Monday, January 2, 2012

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It was a wise man who said news is a conversation.
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Here's pictures of the Holiday Christmas Party at the Flying W Airport (N14), that I attended. Lumberton, New Jersey.

Our friends include: Freeflight Aviation, Aero Prep, Helicopter Flight Services, Pilot Friends from the Flying W Airport and the South Jersey Regional Airport. Our local community of pilots, their family and friends.


Lots of holiday fun my loves!~ xo

Thank you very much Barbara and Frank for a great party!
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RAF 2000 GTX SE, ZK-RCO: Accident occurred January 01, 2012 at Whangarei Airport (NZWR), New Zealand

Gyrocopter pilot "Rusty" Russell (right) makes a phone call, minutes after his aircraft crashed at Whangarei Airport yesterday.



A Whangarei gyrocopter pilot walked away unhurt from a crash at Whangarei Airport yesterday.

"Rusty" Russell was landing his gyrocopter and was about 4metres from the ground when the wind blew the aircraft on to its left side, just before 11am.

Mr Russell tried to right the small aircraft but it was too late. The rotor blades hit the ground and the cockpit tipped over, coming to a stop on the grass beside the runway.

He was helped out of the overturned aircraft and suffered no injuries except to his wallet he said.

The gyrocopter was irreparably damaged and would be going to the dump, Mr Russell said.

The day had started well, with a flight to Ruakaka.

"I'd been out for about an hour and I was coming back in, everything was lined up nicely, just before I touched the ground she kicked sideways a little bit.

"It just leaned over one way and the wind got under the rotors," Mr Russell said.

"I thought maybe I'll come out of it, put the hammer down and throw the stick over ..."

But it was too late and the gyrocopter, which Mr Russell has owned for about a year, ended up in a heap on the ground.

"You've just got to fly them every minute, you can't relax.

"They're like a mad chook, they just take off. After two hours, you're buggered just keeping the damned thing flying.

"Every time you get out of this thing you buzz for about an hour.

"If you want adrenaline, this is the thing, but I think it's a bit too much adrenaline."

Mr Russell was yesterday stripping the broken aircraft of anything that could be reused and planned to take the rest to the dump.

While it was Mr Russell's first crash, it is not the first time the gyrocopter has overturned.

"It's done it three times now. The first guy who bought it in Tauranga did it, and I think the second guy did something similar, and it's done it again," Mr

Russell said. He has not been put off flying altogether, although he probably will not buy another gyrocopter.

"I think I'll stick to fixed wing flying," he said.

In May 2011, Grant Simpson, 50, died when his gyrocopter crashed at Awanui, north of Kaitaia. Mr Simpson, with family links in the Far North, lived in Taumaranui, where he worked as a mobile mechanic.

The Civil Aviation Authority is yet to complete a report into the fatal crash.

http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz

Low Passengers Turnout At Murtala Muhammed International Airport

The domestic terminals of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, recorded low activities on Monday as the New Year holiday ended.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that few travellers were seen booking for their tickets to resume work tomorrow in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

The General Aviation Terminal and the Murtala Muhammed II Terminal were almost empty with few passengers and their relations on hand at the departure and arrival halls.

A major airline rescheduled its flight from 9.45 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. because of low passenger traffic.

An Abuja-bound passenger, Mr Victor Eteghe, told NAN "I am a civil servant and I hope to get to Abuja early to be able to rest before resuming work tomorrow.

"But we are experiencing some delays because of low turnout of passengers”.

Another passenger, Mr Onegiar Terry, also expressed disappointment with his delayed flight to Port Harcourt.

Mrs Elizabeth Ashiru, who was travelling to Abuja, said, "I decided to fly today to avoid the rush at the airport tomorrow.

"I paid N700 extra to hire a taxi to the airport to catch my early morning flight to Abuja, but unfortunately the flight was delayed because of low passenger turnout.

India: Government panel moves for 49% Foreign Direct Investment in aviation

Before the government allows foreign carriers to take 26 per cent stake in Indian airline companies , the Working Group on Civil Aviation (WGCA) comprising secretaries of various ministries has already proposed raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit to 49 per cent.

The members of the WGCA told the civil aviation secretary, who heads the group, that 49 per cent stake sale would be far more attractive to foreign carriers than 26 per cent. The WGCA comprises secretaries of the ministries of civil aviation, petroleum and banking, as well as the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), which functions under the commerce ministry.

They (secretaries) felt that the Indian aviation sector was going through turmoil and that the FDI limit needed to be increased to 49 per cent in order to bring in much-needed large investments, said a top government official.

Voting right allows stockholders to vote on matters of corporate policy and composition of the board of directors. Voting often involves decisions on issuing securities, initiating corporate actions and making substantial changes in the corporation's operations. Currently, FDI up to 49 per cent is permissible in the aviation sector. But foreign airlines are not permitted to invest in domestic airline companies.

The ministry of civil aviation has in principle agreed to the hike in FDI limit to 49 per cent. The earlier draft Cabinet note had put the cap on FDI by foreign airlines at 26 per cent against 24 per cent planned originally by the civil aviation ministry.

A top official said DIPP, which functions under the commerce ministry may rework on the draft Cabinet note to allow 49 per cent stake sale to foreign carriers in Indian airline companies.

"Now we expect that the DIPP will re-draft it to formulate a new Cabinet draft note in this regard. The concerns of the aviation industry to hike FDI to 49 per cent will help most ailing Indian airliners," said an official. The new Cabinet draft note will then be circulated to various ministries, including the Union home ministry.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

http://businesstoday.intoday.in

Willard's journey: From local deckhand to globetrotting pilot

Originally published Thursday, Dec 22, 2011; Issue: 51

By: Rosalie Loewen

Ask Ray Willard how he feels about his job flying 747 cargo jets around the world and he has a quick answer: "Sure beats working." That’s how much Willard enjoys his career as a jet pilot, something he says he "stumbled into."

Willard grew up in Klukwan and Haines. His father, Evans Willard, was a commercial fisherman who gillnetted Lynn Canal before moving out to Bristol Bay. Willard is proud of his Tlingit roots and Native heritage.

"In my company they all know that I am Tlingit. I am always talking about it. My dad was a chief before he passed away. My grandmother, Mildred Sparks, was big into heritage."

Willard didn’t get an early start in flying. After graduating from Haines High School in 1976, he worked winters as a welder and spent summers fishing with his father. In the early 1980s Willard was working in Anchorage when he passed a sign at Merrill Field that caught his eye: "Introductory flight lesson, $40."

The way he tells it, he had nothing better going. He said he remembers thinking, as the plane landed at the end of his first lesson, "I think I could probably do this."

Today, Willard lives in a Wasilla fly-in airpark that includes a runway and floatplane lake. He has a hangar attached to his house and owns three airplanes: a 1969 Cessna 180 on wheels, a 1979 Cessna 185 on amphibious floats and a recently acquired Piper PA18 Super Cub that came with floats, tundra tires and a cabin on 19 acres near McGrath.

"My wife tells me that I have to sell one of them. She gets on my case because she thinks I don’t fly the little airplanes enough anymore."

Willard’s first plane was a 1954 Cessna 180. The year was 1984 and he had just acquired his private pilot’s license. Ernie Walker, a pilot and airplane mechanic, sold him the plane in Haines. "I only had 54 hours of experience," Willard remembered. "Ernie made it look easy, so I bought it. I found out they aren’t quite as easy to fly as you might think."

Besides the plane, Walker sold him on the idea of getting a commercial pilot’s license and flying for Haines Airways, a local airline Walker was just getting started.

Shares of the company were owned throughout town, helping develop a clientele. "It was really a local airline: I was a local boy, and everyone involved lived there; no outside corporations. (Everyone) helped. Klukwan, Inc. was still in the money and used us a lot and that helped boost the bottom line, too."

Former Haines Air dispatcher Midge Stokley, reached for comment at home in Cowley, Wyo., remembered Willard as an extremely skilled pilot. "People were always comfortable flying with him. He was requested by many that were white knuckle passengers when weather was not the best... I am one that would climb into a plane with him anytime.

Once though, Mother Nature smacked him, Stokley said, recalling a draft that caught the plane and tipped it sideways, causing a cargo door to pop open and a mail bag to fall out. "Ray and (owner) Mike Shallcross went out on a search, but none of it was recovered. Ray said that could be the true meaning of airmail."

Willard feels he owes his successful career in part to a work ethic he inherited from his father. "My biggest influence was my dad, who was a hard-core, hard-working guy and didn’t tolerate anyone sitting around. Even if you were leaning up against something, he would notice."

The job also suits his nature, Willard said. "Anybody who knows me, knows I am pretty laid back. Most pilots are calm under fire, think-before-you-do sort of thing. You have to be able to make smart decisions...quick decisions."

Willard bought additional shares of Haines Air and was a partner and pilot for 13 years until the airline was bought by a branch of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in 1997. He cashed out and moved on to flying medical evacuation Lear jet flights full time. "That got me addicted to flying jets, flying high and going fast."

In 1999 he was hired by Atlas Air Worldwide and trained on the Boeing 747-400 planes that he pilots today.

Despite his high-flying career, Willard takes off a month every year to commercial fish in Bristol Bay, a job he’s done almost every year since he started deckhanding on the family boat at age 13. He flies one of his Cessnas into Kvichak Bay, to the mouth of the Naknek River, where he skippers a gillnet boat with a permit he inherited when his father died.

"I don’t really have a (financial) need to fish, but I promised my Dad and it helps my Mom out. And I think it is kind of an addiction. Around June I start wanting to be there, getting ready. I am already thinking about it now (in December): What I need, how I am going to get all the days off... I plan on fishing until I can’t do it anymore."

He calls fishing a kind of reality check "to see what it is like to really work for a living. After a month in Bristol Bay, I really appreciate (my piloting job.)"

When fishing, he and his crew spend nearly all their time on the water. They come in to the cannery only for groceries and fuel, or during regular closures. He considers crewmen Danny Willard and Mark Williams among the best in the bay. "They have been fishing with me a lot of years. I am going to try to keep them fishing with me as long as I can."

Willard just put the finishing touches on a new 32-foot, flush-deck welded aluminum boat. He hired a Washington state contractor to do most of the construction, but flew down to help out and put his 10 years of experience as a professional welder back into use.

Despite his recent promotion to captain from first officer, Willard characterizes himself as a "nuts and bolts" kind of guy. "I like to do a lot of stuff myself. Typical Alaskan: You have to be able to figure it out."

For this story, Willard was reached during a layover in Everett, Wash., traveling between Charleston, South Carolina and Nagoya, Japan, flying one of four existing 747 Dreamlifter jets.

Despite his worldwide experience, Willard said he enjoys flying over the Chilkat Valley most. "I’ve still got a cabin at Chilkat Lake. I know the area so well, it’s fun for me to fly down there. I’m familiar with every little dirt strip, every beach you could land on."

Not that he considers flying, or even fishing in the Chilkat Valley, easy. "I have probably had my adrenaline to its peak just being a Lynn Canal fisherman caught in a blow, trying to make it back into the harbor. Even flying in Lynn Canal, dealing with the weather, getting caught halfway between Juneau and Haines, orbiting a beach between snow showers saying, ‘Please, God, just let me make it back.’ That is where you test your cool."

He describes as "pretty mellow’ the job he holds now. "I just go from one big airport to another. Back doing medevac flights in Southeast Alaska, flying around in all that terrain and snowstorms... in the middle of the night. That was pretty exciting."

He plans to retire in his current job. "New rules say I can fly until I’m 65 and I plan on continuing flying that long."

Willard has this advice for young people. "If they have a dream, they should at least go and try it. I didn’t think I could learn to fly. I never had encouragement and it just seemed out of reach, but I stumbled into it one day and it has turned into a decent career... (Flying) is challenging, but it is definitely doable for the average kid."

"Over the Mountains" is a series of articles spotlighting Haines students who have achieved success.

Group to press Palm Springs on military jet noise. Councilmen to give update on military operations at meeting

PALM SPRINGS — The military jet noise out of the Palm Springs International Airport subsided over the holidays, but the issue remains one of the first orders of business in the new year for city officials.

Members of the Airport Noise Citizen Committee huddled outside of Koffi last Friday to prepare for Wednesday's city council meeting, where councilmen Chris Mills and Paul Lewin are expected to update residents about their efforts to quiet military jet noise.

The newly formed group said it wants the city to be aggressive in its questioning of military officials about the spike in military flights into Palm Springs.

“We're afraid they're backing off to let residents cool off, then they'll be back at it again,” committee chairman Vic Gainer said Friday, referring to the relatively quiet December.

“They're staying below the radar, but for how long?”

A total of 2,068 military operations — takeoffs and landings — occurred at the Palm Springs airport between January and November, with 215 military operations in November alone.

October was the noisiest month of the year so far with 298 military operations out of Palm Springs, according to airport statistics.

Statistics for December were not available Friday, though residents said they noticed a significant drop in noise in recent weeks.

Gainer was joined Friday by committee members Robert Carlson, Scott Connelly and Cheryl Houk, who are anxious to hear Lewin and Mills' update Wednesday.

Lewin and Mills serve on the council's ad-hoc subcommittee that focuses on military jet noise mitigation. They met recently with airport officials and Marc Troast, political director for Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, who wrote a letter to the Pentagon asking for the reason behind the increase in flights.

At the Wednesday meeting, Lewin and Mills plan to discuss the options the city has available. Neither would discuss details before the meeting.

“The goal is to see if there's anything that we can do to reduce the sound impact on the city because it's really not just the people around the airport; you hear the jets throughout the city,” Mills said.

Gainer said while the group intends to work closely with Lewin and Mills, the group plans on continuing its own research to come up with solutions.

The group's goals are to:

• Suggest alternative sites for military flights;

• Work toward completing a new environmental impact study to update the airport's current noise compatibility program;

• Determine whether there is federal money available to provide double-pane windows and other soundproofing improvements in homes near the airport.

Members of the committee acknowledge there are many people who do not support their position and believe the city should be welcoming military flights, not criticizing them.

But they stress that they're not just whining about not being able to sit poolside quietly.

“There's an economic impact that can't be understated,” Gainer said. “This isn't just a quality-of-life issue; it's becoming a threat to the city's real estate industry.”

Carlson, who has worked in real estate in Palm Springs for a year now, said he recently lost a client to the east valley because as he showed a Palm Springs home, a jet flew overhead.

In November, Connelly began circulating a petition to call for the reduction of local military operations that the group says “are causing health and welfare concerns for residents.”

So far, the group has collected more than 150 signatures.

http://www.mydesert.com

Allegiant Plane Travels Off Taxiway At Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG), Ohio


An Allegiant aircraft taxiing its way into the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport went off the taxiway tonight.

The plane was coming in from St. Petersburg, Fla., and landed at 6:05 p.m., according to Dan Dickten, director of aviation at the airport.

The plane was then taxiing on the taxiway when the pilot tried to turn right on taxi H-1. The turn may have been too wide, causing the nose gear and left main landing gear to go into the grass.

Dickten said the planes can hold about 150 passengers, and they are generally full at this time of year.

The passengers were taken from the plane to the terminal. No passengers were hurt, and the plane does not appear to be damaged.

Attempts are being made now to get the plane back on the taxi way. The plane is expected to fly passengers to St. Petersburg later tonight.

It happened at the north end of the airport near runway 32 and toward Kings Graves Road. The engine of the plane has been shut down, and there are several emergency vehicles at the scene.

As of about 7:30 p.m., heavy snow was falling and there was very little visibility at the scene.

Two Navy pilots among those killed in murder-suicide

CORONADO, Calif (Reuters) - Two Navy pilots were among four people killed in an apparent New Years Day murder-suicide on the wealthy island of Coronado off the coast of San Diego, officials said on Monday.

The two were F/A-18 pilots training at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the base said.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office initially posted on its website that the both were male, and both 25 years old. The Medical Examiner's information said the third deceased man was a 31-year-old resident of nearby Chula Vista.

The Office later took the information off the website.

Authorities in Coronado, a wealthy island enclave off the coast of San Diego, were called to a condo shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday to investigate a report of shots fired at the residence, according to the sheriff's department.

Once there, officers found the body of an adult male with an apparent gunshot wound lying in the doorway of the building, police said.

After entering the condo, police found the bodies of two more men and a woman. Further details, including the identities of the dead, have not yet been released.

Next door neighbor Don Hubbard, an 85-year-old retired Navy pilot, said in a telephone interview that the female victim was the 24-year-old sister of one of the pilots.

San Diego sheriff's homicide detectives said no one was being sought in connection with the deaths.

On Monday, the crime scene tape had been removed from the area, and the rear door of the three-condominium complex was scarred by a bullet hole and a blood stain remaining on the bricks by the door.

A Navy pilot in training who recently took his first flight in an F/A-18 fighter jet and his sister, a girls volleyball coach, were among the four people found dead in a New Year's Day shooting at a condominium in a toney neighborhood on San Diego Bay, the victims' father said Monday.

David Reis, 25, who was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and his sister Karen Reis, 24, were confirmed as victims by the Navy, said their father, Tom Reis of Bakersfield.

The siblings were found at the Coronado condo after authorities responded to a report of gunfire shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.

"It's still a shocker," said Rebecca Bailey, 26, who played college volleyball with Karen Reis and later coached with her at a high school and club program. "This kind of thing doesn't happen to people like her and David. Their family is the family everybody wants to be a part of. They're just so loving, and there's so much love in their family."

The elder Reis said he didn't know who else was at the condo in the wealthy seaside community where his son had been living.

"He just had his first F/A-18 flight," Tom Reis said. "Oh man, he loved it."

David Reis held a mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Mexico. Karen Reis graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2009 and stayed in the area, coaching volleyball and working at a grocery store.

"She has a really great spirit and knows how to make things fun," Bailey said.

The remaining victims were another 25-year-old Navy man and a 31-year-old man from Chula Vista, authorities said. Their names were not immediately released.

Officials found a dead man in the doorway to the three-story condo and the bodies of two men and a woman inside in different parts of the structure.

It was not immediately clear how the four people died. However, authorities previously said they did not believe there were any outstanding suspects.

Messages left Monday with Navy Region Southwest and the San Diego County sheriff's homicide detail were not immediately returned.

Neighbor Don Hubbard said he was awakened by the shots that he thought were fired by New Year's revelers. He went back to sleep, but two hours later got a phone call and heard SWAT teams swarming the area.

Hubbard, a retired Navy commander, said he saw the body of one man in the condo doorway and recognized him as his neighbor _ a Navy pilot receiving training at Miramar.

"I knew these guys were pilots because I was one and we'd talk about airplanes," Hubbard said. "Even now, you say, how could this have happened? What the hell is going on here?"

The condo is located a few blocks from the famed Hotel del Coronado and a block from the main street lined with boutiques and restaurants.

Coronado is home to Naval Air Station North Island and is a haven for Navy retirees. Homicides are extremely rare in Coronado _ just one was recorded in 2010.

Royal Air Force in terror swoop on 2 plane spotters

TWO plane spotters sparked a major terror alert after driving unchallenged into an RAF base "to have a look around".

They were waved through a military checkpoint and began taking pictures of helicopters.

It took top brass ten minutes to twig the security breach as salesmen Max Awad, 30, and Addison Bridet, 29, snapped away at Chinooks and a Lynx.

An armed response team was scrambled at RAF Odiham, Hants, to take them down.

Last night Max, from Basingstoke, said: "We had no idea we'd done anything wrong. At the checkpoint there were loads of cars being let in. I presumed they were having some sort of open day.

"I'm a massive plane enthusiast so I said, 'Come on, let's go and have a look'.

"We drove up to three helicopters on their landing pads. We got very excited and got out to take pictures.

"Suddenly I realised it wasn't an open day — there were no refreshment stalls. Then all hell broke loose. There were armed guards running everywhere and a tannoy blaring, 'emergency, emergency, breach of code'."

The pair were locked up for three hours and interrogated before being released.

The MoD said: "Security was not compromised." 


Teen earns pilot license: Apple Valley Airport (KAPV), California

Justin McBurnery, 17, just earned his private pilot's license. McBurnery's interest in flying began when he was 10 years old.
JAMES QUIGG, DAILY PRESS


APPLE VALLEY • High School Senior Justin McBurney just got his license, but don't look for him on the road — look for him in the sky.

Last November, the student pilot celebrated his 16th birthday by accomplishing his goal of flying solo over the skies of Apple Valley in several single-engine aircraft.

A year later, on Dec. 19, McBurney completed his second goal by earning his private pilot license, which he celebrated by giving his mother, Jeneace, a ride in a 1946 Aeronca Champ aircraft.

“I decided to take my mom because I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” said McBurney, who piloted the vintage aircraft designed with no electrical system, few gauges and no radio.

“It was an exciting moment to realize I was his first passenger, now that he is an actual certificated pilot,” said McBurney’s mother. “I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him. I’m a proud mom. What more can I really say?”

McBurney, a student at Granite Hills, said he rented the hand-propped plane — owned my Midway Aviation and parked at the Apple Valley Airport — because of its history, maneuverability and “because it’s just such a fun airplane to fly.”

To obtain his license, McBurney said he needed a total of 40 training hours in the air and on the ground, working on everything from stalls to pre-flight preparation.

“Because I’ve flown for so long, I ended up with something like 140 hours before I got my license,” said McBurney, whose mother and father, Gary, are both licensed pilots.

“My dad was my instructor and being in the air with him since I was 10 really helped a lot,” McBurney said. “Basically, I had a lot of solo time by myself and lots of time with my dad during the last month.”

McBurney, who spent most of his time training in his family’s Cessna 172, said the older Champ aircraft was a bit of a challenge due to the design of the landing gear and non-existent nose wheel.

“If you just stay focused and know what you’re doing, there should be no problem,” McBurney said.

After graduation, the young pilot said he would like to investigate the possibility of obtaining a degree in aeronautical engineering and working for an aircraft company.

McBurney said the only thing that could ground him is the high price of aviation fuel, which comes in at roughly $5 a gallon.

