Monday, February 06, 2012

Concern Over Collisions With Planes, Officials Seek Wildlife Study at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (KLAL) Lakeland, Florida.

Pilot Bob Knight has seen his share of wildlife at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

The Lakeland man has hit a bird and once he even circled over the airport for a few minutes while a skunk was removed from the runway.

The bird didn't damage his A36 Beechcraft Bonanza, but some collisions with wildlife have led to crashes and fatalities.

Increased traffic at the airport sparked airport officials to ask for a wildlife study. City Manager Doug Thomas briefed commissioners about the study on Monday at a meeting. If approved, Amherst Consulting of Orlando will choose the biologist to conduct the study.

The money will come from a Federal Aviation Administration grant, said Gene Conrad, airport director at Lakeland Linder.

"We have a lot of bird activity in and around the airport," Conrad said. "We would have had to do the study anyway but with commercial service, it has put it up the ladder of importance."

He said there have been several reports of pilots' striking birds at the airport.

"There was at least one where they've struck a bird on the runway," Conrad said. "It wasn't extensive damage to the aircraft."

The FAA estimates that costs from wildlife strikes every year can reach $614 million and since 1990, they have caused 23 deaths.

The study, which is expected to begin in March, should last about a year. Conrad said an expert will determine what kind of wildlife is at the airport, the risk it poses to airplanes and how to decrease the problems pilots may face.

Conrad said sandhill cranes cause the biggest problems for pilots. A couple of times before a commercial plane takes off, airport officials fire cap pistols into the air to scare birds away.

The airport became busier when Direct Air started flights in June. The airline flies to Niagara Falls; Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Springfield, Ill.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Conrad said all airports are required to have wildlife assessments.

Studies throughout the country began to increase after the 2009 high-profile incident involving a USAirways jet that struck a bird and was forced to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River.

Julie Wraithmell, director of wildlife conservation for Audubon Florida, said all airports work with the United States Department of Agriculture to develop a wildlife mitigation plan.

Problems differ at each airport, Wraithmell said.

"At some airports, mice get hit on the runway and that is an attractant for vultures, Wraithmell said.

At ponds near Orlando International Airport, officials used electric shock to kill fish to curb the number of birds searching for fish, Wraithmell said.

She said airports use cannons and border collies to scare birds.

There are some instances in which airport directors receive permits to kill the birds, depending on the species.

That typically isn't a good solution, she said.

"There are far more birds than us," she said.

Nearly 98 percent of strikes in the country are from bird collisions, according to the FAA. Of the birds, gulls account for 19 percent of the strikes, while 15 percent of the strikes come from doves and pigeons.

Not only birds have been seen at Lakeland Linder.

Conrad said coyotes and wild hogs have been spotted.

Knight said he doesn't think there is a wildlife problem for pilots at the airport.

"Nothing of any significance," Knight said. "The only thing I've seen as a potential problem are the cranes."

Editorial: When pilots ‘fly’

The arrest of a Lion Air pilot after being caught red-handed in possession of crystal methamphetamine on Saturday is indeed a cause for concern. That Saiful Salam is the third flight captain nabbed for drug-related crimes within the last eight months should serve as a warning to the country’s aviation safety, which has been severely tainted following a series of accidents last year.

Had the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) not arrested Saiful at his hotel room in Surabaya, only less than three hours before his scheduled take-off, he would have put many lives on board at risk. As it deals with safety, flying under the influence of alcohol or drugs is punishable by a jail sentence and fine.

BNN officers busted Saiful over one month after the arrest of his colleague Hanum Adhyaksa, who led the police to Saiful. Hanum, according to BNN spokesman Sr. Comr. Sumirat Santoso, had told investigators he once consumed crystal meth together with Saiful.

In June last year BNN apprehended another Lion Air pilot, Muhammad Nasri, and his co-pilot Husni Thamrin, for the same crime, three months after the arrest of an air crew with the airline company for possessing crystal meth.

Like cocaine, meth can make its addicts feel “flying” and relaxed. They can be sober and awake for a long time, but then they feel depressed and tired.

Medical experts are of the same opinion that flying under the influence of drugs and alcohol will impair the performance of the pilots as it affects their nervous systems and law enforcers agree that taking illegal drugs is a serious criminal offense.

A study conducted by the US Federal Aviation Administration on civil aviation accidents in 2000-2007 revealed that 23 pilots had consumed ethanol prior to fatal accidents. More strikingly, a military tribunal heard two US F-16 fighter pilots serving in Afghanistan, Harry Schmidt and William Umbach, mistakenly bombed Canadian soldiers in April 2002 while under the influence of an amphetamine administered by their flight surgeon.

For Lion Air, currently the largest budget airline company in the country, the arrests should trigger bold measures to ensure all its air and ground staff is clean, including random tests widely practiced in the sports world. Lion Air has conducted regular drug tests on its pilots, even during their recruitment test, but the arrest of several of its air crews displays a flaw in the supervision mechanism.

Random testing has been in place within national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia for the last seven years, which according to the company’s operational director, Ari Sapari, forces pilots to undergo 14 tests a year.

Random checks may force the aviation industry to spend more, but the price must be miniscule compared to the industry’s credibility, let alone passengers’ safety.

The drug cases involving pilots may not amount to a trend yet, at least for the time being, but BNN needs to dig deeper into the possibility that the Lion Air crews are clients of a drug syndicate that may supply the same products to flight attendants from other airline companies.

As the regulator, the government cannot take the drug abuse among flight attendants lightly, but should inspire it to tighten regulations related to air crews before it is too late.


Northern Helicopters: Forced Landing - Ulricehamn, Sweden

Feb 6, 2012 

Just a couple of hours ago one of our CPL students had to make a forced landing south of Ulricehamn.

He experienced an abnormal sound from the transmission and established an autorotation down to an open field. The landing went good and no injuries and damages occurred to the helicopter during the autorotation.

