Friday, January 27, 2012

Humboldt County, California: Airport Manager Goes Back to Work Monday

After nearly four months on unexplained — and fully paid — administrative leave, Humboldt County Airport Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey will resume her job duties Monday morning.

As the Journal reported last month, no one with the county has been willing to address the reasons for Hulsey’s extended leave. Public Works Director Tom Mattson and Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace again declined to elaborate Friday morning. Both repeated that Hulsey’s leave is “a personnel issue” and thus confidential.

Though Hulsey has no employment contract, neither is she an “at-will” employee — someone who can be fired without cause. As a public employee, her job is considered her property; therefore she cannot be fired, demoted or transferred without due process. (This has been the case for non-contract public employees in the state since the 1975 California Supreme Court ruling in Skelly vs. State Personnel Board.)

Hulsey’s job performance has been repeatedly scrutinized and criticized in recent years, with members of the public, the county’s Aviation Advisory Committee and former employees accusing her of mismanagement, verbal abuse and jeopardizing the safety of both employees and the public. (See previous stories here, here and here.)

Asked if he has any concerns about Hulsey’s competence, Lovelace responded, “That would get into an issue that would not be appropriate for me to discuss here.”

Addendum: Local business leaders have also been among Hulsey’s most vocal critics, particularly following a series of flight delays and cancellations in the fall of 2010 (see the second of the three linked stories above).

Jonathan Speaker, chief operating officer of Arcata-based streaming media company StreamGuys, said he was disappointed to learn that Hulsey will be returning to her position.

“I would like to know why the leaders of Humboldt County are not looking at the track record of Ms. Hulsey and seeing the same thing that the business community is seeing,” he said.

Like others, Speaker believes many of the recent problems at the airport could have been avoided with proper communication and project management. He also cited the fatal plane crash on the night of March 1, 2009, which went unreported to search and rescue personnel for more than 12 hours due to a miscommunication between Hulsey and an airport employee (see the first linked story above).

“With this kind of track record it is beyond me why [county officials] are not looking to improve our critical infrastructure by staffing the appropriate key personel,” Speaker said. He added that he and others are currently seeking answers from county officials.

Source:  http://www.northcoastjournal.com

Barnstable Municipal Airport-Boardman/Polando Field (KHYA), Hyannis, Massachusetts.

"Is the Barnstable Airport Manager recklessly gambling away the integrity of Mid-Cape and Lower Cape's water supply by using illegal 50-year-old diesel fuel Underground Storage Tanks?"


Friends make old Piper Cub soar for Clearwater owner who will never fly it

By Terri Bryce Reeves,Tampa Bay Times

CLEARWATER — This past Friday the 13th was a cool and blustery one. Not an ideal time to test a lightweight Piper Cub that hadn't been flown in decades.

But Gino DiNucci was on an important mission: that of friendship.

He completed the final inspection and certified the plane as airworthy. Then he hopped in the pilot's seat, cruised down the runway at the Clearwater Airpark and took the bright yellow bird up into the sky. It would be the first time since the 1950s that the plane was airborne.

It rocked back and forth gently with each gust of wind, then circled over the treetops near the neighborhood at the end of the runway.

Down below, Walter Crosby sat propped up next to his bedroom window — watching, for the very first time, his plane soar through the heavens.

Though he'd never be able to fly the Cub, or even ride in it, he was a proud papa bear that day.

For the past five decades he'd planned to fully restore the plane, all the while dreaming of the day he'd take to the sky and wave to his friends on the ground from the open cockpit.

But now, at 74, Walter is dying from colon cancer that has metastasized to his lungs and liver. Doctors say he has little time left.

At this stage, he fades in and out of consciousness and has a hard time speaking. This past week, however, he was able to summon up three words about watching that flight on Friday the 13th.

"Enjoyed it immensely," he said.

• • •

In the early 1960s, Geri and Walter Crosby entertained their two small children by taking them to the local airpark near Lakeville, Mass.

"We didn't have much money, so we'd go over there and watch the planes take off and land," said Geri, 74.

After the whole family went up for a $10 ride in a four-seater one day, Walter, who spent his career working in the trades and law enforcement, was bitten by the aviation bug.

In 1962, the Crosbys bought the Piper J-3 Cub, a classic yellow two-seater plane.

Pipers are cherished for their simplicity, affordability and their nostalgic role in teaching Americans — and most World War II pilots — to fly.

"They were the cheap get-in-and-go airplane," said John Shepard, a 64-year-old friend of Walter's.

Traditionally, these planes have a sporty black lightning bolt on the side. From the front, they look like cute cartoon insects with big bug eyes.

But this particular Cub was worn completely out. It hadn't been flown in years and needed a total restoration inside and out. The Crosbys paid $650 for it, disassembled it and loaded it into the back of their black Chevy pickup truck.

Through the years, work and family obligations gobbled up the time and money needed to restore the plane. In the meantime, it was stowed in the house.

"We had parts in the attic, propellers under the bed. The fuselage was in the dining room," said Geri. "I put up with a lot with that plane."

In the meantime, Walter got his pilot's license as well as an Airframe and Powerplant (mechanics) license. For the past few years, he's served on the Clearwater Airpark Advisory Board.

The couple moved into a home overlooking the runway at Clearwater Airpark in 1995. When a neighbor came over to greet them one day and ask them to help fight against the airpark, Walter told her, "Lady, we moved here because of the airpark," recalled DiNucci, 70, of Clearwater.

• • •

Seven years ago, Walter began refurbishing the components of the plane in earnest.

In 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer. "He fought valiantly, trying every kind of chemo there is," said Geri.

Around Christmastime, he took a turn for the worse.

Up until then, his friend Bob Henry, 67, of Clearwater and Ohio, had been working alongside Walter helping him with the plane. Now it was time to call in the reinforcements and make an intensive push to finish the plane before Walter died.

For the past few weeks, DiNucci, Shepard, Henry and Mike Canter, 54, of Clearwater and Ohio, toiled five or six days a week to get the plane flight-ready.

"He's our friend," said Shepard. "This is a very tight-knit community and when someone needs help, we are there."

On Tuesday, the flyboys got together once again to check on Walter and take Geri for her inaugural ride in the plane. In a sense, she took her husband along for the ride too, wearing his Piper Cub hat and name tag.

"Remember, no loops, no spins," she told pilot DiNucci before takeoff.

