Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chicago, Illinois: Low-Flying Plane Near Willis Tower Gives Downtown Workers A Scare

CHICAGO (CBS) – Something that happened over downtown Chicago Thursday morning is confirmation that the fear of another 9/11 is never far from people’s minds.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, two blocks away from the Willis Tower, Tracy McBride had a window seat in her office as she watched a plane come in low in the clear blue sky.

“Saw a plane coming literally right over the Loop. And I first said, something’s not right. That’s scary. And a few of us stood up. We looked out the window, and it literally looked like the plane was going to hit the tower,” McBride said.

She said one thought went through their minds.

“9/11. How frightening it was. It was a sickening feeling; literally, a nauseating feeling,” she said.

McBride said she’s worked in that office near the Willis Tower for five years and looks out the window everyday, so she’d notice something unusual in the sky.

“I’m right there all day and I’ve never seen something come that close to the Loop before, it was frightening,” she said.

FAA Spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said, “We did know about a small aircraft that did have permission to fly downtown today for possibly a photo mission.”

Cory said planes generally cannot be less than 1,000 feet above downtown buildings, but if a plane does need to fly that low, it must have advance permission.

The plane that flew near the Willis Tower Thursday morning would have needed that permission. It also could have been a law enforcement mission.

An FBI spokesman said the FBI flies missions “almost daily,” but he would not confirm that this was an FBI plane flying low over the Loop.

http://chicago.cbslocal.com

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Learn about opportunities to do business with the FAA

Even before the federal government’s vast NextGen effort to modernize air traffic control, the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township was a major contributor to the area economy.

Companies interested in possibly doing business with the center and its affiliates may wish to consider attending a program Thursday in Atlantic City presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

The seminar will focus on the Federal Aviation Administration’s procurement forecast for 2012-13.

Businesses attending will have the opportunity to meet with the FAA’s small business specialist and other contracting and technical representatives to discuss the possibilities of working on related government contracts.

To get an idea of the type of work and contracts available, the current FAA procurement forecast may be viewed online at http://www.sbo.faa.gov/sbo/

ProcurementForecast.cfm.

The FAA makes the procurement forecast available to business owners in order to provide small businesses — and small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals — with reasonable procurement opportunities in accordance with federal law, an executive order by the president and the FAA’s own small business policies.

State of Middle Township

The new mayor of Middle Township, Daniel Lockwood, will present a ‘State of the Township’ address Wednesday at a dinner meeting of the township’s Chamber of Commerce. The event will include the election of new chamber board members and the announcement of nominees for the group’s Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year for 2012.

If You Go


Source:   http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

North Texas Regional Airport to demolish storm-damaged buildings

DENISON, TX - It's out with the old and in with the new for the North Texas Regional Airport.

The Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority says they will soon be tearing down two badly damaged buildings. Those buildings lost parts of their roofs and sustained other severe wind damage in a storm last May.

Airport director Mike Shahan says they are currently taking contract bids for the demolition. The final decision will be made at the Grayson County commissioners' court in a few weeks.

"They were both damaged severely in the May 1st wind storm that we had here at the airport. Total damage on those two buildings was a little over $1.1 million. They're old buildings. There was a lot of asbestos and so forth," Shahan said.

Shahan says they're discussing building a new hangar with the $1.1 million they will be getting from the insurance company.

3 New York cabbies misbehave with Air India cabin crew on flight, held

Three men were arrested for allegedly misbehaving with the cabin crew on board an Air India flight (AI 102) from New York to Delhi.

It is alleged that the three men, all taxi drivers based in New York, threw alcohol on two air hostesses who approached the security detail at the Indira Gandhi International Airport as soon as the flight landed in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon.

Police said Varinder Pal Singh, Hardeep Singh Deol and Bhupinder Singh had boarded the flight with two bottles of liquor which have been recovered.

“Throughout the flight, the men kept yelling and created a ruckus. They kept asking for more liquor on board. After a point, we requested them to stop creating a scene, but to no avail. The situation had gone out of hand,” said one of the airhostesses in her complaint.

Angry at being stopped from consuming more alcohol on board, the three men threw liquor at the complainant’s face, police said.

The crew reportedly sent out a message to the airport security detail while the plane was still in the air. The three men were arrested as soon as the flight landed.

“The three were arrested for misbehaving with the cabin crew under the influence of alcohol,” said R A Sanjeev, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Airport).

The men are said to be in the age group of 40 to 45 years.

“A medical examination of the men has been conducted and a case has been registered,” said Sanjeev.

http://www.indianexpress.com

Amateur radio club gets space at airport

West Virginia's News & Sentinel report that Wood County Airport Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved allowing the Parkersburg Amateur Radio Klub to use space at the airport.

"The (Federal Aviation Administration) is moving out of hangar 1 and we are giving the space to the ham radio group," said airport manager Terry Moore.

The radio club will occupy the annex of the hangar at no cost with the building as is for three years with two automatic renewals for three years each. This will give the radio club a possible nine years in the space.

Read the full News & Sentinel article at

Parkersburg Amateur Radio Klub
http://www.qsl.net/n8nbl/park.html

Varga 2150A Kachina, N8293J: Fatal accident occurred February 08, 2012 in Frankston, Texas

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

National Transportation Safety Board -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA152  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 08, 2012 in Frankston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: VARGA AIRCRAFT CORP. 2150A, registration: N8293J
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.

The pilot was returning from a cross-country flight. The airplane was overdue, and a search was initiated. The airplane was located in a lake short of the pilot’s destination airport. There were no reported witnesses to the accident. The airplane’s canopy was found locked in the open position, the pilot’s seat belts were unlatched, the fuel shut-off valves and ignition switch were in the “OFF” position, and the battery and avionics switches were also in the off position. The throttle was found full open, the mixture control was full rich, and the carburetor heat was in the cold position. The airplane was recovered, and the engine was test run. The engine started and ran; no preimpact abnormalities with the airplane or engine were found. The medical examiner noted the pilot’s cause of death as "drowning, hypothermia, and minor blunt force injuries.” The weather in the area was clear with light wind; however, the temperature and dew point indicated that the airplane was operating in an area that was associated with a serious risk of carburetor ice accumulation at cruise power settings. Based on the location of the destination airport, weather, and the airplane’s condition and location, it is likely that the pilot had not applied carburetor heat, and the airplane experienced a loss of engine power due to carburetor ice. The pilot then had to ditch the airplane in the lake. The loss of engine power was likely due to carburetor ice.

