Thursday, February 02, 2012

Plane boss: I welcome probes: 'Transaction above board'. Police Service Commission asks Gibbs for report

Managing director of the Trinidad and Tobago Air Support Company Dirk Barnes said yesterday he welcomes any probe into the award of a $900,772 contract by Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to his company.

"I welcome all the probes, and I will be very happy to meet with both the Police Service Commission and the Police Complaints Authority, if I have to, where I can present my documents at any point in time," said Barnes.

"If a probe is conducted, they will realize what the real facts are—they will understand what I have been saying from the very first day, and that is that this entire transaction was above board, and if anybody is suggesting otherwise, they clearly do not have the correct facts," said Barnes.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has written to both the PSC and the PCA requesting an investigation into the transaction.

The controversy erupted after Opposition MP Donna Cox revealed in Parliament last Friday contents of e-mails between Barnes and his associate, Daniel Condon, who took Deputy CoP Jack Ewatski flying on two occasions before the contract was awarded.

"I am willing to meet with Mr Rowley, Miss (Donna) Cox, Mr (Colm) Imbert; the question is whether they are willing to meet with me," said Barnes.

Eddie Dallsingh, managing director of Navi-Comm Avionics, who had first made a proposal to Gibbs, offering the services of the light sport aircraft but did not get it, told the Express he believes a probe will unearth the truth into this entire controversy.

"I had requested since last week an investigation into this matter from the Police Service Commission; this matter must be investigated," said Dallsingh. —Anna Ramdass

Police Service Commission asks Gibbs for report

Friday, February 3 2012

THE POLICE Service Commission (PSC) at its meeting yesterday called on Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs for an updated report on the leasing of a light aircraft for the Police Service.

A source said the commission is particularly interested in the fiscal management of the process. The commission requested a reply in seven days from Gibbs who is due to return today from England where he was on official police business.

The source said that the commission which is the body constitutionally responsible for asking Gibbs for a report, wanted to ascertain whether the leasing was done within his powers.

The source pointed out that the commission was making no judgment at this time and is giving all concerned an opportunity to respond to public interest in the issue which was first raised in Parliament a week ago by PNM MP and former junior minister in the Ministry of National Security Donna Cox during debate of a private motion on the performance of the police.

The commission has also received a letter of complaint from Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and documents from Eddie Dallsingh, managing director of Navi-Comm Avionics Ltd (NAL) the company involved in the original negotiation for a similar surveillance aircraft for the Police.

Dirk Barnes, managing director of TT Air Support Company Ltd, with whom Gibbs signed an agreement to lease the aircraft, was a former consultant with NAL. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Minister of National Security John Sandy said he was disappointed at not being informed of the lease by Gibbs from TT Air Support Company Ltd. Sandy said he and the National Security Council should have been alerted.

In Gibbs’ absence, Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski met Sandy and gave him a report on the lease of the aircraft for $900,000 for a 12-week period to test its suitability for surveillance in the fight against crime.

Sandy said on Wednesday that while Gibbs had done nothing wrong, he was “ill advised” to lease the aircraft without informing him and the Security Council.

Decorated Royal Air Force pilot 'sexually assaulted woman in her bed after party'... and she thought it was husband (until she punched him in the face)

A decorated RAF Chinook pilot sexually assaulted a woman in bed after a Christmas party, a court heard today.

A SCOTTISH RAF Chinook pilot sexually assaulted a woman in bed after a Christmas party and she then committed a sex act on him wrongly believing it was her husband, a court heard today.

Squadron Leader Kai Macnaughton, 42, who has completed seven tours in Afghanistan, went into the woman's bedroom as his wife and her husband were downstairs at the party, and put his hand under the covers to touch her intimately, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The prosecution alleges that the woman, who had been asleep, had her genitals touched by Macnaughton and she thought it was her husband. She then felt a hand lead her towards the man's penis and she touched it briefly.

The man then got up and the woman, in her 40s, realised it was not her husband and she started screaming and punched him when he came back into the room, the jury was told.

She told the court she did not consent to the sexual activity with the officer and had not flirted with him during the evening.

The woman and her husband, who were planning to stay the night, packed and left and later called the police.

Fearing his wife would kick him out, Macnaughton initially told her and the police that he had gone into the room and committed a "voyeuristic" sex act on himself because he could see the woman's nipple as she slept.

Only later did he confess he had touched the woman, who cannot be named, and he claimed she had committed the sex act on him voluntarily.

Giving evidence in the witness box, Macnaughton, who has been in the RAF for 20 years and has been mentioned in dispatches for his service, said he thought she was awake and had consented to the activity because they had two "drunken snogs" earlier.

He and his wife Clare have now separated, the jury was told.

Macnaughton, who is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, denies sexual assault and causing the woman to engage in sexual activity without consent.

The jury was told by Macnaughton that his marriage was in trouble and he had an affair five years previously that his wife knew about. He said he and the woman had been flirting with each other at the party in the marital home in Hampshire on December 23, 2010 and they had danced.

"I said she looked great, she had lost some weight. I said she looked hot, those were my words, and she liked them, smiled and carried on dancing," Macnaughton told the jury.

"Later on in the evening I moved on to the sofa and our thighs were pressed against each other. It was nice she was returning the pressure, but it was surprising."

She then kissed him all over his face while their partners were still in the room and Macnaughton said it was "unexpected and amorous".

"She's a beautiful woman who I have always got on with. I felt more attracted to her on that night," he explained.

"She seemed very in control of herself. I would agree she had a good amount to drink but (she) seemed in control and aware - both of us were socially drunk."

The two then decided to leave their partners downstairs and go to separate bedrooms to sleep, Macnaughton said.

He then went into the woman's room to hand over some glasses of water and the woman was fully dressed.

