Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nigeria: Akwa Ibom Airport Pioneers Anti-Bird Technology

THE Akwa Ibom International Airport has launched an anti-bird and wild life system inorder to check the increasing menace of bird strike and other wild life hazards in the airspace.

According to a statement signed by the head of Public Affairs of the Ibom Airport Development Company, Mr. Mmek-Abasi Akpabio, the technology known as Cordless Land Air Wild Life System (CLAWS) was inaugurated on December 9, 2011 by the Airport Implementation committee(AIC) at the commencement of the year 2011 airlift of Christian Pilgrims direct to Tel-Aviv in Israel.

The device is said to be capable of reducing bird- strike and other wildlife hazards incidents by at least 80 per cent.

Mr. Ankit Chudgar, the representative of Avian Systems Corporation of Kentucky, United States of America, said the CLAWS technology has so far 'only been installed in Akwa Ibom International Airport in the whole of Africa'.

Formally receiving the installer equipment in the airport, the Chairman of AIC, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, (rtd) said the Akwa Ibom Airport pioneered the technology on the continent because 'the issue of bird- strike and wild life hazard has almost become a nightmare in the global aviation industry'.

He pledged the commitment of the airport management to always remain at the forefront in the promotion of safety and global best practices.

Nkanga used the opportunity to thank the state government for its commitment to the development of the airport to its present enviable standard.

Meanwhile, the first batch of three hundred Christian Pilgrims has departed the airport direct to Jerusalem in an Atlas jet 300Air bus.

A total of one Thousand Five Hundred Pilgrims from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States will be going to the holy land through the airport.

Towing van hits plane, damages windscreen

MUMBAI: A windscreen of an Ilyushin-76 (IL-76) aircraft was damaged by a towing vehicle around 2.30am on Saturday, minutes before the plane was to take off.

The incident occurred when the aircraft, which belongs to Russian freighter company Volga-Dnepr, was being pushed back in preparation for a take-off, said a source.

"The tow bar of the towing machine hit the aircraft's observation window, which is located below the cockpit and is almost in line with the tow bar," the source added.

Nigeria: Kerosene as Aviation Fuel, Threatens Air Safety

Aeronautical engineers and pilots have warned that it is very dangerous to use Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), popularly known as Kerosene, to fuel aircraft, as a substitute for Jet A1, which is the standard aviation fuel. Although the two are closely related, Jet A1 is well refined petroleum product for aviation use. The experts cautioned that an aircraft engine could be adversely affected when a low grade fuel is used.

According to them, continued use of such low grade fuel could cause the engine to shut down while on flight or gather debris that would eventually make it malfunction. "This is very dangerous for commercial aircraft, which air lift passengers from one destination to another." The engineers and pilots are reacting to the allegation that an oil marketer has been selling kerosene as aviation fuel to airlines.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which on Wednesday summoned oil marketers to a meeting that lasted for over five hours, learnt that a particular oil marketing company has breached the standard of Jet A1 that should be supplied to airlines.

NCAA alleged that the particular oil marketer had been selling adulterated kerosene to Nigerian and other carriers.

According to Nigerian Aviation News, serious allegation was leveled against one of the oil marketers (name withheld) by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Association of Petroleum Products Marketers, alleging that it had been selling the adulterated kerosene as Jet A1 to unsuspecting airlines.

The two associations noted that checks with Lloyd of London, which had the list of oil importers, indicated that the marketer had never bought or imported aviation fuel in the past one year. According to them, what it had been importing was the domestic kerosene at N40.90K per litre, which it in turn sold to airlines as aviation fuel at N152 per litre.

Industry analyst and former Commandant of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said that selling DPK as aviation fuel was dangerous because it could malfunction the engine of an aircraft and expose passengers to danger.

Ojikutu wondered why the deception had not been discovered since the quality of Jet A1 was monitored before it was sold to the airlines. He also queried why the marketers had stopped supplying fuel from Mosimi and Ejigbo depots, but conveyed the product by road.

He advised that any marketer caught in the nefarious should be severely sanctioned.

American Airlines flight to Dallas today has problems, returns to Reno/Tahoe International Airport (KRNO) Reno, Nevada.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — An American Airlines jetliner with 134 passengers aboard was forced to return to Reno-Tahoe International Airport shortly after takeoff because of an electrical malfunction.

American Airlines spokeswoman Dori Alvarez says the plane en route to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport took off at 7:37 a.m. on Saturday and landed about 25 minutes later. She says passengers were being rebooked on other flights, and the cause of the problem was not immediately known.

Alvarez says maintenance crews were examining the MD-80 aircraft, and it still might be able to take passengers to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport later Saturday.

The pilot decided to return to the Reno airport after a light indicating an electrical malfunction went off.

Diamond DA42NG Twin Star, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, N593ER: Incident occurred December 22, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona

A small airplane being flown by an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student suffered major damage after it crashed at the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport on Thursday when the landing gear was not deployed.

The student pilot and the flight instructor incurred some scrapes and bruises, but were otherwise uninjured, according to the airport's Executive Director Barney Helmick.

The plane was described as a Diamond Aircraft DA42 NG, with twin turbo-diesel engines and a carbon fiber composite frame.

The propellers slowed the plane down when they hit the asphalt.

The runway had to be shut down for around 90 minutes while fire crews cleared the runway and a U.S. Airways flight delayed boarding for 70 minutes.