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

The loss of engine power due to carburetor ice, which resulted in the pilot ditching the airplane into the lake. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision not to apply carburetor heat.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 8, 2012, approximately 1200 central standard time, a Varga Aircraft Corporation 2150A single-engine airplane, N8293J, impacted Lake Palestine, while approaching the Aero Estates Airport (T25), Frankston, Texas. The airplane sustained minor damage and the private rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatality injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the Cherokee County Airport (JSO), Jacksonville, Texas.

The pilot departed T25 earlier in the day with the intent of refueling the airplane. Fuel records at JSO reveal that about 1045, the airplane was serviced with about 18 gallons of fuel and then was seen departing the airport, headed north. When the pilot did not return home, an ALNOT (Alert Notice) for a missing aircraft was issued and a search was initiated. The airplane was located on February 9th, just off shore of Lake Palestine, in approximately 18 feet of water.

Once the airplane was retrieved from the lake, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), examined the airplane wreckage on site. A visual examination of the airplane and engine revealed minor damage to the airplane and no discrepancies with the engine.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine, multi-engine land, with instrument airplane ratings. The pilot also held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. His third-class FAA medical was issued on April 04, 2011. According to the pilot’s log book, he had approximately 5,575 total flight hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a Varga 2150A, which is an all metal, low wing, tandem two-seat airplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane was powered by a reciprocating Lycoming O-320 engine that developed 150 horsepower. The airplane was not equipped with a carburetor ice indicator.



METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1135, the automated weather station at JSO, located about 16 miles southeast of the accident site, reported the wind from 030 degrees at 6 knots, temperature 48 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37 degrees Fahrenheit, (F), visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, and an altimeter pressure setting 30.44 inches of mercury.

At 1153, the automated weather station at Tyler Pounds Regional airport, located about 17 miles north of the accident site, reported the wind from 290 degrees at 5 knots, temperature 48 degrees F, dew point 37 degrees F, visibility 10 miles, sky overcast at 2,500 feet, and an altimeter pressure setting 30.46 inches of mercury.

At 1135, the automated weather station at Palestine Municipal airport, located about 22 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 350 degrees at 5 knots, temperature 52 degrees F, dew point 39 degrees F, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, and an altimeter pressure setting 30.45 inches of mercury.

The carburetor icing probability chart included in Federal Aviation Administration Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin No. CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, indicated that the airplane was operating in an area that was associated with a serious risk of carburetor ice accumulation at cruise power settings.

COMMUNICATIONS & RADAR INFORMATION

Both JSO and T25 do not have operating control towers and pilots are advised to use CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) for communication. The pilot was not in contact with air traffic control/radar service and no distress call from the pilot was reported.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The NTSB IIC, and inspectors from the FAA, examined the airplane wreckage on site. After retrieval from water, the airplane placed on shore; the airplane’s canopy was found locked in the open position and the pilot’s seat belts were unlatched. Additionally, the examination revealed that the fuel shut-off valves and ignition switch were in the “OFF” position, the battery and avionics switches were also in the off position. The throttle was found full open, mixture control was found set to full rich, and the carburetor heat was in the cold position. The airplane was then relocated to salvage facility. To preserve the engine for a later examination, both magnetos were removed from the engine, the oil was drained from the engine and replaced with new oil, the lower sparksplugs were removed, and the carburetor bowl and gascolator were drained.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Office of the Medical Examiner, Dallas, Texas, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be "drowning, hypothermia, and minor blunt force injuries”.

The FAA Toxicology Accident Research Library, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing. The results were negative for tested drugs.

TEST AND RESEARCH

A follow-up examination of the aircraft wreckage was conducted at a salvage facility by the NTSB IIC and an FAA inspector. The airplane’s lower engine cowling had sustained damage during the accident, resulting in damage to the carburetor’s airbox. In order to perform an engine run, the airbox was removed, the magnetos were re-installed, and the carburetor bowl was drained of remaining water. The battery was installed and fuel was connected to the airplane’s left side fuel line. The engine started and operated on both the left and right magnetos. The engine was shut down, and the fuel was switched to the right side fuel lines. The engine started again and operated on both magnetos. No pre-impact abnormalities were noted with the engine or airframe.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA152 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 08, 2012 in Frankston, TX
Aircraft: VARGA AIRCRAFT CORP. 2150A, registration: N8293J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On February 8, 2012, approximately 1200 central daylight time, a Varga 2150 airplane, N8293J, impacted Lake Palestine, while approaching the Aero Estates Airport (T25), Frankston, Texas. The private rated pilot, sole occupant, was fatality injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the Cherokee County Airport (JSO), Jacksonville, Texas.

Initial reports indicate that the pilot departed T25 earlier in the day, with the intent of refueling the airplane. Fuel records at JSO reveal that the accident pilot received about 17 gallons of fuel, and then was seen departing the airport, headed north. When the pilot did not return home, an ALNOT (Alert Notice) for a missing aircraft was issued, and a search was initiated. The airplane was located on 9 February, just off shore of Lake Palestine, in approximately 18 feet of water. The pilot was not located until 10 February.

Once the airplane was retrieved from the lake, the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge (IIC), and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), examined the airplane wreckage on site. The airplane’s canopy was found locked in the open position and the pilot’s seat belts were unlatched. Additionally, the exam revealed that the fuel shut-off valves and ignition switch were in the “OFF” position, the battery and avionics switches were also in the off position. A visual examination of the airplane and engine revealed relatively minor damage to the airplane, and no visual discrepancies with the engine.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.



N8293J

Sidescan sonar photos obtained by KLTV 7 reveal the plane submerged in Lake Palestine.

The cursor in this photo shows the plane is submerged 15-20 feet deep in some spots.

