Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Laser shone at WestJet flight approaching Victoria. Pilot reported blinding light to control tower staff who then called police

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) - Saanich Police are looking for the person or people responsible for shining a bright green laser into the cockpit of a WestJet flight landing at Victoria International. It happened Tuesday night and if anyone's ever caught, the punishment can be extreme.

The flight was coming in from Calgary and those trips into Victoria regularly carry more than 100 passengers.

Sergeant Dean Jantzen says a conviction for putting that many people in danger can bring a $100,000 fine.

"I looked it up today in the criminal code and mischief, with the potential to cause injury, is an indictable offence that can result in life in prison."

He says the suspect shone the laser from Mount Douglas, known locally as 'Mount Doug.' It's one of the Capital Region's highest points with a popular lookout on the peak.

"That little bit of elevation when you get up to the top of the hill, it actually does not put you that far away from the approach of some of these large aircraft coming into Victoria."

In fact, the hill is near two major runway approaches. One for larger, longer-range aircraft and another for commuter flights arriving from Seattle and Vancouver.

It's not clear how many people were on-board the flight in question.

The pilot reported the bright green light to the control tower and staff then called police. A search of Mount Douglas Park turned up nothing.

A similar but unconnected case in Washington State last year landed a man 60 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Charter flights up, up and away as mining boom intensifies

Aviation and Mining Services director Paul O'Brien. 
Picture: Tim Marsden

THE fly-in-fly-out phenomenon is set to boom if the first few weeks of the year are any indication.

Fast food companies in Gladstone and other regional towns are even looking at fly-in and fly-out - or FIFO as it is known - to fill vital staff positions and major miners are starting flights from Queensland coastal towns and beach resorts.

At the same time mining companies are commissioning companies to build runways in isolated destinations to ensure workers are taken to and from work with minimal disruption.

"Inquiries for charter aircraft to mining operations have gone crazy in the first two weeks of 2012 and it's not just for flights from Brisbane," Aviation and Mining Services director Paul O'Brien said.

He said the Sunshine Coast was getting its fair share of charters. Rio this week starts four charter flights a week from there to Clermont, with more to follow. "With cheap beachside housing and short flying times to mines in both the Bowen and Galilee basins, the Sunshine Coast is becoming the attractive proposition for workers and mining companies alike."

Charter flights to Bowen Basin towns such as Moranbah, Clermont and Middlemount have been popular for some time but now regular charter flights have also opened up into Alpha, in the Galilee Basin.

The Sunshine Coast FIFO move also explains the recent purchase by Clive Palmer of the Coolum Hyatt Regency resort.

The FIFO trend also comes as Gina Rinehart, Mr Palmer and companies such as GVK and Indian coal giant Adani open up the Galilee and Alpha.

Mr O'Brien said his company was also working with Whitsunday Regional Council on a fly-in-fly-out strategy from Bowen and Proserpine into the Bowen and Galilee basins.

Whitsunday Coast Airport general manager Scott Waters said FIFO was a growing market and a great boon to the region hard hit by Cyclone Yasi and the general tourism slump. "The upgrade of Abbot Point and the fact that more mines are coming on stream at Collinsville is a great driver for the future," Mr Waters said.

Mr O'Brien said mining companies today were looking for a holistic solution from the mine to the bus, plane, hotel or home.

"It is about a complete logistical solution," he said.

"Mining companies also monitor the fatigue factor in terms of staff getting to and from the mine camps."

To that end Lachlan Broadfoot, Salva Resources chief executive, is poised to take a major stake in AVMIN, which charters aircraft from nine-seaters to 75-seaters.

Salva was voted the ninth-fastest-growing company in 2011 by business publication BRW. It is an international company providing services to miners in the Bowen and Galilee basins, with numerous operations around the state.

"The use of AVMIN's logistic solutions has enabled us to save our client's money and the big bonus being the reduced time lost through wasted travel hours," Mr Broadfoot said of Aviation and Mining Services.

"Having AVMIN able to provide a one-stop shop of air, land and accommodation services ensures our focus remains on our core business."

Solomon Islands: Aviation navigational aids vandalized - Underground cables to the DVOR were also stolen.

ONE of the country’s DVOR (Doppler very High Frequency Omin Directional radio range) and DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) located at Betikama burgled and vandalized.

Chief technical engineer of the aviation aeronautical engineer section Phillip Kaisu said the vital airspace equipment were badly destroyed.

DVOR/DME were electronic navigational aid used by aviation to transmit accurate and specific directional information and distance measurement to pilots traveling in aircrafts.

Mr Kaisu said his team went to Betikama on Tuesday after being tipped off by farmers in the area and discovered the senseless damage.

“It was unacceptable, all equipment was destroyed and others removed.”

He said the burglars entered through the shelter door after smashing it open.

“The main switch board was also damaged.”

He added that all circuits’ breakers, batteries, ACs (alternating current), battery chargers, light fittings, GPO (General power outlet) were stolen.

“All antenna cables were cut with underground power supply cables dug out and stolen.”

He said the damage of the equipment is a loss to the aviation department of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation as such navigational aid is expensive and essential for aircrafts.

“Without such equipment, aircrafts may not be able to travel safely as these equipments are important to enable safe traveling, especially safe landing for aircrafts.”

Mr Kaisu said the damage of the navigational aid is a merciless act of criminality.

“The burglary must have occurred during the festive season; because that was the time we did not frequent the site.”

He said they used to travel and check the site weekly, but were not able to do it during the wet days because it makes traveling to the area difficult.

The chief technical engineer said those who did the damage knew how the equipment work, as they even removed the underground radio frequency cables.

He added that the criminal exercise would not take one day.

“It must have taken them a few days and involved a few people.”

He said there have been plans for the DVOR/DME to be rehabilitated, re-commissioned and sent to Munda to be used at the Munda Airport.

“Now the damage will cost the aviation department a lot of money and time to look for another DVOR/DME for Munda Airport which is currently being upgraded into an international standard.

“We call upon the public in and around Betikama area to come forward and report any suspects who may have involved.

Mr Kaisu also called upon companies buying scrape metals to help them if they come across any individual selling metal especially braid brass which were part of the radio frequency coaxial cables or any metal they suspect must be taken from the navigational aid.