"I went to give her a goodnight kiss and a long hug turned into a long kiss. Not open-mouthed - a drunken snog is what I would call it.

"I asked her if she wanted a back massage. She said, 'No, we'd better not'. I read from that she didn't want to do anything on that occasion in terms of a back massage.

"She gave me a gentle prod good-naturedly.

"I was very pleased. I felt she was attracted to me sexually. I was thinking we could potentially have an affair with each other. I felt it was something we could take further. I was unhappy in my marriage."

Macnaughton said he then went to sleep but was woken by what he thought might be noises from children in the house and he went into the woman's room to see if she had heard anything.

"The door was slightly ajar. There was no light on," he told the jury. "I moved into the room and said, 'It's Kai. Are you awake?'

"I got a murmured 'yes' in response.

"I felt we could continue our drunken dalliance and I moved towards her bed. I could hear them talking downstairs.

"I kneeled down beside the bed and put my hand under the bed covers.

"She started to moan, so I started to take her knickers off and she kicked them off when they got down to her knees.

"She seemed awake to me. She responded to me. She said 'yes'. She was moaning and she had kicked her knickers off - all actions that told me she was awake. I thought we could take our sexual liaison ... our drunken sexual dalliance further."

His defence counsel Kirsty Brimelow QC asked: "Did it cross your mind she might not be expecting you to come into the room?"

Macnaughton replied: "I never felt, at any point, she would not welcome my advances."

Miss Brimelow said: "Did you do anything to give her the impression you were her husband?"

"No I didn't," Macnaughton replied. "She seemed awake and aware it was me."

He said he was about to kiss her and she reached out and took hold of him. He said he touched her and "it was an incredibly sexual experience".

Macnaughton told the jury: "I felt guilty I had betrayed my wife and that got to me."

He then went downstairs but came back up and went back into the woman's room and she was sat up.

"I intended to talk to her and to find out whether we could take our dalliance further," he explained.

"She went absolutely mental. She started screaming and shouting at me. I was stunned. I was absolutely in shock. She said 'You f*****, you bastard. You were on top of me'."

He went on: "I'm a decent person. I wouldn't go into someone's room. I was speechless. I could not believe why she was being like this. I backed out of the room immediately. I was in complete shock."

His wife and the woman's husband came straight up and the woman punched Macnaughton, he told the jury, and then tried to kick him - forcing her husband to restrain her.

"She was being violent and aggressive to me, shouting and screaming," he told the court.

Later he told his wife that he had gone into the room as a voyeur and he then told the police the same story when he was arrested.

He told the court he did not immediately tell the truth because he feared his wife would kick him out and take the children and the lie was better because it gave him a chance, especially after the affair five years previously.

"I was in shock. I could not process rational thoughts. She (Clare) seemed to accept it at the time. We agreed to separate but stay together for Christmas."

Later he said the lie was "destroying me" and he told his parents after his wife went to Dubai and he then told the police.

Asked how he felt about lying, an emotional Macnaughton replied: "I desperately regret it. I really wish I hadn't."

Founder the now defunct Harmony Airways: Vancouver billionaire pleads guilty to confining prostitute after night of sex

Dr. David Ho, owner of Harmony Airways in Calgary, 15 Sept. 2005.
Larry MacDougal, The Globe and Mail

A Vancouver billionaire who has made headlines for his philanthropy, his failed airline and his questionable activities in the Downtown Eastside has pleaded guilty to unlawfully confining a prostitute at his house after a night of sex and cocaine.

But David Ho, once a member of the Vancouver Police Board, will get only a one-year suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine.

Crown prosecutor Elliot Poll said Mr. Ho, who apologized in court for his actions, is also being asked to attend drug counselling sessions and do 45 hours of community service.

Mr. Poll said that, although the case has received a lot of media attention, “the sentence is based on the circumstances and it seemed to me this was an appropriate disposition.”

The factors that he looked at were Mr. Ho’s decision to plead guilty, rather than going to trial, the nature of the incident, the already extensive media coverage and the fact that he didn’t have a criminal record.

“There’s been a public shaming that’s greater in his case” because of his prominence in both Vancouver and Hong Kong, where the case has been covered exhaustively, Mr. Poll said.

Mr. Ho, 60, has had prior encounters with the police, usually where sex-trade workers were involved, but at least one involving cocaine found in his car. Those did not lead to charges, although they were splashed in the news.

He gave an interview to The Province newspaper two years ago where he said that he has trouble sleeping and roams the Downtown Eastside at night looking for sex-trade workers he can help. Associates claimed he has helped get young women off the streets or paid for their dental work.

But there was no suggestion of that in the incident Mr. Ho pleaded guilty to Thursday.

According to charges laid by the police in 2009, it started when he met a woman on a chat line in 2008 and brought her from Delta to his luxury home in Shaughnessy.

Mr. Poll said they had consensual sex and used drugs.

She decided she wanted to leave around 5 a.m. That led to a nine-minute struggle between the two of them, where she panicked, in part because of her agoraphobia. She hit him several times. Although he didn’t hit her back – another factor in his sentencing – he did try to restrain her.

Mr. Ho’s lawyer, Len Doust, said that although his client wasn’t trying to hold the woman hostage, the judge in the case said he went beyond just trying to defend himself. “He used more force than was reasonable in the circumstances.”

The woman, who is in her 20s, tried to run away and, after Mr. Ho attempted to grab her by some of her clothing, she fell down some stairs and fractured an ankle. She ended up outside in the snow, wearing only panties and screaming for help. A neighbour called 911.

Mr. Doust said his client kept offering to drive her home.

Mr. Ho was considered one of the city’s business assets in the mid-2000s, after he founded Harmony Airlines in 2002 to serve Canada-Asia routes. He was already the owner at that point of Gray Beverage, which bottled Pepsi products. He also owned a luxury car dealership, MCL Motor Cars.

