canada.

When a helicopter slammed into a pond at the Region of Waterloo International Airport last week, the female pilot died and a male passenger was critically hurt. But beyond these tragic results, the crash also tested this community’s ability to respond to a serious emergency. And there are reasons to think the response could have been better.

Although the crash occurred on airport land just 700 metres from the control tower where workers watched it go down, there was confusion over where the wreckage was and delay in getting trained rescuers to it. This happened even after a caller contacted 911 with a more accurate description of its location.

Considering that the airport’s fire truck was parked only 1,500 metres from the crash, it’s fair to say it could have reached the scene in three minutes, if only the driver had known where to go. Yet it took up to 12 minutes after wasting time on a wild-goose chase. Fair minds will wonder why help didn’t get to the crash site faster — and expect the authorities to conduct a full review of what happened.

Records show that the first 911 call went out at 11:32 a.m. on Nov. 28, moments after the helicopter crashed. People in the airport control tower reported that the helicopter was down but couldn’t see the exact location. They mistakenly reported it was in the vicinity of Fountain Street and Kossuth Road just south of the airport. This is in Cambridge, not Woolwich Township where the airport is situated.

This error — while understandable — had two unfortunate results. First, Cambridge firefighters from Preston and Galt, as well as the airport fire truck, were sent to the wrong place — in Cambridge. Second, the nearest firehall which was in Breslau was not immediately informed, possibly because dispatchers thought it was in the wrong municipality.

But within two minutes of the first call, better information was sent in a second 911 emergency call from the airport. This call, made at 11:34 a.m., came from someone who could see the helicopter in the water. Police reached the helicopter wreckage at 11:40 a.m. An airport supervisor trained in rescue arrived there three minutes later. After learning the correct location of the crash, the airport fire truck arrived there at 11:45 a.m., followed a minute later by the first ambulance. Finally, at 11:52 a.m. — 20 minutes after the helicopter went down — the Cambridge and Woolwich fire trucks made it to the scene.

We are not trying to play armchair critics here. There is no reason to doubt that all the rescuers were doing their absolute best to get to the crash as quickly as possible. Had they arrived sooner, there is no evidence that the life of the helicopter pilot could have been saved. But in order to ensure we have the best possible system for emergency response in this community, questions need to be asked and answered.

There are multiple dispatch systems in Waterloo Region. Did they serve the public as smoothly and efficiently as possible in this crash? Why did the second 911 call with more accurate information not more quickly clarify where the crash was situated for the fire department crews? Was the right information sent out fast enough to the right people? If police could get to the helicopter just eight minutes after it hit the water, why did it take so long for firefighters who have more specialized training to reach the site?

Why wasn’t the dispatch call sent out to the Woolwich Township firehall in Breslau as soon as to Cambridge? Should the airport have stronger emergency response capabilities? There was only one person trained in firefighting on duty at the airport that day. But he was in the passenger terminal hanging Christmas decorations.

Airport and municipal authorities should respond to these questions and any others that might arise. They should then produce a report with an official timeline that explains to the public who knew what and when. This should not be about pointing fingers or assigning blame. But if this community can improve its ability to respond to emergencies, it should do so.

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, Golden Eagle Enterprises Inc., N2466D: Accident occurred December 06, 2011 in Davis, California


NTSB Identification: WPR12LA055 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 06, 2011 in Davis, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N2466D
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Before beginning the cross-country flight, the pilot did not fill the fuel tanks to capacity due to weight and balance concerns and estimated the amount of fuel onboard. While on final approach, the engine lost power. Following the loss of engine power, the pilot switched fuel tanks, but he could not recall which fuel tank the fuel selector was positioned to before the power loss. The pilot landed the airplane in a field short of the runway, and the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. When the airplane came to rest, the pilot positioned the fuel selector to the "off" position. Postaccident examination revealed that fuel was present in the left wing tank; however, no fuel was identified in the right wing tank. The engine was test run with no operational anomalies identified. Although the position of the fuel selector when the power loss occurred could not be determined, it is likely that it was positioned to the right fuel tank. In this position, the engine would have been unable to access fuel from the left fuel tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

On December 6, 2011, at 1630 Pacific standard time, N2466D, a Piper PA 38-112, lost engine power during approach to Yolo County Airport, Davis, California. Mazzei Flying Service was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that he was conducting a cross-country flight in preparation for his commercial pilot certificate. The pilot reported departing with 26 gallons of fuel. He originally departed at 1415, conducted a touch-and-go landing at Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento, California, and was on the final approach leg to his second airport of intended landing when a loss of engine power occured. The pilot force-landed the airplane in a field and it nosed over.

The airplane came to rest inverted. Initial responders reported that fuel seepage was present from the left wing tank and the exact fuel quantity in the tank at the time of the accident could not be determined. There was no fuel seepage from the right fuel tank. Residual fuel was found in each tank when the airplane was recovered the following morning. The engine was later test run. No operational anomalies were noted.

In a conversation with the owner of the flight school, he reported that the pilot was unable to confirm how much fuel was in the airplane upon departure. Due to weight and balance requirements, the pilot had not filled the tanks to capacity and he estimated the amount of fuel onboard. He did not have a means of verifying the exact fuel quantity. Following the loss of engine power, the pilot switched fuel tanks, but could not recall to which fuel tank the fuel selector was positioned. When the airplane came to rest, the pilot positioned the fuel selector in the "Off" position.