They circled around the house for what would be, perhaps, Walter's last look.

Finally they returned. As they glided to a stop, Geri flashed a smile and gave a thumbs-up.

"It was a beautiful ride, simply beautiful," she said.

When asked about Walter's beliefs about an afterlife, she thought for a moment and then replied: "He knows Jesus will be there to greet him. I think he figures that will be the ultimate flight."

Cessna 340A, Flying G Aviation LLC, N340HF: Accident occurred January 27, 2012 in Ocala, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA161 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 27, 2012 in Ocala, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/15/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N340HF
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

The pilot entered the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern to land to the north. A surface wind from the west prevailed with gusts to 15 knots. Radar data revealed that the airplane was on final approach, about 1.16 miles from the runway and about 210 feet above the ground. The airplane then crashed in a pasture south of the airport, in a slight left-wing-low attitude, and came to rest upright. The cockpit and cabin were consumed in a postcrash fire. The pilot's wife, who was in the aft cabin and survived the accident, recalled that it was choppy and that they descended quickly. She recalled hearing two distinct warning horns in the cockpit prior to the crash. The airplane was equipped with two aural warning systems in the cockpit: a landing gear warning horn and a stall warning horn. The pilot likely allowed the airspeed to decay while aligning the airplane on final approach and allowed the airplane to descend below a normal glide path. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the landing gear were in transit toward the retracted position at impact, indicating that the pilot was attempting to execute a go-around before the accident. The pilot made no distress calls to air traffic controllers before the crash. The pilot did not possess a current flight review at the time of the accident. Examination of the wreckage, including a test run of both engines, revealed no evidence of a pre-existing mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and altitude on final approach, resulting in an impact with terrain short of the airport.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 27, 2012, about 1227 eastern standard time, a Cessna 340A, N340HF, was substantially damaged following a collision with terrain during approach to Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala, Florida. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Macon, Georgia, about 1117.

An examination of recorded radar data revealed that the pilot entered a left downwind leg on a southerly heading, about 6 miles west of OCF. The airplane was abeam the approach end of runway 36, and about 1,800 feet mean sea level (msl), when a left base turn was initiated. The pilot then initiated a turn to final about 2.5 miles from the runway approach end, at an altitude of about 700 feet msl. The last radar return with an altitude readout other than zero occurred about 1.16 nautical miles south of runway 36, at 1727:27 (HHMM:SS) at an altitude of about 300 feet msl (about 210 feet above the ground).

According to recorded voice transmissions between the accident pilot and Ocala FAA Contract Tower (FCT) personnel, the pilot checked in at 1723:51. The local controller provided the pilot with the current wind information and the pilot reported turning left base at 1724:07. The local controller reported that the airplane was not in sight and issued a landing clearance to the pilot. At 1725:41, the local controlled advised the pilot that he had him in sight. At 1727:52, the local controller stated, "zero hotel foxtrot altitude altitude." No response was received from the pilot, and there were no distress calls received from the pilot.

The pilot's wife was seated in the aft cabin and reported the following after the accident. During the descent for landing at OCF, she recalled the "choppy" and "bumpy" conditions, and the "ground was coming up on them quickly." She recalled hearing two distinct warning horns in the cockpit prior to the crash. She also reported that, during the final phase of the flight, the airplane veered left noticeably two times. Prior to the crash, her husband made no comments regarding any mechanical difficulties with the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He reported a total flight experience of 1,005 hours on his latest third-class medical certificate application, dated June 10, 2011.

According to the pilot's logbook that was located in the wreckage, as of January 21, 2012, he recorded about 416 hours in single engine airplanes, about 632 hours in multi-engine airplanes, and about 828 hours as pilot-in-command. His first recorded flight in the accident airplane was on December 19, 2011, and he recorded about 14.2 hours total time in the accident airplane.

The pilot's last recorded Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 61.56 flight review occurred on December 28, 2009. The flight included an instrument proficiency check and was conducted in a single-engine Cessna 182. The accident pilot's last flight review in a Cessna 340A occurred on November 3, 2007. The certified flight instructor (CFI) who administered the examinations was interviewed by the NTSB investigator-in-charge following the accident. The CFI reported that he last flew with the accident pilot in 2011. The CFI also owned a Cessna 340A and asked the accident pilot to fly the airplane to Albany, Georgia for him, since the CFI was injured from a recent fall. The CFI reported that the flight from Florida to Albany was uneventful until entering the traffic pattern for landing. The accident pilot lined up on an incorrect runway, and the CFI provided verbal guidance to correct the situation. Once aligned on the correct runway, the accident pilot allowed the airspeed to decay on short final to the point where the CFI responded out loud, "power, power!" The airplane landed hard on the runway, and a hard landing inspection was accomplished after the flight with no damage found.

A friend of the accident pilot, who was also a CFI, provided dual instruction following the pilot's purchase on the accident airplane in December, 2011. The CFI was interviewed by the NTSB investigator-in-charge following the accident. He stated that he did not administer a flight review to the accident pilot. During recent dual instruction, the accident pilot flew precise, smooth approaches and landings. He stated that the accident pilot would have passed a flight review based on how he flew when they were together. The CFI and the accident pilot conversed prior to the flight, and he was aware that the accident pilot needed to be in Ocala by 12 o'clock noon on the day of the accident to meet with a realtor.

The CFR part 61 addresses certification of pilots. The following pertains to flight reviews:

Except as provided in paragraphs (d), (e), and (g) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has—
(1) Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor; and
(2) A logbook endorsed from an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a twin-engine, low wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number 340A0624. It was powered by two Continental TSIO-520 engines with RAM conversions rated at 335 horsepower each.

According to the aircraft maintenance records, the last annual inspection on the airframe and engines was performed on April 18, 2011, at a total aircraft time of 5,057.4 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1227 surface weather observation for OCF reported wind 260 degrees at 9 knots with gusts to 15 knots, visibility 10 miles or better, few clouds at 2,800 feet, ceiling 3,400 feet overcast, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.00 inches of mercury.

At 1224, the Ocala FAA Control Tower local controller provided with following wind information to the accident pilot, "…wind two seven zero at nine and uh gust one four." The pilot acknowledged the transmission.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was situated on level ground and was an active livestock pasture. The main wreckage was located about 0.65 nautical miles south-southwest of the approach end of runway 36. The airplane fuselage came to rest on a heading of 120 degrees. Small flecks of white paint and a broken portion of the left wing navigation light were found with the first ground scar along the wreckage path. The straight line distance from the initial impact scar to the main wreckage was about 86 feet and was on a heading of 300 degrees.