New Details on Sunday's Fatal Plane Crash. Cessna 172, N758D. Fresno, California.

Felix Boston watched a crew haul his plane away Monday morning, at least what's left of it. He claims someone stole it from the Buchanan Airfield in Concord.

"I parked the plane after we did a manual last Friday at one o'clock then went to go fly it at 11 o'clock Saturday and there was no airplane," Boston said.

Boston didn't report the plane missing. He thought one of his friends borrowed it. The NTSB called him Sunday afternoon with the bad news. It crashed in a field near Barstow and Garfield just west of Fresno.

The Pilot didn't survive. He has not been identified but the coroner says he was a parolee.

"They said he had prison tattoos all over him and he's on parole but they couldn't find a pilot's certificate for him....through the records so maybe he was out joy riding, who knows," Boston said.

Jesse Fox saw the plane go down Sunday. He ran over to help and dialed 9-1-1. He said it looked like the pilot was having trouble before it crashed.

"I didn't notice it until I hear pfft pfft, it was kinda sputtering and as it hit the lines I knew it was having problems." Fox added, "Once it hit the lines, they all snapped and went all over the place into the canal," 

Tom Macedo Lives in a neighborhood across the street. His home lost power briefly after the crash. He wasn't surprised when he found out what happened.
"I see enough low flying aircraft out here, if someone doesn't know what they're doing you're asking for trouble."

It could take several weeks for the NTSB to figure out why the plane crashed. The pilot didn't leave too many clues behind as to where he was going.

Boston said he found a hundred dollars worth of cheeze whiz and energy drinks in the wreckage. He also said there was still some fuel left in the plane.

"For six years that's been my baby I coddle it, you wash it, you put new leather interior in it. It's just so sad to see somebody steal it and crash it like this," Boston said.

  Regis#: 7582D        Make/Model: C172      Description: 172, P172, R172, Skyhawk, Hawk XP, Cutla
  Date: 02/06/2012     Time: 0006

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: FRESNO   State: CA   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: FRESNO, CA  (WP17)                    Entry date: 02/06/2012 

Outback town's flight for survival

One of the Royal Flying Doctor Service's Mount Isa planes on the air strip at Urandangie. 
Photographer:  Paul Sutherland

There's a small community a few hundred kilometres south of Mount Isa that has no electricity except for a few generators, no water infrastructure, and numerous health problems.

Only around 100 people live in the town, which is serviced by the local pub, which acts as a hairdresser, shop, chemist and post office.

The Indigenous community of Urandangie, near the Northern Territory border, has been called the 'Town the Government forgot' - but the Royal Flying Doctor Service continues its medical runs there, providing a vital service for this remote area.

Doctor Rachel Moulden has been a primary care doctor visiting Urandangie with the RFDS for the past two years.

Her task is to provide any medical services the local people might need, including general checkups and minor operations.

“We fly over the top of Urandangie so they can see us, because they’ve got no mobile reception so we can't call,” she says, looking out the window at the tiny community below - a mere dot on the vast landscape.

“If they see us, hopefully someone will come and pick us up at the airstrip.”

The plane touches down on the rough dirt airstrip – a smooth landing.

But then again, it should be; RDFS pilots are some of the best trained in the country, and can land a plane in almost any condition.

A mud-speckled ute is idling on the side of the airstrip.

The group of doctors, nurses and mental health specialists unload the medical supplies from the plane, and jump in the tray of the ute for the quick trip to Urandangie.

There's not much to the town – a handful of houses sprinkled around the landscape, a small park, and a pub on the corner of a dusty road.

The makeshift medical clinic is usually set up in the pub, but the owner has gone to Mount Isa for the day to buy more food, so the RFDS team sets up in a dilapidated hall, which is used as a sleeping quarters when road workers are in town.

Dr Moulden and the team begin setting up for the first patients.

“It’s a very difficult place for people to live because there are no facilities out here,” she says, unpacking medicine, medical gauze and other equipment.

“Water is always a problem; a lot of people get sick because of infected water.

“The only electricity we have is through generators, so people don’t have fridges where we can store medicine like insulin, or where they can store food.

“It’s an area of Australia a lot of people wouldn’t imagine that we have.”

One of the first patients is Sylvester, a toddler with a number of infected wounds in his feet and legs.

His mother and brothers sit and wait as Dr Moulden and the nurses take to his sores with a scalpel.

“Little things can get infected and turn into large abscises,” she says, over whimpers from Sylvester.

“They’re pretty tough out here, so they let things get pretty severe.

“When we leave, it really is up to the people to dress these wounds, and they’re not trained so it makes it hard.”

There are a number of medical concerns for the people of Urandangie.

Scabies are common, and because of poor hygiene conditions, they often become infected.

Infections can spread easily between the children.

“There’s a lot of heart conditions out here, with issues such as rheumatic heart fever, which we don’t see in major cities,” Dr Moulden says.

“I had never seen rheumatic heart fever in my 15 years as a doctor in Melbourne until I came to Urandangie.”

The locals certainly seem appreciative of the work the RFDS do for them.

One local says the community is so isolated that ambulances won’t travel there.

“They know that we are it for them for medical services, there’s really nothing else.”

Boeing in North Charleston found to have the assembly problem forcing inspections

North Charleston, SC --  Depending on the extent of the problem, it could cause more delays in the Dreamliner's manufacturing. It's major selling point are the composites, which makes the 7-8-7 lighter and more fuel efficient. But it's how the composites are assembled onto the plane that may be causing a problem in North Charleston.

Because the Dreamliner is the first plane to be made mostly with the lighter composites, that are proven safe. There may still be some, new discoveries when assembling it on a passenger jet fuselage.

The issue at the facility here is with what is called shimming. A shim is what holds two mating parts together. Most planes are assembled with aluminum. But mating pieces of carbon fiber composite is a different process. And that may be the issue crews are facing in North Charleston.

Boeing says it has found some signs of, delamination, that’s the word used when composite materials lose strength and crack.