The cursor in this sidescan sonar photo shows the plane is submerged over 40 feet deep.

LAKE PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Authorities have suspended their efforts to locate a missing pilot after a plane crashed into Lake Palestine overnight Wednesday.

The plane was reportedly spotted Wednesday night by Henderson County Sheriff's Deputies and Anderson County Deputies responded calling in crews from Texas Parks and Wildlife and dive teams.

FAA officials said the plane, a single-engine Varga aircraft, was reported missing after it never landed in Berryville, TX.

The plane is registered to Fred & Dorothy Scholz who have a Frankston address, but DPS officials say the pilot is from Berryville.

FAA officials say the pilot was the only one on board. It is not known who was on board.

DPS Troopers say the plane stopped in Jacksonville to refuel before going on to Berryville.

Sidescan sonar photos obtained by KLTV 7 News reveal the plane is submerged in 15-20 feet of water. DPS officials say the plane was found on its belly, submerged in 17 and a half feet of water. Game Wardens tell KLTV that officials located the plane and found the door was open.

No body was found in the plane, and officials say the pilot escaped the harness in the cockpit, reportedly underwater, Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan said.

Authorities expanded their search to the shoreline on Thursday and a DPS helicopter is circling the lake searching for the man.

In total, one dive team and three search boats are involved in the rescue efforts on the water.

Game Wardens said nothing has been ruled out. Officials are still treating this as a search and rescue, however, as time goes on, it may turn into a search and recovery.

DPS officials added that the pilot was in excellent physical condition.

Authorities say the plane is intact, with very little damage; there appears to be no broken glass.

As a precaution, the FAA has shut off the fuel pump the pilot last used in Jacksonville. DPS says this precaution was taken in case there is something wrong with the fuel.

FAA teams are en route to the lake and will begin the process of investigating the crash.

Authorities plan to recover the submerged plane on Friday morning.

Anderson County DPS officials tell KETK there was no body found in the plane in Lake Palestine.

The Anderson County game warden tells us, crews are still searching the rest of the surrounding lake area, and won't know for certain that there is no body near the plane until it is removed from the lake on Friday.

DPS officials are reporting that the plane appears to be intact, and believe that it may have had a soft landing in the lake.

KETK crews are still on scene and will continue to update as the details come in.

The FAA released the following statement concerning the Lake Palestine plane crash.

N8293J
The airplane was a single-engine Varga MOR2. It was flying from Jacksonville, TX, to Frankston yesterday when it crashed into Lake Palestine under unknown circumstances. The search began after concerned family members reported that the aircraft was overdue, with one person on board.

FAA investigators are on their way to the site.


In a team effort the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), have found the missing aircraft, a Varga that was flying from Jacksonville, Texas to Frankston, Texas. The aircraft took off at approximately 5:40 pm Wednesday and failed to arrive at its intended destination. The aircraft was found off the Aero Estates Airport in Lake Palestine.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Tyndall AFB, Florida requested Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to conduct aerial and ground searches Wednesday evening after the aircraft was reported overdue. CAP requested support from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as radar forensic reports narrowed the search to the Lake Palestine area. Both departments confirmed that the aircraft had been found by the lake patrol’s side scan sonar.

Information from Civil Air Patrol

A neighbor of the reportedly missing man, Fred Scholz, has provided the following picture to KETK.
It is the plane registered to Mr. Scholz, matching the description of the alleged missing plane (an orange Varga two seater). See the press release at the bottom of this story for a more detailed description of the plane.


Neighbors and close friends of the pilot's family tell KETK, the pilot's name is Fred Scholz. The family has been notified of the situation.

Friends of Mr. Scholz tell us, he is an 82-year old man from Iowa, with a part time residence in the Frankston area.

KETK crews on scene are reporting that recovery crews are searching the area near the Aero Estates Air Park.

KETK crews have just arrived on scene.

Texas Parks and Wildlife divers are preparing to launch into the water near the dam in the southern portion of Lake Palestine.

 



The missing plane has been found in Lake Palestine, according to airport officials. Divers are currently on the scene.

The plane is reportedly owned by a Frankston man, who would have been flying the plane on Wednesday evening. Family members believe he was travelling alone.

The Henderson County Game Warden found the plane early Thursday morning.
KETKNBC.com will bring you more information as it becomes available.



Texas Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), is searching for a low wing aircraft flying from Jacksonville, Texas to Frankston, Texas that has been reported overdue. The aircraft took off at approximately 5:40 pm Wednesday and failed to arrive at its intended destination. The pilot flying the single engine Varga, described as primarily orange in color had one passenger aboard. The Varga is a fixed gear, low wing, two seat aircraft with a plexi-glass cockpit cover. The wing span is 30’ and is 21 feet long.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Tyndall AFB, Florida has requested Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to conduct aerial and ground searches. Any information that anyone could provide about the plane from Jacksonville to the Aero Estates area, around Lake Palestine from 5:40 pm to 7:00 pm would be appreciated. Please contact either Maj. Steve Hudson or the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Cancels Flying License of Private Airline's Commander

Cracking the whip on tipsy pilots, the civil aviation regulator has cancelled the flying license of the commander of a private airline for five years.

"Action has been taken as per the new Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), which says that the license of the first- time offender will be suspended for three months and if caught the second-time, his license would be suspended for five years," DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan said.

Flight crew are not allowed to drink 12 hours before operating flights.

The captain had failed the pre-flight breath analyser test twice. Earlier, his licence was suspended for three months after alcohol level was found higher than the permissible limit in his breath.

Recently, Directorate General of Civil Aviation had suspended the flying license of a senior pilot of national carrier Air India after he failed the pre-flight breath analyzer test.

In January, 12 pilots and cabin crew - four commanders including one of Air India and eight air-hostesses - were found tipsy at work. All of them failed the new Alco Sensor-IV breath analyzer mandated by the DGCA.

After inspection at various airports, the DGCA has found that results from commonly used breathalyser -- Alco-Sensor III -- were not satisfactory.