His family had made a fortune in tobacco products in Hong Kong.

In 2003, he set a new record for civic elections when he donated $50,000 to a single candidate in the Vancouver race, a former police officer. In 2005, he was named businessman of the year by the Vancouver Junior Board of Trade. His airline folded in 2007.

Mr. Ho, divorced with three adult children, and his family have been generous donors to various charities, especially Orbis, an international organization dedicated to saving eyesight.

Cargo Plane's Landing Gear Collapses. Elmira/Corning Regional Airport (KELM), New York,

Incident briefly closed large runway; no injuries reported

The landing gear on a twin-engine cargo plane collapsed on landing Thursday morning at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport, closing the main runway for about 2 1/2 hours.

Only the pilot was on board, and he was not injured, said Ann Crook, director of aviation for the airport located in Big Flats.

The incident occurred at about 7:30 a.m., and the runway was reopened at about 9:45 a.m., she said. The disabled plane was lifted up, had its landing gear extended and was towed off the runway to a hangar on airport property.

The aircraft was a UPS cargo plane operated by Ameriflight Air Cargo Service, she said. It is a routine flight that comes in every morning.

Crook said she was not aware of any flights that had to be diverted because of the incident.

A Delta Air Lines flight that was on the ground was delayed before takeoff because of a separate mechanical issue with that jet, she said. Once they were ready to go, they waited about 10 minutes until the main runway reopened rather than use the shorter runway, she said.

Emergency workers responded to a Level 3 alert, the highest possible, meaning there was an actual aircraft incident, Crook said. "That's just the way the tower notifies 911 so they can make sure and get all of the emergency responders on their way," she said.

Typically, the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigate incidents like this, Crook said.

Big Flats, N.Y. - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a small cargo plane collapsed onto the runway in Chemung County.

After getting the o.k. from the FAA, Elmira Corning Regional Airport crews tugged a damaged cargo plane down runway 6 to a secure hanger.

Now FAA workers will inspect the damage.

The Ameriflight plane flew in from Buffalo around 7:30 Thursday morning.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said once the plane was on the runway, it's landing gear malfunctioned.

The plane skid across the tarmac and landed on it's belly.

Airport fire crews immediately sprung into action to clear any debris and inspect the runway.

"We inspect the runway to make sure that there's no ruts on anything that would cause problems on the surface of the runway, bits of aircraft metal, anything like that just to make sure that it's in a regular standard safety condition" said Ann Crook, Director of Aviation, Elmira Corning Regional Airport.

Crook said there was only one person on the plane, the pilot.

He was not injured.

The cargo plane is owned by Ameriflight in California.

Ameriflight spokesman Andrew Lotter said the company will not disclose the pilots name.

But he said the plane was carrying cargo for UPS.

"It had cargo and I can tell you if anyone's worried about their packages, a UPS truck got right out and unloaded the cargo" said Crook.

The Elmira Corning Regional Airport is back open for take offs and landings.

Qantas flight from Canberra to Sydney makes forced landing as engine fails

  • Sydney-bound Qantas plane suffers engine failure
  • Turns back to Canberra airport as engine shut down
  • The flight landed safely and passengers have disembarked

A QANTAS plane flying from Canberra to Sydney has been forced to turn back after it lost power in one of its engines this morning. 

The QantasLink flight QF1466, with 74 passengers on board, departed at 9.15am but returned to Canberra airport after experiencing engine problems.

It comes a day after the airline announced it has increased fares on all domestic and international flights by up to $60.

“The Bombardier Q400 aircraft operating QF1466 from Canberra to Sydney experienced an engine problem following departure,” a Qantas spokesman said.

“The engine was shut down and the aircraft returned to Canberra, landing without incident at 10.50am.”

Passengers on board the flight told the Canberra Times that power appeared to have been lost in one engine during take-off and one propeller stopped working.
The spokesman said passengers have left the plane and will be flown to Sydney on the next available flights.

Engineers are inspecting the aircraft to determine the cause of the issue.

ORNGE founder Chris Mazza terminated

ORNGE has fired air ambulance founder Dr. Chris Mazza.

Bankruptcy has consumed two for-profit ORNGE companies, and founder Dr. Chris Mazza and his two most trusted lieutenants have lost their jobs.

Former ORNGE president Mazza, and vice-presidents Maria Renzella and Rhoda Beecher were all terminated — new ORNGE boss Ron McKerlie does not want to use the word “fired” — and have not been offered a severance package.

The decision to terminate the three executives was discussed at recent meetings of the new ORNGE board of directors, a volunteer board that replaced the paid board after a series of stories in the Star beginning in early December.

The most recent meeting was Wednesday. On Thursday, ORNGE lawyers were in court putting two companies (ORNGE Global GP and ORNGE Global Inc.) into bankruptcy. These companies started out as ORNGE PEEL, a shell used to house high-paying executives and shield their salaries from the public.

With the companies ruled bankrupt, and trustee Duff and Phelps appointed to wind up their affairs, the executives were then officially terminated.

Mazza and Renzella had been on indefinite medical leave for the past month. Beecher, vice-president organizational development, had been given the task over the past two weeks of firing numerous middle managers and junior officials at ORNGE. Beecher will stay on in her post until Feb. 9.

Renzella is listed on the ORNGE website as a vice-president but ORNGE described her Thursday as chief operating officer of the ORNGE Global companies. Renzella is one of the numerous ORNGE executives who received an ORNGE-funded executive MBA. Renzella’s was valued at $110,000 and part of her studies included a trip to Belgium, where she later remarked on how tasty the waffles and chocolate were.

The bankruptcy trustee is now probing the ORNGE Global companies to assess their assets and liabilities. For-profit companies at ORNGE were majority-controlled by Mazza, and other executives and board members held shares.