In a statement sent to News 2, Boeing spokesperson Scott Lefeber says: “Boeing has found that incorrect shimming was performed on support structure on the aft fuselage of some 787s. We have the issue well defined and are making progress on the repair plan. There is no short-term safety concern.”

Boeing's first customer, All Nippon Air in Asia is already flying the Dreamliner and will continue to do so. Meantime Boeing officials say repairs, if needed, will be done in the most efficient manner possible.

Nigeria needs 9,000 pilots

For the country’s aviation industry to remain relevant globally, the sub-sector requires no fewer than 9, 000 pilots in the next five years, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCCA), Dr. Harold Demuren, has disclosed.

Speaking  with The Nation, Demuren said the rate at which the global aviation industry was moving, the request for technical personnel would increase. He urged stakeholders to show more commitment to the industry.

Demuren said NCAA has issued out over 5,656 pilots licences, out of which 1,032 are validly held, with 2,625 cabin crew licences issued, out of which 1,318 are validly held. 

For aircraft maintenance engineers, over 3,049 has been issued, but only 923 are validly held.

He said: "International aviation will double in the next 20 years and demand will strain the supply of all types of safety personnel, including pilots, maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers. So, there will be need for more pilots, engineers, cabin crew, more air traffic controllers, more flight dispatchers and more airports operation personnel.

"Unfortunately, skilled aviation professionals like pilots, maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers and others cannot be cloned overnight. It takes time, it requires money and requires years of experience after training."

He, however, lamented that the continent’s aviation industry including Nigeria is losing skilled aviation professionals to the Middle East and Asian airline operators who offer better conditions of service such as double salary, free medical, zero tax and free holidays twice in a year.

Demuren said most male technical personnel in the industry are prone to constant migration for improved packages while their female counterparts are more stable.

He explained that because of the constant movement of male personnel, NCAA devised means to attract and retain skilled personnel by encouraging the training of women aviation professionals in the sub-sector.

But emphasised that aviation training is capital intensive as one-third of the agency’s budget is committed to the training of safety professionals, maintaining that the regulatory agency is pushing for 10 per cent of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement funds be dedicated for training of pilots, engineers, cabin crew and air traffic controllers at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.


Delta Airlines pilot pleads guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter


SAN DIEGO -- A Delta Airlines pilot who crashed his 1974 Porsche into a pickup truck on a North County road while drunk, killing his girlfriend and uncle and seriously injuring two people in the other vehicle, pleaded guilty Monday to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges.

Brent Nathan Geren, 39, was immediately sentenced to four years in prison, but due to pending surgery, won't report for custody until July 16.

Geren pleaded guilty to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher causing an accident that resulted in injury.

Geren's blood-alcohol level was measured at .14 percent after the May 1, 2011, crash, said prosecutor David Hendren.

Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior said earlier that Geren had been drinking at a restaurant/bar in Cardiff before getting behind the wheel of his Porsche 911 Targa, with his 42-year-old girlfriend in the rear and his 63-year-old uncle in the passenger seat.

Prior said Geren drove 77 mph on winding Manchester Avenue going east, crossed a center divider in a 40 mph zone and struck the pickup on the driver's side. The Porsche burst into flames.

The defendant's girlfriend was ejected and died instantly and his uncle burned to death in the car, while Geren suffered burns over 20 percent of his body and was pulled to safety by witnesses, Prior said.

Investigators found charred beer bottles in the Porsche, Prior said.

 Previous Story:

Probes under way into cause of industrial accident at Boeing

EVERETT -- Multiple investigations are under way after a Boeing employee was run over by a plane at Paine Field in Everett on Friday night.

The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries after becoming trapped underneath the landing gear of a 787.

Paine Field and Snohomish County officials on Monday referred all questions to Boeing.

The accident also is being investigated by the state department of Labor & Industries.

An L&I investigation is common practice after someone is seriously injured in a workplace, spokeswoman Elaine Fischer said. The focus of the investigation is to determine what safety rules were in place and to ensure compliance.

A Boeing spokesman on Monday declined to discuss the case and would not say whether the man was expected to recover from his injuries.


A look at the secretive world of air marshals

Protecting air travel became a critical priority following the September 11th attacks.

So, 10 years ago this month, the new Transportation Security Administration took over aviation security. On the front lines, high above, are the federal air marshals.

Homeland security correspondent Bob Orr took a rare look at their training.

To make it as a federal air marshal, recruits must be able to run up evacuation slides, out-score other federal agents on gun ranges, and learn to react in life-or-death circumstances on crowded airplanes with no backup.

When it comes to finding new marshals, the TSA is looking for "someone who doesn't live in a black and white world, because at 35,000 feet we don't give them black and white answers," said Joseph D'Angelillio, head of air marshal training.

Prospects spend 120 hours training with weapons. Recruits also endure a rigorous mix of martial arts and mental exercises.

Since threats can emerge without warning, complacency is an enemy.

The program was languishing before 9/11. On the day of the attacks there were only 33 federal air marshals. Now there are thousands. The exact number is classified, but in the past two years alone, 25 new classes have gone through just one training facility.

The most recent graduates just got their badges from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Since the federal air marshals are America's most secret federal police force, we can't identify them.

Anonymity is critical, for air marshals to blend in with the 1.8 million people who fly each day.

"It's a game. It's been played since 9/11: Pick out the air marshals. And it is a great game because people assume they are everywhere," said D'Angelillio, adding that that assumption acts like "a force multiplier."

Air Marshal Kimberley Thompson flew for eight years before moving to headquarters. She says air marshals are taught to continuously scan for "potential" threats.

"We are looking continually at the passengers around us, the passengers that are getting up and going into the restrooms, or moving about the cabin for any given reason to determine why that person is getting out of their seat," Thompson said.

Despite the force build up, federal air marshals still cover just a fraction of the 30,000 daily flights in the U.S. Over the past decade, they've made few arrests, and have never fired a weapon in flight.

But, air marshals cannot lower their guard, knowing that aviation remains the top target of terrorists.

Bob Hope Airport (KBUR) Rolls out new foam firefighting vehicle. Burbank, California.

( Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer )
The front of the Bob Hope Airport fire department's new US Class 4 Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) vehicle prior to a press conference at the airport on Monday, February 6, 2012.

The Bob Hope Airport put into service on Monday a firefighting vehicle that’s the first of its kind in the country because it delivers more concentrated foam to knock down fuel-related aircraft fires, officials said.

The vehicle is equipped with a compressed-air foam system that uses less water than systems now deployed at other airports in the United States, officials said.

The higher concentration of foam allows the substance to adhere better to burning surfaces, which are typically more volatile when they involve aircraft carrying heavy fuel loads.

The vehicle cost $619,519, but a federal grant covered about 80% of the bill, said airport spokesman Victor Gill.

The remainder of the cost was covered by revenues generated from a $4.50 facility charge levied on each passenger departing the airport, he said.

The vehicle’s air-compressed system cost an additional $23,712, paid for by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, which owns the airfield. Officials are to be reimbursed through passenger facility charges, pending an application and approval by the Federal Aviation Administration, he added.

The new vehicle, built by Rosenbauer-America, has a 150-foot stream range that allows it to extinguish hard-to-reach fires, airport officials said.

Its controls are designed so that one driver can operate the vehicle and its foam system. The vehicle also has its own fire-protection system, which lets it move through burning fuel and clear rescue paths.

Cessna TR182, N5141S. Athens Municipal Airport (F44), Athens, Texas

Terry Boozer mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.

In what Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said is a first in his 30 years of law enforcement, a stolen airplane was recovered on a private air strip Monday on CR 536.

Kerss said Henderson County authorities alerted Nacogdoches County last Friday to the theft of a Cessna 182 airplane from the Athens Municipal Airport and said the individual suspected of stealing it had Nacogdoches County ties.

That's when authorities locally began setting up a close watch on the county airport, as well as numerous private airstrips, Kerss said.

"This afternoon at about 4 p.m., we discovered that the plane had just landed a few minutes earlier at a private airstrip off CR 536," he said.

Deputies went to the location and recovered the plane, which still had a hot engine, he said.

Terry Boozer, 55, was arrested after a brief chase from an adjoining building at the airstrip where he had been, Kerss said.

Boozer is charged with felony theft, as well as evading arrest and has yet to see a judge to have bond set, according to jail records.

"The value of the plane is what makes it a felony theft," Kerss said "I don't have the exact value, but this is going to be upwards of a $100,000 recovery."

Pct. 1 Reserve Deputy Constable Clay Jones, who is also a pilot, flew the plane from the private airstrip to the A.L. Mangham, Jr. Regional Airport where the sheriff's department has secured a hanger to store the plane until Henderson County authorities arrive, Kerss said.

"In 30 years of law enforcement, I've recovered a lot of stolen property, but this is the first time I've seen a stolen airplane recovered," he said. "We appreciate the cooperative effort of all the participating officers, as well as some citizens who have helped us keep an eye out."

Boozer is no stranger to Nacogdoches County law enforcement. He was arrested in November 2011 on charges of possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Boozer spent nearly two years in prison in the early 1990s for drug charges, as well, according to records found on
NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Deputies with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office have recovered an airplane reported stolen from a hangar at the Athens Municipal Airport.

Sheriff Thomas Kerss said the Cessna 182 was recovered at a private airstrip on County Road 536. At 6 p.m., it was being flown to the Nacogdoches County airport, where it will stay until the owners come to claim it.

Kerss said deputies have arrested Terry Lynn Boozer, 56, where he will be charged with felony theft, as well as evading arrest, as he tried to run away from deputies during the arrest.
The plane was reported stolen in late January.

Kerss opted not to comment for now on how investigators traced the plane to Boozer.

"In my 30 years of law enforcement, this is the first time we recovered a stolen airplane," Kerss said.

Boozer was also arrested in November in connection to a seizure of a meth lab in Nacogdoches County.

Long wait for report on crash. Yakovlev Yak-52TW, ZK-YTW. Feilding, New Zealand


OPINION: It was interesting to see that a friend of doctor Ralph Saxe, who died along with chiropractor Brett Ireland in a plane crash at Feilding's Timona Park, publicly rule out pilot error as a factor.

Fellow pilot Neil Jepsen blamed a mechanical fault when he spoke to more than 500 mourners at Dr Saxe's funeral at the Taonui Aerodrome, which the two men left on their fateful flight on the morning of January 23.

His comments forced the Civil Aviation Authority to issue a statement confirming that a "stubby type screwdriver'' found in the wreckage ``may have rendered the aircraft unflyable''.

There was an outpouring of grief from the Manawatu community after the death of Dr Saxe who was, by all accounts, a sympathetic and caring practitioner.

The heartbreaking words of Dr Saxe's loved ones, spoken through intermediaries at the funeral, also conveyed the deep sorrow caused by his loss.

So it was no doubt comforting for friends and family to hear that the crash may have been caused by factors out of his control.

But as we have seen from other fatal plane crashes in the region, including the mid-air collision that claimed the life of flying instructor Jessica Neeson in 2010, it can take a long time before any comprehensive conclusions are reached.

CAA investigators pore over the evidence and wreckage for months before issuing a hefty tome of findings.

Add to this the coronial process, and it can often be an agonising wait for families desperate for answers.

But to absolve Dr Saxe of any wrongdoing before it has been definitively proven could make it even harder on his family if the investigation consequently uncovers any error on his part.

Witnesses have spoken about the movements of the plane on the morning of the crash, with some saying it was performing aerobatic manoeuvres.

CAA regulations state that aerobatic flights may not be performed within 600 feet of a settlement or an open assembly of people.

Dr Saxe had an aerobatic license but it has not been confirmed whether the plane was performing any manoeuvres.

The flying levels before the crash have also been questioned. CAA regulations require pilots to maintain a level of at least 1000 feet while flying over built-up areas, but again this is under review.

Mr Jepsen can perhaps be forgiven for undermining the investigation, especially if the intention was to make things easier for Dr Saxe's family.

But even if Dr Saxe is found to be at fault, it should have no effect on the respect and admiration that the Manawatu community had for him as a doctor, pilot and man.


Source: Plane That Crashed Near Fresno Was Stolen By Parolee. Cessna 172, N7582D.

FRESNO, California - KMPH News has uncovered new details about a small plane that crashed west of Fresno Sunday afternoon.

A source tells KMPH News the single-engine Cessna was stolen from Concord by a parolee.

Investigators say the aircraft went down, nose first, around 4 p.m. in the area of Garfield and Barstow. That's just west of Fresno's Island Water Park.

The pilot died in the crash. He was the only person on board.

Witnesses say the small plane was heading south when it came crashing down, taking out power lines, before landing in a canal.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

So far, they have not said what might have caused the plane to come down.

FRESNO COUNTY, California  -- The registered owner of the plane tells Action News the plane was stolen from a hangar in Concord.

The owner says someone took the plane from Buchanan Airfield in Concord sometime Thursday. He got a call from investigators last night alerting him about the crash

Investigators have not identified the pilot who was killed on impact, but they say he's in his 40's or 50's.

Fortunately the plane missed nearby homes -- landing just a few hundred yards away. "I know when I pulled up on this; I was very relieved to see where the plane was. Again, when the reports first came in, we were concerned someone on the ground could have been hurt or was hurt," said Brent Stalker with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. 

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash. 
  Regis#: 7582D        Make/Model: C172      Description: 172, P172, R172, Skyhawk, Hawk XP, Cutla
  Date: 02/06/2012     Time: 0006

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: FRESNO   State: CA   Country: US


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

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: FRESNO, CA  (WP17)                    Entry date: 02/06/2012 

Pipistrel Taurus 503, N261T: Accident occurred July 08, 2011 in Durango, Colorado.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA465 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 08, 2011 in Durango, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/27/2012
Aircraft: Pipistrel Taurus, registration: N261T
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

Witnesses observed the glider maneuvering at low altitude with the engine running, and it landed hard at an off-airport location. An examination of the airframe and engine did not detect any preimpact anomalies that would have prevented the normal operation of the glider, and the glider's ballistic recovery parachute had not been deployed. A review of the weather in the area found that conditions were favorable for convective clouds with updrafts and downdrafts up to 40 knots with the possibility of microbursts; therefore, it is likely that the pilot encountered strong wind conditions and chose to perform an off-airport landing. It is also likely that, had the pilot lost control of the glider at altitude (prior to the attempted landing), he would have deployed the ballistic recovery parachute.

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

The pilot’s loss of control during the off-airport landing in strong winds, which resulted in a hard landing.


On July 8, 2011, approximately 1700 mountain daylight time, a single-engine Pipistrel Taurus 503 glider, N261T, was substantially damaged during a hard landing near Durango, Colorado. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gemtec Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight originated the Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, Colorado, at an unknown time.

Witnesses observed the glider maneuvering at low altitude and heard the engine operating. The glider then landed hard on a golf course sidewalk.


The pilot, age 79, held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, airplane multi-engine land, glider, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate for gliders with the expiration date of February 29, 2012. A review of the pilot’s log book revealed that the pilot had an about 7,349 total hours with over 40.5 hours in make and model. On June 1, 2011, the pilot applied for a third class medical certificate but due to medical issues, the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) deferred the certificate for further assessment. The pilot did not need a medical certificate to operate the glider.


The two-seat, retractable-gear, glider, serial number 051T503, was manufactured in 2009. A 50 horsepower Rotax 503 UL engine drove a two-bladed wooden Pipistrel propeller. In addition, the glider was equipped with a Galaxy Rescue System (GRS) 5/472.5 ballistic parachute. Review of the maintenance logbook showed an annual condition inspection was completed on May 16, 2011. On May 25, 2011, the glider was issued a special airworthiness certificate for experimental exhibition. A log book entry on June 3, 20011, recorded the completion of Phase I of the experimental operating limitations.


At 1653, an automated weather reporting facility at DRO, located 21 nautical miles south of the accident site reported wind from 220 degrees at 17 knots gusting to 22 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 11,000 feet, temperature 90 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure of 30.06 inches of Mercury.

Evaluation of the weather near the location of the accident revealed a mid level front moved eastward across the accident site around the time of the accident. This front brought both gusty winds and the formation of convective clouds, rain showers, and thunderstorms. Upper air soundings recorded conditions favorable for strong downward gusts up to 40 knots with the possibility of microbursts near convective clouds and thunderstorms. Satellite imagery for the time of the accident showed the presence of a convective cloud near the site of the accident. The level of precipitation associated with this convective cloud could not be determined due to the distance from weather radar sites.

Calculations of relevant meteorological data revealed that the density altitude was over 11,000 feet.


An initial examination of the glider wreckage was conducted on-scene by an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A subsequent examination was conducted at the pilot’s hanger by the National Transportation Safety Board and a technical advisor from the Rotax Engine Company. Flight control continuity was established from the flight controls to the control surfaces. The lower portions of the fuselage displayed crushing damage and the empennage partially separated; both displayed signatures consistent with a hard landing. Both wings displayed skin damage starting from the wing’s mid-span to the wing tip. The “T-tail” portion of the empennage was fractured at a location near the tailwheel. The flaps were found set at 5 degrees and the flap handle was found in the 5 degree flap detent. On the Ibis II engine control panel, the ignition switch was found selecting the “on” position and the propeller arm retract switch was selecting the “up” position. The GRS parachute had not been deployed. The engine was ran twice and appeared to produce rated power. No preimpact anomalies were discovered which would have precluded normal operation of the glider.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 11, 2011, by the La Plata County Coroner’s Office as authorized by the La Plata County Coroner. The manner of death was ruled an accident. The Medical Examiner noted the following:

Interrogation of [the pilot’s] pacemaker, while limited because of the age and type of device, did not indicate a prior cardiac event. The pattern of injuries to [the pilot’s] hand is identical to the pattern seen in motor vehicle drivers who are gripping the steering wheel tightly at the moment of impact.

FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The report noted the following findings:

Amlodipine detected in Urine
Amlodipine detected in Blood
Atenolol detected in Urine
Atenolol detected in Blood
Atorvastatin detected in Urine
Atorvastatin NOT detected in Blood
Doxylamine detected in Urine
Doxylamine NOT detected in Blood
Losartan detected in Urine
Losartan detected in Blood
Warfarin detected in Urine
Warfarin detected in Blood

CAMI’s web-based collection of toxicology drug information noted that Amlodipine is used in the treatment of hypertension. Atenolol is used in the treatment of hypertension and certain arrhythmias. Atorvastatin is used for lowering blood cholesterol. Doxylamine is a common over the counter antihistamine used in the treatment of the common cold and hay fever. Losartan is used in the treatment of hypertension. Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication.

DURANGO — Investigators say the weather at the time of a fatal glider crash-landing in Durango last year could have produced strong downdrafts and microbursts.

A National Transportation Safety Board report released last week says the time and place of the crash coincided with a weather front was moving across the area.

The July 2011 crash killed 79-year-old Jim McCann, the only person aboard.

The NTSB says he was flying a two-seat, single-engine motorized glider when it crashed-landed on a sidewalk at a golf course. La Plata County Coroner Carol Huser said McCann died from his injuries.

The NTSB hasn't determined the cause of the crash.

Plane lands safely after midair malfunction at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR), Connecticut.

DANBURY -- A small plane landed safely Monday at Danbury Municipal Airport after the pilot said he was having trouble deploying the landing gear, officials said.

The pilot, whose identity was not immediately available, also briefly lost communication with air traffic controller shortly before 1 p.m., said Danbury Assistant Fire Chief Paul Omasta.

Officials were able to reestablish contact with the pilot shortly thereafter by calling his cell phone, Omasta said.

According to Omasta, the pilot set the plane down about 15 minutes on one of the airport's two runways, where several local fire companies had converged in anticipation of a possible crash landing.

"The pilot inadvertently did not switch on his alternator, so while in flight his battery went dead so he had no power to communicate with the radio," Omasta. "(Ultimately) he was able to crank down the gear manually."

Pilot who found Kati Kim and daughters finds lost mushroom hunters

The Associated Press
John Rachor, of Medford, stands in front of his helicopter. Rachor helped locate three missing mushroom hunters.

It was clear and calm Saturday morning as John Rachor, a veteran of more than a dozen search and rescue missions in Southern Oregon, flew over a small patch of Curry County looking for three mushroom pickers who disappeared last week. 

Rachor alternated his gaze between the instrument panel of his Robinson R44 and the ground to look for anything out of place in the carpet of browns and greens below. 

And that’s when he saw it: something was moving in the thick woods. Was it a deer or an elk?

Rachor took a closer look. 

“It was a man in bib overalls,” he said. 

The man stood in a clearing no bigger than the size of a car or two. He was waving both hands. A woman was standing next to him. 

Rachor had found Daniel and Belinda Conne, and their 25-year-old son Michael. The family became lost last week, and spent six days in the Curry County wilderness. The family was located about 10 miles from Gold Beach. They were tired, hungry, cold but escaped serious injury.

Rachor, 63, who lives in Medford and is a Jackson County commissioner, knows something about search and rescue missions. He's the same pilot who found Kati Kim and her two young daughters in 2006. The Kim family was missing in the Oregon wilderness for nine days and were the subject of an intense search and rescue effort that gripped the nation. Kati’s husband, James, died of exposure and hypothermia after a 16-mile hike in ice and snow to get help for his family, 

He said he often gets questions or hears criticism about the people he’s searching for: why don’t they carry maps or compasses or equip themselves with global positioning devices? 

“The people who get lost don’t think that way," he said. "They don’t plan like that. That’s why the end of up getting lost.” 

Since he found Kati Kim and her daughters, Rachor figures he’s taken part in about 15 search and rescue missions. He deflected questions about those successful searches for snowmobilers and hikers, saying ground searchers deserve as much credit as he does for finding people who get lost in the wilderness.

Rachor said he was sitting down to dinner Saturday night when those searchers were still making their way out of the woods. 

“I just want to commend them,” he said. “A lot of them were out there for days at a time. I saw them coming in covered with mud. This is tough country. Flying is the easy part.” 

Rachor volunteers his time to help search and rescue missions but the state reimburses him for fuel, which in this latest search cost about $420.

Since he joined the Jackson County Board of Commissioners last year, Rachor isn’t supposed to take part in search and rescue operations in that county. It’s seen as a conflict of interest since he oversees the budget for those efforts. He doesn’t get too worried when he hears of overdue hunters – they’re likely to have what they need to survive in the woods – but he said he’s made it clear that he won’t sit by if a search in his county takes a dire turn. 

“If there is a 4-year-old boy (who’s lost), all bets are off and I am going anyway,” he said. “When you have something like this, when people’s lives are at stake, I will always go.”


Under family ownership, airfield in Stow has a widespread effect. Minute Man Air Field (6B6), Stow, Massachusetts.

With the runways of Stow’s Minute Man Air Field in sight, flight instructor Ellie Callahan pilots her Robinson R44 helicopter back home.

The airport in Stow was a grass landing strip in 1966 when Paul McPherson, an inventor who loved to fly, bought the land and renamed it Minute Man Air Field.

The new airport opened in 1969 as a family business. McPherson’s son, Don, then 23, paved the runway and began to manage the airport. His wife, Peg, opened a coffee shop called Peg’s Place, where their daughter also worked.

After just three years, Paul died in an airplane crash, probably caused by a heart attack, in Acton. Don McPherson took over and still owns and runs the airport, which is now home to a second runway, several flight-training schools, a bakery, a printing company, and more than 60 planes and helicopters. His wife, Nancy, runs a restaurant that serves vegetables, meat, cheese, and other products from local farms. On the weekends, Don is a host at Nancy’s Air Field CafĂ©.

The private operation, which sits near acres of open fields and forests, now brings $8.6 million a year to the region, including money spent by its owners as well as other businesses at the airport, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. About two-thirds of the people who fly in and out of Minute Man are tourists, McPherson says, and the rest are business people, flight students and community service groups.

The study examined how the state’s 39 airports, public and private, contribute to the state’s economy, both directly and indirectly. The study found they generate more than 124,000 jobs and $11.9 billion in economic activity, from airport construction and flight schools to the money locally spent by tourists who fly in, stay at hotels, and eat at restaurants.

Minute Man generates 94 jobs that pay more than $2.8 million in wages, salaries, and benefits, according to the study. The airport and its tenants employ 30 people, according to the report. In recent years, McPherson has leased space to the flight training schools and other businesses now based at the airport.

“That’s the impact of people at the airport, and those businesses around the airport that are impacted from people at the airport spending their paychecks in the community,’’ said Christopher Willenborg, aeronautics division administrator at the state’s Transportation Department.

McPherson is working with a company that is preparing to lease 16 of his acres for a solar farm that will generate electricity for sale to the local utility company.

“It’s definitely the little engine that could,’’ said state Representative Kate Hogan, whose district includes Stow, about Minute Man. “Because it’s a smaller airfield, they’ve always looked to diversify.’’

After McPherson’s father died and he took over the airport, one of the first things he did was extend the runway. “When the runway was 2,000 feet long, we would average two planes a month that would run off the end of the runway and get stuck,’’ he said. “Nobody ever got hurt.’’

He also decided to add a flight school. He constructed a new building for the school and dedicated it, in his father’s memory, to “the self-reliant who dare mighty things.’’

His first student was a grandmother in her 70s who was so terrified of flying that she requested the name on her account be “Chicken Wings.’’ If she learned more about aviation, she hoped, she would lose her fear, McPherson said.

“She loved it so much that she went on to get her license, and fly all around and take her friends flying,’’ he said.

In the 1980s, the airport became eligible for federal funding. Many small airports didn’t want to partner with the Federal Aviation Administration because of the additional layer of regulation. McPherson eventually decided the funding was the only way to preserve the airport, because a developer was trying to build houses nearby in Boxborough.

“I sort of reluctantly accepted them because I saw it as the only way to save us from the inevitable conflict of encroaching houses,’’ he said. “We bought $2.5 million worth of land. In Boxborough, we bought 20 house lots and stopped farmland from being turned into another subdivision.’’

He now leases some of the land to farmers and harvests timber from some of the rest.

McPherson is aware of the airfield’s precarious relationship with neighbors, close enough to hear the planes taking off and landing. His relationship with the Conservation Commission in nearby Boxborough has sometimes been contentious.

Don Copeland, who lives in Boxborough near the airport’s runway, moved into his house in 1961, before Minute Man was built. The airport has been less noisy in recent years, he said.

“It used to be a lot worse than it is now,’’ he said.

Now, as McPherson turns 66 this year, he is beginning to think about the future of the airport. Neither of his children has expressed interest in taking over, he said.

The McPhersons spend so much time at Minute Man that they moved their hobbies from their house to the airport: two gardens, a stone waterfall and a koi pond, and beehives. Every summer, they hold an open house for local residents, with plane and hot-air balloon rides, cake, and, a recent addition, an observational hive from the apiary and tastes of honey.

“I think a lot of what Nancy and Don do creates a sense of community in Stow,’’ Hogan said. “I think it’s very important.’’

Waldo Lake engine ban back at hand

A lawsuit seeking to overturn a controversial 2010 vote by the Oregon Marine Board that banned gas-powered motorboats on Waldo Lake in the Cascade Range in east Lane County is once again bringing to the surface the long-running fight over how to enjoy and protect one of the purest lakes in the world.

“This lake is very unique,” said Bend resident Gretchen Valido, chairwoman of the Juniper Group chapter of the Sierra Club. “Why would we go and spoil the last lake that is so unique in our state?”

The lake, the second-deepest and one of the largest in Oregon, is a popular destination for kayakers, hikers and campers from Lane County and around the state. In years past, the lake also was used by some motorboat and seaplane owners.

In 2010, when the Marine Board collaborated with the U.S. Forest Service to propose measures to ban gas-powered engines from the lake, hundreds of Oregonians spoke out and wrote letters both supporting and opposing the ban. Eventually, after weeks of public comment, the board voted to adopt the ban.

Last March, however, a small group of individuals and organizations sued the board in the Oregon Court of Appeals, alleging that the board did not have the legal right to implement the ban and asserting that it should be scrapped.

The lawsuit led the Marine Board to ponder whether it should open the rule-making for more public comment.

The board has requested an extension from the Court of Appeals to formally respond to the lawsuit and will meet Thursday in Salem to discuss whether to allow more public comment on the engine ban. If it decides to reopen the comment period, the public would be able to comment from March 1 to April 1 on whether or not to allow engines, and the board would hold a final public hearing and make a decision on the ban at a special meeting in Eugene on April 10. The meeting in Salem on Thursday is open to the public, but there will be no public testimony. Public testimony will be allowed at the April 10 meeting.

Those who favor the ban say the gas-powered boats pollute the water and are noisy and distracting in a lake that visitors frequent in order to enjoy the serenity of the wilderness.

“It’s surrounded by three sides of wilderness,” Valido said. “People who come want to experience the solitude and the relaxation of a quiet place where there are not motors and noise.”