Helmick said the asphalt was not damaged during the crash.

"I could see a plane that was on its 'belly,' and fire crews were already on scene," an officer stationed at the airport noted in a police report. "The plane had crashed due to landing gear not being in place at the time of landing."

In April, Embry-Riddle, which is located in Prescott, announced it would be purchasing four of the planes to use as multi-engine trainers for new flight students and planned to begin using them in August.

The base price for the plane is more than $500,000, according to the company's website.

Story and Comments/Reaction:

  Regis#: 593ER        Make/Model: DA42      Description: DIAMOND DA 42
  Date: 12/22/2011     Time: 1929

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

  City: FLAGSTAFF   State: AZ   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   2     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: LAS VEGAS, NV  (WP19)                 Entry date: 12/23/2011 

Beechcraft Bonanza, James W. Judson Jr., N8045Y: Accident occurred October 26, 2010 in Rienzi, Mississippi

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA036 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 26, 2010 in Rienzi, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: BEECH B36TC, registration: N8045Y
Injuries: 2 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.

Prior to departure, the pilot contacted the flight service station controller to file an instrument flight rules flight plan. During the conversation, the briefer asked the pilot, "Do you require the latest adverse [weather] conditions?" The pilot replied, "No, that's why we are getting out of here." Before ending the phone call, the briefer confirmed with the pilot that he had been advised of the adverse weather conditions and the pilot acknowledged that he had. The airplane departed and climbed to 14,800 feet where it entered a rapid descent and disappeared from radar at 13,900 feet.

A survey of the wreckage indicated that all fracture features were consistent with overload failure induced by air-load or impact, and examination revealed no evidence of a preaccident mechanical malfunction. The fracture signatures suggested that the primary separation point was at the wing spar carry-through.

Examination of weather radar data revealed that a line of intense or extreme thunderstorms crossed the airplane's route of flight in the vicinity of the crash site at the time of the accident. A review of subscription information revealed that the pilot had subscribed to a satellite weather service, which could be displayed in the airplane. Some of the products available to the pilot included near real-time NEXRAD radar, Terminal Area Forecasts, AIRMETs and SIGMETs. It is unknown if the system was enabled or what features the pilot may have had displayed at the time of the accident.

A review of recorded radar track information and radar precipitation information showed that the airplane’s flight path approached and entered an area depicted as heavy to extreme precipitation. The controller who handled the airplane only provided the accident pilot with a 20-minute old pilot report from an airplane not in the vicinity of the accident. No other information was provided to the pilot about the precipitation depicted on the controller’s display, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. On at least two previous occasions, the pilot had substantially damaged airplanes during encounters with adverse weather.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather conditions. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller's failure to provide precipitation information to the pilot as required.


On October 26, 2010 about 0954 central daylight time, a Hawker Beechcraft Corporation Model 36TC, N8045Y, was destroyed following an inflight break-up and collision with terrain while in cruise flight near Rienzi, Mississippi. The certificated private pilot and passenger were killed. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Olive Branch Airport (OLV), Olive Branch, Mississippi, about 0925, and was destined for Dekalb-Peachtree (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A review of air traffic control (ATC) and flight service station voice data revealed the pilot contacted flight service about 0900 to file an IFR flight plan from OLV to PDK. During the conversation, the briefer asked the pilot, "Do you require the latest adverse [weather] conditions?" The pilot replied, "No, that's why we are getting out of here." Before ending the phone call, the briefer confirmed, "…you did say you had the adverse conditions?" The pilot replied, "Yes, I do."

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data showed a radar target identified as the accident airplane departed OLV on an easterly track, and climbed to 14,800 feet. The last three radar targets (each 10 seconds apart) displayed altitudes of 14,800, 14,700, and 13,900, where radar contact was lost. Interpolation of the last two radar targets suggested a 4,800 feet-per-minute rate of descent. At the time the radar target was lost, the airplane was in an area of depicted extreme intensity precipitation.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued March 2009, and he declared 613 total hours of flight experience at that time. Copies of the pilot's logbook were forwarded by email, and examination revealed that the most recent logbook entry was dated October 3, 2010. The pilot had logged 790 total hours of flight experience, of which 59 hours were in actual instrument meteorological conditions. The pilot flew about 110 hours over the past year, and 40 hours in the 90 days prior to the accident.


According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1992. The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not recovered, and therefore the airplane's total maintenance and inspection history could not be determined. An FAA inspector located maintenance receipts that revealed the most recent annual inspection was performed on August 3, 2010, at 2,275 total aircraft hours.

According to a maintenance/repair receipt dated July 14, 2007, airframe repairs "due to stress" were completed on the accident airplane. Some of the parts replaced included left and right-hand stabilizer assemblies, left and right-hand wing skins, as well as belly skin. According to the owner/operator of the repair facility, this was the second airplane that the pilot/owner had brought to him for repair after flying through "heavy" weather. The second airplane was brought to the facility within 30 days of the first .

The first airplane the pilot/ owner brought to the maintenance facility for repair was another Hawker Beechcraft Corporation A36 (N3214G),but the damage was too extensive, and the airplane was declared un-repairable. When the pilot arrived with N8045Y for repair, he announced, "I did it again." According to the owner/operator of the repair facility, "I ended up with both overstressed airplanes parked next to each other in front of my shop." He added, "In my 33 years of aviation I learned when these things happen (the accident), we knew it would happen in advance. I worried about [the pilot] for two years. He was doing better and I started to quit worrying."