The for-profit companies were the recipient of at least $6.7 million from an Italian helicopter company after taxpayer-financed money was used to purchase $144 million worth of choppers from the same firm. ORNGE Global also received smaller consulting fees, but how much is not known.

Health Minister Deb Matthews called the bankruptcy of the firms “vitally important and necessary steps needed to restore the confidence of Ontarians in the leadership team responsible for Ontario’s air ambulance service.”

Matthews said “the forensic audit continues and we look forward to their findings and the auditor general’s value-for-money audit.

Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees said the firings are far from the end of the saga.

“That head office is filled with individuals — who are still there — who were part of the decision-making process who benefitted from the decisions that were made. Why are they still there? What is taking so long?” he said.

Klees said he remains troubled by the $6.7 million payment by helicopter maker Agusta-Westland for a binder’s worth of marketing advice.

“There is nothing that was delivered for the $6.7 million that someone in a Grade 12 economics class couldn’t put together in that binder.”

NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Brampton—Gore—Malton) said the housecleaning at ORNGE is a start, but more must be done to clear the air.

“Faces are changing at ORNGE, but if the public is going to be served we need to know details the government still refuses to share,” said Singh.

“When will we see Mr. Mazza’s contract and other documents the minister of health refuses to release?” he said.

Learn about Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School and careers in aviation maintenance

EVERETT — Learn about Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School and careers in aviation maintenance at a free information session at 2:30 p.m. February 9.

The information session will be held at the school, 9711 32nd Place W., Building C-80, Paine Field, Everett.

EvCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School is one of only about 150 schools nationwide that train airframe and powerplant mechanics. In the eight-quarter, 2,040-hour program, students will learn about 45 subjects and work hands-on with a variety of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Students can prepare for a Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant license, get a certificate in aviation technology or earn an associate of technical arts degree in aviation maintenance technology.

Demand for licensed airframe and powerplant mechanics is expected to grow over the next decade as older mechanics retire. The median hourly earnings of aircraft mechanics and service technicians are steadily increasing.

Prospective students can get started now by attending one of the monthly info sessions, which is required for admittance.

More info: aviation or call 425-388-9533.

February marks 10 years for Everett Station

North American T28B: Authorities investigating warehouse fire in Hialeah, Florida. (With Videos)

Warehouse owner Ed Hall, a retired Eastern Airlines captain, said he suspects arson.  "Nothing you can do about it," Hall said.   Hall's T28B fighter plane, which he flew as a Marine in the Korean War, was also in the warehouse and sustained damage.

View more videos at:

HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Fire marshals are investigating a warehouse fire that gutted a business.

At around 3:45 a.m., Thursday, Hialeah Fire crews responded to an explosive warehouse fire in the 4700 block of East 11th Avenue. According to officials, the warehouse was not occupied at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.

Firefighters said flames were as high as 20 to 30 feet. District Chief Stephen LaRue said, "The smoke was blowing out from the east, so it was very difficult to see what was going on there, but the fire was massive."

Because the fire was so large, crews decided to go on the defensive and stayed outside as they fought the flames. "We're not going inside of the structure and endanger anybody's life," LaRue said. "We knew from pre-fire planning for this structure that there was lots of stacked up machinery and pipes that could fall and trap somebody inside."

Ed Hall, the businesses owner, said someone called firefighters at about midnight to complain about the smell of smoke. Neighbors said they started to hear explosions around 3 a.m. "I heard two explosions and didn't pay much attention, but then the fire woke us up," Arturo Puentes said through a translator.

According to the owner his business, Innerspace Research, made air compressors for firefighters, scuba divers and paintball guns. Hall, a former pilot, said he not only stored inventory for his business but also a very special memento. "That's a T-28B and I flew it when I was back in flight training in 1954," he said. "Just the engine burned, the rest of airplane is probably OK."

Employees, unaware of the fire, showed up to work around 5 a.m. and were shocked by what they saw. Jorge Loaiza, an employee, spoke through a translator to describe the scene when he arrived to work. He said, "When I arrived and saw the door open I looked. Everything was dark and I realized what had happened."

Hall said the building had four rooms of storage and no internal power, so the fire's source seems a mystery. He said if it is an electrical cause, it would have been outside the structure. If not, arson could be to blame.

The fire marshal continues to investigate the cause of the fire.

Airport Funding for Southland Field and DeQuincy Airport

Lake Charles, LA (AP) -  Chennault's Board of Commissioners voted on Thursday to unanimously extend its annual support of Southland Field and the DeQuincy airport for another 10 years. It also agreed to negotiate, within the next 90 days, possible increases in the funding for those airports.

"Taxes will not go up if those airports get more money. The airports will get a largely percentage of Chennault funds", said Anthony Ware, Deputy Director of Chennault International Airport.

Chennault International Airport's economic development efforts are funded by a 10-year, 5.45-mill property tax in Calcasieu Parish.

Chennault officials said that its main mission is jobs. About 1,500 people work for the companies at the airport, for an annual payroll of $62.7 million.

On March 24, voters in Calcasieu Parish will have the chance to renew the current millage for another 10 years by way of voting. The ballot item will not be a new tax or a tax increase. It's the same level as the original 10-year tax.

Support of local people and governments is being gathered in advance of the renewal. The Lake Charles City Council has already passed a resolution in support of the renewal. The Sulphur City Council will be asked to do the same. Also, a number of area officials have already voiced their support for the renewal.

Chennault funds about 90 percent of the operating budgets of both Southland Field in Sulphur and DeQuincy Airpark's airport. Each year, Chennault gives $200,000 to Southland Field and $100,000 to DeQuincy Airport.

The current millage will expire in 2015. If Calcasieu Parish voters approve the renewal in the March 24 election, it will go into effect in 2016. Any funding increases to the other airports would go into effect in 2016.

Who wants to run a Brazilian airport?