Motorboats are allowed on almost all other navigable lakes in the state, so why not keep at least one free of engines, especially given the growing popularity of canoing and kayaking, ban advocates say.

Cleaner engines cited

Some motorboat owners, on the other hand, insist that a ban imposes unfair and unnecessary restrictions, and that by permitting more efficient, less noisy four-stroke engines, the impact would be minimal.

“We want to help make sure that the most people as possible may enjoy Waldo Lake safely, in a peaceful and quiet environment,” said Westfir resident Rob DeHarpport, vice-president of the advocacy group Waldo Lake for Everyone! in an e-mail. Motorboat owners are committed to protecting the lake, he said, and with the cleaner engines they can do that, he said.

The lawsuit alleges that the board lacked the authority to impose administrative rules banning motors. It also notes that existing state law sets a 10 mph restriction on motor­boats on a number of lakes, including Waldo. That implies that law­makers wanted to allow engines on Waldo, the lawsuit argues.

Also, the lawsuit notes that Waldo is not on the list of lakes or water­ways where state law bans motor­boats. So, the Marine Board’s administrative ban improperly impinged on state law, the lawsuit argues.

The state has not filed a response to the allegations and instead has asked for a delay.

Years of arguments

The fight over engines on Waldo has been going on for years, with Eugene timber heir Steven Stewart leading the effort to keep motorboats on the lake.

Previously, the Forest Service banned gas engines on the lake, and Stewart sued in 2007, saying the federal agency had overstepped its jurisdiction. He argued that though the land around the lake belongs to the federal government, the water itself belongs to the state, so the Forest Service lacked authority to regulate boating. As that dispute dragged on, Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2010 took up the cause of banning engines on the lake, directing the Marine Board to implement the ban.

Stewart is involved again in this year’s efforts to repeal the ban. Other petitioners include Portland resident Aron Faegre, president of the Columbia Seaplane Pilots Association, and Albany resident Keith Kendrick, president of Waldo Lake for Everyone!

According to DeHarpport, the petitioners began planning the suit in mid-2010 and, after working closely together, decided to jointly file an appeal.

“Our arguments for inclusivity and equal access for all lake users are compelling,” DeHarpport said. “We believe our case before the Oregon Court of Appeals will ultimately be successful, rendering any ban on motors by the Marine Board moot.”

Groups vow to rally

In addition to their argument concerning the board’s jurisdiction, the petitioners also claim that when the Marine Board adopted its rule in 2010 it did not comply with various requirements included in the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act, which outlines the process for a state agency to enact new policies.

One issue that may be raised in court is the fact that the Marine Board itself conducted a required fiscal impact report of the effect of the ban on local businesses, rather than creating a separate rules committee to organize one.

To account for that oversight, the Marine Board has created the committee and is in the process of recalculating the fiscal impact of the ban, board Director Scott Brewen said.

Plus, the lawsuit argues that because Kulongoski directed the Marine Board to adopt the ban, the board’s effort to gather public testimony was a sham and violated state law.

Though the lawsuit is only in its preliminary stages, supporters and opponents of the ban are already vowing to rally just as they did two years ago.

“When the hearings are held, we definitely plan to be present,” Valido said. “People realize the value of having this unique body of water preserved and protected.”


Panel will meet to take up issue of motorboats on Waldo Lake

When/where: Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Oregon State Marine Board office, 435 Commercial St., Suite 400, in Salem.

More information: The meeting will not include time for public comment. The public may have an opportunity to provide testimony at an April 10 meeting in Eugene.


Birds of a feather in corporate aviation find homes at airport

The push to grow companies specializing in corporate aviation services at Reno Tahoe International airport continues to find its wings.

Companies that provide services to high-end corporate jet aircraft, from structural repairs to custom interiors and fueling, continue to lease space near the airport.

In 2011, two companies, SAI Inc. and Aeroshear Aviation Services began ramping up operations to serve the corporate aviation sector. They join Western Jet Aviation (2010), Million Air Interlink (2010) and Dassault Aircraft Services (2009).

Each company has its own niche: SAI builds one-of-a-kind custom aircraft interiors; Aeroshear provides major structural repairs and modifications to corporate jetcraft; Western Jet Aviation services Gulfstream aircraft; Dassault focuses service and repairs to Dassault Falcon corporate jets; and Million Air provides fuel and other ancillary services.

Million Air is expected break ground in this spring on a new $23 million Class A terminal facility to serve as a non-commercial gateway to the Reno-Sparks market, says Tina Iftiger, vice president of airport economic development. The new facility, as well as the continued growth of the corporate aviation cluster, not only brings new businesses to the area but provides crucial exposure for northern Nevada to well-heeled jetsetters, Iftiger says.

“Not only will we have a fabulous new terminal for commercial but a fabulous new terminal for private aircraft. These people have international networks. When you start the cluster, it starts to roll on its own. It is a nice catalyst for other growth and for diversifying our market, as well as supporting existing businesses and properties that are here.”

The airport has actively recruited some companies, says Brian Kulpin, the airport authority’s vice president of marketing and public affairs, while other businesses chose to locate here because of the presence of companies such as Dassault. The airport team put together an aggressive campaign to lure Dassault to the market, he says, while companies such as SAI and Aeroshear took space near the airport to capitalize on Dassault’s presence. Million Air, on the other hand, came to the market through a request for proposal for services.

“That is the beauty of a corporate aviation cluster — it introduces companies to other businesses and customers,” Kulpin says. “We have done our homework and our footwork, and we have been actively promoting this cluster. Having anchors like Dassault spurs these kinds of things. Dassault is like bringing a Nordstrom’s to our community. That is the type of cachet they carry in the aviation world.”

The airport offers several incentives to help interested companies locate here, Iftiger says, including:

• Use of airport water rights

• Development-ready sites

• Free ground rent until companies are generating revenue.

“It helps them minimize their up-front capital costs and helps us grow this sector,” she says. “This is really a viable sector within the community, and we are working very closely with the economic development agencies and have their full support behind this.”