"We have asked the airlines to use advanced breathalyser, Alco-Sensor IV, to conduct pre-flight checks. I have ordered for strictest possible action against such persons. We have been conducting regular checks. We will also be conducting surprise checks, to stop such practices," Bhushan said

The Alco-Sensor IV is a handheld breath alcohol tester which provides a simple, accurate and economical method of determining alcohol concentration in a person's breath with evidential grade accuracy.

http://news.outlookindia.com

Directorate General of Civil Aviation to conduct surprise checks to catch drunk pilots, crew

The Indian aviation watchdog on Thursday said it will carry out surprise checks and enforce stricter norms to stop pilots and cabin crew getting tipsy while at work.

"We are currently conducting regular checks ourselves and we will also be conducting surprise checks going forward. We will take strictest possible action against any person who is caught," E.K. Bharat Bhushan, directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), said.

The development comes as DGCA cracked the the whip on a tipsy pilot of a private airline by cancelling his licence for five years. The pilot failed a pre-flight breath analyser test.

Earlier the same pilot's licence was suspended for three months following another failed attempt at clearing the pre-flight breath analyser test.

"The action was taken under the new Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), which clearly states that two time offender's licence would be suspended for five years," Bhushan said.

DGCA had amended its rules on pre-flight medical checks in January 2011 which now require airlines to conduct the test before all domestic flights and after every 15 days at foreign airports.

Pilots and flight crew are not allowed to drink 12 hours before operating flights.

On Feb 3, DGCA suspended the licence of Air India captain Sebastian after he failed the advanced breath analyser test before he was supposed to have operated a flight between Chennai and Madurai.

Last month 12 pilots and cabin crew failed the mandatory breath analyser test.

Bhushan added that all the airlines had been directed to use advance hand-held breath analyser system - Alco-Sensor IV, which is said to be more effective in catching even the slightest of alcohol content in the breath.

"We have directed all airlines to use Alco-Sensor IV advanced breathalyser to conduct pre-flight checks."

NTSB release new information on Richmond plane crash

We’re learning more about a plane crash in Richmond last year that killed both pilots on board and injured 8 passengers.

The NTSB is classifying the October plane crash of the Beechcraft King Air 100 as a “loss of control accident.”

The flight headed for Kelowna was forced to return to YVR 15 minutes after takeoff because of an oil leak, but no emergency was declared.

Then, when the plane was 300 feet above ground, and less than half a mile away from the runway, it banked left and nose-dived into the ground at Russ Baker Way.

The report also indicates that the crash only caused physical damage to everyone on board, and it was the post impact fire that proved to be deadly.

Airplane blows tire after landing. Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Fort Lauderdale, FL (WSVN) - Passengers on this plane had to hop a bus to the terminal today after landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

A tire blew on the Can-Jet Airlines 737 as it was taxiing on the runway.

The jet could not be moved without damaging the landing gear -- so the 188 people on board got off.

No one on the flight from Montreal was injured.

Al Ain paraglider crash prompts safety call

ABU DHABI // A leading football club official called yesterday for greater safety precautions at pre-match entertainment after a powered glider crashed into a stand packed with fans.

"I'm glad nobody died, but they could kill people," said Khaled Awadh, assistant chief executive of Al Wahda. "And it shouldn't be that easy." Eight spectators and a pilot were injured when one of two powered gliders entertaining the crowd before Wednesday night's Al Ain-Al Wahda derby plummeted into the stands after its motor became entangled with decorative balloons.

The Al Ain chief executive Carlo Nohra admitted voicing safety concerns before the show but said he would not rule out using powered gliders again.

"Equally, we will be considering the safety aspect of all the activities that we will be authorising," he said. "It would be wrong of us not to have learnt from this experience."

The pilot, Khalid Yusuf, is thought to have broken a leg and pelvis in the crash. The eight fans suffered minor injuries.

"It could have been a lot lot worse," said Liam Weeks, the head of performance analysis at Al Ain. "And there could have been a lot more people taken down with him."

Mr Awadh said the pilots should have been forbidden from flying too low or flying close to the crowd. "It's nice for them to make some entertainment to attract the fans to come to the field," he said.

"That is something nice. But again, we have to take care."

Fans had to push their way through broken chairs as medics tended to the injured, said Ahmed Saleh, who was among the 10,000 strong crowd at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium.

"We saw people running away," said Mr Saleh, 21, from Al Ain. "We saw people rushing to help."

The two pilots - Mr Yusuf and Ahmed Rashid Al Ghaith - had been hired by the Al Ain fan society. Mohammed Al Dhaheri, the society's chairman, said Mr Yusuf had surgery at Al Ain Hospital and would be transferred to a foreign hospital for further treatment.

The balloons were not on the field when the pilots rehearsed their show, Mr Al Dhaheri said. When Mr Yusuf crashed, he was flying close to the crowd to throw confetti over the fans. A rope tethering the balloons is thought to have become stuck in his motor.

"This was an accident," said Mr Al Dhaheri, using the Arabic term qadaa wa qadar, similar to divine will.

"We're thankful that there were no fatal injuries. However, we did learn the lesson that you can never be too careful … we should have asked what decorations were going to be installed on the field during the presentation."

Mr Nohra, who accompanied the injured fans to hospital, said he had been assured that the flyers were experienced.

"But again, you don't plan a flight path, you don't plan wind conditions and stuff like that. So unfortunately, when accidents do happen, there are a number of issues that lead up to the accident, and I believe yesterday was one such incident: a reminder that things, regardless of how well planned and how well executed by professionals, don't always get executed the way they were planned for."

There is no government licensing process for the use of powered gliders, but Mr Yusuf and Mr Al Ghaith are experienced flyers, according to friends and colleagues. Both men work for the UAE Armed Forces and perform in military air shows.

"I know them personally, and they are very good pilots," said Johan Vercruyssen, the chief flight instructor for powered gliders at Jazirah Aviation Club in Ras Al Khaimah. "It's just an unfortunate accident."

The Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club said the injured fans were Ali Abdullah Al Shamisi, Saif Hamad Al Ameri, Salem Obeid Al Kaabi, Hassan Musallam Hassan, Ahmed Abdullah Al Muhairi, Thyab Ali Al Issai, Faris Khater and Hatem Ali Al Issai.