“I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life,” McBurney said. “Whether flying becomes a career or not, I just want to have fun with it.”

 http://www.airnav.com/airport/KAPV

 http://www.vvdailypress.com

Renegade Diamond DA40, N134PS, strikes again: Santa Ana, California

http://registry.faa.gov/N134PS

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 134PS        Make/Model: DA40      Description: DA-40
  Date: 12/25/2011  Time: 0410

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: Minor     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Minor

LOCATION
  City: SANTA ANA   State: CA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT ENCOUNTERED TURBULENCE, AND 1 PERSON ON BOARD SUSTAINED MINOR 
  INJURIES, DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT IS MINOR, LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT, SANTA ANA, 
  CA

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


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: LONG BEACH, CA  (WP05)                Entry date: 12/27/2011 


Diamond DA40, N134PS - March 2010:
March 13, 2010
 Diamond DA40, N134PS
 Crystal Beach

March 13, 2010
 Diamond DA40, N134PS
 Crystal Beach




Pilot may be in hot water after witnesses say low-flying plane buzzed beach

by Jeremy Desel / 11 News
khou.com

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 9:57 PM
Updated Wednesday, Jun 23 at 2:39 PM

Related:

HOUSTON—On a sunny Saturday on the beach, you might expect a crowd, but you don't expect a close encounter with an airborne plane.

But that's exactly what happened to a group of people on Crystal Beach.

Eric Nunez said he was getting ready to take a picture when he spotted the plane.

“I looked to my right and I just see this plane coming nose first," Nunez said.

“It just happened in a split second,” Jonathan Sonier, who was just a few feet away from Nunez at the time, said.

Terry Rodery wasn’t sure what to think.

“I didn’t know if I was gonna die. Or others in our group were gonna’ die. At first I thought that he was going to crash or make an emergency landing. There was no room for him to do that,” Rodery said.

There wasn't any room, because the beach was filled with dozens of Jeeps gathered for a rally. There were -- literally -- hundreds of people.

“He actually went beside a couple of Jeeps with his wings I’d say less than 10 feet,” said Nunez. “It got my attention. Some people hit the ground. Nobody knew what to expect.”

“I didn’t know if I should dive for cover or what exactly what he was doing,” another witness said.

People dove for cover, but some think the pilot may be looking for cover now.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it's investigating the incident after receiving a number of complaints, including one from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

It is a federal violation to operate a plane lower than 1,000 feet in a populated area.

“Everything takes a split-second to go bad. Thank God it didn’t,” Sonier said.

11 News tracked the plane to Beaumont.

According to FAA records, N134PS is a Diamond Aircraft DA-40 that operates out of KUSA Aviation.

It is a plane that is available for flight training.

KUSA says the plane “was not under our operational control Saturday,” but it was flown three times.

At least one of those times, it was flown by the plane’s owner, Bryan Kirbow of Beaumont.

Sources said that’s who FAA investigators think was flying the plane over the beach.

We showed a photo of the plane posted on KUSA’s Web site to the witnesses.

They said they have no doubt it's the plane that buzzed them.

All mentions of the plane have since been removed from the KUSA Aviation Web site.
11 News tried to reach Kirbow and had no success.

The FAA punishment for something like this can be harsh. Pilots can lose their licenses.

Indian aviation sector in 2011: Losses, pilots exodus, fuel surcharge play spoilsport

For the Indian civil aviation sector , year 2011 has been one of unrest. The once lucrative sector has witnessed a large exodus of pilots and crew members leaving the country for greener pastures.

As the country celebrates 100 years of aviation in India, large scale malpractices were detected at flying academies spread across the country where fake licenses were issued to pilots. The scam raised serious doubts about safety in the aviation industry . About 23 people were arrested which included pilots, senior employees of the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and middlemen involved in the scam.

Despite a 17 per cent growth in passenger traffic, India's civil aviation industry was hit by rising jet fuel prices and interest costs, which ate into the margins of carriers. High taxes on jet fuel and equally high airport charges were the major heads of cost for the Indian carriers, with the global airlines' body International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating that fuel costs accounted for 45 per cent of the total costs, compared with 30 per cent for global carriers.

Last month, carriers facing financial trouble approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention to at least get aviation fuel and loans at cheaper rates. The industry has accumulated losses of nearly Rs 15,000 crore in 2010-11, up from Rs 7,038 crore in 2009-10. Leading the pack is national carrier Air India followed by private sector carrier Kingfisher Airlines. The losses notched up these two giants played spoilsport for the Indian aviation sector in 2011.

The only reprieve was low-cost IndiGo that posted profits during the current tough times. It also announced a buy-order for 180 aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus worth as much as $15.6 billion, touted as the largest aircraft order in aviation history.

During the year, Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher , which had acquired Air Deccan with much fanfare in 2007, shut down the budget operations to concentrate as the full-service carrier, while its market standing dropped to fifth from third in October.

In a bid to consolidate their position, Indian carriers undertook several steps to cut costs and rationalise their networks to match demand for air travel. While Jet Airways decided to move ahead with plans to have a single no-frills banner instead of running both JetLite and JetKonnect, Kingfisher decided to do away with its low-fare segment , Kingfisher Red, and continue with its full-service brand.

Flights of Air India and Kingfisher were also disrupted for a few days during the year as state-led oil companies stopped supplies demanding daily cash payments for lifting of jet fuel. Air India continued to reel under a huge debt with estimated debt now at Rs 43,777.01 crore towards purchase of new aircraft and working capital loans. Air India suffered a loss of Rs 6,994 crore during 2010-11. The carrier's operations were hit by a nine-day strike by its pilots in April-May over the payment of salary and allowances. The strike disrupted its flight schedules.

This apart, the Air India management faced three strikes, mainly due to late payment of salaries and the issue of the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India, which stranded thousands of passengers and pushed up its losses.

Courtesy: Mail Today

333 flight crew pass Directorate General of Civil Aviation alcohol test

The fear of being grounded seems to have made pilots and cabin crew personnel sober up. None of the 333 flight crew personnel checked by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) air safety officials at Mumbai airport on December 25 were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

Of these, 92 were pilots while the rest were flight attendants across 50 flights taking off and landing at the city airport, said sources in the DGCA.

Last year, the civil aviation ministry had amended rules to make the punishment severe for flight crew reporting drunk at work. According to the amendment, pilots caught for the first time would be grounded for three months while second-time offenders would lose their licence. "Until last year some flight crew personnel would report sick at the last minute to avoid the pre-flight medical checks. This year there were no such cases," said a DGCA official requesting anonymity. The DGCA is likely to conduct similar tests on New Year's Eve.

Between January 2009 and November 2010, 57 drunk pilots were detected in random pre-flight medical tests, according to former aviation minister Vayalar Ravi's statement to the Rajya Sabha in March. Of these, 11 lost their jobs while the rest were grounded for up to three months and faced temporary pay cuts.

The statement added that 23 of these pilots worked with Jet Airways and its low cost subsidiary JetLite. The others comprised IndiGo (11), Kingfisher (8), SpiceJet (7) and Air India (6) and GoAir (2).

http://www.hindustantimes.com

Co-pilot, three cabin crew grounded after testing positive on alcohol test

India - The country’s aviation regulator on Monday grounded a co-pilot and three cabin crew personnel after they tested positive on a surprise pre-flight alcohol test conducted at the Mumbai airport on New Year’s Eve.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), three of the cabin crew personnel benched for reporting drunk on duty are employed with Jetlite, Kingfisher Airlines and Indigo Airlines respectively. The co-pilot who tested positive during the breath analyser test is employed with Indigo.

“At present, they cannot operate a flight for three months. We are going through records of previous offenders. If any of them feature in that list, their licence would be cancelled,” said a DGCA official, requesting anonymity.

An Indigo Airlines spokesperson confirmed that a cabin attendant and a first officer were taken off duty after they tested positive during the breath analyser tests. “We treat such matters with utmost seriousness. There can be absolutely no comprise on safety,” said the spokesperson.

A Jet Airways spokesperson also said that it has included pre-medical checks in their flight operation manual to control the problem. Kingfisher Airlines did not respond to HT’s calls and a query sent to them by email.

The DGCA had conducted similar surprise checks on December 25. However, none of 333 flight attendants and pilots tested were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

Last year, the civil aviation ministry had amended rules for severe punishment for flight crew reporting drunk at work.

According to the amendment, pilots caught the first time round are grounded for three months. Flying licences of second-time offenders are permanently cancelled. Since the DGCA faces a shortage of safety officers, it had also directed airlines to conduct pre-flight alcohol tests regularly last year.

http://www.hindustantimes.com

AvCraft Technical Services to create 150 new jobs

by WPDENewsChannel15

An aircraft maintenance and repair company announced Thursday it plans to expand its Horry County operations.


AvCraft has history of unfulfilled goals

AvCraft received $200,000 in incentives from the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Horry County

MYRTLE BEACH – Three days after AvCraft, an airplane maintenance company, announced plans to create an estimated 150 jobs in a five year expansion, some Horry County council members regret voting for incentives for the company.

During the announcement News 13 learned AvCraft would receive $100,000 from the South Carolina Department of Commerce and another $100,000 from Horry County – a decision Horry County council approved.

But council members said Monday, at the time of the vote they didn't know what local company was expanding – only that it was going to happen.

AvCraft Technical Services has existed since 2010 and will expand.

AvCraft Support Services was the name of the company when it was first established in 2004 and when more than a million dollars of incentives were approved to create 80 jobs back then.

The company only ended up creating around 50 steady jobs and only received around $500,000 of the incentives.

"You still have to think about the history of the organization, where they've been what they've done in the past, and the likelihood of it probably happening again in the future," said Councilman Carl Schwartzkopf.

AvCraft Technical Services is under new leadership at the top.

The company’s president Mike Hill did work for the previous company however.

Brad Lofton, Myrtle Beach EDC, said some job creation is better than no job creation

“[In 2004 AvCraft Support Services] didn't get 100% of their incentives. They created 60 high paying jobs. They’re growing. They’re working on new contracts. We’re confident in their new leadership team.'

Meanwhile some council members said if they'd known they were voting to give AvCraft the incentives they would have never approved it.

Councilman Marion Foxworth said he voted against AvCraft incentives three separate times and felt he was “duped” into voting.

Others said that knowledge may have changed their vote.

"I just think it would have been important for the council members to have more information than what they've received in the past," Schwartzkopf said.

Lofton said it’s completely normal for economic leaders to refer to companies by code names because it prevents other counties from swooping in and trying to persuade the companies to move to other areas.

Schwartzkopf said taking the expansion project into executive session would have preserved AvCraft’s anonymity

AvCraft: Signing Blank Checks -Opinion.

Wait, we just gave $100,000 to who?

That was the startling reaction of several Horry County Council members on Thursday, after the announcement that AvCraft Technical Services would be adding 150 jobs with the help of $100,000 in county incentive funds and another $100,000 from the state.The company’s expansion is great news. The area needs jobs, particularly ones that pay well, as the AvCraft jobs promise to do. But the jarring revelation that those entrusted to hand out the county’s money didn’t even know where it was going is hard to fathom.

County Councilman Carl Schwarzkopf told reporter Adva Saldinger that the news that the money was going to AvCraft “sure gives me second thoughts.”

Councilman Marion Foxworth also said he didn’t know where the money was going and theorized that the vote on the deal would have been different had all of the council members been aware of the recipient. Both Schwarzkopf and Foxworth, as well as Councilman Paul Prince, said they will make sure and ask where the money is going in the future.

Well, that’s good news. Better late than never, perhaps. But it’s galling to think that our elected leaders didn’t think to ask for more details this time before pledging $100,000 of our money. It’s not fair having second thoughts when it doesn’t look like there were any first thoughts involved, at least for some councilmen.

Isn’t this exactly what executive sessions of council are for? Council Chairman Tom Rice said that there weren’t any executive sessions used in this instance. The secret meetings can be overused by elected bodies, but discussions of the specifics of pending economic development agreements are specifically exempted. Perhaps a quick two-minute get-together of the council would have been advisable, if for nothing else than to share with the whole group the name of the company involved. As for Rice, he knew who was getting the money, and he said on Friday that he “was kind of surprised to find out” that his fellow council members didn’t. The information was available, he said, if they had only asked.

Councilman Gary Loftus echoed that sentiment, saying that he didn’t think anybody was actively trying to hide anything from other council members. “All they had to do was ask,” he said.

For Prince and Schwarzkopf, the lack of specific knowledge of this project seems particularly strange, as both were in attendance at the council’s Economic Development Committee meeting on Nov. 29, when the incentives were discussed. Of course, the expansion was only referred to via an alias at that meeting, and neither council member apparently was curious enough to figure out what company that alias project was.

The use of a pseudonym in public discussions of these sort of incentives is understandable, so as not to telegraph pending business decisions to competitors, but surely the council members in charge of approving such incentives should take the time to learn all the details they can. Not that it would have been that hard to unravel. The super-secret codename for the AvCraft expansion (the second incentive package for the company) was AV2. The either apathetic or overly trusting approach to handing out tax money on display last week is even more frustrating when we take into account that the County Council had to break its own rules to hand out this money.

The council’s approved policy for such incentives requires a $2.5 million investment to trigger the county’s cash. In this case, AvCraft is planning only a $1 million expansion, so the council had to approve a special variance just for this company – a company that some council members didn’t bother to learn the name of.

We have no reason to distrust the vetting of AvCraft done by the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Center or by the state Commerce Department. It’s wonderful that these jobs are planned for our area. We couldn’t be happier about that. But in the future, we wish some of our council members would do their own jobs and perform some very simple due diligence before giving away our money. Knowing the name that will get filled in on the check shouldn’t be too much to ask.

http://www.thesunnews.com

AvCraft is being held accountable for performance -Brad Lofton, CEO of Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development


It wasn't long after the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development announced their 150 job deal that critics started digging into AvCraft's history.

The Sun News followed up the announcement with a write-up. It included criticisms from County Councilmen Marion Foxworth and Carl Schwarzkopf. Both approved the deal without knowing the actual company was AvCraft receiving the funding but said they wouldn't have done so based on AvCraft's track record. This long expose written by Paul Gable at Grand Strand Daily also dug deeper into AvCraft's checkered history which shows there is a connection between the new and the old ownership through Indaer International. But according to Brad Lofton, CEO of Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development, it's just that: history.

"We made sure AvCraft is responsible for their commitments,." Lofton said in a phone interview today. "If they don't deliver on their promise for jobs and performance, they have to pay all the money back. One of the primary functions of the South Carolina Department of Commerce is vetting companies and they funded AvCraft by the same amount Horry County has agreed to. Judging AvCraft on their relationship with Indaer is like judging today's Boeing based on their deals with Lockheed-Martin."

Aviation is a high priority target industry for MBREDC. According to Lofton, "AvCraft is the only aviation company in Myrtle Beach right now and we want to support their growth, not stifle it." From MBREC's perspective, this deal is both an investment into an existing local business, but creates opportunities to lure new and presumably larger companies.

Tourists Shell Out Thousands for South Florida Rental Homes -- to Scammers

Marie France Daoust says her vacation group became "very stressed" when they realized they hadn't actually rented a house

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.



People are shelling out thousands of dollars to visit South Florida and rent homes for their stay. But some tourists aren't paying the homeowner. They are paying scammers.

People are shelling out thousands of dollars to visit South Florida and rent homes for their stay. But some tourists aren't paying the homeowner. They are paying scammers.

On Monday, two friends relaxed in the backyard of a rented Fort Lauderdale home, but getting there with six other friends and family wasn't easy. This is actually the second vacation home they found.

The first one belonged to Stephen Chase -- but he didn't know it was on the rental market.

Chase said, "She had mentioned to me that, 'We're here to rent your house,' and I said, 'This house is not for rent.'"

Chase's home was listed as a rental online -- not by him, but by a scammer. Now, when so-called renters show up at his door with luggage, he has to deliver bad news.

"We realized that we didn't have a house and we were very stressed," Marie France Daoust said.

Daoust was out nearly $3,000. From her home in Quebec, she sent who she thought was the property owner in Oklahoma a personal check.

She did not wire the money. Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Travis Mandell said that is why her case is rare and how she was able to get every penny back.

"At least, if you get taken in a scam, you're able to track down where the money went," Mandell said.

With the vacation already planned and eight plane tickets already paid for, the group of women said they went offline and called a real estate agent.

The second time around was a success, but Daoust and her friends are still upset about what happened. They think websites, like Villa4Vacation.com, should do more to protect people like her. Her warning to other renters is to be careful.

"It's hurtful," Daoust said. "We work hard all year for this money and we are all happy to have this vacation to relax."

Fort Lauderdale Police say if you are looking to rent a property online, do basic research like contacting the property owner directly, checking websites and the Better Business Bureau for reviews, and looking up the property on the appraisers’ website.

To be safe, use a real estate agent, and never wire money to a stranger.

Plane crash kills Ivorian free press pioneer

Ivorian media group chief Nady Rayess, considered a pioneer of the country's independent press, died Monday in a small plane crash near Abidjan, the civil aviation authority said.

A single-engine aircraft flown by the Olympe group chief executive officer, who had dual Ivorian-Lebanese nationality, crashed in the morning in a village near Grand-Bassam, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the economic capital, an aviation authority official told AFP.

Rayess had been returning from Assinie, a nearby seaside town.

"Emergency services at the scene saw the body of Mr Rayess, who was the sole occupant" of the plane, the source said.

Felix D Bony, editor of L'Inter, a newspaper in the Olympe stable, confirmed that Rayess, born in Divo in southern Ivory Coast in 1962, had died in the crash.

Communications Minister Souleimane Coty Diakite on behalf of the government hailed Rayess as "a valiant entrepreneur and media man".

Rayess' Olympe group became one of the country's biggest, printing opposition-aligned titles under the 1960-1993 presidency of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, notably La Voie which backed Laurent Gbagbo -- a long-time opponent of the president until he himself became head of state from 2000 to 2011.

The media in Ivory Coast is known for taking political sides, often with an aggressive tone, including during the post-electoral crisis from December 2010

North Weald: Man seriously injured in aircraft fire in Essex

A 48-year-old man was seriously injured and suffered burns following an aircraft fire in North Weald this evening.

The incident happened shortly after 7.20pm on the runway of North Weald Airfield when a twin engine aircraft caught fire.

Four fire engines were called to the blaze, which included two foam pumps from Stansted.

Firefighters used foam and dry powder to put out the fire, which was extinguished just after 8.05pm.

The man was put in the care of the ambulance service.

Man arrested with explosives at airport was Army expert

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A man arrested on New Years Eve at a Texas airport with explosives is an Army-trained demolitions expert and member of the elite Green Berets who served in Afghanistan and is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, military officials said on Monday.

Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was being held in the Midland, Texas County Jail on a federal charge of attempting to board an aircraft with an explosive, the FBI said.

He was detained after a routine Transportation Security Administration (TSA) check noticed he had explosives in his carry on luggage while trying to board an American Eagle flight from Midland International Airport to Dallas Saturday morning, according to an FBI statement.

Officials declined to speculate on the reason Atwater had the explosives, which city officials said were in "military grade explosives wrapping" in his bag.

"At no time was there any danger to the people at Midland International Airport or the people of Midland Texas," Mark Morgan, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso office of the FBI said in a statement.

Michael Martinez, an FBI spokesman in El Paso, declined to say what type of explosive he was carrying, or the quantity of the explosive. It is not known whether he was in uniform at the time. Records show Atwater is a 1999 graduate of a Midland, Texas high school.

The address listed for Atwater in the Midland jail records is the home of Bonnie Atwater, Trey's mother. A woman who identified herself as Bonnie Atwater at that address told Reuters "I have no comment," and then hung up the phone.

Lt. Col. Tom Bryant, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg confirmed that Atwater is an Army Sergeant First Class in the elite Green Berets, assigned as an instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg, where he is a member of the Special Forces Engineers.

Bryant told Reuters on Monday Atwater is an engineering and demolitions expert, and in that role would be "comfortable" with explosives, although he did not know whether he would have had explosives on his trip back home to Midland.

"I can't say if that might have been required," Bryant said.

Bryant confirmed that Atwater recently returned from deployment to Afghanistan. A notice in the Odessa American newspaper in March of 2010 said at that time Atwater was preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan.

Bryant said Atwater's arrest had surprised military personnel at Ft. Bragg.

"We in the Special Operations Command take pride in upholding the highest standards. The entire team is disappointed," Bryant said.

The Army is cooperating with the FBI and local authorities in Texas, and he said military punishment is also possible for Atwater, regardless of the outcome of the federal case.

Limited time left to register for ‘Reinvent Connecticut’

By Governor Malloy's office

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that, while the state’s informational sessions for businesses are drawing to a close, there is still time to register for the last remaining workshops. The workshops are designed to give small businesses a firsthand look at how the state can help them create jobs and expand their operations.

“Since I took office, one of my primary goals has been to reconnect state government and the business community. One of the concerns I heard most was the feeling that government wasn’t listening – that it was disengaged from those it was supposed to be serving,” said Governor Malloy. “That’s why these informational sessions are so important. It’s a way for business owners and other entrepreneurial-minded people to get the assistance they need and forge relationships with our business development team.

“These sessions provide an opportunity for citizens to sit down at a table with a professional, ask questions and have them answered immediately, and fill out applications on the spot. Small businesses are critical to the state’s economic recovery, and these types of personal gatherings are giving a face to a state agency that is critical to the growth of small businesses.”

Initiated November 9 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, these sessions are having an impact. Nearly 800 people have attended seeking advice and direction regarding the state’s economic development tools. That has translated into more than 144 applications for the state’s newest program called the Small Business Express Program (EXP).

Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and deputy commissioner Ron Angelo have led 12 sessions across the state already and have at least four more planned. DECD business specialists will be at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport on January 5; the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden on January 9; the Matrix Corporate Center in Danbury on January 12; and the Branford Community House on January 19.

DECD has scheduled two webinars for those that cannot attend the final workshops. They will be held January 18 from 9-10 a.m. and January 19 from 1-2 p.m.

Participants will learn about the recent jobs legislation, as well as existing programs to assist Connecticut businesses. Key provisions of the recently passed Jobs Bill include:

• Small Business Express Program (EXP) provides $100 million to help Connecticut’s small businesses access much-needed capital.

• Job Expansion Tax Credit (JET) program provides a tax credit $500 per month for each new employee or $900 per month for certain employees if they are disabled, unemployed or a veteran.

• First Five program was expanded so DECD can provide state assistance to five additional business development projects, for a total of 10, in 2012.

• The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) can establish additional airport development zones, similar to the zone near Bradley International Airport, around the state’s smaller airports. Businesses within these zones can be eligible for property tax exemptions and corporation business tax credits.

• Manufacturing Reinvestment Account (MRA) program was expanded to help even more small manufacturers in Connecticut invest more in their businesses.

• Subsidized Training & Employment Program (STEP) will provide funding to small businesses and small manufacturers for a portion of a worker's employment costs, including training.

• Increases by a total of up to $340 million in bonding for the state’s Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA).

• Business entity tax now is collected every other year, rather than annually. This lowers the cost of doing business in Connecticut.

Those interested in attending the remaining sessions should register in advance or call 800-392-2122 for more information.