With the World Cup just around the corner, one of Brazil’s chief concerns – leaving aside debate about allowing alcohol in the stadiums – is the expansion of its airports, which have long been operating at chronic over-capacity.

On Monday (Feb 6), Brazil’s stock exchange, BMF&Bovespa, will hold an auction for the concessions of three of the country’s principle airports – two in the megapolis comprising of the neighbouring cities of São Paulo and Campinas and the other in the country’s capital, Brasília. According to Brazilian media, 11 proposals were filed, not only from Brazilian companies but also including British, Singaporean, American, French and South African corporates, among others.

The international interest is no surprise – data from the Air Transport Association shows that between 2010 and 2011, domestic travel grew 13.7 per cent in Brazil, the second-biggest growth rate of any large economy after India and surpassing even China.

Data from the Brazilian state-run company that runs Brazil’s airports, Infraero, offers an even more optimistic outlook, with domestic landings up 15.8 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and international landings 13.9. Brazil’s airports handled 88m passengers in 2011.

The government expects to raise around $3.18bn with the sale of the three airports. The main feature of the event will be the privatisation of the country’s main airport, Guarulhos in São Paulo, dubbed by the Brazilian press as “the jewel in the crown” of the auction. The biggest airport in Latin America (in terms of passengers), Guarulhos is expected to have a starting price of $2.5bn.

It remains to be seen how successful the auction will be. The government has tried on numerous occasions to auction the concession for a bullet train between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro but without success. The bidding conditions have not been attractive enough to entice contractors.

The airports could be a different story. It is not unusual for passenger to pay $580 for a 45-minute flight from São Paulo to Rio. The attraction of lucrative landing fees and commercial rights to set up shops in terminals in a country where people like to consume should be enough to whet the appetite of bidders.

But one thing is for sure. With airports such as Garulhos already at over-capacity two years away from the World Cup, something needs to be done and soon.

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins Seeks Solution for Essex Skypark Airport (W48), Baltimore, Maryland.

The county councilwoman hopes to facilitate a meeting between County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and representatives of the 70-year-old airport.

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins said she is among those who want to ensure the Essex Skypark remains open.

Bevins, an Oliver Beach Democrat, met with members of the Essex Skypark Association in December. She hopes to facilitate a meeting soon between the group and county officials in hopes of finding a solution for keeping the 70-year-old airport in operation.

Baltimore County officials recently informed the Essex Skypark Association that the county plans on eventually taking over the 40-acre site in order to comply with federal pollutant mandates for the area, plant trees, protect birds, improve water quality along Back River, replace forests destroyed by other development in the county and help to mitigate other pollution issues along the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“The Essex Skypark is something that the community wants to remain,” Bevins said. “If you talk to people in the other six council districts, who else is going to welcome an airport into their community? I’m examining all the issues involved and hope we can work this out for everybody involved.”

“The Essex Skypark does a lot for the community and it doesn’t come with the noise of many larger airports,” Bevins said. “I know this is a resource residents in the community want preserved.”

District 7 Dels. Pat McDonough and Rick Impallaria have filed legislation that would prohibit Baltimore County from taking control of the skypark and would guarantee the facility would continue to operate.

Also, the District 6 delegation — Sen. Norman Stone, along with Dels. John Olszewski Jr. , Joseph “Sonny” Minnick and Michael Weir Jr.wrote to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz seeking additional information on the county’s stance on this issue.

Kamenetz spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said the county executive is set to meet with the District 6 representatives, but has not made any guarantees one way or another.

“The county executive is willing to listen to all sides of this issue,” Kobler said.

Mark Zuckerberg Spent $700,000 Flying on Private Planes Last Year

Ah, to live the luxurious life. Facebook announced on Wednesday via its filing for an initial public offering (IPO) how the company fared in 2011, and not surprisingly, its employees racked up (and spent) big money last year. The Facebook IPO provided details about the base salary of the team, including founder Mark Zuckerberg pulling...
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Tallahassee Regional Airport earns award from the FAA

The Tallahassee Regional Airport has received an award from the Federal Aviation Administration for its participation in the FAA’s Safety Management System Implementation Study, the airport announced.

Tallahassee was one of only 14 airports in the United States selected for participation in this pilot program, which utilized federal Airport Improvement Program funds.

SMS is a process that enables airports to detect, evaluate and correct safety deficiencies before they contribute to aircraft incidents or accidents. The intent of the implementation Study was to help the FAA evaluate how airports can implement the SMS components of Safety Risk Management and Safety Assurance throughout their airfield environment.

Results of the study will directly assist the FAA in the development of regulations, standards and guidance related to SMS for airports throughout the nation in the near future.

“Being recognized for our participation in this federal Implementation Study demonstrates the nationally recognized commitment of our airport staff and tenants to operate a safe, secure, efficient and customer-friendly airport,” said Sunil Harman, director of aviation.


Chief engineer's marriage stops flying at Nagpur Flying Club

NAGPUR: The trainees at the Nagpur Flying Club (NFC) will have a forced break of a fortnight as its only chief engineer has gone on leave for his own wedding. The club had just restarted on Republic Day after a gap of nine months as it did not have a chief flying instructor. Now, the four Cessna aircraft will be grounded again.

A source at the airport informed that chief engineer Neeraj has gone on a leave and, as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms, the training aircraft cannot take off unless certified by the CE. "The aircraft needs to be checked, repaired and maintained by a DGCA-approved CE only," the source said.

In Neeraj's absence, the 40-odd trainee pilots will find it difficult to complete the mandatory 200 flying hours to obtain a commercial license. Students registered here hail from Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

A trainee pilot, requesting anonymity, said, "The next two weeks will be a sheer waste of time. The divisional commissioner's office which manages the NFC should have deputed another CE so that flying goes on."