Prosecutors want higher bail for man charged in Naperville stabbing death.

Daniel Olaska
Manager at Schaumburg Regional Airport (06C), Chicago/Schaumburg, Illinois

DuPage County prosecutors moved Thursday to raise or revoke Daniel Olaska’s $3 million bail in an effort to keep him behind bars while he fights charges he fatally stabbed a school teacher last weekend in a Naperville nightclub.

Judge Kathryn Creswell delayed a hearing on the bail request, but agreed to allow a psychiatrist to examine the 27-year-old Olaska in the DuPage County Jail.

Olaska, meanwhile, has switched attorneys, hiring prominent DuPage County attorney Brian Telander to represent him on the first-degree murder and attempted murder charges he faces.

Olaska, a manager at the Schaumburg Regional Airport, is accused of fatally stabbing 24-year-old Shaun Wild early Saturday morning at Frankie’s Blue Room after Wild stepped in to defuse an argument between Olaska and Wild’s friend, William Hayes.

Olaska stabbed Hayes in the chest, seriously wounding the North Central College football player, then tried to leave the jammed dance club, authorities said.

Wild, a former North Central College football star who taught at Spring Brook Elementary School in Naperville, attempted to stop Olaska from fleeing and died after being stabbed once in the chest, authorities said.

A bouncer who disarmed Olaska also was cut during the scuffle, but suffered only minor injuries, officials said.

Prosecutors have filed a request to revoke bail for Olaska or raise his bail to $5 million. A hearing on the issue was set for Feb. 17.

Telander, who replaces former defense attorney Earl Grinbarg, said he would oppose efforts to change Olaska’s bail, noting Olaska has never been arrested or even been in trouble before being charged with the stabbings.

“This is a situation he never thought he’d find himself in,” Telander said after a short hearing Thursday.

Money guarantee could lure airline. Consultant: Best draw is cash, not terminal

By Andrew Denney
Thursday, February 9, 2012

An air travel consultant told business and government leaders yesterday that a second destination city for Columbia Regional Airport would be more likely to result from a revenue guarantee for an air service provider than from a terminal expansion.

Michael Boyd, president of the Evergreen, Colo.-based Boyd Group International Inc., has been working with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on ways to improve air service. Yesterday, he lauded the airport for its ability to rebound — and attract a record-breaking number of passengers — after Delta Air Lines began providing service to the airport without the help of subsidies from a federal program.

“Once you go in, you’re never going to get out,” Boyd said about airports that depend on federal Essential Air Service funding to stay operational. “You know, it’s kind of like the Mafia or something.”

Business and government leaders had been focusing on expanding the airport terminal, originally built in 1969, to attract additional routes and flights to the airport. Boyd, however, said airlines are less concerned about the condition of an airport terminal and more about the profit they can make in providing service to a city.

A revenue guarantee is an agreement between an airline and an airport that a route will make a certain amount of revenue for the airline and that the airport will offer a certain amount of money as an insurance policy in case the airline loses revenue in providing service to an airport.

The Pittsburgh International Airport, for example, was able to start nonstop service to Paris through Delta after offering a $9 million revenue guarantee, according to a 2011 report in The Patriot-News, a Harrisburg, Pa., newspaper.

Delta Air Lines is the only company now providing commercial service to Columbia Regional Airport. The airline flies passengers to the company’s international hub in Memphis, Tenn., for connections to other destinations.

Boyd pointed out that Memphis is the closest hub to Columbia, but he said hubs in Dallas, Denver and Chicago also are within an appropriate range.

City officials have said that with a few easy fixes, the airport would be able to handle a second airline or additional flights. The fixes could include adding a trailer to the south side of the airport to accommodate additional passengers and staggered flight times to alleviate crowding in the terminal.

Don Laird, the chamber’s executive director, said offering economic incentives to airlines for service is the “way of the world.” However, he said terminal improvements should remain a priority as the condition of the airport is an “image issue” for the region.

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes said finding ways to offer incentives to airports has become the highest priority in the city’s efforts to improve the airport. He said the city has been recruiting investors to help pool funds for the revenue guarantee.

“They’re not going to come on their own,” Matthes said. “We have to show them that we’re serious and we’re willing to make sure they won’t lose a lot of money.”

Source:  http://www.columbiatribune.com

Mountain Home Air Force base to hold exercises starting tomorrow

If you are in Boise or Mountain Home for the next week, you may be noticing increased aircraft sound above your city.

According to the United States Air Force, members of the U.S. Special Operations Command and other U.S. forces will be holding military exercises from February 10 - 18.

You may be noticing both increased flights and noise over the area for the next week.

Airport authority finances getting a closer look

Jackson County Manager Kevin Poe is examining the status of the airport authority’s decision to enter into an agreement with a fixed base operator.

The agreement puts Spirit Aviation in charge of business operations of the airport, and that has some scratching their heads about the soundness of the decision from a financial standpoint.

On the county website is the announcement that “The Jackson County Airport Authority is pleased to announce that Spirit Aviation has taken over as the FBO at the airport.”

However, Poe is now examining the negative financial impact of that decision.

“We are redoing the budget,” Poe said last week as work was under way to see the scope of the financial hit anticipated since the FBO contract means the authority will be receiving 2 percent of gross fuel sales. “We have to determine the negative on the county to what level.”

Poe said he hopes the authority can make a cooperative effort with staff to get more information. He said Greg Garner was new as airport manager and the FBO process was already in action before he arrived. “He is still learning the ropes,” said Poe.

Looking at the financial aspects of the situation, Poe said the authority owes the county roughly $1 million for operating funds as well as the short-term loan provided up to $500,000 for the corporate T-hangar development on the airport’s west side. With $430,000 spend, not a penny has been repaid, Poe notes.

With more than a million and a half owed, some of those funds are expected to come back to the county at some point in reimbursements from state and federal dollars. However, for now, that amount plus the subsidy of $20,000 to $25,000 provided annually for the airport manager and associated costs of operations is giving a closer look.

While operation of an airport is often at a loss, the loss of fuel revenues is a concern.