An initial examination of the wreckage revealed the following. The cockpit and cabin were extensively burned from a post-impact fire. The landing gear handle was found in the retracted position. The position of the landing gear actuator linkage indicated an "in transit" position and was in close proximity to the up/retracted position. The wing flaps were found extended about 15 degrees. All engine controls were found near the full-forward positions.

Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the rudder and elevators. The left aileron cables were attached to the bell crank with overload separations noted near the wing root. The right aileron cables were continuous from the wing bell crank to the wing root. The pilot and co-pilot control wheels were linked together by the chain.

The left engine remained attached to the airframe via the engine mounts and thermal damage was evident to the accessory section. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed by investigators and the drive coupling was intact. The pump did not rotate freely by hand. The fuel metering unit/mixture control exhibited thermal damage and both control arms moved freely by hand. The crankshaft rotated by hand when the propeller flange was rotated manually with a hand tool. The turbocharger compressor wheel turned freely by hand and was coupled to the turbine wheel.

The right engine remained attached to the airframe by three of the four mount legs and thermal damage was evident to the accessory section. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed by investigators and the drive coupling was intact. The pump did not rotate freely by hand. The fuel metering unit/mixture control exhibited thermal damage and both control arms moved freely by hand. The crankshaft rotated by hand when the propeller flange was rotated manually with a hand tool. The turbocharger compressor wheel turned freely by hand and was coupled to the turbine wheel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed at the District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, Leesburg, Florida, on January 28, 2012. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "Acute carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal injuries due to fire due to airplane crash" and the manner of death was "accident."

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology report indicated 31 percent carbon monoxide detected in blood and 1.3 ug/ml of cyanide detected in blood. No ethanol was detected in vitreous fluid. No drugs were detected in the urine.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engines were shipped to the Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI) facilities in Mobile, Alabama for further examination. The investigation team reconvened on April 3 through 5 to perform the examinations. After an initial evaluation of overall condition, it was concluded that test runs of the engines would be attempted.

Left Engine

Due to impact and thermal damage, the following items were substituted or repaired prior to the test: fuel manifold valve fittings, the throttle control link rod, the induction system "Y" pipe, and the exhaust system.

The engine was fitted to the test stand and a test club propeller was installed. The engine started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling in observed RPM. The engine RPM was advanced in steps for warm-up in preparation for full power operation. The engine was advanced to 1,200 RPM, 1,600 RPM , and 2,450 RPM and held for 5 minutes at each RPM setting to stabilize. The engine throttle was then advanced to the full open position and held for an additional 5 minutes to stabilize. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption in power and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower. The engine fuel system was not adjusted and was found to be set at a lean condition as compared to CMI specifications.

Right Engine

Due to impact and thermal damage, the following items were substituted or repaired prior to the test: fuel pump fittings, the induction system "Y" pipe, and the engine starter.

The engine was fitted to the test stand and a test club propeller was installed. The engine started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling in observed RPM. The engine RPM was advanced in steps for warm-up in preparation for full power operation. The engine was advanced to 1,200 RPM, 1,600 RPM, and 2,450 RPM and held for 5 minutes at each RPM setting to stabilize. The engine throttle was then advanced to the full open position and held for an additional 5 minutes to stabilize. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption in power and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was equipped with two aural warning systems, a landing gear warning horn and a stall warning horn.

According to the Cessna 340A Information Manual, the landing gear warning horn was controlled by the throttles and the wing flap position. The horn would sound intermittently if either throttle was retarded below about 15 inches of manifold pressure with the landing gear retracted or if the wing flaps were lowered past the 15 degree position with the landing gear in any position except extended and locked.

The stall warning horn would sound 5 to 10 knots above the stall in all flight configurations.




A Cessna 340A piloted by P.Allen Golson (inset) crashes near Ocala International Airport, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012




The head of Macon's Coliseum Health System died Friday when the small plane he was piloting crashed near Ocala, Fla.

The hospital system confirmed in a news release that P. Allen Golson died in the crash. His wife Carol was aboard and suffered non life-threatening injuries. She was taken to a hospital.

The plane, a twin-engine Cessna 340A, crashed in a pasture just south of Ocala International Airport. The 340A seats six.

Golson recently announced he was leaving Coliseum for a CEO job with Ocala Health System. Both systems are owned by HCA.

The Golsons lived in Forsyth.

Investigators say Golson's last contact with the airport control tower was at 12:26 p.m. when he reported he was coming in for a landing. The plane crashed right afterward.

National Weather Service records say skies were mostly cloudy in Ocala at the time of the crash.

The plane departed Middle Georgia Regional Airport at 10:30 a.m., according to flightaware.com.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, the plane is registered to Flying G Aviation LLC in Wilmington, Del.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported on ocala.com that workers at nearby businesses rushed to the crash site and managed to pull Carol Golson out of the wreckage but could not rescue her husband because of heavy smoke. At least one rescuer suffered smoke inhalation. The fire department said it arrived four minutes after receiving an emergency call.

PHOTOS: From ocala.com

The Coliseum's news release quotes Michael Joyce, president of HCA's North Florida Division, as saying  "This is tragic news for our HCA family, and it will take time and the support of each other to deal with this loss.

"Allen was a true friend and a great leader who enjoyed life and dedicated himself to his work. He will be deeply missed."

Golson led the Coliseum system for the past seven years and had been a hospital administrator for more than 30, Coliseum said.

According to the news release: He served for nine years as CEO of Palmyra Medical Centers in Albany. He had been with HCA since 1986 serving in various administrative roles.

Golson graduated with his Bachelor of Science in HealthCare Management in 1981 from the University of Alabama, and has a Master of Business Administration at the Southeastern Institute of Technology in Huntsville, Alabama.

He was a Fellow in the American College of HealthCare, on the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA), and had been a Rotarian for more than 20 years.

Marion County sheriff Ed Dean issued this release:

The Sheriff's Office responded to the area of SW 60th Avenue and 38th Street in Ocala around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27 after a small plane crashed into a pasture. The Cessna 340 Alpha model plane was headed for the Ocala International Airport but crashed just south of its destination. The passenger, Carol Golson, 55, was pulled from the plane by citizens that witnessed the crash. Carol was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The pilot, Paul Allen Golson, 55, did not survive the crash.