Another student said that the British-era club lacks many important facilities like simulators which are necessary for training pilots. "Moreover, there is no library, so we've to depend on the Internet and other libraries which are situated far away from the NFC," he said.

The four Cessna's came out of the hangar on January 27 morning after the state government recruited Captain AS Salam as CFI and a few other staffers to run the show.

Arun Dongre, managing director of NFC, said that teaching will not stop despite the CE's absence. "There will be no flying only for 7 days only as Neeraj will resume duty on February 10. Until then the students will be given training in other areas and theory classes will be conducted too," he said.

Dongre said as of now the NFC has no plans to shift its flying operations to Amravati. "Adequate slots and timings are available at the city airport especially in afternoon now," he said.


Long distance plane trip promoting organ donation

Photo courtesy of Chris and Corrine McLaughlin 
Chris and Corrine McLaughlin in the cockpit of the Cessna Skyhawk they are flying from Nantucket to the tip of South America. 

By Lindsay Pykosz

There are 16,000 miles between Nantucket and the tip of South America, a daunting distance to travel in a small Cessna Skyhawk, even if it is specially outfitted for the journey.

But the challenging trip, which began in September, is nothing compared to the nightmare Nantucketers Chris and Corrine McLaughlin experienced in 2010 when Chris almost died after suffering both liver and kidney failure due to his exposure to hepatitis as a child.

After many months in intensive care at King’s College Hospital in London, he was given a “last-minute” liver transplant that saved his life. Thus, the trip, which has a two-fold mission: it’s a fundraiser and a gesture of appreciation for the amount of support they received from the hospital during the ordeal, and a way to raise awareness about how important it is to become an organ donor.

To read the full story, check out the print edition of The Inquirer and Mirror, or register for the I&M's online edition by clicking here.

Oregon Civil Air Patrol Enters Search for Missing Mushroom Hunters

Four (4) Oregon Cessna 182 Search Aircraft such as this one are currently participating in a search for 3 missing mushroom hunters in Curry County

Oregon Civil Air Patrol air search and rescue teams have been called upon to assist Curry County search and rescue teams who are searching an area near the Rogue River for three people reported as overdue mushroom hunters.

CAP search aircraft from Brookings and Medford began participating in the search Wednesday at the request of Oregon Emergency Management and are continuing air search operations again Thursday with additional aircraft from Portland and Salem.

News Release from: Oregon Civil Air Patrol

Judge orders mental evaluation for combative air passenger

At the request of his own lawyer, a Miami man accused of disrupting a flight and forcing it to make an unscheduled stop in San Antonio has been ordered to be examined by a psychiatrist.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy this week approved the request from assistant federal public defender R. Clark Adams. His client, Manolin Jesus Villaverde, “may be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent” to understand the proceedings against him “or to assist properly in his defense,” Adams said in a court motion.

FBI agents said they arrested Villaverde, 37, last week after he became combative when told to put out cigarettes on a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Ontario, Calif. Villaverde is charged with interfering with a flight crew and is scheduled for arraignment and a bail hearing on Feb. 14.

One final wish fulfilled for former Lakeville official

WALTER CROSBY: was a Lakeville police sergeant who served on the school board and as a selectman before moving to Florida with his wife Gerel, a retired teacher. He died last Saturday at 74. 

FORMER LAKEVILLE police sergeant, selectman and school board member Walter Crosby with the Piper Cub he hoped to restore before he became too ill with colon cancer. Friends in Clearwater, Fla., where he had retired with his wife Gerel, took over the project. Mrs. Crosby flew as a passenger in his stead last month as her husband watched from his hospital bed.

LAKEVILLE — Former Lakeville selectman, school committee chairman and police officer Walter Crosby died at 11 p.m. on Saturday night in Florida after a long, active life that included the fulfillment of one of his long-held dreams.

Memorial services for the former police sergeant, who was 74, will be held here in May.

One of Mr. Crosby's great loves in life was aviation, and in 1963 he purchased a Piper J-3 Cub; a small yellow two-seat plane with a black lightning bolt stripe on the side.

"For years he put (that plane) on the backburner," said Gerel Crosby, Walter's wife. "He bought a couple other planes; he had several that he could fly."

For years Mr. Crosby had hoped to fix up the plane and fly it himself, but he wasn't able to accomplish it before being diagnosed with colon cancer. So, through the tireless work of several friends and his wife Gerel, the plane was quickly restored so that Walter would be able to enjoy seeing the plane in flight before he died.

"The guys were outstanding to have done this," Mrs. Crosby said. "They finished it and didn't leave me to cope with it."

On Jan. 13, Walter's dream was realized. One of the people who helped restore the plane, Gino DiNucci took off with Mr. Crosby's wife alongside him. Mr. Crosby was able to sit up in his hospital bed and watch the plane soar by.

Mr. Crosby was born in Brockton, the son of the late Walter C. and Selma (Hamilton) Crosby. He grew up in Bridgewater and attended Bridgewater schools before becoming a police officer in Lakeville. He was also in the National Guard.

Walter met Gerel and the two eventually got married. Mr. Crosby was a sergeant with the Lakeville Police Department and his wife worked as a school teacher at Assawompsett Elementary.

They had two children who survive Walter, a daughter, Geri Young, who lives in Acushnet, and a son, Walter R. Crosby, who lives in Pembroke with his wife Barbara.

He is also survived by seven grandchildren, David Young of Lakeville, Steven Young of New Bedford, Andrew and Sarah Young of Acushnet, Kenneth Botelho of Acushnet, Theodore Crosby and Anna Crosby of Pembroke, He also had a great-grandson, Noah Botelho of Acushnet.

Mr. also had three sisters and a brother survive him, Nancy (Donald) O'Rouke of West Bridgewater, Katherine (Lyle) Lucia of Hollis, New Hampshire and Irene Hennessey of Carver, and Robert(Lillian) Crosby of Bridgewater.