Beyond the financial examination, what else has been happening at the airport in recent weeks has a close eye on what could be the future direction of the airport authority. With the turmoil, the possibility that legislation to alter or do away with the authority could be pursued.

Poe said to the best of his knowledge the authority’s FBO decision was not made with input from county staff. The Request for Proposal was original developed with county staff input but the evaluation of the resulting submissions nor the decision to go with Spirit Aviation’s proposal was not. Poe said he was unaware of any report developed on the FBO move which would show the positives.

“I am concerned with the negative impact will be,” said Poe,.

Officials fear airport closure as airlines comply with a US court order

St.George’s, Grenada, CMC- Fears that Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport could halt operations have surfaced here as airlines serving the island from international markets have begun paying money into an escrow account, authorities here confirmed on Thursday.

The payments have been redirected as a result of an order from American court amid a lingering dispute between Grenada and Taiwan, the chairman of the airports authority, Rodney George, has confirmed.

Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, British Airways, and Delta have been forced to comply with the court order to pay money owed to the Grenada Government into an account setup by Taipei.

“It is quite unfortunate but it is happening. We have already been notified by Virgin airlines. It is British airways. It is American airlines. And it is Delta” said George in a local radio interview.

“All the major airlines that are flying to Grenada with the exception of Caribbean airlines. Virgin Atlantic took effect three weeks ago. British Airways and Delta two weeks ago”.

Taiwan had commenced legal action to recover EC 70 million dollars (US25m) in default loans from the state owned export import bank shortly after Grenada broke diplomatic relations in 2005.

George says the airport authority has already lost about half a million US dollars in landing fees, and taxes normally collected by the airlines on behalf of the Government.

He says the authority has already written to finance Minister Nazim Burke outlining the plight and requesting assistance from the state.

“I have to add that this is of real concern to us and the airport and we are flagging it heavily with the authorities because it could cause our operations at the airport to grind to a halt “the airport authority chief commented.

“It’s a very serious matter and one that has been keeping me awake at nights”. The prospect of operations at the airport grinding to a halt is something that will have dire consequences on the entire country. The next three to four weeks are critical”.

The fees are being withheld from the Government after Taiwan filed an injunction with cruise ships and airlines servicing Grenada, demanding that money due to the island should be paid to it.

Information Minister Glen Noel confirmed late last year that the fees cruise ships normally pay the state are now being deposited in a special account because of the loan dispute.

“The revenues that we normally collect that would just not be available to us that would just flow into this escrow account and it means the revenues that we normally collected that will be used to service our debt and our normal operating cost like salaries .. .that money would just not be available to us” George explained.

“We really do not have much avenues to do anything because our position with our bankers. we are up to our neck as far as our over draft limit is concerned so I supposed the only option now is to see if we can get central government to make up the shortfall until this is cleared”.

The Government had said that it hired a US law firm which has begun legal proceedings in an effort to have the injunction overturned.

Were Air India pilots trained on Airbus post-merger: High Court


The Bombay high court on Thursday asked Air India (AI) whether its pilots were offered training on the 46 Airbuses delivered after the merger with Indian Airlines (IA).

A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice RY Ganoo was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Pilots Guild (earlier the Air India pilots), who have locked horns with the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (of the erstwhile Indian Airlines) over the proposed 1:1 policy adopted by the national carrier to fill its flight crew requirement.

The court had earlier suggested that the two pilots' associations consider reaching a consensus for training on Boeing 787, which is to be delivered soon.

According to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) counsel Jamshed Mistry, the court was informed that the DM Dharmadhikari committee report, which is looking into Air India wage issues, was submitted to the government. The court had earlier asked whether the report would help in resolving the problem.

The IPG contended that the IA pilots did not have the experience to fly the wide bodies of Boeing 787 aircrafts and hence the cost and time of training them would be four-fold compared to the AI pilots.


Pilot Killed In Plane Crash Near Lebanon Municipal Airport (KLEB), New Hampshire.

LEBANON, New Hampshire -- The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed in a crash near the Lebanon Airport on Thursday afternoon.

The crash happened at about 2 p.m. Thursday. The pilot was the only one on board the Cessna 172 aircraft. The identity of the pilot was not known.

The plane was taking off from the airport.The pilot, unable to make the take off, attempted an emergency landing and crashed just off the runway.

The plane, according to FAA records, is registered to a company out of Ogden, Utah, Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative Inc., an aquaculture business.

The Utah cooperative says its member companies use a number of planes operated by private pilots and it's trying to find out why this plane was in New Hampshire.

Officials are securing the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board is will be on scene tomorrow.

Lebanon, New Hampshire -- The Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot of a single-engine plane has died in a crash near the airport in Lebanon.

Spokeswoman Arlene Salac says the crash happened at about 2 p.m. Thursday. She said the pilot was believed to be the only one on board the Cessna 172 aircraft. The identity of the pilot was not known.

Salac said the plane was registered to a company out of Ogden, Utah, -- Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative Inc., an aquaculture business.

The plane's flight plan was not immediately known.

LEBANON, New Hampshire  -- The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed in a crash near the Lebanon Airport on Thursday afternoon.

The pilot was the only person on board when the plane went down in the woods around 2 p.m.

NC 5's David Charns is on the scene and says there is no fire in the woods but there is a lot of activity on the runway.

Airport officials will be holding a news conference starting at 3 p.m.

LEBANON, New Hampshire -- The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed in a crash near the Lebanon Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.  The crash happened at about 2 p.m.  The pilot was the only person on board the plane.

Pipistrel Virus 912, N325MZ. Accident occurred February 4, 2012 in Ray, Michigan

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA149
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Ray, MI
Aircraft: Pipistrel Virus 912, registration: N325MZ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT


On February 4, 2012, at 1120 eastern standard time, a Pipistrel Virus 912 motorglider, N325MZ, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from Ray Community Airport (57D), Ray, Michigan. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from 57D at 1118.

A witness reported that the motorglider engine did not sound as if it was operating normally during the preflight run-up. He added that the engine sounded as if it was "missing" during takeoff, and it subsequently quit when the aircraft was about 200 feet above ground level (agl) after takeoff. He observed the motorglider climbing and descending during the glide prior to the forced landing. He lost sight of the aircraft when it descended below the trees.