The last contact Mr. Golson made with the air tower was at 12:26 p.m. to report he was coming in for a landing. Investigators estimate the crash occurred immediately following this contact. The cause of the crash is now being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB).


===============

OCALA — A small plane crashed midday Friday in an open field near the Ocala International Airport. The pilot — P. Allen Golson, the recently named CEO of Ocala Health System — was killed, and his wife was injured.

Golson, 55, was from Macon, Ga., where he had been CEO of Coliseum Health System for seven years.

Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jenifer Lowe said Carol Golson, also 55, was taken to West Marion Community Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The hospital is part of Ocala Health System.

The Golsons were the only people aboard the twin-engine Cessna 340.

The website www.flightaware.com indicates the plane left the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon at 10:30 a.m. Friday for a flight expected to last one hour and 10 minutes, with a destination of Ocala International Airport.

The plane crashed in a field south of Southwest 38th Street, which is just south of the airport.

Lowe said Golson's last contact with the airport tower was at 12:26 p.m. There was no indication of distress.

According to sheriff's officials, the plane was headed east and turning north to make its approach for landing "when something obviously went wrong."

Jo and Judy Ciufo, visiting from Canada, were driving on Southwest 38th Street, bound for Beall's on State Road 200. They saw a small passenger plane coming from the south that looked like it was about to cross 38th Street, heading toward the airport.

Then the pilot abruptly turned west and the plane plowed into the ground. Jo Ciufo said it looked like the pilot turned because he knew he was going down and didn't want to hit buildings.

"I never saw anything like this before," Judy Ciufo said.

Airport director Matthew Grow said it's premature to speculate on a cause of the crash. As of 3:42 p.m., the crash site had been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.
•••

Michael Osbourne, 28, of Beverly Hills, works at FirePrograms across from the crash site. He ran to the scene, was overcome by smoke, and then was taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
Other rescuers also were evaluated for smoke inhalation.

Workers from OxyLife Respiratory Services LLC, 6405 SW 38th St., heard a loud "boom" and then grabbed fire extinguishers and ran to the burning plane.

The workers said they managed to get the woman out of the wreckage but couldn't get to the man because of the heavy smoke.

Some of the workers used the fire extinguishers to fight the blaze. Others began to pull luggage from the plane.

Ocala Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Brian Stoothoff said his agency received a call at 12:30 p.m. from the airport tower. He said personnel were on scene at 12:34 p.m. with the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting truck, which is specially equipped for such emergencies.

On scene were officials with Ocala Fire Rescue, the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Medical Examiner's Office. Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn was there, as well, conferring with police Chief Greg Graham.
•••

According to the FAA website, the plane is registered to Flying G Aviation LLC in Wilmington, Del.

The Flight Aware website indicates that the plane, tail No. N340HF, flew on Jan. 19 from Macon to Ocala in a trip covering one hour and 11 minutes. It returned from Ocala to Macon on Jan. 21 in one hour and 14 minutes. It was not clear if Golson was the pilot on those flights.

"He's very well respected and has been flying for many, many years," said Henry Lowe, president of Lowe Aviation Co.

Golson's plane was based with the company, which operates at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

"It's a real tragedy. He was a great guy," Lowe said.

Also saddened were Golson's colleagues at HCA.

"This is tragic news for our HCA family, and it will take time and the support of each other to deal with this loss," said Michael Joyce, president of HCA's North Florida Division, which includes Coliseum Health System.

"Allen was a true friend and a great leader who enjoyed life and dedicated himself to his work. He will be deeply missed," said Joyce, whose remarks were provided by Ocala Health.

Golson had more than 30 years of experience in public and private hospital administration. Before taking his post in Macon, he spent nine years as CEO of Palmyra Medical Centers in Albany, Ga.

Golson earned a bachelor's degree in health care management in 1981 from the University of Alabama and an MBA from the Southeastern Institute of Technology in Huntsville, Ala.

Ocala Health includes Ocala Regional Medical Center, West Marion Community Hospital, and outpatient facilities including Family Care Specialists and Advanced Imaging Centers.

Golson's appointment as new CEO was announced earlier this month. The leadership transition was set to be complete on Feb. 20.

Source:  http://www.ocala.com

Hero controller puts spotlight on aviation "saves"

Charlie Rohrer (NATCA)

As Charlie Rohrer sat in a class on how to recognize the symptoms of hypoxia last May, he had no way of knowing that what he was learning that day would soon be put to the test along with the rest of his 22 years of experience as an air traffic controller.

While working his shift at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center a week after taking the hypoxia class, Rohrer believed the pilot of a plane in his airspace was suffering from the incapacitating condition -- also known as altitude sickness -- which occurs when the body is deprived of oxygen.

"November One Whiskey Alpha, I think you might be experiencing some hypoxia," Rohrer said over the radio after noticing that a man flying a Cirrus SR22, a small, single-engine plane, was slurring his speech. The 70-year-old pilot was flying from San Bernadino, Calif., to Colorado Springs with his wife.

"One Whiskey Alpha," he replied faintly.

"You're barely readable. Would you like lower?" Rohrer asked, suggesting that the pilot, who was flying at 17,000 feet, descend to a lower altitude where there's more oxygen.

"At his altitude, he's not going to make it. Not without oxygen, not that high," warned Ian Norris, the pilot of a nearby Great Lakes Airlines Beechcraft 1900, a twin-turboprop commuter plane, en route from Denver to Farmington, N.M.

"Hang on, hang on," said another voice over the radio. It was the pilot's wife. Her husband was indeed suffering from hypoxia as Rohrer suspected and was in and out of consciousness. "I'm trying to get him to put auto, autopilot. I don't know how to do this."

"Have you ever flown an aircraft before? Do you have experience?" asked Norris.

"No," she answered.

Over the next several minutes, Rohrer and Norris helped the woman descend the aircraft and steer clear of potentially dangerous mountains.

"Is the pilot able to fly it or are you doing it yourself?" Rohrer asked.

"He's getting there," she said.

"Okay, if you continue on that heading, it's a much lower altitude and you can, you're able to stay at a lower altitude, it'll be easier to breathe," Rohrer told her.

The pilot eventually regained consciousness at the lower altitude, but he was still woozy.

"November One Whiskey Alpha, have you got the pilot getting better or are you able to breathe?" Rohrer asked.

"Yes I am," the man replied. "But I've got autopilot on to disable - I don't, I don't understand,"

"You need to get below 10,000 feet and you'll feel better," Norris told him. "You're too hypoxic to think straight."

Rohrer then advised the man to land at the nearby Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, but the pilot resisted, telling Rohrer that he wanted to continue on to his original destination.

"I think I'm better off going to Colorado Springs. I'm better off going to Colorado Springs," the pilot said. "I'm not ready to land at the airport."

"The problem with going to Colorado Springs is you got to go all the way up to 17,000 feet and then we're in hypoxia again," explained the veteran controller. "Your best bet is to maneuver around the Farmington area where it's nice and low, even if you're not ready to land."

Fortunately, the pilot took Rohrer's advice.

"One Whisky Alpha, are you ready to land or do you want to fly around?" Rohrer asked as the plane approached the airport in Farmington.

"I'd like to see what I can do," the pilot replied as he lined up on the runway. "Set it up to land."

A few minutes later, the Cirrus touched down safely.

Charlie Rohrer had just performed what those in the air traffic control profession refer to as a "save."

When one of the nation's 15,000 air traffic controllers does something wrong, you often hear about it. When one of them does something right, even something extraordinarily right, you usually don't.

Rohrer's is one of these stories. And next month, he and 14 of his fellow controllers will be honored for their saves by their union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, with an Archie League Medal of Safety at an annual ceremony in Atlanta.

Carter Yang is a Washington, D.C.-based producer for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. He covers aviation and transportation.

Source:  http://www.cbsnews.com

Woodbine Municipal Airport (KOBI) Awards Contract for Maintenance Project. (Woodbine, New Jersey)

Mayor William Pikolycky is pleased to announce that the Woodbine Municipal Port Authority at its Jan. 24 meeting awarded a contract to GWP Enterprises Inc., Franklinville, NJ, for Apron & Taxiway Crack repair—Phase II. The contract was for $22,359.25

The project is for construction work to repair over 5,000 feet of cracks and remove isolated areas of pavement heaving along Taxiway A and B. Work will involve removal of the damaged pavement, clean and seal the existing cracks, apply airfield pavement markings with reflective media, as well as patching of pavement where necessary.

This project has been funded by a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant.

“We again thank NJDOT for making this funding available,” added Mayor Pikolycky. “This work will enhance the safety of our runways as we continue to position Woodbine as a destination for business enterprises.”

Committee formed to study Adirondack Regional Airport (KSLK), Saranac Lake, New York.

SARANAC LAKE - A new committee has been formed to study the operations and costs of the lately maligned Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.

Saranac Lake resident Ray Scollin brought the idea to the town of Harrietstown town board Thursday night. The airport is owned and operated by the town.

"The purpose of the committee is to look at the airport from a prospective other than from within the town government," said Scollin, who's been involved in similar committee work in the past, including the Saranac Lake Area Government Restructuring Committee. "We believe an outside look may yield some new ideas."

While the airport has always had its share of critics who say its a luxury town taxpayers can't afford, that criticism has intensified because of what's happened in the last few months.

Last fall, fluctuations in fuel sales at the airport sparked a double-digit property tax hike for town residents for the second time in three years. Earlier this month, the state comptroller's office released an audit that found the town didn't provide effective oversight of the airport's capital projects, couldn't account for more than 4,000 gallons of airplane fuel and overpaid state sales at the airport by more than $160,000.

Scollin said the committee's main focus would be to review the airport's operations and costs.

"The primary objective is to develop ideas that may lead to a cost-neutral airport or significantly lowering the impact on our town budget," he said. "We want to consider everything."

Scollin said the group has envisioned a seven-member committee that would include himself, Dennis Dwyer, Joe Pickreign, Joe Spadaro, Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch and representatives of the Harrietstown and North Elba town boards. Scollin said a North Elba official was sought because the town, along with the village of Lake Placid, benefits economically from the airport.

"We feel this needs to be an authorized committee," Scollin told council members Thursday night. "It can't be a freelance committee. Why? Because we need the resources. We need to look at operational information, the budget and have access to key staff members."

Scollin said the committee doesn't want to "drag out" the project and plans to complete its work in six months.

Town officials were receptive to the idea.

"We welcome it," said Councilman Barry DeFuria. "We need help, and we've been asking for it."

"We don't pretend to have all the answers, and we never have," said Supervisor Larry Miller.

Councilman Bob Bevilacqua volunteered to represent the town board on the committee, which the board endorsed unanimously.

FAA visit

Town officials plan to travel to the Federal Aviation Administration office in Jamaica, Queens next month for a meeting on the airport with FAA officials. The board's agenda said the intent of the meeting is to discuss the airport's current status and "to gather help, support and ideas as to how to sustain" the facility.

Town officials invited a member of the new committee to attend the meeting.

Audit

The board has scheduled a work session on Feb. 6 to discuss the corrective action plan the town is required to submit to the comptroller's office in response to the audit. The plan has to be provided within 90 days of the date the audit was released to the public, Jan. 10.

Source:  http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com

Red Checker forced landing near Waiouru

An Air Force Red Checker has made a forced landing near Waiouru due to engine trouble.

The aircraft was flying from Ohakea Air Base in the Manawatu, and was en route to the Tauranga Air Show.

The aircraft sustained some damage but there was no reported injury to the pilot, who was the only person on board.

The Defence Force says the site is being secured and the incident is under investigation.

As a precaution the Red Checkers will not be flying this weekend.

Cessna 340A, Flying G Aviation LLC, N340HF: Accident occurred January 27, 2012 in Ocala, Florida

http://registry.faa.gov/N340HF


NTSB Identification: ERA12FA161 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 27, 2012 in Ocala, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/15/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N340HF
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

The pilot entered the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern to land to the north. A surface wind from the west prevailed with gusts to 15 knots. Radar data revealed that the airplane was on final approach, about 1.16 miles from the runway and about 210 feet above the ground. The airplane then crashed in a pasture south of the airport, in a slight left-wing-low attitude, and came to rest upright. The cockpit and cabin were consumed in a postcrash fire. The pilot's wife, who was in the aft cabin and survived the accident, recalled that it was choppy and that they descended quickly. She recalled hearing two distinct warning horns in the cockpit prior to the crash. The airplane was equipped with two aural warning systems in the cockpit: a landing gear warning horn and a stall warning horn. The pilot likely allowed the airspeed to decay while aligning the airplane on final approach and allowed the airplane to descend below a normal glide path. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the landing gear were in transit toward the retracted position at impact, indicating that the pilot was attempting to execute a go-around before the accident. The pilot made no distress calls to air traffic controllers before the crash. The pilot did not possess a current flight review at the time of the accident. Examination of the wreckage, including a test run of both engines, revealed no evidence of a pre-existing mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and altitude on final approach, resulting in an impact with terrain short of the airport.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 27, 2012, about 1227 eastern standard time, a Cessna 340A, N340HF, was substantially damaged following a collision with terrain during approach to Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala, Florida. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Macon, Georgia, about 1117.

An examination of recorded radar data revealed that the pilot entered a left downwind leg on a southerly heading, about 6 miles west of OCF. The airplane was abeam the approach end of runway 36, and about 1,800 feet mean sea level (msl), when a left base turn was initiated. The pilot then initiated a turn to final about 2.5 miles from the runway approach end, at an altitude of about 700 feet msl. The last radar return with an altitude readout other than zero occurred about 1.16 nautical miles south of runway 36, at 1727:27 (HHMM:SS) at an altitude of about 300 feet msl (about 210 feet above the ground).

According to recorded voice transmissions between the accident pilot and Ocala FAA Contract Tower (FCT) personnel, the pilot checked in at 1723:51. The local controller provided the pilot with the current wind information and the pilot reported turning left base at 1724:07. The local controller reported that the airplane was not in sight and issued a landing clearance to the pilot. At 1725:41, the local controlled advised the pilot that he had him in sight. At 1727:52, the local controller stated, "zero hotel foxtrot altitude altitude." No response was received from the pilot, and there were no distress calls received from the pilot.

The pilot's wife was seated in the aft cabin and reported the following after the accident. During the descent for landing at OCF, she recalled the "choppy" and "bumpy" conditions, and the "ground was coming up on them quickly." She recalled hearing two distinct warning horns in the cockpit prior to the crash. She also reported that, during the final phase of the flight, the airplane veered left noticeably two times. Prior to the crash, her husband made no comments regarding any mechanical difficulties with the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He reported a total flight experience of 1,005 hours on his latest third-class medical certificate application, dated June 10, 2011.

According to the pilot's logbook that was located in the wreckage, as of January 21, 2012, he recorded about 416 hours in single engine airplanes, about 632 hours in multi-engine airplanes, and about 828 hours as pilot-in-command. His first recorded flight in the accident airplane was on December 19, 2011, and he recorded about 14.2 hours total time in the accident airplane.

The pilot's last recorded Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 61.56 flight review occurred on December 28, 2009. The flight included an instrument proficiency check and was conducted in a single-engine Cessna 182. The accident pilot's last flight review in a Cessna 340A occurred on November 3, 2007. The certified flight instructor (CFI) who administered the examinations was interviewed by the NTSB investigator-in-charge following the accident. The CFI reported that he last flew with the accident pilot in 2011. The CFI also owned a Cessna 340A and asked the accident pilot to fly the airplane to Albany, Georgia for him, since the CFI was injured from a recent fall. The CFI reported that the flight from Florida to Albany was uneventful until entering the traffic pattern for landing. The accident pilot lined up on an incorrect runway, and the CFI provided verbal guidance to correct the situation. Once aligned on the correct runway, the accident pilot allowed the airspeed to decay on short final to the point where the CFI responded out loud, "power, power!" The airplane landed hard on the runway, and a hard landing inspection was accomplished after the flight with no damage found.

A friend of the accident pilot, who was also a CFI, provided dual instruction following the pilot's purchase on the accident airplane in December, 2011. The CFI was interviewed by the NTSB investigator-in-charge following the accident. He stated that he did not administer a flight review to the accident pilot. During recent dual instruction, the accident pilot flew precise, smooth approaches and landings. He stated that the accident pilot would have passed a flight review based on how he flew when they were together. The CFI and the accident pilot conversed prior to the flight, and he was aware that the accident pilot needed to be in Ocala by 12 o'clock noon on the day of the accident to meet with a realtor.

The CFR part 61 addresses certification of pilots. The following pertains to flight reviews:

Except as provided in paragraphs (d), (e), and (g) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has—
(1) Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor; and
(2) A logbook endorsed from an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a twin-engine, low wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number 340A0624. It was powered by two Continental TSIO-520 engines with RAM conversions rated at 335 horsepower each.

According to the aircraft maintenance records, the last annual inspection on the airframe and engines was performed on April 18, 2011, at a total aircraft time of 5,057.4 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1227 surface weather observation for OCF reported wind 260 degrees at 9 knots with gusts to 15 knots, visibility 10 miles or better, few clouds at 2,800 feet, ceiling 3,400 feet overcast, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.00 inches of mercury.

At 1224, the Ocala FAA Control Tower local controller provided with following wind information to the accident pilot, "…wind two seven zero at nine and uh gust one four." The pilot acknowledged the transmission.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was situated on level ground and was an active livestock pasture. The main wreckage was located about 0.65 nautical miles south-southwest of the approach end of runway 36. The airplane fuselage came to rest on a heading of 120 degrees. Small flecks of white paint and a broken portion of the left wing navigation light were found with the first ground scar along the wreckage path. The straight line distance from the initial impact scar to the main wreckage was about 86 feet and was on a heading of 300 degrees.

An initial examination of the wreckage revealed the following. The cockpit and cabin were extensively burned from a post-impact fire. The landing gear handle was found in the retracted position. The position of the landing gear actuator linkage indicated an "in transit" position and was in close proximity to the up/retracted position. The wing flaps were found extended about 15 degrees. All engine controls were found near the full-forward positions.

Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the rudder and elevators. The left aileron cables were attached to the bell crank with overload separations noted near the wing root. The right aileron cables were continuous from the wing bell crank to the wing root. The pilot and co-pilot control wheels were linked together by the chain.

The left engine remained attached to the airframe via the engine mounts and thermal damage was evident to the accessory section. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed by investigators and the drive coupling was intact. The pump did not rotate freely by hand. The fuel metering unit/mixture control exhibited thermal damage and both control arms moved freely by hand. The crankshaft rotated by hand when the propeller flange was rotated manually with a hand tool. The turbocharger compressor wheel turned freely by hand and was coupled to the turbine wheel.

The right engine remained attached to the airframe by three of the four mount legs and thermal damage was evident to the accessory section. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed by investigators and the drive coupling was intact. The pump did not rotate freely by hand. The fuel metering unit/mixture control exhibited thermal damage and both control arms moved freely by hand. The crankshaft rotated by hand when the propeller flange was rotated manually with a hand tool. The turbocharger compressor wheel turned freely by hand and was coupled to the turbine wheel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed at the District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, Leesburg, Florida, on January 28, 2012. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "Acute carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal injuries due to fire due to airplane crash" and the manner of death was "accident."

Forensic toxicology testing was performed on specimens of the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology report indicated 31 percent carbon monoxide detected in blood and 1.3 ug/ml of cyanide detected in blood. No ethanol was detected in vitreous fluid. No drugs were detected in the urine.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engines were shipped to the Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI) facilities in Mobile, Alabama for further examination. The investigation team reconvened on April 3 through 5 to perform the examinations. After an initial evaluation of overall condition, it was concluded that test runs of the engines would be attempted.

Left Engine

Due to impact and thermal damage, the following items were substituted or repaired prior to the test: fuel manifold valve fittings, the throttle control link rod, the induction system "Y" pipe, and the exhaust system.

The engine was fitted to the test stand and a test club propeller was installed. The engine started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling in observed RPM. The engine RPM was advanced in steps for warm-up in preparation for full power operation. The engine was advanced to 1,200 RPM, 1,600 RPM , and 2,450 RPM and held for 5 minutes at each RPM setting to stabilize. The engine throttle was then advanced to the full open position and held for an additional 5 minutes to stabilize. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption in power and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower. The engine fuel system was not adjusted and was found to be set at a lean condition as compared to CMI specifications.

Right Engine

Due to impact and thermal damage, the following items were substituted or repaired prior to the test: fuel pump fittings, the induction system "Y" pipe, and the engine starter.

The engine was fitted to the test stand and a test club propeller was installed. The engine started normally on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling in observed RPM. The engine RPM was advanced in steps for warm-up in preparation for full power operation. The engine was advanced to 1,200 RPM, 1,600 RPM, and 2,450 RPM and held for 5 minutes at each RPM setting to stabilize. The engine throttle was then advanced to the full open position and held for an additional 5 minutes to stabilize. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling, or interruption in power and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was equipped with two aural warning systems, a landing gear warning horn and a stall warning horn.

According to the Cessna 340A Information Manual, the landing gear warning horn was controlled by the throttles and the wing flap position. The horn would sound intermittently if either throttle was retarded below about 15 inches of manifold pressure with the landing gear retracted or if the wing flaps were lowered past the 15 degree position with the landing gear in any position except extended and locked.

The stall warning horn would sound 5 to 10 knots above the stall in all flight configurations.


Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star-Banner

Officials work near the scene of a plane crash in a field near the Ocala International Airport on Friday.

Cessna 340A, N340HF crashes near Ocala International Airport, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
(Photo: Robert Reynolds).
~

Cessna 340A, N340HF crashes near Ocala International Airport, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 
(Photo: Robert Reynolds).
~

Ocala Fire Rescue and Marion County Sheriff's Office officials work at the scene of a plane crash near the Ocala International Airport on Friday.



OCALA -– A small plane crashed midday Friday near the Ocala International Airport.

A Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy said one man died and a woman was taken to a local hospital.

The plane was a twin-engine Cessna 340.

Workers from OxpLife Respiratory Services LLC at 6405 SW 38th St. told a Star-Banner reporter they heard a loud “boom” and the sound of a crash.

They said they grabbed all the fire extinguishers they could from their workplace and ran into the open lot where the plane had crashed.

The front of the plane was on fire.

The workers said they managed to get the woman out of the wreckage, but couldn't get to the man because of the volume of smoke.

Some of the workers used the fire extinguishers to fight the blaze, while others began to pull luggage from the plane.

Near the scene, Jo and Judy Ciufo, visiting from Canada, said they were headed west on Southwest 38th Street, bound for Beall's on State Road 200, when they saw what appeared to be a small passenger plane coming from the south that looked like it was about to cross 38th Street, heading toward the airport to land, when the pilot abruptly turned to the west and the plane plowed into the ground.

Jo Ciufo said it looked to him like the pilot made the turn because he knew he was going down and did so to avoid hitting some buildings.

The plane could be seen in the open field, with a mass of fire rescue officials and law enforcement officials swarming the area.

Judy Ciufo said, “I never saw anything like this before.”

 The charred plane could be clearly seen sitting in the open field, its framework exposed. It was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape.

On scene were officials with Ocala Fire Rescue, the Ocala Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn was seen conferring with Police Chief Greg Graham.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, the plane is registered to Flying G Aviation LLC in Wilmington, Delaware.

Weekend leisure: Pilot for a day. (New Zealand)

Always wanted to get 'behind the wheel' of a plane? Frances Morton went for an introductory flight with the Auckland Aero Club to see if she liked flying high.

The Auckland Aero Club's introductory flight will put you in control of a Cessna for half an hour with an experienced instructor like Paul Wyborn (right).
Photo / Supplied

By Frances Morton

Driving down Auckland's Southern Motorway to Ardmore Airport, I suddenly wonder if aeroplanes have keys. This is how little I know about operating an aircraft. Yet, thanks to the Auckland Aero Club's introductory flight, I'll soon be at the controls of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, soaring at 460m above the Hauraki Gulf.

An introductory flight is a good way to sample flying without forking out $20,000 on training for a private pilot's licence. For $135, prospective pilots can discover what it is like to be in command of an aircraft, with the reassuring presence of an experienced instructor at your side.

I've long fancied the idea of subscribing to the glamorous aviatrix club, alongside the likes of Amelia Earhart, Jean Batten and Angelina Jolie. Auckland Aero Club's first-time flyers are split between the hopefuls, like me, who are dabbling with the idea getting a licence, and day-trippers seeking a one-off, exhilarating ride.

This is my second attempt at conquering the skies. The first was grounded by Auckland's fickle summer downpours but today's conditions, high cloud and a light breeze, are perfect for a nervous novice.

My aircraft's registration is JRA, which sounds so romantic in pilot speak - "Juliet, Romeo, Alfa".

Flying instructor Paul Wyborn takes me on a walk around to check no bits are falling off or any other safety hazards before we climb aboard. I get the pilot's seat, which is always on the left-hand side of an aircraft, and slip on a set of nifty earphones with a microphone attached.

Before me is a baffling array of instruments and, yes, a key in the ignition. Wyborn turns it to start the engine. His fingers flurry around the flight deck, flicking switches and checking gauges, monitoring wind speed and other essential data then, with the throttle on full, Juliet-Romeo-Alfa is taxiing down the runway. Lift-off seems to happen by magic. I've got my hands on the control yoke and feet on the rudder pedals, shadowing the flight instructor's movements like a marionette puppet, but it's a mystery how we go from hurtling along the runway to gliding through the air.

The plane climbs to 460m as we follow the Clevedon Valley to the mouth of Wairoa River and out over Kawakawa Bay.

As my nerves subside, I allow myself glances of the beautiful view across Auckland. In fact, it's vital to keep an eye out. Ardmore Airport does not have air traffic control and the Cessna isn't kitted out with radar, so it is the pilot's responsibility to scope aircraft in the vicinity.

Being on guard for a looming mid-air collision while trying to grasp Paul's tutorial on flight dynamics gives me an idea of the mental gymnastics pilots must perform. New concepts mean new vocabulary. The yaw - sideways movement of the aircraft - is controlled by foot pedals. The extendable flaps on the edge of the wings are called ailerons. By turning the hand yoke like a steering wheel the ailerons move, tipping the aircraft to the side. I tilt the nose by pushing in or pulling out with my hands.

Eventually I get all elements steady and point towards the Coromandel Peninsula. It's time to take her for a spin. I turn the hand control to the left until the plane banks at a 30-degree angle to the horizon and hold on to my stomach as we glide around in a sweeping circle.

There is just enough to do the same in the other direction before we bring her in land.

At this stage, I'm happy to relinquish control to Paul. I'll leave it up to the real aviator, for now.

Essential info

What: Introductory Flight

Where: Auckland Aero Club, Ardmore Airport, Papakura

How much: $135 for 30 minutes in a two-seater, $170 for a four-seater.

Who: Anyone. No age restriction or medical required

When: Anytime. The club operates seven days

Bookings: Ph (09) 220 8590

Two Air India Express pilots taken off duty for aborting take off at Singapore

New Delhi: Aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday said it is looking into an incident of aborted take-off involving an Air India Express flight from Singapore to Trichy carrying around 90 passengers.

Meanwhile, Air India Express officials said that both the pilots have been grounded and de-rostered until an investigation into the matter is concluded. Singapore ATC is also said to be conducting its own investigation.

The incident took place on Monday, when the pilots of Air India's low-cost international subsidiary went in for take-off procedures without receiving prior clearance from Singapore Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Changi airport.

The pilot was hauled up by the ATC, following which he aborted the take-off at very high speed, thus risking the lives of the passengers.

"We have started an investigation into the incident and we have to see in what circumstances the pilots aborted the take-off," senior DGCA official said.

According to the official, the aviation regulator is examining technical data to ascertain what all safety aspects were flouted in the process of the abortive take-off.

Aviation experts said that aborting take-off is very risky, as the aircraft reaches critically high speeds, also known as V1 speed of around 270 km per hour, just before it takes off. Aborting a take-off can lead the pilot to either lose control of the aircraft or over shoot the runway.

"We are conducting the investigation into the matter, all technical data is being seen. Both the pilots have been questioned and we have also grounded them until the investigation is completed," an Air India Express official said.

DGCA in its latest financial audit report had rapped the airline for shoddy training and shortage of pilots, instructors, examiners and cabin crew.

CURRY KING'S VOOM-DALOO: Indian eatery owner buys jet to deliver food

London: The owner of a popular Indian eatery joint in Kent has bought an unusual vehicle to ferry his curries around the world - an Iraqi fighter jet. Rob Abdul, who owns Cafe Taj in Gravesend, Kent has started taking flying lessons.

Abdul came up with the idea with a pilot friend, has earmarked about 35,000 pounds ($55,000)  for buying and restoring the plane, which Abdul says is needed because his food is requested from all around the world by top celebrities.

Abdul, 40, told The Reporter, a local daily: "It's a novel idea. I'm learning to fly and my pilot friend is a partner. We are really excited.

"When it is ready we will seek permission to fly it. One thing you cannot do as a businessman is disappoint your customers and I still regularly get requests from around the world, many are celebrities and you can't turn business away".

In 2006, Abdul sent a rare takeaway to Germany during the World Cup at the request of dance band 'Opposite Worlds'.

He is currently the only chef in England capable of cooking vowl, a 3ft fresh water fish only found in East Bengal, which the band requested from their luxury hotel room.

The same year he was taken to the Dartford Festival by helicopter when Lee Ryan, formerly of record breaking boy-band Blue, requested a meal for 40.

He also teamed up with an Indian restaurant in Bath called Bombay Nights and sent over a meal to the England cricket team during the Ashes.

He said: "We sent over a meal to Australia for them because they couldn't get a decent curry anywhere over there. I prepared the meal, the now famous World Cup Boal".

It was packed in special containers and seen by health inspectors before it was sent on the 8,998 mile journey.

When not in the air he says the plane, which is currently stored at Manston Airport, will be used at events such as air shows to promote Cafe Taj and give children the chance to sit inside.

No one hurt in hard landing of Cessna at Honolulu Airport

COURTESY TERRANCE YOUNG
Rescue crews are at the scene of a "hard landing" of a single-engine Cessna at Honolulu Airport yesterday.

A single-engine Cessna experienced a hard landing yesterday morning at Honolulu Airport when its landing gear collapsed, the state Department of Transportation said.

The incident happened on the runway near Lagoon Drive at 12:12 p.m. The incident did not disrupt airport operations, DOT spokesman Dan Meisenzahl reported. The aircraft is registered to Hawaii Aircraft Leasing and operated by Moore Air Flight School at 90 Nakolo Place.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the incident, said the Cessna 172 veered off the left side of runway 4L, crossed a grassy area and came to rest on runway 8L.

The female student pilot, 20, was not injured. The airplane suffered major damage, the FAA said.

No one else was in the aircraft, Meisenzahl said.

Source:  http://www.staradvertiser.com