An NTSB Senior Meteorologist prepared a Meteorological Factual Report that revealed the meteorological information available to the pilot prior to departure, and weather conditions encountered by the accident airplane after departure.

The pilot contacted the FAA contract Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at 0905 to file an instrument flight plan for a planned departure at 0920. The filed cruising level was planned for 17,000 feet with an estimated time en route of one hour and 35 minutes. When asked if the pilot had the adverse weather conditions for the route, the pilot acknowledged that he did and that was the reason for his departure. The pilot then asked if the AFSS Briefer could cancel a DUATS (Direct Users Access Terminal System) flight plan that he had previously filed, and the briefer indicated that she could not as it was a different system. The AFSS Briefer again asked if the pilot had the latest adverse weather conditions, and the pilot acknowledged he did. It is not known what information the pilot had obtained prior to the telephone call, or his subsequent departure.

At 0959, the weather conditions reported at Roscoe Turner Airport (CRX), Corinth, Mississippi, at 425 feet elevation, and 13 miles northeast of the accident site, included scattered clouds at 600 feet, a broken ceiling at 2,600 feet, and an overcast ceiling at 3,900 feet, with 2 miles visibility. The temperature was 26 degrees C, dewpoint 23 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.66 inches of mercury. The winds were from 210 degrees at 14 knots.

At 0953, the weather conditions reported at Tupelo Regional Airport (TUP), Tupelo, Mississippi, at 346 feet elevation, 35 miles south of the accident site, included few clouds at 3,700, visibility 10 miles, temperature 27 degrees C, dewpoint 20 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.66 inches of mercury. The winds were from 230 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 26 knots.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Severe Weather Forecast Alert (AWW) 721, which was in effect between 0405 and 1200 on the day of the accident, warned of severe thunderstorms with hail to 1.5-inches, wind gusts to 70 knots, and extreme turbulence, with maximum cumulonimbus cloud tops to 45,000 feet, with movement from 240 degrees at 50 knots. The Severe Weather Forecast Alert (AWW) and Weather Watch (WW) bulletins associated with a tornado watch included alerts for hail to 1.5-inches, wind gusts to 60 knots, maximum cumulonimbus cloud tops to 50,000 feet, with movement from 240 degrees at 50 knots.

The forecast for northern Mississippi after 0700 included broken clouds at 2,500 feet, with scattered thunderstorms and moderate rain with possible severe thunderstorms. Cumulonimbus cloud tops to 45,000 feet were expected, with winds from the south at 20 knots gusting to 30 knots. The forecast for northern Alabama after 1000 expected broken clouds at 5,000 feet with southerly wind at 20 knots gusting to 30 knots, with possible severe thunderstorms after 1400.

AWW numbers 721 and 723 were current over the route of flight for potential severe thunderstorms. The full text of the advisories included a statement that severe to extreme turbulence was possible with the storms. In addition, Convective SIGMET numbers 23C and 24C were issued for a line of embedded thunderstorms moving eastward at 35 knots.

A review of subscription information revealed the pilot had subscribed to a satellite weather service, which could be displayed on either of the two Garmin 430W control heads installed in the airplane. The screens were about 2 inches by 3 inches in dimension. Some of the products available to the pilot included “near real-time” NEXRAD radar, Terminal Area Forecasts, AIRMETs and SIGMETs. It is unknown if the system was enabled, or what features the pilot may have had displayed at the time of the accident.

At the time of the accident, radar data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revealed that a line of thunderstorms crossed the airplane's route of flight in the vicinity of the crash site. Weather radar echo intensities of Video Integrator and Processor (VIP) level 5 and 6 were recorded in the area of the accident site at the time of the accident. Levels 5 and 6 are described as “intense” and “extreme,” respectively.


An NTSB ATC investigator convened the air traffic control group at Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZME), Memphis, Tennessee, on November 1, 2010. While there, the group reviewed the radar and weather data available to the controllers on their control screens at the time of the accident, and conducted interviews with the controllers and their supervisors.

A review of recorded radar track information and radar precipitation information provided to the controller by the Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) subsystem showed that the aircraft’s flight path approached and entered an area depicted as heavy to extreme precipitation.

The controller did obtain a pilot report (PIREP) from a preceding aircraft and relayed the PIREP to the accident pilot. The preceding pilot reported light turbulence and a period of heavy rain for about a minute. That pilot went on to say that the airplane flew through a gap in the precipitation "that was yellow to green on our onboard radar, versus red on either side of it. It was fairly good.” While the PIREP was provided from the same general area, it was provided 20 minutes earlier, 5,000 feet lower and several miles north of the point where the accident airplane entered the area of heavy precipitation and radar contact was lost. No other information was provided to the pilot about the precipitation depicted on the controller’s display.


The wreckage was examined at the accident site on October 28, 2010, after 3 days of ground and air searches. A survey of the wreckage and surrounding terrain revealed that the wreckage path was oriented about 046 degrees, and the wreckage was scattered over an area approximately 15 miles in length.