“We need to work together to bring to justice those involved in the crime.”


Crash shows poor aviation safety on reserves: chiefs. Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, C-GOSU

WINNIPEG — Aboriginal leaders say a plane crash that killed four people on a remote northern Ontario reserve shows the need for better aviation standards, emergency response and weather equipment in isolated native communities.

Grand Chief Stan Beardy, who represents dozens of northern Ontario First Nations including North Spirit Lake where the crash occurred, said that reserve doesn't even have a beacon to guide pilots in poor weather.

Like many of his communities, Beardy said, the reserve is only accessible by plane yet doesn't have the same navigational equipment available in the rest of Canada.

The reserves aren't asking for much, he said.

"Basic navigational guides at the landing strips would be very helpful. A lot of those communities don't have beacons so it's all visual flying," said Beardy, head of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. "We should be entitled to the same basic standards of navigational equipment that is available anywhere else in Ontario and Canada."

Witnesses say the Keystone Airlines plane that crashed Tuesday was trying to land in a blizzard. Residents who rushed to the crash site frantically tried to put out the flaming wreckage with snow but couldn't save four of the people trapped inside.

Brian Shead was the lone survivor and was in stable condition in a Winnipeg hospital.

"He's doing well and recovering every day," his wife, Tracy, said in a brief statement Wednesday. "We are very grateful that he is alive."

Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the scene Wednesday.

The plane was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder. It was landing at an airport where there is no control tower and there wasn't any radio contact with the plane after it left Winnipeg. Officials with the airline said the weather reports they had were "acceptable" but the closest weather station is in Red Lake, hundreds of kilometres away.

Beardy said the crash has resonated beyond the small, close-knit reserve to dozens of other isolated communities which depend on air travel. Most don't have their own weather-sensing equipment, which can be deadly, he said.

"They don't have by-the-minute, by-the-hour weather forecasting. As we all know, especially this time of year, the weather changes on very short notice and it's very localized. With technology, if we had some support, we could improve the safety of air travel in the far north."

The crash also underlines the need for better emergency response in remote communities, Beardy added. Like many small reserves, North Spirit Lake doesn't have its own fire truck or ambulance.

"That's why we're hit so hard," Beardy said. "We keep thinking what if there had been some support to try to put the fire out? Or if you could have rushed those people out quickly to somewhere, maybe they could have lived. Those are 'what-ifs' that are haunting a lot of people."

Grand Chief David Harper, who represents northern Manitoba First Nations, said many of his communities don't have their own weather equipment and pilots don't know what they're flying into. The technology exists to equip all remote sites with weather monitors, which would make flying safer for residents, he said.

"We pay for Nav Canada," said Harper, head of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. "It's included in our air fares so why not put these up?"

The federal government also needs to step up and help make remote communities less reliant on risky air travel, he suggested. A lot of remote communities depend on winter ice roads for cheaper shipments of food, fuel and supplies. But warmer winters have meant roads that were typically open for 60 days are now sometimes only usable for about 20.

The federal government must help construct more permanent routes to give people an alternative to costly air travel, Harper said.

"We've got to look at roads being built into all the remote communities. Ontario and Manitoba are probably the last communities that don't have all-weather roads...This is the time of year when you don't want to fly."

Keystone Airlines has had two other recent crashes.

The airline was involved in a high-profile crash when one of its planes ran out of fuel and crashed into a busy Winnipeg intersection in 2002. One passenger eventually died of his injuries.

The pilot was convicted of dangerous operation of an aircraft, one count of criminal negligence causing death and four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Keystone was also grounded for a week and fined.

Two years earlier, a Keystone plane crashed in the Assiniboine Forest carrying eight people. No one was killed.

Transport Canada ruled the crash occurred when an engine lost power and water in a fuel tank froze.

Watch Video:

Unpaid Air India pilot seeks leave on safety grounds

NEW DELHI: The unrest among Air India's unpaid employees is now reaching alarming levels. A senior Delhi-based commander has sought "immediate leave in view of flight safety", by telling the management that he is not able to focus on flying due to constant mental preoccupation with unpaid bills, EMIs and school fees.

Many more AI pilots are now thinking of following suit.

While AI pilots have long been writing to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to warn that non-payment of salaries is fast becoming a safety issue, it is possibly the first time that a pilot has actually sought leave on that ground.

Mid-air fury after Emirates passenger reclines his seat

Air rage as jumbo passengers nearly come to blows after teenager 'reclined his seat'
  • Passenger behind was about to eat his in-flight meal
  • Clash took place on board a 517-seat Airbus A380 being operated by Emirates from Dubai into Manchester Airport
  • Police met both men when aircraft landed
A furious row broke out between two passengers on a packed jumbo jet after one reclined his seat as the man behind was about to eat.

The pair almost came to blows at 40,000ft as shocked travellers looked on.

It started when an 18-year-old youth sitting in economy class moved his seat back to sleep.

The 38-year-old passenger sitting immediately behind him was about to eat his in-flight meal at the time.

And when he asked the youth to put his seat back up while he ate a major row broke out.

The pair traded insults and leapt up from their seats in a head-to-head confrontation.

And as the argument became more heated cabin crew were called and attempted to defuse the incident.

Stunned travellers watched on as the two men continued to shout abuse at each other while standing in the aisle before they were finally persuaded to calm down.

The drama happened on board a 517-seat Airbus A380 - the world’s biggest commercial airliner - being operated by Emirates from Dubai into Manchester Airport.

The pilot of flight EK17 was so concerned he radioed ahead and police were informed.

Officers went to the gate at Terminal 1 after the flight landed to meet the two passengers at around noon on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers ‘spoke to’ two men aged 38 and 18.

No further action was taken as neither man wanted to make a formal complaint, and also admitted they had both been ‘in the wrong’, say police.

A spokesman for the airline said: ‘Emirates does not tolerate this kind of behaviour from passengers and safety will not be compromised.’

They confirmed there had been an ‘altercation’ on board the flight and, although no blow had been exchanged, cabin crew had been called to calm the passengers.

One traveller, who uses the route, said: ‘I have recently flown with Emirates to the Far East. This trip was split up into 2 separate flights and lasted 20 hours.

‘Like a lot of people on the second leg of the trip I wanted to sleep. There is a system in place where you can indicate that you do not want the meal and to be left alone to sleep, which is what I did. My seat was reclined to the limit allowed.

‘When it came time for the meal I was woken up by the person behind asking me to sit up, so they could enjoy their meal. I was a little p***** off that I had been woken up.

'I hadn’t reclined it whilst he was eating, I was doing what I wanted to do, sleep, in a position that the seat was allowing me. I didn’t make a fuss and accepted it.’

He said: ‘This is only a problem in the ‘cheap’ seats and perhaps the airlines can have an area in this class for passengers who want to sleep in the reclined position.

'No meals would be served to these passengers, so the problem will be removed. By sitting in this area you accept no meals and the seat in front may be reclined.’

The double-decker plane first started flying into Manchester Airport in September 2010 after around £10m had been spent on changes to the airfield to accommodate it.

Its introduction was part of a huge boom in the number of people flying in and out of Dubai.

An incident with a student pilot at the Langley Regional Airport prompts an emergency response but the pilot is okay. British Columbia, Canada.

A student had a hard landing this afternoon at the Langley Regional Airport.

It’s too early to say whether a student pilot will pass his course after a hard landing just after 3:30 p.m. today at the Langley Regional Airport but he was able to walk away from a disabled and damaged plane.

Airport manager George Miller explained that a student with the Langley Flight School was flying solo when it happened.

“It was a student and he was doing touch and goes on the runway,” he said. “And he had some difficulty.”

The student went off the runway and over a small ditch which resulted in the front wheel of the aircraft breaking off and some other damage to the Cherokee 180.

“He didn’t seem to be injured, just shook up,” Miller said.

Airport staff responded immediately and the student was outside the aircraft when emergency crews arrived.

“He was sitting on the ground, waiting for the ambulance and it wasn’t a couple of minutes it was here,” Miller said.

The Transportation Safety Board is involved in minor incidents such as this but won’t likely be on site. The national agency that investigates transportation mishaps gave the airport permission to move the aircraft and it was towed to a hangar to be examined. Nothing is known yet about the cause and it’s too early to say the how much the damage will cost.

Two Township fire department vehicles, the RCMP and BC Ambulance responded. The student pilot was taken to the hospital to be checked over just to be safe, Miller said.


He Lived Out His Passion

Carl Cochran was passionate about aviation. He was fortunate to be able to live that passion in a career that began by working in an aircraft factory, to training to fly in an open cockpit aircraft, to flying for the Navy in the Great War, learning to fly helicopters, to piloting airliners, to teaching others to fly and in operating an airport in his advancing years.

That passion came to an end last week when he died at his home in Labadie. He was a few months short of his 90th birthday. In the past month or so he was grounded by pneumonia and complications from that illness. He had been confined to a wheelchair in recent months but his mind never left the sky for very long.

He was the retired operator of what now is Washington Regional Airport. That was one of his many careers in aviation. He ran the airport from 1982 to 1997. His aviation career began at age 17 when he left the farm to work in an aircraft factory in Kansas City, Kan. Even though he officially retired at the airport in 1997, his mind never retired from aviation.

Along the way in his career, he met and made countless friends. He became an aviation legend. In talking aviation, he was an endless storyteller since he knew so many people. One thing reminded him of another incident, and the stories flowed as swiftly as did the wind when riding in one of his open cockpit beloved Stearman aircraft.

Carl put the Washington airport on the map due to his tireless efforts to bring pilots and the general public to the airport. He garnered publicity for the airport. He would call The Missourian about many newsworthy stories that had to do with pilots, airplanes, other visitors. He called us one day to inform us that the president of TWA had landed at the airport in his small, private plane. The man lived in St. Louis County and commuted to the New York headquarters of TWA. This visitor was annoyed that a reporter with a camera came for a story. He resisted our efforts for a story. We finally told him we were there because Carl called and it was good publicity for the airport. We really didn’t give a damn about him. After a few more stronger words, he agreed to a story and photo.

Reunions were regular for a while for retired pilots of Ozark and TWA who came here in their private airplanes and in cars with their families. Carl loved to hold “fly-ins” for breakfast or lunch. Barbecues were common. Many told stories about their experiences with Carl or other pilots who attended.

When The Missourian needed air photos, Carl stood ready. It was a memorable experience to fly with him in his beloved “Champ” aircraft. He would take the passenger door off of the old and slow airplane so we could get better angles for photos. He would land the “Champ” on the grass, giving it tender loving care with a “soft” landing. It was an ideal airplane for taking photos.

He was proud of the fact that for a period,Washington was the only airport in the country where lessons were given in a Stearman. Several pilots from foreign countries took lessons here in one of his “fleet” of Stearmans. He promoted flying lessons and had a mechanic or two for routine maintenance, repair work or overhauls.

We never heard Carl complain about the lack of attention given to the airport by city administrations. He would mention improvements that were needed but he was not the “bad mouthing” type. Few fixed base operators of small airports make much money. It’s the love of flying that motivates them. Carl owned a number of airplanes at one time and gradually divested himself of them. We don’t know the number of people he taught to fly in his career, but it probably was in the triple digits. He once operated a flying school in New Mexico and said in those days it was a ticket to starvation. He was proud that many of his “students” became captains for airlines.

Carl’s wife died a couple of years ago and he has two daughters and a son. One daughter is an airline pilot and flies out of Arizona. He enjoyed life on his 130-acre farm off Boles Road in the Labadie area. The last few years he had caregivers and neighbors who helped him.

Carl was a gentleman who in his later years usually was accompanied by his dog “Killer.” He made friends easily and had a sharp memory right up to the end. The memories of Carl all are good. He was in love with aviation, also to the end. He qualified as an aviation pioneer and received a number of honors in recognition of his distinguished career.

The very morning he died, and his death unknown to board members of the Washington 353 Redevelopment Corporation, it again was suggested that Carl be recognized at the airport in some manner. Mayor Sandy Lucy agreed, along with others, and said she would follow through on the suggestion.

An aviation legend has departed on his last flight!


Opinion: Baltimore County has no right to close the Essex SkyPark

Regarding your recent article about the Essex SkyPark, I would like to clarify the Essex SkyPark Association's understanding of the Shapiro property easement ("Members fret over Balto. Co. plans to close Essex Skypark," Jan. 4).

The easement was prepared by the Trust for Public Land for Mr. Shapiro before Baltimore County acquired the property. It was the Shapiro Trust's decision as landowner that determines what conditions would be placed on the property.

Upon donating the property to Maryland Environmental Trust, Mr. Shapiro put in the stipulations that he wanted. MET, as the recipient of the easement, was to be responsible for assuring that the conditions and the conservation values of the easement are upheld.

Any issues that MET has are enforceable upon the owner of the property, which is now Baltimore County. The perpetual easement dated Dec. 28, 2000, from the Shapiro Trust "grantor" to the Maryland Environmental Trust "grantee" is the guiding document that controls the land.

Paragraph A8 states that "the continued operation and use of the of the existing airport, provided however that (a) in the event their has been no airport activity for one year, the present use of the airport shall be deemed abandoned."

It is very clear Messrs. Gardina and Mohler plan to force the pilots out and state the airport has been abandoned as a way around the easement and to completely ignore the intent of the perpetual Shapiro Trust document.

The ESA has never been told we had to have an exit strategy or make plans to move. Our course of action was always to stay at the airport as stipulated in the easement.

The county signed off on two grants from the Maryland Aviation Agency for a new runway and lights. They also signed off on removal of certain trees that were causing safety issues to aircraft operations.

The Army Corps of Engineers also signed and approved the removal of the obstructions. Both documents are dated September 2011.

ESA just completed the repair of a storm damaged roof on our community hangar, at a cost of $38,000. Our course of action and the county's course of action with their approval letters and e-mails over the past five years would indicate ESA and Baltimore County were not discussing an exit plan or a gradual move to another site as stated by the county attorney in a letter dated Nov. 18, 2011.

It is inconceivable to the ESA that the county would completely ignore the fact the Lower Back River Community Action plan dated in 2000 supports the continued use of the airport. This was confirmed by Carl Maynard, president of the Back River Community Association, in The Sun article.

Mr. Kamenetz needs to counsel his direct reports and explain course of dealings and it's implications as they pertain to agreements both verbal and written.

Brian Dolan

The writer is the financial chairmen of the Essex SkyPark Association.


Ajit Singh rules out bailout for private airlines

NEW DELHI: Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday ruled out bailout for private airlines amid demand for government support from carriers such as Kingfisher. At the same time, the newly-appointed minister offered full backing to Air India, the struggling public sector airline, saying it is the government's "obligation".

"AI is a public sector unit, so government has an obligation . But there as well, AI will have to become competitive. It will have to restructure its costs in line with the industry as a whole because government cannot keep pouring money," Singh said after laying the foundation stone for Delhi airport's new ATC tower.

Fearing continued losses, banks have gone back on their decision to restructure loans to the tune of Rs 21,000 crore to the national carrier. "There was a hitch in the plan given by SBI Caps, but I think it will work out," Singh said. AI has total debt of Rs 43,777 crore, and owes to oil companies, airport operators and other vendors.

Singh is making a case for rationalizing taxes on jet fuel and batting for an improved climate for airlines. While ruling out a bailout, Singh said that private airlines like Kingfisher must make a sound business plan and seek loans. "It's a private enterprise and the banks can only lend if they are satisfied with the business plan of the company."

The statement will come as a blow to several private players that are dealing with losses. The remark indicating the approved FDI may be higher than the aviation ministry's original plan of 24% sent aviation stocks zooming.

According to sources, the FDI that actually gets through may be as high as 49%. Jet stock closed 7% higher on BSE on Wednesday at Rs 203.50. Kingfisher and SpiceJet closed 4.3% and 5.5% higher, respectively , at Rs 22 and Rs 19.20.

"Finally , the cabinet will take the decision. The committee of secretaries has already recommended raising the FDI limits in the sector," he said.

A few hours after Singh's statement Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya told reporters that the government should permit foreign airlines to hold 49% in Indian carriers. "This is not like FDI in retail. This is already permitted. But why should you restrict a foreign airline? What is the sense? (Foreign investment in) Airport 100% is allowed. Why make 26%? Why restrict?" he said after a meeting with the director general of foreign trade.

The meeting was described as a "follow-up" to the proposal to directly import jet fuel. From all indications, the commerce department seemed inclined to permit Kingfisher to ship aviation fuel although oil companies are learnt to have opposed the proposal. A final decision is expected to be taken up next week.

Fatal Vehicle Accident Kills 2: One was just shy of getting his commercial pilot's license. DUI Driver Said To Have Taken Nitrous Oxide Just Before Fatal Accident.

SACRAMENTO—  The toxicology report isn't yet finished for the accident yet that killed two and injured a third Saturday on Folsom Boulevard. It will show for certain if Michael Sharp was high at the time of collision, and what he was high on.

But the prosecutor Tuesday said Sharp had already confessed that he was driving under the influence- under the influence of nitrous oxide.

Todd Ohlander and Chris Martell were brothers. One was a budding engineer, the other just shy of getting his commercial pilot's license.

Both had befriended David Weidman.

"There were more like my brothers. I knew them since I was five and I didn't want to believe it... it's like a nightmare," Weidman said.

The nightmare? A head-on collision on Folsom Boulevard Saturday that killed both men.

"This family has now lost two children. The only two children in their lives," said the prosecuting attorney Tuesday.

She was arguing that 21-year-old Michael Sharp's bail ought to stay at 2 million dollars. She says that not only was Sharp high on nitrous oxide when the collision happened, but he'd just taken a hit of the stuff.

“On Folsom Boulevard, he's traveling southbound approximately 50 miles per hour, and he decides that's a good time to open up a canister and inhale one of those canisters," she said.

Sharp was reportedly on his lunch break from a store at the Folsom outlets at the time. Police say he'd gone to party during his break.

Martell and Ohlander were on their way home when police say Sharp's car jumped the median and rammed them head-on.

“I don’t want to lose them because I loved them," said Weidman.

Until now, Sharp has never been in trouble with the law, but the prosecutor said he's admitted that he's been using nitrous for at least three years.


Novato debates Gnoss Field runway expansion plan

In a session reminiscent of Novato's 1970s debate about an airport at Hamilton Field, residents lined up pro and con this week on a plan to expand the county airport at Gnoss Field, with some contending it would trigger a noisy environmental nightmare and others calling it a neighborly way to improve safety.

At issue before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday were environmental reports on plans to extend the 3,300-foot runway at Gnoss Field north of Novato by 1,100 feet. The report contends the $11 million-plus project can proceed without environmental harm.

The project, funded mostly by the Federal Aviation Administration, is aimed at meeting safety regulations and easing take-offs and landings for heavier aircraft.

Jacqueline A. Bonner, a Rush Creek resident, noted residents submitted a petition opposing the project and calling for a number of new studies. The petition, signed by about 90 people, says a 4,400-foot runway as proposed would allow "larger jets to land at higher speeds," generating more noise for nearby homeowners. Instead, petitioners urged a shorter extension to improve safety and curb noise, adding that consultants who dismissed noise concerns used "bad data, unsubstantiated assumptions and faulty logic."

Christopher Gilkerson of Novato said the key question is determining how the interests of corporate jet owners balance with those of "thousands of homeowners," and added, "Do what is best for all the people of Marin and Novato."

But Rich Elb of Bahia, a private pilot, had contrary views, saying safety issues require lengthening the runway, and adding that users of the airport want to be good neighbors. Others indicated that although a new runway would accommodate slightly larger planes, noise could be curbed and flight patterns could be altered. The extension would open the airport to jet aircraft such as the Learjet and Beechjet lines.

Douglas Pomeroy, an FAA environmental specialist, said that no scheduled commercial jet use of the field could be made in any case without approval of the county.

Supervisor Judy Arnold, who last month noted the "proposed runway extension will bring us into compliance (with federal standards) and will also provide greater safety for our pilots," on Tuesday noted residents will have plenty of time to study the plan and make their views known.

"An approval of the EIR is not" approval of the project, she noted. Construction couldn't begin until at least 2013.

After Pomeroy took notes on various issues raised by residents, the supervisors adjourned without further comment. Consultants will update the environmental report, which will be returned for review later this year.

Gnoss Field is home base for 300 aircraft, most of them privately owned, and it hosts about 95,000 take-offs and landings per year. Aviation officials, businesses and pilots have called for an extension of the field's runway to ease stress on planes flying with full cargo and passenger loads. Because heavier aircraft require longer runways, many planes must fly only partially full, particularly during hot weather, officials said.

Environmental reports sponsored by the county and the FAA identified a number of impacts from the project, including increased storm runoff, the loss of 23 acres of wildlife habitat and the filling of 12 acres of wetlands. However, the impacts can be reduced to minor levels and the habitat impact offset by funding off-site conservation efforts, according to the reports.

Supervisor Arnold has said the benefits of the extension would far outweigh the costs.

"Gnoss Field is a treasure in this county for a number of reasons but most importantly for safety," she said. "If we had a major earthquake or a major disaster this airport is the only other major way to get out besides Highway 101."

Similar arguments were sounded in the 1970s, when the late Novato Supervisor Arnold Baptiste headed a county board majority that wanted to take over Hamilton Field. The Pentagon offered to turn over the facility for free if Marin operated an airport there. Novato revolted, replacing Baptiste in 1978 with aviation foe Gail Wilhelm, who joined colleagues Barbara Boxer and Denis Rice to kill the plan amid a flurry of ballot measures.

$84 million Sonoma County airport expansion OK'd. Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (KSTS) Santa Rosa, California.

Sonoma County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed an $84 million project to expand Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport to enable more daily commercial flights.

Supervisors sided with supporters of the project, who touted the economic benefits of the expansion, saying they outweighed impacts on surrounding residents and the environment.

“We need a healthy economy to thrive as a community. And transportation infrastructure is absolutely a part of this,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, chairwoman of the board.

The decision, which is set to be finalized Jan. 24, came after a four-hour meeting that included more than 40 speakers voicing either support for the project or their concerns about its effects.

Business and construction interests hailed the plan's approval, saying an expanded airport would be a selling point for local industry and tourism.

“In this economy, this is as close to an economic home run as we're going to get,” said Jonathan Coe, president and chief executive of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

Some speakers opposed the project outright, saying it would bring big-city air traffic to Sonoma County.

Others, such as a group of Windsor residents that included Mayor Debora Fudge, said they agreed with proposed safety upgrades but urged supervisors to lessen impacts on airport neighbors by requiring noise limits, air traffic changes and road upgrades.

“Whatever we can do to minimize flights going over populated areas is going to make everybody happy,” said Bob Finn of Windsor.

Supervisors tentatively backed some measures to account for noise, air traffic and environmental impacts, but said their hands were tied on stronger limits by federal rules.

“If we can take a balanced approach, I think this makes it a stronger project,” said Supervisor Mike McGuire, who pushed for many of the conditions.

In the short term, the plan calls for a $42.7 million overhaul of the two runways, which currently meet at the north end of the airport in a V-shaped design that does not meet federal safety standards. The county would fix that by extending the main runway north by 885 feet to 6,000 feet and adding 200 feet to the second runway.

Over a 20-year period, the expansion also would include a new passenger terminal, air cargo facility, control tower and other upgrades. The timing of those improvements depends on attracting more airlines to the county-owned airport.

Most of the improvements, including the short and long-term upgrades, would be financed with federal aviation grants.

The expansion would allow more commercial flights beyond the five that Alaska Airlines — the lone carrier — currently offers per day. The upper limit would remain at 21 flights per day, a threshold already authorized by the county's general plan but not possible with the current infrastructure.

The project also would help the airport cater to a wider range of mid-size regional jets, said Jon Stout, the airport manager.

The county is in talks with Alaska and Frontier Airlines about additional flights, but neither company has made commitments, Stout said.

County officials have said each additional regularly scheduled daily flight would add $23 million to the local economy and create 70 new jobs. Project skeptics cast doubt on those and other figures, citing a 26-year-old county study that projected passenger loads at more than twice current demand, and pegged the number of daily flights at nearly six times current numbers.

“Anticipated increase is not actual increase,” said Jean McMullen, a Windsor resident opposed to the expansion.

But business interests said a ‘no' vote would send the wrong message to companies eyeing an investment in the area and force local travelers to keep seeking larger Bay Area flight hubs.

“Every decade, a few decisions shape a community. I think you're sitting in front of one of them right now,” said Doug Hilberman, an expansion advocate speaking for the Construction Coalition, an advocacy arm of the North Coast Builders Exchange and Home Builders Association of Northern California.

Supervisors gave no indication that the project, approved last month by the Planning Commission and in the works for years, was ever in doubt. They gave strong backing to the runway safety upgrades.

“On that issue alone ... It would be irresponsible to not move ahead with this project,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt.

The board had a longer debate over extra conditions to be added to the project's approval. Federal sway over airport operations prevented many of the conditions requested by speakers.

Supervisors backed a recommendation by planning commissioners to seek voluntary curfew agreements on commercial flights to limit late-night and early-morning noise.

They also agreed to continue talks with federal aviation officials about adjusting the flight path to avoid neighborhoods and schools in Windsor.

A parallel local effort will study noise impacts from flight traffic and either compensate or provide noise protection for those residents found to be most affected. State standards indicate that seven homes could qualify through the year 2030, Stout said.

Other moves included:

-- Allocation of $1 million toward habitat improvements to nearby Mark West Creek, Windsor Creek and Riverfront Regional Park, part of the project's $9 million in environmental mitigation spending.

-- Board support for county-paid upgrades to Shiloh Road and Airway Drive in Windsor to help with an expected increase in airport traffic.

-- Delay of final decision on another proposal raised by McGuire — an assessment of public health impacts he wanted done after the completion of work on the runways, which could begin in July and finish by late 2013. Supervisors agreed to endorse the health study dependent on a cost analysis due back Jan. 24, when the board is set to finalize its vote.

-- Board support for county-paid upgrades to Shiloh Road and Airway Drive in Windsor to help with an expected increase in airport traffic.

-- Delay of final decision on another proposal raised by McGuire — an assessment of public health impacts he wanted done after the completion of work on the runways, which could begin in July and finish by late 2013. Supervisors agreed to endorse the health study dependent on a cost analysis due back Jan. 24, when the board is set to finalize its vote.

Columnist may know tomatoes, but does she know airplanes?


I read with disdain the condescending column referencing an inquiry about tomatoes growing in the wintertime in Vancouver.

If I were the originator of that question, I would be some upset at the reply. If you want to know how self-centred the column is, count the I’s.

I’m a retired air traffic controller, commercial pilot and an aviation safety investigator, having chaired over 200 boards of inquiry. I know nothing about tomatoes. With reference to Ms. Hamir, I wonder why an intelligent person who graduated from both high school and university and holds a steady job, doesn’t even know the stall speed of a Boeing 747 at 9,000 feet with gear down and full flap.

Robert Randall, Richmond

Southwest to help investigate runway close call


DALLAS - Southwest Airlines says it's cooperating with federal officials investigating a close call on a runway in Chicago last month.

A Southwest plane that had just landed at Midway Airport was preparing to cross a runway when the co-pilot yelled at the pilot to stop to avoid a smaller jet that was taking off.

Federal officials say air traffic controllers didn't cancel the smaller jet's takeoff clearance or tell the Southwest plane to stop.

The planes came within less than 300 feet of each other during the Dec. 1 incident.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Wednesday that the airline was cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board investigation.

The NTSB said in a preliminary report that air traffic controllers cleared a Learjet for takeoff on Midway's runway 31R and told the Southwest pilot to cross the same runway before contacting ground control.

The Southwest co-pilot saw the Learjet taking off and yelled to the captain to stop, according to the NTSB. The pilot stopped the plane before it reached the runway's edge.

"Air traffic control did not cancel the takeoff clearance of the (Learjet) nor direct the (Southwest plane) to hold short of runway 31R," the safety board said.

The NTSB said that the Southwest pilot claimed that the Learjet flew over his plane, but the board said the planes were 287 feet apart as the Learjet passed 62 feet overhead.

None of the 85 passengers on the Dec. 1 flight were injured, according to the NTSB. The operator of the Learjet was not identified. Southwest Airlines Co. is based in Dallas.

The following are extracts of the audio recording between the Southwest 737 and the tower (courtesy of

00:25 (737 to tower): Yeah, we just had a plane take off on 31 Right - You told us to cross.

00:33 (737 to tower): OK, if you just copied, you cleared us onto a runway there was a plane taking off.

01:01 (737 to tower): I want you to acknowledge you cleared us onto a runway where a plane was taking off. Do not get ground.

*** 01:31 (737 to ground control): Be advised, tower (unintelligible) us to cross 31 Right and a Learjet of some sort was taking off, we had us hit the brakes, and the thing went right over our head.


ORNGE air ambulance getting new CEO, board

Ornge's then-CEO, Dr. Chris Mazza, unveils a new airplane in 2006. The McGuinty government announced Wednesday it's replacing Mazza with a deputy minister on an interim basis.
(CCNMATTHEWS/Ontario Air Ambulance/Canadian Press)

There's a complete change in leadership taking place at Ontario's troubled air ambulance system.

The government says it's replacing ORNGE president and CEO Chris Mazza with a deputy minister on an interim basis, but can't say how much severance it will have to pay.

Mazza was being paid $1.4 million a year, but he went on indefinite medical leave days after his salary was made public so it's not clear what severance he will get.

The entire board of directors at ORNGE will also be replaced, and the agency will have to wind up its for-profit side businesses and operate solely as a non-profit entity.

Deputy minister of government services Ron McKerlie will be the interim president and CEO at ORNGE, which will also have to negotiate a new service contract with the province.

The auditor general and the ministry of finance both sent audit teams into ORNGE, which receives about $140 million a year in provincial funding to operate the air ambulance service.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Community Initiatives is accepting donations on behalf of the Campbell family in North Spirit Lake Plane Crash. Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, C-GOSU.

NORTH SPIRIT LAKE FIRST NATION – A Piper Navajo plane leaving from Winnipeg crashed yesterday morning near the remote northwestern Ontario community of North Spirit Lake, killing four of its five passengers. Witnesses are working with authorities to determine the cause of the crash however the plane was on its landing approach when it slammed into a frozen lake and caught fire, Peter Hildebrand of the Transportation Safety Board told media yesterday.

With limited emergency resources, members of the North Spirit Lake First Nation Community worked together to put out the fire and rescue the survivor. Among the deceased was community member and North Spirit Lake band worker, Martha Campbell. In a community of only 466 residents, the tragic death of a community member and sudden event such as this has rippling effects.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Community Initiatives (KOCI) is accepting donations on behalf of the Campbell family and community members for funeral costs and grief counseling. Please give generously by visiting KOCI’s web page on or visit our website at to help the people of North Spirit Lake. Alternatively, you can download a donation application from the website and mail the form and cheque to:

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Community Initiatives (KOCI)
P.O. Box 340, 8 Mine Road
Balmertown, ON P0V 1C0

Keewaytinook Okimakanak Community Initiatives (KOCI) is a charitable foundation serving North Spirit Lake, Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, and Poplar Hill First Nations.

"I can do whatever I want. This is my airplane": Businessman, 84, sentenced for plane assault; he fondled paramedic on Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A private jet.

By David Hanners

In his younger days, Bob Lee conquered continents. But as the 84-year-old Nevadan shuffled slowly to the podium in a federal courtroom today, his vitality seemed as lifeless as the big game he used to fell.

Lee, a safari guide, conservationist and outfitter, was sentenced for grabbing the breast of a paramedic who accompanied him on a medical flight to the Mayo Clinic in September 2010. When she complained, he told her, "I can do whatever I want. This is my airplane."

As U.S. Chief Magistrate Arthur Boylan told Lee when he sentenced him, there was no excuse - not old age, not infirmity, not dementia - for the crime Lee committed.

"It's arrogant, it's repugnant and it's offensive, period," Boylan told Lee.

Lee pleaded guilty in July to a single misdemeanor count of assault and could've faced up to six months in jail. Boylan accepted a sentence that both sides negotiated: Lee will be on probation for 180 days, he was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay at least $431 restitution, and he must write a letter of apology to the paramedic and nurse he assaulted and threatened aboard his Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A.

He must spend 30 days of his probation on home detention. In his case, home is a 6,091-square-foot, $1.2-million residence on 10.2 acres with its own lake about 7 miles south of downtown Reno. He also owns a $25 million mansion on an island on Flathead Lake in Montana.

In fact, he owns the island.

The paramedic he assaulted, identified in court as "M.L.," had agreed to the plea bargain and sentence. The woman, dressed in a blue AeroCare Air Ambulance jumpsuit, sat next to Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Provinzino during the proceedings, but took a turn at the podium to tell Boylan how Lee's behavior harmed her.

"I'm offended...(that) he felt he had the right to do whatever he wanted with me," she said. She was particularly critical of Lee's claim to a psychiatrist that the women "were mean to me" and had shoved him, which the women denied. Lee later recanted the claim.

As M.L. spoke, sometimes through tears, it seemed evident Lee's words had added to the sting of his actions.

"Not only does he have the audacity to believe he can do whatever he wants on his airplane, now he has the audacity to insult my integrity," the woman said.

Lee has been described as an avid explorer and he's also a writer, conservationist and safari guide. Under the name Hunting World, he had a line of safari-ready luggage sold at its own posh boutique in New York. (He later sold the company.)

Lee claims to have led expeditions in 17 countries, and his luggage catalogs often depicted him in some remote and exotic corner of the globe.

For his part, Lee said nothing during the hearing except, "No thank you, Your Honor, please," when Boylan asked him if he had anything to say before sentencing. But his lawyer, Scott Freeman of Reno, read a letter of apology he said Lee had written.

"It was inappropriate and I accept responsibility for my actions," the letter said, among other things.

"This is, without a doubt, an aberration. He is not a gentleman who goes around doing this sort of thing," Freeman said of Lee. "Everyone is shocked by this behavior."

Indeed, before sentencing, Freeman filed 13 letters literally from coast to coast from people who said Lee was a great guy. The writers included a state lawmaker, a minister, a former federal prosecutor, an executive at Sotheby's auction house, a California vintner, business executives and Lee's personal fitness trainer since 2004.

"In my experience with Mr. Lee I find the incident in question to be highly out of character for him," wrote the trainer, Melissa Zeffer, of Stateline, Nev. "I have spent a lot of time with Mr. Lee and I think that he is a very polite, dignified, respectful and nice man."

That was not the behavior M.L. told Boylan she saw during the flight Sept. 21, 2010. She recounted how she was called after Lee wound up in the emergency room with a medical problem and decided to get an examination at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

She said she and a nurse, identified in court documents as "M.D.," boarded Lee's $37 million jet at the airport in Show Low, Ariz., for the 1,100-mile flight to Rochester, and that it was uneventful - Lee had even fallen asleep reading a newspaper - until the last 45 minutes.

M.L. said when Lee returned from using the lavatory, he came up to her and grabbed her right breast, pinching and twisting hard. She pushed his hand away and told him he wasn't to touch her like that.

"He looked me straight in the eye and said I was on his airplane, he could do whatever he wanted to me," she told the judge.

He then reached across the aisle and made a pinching gesture at M.D., telling her, "That's what I'm going to do to you."

She told him he wasn't allowed to touch the medical personnel in that way, and he replied, "On my airplane, I can do whatever I want."

Lee also told the nurse she should wear a V-neck shirt to make it easier for him to slide his hand in her shirt.

When the plane returned to Nevada after dropping Lee off, M.L. told the FBI about the assault. It was considered a federal crime because it occurred aboard an airplane flying over the territorial U.S.

Freeman told Boylan that Lee was in the "beginning stages of dementia," but the judge said he didn't believe "dementia or the fact you're a senior" were excuses for the crime.

He said he was adding the 30 days of home detention to the sentence so Lee would feel, in some way, the same feeling of being trapped that the paramedic and nurse said they felt aboard Lee's private jet.

"I wanted you to get the message that you can't treat people like that," Boylan said.


REDjet denies it will cut routes

Low-cost Caribbean airline REDjet denied reports yesterday that it planned to cut flights.

An internal memo quoted by one regional paper claimed REDjet was experiencing financial difficulties and that 56 flights would be taken out of operation to reduce costs.

However, Ian Burns, the chairman and CEO of REDjet, said no routes were being cut, although some are being altered to increase efficiency and "make space to create more routes".

"As part of the airline's continuing development and investment in its services, REDjet has made the commercial decision to make schedule changes over the coming weeks to some flights," the carrier said.

"Passengers can expect to benefit from new and more convenient flight times and from the launch of three new routes to two new destinations in time for Easter 2012."

REDjet suspects that word of the planned rescheduling led to the reports of the cuts, which have been feared by some who think the airline's low-fare model is unsustainable.

Calling itself the Caribbean's fastest-growing airline, REDjet said it plans to add seven to eight new routes this year.

"The improved flight times will better meet passenger needs. In addition, external factors such as traffic to and from the airport around flight times and capacity constraints at some airports around peak times of the day will be greatly improved."

The airline, which made its first flight to Jamaica in November, currently operates three aircraft that ply seven routes around the Caribbean.

"As part of the planned development of REDjet services, the airline has added a third MD-80 aircraft and has hired an additional group of experienced pilots who will complete their training and enter service later this month," the carrier said.

"These investments combined with the expansion of its call centre, maintenance department and operations team will enable the airline to comfortably deliver these new services and provide a safe and reliable operation for its passengers."

Passengers that are inconvenienced will be accommodated on alternative flights.

The airline has had its fair share of difficulties though. Its entries into several markets were delayed and the company has already gone through the cash set aside for operational expenditure.

In an interview with the Observer last year, REDjet's Barbados partner, the chairman of Williams Industries, Ralph Williams, said excessive delays and suffocating red tape had eaten away at the initial US$8 million ($686 million) which affected the airline's ability to meet its financial obligations and go after greater market shares.

"The money had to be used in all of the delays that took place while we were waiting for permission to fly. We had to use it to pay staff and keep things going though we were not flying. I am going to lose millions of dollars," Williams said.

At that time, Burns admitted that entering the Caribbean had been very difficult, largely due to bureaucracy. "Decision making throughout the Caribbean is unbelievably slow and people seem afraid to make decisions. This prolonged decision-making process causes frustration and heightens tensions and leads to the wasting of money," he said. "Obviously, decisions have to be considered and measured but it has to be much speedier than what currently pertains in the Caribbean. It should be a much more open and transparent process."

The Barbados-based airline is expected to obtain a license to go to Suriname by next month, having submitted an official request for landing rights.

Daher-Socata to showcase fastest turboprop

Daher-Socata, a producer of general aviation aircraft, will present its fastest single turboprop at an upcoming aviation exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

The TBM 850, the fastest single turboprop in the world with a maximum cruise speed of 320 KTAS (593 km/hr) at 26 000 ft (7,940m), will be on display at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, the first general aviation exhibition in the Middle East from March 6 to 8 at Al Bateen Executive Airport.

An 850 hp engine version of the turboprop business aircraft TBM 700, known for its reliability, the TBM 850 combines the cruising speed and flying times typical of light jets with operating costs, low environmental signature, range and excellent payload of turboprop aircraft, a statement said.

“We look forward to participating in the first edition of the exhibition in Abu Dhabi, whose geographical location and audience make it a must-attend event for those involved in general aviation,” said Nicolas Chabbert, director of the Aircraft Division at Daher-Socata.

“Knowing that the general aviation sector is experiencing significant growth in the Middle East, we really want to be part of this show,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service

Cirrus Aircraft Introduces Five Seating Capacity for All SR-series Aircraft. New 60/40 FlexSeating(TM) Increases Occupancy to Five Passengers

DULUTH, Minn., Jan. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Cirrus Aircraft today introduced expanded seating capacity in its SR20, SR22 and SR22T aircraft models, available for 2012.

The new 60/40 FlexSeating features a wider back seat, highlighted by a 60/40 fold-down split in the rear seat for five-person maximum aircraft occupancy. The folding versatility of the new seat coupled with a rear cargo net give greater utility and capacity and also make loading the aircraft easier. In addition, 2012 Cirrus models are 10 pounds lighter for more useful load and efficiency.

"We are building a new class of airplane," said Dale Klapmeier, Co-founder and CEO. "Our aircraft was already the largest and most comfortable cabin in its class of four-seat airplanes. Now we have significantly improved our airplanes by making the interior cabin wider, allowing for additional passengers, as well as adding greater comfort when traveling with fewer passengers," said Klapmeier.

The fold-down feature operates like an automobile via an easy access mechanism that eliminates the need for pulling pins to configure seats. The FlexSeating makes three, three-point, over-the-shoulder seatbelts in the rear seat as well as five headphone jacks, and five oxygen ports (when the built-in-oxygen system is installed) integrated seamlessly into the cabin. The new seating also offers a three-position recline feature, increasing the comfort in the rear seats by allowing passengers to recline to their individual desired position.

Cirrus' 60/40 FlexSeating also includes an automobile-style child seat restraint system, called LATCH, which allows passengers to secure child seats with ease. Additionally, the LATCH system meets the same federal regulations of automobile manufacturers. Cirrus is the first to bring this high safety standard to any aircraft.

"The 60/40 FlexSeating gives our customers even more flexibility to accommodate a greater variety of flights," said Todd Simmons, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing."The new seating configuration is beneficial for those customers and owners who use their aircraft for personal and family travel, while those that use it for business travel will appreciate the roomier cabin for increased comfort or greater versatility when it comes to more cargo and loading options."

Deliveries of the newly-equipped aircraft are already underway. For more information please visit .

About Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is a recognized leader in general aviation. Its all-composite line of personal aircraft -- the SR20, SR22 and the turbocharged SR22T -- incorporate innovative and advanced performance, electronic and safety technologies, including Cirrus Perspective(TM) by Garmin® avionics and the unique Cirrus Airframe Parachute System(TM) (CAPS). As of mid-2011, total time on the worldwide Cirrus Aircraft SR-series fleet surpassed five million flight hours with 51 lives saved to date as a direct result of CAPS being a standard safety feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The Cirrus Vision SF50 jet, with nearly 500 production positions reserved, will provide a new personal and regional business transportation solution: the personal jet. All Cirrus aircraft are made in the U.S. with a direct sales force in North America and authorized sales centers covering export markets in 60 countries around the world. Cirrus Aircraft is wholly owned by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd (CAIGA). For additional information on Cirrus and its products please visit

SOURCE Cirrus Aircraft