"I grew up in Lakeville, but we lived there together after we got married in 1957," Mrs. Crosby said. "We still went up there every summer."

Outside of work, Mr. Crosby was every bit as active in the community, He was not only a school committee member and eventually chairman, but he also helped create the Vocational High School committee. Shortly before the Crosbys moved to Florida full time he also served as one of the town's selectmen.

He was also a deacon and trustee as well as a member of the Mullein Hill Baptist Church. In 1993 Mr. Crosby retired.

He and his wife decided he should serve out his term on the Board of Selectmen before moving, so in 1996 the couple decided to move to Clearwater, Florida.

It wasn't until 2006, when Walter was 68, that he was diagnosed with colon cancer,that later spread to his lungs.

He attempted everything he could to fight the cancer, including several types of chemotherapy, but eventually it spread too far.

It wasn't until Saturday that he died.

"The first time the plane flew, he could get out of bed to watch," Mrs. Crosby said. "When I went in the plane he was less well, he had to observe it from his bed."

Mr. Crosby was a technical advisor for the EAA and a licensed pilot and had his aircraft mechanics credentials.

His friends, which Mrs. Crosby said he made very quickly at the Clearwater Air Park, finished fixing up the plane for him in tremendous time.

Although he didn't get to ride in the plane the last time, he was able to watch his wife of more than 50 years ride in one.

"He flew several planes (over the years), he flew actively," she said. "I rode with him but never flew."

Maybe on that last flight, Walter was given his chance to ride with her.

Memorial services will be held on May 12, at Mullein Baptist Church in Lakeville. Burial will be in Mullein Hill Baptist Church Cemetery on Highland Road.

Arrangements are by the Dahlborg-MacNevin Funeral Home, Lakeville.


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Two central Pennsylvania women help carry on the barnstorming tradition of Amelia Earhart

Carol Church, of New Cumberland, and Carolyn Van Newkirk, of York, are co-holders of the world record for speed over a recognized course for their type of aircraft, from Oklahoma City to Mobile, Alabama, set on June 23, 2011. They flew their Cessna 182 at a speed of 153.46 mph to set the record.
DAN GLEITER, The Patriot-News

The airplane dips through clouds into bright sunlight and starts a quick descent toward a small airstrip the pilot has never seen before.

Two women at the controls of the Cessna 182 lower the plane to 200 feet above the runway while keeping the aircraft in a straight line. They push the plane as fast as it can go, reaching speeds of 180 mph.

It sounds dangerous. But to Carol Church of New Cumberland and Carolyn Van Newkirk of York, it’s a heckuva lot of fun.

Church, 61, and Van Newkirk — who just admits being old enough to draw Social Security — are helping keep alive a tradition of women barnstorming pilots dating to Amelia Earhart.

The two women even have their own world speed record.

On June 23, Church and Van Newkirk hit 153 mph in Van Newkirk’s Cessna 182 while flying between Oklahoma City and Mobile, Ala.

No one, man or woman, had ever gone that fast between those two points in an aircraft in the same weight class as the Cessna 182, according to the National Aeronautic Association. The association also verified the achievement as a world record according to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale of Switzerland.

The record is so unusual that no one ever held it before, said Art Greenfield, director of contests and records for the national association.

Church and Van Newkirk set the record while flying in the Air Race Classic, a transcontinental race held each year for women. The classic is descended from the Powder Puff Derby, a cross-country race for women pilots that Earhart made famous in 1929.

The midstate women arranged for controllers in the towers from Oklahoma City to Mobile to time their speed as they flew from one location to another. Otherwise, the speed would not be recognized as a record.

Church said going for the record from Oklahoma City to Mobile was like driving down Interstate 81 with your foot on the gas pedal as far as it can go the whole time.

The women shared piloting duties during the transcontinental race. But for the Oklahoma City to Mobile leg, Van Newkirk was the pilot and Church the navigator.

Van Newkirk said during the Air Race Classic pilots can’t communicate with the air traffic control towers. You can’t fly at night or stay in the clouds. You go by what you see in front of you during the day.

“This is real flying. This is finger-on-the-map flying,” Van Newkirk said.

Both women found their passion for flying after each had established themselves in other careers.

Van Newkirk was principal of a private school in Baltimore. She had time on her hands after getting her doctorate from The College of William & Mary. Around 1990, she started taking lessons at York Airport. When the flying school shut down, she continued her lessons at Capital City.

“It became something I just had to do,” Van Newkirk said. “I’d land and say, ‘Holy smoke, look what I just did.’ ”

Church was a teacher at Trinity High School when she started taking lessons about 25 years ago. She became a corporate and charter pilot and, for a period, was a full-time flight instructor at Capital City.

“After 9/11, everything sort of dropped out of aviation. I had to pull out my RN degree to pay the bills,” Church said. Today, Church is a nurse at Holy Spirit Hospital but still teaches flying part-time at Cap City.

Church and Van Newkirk met through the International Organization of Women Pilots. The group is better known as “the 99s,” after how many women showed up for the first meeting that Earhart organized in 1929.

Van Newkirk teaches English at Yorktowne Business Institute. She’s also on the board of the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, which owns Capital City and Harrisburg International airports.

Van Newkirk wrote a history of female aviators for the 99s. She learned about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of women pilots the U.S. government hired to train male pilots during World War II.

She said as many as 30 of the women were killed during the training, some while flying planes that the men used for target practice. Others died in accidents, like Evelyn Sharp, a WASP killed when her plane malfunctioned at Capital City and crashed into a hill.

Van Newkirk and Church know every time they pilot a plane, they stand on the shoulders of Earhart, the WASPs and other pioneers.

“If I lived 30 years ago, I wouldn’t be doing this,” Van Newkirk said. “It wasn’t accepted practice for a woman to be a daredevil.”

Today, about 10 women pilots are in the chapter covering this region, Church said.

The 2014 Air Race Classic will be special because Capital City Airport will be the end point for the race. Church said the women in the local chapter will paint a large compass rose on the blacktop on Capital City.

“We are going to concentrate on making this terminus a really memorable stop. We want to help the economy, too. These gals will spend money,” Church said.

The 2014 Air Race Classic will end at Capital City Airport. To learn more about the race, go to To learn more about the International Organization of Women Pilots, go to


Officials: No injuries in rough landing at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR), Connecticut.

No injuries were reported Thursday from what officials described as a "minor incident" at Danbury Municipal Airport in which a plane veered off the runway while landing.

Michael Safranek, the assistant administrator of the airport, said the plane, a Piper J3 Cub that is based out of Danbury, was landing at around 12:15 p.m. when it veered "slightly" off the runway and its propeller struck the ground.

Safranek said the Federal Aviation Administration was contacted about the incident but had not yet responded to the airport.

The skidding airplane was classified by airport administrators, Safranek said, as a "minor incident" and not an accident.

The city's fire department briefly responded to the scene, he said.

Tour of the Air Accident Investigation Branch - UK

15th May 2012

We have once again managed to arrange a rare opportunity for 20 people to visit the Headquarters of the Air Accident Investigation Branch, responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK.

Following a presentation on the work of the Branch, and a Q&A session, the group will be split into two for a tour of the facility, where you will see in detail the processes involved in an investigation. Because of the limited availability, please don’t delay in registering your interest if you would like to join us for this tour.

For more information, or to book a place, please contact the Club on +44 (0)1243 755159 or email

Did the new runway shoot down the Eagle? Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field (KAGS) Augusta, Georgia.

By Tim Rausch

The new runway at Augusta Regional Airport may have led to the demise of American Eagle in Augusta.

In a debriefing with airport marketing director Diane Johnston, she points out that Eagle was getting stronger in the first half of 2011 through the efforts of an airline sales representative, who would hit Fort Gordon for example.

Then the airport took the main runway offline to resurface it. That meant the jets had to use the alternate – and shorter – runway.

“When you’re flying out of a 6,000-foot strip, you have to really limit your weight. The only way they could restrict weight was by limiting the number of passengers and the number of bags. They were going out with 29 or 30 passengers a flight,” Johnston said of Eagle.

It is hard to make money on a long distance flight to Dallas with fewer passengers.

Then the timing didn’t work out. American Airlines filed for bankruptcy about the time that the main runway came back online, and there wasn’t enough time for the Augusta flights to recover its passengers numbers.

American retired its turbo prop fleet and went grabbing for regional jets to fill the gaps, essentially dropping the flights of some of the places where the grabbing took place.

Well, where can they pull jets from areas that aren’t doing well? Augusta is sitting there with four bad months.

“It was kind of an easy decision for them to make,” Johnston said.

Eagle stopped flying to Augusta on Monday. Once the bankruptcy process is done, she hopes they’ll give Augusta another look.


Flying people spotted over New York?

Hat tip to Frank at 160 Knots, thanks for sharing the video.

County board to consider less expensive proposal for aviation industrial park. Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Winnebago County Board will consider a smaller, less expensive proposal later this month to buy land for an aviation industrial park at the southeast corner of Wittman Regional Airport.

The county's Aviation Committee voted Wednesday to support a resolution to buy 80.9 acres of land from the Brennand family for a total price of $1.6 million, or about $19,000-per-acre.

The resolution to buy the land is being sent to the board almost a year after a resolution for a larger land buy was removed from the county board's agenda amid concerns it would not receive support of the three-fourths majority needed for it to pass.

Aviation Committee members say the combination of continued opposition from supervisors from the northern part of the county and the difficult threshold of securing three-fourths of the total board's support will make it unclear if the land deal will win approval when it comes up for a board vote later this month.

"I expect some pretty strong opposition from some county board members," Supervisor Shiloh Ramos said. "It will be a very, very close vote."

In recent years, County Board Chairman David Albrech earmarked $1 million in potential borrowing to fund the purchase and won approval last fall for a 2012 budget amendment that set aside $400,000 from the airport reserve fund. The city of Oshkosh and its industrial development arm, Chamco Inc., have agreed to extend utilities to the site and market it to aviation-related businesses after the county buys the land.

But Albrecht has not been able to generate support from many Neenah, Menasha and rural county supervisors who say the project only benefits Oshkosh. Albrecht got the resolution to purchase the land tabled during a county board meeting in April when it was clear that resolution — to purchase 200-plus acres for $3.2 million — would not have the support needed to pass.

Aviation Committee members said Wednesday that the industrial park project would create jobs and property value that would benefit the entire county.

"This is something we need. We'll come out ahead on this," Supervisor Robert Warnke said. "And I'm not even mentioning what bringing more industry to this airport will do for the entire county. Not just Oshkosh, but the whole county."

On Wednesday, Airport Director Peter Moll reiterated the need for additional, developable land on the airport so he can offer something to companies that call asking about development opportunities. At present, the airport only has 7 acres of non-contiguous land available for development.

"I wouldn't have to just tell them 'No' anymore," Moll said. "It's frustrating."

Ramos said he supports the efforts to acquire land, owned by members of the Brennand family, but abstained from voting on Wednesday's resolution until he could see projections for job and tax base creation. He said he wants to be sure of the impact before voting in support of the resolution since the Brennand family's $19,000-per-acre asking price exceeds appraised values of between $12,000 and $15,000-per-acre.

"The offer is above the appraised value, but it's still better than the original offering price," Ramos said. "I support the land purchase but if we're paying above appraisal, I want to make sure the returns are there."