A search for the wreckage was conducted by air and ground utilizing local law enforcement, news and air ambulance helicopters, the Mississippi Air National Guard and local volunteers. As parts were located, their positions and condition were documented, and then moved to a commercial farm for reconstruction. Over 3 days, about 70 percent of the airplane was recovered, and parts associated with the nose, tail, and both wingtips of the airplane were identified. Parts not located were the right aileron, vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizers, left elevator, and the outboard portion of the right elevator. However, both elevator counterweights, the right elevator trim tab, the inboard portion of the right elevator, and the tailcone were recovered.

The airplane wreckage was fragmented into large and small pieces. All fractures and failures were consistent with overload failure induced by air-load or impact. All control cable, chain, bellcrank, and pulley failures were consistent with overload. Both the left and right wing upper and lower attach bolts remained attached to the wings and wing fittings. The forward spar carry through upper cap was fractured and separated approximately 20 inches from the left wing. The spar web contained diagonal compression buckles and was twisted and bent forward at the right wing carry through. The right wing leading edge contained diagonal compression buckling in the upward direction. The aft cabin floor was recovered. The floor was approximately 10 feet in length from the forward utility door, lower doorframe side, to approximately three feet aft of the aft cargo area. The aft cabin floor contained clockwise torsional buckling. The fuselage structure was not attached to the aft cabin floor and skin tearing signatures were visible on both lower longitudinal skin lap joints (left and right side) throughout its length.

Examination of the instrument panel revealed extensive impact damage, and no immediately useful information. The panel contained a stormscope with "strike -finder" capability. The digital engine temperature indicator was retained for potential data retrieval.

The engine was examined at the site on October 27, 2010. The engine was a Continental TSIO-520-UB4 and was intact with all accessories attached except for the magnetos. The top cowling was crushed around the fuel manifold and the oil filler neck. The air reference lines were crushed along with the top spark plugs. The pressure relief valve was separated, and the intake tube was separated from the turbocharger. Both aft crankcase halves were crushed, and the idler gear was partially separated. The right crankcase half was crushed in above the number 1 cylinder attachment point. The top of the cylinders all displayed impact damage.

The top spark plugs were removed, and an attempt to rotate the crankshaft by hand at the propeller was unsuccessful due to damage at the aft crankcase halves. The cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope, and the pistons and cylinder domes displayed normal combustion deposits, and all valves were in place.

The spark plugs displayed normal wear and light gray deposits in the electrode areas. The fuel pump displayed impact damage and was displaced from its mount. The drive coupling was separated, and displayed evidence of tensile overload. The driveshaft rotated freely, and disassembly of the unit revealed no internal damage. The magnetos were separated from the engine and destroyed by impact. The vacuum pump was in place and displayed impact damage. The driveshaft would not rotate. The vacuum pump was disassembled and the interior rotor and vanes were shattered.

The manifold valve was disassembled and the diaphragm and spring were undamaged. Fuel was found in the interior, and the fuel screen was clear and absent of debris. The oil filter was impact-damaged and clear oil poured from its base.

The turbocharger was damaged by impact, and the driveshaft rotated freely by hand. The propeller was attached to the crankshaft, and the spinner was crushed on one side. Blade one displayed S-bending, and blade two was loose in the hub, and bent slightly towards the non-cambered side. Blade three was slightly bent to the non-cambered side.


The Office of the State Medical Examiner for the State of Mississippi performed the autopsy on the pilot and the passenger. The cause of death was attributed to multiple traumatic injuries.

Toxicological testing for the pilot was performed by the FAA’s Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) was detected in the pilot's liver and kidney.


On November 5, 2010, an NTSB recorders specialist downloaded the data from the digital engine monitor recovered from the wreckage. Examination of the data revealed steady-state cylinder head, exhaust gas, and engine oil temperatures up to the approximate time of airframe break-up.

Jim and Beth Judson of Roswell, Georgia died October 26, 2010 in a plane crash in Mississippi.

A plane crash in Mississippi that killed a Georgia businessman and his wife in 2010 was probably caused by the man flying into known bad weather and the air traffic controller's failure to provide required precipitation information, federal authorities said.

The Oct. 26, 2010, crash near Rienzi killed James Judson Jr., and his wife, Elizabeth. They were headed home from Olive Branch after watching their daughter, a University of Southern Mississippi student, in a golf tournament in nearby Memphis.

James Judson was an Atlanta-area businessman and member of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees. He and his wife were headed to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Georgia when the plane went down in Alcorn County.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a probable cause report on the accident Monday.

The report indicates James Judson knew bad weather was approaching and he was trying to get ahead of it.

The report also said James Judson had "substantially damaged airplanes during encounters with adverse weather" on at least two previous occasions.

Before taking off on the day of the accident, he called a flight services station to file an instrument flight plan, used in poor weather conditions when a pilot must rely on cockpit instruments. When asked if he needed information on the latest adverse weather, James Judson replied, "No, that's why we are getting out of here," the report said.

Then, the air traffic controller who handled the airplane "only provided the accident pilot with a 20-minute-old pilot report from an airplane not in the vicinity of the accident," the report said. "No other information was provided to the pilot about the precipitation depicted on the controller's display, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration."

The Beechcraft Bonanza was equipped with instruments that provide weather information, but the NTSB said it isn't known if the system was enabled or what features may have been displayed at the time of the accident.

The airplane took off and climbed to 14,800 feet where it went into a rapid descent and disappeared from radar at 13,900 feet, the report said. The plane appears to have broken apart in flight because of weather-induced stress.

"Examination of weather radar data revealed that a line of intense or extreme thunderstorms crossed the airplane's route of flight," the report said.

James Judson made a fortune when he sold his computer software company, Witness Systems Inc. He also served on the board of directors of CreditHawk LLC, according to the company's website.

During an interview with The Associated Press on the day of the accident, James Judson Sr. described his son as a fun-loving businessman and said the couple was active in the Catholic church and enjoyed sharing with charities.

"They were both very successful people," the elder Judson said at the time.

The NTSB summed up the probable cause of the accident this way: "The pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather conditions. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller's failure to provide precipitation information to the pilot as required."

Privatization of airport on the table: The Florida Keys Marathon (KMTH), Marathon, Florida

Monroe County Mayor David Rice says private management would be a consideration after longtime employee and Florida Keys Marathon Airport Manager Reggie Paros retires in 2012.

But Rice was clear the county would explore all options, including "the tried and true" of having a county employee in charge.

"Reggie is retiring and that might be a good time to do it. What we might do is possibly put out a [request for proposals] to the industry and evaluate our options at that point," Rice said. "We might be able to get a more efficient operation and a bit more aggressive management. They would benefit financially from the success of the airport."

Marathon Vice Mayor Dick Ramsay said he's not keen on the idea and that he told Rice so at a recent meeting of city and county officials.

"Initially, I'm very skeptical, but I'm listening to make sure I've got all the facts before I make final comments," he said.

Ramsay, the city's liaison to the county-owned airport, has long been a proponent of Marathon having more input at the airport. He proposes dual oversight in the future.

"I'd like to see that done with representatives of each planning the future of the airport and what's best," he said. Rice says any decision is several months away.

"I'm not at all sure that everyone at the city is comfortable with [privatization], but we haven't even talked about it at the level of our commission. It remains to be seen whether that option is pursued," he said.

Rice and Ramsay each say the airport, which the county essentially operates as a business, is minimally profitable. Paros did not return Thursday and Friday calls for comment.

"On a good year, it breaks even," Rice said.

Ramsay says he has ideas, such as an air show, to help the airport produce more revenue. Right now, no commercial carriers fly into Marathon, only private planes, FedEx and Mosquito Control.

"The airport is absolutely in the black, but it doesn't make a lot of money. In my opinion, it doesn't make a lot of money because we haven't ... talked about initiatives that could turn the airport around," Ramsay said.

The airport is the second county function that's been floated for privatization in recent weeks. Upset with the performance of the county Building Department, County Administrator Roman Gastesi has said he's considering hiring an outside firm to handle its duties.

Massachusetts: Transportation Security Administration confiscates cupcake from Peabody woman

PEABODY, Mass. -- A Peabody woman was traveling from Boston to Las Vegas with a cupcake when a TSA agent confiscated the sweet treat.

“He said ‘oh I don’t know, it’s getting harder and harder with the holidays coming,” said Rebecca Hains, the woman who had her cupcake confiscated.

Hains said the frosting and the glass container were what raised concerns for the TSA.

“He explained to me that the frosting constitutes a gel-like substance and part of the way that he had arrived at this decision apparently was that it was in a container in which it conformed to the container’s shape. I offered to take it out and put it in a zip-lock bag on the spot and he said ‘no I can’t let you touch it.’ So once he had identified it as a security threat it was no longer mine and I couldn’t have it back,” said Hains.

The red velvet ‘to-go’ cupcake from Cohassett’s Wicked Good Cupcakes was a gift from a friend to Hains. The cupcake was packaged in an 8-ounce mason jar.

Hains had flown out of Logan Airport with two cupcakes.

“And actually, the TSA agent who saw them, picked them up and said ‘these look delicious,’ and sent me on my way,” said Hains.

TSA said it was reviewing the circumstances of the case. However, they said that passengers are allowed to take cakes and cupcakes through security checkpoints.

“I really feel that there was no doubt in his mind that this way a cupcake but he was being technical about things. Obviously he knew it was not a terrorist threat,” said Hains.

When Wicked Good Cupcakes heard about the issue they offered to send Hains another cupcake.

“They were so kind, they said ‘we’re going to send you a replacement cupcake,’ so I win in the end,” said Hains.

Tennessee: Airline flub panics Clarksville girl's family. Plane rerouted, but parents not told

Chloe Boyce flew to see her grandmother.
 NBC Connecticut / Associated Press

A 9-year-old Clarksville, Tenn., girl flying by herself to visit her grandmother had to change planes unexpectedly and Southwest Airlines did not tell her parents, sending relatives into a panic when she arrived late.

Chloe Boyce took off from Tennessee on Tuesday, bound for LaGuardia Airport in New York. Bad weather forced her plane to detour, and then she had to change planes. When the plane she was initially on arrived at LaGuardia, family members said, it took close to an hour to find her on another flight.

“When I got the text (from her mother) that she wasn’t on the plane, and Southwest doesn’t know where she is, I started freaking out,” said Joseph Kerr, the girl’s stepfather.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said the airline apologized to the family for not letting them know she had changed planes and would be delayed.

Chloe was accompanied by Southwest employees during her trip, but she said she was a little nervous because nobody told her why she had to get off the plane in Baltimore.

“I was like ‘I’m supposed to be getting off at LaGuardia. I’m not supposed to get off this plane,’ ” she said.

Chloe’s journey started in Nashville. She was rerouted to Cleveland, then went to Columbus, Ohio, before landing in Baltimore. From there, she made it to New York, 3½ hours later than scheduled.

Her stepfather is an Army sergeant based at Fort Campbell, so she is used to traveling, her family said.

“She was definitely more calm than we were,” said Elena Kerr, her mother, who reached Chloe by cellphone at the Baltimore airport when she did not show up on time in New York.

Southwest gave the family a $250 flight voucher and refunded the girl’s ticket, but Chloe’s family has not received an explanation for why the airline did not tell them about the changes.

Hawkins, the Southwest spokesman, said the airline tries to notify parents of “irregular operations,” even though it is not mandatory. He also said the airline tries to avoid such situations by booking unaccompanied minors on itineraries that don’t require changing planes.

For the return trip, Joseph Kerr said, they will be driving back.

City seeks two candidates for Airport Authority board. Great Falls International (KGTF), Montana.

The Great Falls City Commission is seeking citizens interested in serving on the Great Falls International Airport Authority board.

There are currently two openings for three-year terms. The terms of the appointed members would be through Dec. 31, 2014.

The airport authority is the governing body and policy-setting board for the operation and management of the Great Falls International Airport. The board is responsible for employing the airport director, who hires staff and oversees the day-to-day operations of the airport.

The board consists of seven members, appointed to three-year terms. Members serve without compensation.

The airport authority board generally meets on the last Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. A complete description of the roles and responsibilities of board members will be provided with the application.

Applications are available:

» At the City Manager's Office, Civic Center, Room 201.
» By calling 455-8450.
» In the Advisory Boards section on the City's website at
Application deadline is Dec. 30 by 3 p.m.

For more information about the roles and responsibilities of serving on the board, contact Airport Director John Faulkner at 727-3404.

Airport Director Susan Walsh placed on leave after driving while intoxicated charge: Greater Rochester International (KROC) Rochester, New York.

Monroe County placed the director of the Greater Rochester International Airport, Susan Walsh, on administrative leave Friday after she was involved in a traffic accident with a county-owned vehicle in East Rochester and arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.

The development marked the second time this year that the county has relieved an airport director of duty, and tarnished Walsh's image as a no-nonsense successor to a director who spent lavishly on cigars, alcohol and strippers.

The county appointed Angela Veltre, the deputy airport director in charge of finance, as the acting director pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the circumstances of Walsh's arrest.

Walsh, 52, was charged Thursday after she allegedly rear-ended another car near Washington Street and Linden Avenue about 7 p.m. and subsequently refused a breathalyzer test at the scene, according to East Rochester police. She also was ticketed for following too closely, a traffic infraction.

Police Chief Steven Clancy said Walsh was alone at the time of the crash and that the arresting officer observed her to be intoxicated. He said no one was injured and that damage to both vehicles was minor.

Walsh, who was arrested under her married name, Susan Ognissanti, was processed by police and released. She is scheduled to appear in East Rochester Court to answer the charge on Feb. 6, according to police.

County spokesman Noah Lebowitz said in a prepared statement that Walsh informed county officials of her arrest late Thursday.

"Given the seriousness of the charges, County Executive (Maggie) Brooks has immediately placed Ms. Walsh on administrative leave pending an employee investigation," the statement read in part. "Her use of a county vehicle has been suspended indefinitely."

County employees have been expected since 2004 to file reports of incidents of property damage or physical injury immediately after their occurrence.

Responding to a request for the report detailing Walsh's accident, Lebowitz said a report was not filed.

"The East Rochester police report has more than sufficient detailed information on the incident, making (the Monroe County Incident Report) form unnecessary," Lebowitz said.

Lebowitz declined to answer questions about the process of the county's investigation, calling it a confidential personnel matter.

The East Rochester Police Department did not release the arrest report.

What consequences Walsh may face will likely hinge on the decision of the court.

The Monroe County handbook for its management employees, of which Walsh is included, states that "negligence in the care and use of county property may be considered grounds for discipline, up to and including termination."

Walsh, a soft-spoken and articulate lawyer who formerly led the county's budget office, was tapped by Brooks in January to run the airport. Heralded for her background in law, management and finance, Walsh was viewed at the time to be a straight-arrow alternative to her predecessor, David Damelio.

Damelio resigned under pressure in January following reports of questionable spending that drew intense public outrage, and the episode prompted ethics and fiscal reforms at the airport.

A state Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman said Friday that Walsh had a "full and valid driver's license" and "no convictions of any kind on her public record."

According to the county, there were 3,018 DWI arrests in 2010, including 23 in East Rochester, although the records do not reflect how many of them were on misdemeanor charges.

While the Rochester airport is routinely well-regarded in public opinion polls for its affordability and convenience, it has struggled to recover from the public relations battering it endured earlier this year, and Walsh's arrest immediately drew comparisons to the fall of her predecessor.

As the airport's deputy director of finance, Veltre, 53, counted among her duties processing monthly credit card and bill payments and reviewing expenditures of employees.

Veltre did not return a phone message seeking comment about her new role as acting director.

Reached on his cellphone, Monroe County Airport Authority Chairman James Vazzana acknowledged the charge against Walsh and its fallout but declined to comment.

"At this point in time I have no details, so obviously there is nothing I can say," Vazzana said.

Asked specifically how the incident reflects on the Monroe County Airport Authority, the airport's governing body, Vazzana said he had to step into a meeting and hung up.

Airport Director Susan Walsh charged with DWI

Airport Director Susan Walsh was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated last night following a crash in East Rochester.

“Late Thursday night Airport Director Susan Walsh informed the county administration that she had been charged with misdemeanor DWI in the village of East Rochester,” said county spokesman Noah Lebowitz in a statement.

“Given the seriousness of the charges, County Executive Brooks has immediately placed Ms. Walsh on administrative leave pending an employee investigation. Her use of a county vehicle has been suspended indefinitely. Deputy Airport Director Angela Veltre has immediately assumed the responsibilities of airport director in an acting capacity.”

Veltre is a deputy director who oversees finances at the airport, processing monthly credit card payments and reviewing expenditures.
East Rochester Police Chief Steve Clancy said Walsh, 52, was arrested last night under her married name, Susan Ognissanti. The charge stemmed from a two-vehicle crash near Washington Street and Linden Avenue just before 7 p.m. He said no one was injured in the crash and both cars sustained minor damage.

Clancy said Walsh was alone and driving a county-owned vehicle when she allegedly rear-ended another car. She refused a breathalyzer test at the scene, but was arrested based on the officer’s observations of her, he said. She was also ticketed for following too closely, a traffic infraction

Walsh was processed by police and released. She is due to answer the charge in East Rochester Court Feb. 6, he said.

Walsh, a lawyer who had been the county’s budget director before she moved to the airport, was appointed by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. The Monroe County Legislature approved the appointment in February.

A spokesman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles said this morning that Walsh has a “full and valid license” and “no convictions of any kind on her public record.”

The 2010 report on Monroe County’s Stop DWI program says that there were 3,018 DWI arrests in the county last year, though it does not break down how many of those were misdemeanor charges. The same report says East Rochester had 23 DWI arrests that year, the latest figures available.

Messages left on Walsh’s and Veltre's cell phones were not immediately returned this morning.

Reached on his cell phone, Airport Authority Chairman James Vazzana acknowledged the charges against Walsh and the fallout from them, but declined to comment.

“At this point in time I have no details, so obviously there is nothing I can say,” Vazzana said. “I haven’t seen (the county’s statement), and until I see it I have nothing to say.”

Asked specifically how the incident reflected on the Airport Authority, which has spent the year attempting to overcome a public relations nightmare brought on by news reports of its former executive director spending lavishly on alcohol, cigars and strippers, Vazzana said he had to step into a meeting and hung up.

Michael Blackburn resigns as head of LIAT pilots union

Captain Michael Blackburn said he does not believe his resignation would negatively affect negotiations between LIAPA and the airline management.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, December 23, 2011 – Captain Michael Blackburn has resigned as Chairman of the Leeward Islands Pilots Association (LIALPA) as he prepares to file a lawsuit against regional carrier LIAT challenging his summary dismissal earlier this month.

Captain Blackburn said his resignation Thursday would prevent possible conflict of interest since he may have to call on association members to aid his defense.
The senior pilot said he will file the challenge by the first week in January, the latest.

He is also aiming to clear his name following allegations he compromised flight safety during a trip to St Lucia.

The former union boss denied being pressured into making the decision and expressed full confidence in the current LIALPA leadership.

“We have a very effective executive council remaining in office and a new chairman would be elected within 60 days. There is no amount of persuasion by members who support me fully that could make me to stay on,” he said.

“LIAT has made some allegations regarding my professional conduct recently and I have to exonerate myself and I would take whatever steps I have to, to do it. That would place me in a compromising position because the position of chairman of the association is very powerful so that I would be in a position to exercise undue leverage or the appearance thereof, which is equally important to me and therefore I have no choice but to step down.”

The former chairman stated he does not believe his resignation will negatively affect the position of LIAPA, which along with other unions are involved in an industrial dispute with the management of the Antigua-based airline.

“It might even strengthen the resolve of guys who will realise they can operate without me,” he said of his resignation.

“If the company is under the belief that because I’m not there they can do whatever they would like or they can take advantage of the situation, then the Caribbean people would pay a serious price.”

The trade unionist denied reports of serious disunity within the association, saying “there is no big division.”

He also urged LIALPA to proceed with changes to the constitution to ensure there is collective leadership rather than centralized power for the chairman.
Captain Blackburn was employed with LIAT for 34 years, and served 32 of them on the LIALPA executive.

His sacking led to days of industrial action by pilots, which left thousands of regional travelers stranded.

Massive snowy owl is roosting at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (KAZO) Kalamazoo, Michigan.

John A. Lacko | Gazette
A snowy owl has taken up residence at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.

KALAMAZOO — An early Comair flight out of the Kalamazoo airport was briefly delayed Friday morning when a bird stubbornly held its ground on the taxiway before some aggressive shooing by airport workers prompted it to move far enough to allow a safe takeoff.

The massive snowy owl has taken up residence at the airport, delighting area birders and nonbirders alike by its rare presence this far south.

Airport employee Art Mortimer said the bird has been the talk of the building since Wednesday.

"The night guy, he saw it sitting on a fence a couple of nights ago,"Mortimer said. Workers at nearby Duncan Aviation have seen it during the day as well, he said.

"They're beautiful to see," said Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport Director Cliff Moshoginis. "But we have to keep it out of the way."

Todd Alfes, an avid birder and a volunteer in the Kalamazoo Nature Center bird banding operation, said several fellow airport employees approached him when he arrived at work Wednesday to report that they had spotted the huge white bird.

Alfes said he was able to locate the bird easily, and watched through binoculars from the airport windows throughout the day as the bird roosted on orange electrical boxes, occasionally turning its head.

"I notified the local 'bird mafia' late Wednesday morning and other members were able to confirm the sighting," Alfes said.

Richard Keith, director of Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory, said snowy owls venture south in some years, perhaps leaving their normal range around the North Pole when food is scarce there. Oddly, the owls seem to enjoy airports — several have been the object of study at Boston's Logan Airport.

"Airports are a lot like a tundra, look a lot like home," Keith said.

Lemmings and mice are the owls normal fare, Keith said, though the large birds can eat ducks and geese, an attractive feature to some airports, which are more bothered by those birds than by the owls, he said.

Snowy owls are the largest North American owls, and among the largest owls in the world; their wings can span 5-and-a-half feet.Their colors ranging from wite flecked with dark to pure snow white, Keith said.

That coloration is usually useful camouflage against its snowy surroundings.

"The white birds do stick out against our current backdrop, but I don't think that puts it at risk," Alfes said of Kalamazoo's visitor. "The bird is very large and equipped with massive claws."

The unusual owl is cause for excitement among birders, Alfes said. They are lining up against the airport fences hoping for a glimpse of the bird. The Audubon Society of Kalamazoo has sent emails to its members advising them of its presence. Others have posted the information on statewide bird alerts.

"Any time a birder sees a new bird, it is exciting," Alfew said. " After a couple years, birders have seen all the typical birds in their local area, so the only way to get that old excitement back is to find the occasional rare bird. That's what's going on for birders in this area now.

"It's a real rush.".

Who says romance is dead? Wife 'makes airline bomb threat to stop husband getting on a plane to see his mistress'

Woman accused of making false LAX bomb report strikes plea bargain

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California woman angry with her husband called in a bomb threat to prevent him from departing on a jetliner at Los Angeles International Airport, the FBI said. Johnna Woolfolk was charged by federal prosecutors on Tuesday with providing false and misleading information.

A Lynwood woman struck up a plea bargain for allegedly reporting that her husband was carrying a bomb aboard an AirTran Airways flight departing from Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Johanna Woolfolk is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 9 to plead guilty to charges of providing false and misleading information, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

The alleged hoax was set into motion when Woolfolk called an AirTran customer service representative and provided specific information about a man who was carrying a bomb aboard Flight 54, headed from LAX to Atlanta on Nov. 27, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent David Gates.

Authorities waited at the airline gate for the man, who said he was having "marital difficulties" with his wife, Gates wrote. The man explained that he was traveling to Atlanta for work, but his wife wanted him to stay so they could work out their differences.

The next day, Woolfolk admitted to making the false bomb threat after saying that she was "under stress" and had "marital difficulties" with her husband, Gates wrote.

She then broke out in tears after authorities replayed her conversation with the AirTran operator.

"She stated that she was not thinking, she did not want to hurt anyone and did not want to cause harm," Gates wrote.

Woolfolk's plea comes one month after a Lizet Sariol of Temple City woman was charged with fabricating a terrorist threat and providing false information.

Sariol, 45, allegedly claimed that a romantic partner and four other French travelers posed a terrorist threat aboard a U.S. Airways flight headed from LAX to Las Vegas on Sept. 25. She is scheduled to appear in court in February. 

Scuba divers discover airplane submerged off coast of Palm Beach County Divers say plane may be from WWII

JUPITER, Fla. - It was supposed to be a typical scuba dive. Randy Jordan, owner of Emerald Charters in Jupiter, grabbed his gear and ferried a small group of divers to a spot about four miles east of the Jupiter Inlet. "Completely random drop and the captain just dropped us right on it," said Jordan. "It was just totally by accident."

The group dove about 185 feet to the ocean floor.

"We get down to the bottom and I see some fish that are swimming over to the right and I followed them," said Jordan. "They swam right up to this airplane. It was the most amazing thing."

Right in front of them, Jordan said, were the remains of an aircraft. "When you backed up, you said 'that's an airplane,' " he said.

Underwater video taken by Jordan shows the aircraft upside-down on the ocean floor. "The wings were intact, the tail was intact and if you go to the front of it, the engine's there and the propellers," he said.

Jordan sent his images to the Warbird Information Exchange , an online source for historical aviation information. Experts there told Jordan that the submerged aircraft could be a Curtiss Helldiver SBC2. Some of those airplanes flew in the early 1940s during World War II.

"I thought, that's pretty cool. 'Helldiver' is the name of something a bunch of divers would find," said Jordan. "It's never been discovered before so somebody's looking for it."

No representatives from the U.S. Military have been out to examine the aircraft wreckage. The group of divers plans to be in talks with the military, in hopes that someone can provide answers about this discovery off the coast of Palm Beach County.

A Christmas gift (India)

Air Chief Marshal NAK. Browne.

A man working in a private airline in Kolkata, who wanted his little son to be an Indian Air Force pilot, has received a Christmas gift of sorts from the air force. In his efforts to inspire his six-year-old child, he sought an appointment with none other than the air chief.

The air headquarters responded to the request and a meeting was fixed with Air Chief Marshal NAK. Browne. The father and son spent some precious moments with the air chief, which for the man and his young son was the stuff of dreams. They went home with a framed photograph of the meeting.