DAVIS, California -- Yolo County authorities are at the scene of a plane crash near the Yolo County Airport.

The Piper PA-38 Tomahawk plane went down at 4:37 p.m. when it lost power on its approach to the airport.

Video from LiveCopter 3HD showed the plane upside down in a field about a mile south of the airport at county roads 65 and 29.

Images: Plane Crash At Yolo County Airport

It appears only the pilot was aboard the plane when it went down.

The pilot was seen standing near firefighters at the crash scene.

Deputies told KCRA 3 they are amazed the pilot was able to walk away from the accident.  An investigation is ongoing.

A small airplane crashed at the Yolo County Airport around 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, but there were no reported injuries.

West Plainfield firefighters were dispatched to the scene but initial reports were that the plane went "end-over-end" with the two occupants able to escape without injury..

The condition of the plane was unknown. It was reported a small four-person Piper prop-driven aircraft..

The plane crashed at the south side of the airport, which is oriented in a north-to-south direction..

The airport is located at 24671 County Road 95, about two miles west of Davis.

China: Copter market set to take flight

BEIJING - Local governments, which use helicopters for emergency and security services, have become the main customers of the Eurocopter Group in China, a senior company executive said.

"Some major cities, like Shanghai and Guangzhou, use helicopters and many other cities are following them," said Bruno Boulnois, CEO of Eurocopter China.

He said helicopters can be used for many government purposes, including security, fire-fighting and emergency medicine.

Data from Eurocopter show that 25 percent of its fleet in China is flying in the public-service sector. These helicopters are used by provincial and special administrative regional authorities.

France-based Eurocopter, a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co (EADS), sold 160 helicopters in China in the past four years and has a market share of about 40 percent.

Eurocopter has offices in seven cities around China, including Wuhan, Chengdu and Harbin.

The helicopter business has already become one of the main businesses of EADS in China, said Dominique Laporte, president of EADS China.

Business insiders and experts are optimistic about China's civilian helicopter market, as the airspace management system is expected to be reformed during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).

Eurocopter said its sales so far this year have doubled compared with last year.

Boulnois said China's market will boom in the next 10 years at least because the country now has so few helicopters.

Wang Bin, president of AVIC Helicopter Co, said there were only 206 registered helicopters by the end of 2010, according to the aviation newspaper CAAC Journal.

"We believe the number will grow to 1,000 in the next 10 years," Boulnois said. "The most-needed versions will be mid-sized helicopters" with five to 10 seats.

Increasing demand will mainly come from companies and individuals whose demand is constrained by the current airspace management system, said Zhao Qianming, analyst with Sinolink Securities Co Ltd.

Companies can use helicopters in many ways to save money and energy, such as monitoring electricity transmission systems and offshore oil facilities, Boulnois said.

Helicopters are the most cost-efficient means of transport for offshore oil facilities.

CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co Ltd, a subsidiary of CITIC Group that focuses on the use of general aviation for offshore oil facilities, announced on Nov 22 that seven orders valued at about 1.235 billion yuan ($194 million) had been placed.

Beijing Capital Helicopter Co Ltd, established by HNA Group in June to cooperate with the Beijing government in using helicopters for public-service missions, has assigned one of its three helicopters to missions in Qinghai province for mineral exploration.

"The (profit from) one helicopter working in Qinghai can cover the company's main costs," said Xu Lidong, president of Beijing Capital Helicopter.

Cessna 180H, N180HR: Pilot blames Reno air traffic tower for near crash. Accident occurred September 16, 2011 in Reno, Nevada.

About an hour before the deadly crash at the Reno Air Races, a single-engine plane was hit by a strong gust while landing at Reno-Tahoe International Airport that caused him to spin when he hit the ground, damaging its left wing.

The pilot, Leon Roberts, 62, said he received bogus information about the winds from the Air Traffic Control Tower. And after he and one other plane almost crashed, controllers finally moved planes to a different runway.

“I think they knew they screwed up,” said Roberts of Noxon, Montana.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and its report on the probable cause is scheduled to be released next week.

Ian Gregor. a Los Angeles-based spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, declined to comment on the incident and the pilot’s claims.

“I can’t comment on any incident investigation until the NTSB has released its probable cause report.”

Brian Kulpin, spokesman for the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, said the operations team remembers the incidents, but said they could not comment until the NTSB releases its report.

In addition, all decisions by the Air Traffic Control Tower are the responsibility of the FAA, he said.

The crash at the Reno National Championship Air Races at the Reno-Stead Airport occurred at about 4:26 p.m. on Sept. 16. Eleven people, including the pilot, died and about 70 were injured.

At 2:50 p.m., Roberts was landing his Cessna 180 to the south at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and was told through an automated report put out by the tower that the winds were at 250 degrees -- from the west -- at about 15 mph.

But after his near-crash, Roberts said he was told that the winds actually were coming from about 280 degrees -- a sharper angle -- at about 22 mph.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that the winds at the airport were actually gusting up to 30 mph at about 2:55 p.m. on Sept. 16.

With winds that high, the tower should have moved all landing planes from runways 16L and 16R to runway 34, Roberts said.

“The actual winds were considerably higher than what I was told,” Robert said. “Sixteen should never have been used. You never land in a tailwind. That’s flying 101. You always land into the wind.”

“They were landing aircraft for over an hour with a tailwind and never said anything about it.”

Not only were the winds hitting the planes from behind, they actually were coming in at an angle from behind, which is called a “rear quartering tailwind” and is all the more dangerous, he said.

Moments before his Cessna landed and spun around on runway 16R, another plane on runway 16L suffered a similar fate, he said. Yet the tower did not warn Roberts of the difficult conditions, he said.

“They should have changed to runway 34 over an hour before I got there,” he said. “Immediately after I landed they switched to 34. They had two planes that had incidents.

“Something was wrong in that tower,” he added. “This thing was not right. I hope the NTSB reaches that conclusion.”

His plane’s left wing and elevator were damaged, he said. They later were repaired and he flew home.

Roberts filled out a report for the NTSB that details his concerns. The NTSB Website says the final report is estimated to be released on Dec. 13.
NTSB Identification: WPR11CA455
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 16, 2011 in Reno, NV
Aircraft: CESSNA 180H, registration: N180HR
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.
Full narrative available

The pilot reported that during landing on runway 16R, in the tailwheel equipped airplane, he encountered a strong gust of wind. The airplane veered and subsequently ground looped. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and elevator. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

Marine fatal helicopter crash due to mechanical failure. CH-53D Sea Stallion.

Cpl. Jonathan Faircloth, kneeling in above photo, was doing what he loved, his father says. Faircloth, a native of Upper Allen Township, Pennsylvania, died in a helicopter crash in Hawaii. 

An aging Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter crashed March 29 in Kaneohe Bay as a result of a "catastrophic mechanical failure," a portion of the official investigation concluded.

Cpl. Jonathan D. Faircloth, 22, who had survived combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was killed and three other crew members were injured after the 88-foot-long helicopter made a "hard impact" landing from an altitude of about 300 feet while on a night training flight, the Marine Cops said.

According to a Field Flight Performance Board investigation conducted by the Marines and obtained by the Star-Advertiser through the Freedom of Information Act, the crew's reaction to the mechanical failure was consistent with Naval air training procedures.

The Field Flight Performance Board is used to determine the future flying status of crew members.

Then-Brig. Gen. William Beydler, commander of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, made the determination July 18. He said the crew's actions were "exceptional in execution given the severity of malfunction and the operating environment."

Alec Baldwin kicked off flight at LAX

Actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off a flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday.

It's not exactly clear what prompted his removal from the plane. A law enforcement source told The Times he was escorted off an American Airlines flight. The source said police were not involved in the incident, which he said was between the airline and the actor. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Baldwin took to Twitter, writing: "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving."

Baldwin appears on the TV show "30 Rock" and has starred in such recent movies as "It's Complicated."

Watch: Shirtless British Sailors Tackle Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Crew members on board the HMS Ocean have released a lip-synch video that has become a viral hit.

The aviation crew are set to return home to the UK on Friday, December 9, and are seen miming to Mariah Carey's festive classic 'All I Want for Christmas Is You'.

The clip shows the shipmates in various costume changes in different places around the ship, and ends with them spelling the words 'Merry Xmas from HMS Ocean' on the deck.

The crew have been on deployment for 225 days, or seven and a half months. During this time, 15 babies were born to crew members' families, and five visited home to attend their own weddings.

The largest ship in the Royal Navy was only originally meant to be away for seven weeks, but was later deployed to Libya.

A Ministry of Defense spokesperson said: "She was going off on exercises. It wasn't until the government started to put Apache helicopters on her that she had the utility for a role in the Nato deployment in Libya.

"We were already flying aircraft into the country - Tornados and Typhoons. We needed a complementary layer of attack with the helicopters. So HMS Ocean's homecoming kept getting delayed, based on what was happening in Libya."

Mariah Carey has since tweeted about the video, saying: "This is the best thing I've ever seen, you guys just made my day! Happy Happy Christmas!!!"

After lots of time away last year (214 days) -- planned for 7 week deployment exercise with other nations

Diverted to Libya and further operations

Back 9 Dec after 7½ months away - 225 days with 176 at sea

400 people onboard (at peak during the amphibious exercises just under 900 onboard but approx 650 during Op Ellamy)
Steamed just over 40,000 miles
Burned approx 6,000 tonnes of fuel
Operated 16 different type of aircraft off the deck

Realities of deploying:

15 babies born while the ship has been away (fathers did get home to see mum and baby)
5 people were sent home so they didn't miss their own weddings.
1 sailor whose son's third birthday is on homecoming. Family meeting ship

Ships company have missed:

Summer holidays.
Children's exam results
Children finishing school and starting university
The Padre missed his daughter's graduation.

The ship's company made a Christmas DVD when they heard they would be home for Christmas.

It's Christmas ... sailors spell it out on deck

Piper Aztec PA-23-250, N2589Z: King Airport, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Photo Credit: SEAN McCOY 
An airplane sits on a taxiway at King Airport on Monday after its nose gear collapsed on landing.

Photo Credit: SEAN McCOY 

ST. THOMAS -  A twin-engine Piper Aztec aircraft was arriving at King Airport about 12:20 p.m. with three people on board when the landing gear failed and the plane had to make an emergency landing.

"An aircraft was landing when the nose gear collapsed," Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

Bergen said no injuries were reported.

V.I. Port Authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero said the runway was closed from 12:21 p.m. to 1:28 p.m. and several flights were affected.

King Airport Manager Jose Nazario said the Piper Aztec aircraft was arriving from St. Maarten and carrying three men - one crew member and two passengers - at the time of the incident.

V.I. Port Authority's aircraft rescue and fire fighters responded to the incident, and law enforcement officers provided support. Firefighters sprayed down the section of runway where the plane landed with a fire-suppressant foam.

"A small amount of fuel spilled onto the runway," Marrero said.

A Cape Air flight scheduled to arrive from San Juan at 12:20 p.m. was delayed but arrived about 1:25 p.m. A second Cape Air flight scheduled to depart St. Thomas for San Juan at 2:15 p.m. also was delayed, but Marrero did not know what the final departure time was. A LIAT flight from St. Maarten, scheduled to arrive at 12:45 p.m., arrived at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

A Seaborne Airlines flight from St. Croix to St. Thomas, scheduled to land at 1:30 p.m., was cancelled, Marrero said.

The Piper Aztec, with number N2589Z, was manufactured in 1980 and is registered to Ace Flight Center.

Calls to Ace Flight Center were not returned by press time.

  Regis#: 2589Z        Make/Model: PA23      Description: PA-23-150/160 Apache
  Date: 12/05/2011     Time: 1621

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Minor



INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   3     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


  Activity: Business      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SOUTH FLORIDA, FL  (SO19)             Entry date: 12/06/2011 

West Virginia: Governor Orders Flags Lowered for Pearl Harbor Day

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has issued an order to have all U.S. and state flags to be lowered Wednesday, Dec. 7 in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

All flags displayed at state facilities are to be lowered to half-staff for the entire day Wednesday.

"Many fought fiercely at Pearl Harbor and throughout WWII, answering the call to defend our way of life," said Gov. Tomblin. "While many of these veterans, in West Virginia and throughout the United States, have since passed on, it is imperative that we preserve their legacy. From our brave veterans to the civilians who stepped up to protect our country, may we always remember all who have contributed to defending our freedoms."

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is annually held on Dec. 7 in honor of the more than 3,500 Americans killed or wounded during the attacks on Dec. 7, 1941.

Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane

The U.S. drone that apparently fell into Iran's hands was part of a joint CIA-military reconnaissance operation, Fox News has learned.

A senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that the spy plane was being used for the CIA-military operation along the Afghan-Iranian border when it lost connectivity and disappeared.

Officials had earlier confirmed the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, but it was previously unclear what the drone was doing or which agency was operating it.

After Iran's military made the questionable claim Sunday that it had shot down the drone, the CIA at first referred questions to the Pentagon.

The NATO-led military coalition then issued a brief statement, appearing to describe the mission as part of the routine military operation in Afghanistan.

"The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week," the International Security Assistance Force said. "The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

But the official confirmation that the drone was part of a CIA-military mission would seem to line up with earlier confirmation that the drone was not a run-of-the-mill aircraft.

The RQ-170 Sentinel, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not even distributed a photo of it, is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and is equipped with stealth technology. The $6 million stealth aircraft has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed.

The CIA's secret drone program is often used to fly missions over countries where the U.S. is not formally at war, such as Pakistan. It remains unclear what exactly this particular drone was doing in western Afghanistan.

Neither the Air Force nor manufacturer Lockheed Martin has released much information about the plane, dubbed "The Beast of Kandahar" in 2007 when its existence was finally confirmed.

According to a senior U.S. military source with intimate knowledge of the Sentinel drone, the aircraft likely "wandered" into Iranian air space after losing contact with its handlers and is presumed to be intact since it is programmed to fly level and find a place to land, rather than crashing.

"This is a big prize in terms of technology," the senior U.S. military source told Fox News.

The spy plane uses the same stealth technology as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, U.S. military sources told Fox News on Monday.

Read more and video: http://www.foxnews.com

(Hat tip to Augusta Jim)

LIAT pilots on sick out, passengers stranded

LIAT today said that all pilots who were scheduled to work this morning have called in sick.

It followed the airline’s sacking of Captain Michael Blackburn with immediate effect on Monday over a flying related matter. Blackburn, is also the Chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA).

LIAT in a statement on its website said “As a result of the industrial action, all of the company’s morning services have been disrupted. This is also likely to affect the rest of today’s flights.

“Customers affected by the disruptions who wish to rebook will be allowed to do so without charge for a period of one week from the date of their original scheduled travel. Following the one-week grace period, passengers will be required to pay applicable fare and change fees when re-booking. Passengers who are unable to travel as planned due to the industrial action, at their request, will be issued a full credit for future travel. Terms and conditions apply.

“When services resume, affected passengers are advised to contact LIAT Reservations to rebook before proceeding to the airport.

“LIAT also wishes to advise that passengers who decide to travel but are unable to complete their journey due to the disruption, will not be provided with meals, transportation, hotel accommodation etc. Passengers with onward connections are advised to contact their respective carriers.

“For further information passengers are advised to contact: – from Antigua – 1-268-480-5582; toll free from the rest of the Caribbean – 1-888-844-5428 and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – 1-866-549-5428.

“LIAT sincerely apologizes to affected passengers and the general public for any inconvenience caused as a result of the action by its pilots.”


LIAT Fires Captain Blackburn

Antigua St John's - Chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) Michael Blackburn has been fired from LIAT.

A release from the airline on Monday said it had terminated its "employment relationship" with Blackburn, with immediate effect.

No reason for this decision was given, and up to press time, no further indication had come to light.

LIAT, in its statement, said "no further public statements will be issued at this time".

Blackburn, while confirming he had received the termination letter, said he could not comment as he would be seeking a legal opinion.

Prescribed burn planned near Orlando International Airport (KMCO), Florida.

ORLANDO -- If you're by the airport and you smell smoke, don't worry.

The Florida Forest Service, in agreement with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, is burning up to 550 acres of land southeast of OIA. The goal is to control wildland vegetative fuel around communities and subdivisions in southern Orange County.

With assistance from four area fire departments, the FFS will conduct the controlled burn in phases over the course of several days depending on weather conditions. FFS will work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) to receive real-time weather information before initiating the burn.

The window to complete the project opens this week and continues through February. The burning process typically begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. so crews can wrap up operations and ensure a safe completion before sundown.



Dubai: Visitor jailed 10 years, fined Dh50,000 for smuggling 'sex enhancing' pills

Man said he thought he was smuggling sex enhancing pills and not drugs when he was caught at the airport

Dubai: A Pakistani visitor, who claimed he thought he was smuggling sex enhancing pills and not drugs when he was caught at the airport, will spend 10 years behind prison bars.

The Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the 40-year-old Pakistani, F.K., for 10 years and fined him Dh50,000 after he was convicted of smuggling and possessing 108 capsules weighing 898g of heroin.

According to the primary judgement, the accused will be deported following the completion of his punishment.

When the defendant appeared before the court, he argued: “A friend of mine handed me the capsules and asked me to deliver them to another man in Dubai. I thought that I was carrying sex enhancement pills and not drugs. I was not aware that the capsules contained heroin”.

Drugs Prosecution charged F.K. of smuggling and possessing 108 capsules of heroin in his intestines.

“I had no clue that I was carrying a banned substance,” contended F.K. when he defended himself before Presiding Judge Al Saeed Mohammad Barghout.


An Emirati anti-narcotics policeman said he took the defendant to Rashid Hospital where F.K. was given a laxative to remove the capsules that were in his intestines.

During prosecution questioning, the visitor confessed that he was paid 50,000 Pakistani rupees against swallowing the capsules and smuggling them to his countryman in Dubai.

The primary judgement remains subject to appeal within 12 days.

New York: Flying Air-1 duplicates services already offered by Mercy Flight

Syracuse, NY -- Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh made another pitch Monday to keep the county’s police helicopter, a day before the county Legislature could vote to sell Air-1 at public auction.

Walsh said he was confident that he could raise an estimated $595,000 to pay for Air-1’s operations next year. Legislators have stripped all funding for the helicopter’s operation from the 2012 county budget.

Most users of syracuse.com believe the helicopter is a waste of money. Here's what one person, SyraKing, had to say:

"Where is the money going to come from? Are you going to reduce take home cars or cut staff?

"The helicopter is duplication of service and it competes with private industry (Mercy Flight) which is communist. Private companies by law are not to be in competition with government services.

"Air 1 -- Walsh, who has no money to support it still wants it at the expense of county taxpayers. No revenue and it still gets funding. No effort to get certified and still they want funding. A year to raise money and they have $20,000.

"FAIL -- Sell it!"


New York: Opinion - Take opportunity to sell Air 1

The Onondaga County Legislature plans to consider a proposal to declare the sheriff department’s Air 1 helicopter “surplus property” and sell it at public auction.

Doing so may be the only way to stop the financial drain the helicopter is on county taxpayers.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney, in her 2012 budget, did not include taxpayer money for helicopter pilots and fuel. Legislators also cut $107,000 for insurance and supplies.

Sheriff Kevin Walsh is working on making the helicopter self-sustaining by charging medical patients for transport and raising charitable donations. He said at a Monday news conference he’s confident he can raise an estimated $595,000 to pay for Air 1’s operation next year. He’s raised $35,000 so far.

If he can’t, you can bet Walsh will be back in front of legislators next year with a plea for funding. He may get a more sympathetic hearing from new legislators.

Walsh’s efforts to privatize the helicopter are too little, too late. As this page has said many times, Air 1 is a luxury taxpayers can no longer afford.''

Pennsylvania: Williamsport region could benefit from Pittsburgh flight proposal

A proposal by the Pittsburgh International Airport to restore air service to small Pennsylvania airports may result in a restoration of service to the Williamsport Regional Airport.

The proposal calls for the use of turboprop aircraft with 50 seats or less, which are the types of aircraft used at the Williamsport airport.

The aircraft are much more economical to operate than small jets because they use less fuel and are ideal for short flights, according to the Associated Press.

Aircraft used at the Williamsport Regional Airport are 37- and 50-seat D-8 turboprops, according to Thomas Hart, airport executive director.

Hart said it is too early to tell whether the local airport will end up with restored service to Pittsburgh.

US Airways, the airport's lone commercial carrier, ended service between the two cities in late 2004 as part of a larger route-cutting measure designed to reduce costs. Since then, the airport's only connection has been to Philadelphia.

Hart said the Pittsburgh airport's proposal involves the selection of a consultant who will make recommendations as to which cities should have service restored and which airlines could provide that service.

"It's a positive thing, not only for the airport but aviation as a whole for Pennsylvania," said Hart. "There are a lot of smaller cities in Pennsylvania with commercial service that don't have (a connection) to Pittsburgh at the moment."

The Williamsport Regional Airport Authority and Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce have been seeking a carrier that can provide a western connection to Williamsport.

"We've met with a couple (regional) airlines and we are scheduled in March to meet with some of the larger airlines," Hart said.

According to airport authority Chairman Mark Murawski, the Pittsburgh connection is not as appealing as it was several years ago. When US Airways ended flights to Williamsport in 2004, it also ended flights to about 20 other cities, he said.

More recently, Southwest Airlines reduced flights from Pittsburgh, as well.

"Pittsburgh is not as attractive to us because connections have been greatly reduced (there) over the last few years," Murawski said.

Murawski said the airport rather would seek a carrier and city that would provide a wider range of connection options to travelers flying in and out of the area.

He said a Pittsburgh connection could, however, be useful for people who want to travel to Pittsburgh as a final destination, he added.

Hart said having multiple western connections to the airport, especially with the increase in commercial passengers as a result of the gas industry, is "very doable." He added, however, that discussions involving multiple connections is "putting the cart before the horse."

"Passenger counts are up and will continue to increase," he said. "It's not unlikely you could have multiple western connections."


$47M project brings a new look to Reno/Tahoe International Airport (KRNO) Nevada.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport is under construction again.

The $47 million, 17-month-long Gateway Project, which began Monday, is an effort by the airport authority to improve the first impression and service given to the 4 million passengers per year who use the airport.

The project is expected to employ about 275 construction workers as the baggage claim receives a new look, a second-floor atrium is constructed and the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, restaurants and retail shops are relocated.

"The project will bring 275 jobs to our community when we need them most," said Krys Bart, airport authority CEO.

The $40 million funding will come from federal funds, passenger facility charges from tickets and airport revenues. SSP America, the airport food concessionaire; Paradies, an operator of many of the retail shops; and IGT, which runs the gaming machines, also invested $7 million in the project.

Travelers passing through the Reno airport will get their first taste of the region with improvements to restaurants, which will feature local beers and wine as well as ingredients from local farmers. The Lake Tahoe theme will continue through baggage claim with tile installation to mimic the Truckee River, rock-wrapped columns and the muted chrome ceilings, which will tie into the work already done in the check-in area two years ago.

Airport officials said that most passengers won't notice the project except for being rerouted to avoid construction zones. They are trying to cut down on the inconvenience for travelers as December is a slower time for the airport. Typically, March and August is when it is the busiest.

"We are excited about the whole project because it's going to finish the airport off," said Norm Dianda, president of Q&D Construction, who is in charge of the construction.

His company also completed the airport's $63 million dollar project in 2009 that moved baggage screening equipment behind the remodeled check-in area.

The baggage claim remodel is expected to last until April.

For now, incoming passengers will follow the green arrows outside the terminal lobby, around the corner and back inside to baggage claim to retrieve their bags. The walls blocking the first stage of the construction temporarily close the main path many regularly use.

In April, phrase two begins with the construction of a state-of-the-art security checkpoint in the area where the first-floor food court is now located. The two security checkpoints on the second floor will merge into one checkpoint on the first floor, allowing for the latest screening technology.

"The new security checkpoint will allow for the airport to be a TSA test site for new technology," airport spokesman Brian Kulpin said.

Kulpin could not reveal what machines will be introduced at the airport yet because of national security regulations.

The airport held off on installation of body scanners and other screening technology until renovations are completed on to the terminal originally built for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics. The airport will have the latest technology on the West Coast to make it easier and less invasive on customers, Kulpin said.

Construction on the second floor of the airport will occur concurrently. The roof will be raised to 18-feet tall, and the building extended 40 feet onto the ramp to construct an atrium.

The new food venue will be located in the atrium, just past the escalators, and it will offer travelers views of arriving and departing planes through 18-foot windows. More retail also is incorporated into the design with new shops such as outdoor clothing store No Boundaries, electronics store InMotion Entertainment and a newsstand by CNBC slated to open.

During the second phase of construction, the main dining options on the first floor will be Peet's Coffee and Tea and the new diner, which is scheduled to be open in April in the spot near the skier statue in the first floor airport lobby. Food and beverages also will be available on the concourses for travelers.

"The airport has come through during tough economic times to create work within our community," Dianda said. "We are going to be having something that is world-class and will provide the future of this airport for a long time."


British airways pulls jobs plan

British Airways today said it would axe plans to create 400 British jobs after the Government said it will continue to impose air passenger duty on flights.

The news came as the bosses of Britain's biggest airlines including BA condemned the Government's consultation on flight tax as "a sham and waste of taxpayers' money". The Treasury is to up the levy on flights by 8% this spring, despite pleas from Carolyn McCall of easyJet, Willie Walsh from IAG, Michael O'Leary of Ryanair and Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic to scrap the tax, which raises £2 billion a year in revenues.

The aviation bosses said: "We are left with a tax that has already cost 25,000 jobs, is doing increasing damage to the prospects for economic recovery and sends a message to the world that Britain is a difficult and expensive place to do business."


US official confident no cuts for fighter jets

THE troubled Joint Strike Fighter project is unlikely to be hit by any more massive cost or schedule overruns, according to a senior US defence official visiting Australia.

However, the comments by the Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, Michele Flournoy, came as the project was subjected to fierce criticism in the US.

Ms Flournoy played down fears the US Defence Department could have to find up to $1 trillion in cuts to projects such as the JSF if a special congressional committee set up to find further cuts could not reach an agreement.

''That's going to affect the entire US budget, if it happens, and I think because of that we won't get to that point,'' Ms Flournoy told the Herald.

''That's the jumping-off-the-cliff point for the US Congress and I don't think that will happen. I'm an optimist by nature, I'm hopeful we won't get to that point, and we have 13 months to make sure it doesn't.''

However, her comments coincided with US reports suggesting defence officials had recommended ''serious reconsideration'' of the rate at which the US Air Force should buy the planes.

Bloomberg reported an internal study by Defence Department experts had found design flaws requiring a ''significant rework'' of the project.

Australia has set aside up to $16 billion to buy 100 of the planes, but the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, has already warned that any cuts to the program could force Australia to reconsider its orders for the fighter beyond the first 14, which are to be delivered by 2014 at a cost of $3.2 billion.

Ms Flournoy also expressed cautious support for the Labor Party's decision to embrace the export of uranium to India, drawing parallels with the US co-operation with India on civilian nuclear programs.

''They are a fellow democracy, we share a lot of interests and values, and we have made real investments in the relationship, including opening up some of our own nuclear trade, given that their non-proliferation record is actually quite solid,'' she said.

Airport porters stole jewelry from luggage

Three Kenyan porters at Dubai International Airport allegedly stole jewelry and accessories from passengers’ luggage, the Dubai Criminal Court heard.

MAM, 24, SBB, 21, and AMM, 23, agreed to commit the theft and hide the things stolen from passengers’ luggage.

First Corporal (Airport Security) Majid Ali testified that while was on duty, MAM was brought to him for body search. “Gold jewellery and accessories were found in his possession. MAM confessed to stealing them from bags while carrying them from the plane to the luggage conveyor belt. He also confessed that he colluded with his colleague SBB. AMM’s role was in hiding the stolen things in the airport. He too confessed to the crime,” he testified.

The court adjourned the case till December 20 for verdict.


Aviat Aircraft Inc., Husky A-1C, N62WY: Accident occurred December 03, 2011 in McKinney, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA125 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 03, 2011 in McKinney, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2013
Aircraft: AVIAT AIRCRAFT INC A-1C-180, registration: N62WY
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After returning from a short night flight, the airplane was parked on a ramp in front of a hangar to deplane the passenger and take another person on a flight. The engine was at idle power and the propeller was turning. The pilot stated that he leaned across the airplane and opened the right door so the passenger could exit. When he saw that she was exiting toward the front of the airplane, he put his arm out and told her to walk toward the rear after exiting. Once the pilot saw that the passenger was clear of the wing strut and walking away, he lowered his arm. A witness who was walking from the hangar toward the airplane saw that the passenger was walking toward the front of the aircraft. He yelled for her to stop, and a second later she hit the propeller from the rear and fell to the ground. He noticed that the pilot immediately shut the engine down and then called emergency services. FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 91-42D, "Hazards of Rotating Propeller and Helicopter Rotor Blade,” states that a propeller under power, even at slow idling speed, has sufficient force to inflict injuries. It cautions that the engine “should be shut down before boarding or deplaning passengers.” It further states that “when it is necessary to discharge a passenger from an aircraft on which an engine is running, never stop the aircraft with the propeller in the path of the passenger’s route from the aircraft.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The passenger's inadvertent contact with a rotating propeller after exiting the parked airplane. Contributing to the accident were the dark night conditions and the deplaning of the passenger while the propeller was turning.

On December 3, 2011, about 2050 central daylight time, a passenger of a parked Aviat Aircraft Inc., Husky A-1C, N62WY, came into its rotating propeller after exiting the airplane on the ramp of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The airplane was registered to Shell Aviation, LLC, McKinney, Texas, and was being flown by a private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Dark night visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The passenger was seriously injured and the pilot, who was the only other person remaining on board, was not injured. The flight had originated from T31 and had just returned from flying in the local area to view holiday lights.

A witness who was with the group of people who were at the airport to fly in the airplane that night reported that he and the pilot pushed the airplane out of the hanger approximately 2030 in preparation for the flight. He stated that the weather was VFR with ceilings around 3500 ft and good visibility. Several minutes after the pilot had started the airplane, he walked the first passenger to the aircraft, made specific mention to her of the propeller and to be careful, then helped her enter the aircraft and fasten her seat belts. Once she was situated in the rear seat he walked away from the aircraft and back into the hanger. The airplane then took off to view the holiday lights. After 10-15 minutes passed, he saw the airplane taxi back onto the ramp and park facing toward the north. After a brief discussion with another person in the hangar, he saw the shadow of the passenger exiting the airplane. He then began walking toward the aircraft and noticed that the passenger was walking toward the front of the aircraft. He yelled for her to "STOP", and a second later she hit the propeller from the rear and fell to the ground. He noticed that the pilot immediately shut the engine down and then called emergency services.

According to the pilot (as he recalled the event in a written statement), after landing from the planned 20-minute flight, he stopped the airplane on the ramp with the engine running in anticipation of taking another passenger to view the holiday lights. He opened the door on the right side of the airplane expecting a friend to come out and assist his passenger in deplaning. After he opened the door, the passenger started to get out of the airplane. Upon noticing that she was exiting in front of the strut, the pilot leaned out of his seat and placed his right hand and arm in front of her to divert her away from the front of the airplane and the propeller. He continued to keep his arm extended and told the passenger that she should walk behind the airplane. Once he saw that the passenger was at least beyond where the strut was attached to the wing, and walking away, he dropped his right arm and returned to his normal seat position. The pilot then looked to the left side of the airplane and opened his window to ask who was next to go for a ride. The pilot then heard someone yell, "STOP," and he immediately shut down the engine and saw the passenger lying in front of the airplane.

The NTSB did not travel to the scene of the accident, however, after notification of the event, an FAA inspector responded to the accident scene. He reported that when he arrived, the airplane was hangared, the scene cleaned up, and the injured passenger had been taken to the hospital. Local law enforcement and emergency medical personnel had processed the scene prior to the arrival of the FAA inspector. Both the FAA inspector's statement of his observations and the law enforcement report of the event are included in the supporting docket for this report.

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 91-42D "Hazards of Rotating Propeller and Helicopter Rotor Blade,” outlines safety considerations for pilots and passengers of aircraft with turning propellers or rotors. The AC is advisory in nature and not mandatory guidance. In part, the circular states that a propeller under power, even at slow idling speed, has sufficient force to inflict fatal injuries. On page 4 of the circular, it cautions that the engine “should be shut down before boarding or deplaning passengers”...”when it is necessary to discharge a passenger from an aircraft on which an engine is running, never stop the aircraft with the propeller in the path of the passenger’s route from the aircraft.” The Advisory Circular is included in the supporting docket for this report.

Lauren Scruggs may have suffered devastating injuries during a horrific propeller accident over the weekend, but her parents said she has the indomitable spirit to endure a long and painful recovery.

At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the 23-year-old model and editor landed at Aero Country Airport, about 30 miles from Dallas, after flying with a pilot friend to view the Christmas Lights in the area.

While moving in darkness toward the front of the plane after landing, Scruggs walked into the still-moving propeller. It struck her left side, severing her left hand, fracturing her skull, causing a brain injury and breaking her left collarbone. She also suffered extensive damage to her left eye, which she could still possibly lose.

Lauren's parents, Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs, appeared on TODAY Tuesday to discuss her daughter’s recovery and the outpouring of support since the near-fatal accident. The part-time model and editor of LoLo Magazine is currently resting in intensive care at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She was able to speak recently for the first time, telling her mother and sister, “I love you.’’

“She is just a fighter, and she will fight through this,’’ Cheryl Scruggs told Ann Curry. “She will make it through, and she will use it for good. She’s going to have a tough time when she finds out…everything that’s happened, and losing her left hand is really a tough thing, but she’ll fight.’’

“It’s been a really horrendous two days, but we do see some bright signs ahead, and we just thank all those who have been praying for us,’’ her father said. “We’re grateful.’’

Doctors may be able to save Scruggs’s badly damaged left eye, her parents said.

“It’s going to be several weeks before they know for sure what is going to happen with the eye,’’ said Jeff Scruggs. “They operated on her two days ago just on the eye for over six hours, which we saw as a good thing, and we’re just praying that she comes through with that. The original prognosis was that she was going to lose the eye, so that was a blessing, so we’re grateful to God for that.’’

Lauren already showed her parents some of that fighting spirit by trying to communicate with them a mere two days after the accident.

“Just seeing her just trying to open her right eye a tiny bit, and then move her lips and she said “Hi,’’ that just brought us to our knees,’’ her mother said through tears.

Rather than see the accident as a tragedy, her parents said it's a blessing that their daughter was not killed by the propeller. They are also thankful for the team of doctors — who said Lauren is lucky to be alive — that have assisted her in her recovery.

“This is a miracle,’’ Jeff told NBC News.

The plane had landed to pick up another passenger, and her parents believe Lauren was walking toward the front of the plane to thank the pilot, a friend of hers, when she collided with the moving propeller. The pilot could not be reached by NBC for comment, but Scruggs’s parents believe it was an accident and not negligence on the pilot’s part. An expert feels that the pilot should have done more to avoid the incident.

“The pilot is responsible for the care and oversight of not only the people who are flying as passengers, but anybody that may be a pedestrian around the airplane,’’ Greg Feith, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told NBC News.

Doctors have told the Scruggs family Lauren's return will be long and arduous. But they are optimistic. Before the accident, Lauren was in excellent physical shape, Jeff noted.

“Lauren is a go-getter, and she has always been a go-getter,’’ her mother said. “The doctors are so pleased right now because her progress has just been phenomenal. They can’t even really believe that that’s going on.’’

“She is a strong girl,’’ her father said. “She is going to fight.’’ 

Prayers have poured in from all over the country in emails and via the website CaringBridge.org, where her progress is regularly updated. Since Lauren will need numerous additional surgeries, according to doctors, her parents have also set up the Lauren Scruggs Hope Fund as a way to raise money to help pay for her medical bills. 

“She’s just going to need a lot of care for a long time,’’ her father said. “More than anything, we just covet your prayers, especially for the next couple weeks.’’ 


  Regis#: 62WY        Make/Model: HUSK      Description: A-1 HUSKY
  Date: 12/03/2011     Time: 0310

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Serious     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: MCKINNEY   State: TX   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   1     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Standing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: DALLAS, TX  (SW05)                    Entry date: 12/05/2011