Global positioning system (GPS) data related to the accident flight indicated that the motorglider departed runway 27 at 1118. Subsequent position data depicted the motorglider in a gradual left turn southwest of the airport. The final GPS data point was logged at 1120:19 (hhmm:ss) and located about 0.9 miles southwest of the initial data point at the arrival end of runway 27. GPS altitude data depicted the motorglider as high as 822 feet, about 200 feet agl, before it began to descend. The GPS altitude associated with the final data point was 674 feet. The elevation of the runway 27 threshold was 626 feet. The accident site was located on a golf course, about 325 feet south-southeast of the final GPS data point at an approximate elevation of 618 feet.

The motorglider impacted a golf course within 1 mile of the airport. The pilot was transported from the scene in critical condition and subsequently died from injuries received during the accident.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The accident pilot held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land airplane and glider ratings. The pilot's most recent application for an airman medical certificate, dated October 5, 2006, was denied. On that application, the pilot indicated a total flight time of 2,433 hours, with 61 hours acquired during the previous 6 months. The pilot's most recent flight review was completed on April 30, 2010.

The pilot's son reported that the pilot had discarded his logbook covering powered aircraft flight time when his medical certificate was denied. The pilot's flight time in gliders was estimated to be about 340 hours.

Regulations [14 CFR 16.23(b)(3)] do not require a person exercising the privileges of a pilot certificate with a glider category rating to hold a medical certificate when operating a glider.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident aircraft was a 2007 Pipistrel Virus 912 motorglider, serial number 251VSW9121207. The motorglider was a two-place, high-wing monoplane, with a T-tail empennage and tri-cycle landing gear configuration. Significant portions of the airframe were constructed of composite (fiberglass) materials. The motorglider was powered by an 80-horsepower Rotax 912UL engine.

The accident motorglider was imported to the United States and sold to the accident pilot in December 2007. The motorglider was issued an experimental exhibition glider airworthiness certificate on June 4, 2008. The airworthiness certificate application noted a total of 2 hours on the airframe at that time.

Maintenance records revealed that the most recent inspection was completed on January 11, 2012, at a recording tachometer time of 298 hours. A maintenance entry dated June 25, 2011, indicated that the left and right fuel tanks were repaired due to damage caused by automotive fuel containing ethanol. The recording hour meter reportedly indicated 287 hours at that time. The repair was accomplished in accordance with Pipistrel Special Repair Instruction S.RI 02.r1 (March 5, 2011). The repair involved removing a portion of the upper wing skins in order to access and seal the fuel tanks. The motorglider had been operated about 11 hours since the fuel tank repair.

The Flight Manual stated that the use of fuel with alcohol content is not permitted. The repair instruction provided for the repair and internal protection of semi-integral wing fuel tanks that had been damaged by alcohol blended fuels (ethanol, methanol).

A representative of the manufacturer stated that additional in-line fuel filters are installed after the fuel tank repair in order to retain any residual debris. These filters are normally removed after 5 flight hours, and they were not installed at the time of the postaccident examination. Maintenance records available to the NTSB did not contain an entry denoting installation or removal of the additional filters.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

Weather conditions at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base, located about 8 miles southeast of 57D, at 1055, were: Wind from 050 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 miles; scattered clouds at 12,000 feet agl; broken clouds at 15,000 feet agl; broken clouds at 18,000 feet agl; temperature 2 degrees Celsius; dew point -1 degrees Celsius, altimeter 30.28 inches of mercury.

At 1155, weather conditions at 57D were: Wind from 090 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 3,500 feet agl; scattered clouds at 12,000 feet agl; broken clouds at 17,000 feet agl; temperature 3 degrees Celsius; dew point -2 degrees Celsius, altimeter 30.26 inches of mercury.

FAA guidance related to carburetor icing noted a possibility of serious icing at cruise power under the recorded temperature/dew point conditions.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The motorglider impacted a golf course about 0.9 miles southwest of the airport. The main wreckage, which included the fuselage, engine and left wing, came to rest on a paved golf cart path. The right wing and empennage had separated from the fuselage and were located adjacent to the main wreckage. The forward portion of the fuselage was fragmented and the cockpit area was compromised. The engine was dislocated from the airframe, but remained partially attached to the firewall. The right cockpit door had separated. It came to rest adjacent to a ground impact scar located about 75 feet north of the main wreckage. One propeller blade had separated near the hub and was located about 125 feet north of the main wreckage. The second propeller blade remained attached.

The right flaperon was separated from the wing and located at the accident site. The left flaperon remained attached to the left wing. The rudder and elevators remained attached to the empennage. Flight control continuity was confirmed at the rudder and elevators. Discontinuities in the remainder of the flight control system appeared consistent with separations due to the impact sequence.

A postaccident teardown examination of the engine was conducted under the direct supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector. The examination did not reveal any anomalies related to the cylinders, crankshaft, or valve train. The fuel pump had separated from the engine during the accident sequence and could not be actuated by hand. Teardown examination of the fuel pump revealed an accumulation of debris on the inlet side of the internal pump screen. However, the debris did not appear to significantly obstruct the screen. The debris was similar in appearance and texture to the fiberglass material used in the construction of the composite airframe. The gascolator also contained a minor amount of debris. The carburetors and fuel lines appeared to be free of any debris. The fuel line between the fuel pump and manifold did not contain any fuel when disconnected during the exam. The carburetor float bowls contained only a minimal amount of fuel. Approximately 5 gallons of fuel was recovered from the fuel tanks after the accident.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was performed on February 6, 2012. The pilot's death was attributed to multiple injuries sustained in the accident.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute toxicology report noted:
50.46 (UG/ML, UG/G) Acetaminophen detected in Urine
Lidocaine detected in Urine
Lidocaine detected in Blood
1.128 (ug/mL, ug/g) Lorazepam detected in Urine
0.058 (ug/mL, ug/g) Lorazepam detected in Blood
45.985 (ug/ml, ug/g) Morphine detected in Urine
0.215 (ug/ml, ug/g) Morphine detected in Blood
Propofol detected in Urine
Propofol detected in Blood
156 (mg/dl) Glucose detected in Urine
Glucose NOT detected in Vitreous
5.8 (%) Hemoglobin A1C detected in Blood

The pilot's son stated that the pilot had some difficulty with his eye sight and had been looking for a magnifying sheet to place over the aircraft multi-function display in order to make it easier to read. The pilot also reportedly had some issues with his hearing. In addition, a noise reduction headset was observed with the pilot at the accident site.

Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter analgesic medication, sold under the trade name Tylenol, commonly used to treat pain and fever. Morphine, Lidocaine, and Propofol are commonly used in hospital emergency treatment settings. Lorazepam is a prescription medication commonly used for the management of anxiety disorders and for insomnia. The medication was detected at sub-therapeutic levels.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Rotax engine installation manual noted the presence of an electric fuel pump in the standard installation schematic. The accident motorglider was not equipped with an electric fuel pump. A representative of the manufacturer stated that Rotax does not require use of an electrical fuel pump in conjunction with the engine integrated mechanical fuel pump when the fuel is gravity fed from the wing tanks.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA149
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 04, 2012 in Ray, MI
Aircraft: Pipistrel Virus 912, registration: N325MZ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On February 4, 2012, about 1120 eastern standard time, a Pipistrel Virus 912 motorglider, N325MZ, was substantially damaged when it impacted a golf course shortly after takeoff from Ray Community Airport (57D), Ray, Michigan. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from 57D about 1115. 



 Charles Vito Zichichi passed away on February 4, 2012 with his family by his side. He died from injuries sustained while doing what he loved most, flying his power glider. Chuck was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 5, 1933 the son of Vito and Josephine (Agosta) Zichichi. He attended Aero Mechanics School as well as Pershing High School in Detroit and worked at Big Bear Market before serving as a Private First Class in the Army during the Korean Conflict.
Read more:  http://www.legacy.com

FAA Pushes for Faster Fixes to Anticollision Systems on 9,000 Planes

By ANDY PASZTOR, The Wall Street Journal
February 9, 2012, 1:39 P.M. ET

Federal aviation regulators this week ordered airlines and business aircraft operators to accelerate fixes to collision-warning systems on roughly 9,000 planes, citing additional concerns that the devices could malfunction.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a final mandatory rule Tuesday giving U.S. airlines three years to install software changes to the devices, manufactured by a unit of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., to ensure that they properly keep track of all nearby planes.

In 2010 the FAA proposed requiring fixes to the devices within four years. That initial directive was prompted by reports of problems with the devices on a test flight through busy airspace over airports in New York, Chicago and Atlanta, including a single malfunction that lasted some 40 seconds.

The devices are designed to warn pilots of impending midair collisions.

Since the initial directive, the agency has identified another time the equipment malfunctioned, according to the FAA. The agency didn't provide details of the incident this week. But the FAA cited that second event as one of the reasons it called for a three-year compliance time, rejecting industry requests for a longer deadline and other changes to the final rule.

The FAA rule comes amid heightened scrutiny of airborne near-misses across the U.S. Since 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aircraft incidents and accidents, has been collecting its own reports of cockpit collision-avoidance warnings. The safety board has looked at many dozens of such incidents.

On Wednesday, an L-3 Communications spokeswoman said the company initially informed the government about the issue in 2009. She said the company voluntarily alerted airlines, cooperated with the FAA and has free software fixes available for customers. The company has told the FAA that the likelihood of a problem in actual operation is "low enough" that it doesn't warrant any agency action, according to FAA documents.

"The safety, performance and integrity of our products is of utmost importance," the spokeswoman said in a prepared statement.

When the FAA originally proposed the directive at the end of 2010, the agency said it covered devices installed on more than 7,000 U.S. airliners, about 1,800 business jets and fewer than 100 U.S. military aircraft. The widely used safety systems are intended to keep track of nearby aircraft on cockpit displays, and to issue various warnings and instructions to pilots if aircraft approach each other too closely or are on a collision course.

The collision warnings are supposed to be virtually foolproof. Cockpit crews are trained to instantly comply with computer-generated instructions, which typically order pilots to take action by climbing or descending without first checking with air-traffic controllers.

According to FAA documents, results of several flight tests, discussions with industry safety experts and other data collected by the agency indicate that the current risk "is unacceptable" and requires government action.

Source:  http://online.wsj.com

All-Jet Service at San Angelo Regional Airport/Mathis Field (KSJT), San Angelo, Texas.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012 marked the start of American Eagle's all-jet service at San Angelo Regional Airport, which will mean smoother and faster flights to and from DFW. This is the first time San Angelo will have all-jet service.

Runway farewell for airport founder Bob Jones

Bob Jones
A procession to 'take home' Bob Jones starts at his Mid Wales Airport

The funeral of Powys air crash victim Bob Jones will begin at the airport he founded in Welshpool.

The 60-year-old died alongside experienced pilot Steve Carr, 55, from Ruthin, Denbighshire in January.

Mr Jones' funeral will take place on Saturday, beginning with a procession on the runway at Mid Wales Airport, where he was manager.

An air accident investigation is continuing into how the twin-engine Piper plane came down on Long Mountain.

The runway procession on Saturday marks a day of tributes to Mr Jones, who was a well known businessman in the Welshpool area.

He built Mid Wales Airport on fields near the farm he owned, developing it from a grass strip in 1990 to act as a base for businesses operating aircraft in the area.

The Wales Air Ambulance's mid Wales helicopter also flies from the site, and the service will include a flypast and a "bow of honour" as the funeral proceeds.
Wreckage

After a private family service in Welshpool, there will be a public service at St Mary's Church in the afternoon to celebrate Mr Jones' life, beginning at 13:30 GMT.

The funeral of former RAF pilot and music producer, Steve Carr, is taking place on Friday at Pentrebychan Crematorium in Wrexham.

Meanwhile, the Air Accident Investigation Branch has confirmed that wreckage from the aircraft has been taken to its headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire.