Friday, February 10, 2012

Economists debate Gulf Air revamp plan

ECONOMISTS have expressed mixed views over which of the four government-suggested proposals for Gulf Air would be the best solution for the struggling carrier.

According to the proposals, the state-owned airline may be dissolved altogether, sold off and a new national carrier launched, downsized or allowed to continue in its current form with government support.

A joint parliament and Shura Council committee has now been tasked to study the options.

However, economists are warning against dissolving Gulf Air altogether and have come up with their own suggestions for moving forward.

Economist and businessman Dr Yousef Mashal said he expected job losses regardless of what happens.

However, he argued the best solution would be to privatise about 80 per cent of the carrier.

He said for this to be successful the government would have to restructure the company and offer shares at a rate that reflected the state of the airline.

"The government should not have a majority ownership, I would suggest 20pc or less," said Dr Mashal, who is Mashal Group chairman.

"When a government-owned entity goes private it is always a good investment for the private sector.

"There have been rumours of a merger between Gulf Air and Bahrain Air and, in this scenario, Bahrain Air could become a shareholder and then decide to merge or not.

"But to merge now is not advisable because both airlines will become sick."

Dr Mashal blamed Gulf Air's board for failing to come up with solutions for the airline and the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the government agency responsible for the carrier, for allowing the current situation to develop.

"Who is the government official responsible for Gulf Air who can be questioned by parliament?" he asked.

"There isn't anyone, so this proves this company has no proper management.

"This board is no longer capable or qualified to run a company like this.

"They only criticise the chief executive, but we have seen chief executives leave Gulf Air and go on to be hugely successful in other companies."

Economist and former Al Wefaq MP Dr Jasim Husain, who previously served on parliament's financial and economic affairs committee, said it would be a mistake to scrap the Gulf Air brand.

He believed that selling off Gulf Air, merging it with Bahrain Air or severely downsizing it would spell the end for the national carrier.

"It has been a brand for so many years and this must also be taken into consideration," he said.

Dr Husain said the best solution for Gulf Air is to restructure the carrier with government support.

He pointed out that most GCC countries had stepped in to support their national carriers and said Bahrain must follow suit.

"It's a mistake to look at Gulf Air only in terms of its financial losses and not look at the revenues that it brings into the economy," said Dr Husain.

"It brings to the economy BD400 million per year, but we could really lose that option if we make it into a budget airline and if it becomes a budget airline it might be difficult to compete with other budget airlines.

"We need to consider the indirect and direct revenue the airline brings to the economy."

Dr Husain said Gulf Air had suffered by suspending flights to Iran and Iraq and recommended an urgent rethink.

He said four carriers in the region were now operating profitable flights to Iraq while Gulf Air missed out.

"Gulf Air's problem is more political than economic, it was reducing losses in 2009 and 2010," said Dr Husain.

"We should keep Gulf Air as it's a major contributor to the economy.

"Restructuring is OK, but we shouldn't go into a merger and do away with Gulf Air's name.

"If we go for a merger then we must have a public debate.

"But I strongly believe the economy can afford to support Gulf Air."

Bahrain Economic Society president Dr Ahmed Al Youshaa agreed that Gulf Air should be retained as the national carrier, even if it sought new partnerships or joint ventures.

However, he said if the airline was to enter into a joint venture agreement the government must remain the majority stakeholder.

He warned that complete privatisation of state-owned companies had not proved to be beneficial in other countries, such as the US and the UK.

Dr Al Youshaa also said he believed Gulf Air could become profitable again, but was in a bad shape due to factors beyond its control.

"They did a great job at restructuring Gulf Air and in my opinion the problem is not Gulf Air per se," he said.

"We had two shocks to the economy, which has nothing to do with the management of Gulf Air.

"There was the political upheaval in the Arab world and many profitable stations went down - some were new such as Iran and Iraq, but very profitable.

"But due to political and security reasons, Gulf Air had no option but to stop flying there.

"This imposed a huge financial burden on Gulf Air.

"Then oil prices last year increased and averaged from $85 (BD32) to $100 (BD37.8) per barrel, this was an almost 20pc increase and this was an important element of the operating cost.

"It was a massive shock for a company that was going through restructuring."

On December 21, Gulf Air was given a month to come up with a new recovery strategy after admitting it would no longer be able to break even by its January 2013 target.

After the one-month deadline passed Bahrain's Cabinet agreed on January 22 to restructure the airline in line with operational requirements and reduce the size of its "challenges, commitments and costs" while maintaining the national workforce.

Two days later MPs voted in favour of making it obligatory for a Bahraini to hold the position of Gulf Air's chief executive officer.

The position is currently held by Samer Majali, the former head of Royal Jordanian and the son of former Jordanian prime minister Abdelsalam Majali.

He took over the reins of Gulf Air from its former president and chief executive Bjšrn NŠf on August 1, 2009.

Mr Al Majali has been overseeing attempts to steer the airline back into profit, but has blamed regional political turmoil for derailing its recovery plans, particularly anti-government protests in Bahrain.

He also said the suspension of flights to Iran and Iraq compounded the problem, since they were major money-spinners for the carrier.

In August 2010, a more optimistic Mr Majali announced that cost-cutting - including the shedding of just under 1,000 jobs over the previous year - had led to significant savings as Gulf Air strove to reduce financial losses.

However, Gulf Air needed a BD400m loan last year to cover the costs of fuel, space at Bahrain International Airport, purchases of new aircraft and pay off outstanding debts, among other things.

Based on figures previously presented to parliament, an MP predicted that Gulf Air would post losses of $500m (BD189m) for 2009 alone - the equivalent of $1.36m (BD518,000) a day.

The airline has declined to disclose exactly how much money it has lost.

 http://www.gulf-daily-news.com

VARGA AIRCRAFT CORP. 2150A, N8293J: Accident occurred February 08, 2012 in Frankston, Texas

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.




LAKE PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -  Getting the single-engine plane above water was no easy feat. Divers spent hours in the water to accomplish the task.

We took a closer look at the process, from water level, and from Chopper 7.

Around ten A.M. the dive team was in the water. They had been there the day before placing air bladders beneath the plane to make sure it stayed put. Today they tackled the much more tedious task of lifting the plane to the surface. It took more time than they expected.

Trooper Lynn Hubert with DPS said," When they actually got that wing up I think that wind played an issue in actually getting the bags located and situated just exactly how they wanted them."

The wing acted like a sail pushing the plane around. The water inside the plane makes it so heavy that bringing it up quickly or allowing the wind to twist it would break it apart. The Federal Aviation Administration can conduct a much more efficient investigation if they plane is whole when they look at for the first time.

"We did safely get it up. Nobody was injured. And, you see it is up with very little damage to it," Trooper Hubert pointed out.

But, the job wasn't over yet. It had to be pulled to deeper water, then it was taken nearly two miles to the shore by a barge. The tailwind helped, but it was a slow tow. It took a couple hours before the plane could finally be lifted to shore.

The FAA will disassemble the plane and transport it to a secure facility to continue their investigation.

Peruvian Air Force plane crash left two dead. Dos fallecidos tras caer avioneta de instrucción de la Fuerza Aérea Peruana

The accident occurred on a military base in Pisco.

Two officers of the Peruvian Air Force (PAF) died after the plane of instruction in which they were traveling crashed on the runway of the military base in Pisco province, north of Lima, officials said.

The accident occurred at 13:20 local time (18:20 GMT, 15:20 Chile time), he told the curator of the town of San Andres, Oscar Arrué, the official news agency Andina.

The fall of aircraft commander killed Victor Velasco Bustamante and Angel Cano greater Machado, who worked in Air Group 51 ​​of the FAP.

"The accident occurred in circumstances in which it was on a training flight. Are the causes of the accident," said Arrué to Andina.

LIMA – Two Peruvian air force officers died Friday when their small aircraft crashed at a base in Pisco province, north of Lima, the military said.

The accident occurred at 1:20 p.m., the police chief in the nearby town of San Andres, Oscar Arrue, told the official Andina news agency. Killed in the crash were Capt. Victor Bustamante Velasco and Maj. Angel Cano Machado, both assigned to the 51st Air Group.

“The accident occurred in the circumstances of a training flight,” Arrue told Andina. “The causes are being investigated.”
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Dos oficiales de la Fuerza Aérea Peruana (FAP) murieron hoy luego de que la avioneta de instrucción en la que viajaban se accidentó en la pista de aterrizaje de la base militar de la provincia de Pisco, al norte de Lima, informaron fuentes oficiales.

El accidente se produjo a las 13.20 hora local (18.20 GMT), según declaró el comisario de la localidad de San Andrés, Oscar Arrué, a la agencia oficial Andina.

La caída de la aeronave causó la muerte del comandante Víctor Bustamante Velasco y del mayor Ángel Cano Machado, quienes trabajaban en el Grupo Aéreo 51 de la FAP.

"El accidente se produjo en circunstancias en que se realizaba un vuelo de instrucción. Se investigan las causas del siniestro", dijo Arrué a la Agencia Andina.

Watertown Fire Department: Possible FAA Model

It was just a few short months ago when the Watertown Fire Department moved into its new facility on the west side of town.

City leaders and the Federal Aviation Administration worked together for several years trying to coordinate efforts and money to make the project possible.

Now the FAA says they may use station two as a model for local fire departments that assist airports all across the country.

Overlooking the Watertown Regional Airport is a 17-thousand square foot building that may soon be a model for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The new facility features two ambulances and an array of fire equipment.   

"As commercial flights use our airport we are required to have personnel on scene to man the crash trucks or emergency equipment when a commercial flight comes in," Watertown Fire Department Assistant Chief, Mike Oletzke said.

An average of three commercial flights makes their way into Watertown Regional Airport each day.

The FAA saw a need for a fire station and decided teaming up with the city made sense.

City leaders say the west-side location was ideal; it solves a long-standing flooding problem, and helps crews avoid the railroad tracks that run through town.

"We are providing much better emergency services now, being spread out we can enhance more of the city faster and also still keep personnel in place," Oletzke said.

For people who use the airport like Brian White having help nearby is a relief.

"I think any place like this that's going to have a large amount of people gathering should have something like that nearby, even if there isn't any kind of a fire or anything of that nature," White said.

Oletzke agrees, he says not only is it good for safety at the airport, it has also improved response time of paramedics.

Station two had a final price tag of around four million dollars, around 1.7 million of the funds came from the FAA.

http://www.ksfy.com

Colorado Forest Service seeks firefighting tankers

DENVER (WTW) — The U.S. Forest Service released its long-awaited strategy Friday for replacing its wildfire-fighting fleet of aging heavy air tankers with ones that are newer, faster and more cost-effective, though it's unclear how quickly those multimillion-dollar planes will come on line.

Its current fleet is owned and operated by private contractors, but the agency said it's possible the government could own some planes in the future.

"That's an option," said Jim Hubbard, the U.S. Forest Service's deputy chief for state and private forestry. "We're looking for the best value."

The agency uses a mix of aircraft, including single-engine air tankers and helicopters, to support firefighters on the ground. But its fleet of 11 heavy air tankers that drop slurry over fires is at least 50 years old. More than half face mandatory retirement within 10 years.

The Forest Service said Friday that the next generation of heavy tankers should be powered by turbine engines rather than piston engines that are less reliable and less fuel efficient. They should have a minimum cruise speed of 345 mph and be able to carry at least 1,800 gallons of mixed retardant without having to return to a base, the agency said.

The planes also must be able to meet Forest Service contract structural integrity program requirements.

"We need a core fleet of the next generation large air tankers to supplement our boots-on-the-ground firefighters for what we know will be longer and more severe wildfire seasons in years to come," Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a written statement.

In 2004, the Forest Service grounded 33 air tankers following questions about whether several types of air tankers were safe. That encouraged contractors and others to think about what their replacements should look like.

"We applaud the Forest Service for releasing this strategy," said Nelson Litterst, a representative for current Forest Service contractor Minden Air Corp. "It gives contractors some direction as they're developing the next generation of firefighting aircraft."

Minden Air Corp. and Neptune Aviation Services have been looking at using a BAe-146, designed for mountain flying and available for around $7 million to $8 million.

By contrast, C-130s, which the Forest Service occasionally borrows from the military to fight wildfires, are around $70 million, Hubbard said.

Meanwhile, 10 Tanker Air Carrier LLC is offering its DC-10 jets. Already the company has flown more than 400 missions on more than 70 fires, including 62 days of firefighting for the Forest Service last year under a "call when needed" contract, said company President and CEO Rick Hatton. It plans to bid for more contracts.

"We're offering probably the largest airplane that's in this hunt. That may be outside the so-called target they've established, but we believe there's merit to that. Size should not be a negative. It can do the work of multiple airplanes that are smaller," Hatton said.

Hubbard said the look of the nation's new firefighting fleet will depend on how much money is available for modernization and what the private sector can do.

"We'll probably have a mixed fleet of different airplanes to meet our needs," Hubbard said.


Helicopter To Help Hang Power Lines Near Beltline


American Transmission Company said it is scheduled to utilize a helicopter for the Rockdale-West Middleton Transmission Line Project on Saturday and Sunday.

Officials said a small helicopter will be used to string wires on new transmission poles during daytime hours. Residents can expect to see the helicopter flying about 100 feet above the ground, officials said.

The flight schedule will vary and is subject to change based on weather. Helicopter use decreases construction time and minimizes environmental impacts to the area.

The area where the helicopter will be used is at the Yahara Wetlands along the Beltline.

Work may be postponed with little or no notice due to conditions. For safety reasons, viewing from road and highway shoulders is prohibited.

Bentley Continental V8 suspended beneath a helicopter


by easier on Feb 10, 2012

Bentley Motors celebrated the arrival of its new 4.0 litre V8 Continental GT coupe in Germany with a sensational flying debut above downtown Munich.

Anyone struggling through the rush hour would have seen the bright red Bentley taking a dramatic short-cut, suspended beneath a helicopter, to beat the traffic jams and arrive at a specially-designed podium at the summit of a high rise complex close to Munich's city centre. The fashionable SkyLounge -- positioned in a glazed bridge between two skyscrapers -- was the venue for an exclusive Bentley Continental V8 launch party for 300 VIP guests.

Klaus Becker, General Manager of Bentley Munich, who organised the show-stopping helicopter lift commented: "A dramatic car got the debut we felt it deserved and we took a little bit of our inspiration from Bentley's iconic 'Winged B' emblem. On a practical level the helicopter was the fastest way to get to the rooftop podium."

For more information, visit http://www.easier.com

Transport Minister on LIAT threats: Caribbean Airlines to expand aggressively

Despite threats by LIAT to sue Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) over allegations of unfair competition, Transport Minister Devant Maharaj says CAL would continue to service the Eastern Caribbean aggressively. “We see CAL as having a pivotal role in the development of T&T’s tourism and it would continue to aggressively pursue markets in all territories in the Eastern Caribbean.” Maharaj said he felt the market is currently not being serviced properly and CAL, which he described as the “Caribbean’s number one airline,” would continue to expand its markets in the region. Maharaj, who was speaking yesterday at a CAL new conference held at the Piarco International Airport, said he was not willing to comment further on the matter. “Given the threat of litigation, I don’t think it would be prudent to comment on that at this point in time. I await whatever pre-action letter that would be served and then we would respond.” He said he was not depending solely on newspaper reports and is waiting to officially hear from LIAT.

Last week Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and chairman of the shareholder governments of LIAT, said the airline’s owners felt CAL was undermining the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas as well as the Common Air Services Agreement in Caricom by engaging in unfair competition. Gonsalves said no one can stop CAL or wants to stop CAL, but shareholder governments of LIAT would like to have a level playing field and fair competition.

Asked if CAL was in breach of any Caricom or Chaguaramas treaty law, Maharaj said, “I shudder to think that any board under my remit would breach any law and that includes CAL.” Prior to this accusation, CAL came under more fire by the low-cost airline REDjet, which accused CAL of deceptive advertising. This was quickly dismissed by Maharaj, who said REDjet was looking for free advertising and was not in a position to properly comment on deceptive advertising, because many of REDjet’s flights were recently cancelled. Jokingly, Maharaj said “CAL is an airline, but REDjet is just about two planes.”

24-hour ANR Airport
Meanwhile, Maharaj said the conference was to announce CAL’s “red eye” flights between Trinidad and Tobago, its non-stop daily service to George FL Charles international aiport in St Lucia, and the official opening of the 24-hour service of ANR Robinson airport, Tobago. He said the additional four new flights between T&T were to facilitate the 24-hour service at the Tobago airport. He said the red eye services would allow customers full 24-hour day trips to facilitate business and leisure. These flights would now take the total number of weekly flights on the airbridge to 252. CAL chairman George Nicholas III pointed out that these Tobago flights would serve as connecting flights from United States to avoid passengers having to overnight. CAL would be receiving another ATR aircraft in four days. 

Robert Corbie, acting chief executive officer at CAL, said the airline is on stream to fulfil the expectation of transporting 220,000 passengers for Carnival. “This number is across the board for the entire Carnival season,” he said. “We are expected to have a 747 aircraft arriving today, which would be kept for about two weeks.” Minority leader Ashworth Jack praised CAL and the minister for their quick response to the call to make the ANR Robinson airport a 24-hour service, and to add flights between T&T. He said this would give Tobago the much-needed boost to make it more attractive for tourists. He asked Nicholas if CAL could also consider additional flights between Barbados and Tobago, London and Tobago, and New York and Tobago.

http://www.guardian.co.tt

Grenada/Taiwan dispute threatens island airport

ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada – The ongoing dispute between Taiwan and Grenada over monies reportedly owed by the Caribbean nation to its former Asian benefactor could cause the shutdown of the Maurice Bishop International Airport.

These fears have surfaced as airlines serving the island from international markets have recently begun paying money into an escrow account, as a result of an order from an American court as an act of restitution in the dispute between Grenada and Taiwan.

Chairman of the airports authority, Rodney George, reportedly confirmed that 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 (US$25million) 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.

Flight Delayed After Plane Goes Off Runway

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich—  Passengers trying to escape the snow for a warmer destination had a damper put on their travel plans when a plane bound for Orlando went off the runway Friday.

Slippery conditions on the runway may have led to the plane going off into the grass at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, in Grand Rapids, according to an airport spokesperson.

The incident happened around 2:00 p.m. The plane was an AirTran plane, which is operated by Southwest Airlines, taxiing for takeoff to Orlando when the front wheels went off the runway and got stuck in the grass and snow.

All 117 passenger and 5 crew members aboard the plane at the time were bussed back to the airport where they awaited a replacement plane. No one was injured in the incident.

Airline engineers are checking the plane over before it goes back into regular service.

The incident did not cause delays for other flights departing or arriving at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
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LOSING ALTITUDE: Creswell considers closing its municipal airport over skydiving

CRESWELL — The city of Creswell is considering closing its airport after Eugene Skydivers’ owner filed a complaint against it with the federal government. It was the latest salvo in a long-running battle over whether skydivers should be able to land at the airport.

“The Creswell City Council plans to review its commitment to maintaining airport services at a special City Council meeting on Tuesday ,” the city’s website says. “This evaluation is necessary due to the very high anticipated cost to defend a Federal Aviation Administration complaint filed by Mr. Urban Moore, owner of Eugene Skydivers.”

Closing the airport? Hobby Field — touted by the city as one of the state’s busiest general aviation airports, home to the Experimental Aircraft Association, a flight simulator, aerobatic rides, two asphalt runways, 115 single engine planes, three helicopters and two ultralights? The place from which Bob Severns has been taking off and landing for 55 of his 70 years?

Severns says, in no uncertain terms, that he’s tired of the 7-year-old battle between the city and Eugene Skydivers.

Moore, who filed with the FAA in December, says the city’s 2006 ban on skydiving is illegal discrimination at a city-owned facility that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants over the years.

The city says skydiving isn’t safe at Hobby Field. Moore says it is safe, and that the FAA has agreed with him, on several occasions.

Ferreting out who’s right will take time and attorneys’ fees. City Administrator Mark Shrives says just to complete a full response to Moore’s complaint will cost $100,000, and, for an airport that barely breaks even year to year, that kind of money is not exactly lying around.

“To fight it, the City Council has got to make a decision to transfer money from the general fund,” Shrives said.

Thus, a meeting has been called to consider all of the options; even the very dire.

Moore contends the city can’t shut the airport down legally because of the federal grant money it receives. Severns agrees, and Shrives admits he doesn’t know whether that’s really an option.

“We haven’t gone there yet,” he said. “That’s part of the discussion.”

The city’s in a tough spot, Shrives said, wedged between FAA conclusions that went from a decree that the airport wasn’t a safe place for skydivers to subsequent reversals of that position to the most recent position, from a city-hired consultant, that also said it’s not safe.

“I’m not sure (allowing skydiving) is an option,” Shrives said, noting the consultant’s take. “They determined there was no safe place to land skydivers at the airport.

“I’m not sure how you would turn around and say we don’t believe that report anymore.”

The way to solve the problem, Moore said, is to agree with the feds, who have weighed in three different times since 2007, to say it is possible for skydiving to exist at Hobby Field, provided some appropriate measures are taken. He says he’s willing to work something out.

The city doesn’t see a compromise. Now, city officials must decide how they’re going to pay attorneys’ fees that could soar well past that initial $100,000.

The city has hired outside counsel with a specialty in this field.

“The consideration is, will this ever stop?” Shrives said. “Let’s say we go through this and the city is successful. He could file an appeal, another complaint.”

All for an airport that tends to lose money, year after year. In 2009-2010, the city’s budget included a transfer of $100,000 from the general fund to cover losses at the airport.

Talk of closure already has airport users upset. Severns agrees that the city is in a pickle, but “they put themselves there,” he said, “by carrying on this fight with the skydivers. The airport and the skydivers used to coexist just fine.”

Then the skydivers began “abusing the situation,” walking across the runway when airplanes were on take-off runs, Severns said.

“There were some serious safety concerns,” he said.

But the city hasn’t done much to mitigate those concerns, other than banning skydiving in 2006, Severns added.

“There’s blame on both sides,” he said.

Bill Dewey, another longtime user, said he’s been flying for 50 years and uses the Creswell airport regularly.

“It’s a very big concern, if it’s closed,” he said. “A lot of people depend on that airport. I would probably have to sell my airplane and get out of aviation.”

Moore says he has no choice but to fight or go out of business, as his only competitor, Wright Brother Skydiving, did after the ban took effect. Moore now offers more limited skydiving services on some county-owned property 9 miles from Hobby Field.

Between the lost business and the fees he pays to use that site, there’s no way for the Eugene Skydivers to grow, he said.

“The city’s refusal to comply with the FAA’s finding, and discrimination against skydiving, has nearly put me out of business,” he said. “Now that I’m calling them out for their wrongdoing, they’re making threats rather than living up to their promises.”

Frontier Airlines expert believes we're watching 'slow death of the airline'

MILWAUKEE- Tough times for Frontier Airlines as they plan to eliminate a lot of flights out of Mitchell International Airport.

A cutback on non-stop trips means potentially longer travel times and one expert believes this is the beginning of the end of the airline.

In April, the company will shut down five non-stop flights from Milwaukee, dropping departures from 32 to 18 each day.

A frontier spokesperson writes, "these service reductions are not easy for any of us, as they affect some of our team members; however, they are fundamental and necessary changes for Frontier..."

Jay Sorenson worked for Frontier's Milwaukee predecessor, Midwest Airlines. Now an airline consultant, he believes Frontier and its parent company are struggling in a travel town that's too small for two big airlines.

"What we're watching now is the slow death of the airline," said Sorenson. "Milwaukeeans have enjoyed a tremendous benefit -- a competitive outcome -- of very low fares and lots of flights. That's not going to stay."

Travel agencies are keeping a close eye on the changing schedules. Agents already have a plan in place for affected customers.

"We would actually contact those people and offer them new options with other airlines, if that's what we have to offer," said Tricia Newlands of Fox World Travel.

Travelers would like to see more Frontier flights fly into town. Many are concerned these latest cutbacks won't be the last.

For now, those non-stop trips are the only flights in the cross hairs. Schedule changes for Frontier Airlines start in April.

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Relocating Keesler C-130J planes could have enormous impact




BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Right now, it's only a proposal. But a cost reduction plan announced by the Secretary of the Air Force would relocate ten C-130-J aircrafts from the Biloxi base to Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.

The transfer of those aircraft is part of an overall plan to trim $480 billion in defense spending. Removing half of that fleet would not only involve airplanes, but most certainly the loss of personnel.

"I don't think it's a good idea. This unit has done outstanding," said retired Gen. Richard Moss Biloxi.

He's the former commander of the 403rd Wing and said moving the aircraft would likely mean significant cuts in people as well.

"Resulting in probably a loss of about 300 positions for the 403rd and probably about 120 Air Reserve technicians. Full time employees. Which means a loss of about a million dollars in salaries to this economy," said Moss.

"First, I think it's important to note that this is a far reaching proposal. And this is just the very beginning of a very long process that will take months, if not years," said Col. Craig LaFave, the current vice commander of the 403rd Wing.

He said it's too early to talk about possible impact of losing the planes. But cutbacks in the Air Force are coming.

"This country has got a national debt to address. That has been stated by the Chief of Staff. That is a national security concern. So, this is part of a very large puzzle to reduce our costs to be a smaller force, but a very potent force," said Col. LaFave.

South Mississippi's congressman told WLOX News he will be asking some tough questions about why the Air Force is even considering moving the C-130s from Keesler.

"Look into their priorities. Why did this come out? Is it strictly a financial decision or a strategic decision?" said Congressman Steven Palazzo. "But we're just going to ask the tough questions and usually if you ask tough questions, if they don't have the right answers, I think it's going to be safe. Because we have to protect Keesler's mission."

The Air Force plan calls for relocating the planes in fiscal year 2014. Current plans call for keeping the Hurricane Hunters at Keesler. The proposed removal of the 10 C-130J airplanes would instead impact the 815th Airlift Squadron, which also flies the C-130-Js.

Cirrus Lease Addendum: Grand Forks Growth Fund, a Jobs Development Authority Staff Report. JDA February 6, 2012

BACKGROUND: Cirrus began experiencing financial problems about three years ago as the general aviation industry declined in the face of the downturn in the national and international economies. As a result, Cirrus was unable to make its Growth Fund lease and loan payments, and it sought to restructure them to lessen the stress on its cash flow while it waited for its market to recover. Then last June Cirrus merged with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA) making it possible to pay the Growth Fund nearly $3,277,000 for past due rent and loan payments and redemption of common stock.

Despite the merger, Cirrus remained unable to pay its $73,854 monthly lease and loan payments. There were generally two reasons for this: (1) CAIGA expected neutral to positive cash flow for operations and would inject “new cash” only to pay vendors who would accept discounted payments; and (2) the general aviation market had yet to recover sufficiently to improve the cash flow requirements of Cirrus’ new owners.

Soaring through the sky

Dwayne Margritz

by David Penner C-H editor 

LEXINGTON – If nothing else Dwayne Margritz is a bit of a jokester.

Although, he is also an accomplished pilot of 50-plus years and was recently awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award during the Nebraska Aviation Symposium in late January.

The award was given to Margritz for his 50 years of flying without any accidents.

Margritz started flying at the age of 20. The first plane he flew was his instructor’s Cessna 140. When he took it for his first solo flight he was amazed at how the plane “jumped” off of the ground with only one person flying it.

Since then, Margritz has been hooked.

“It’s such a sense of freedom,” he said. “I have the ability to make my own schedule and go virtually anywhere I want.”

Of course a huge advantage to flying is trips that normally would take the entire day or more to make, take only a few hours.

When Margritz started flying he would go to places in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Idaho with his father and cattle buyers to purchase cattle for their feeding operation.

Being able to fly to where Margritz needs to go has also made trips visiting his daughters in Duluth, Minn., and Salt Lake City, Utah, go much faster than if he were driving.

“One time I made it from Salt Lake City to Lexington in two hours and 49 minutes,” he said chuckling. “Of course, I got up in the jet stream and rode that the entire way back. Flying really takes a lot of time off of those trips.”

Margritz said the two biggest changes in flying since he started have been the technology and the price of fuel.

When he first started flying there were no global positioning satellite systems, instead aviators would fly using non-directional beacons or NDBs.

His current plane, a 1973 Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza, is equipped with the latest in technology. An oblong shaped ‘card’ similar to what someone would find in a high-scale camera shop stores all of the information and landing procedures Margritz needs to get from one place to the next.

The ‘card’s’ reader is located in the plane and all Margritz has to do is put the ‘card’ into it and he’s ready to go.

The gas required to fly is another story.

“When I started out, gas cost 37 cents per gallon,” he said. “Now, it’s not uncommon for gas to cost $6 or $7 a gallon. That is about $100 an hour for gas; that is significant.”

Through it all Margritz said flying has allowed him to do things he otherwise would not be able to do like fly him and his bride to the Bahamas for their honeymoon in 1964.

As for the award he recently received, he said he was humbled by it. Of course, he had a little joke to go with that humble feeling.

“You know the whole thing is really humbling,” Margritz said laughing. “The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) hammers us like the IRS, so when they recognize you and you go up and get an award, you see that they are human too.”

Source:  http://lexch.com

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, Pro Flite Aviation, N5427J: Accident occurred February 10, 2012 in Floresville, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA154
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 10, 2012 in Floresville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5427J
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.

During a local flight, the pilot contacted an air traffic controller and stated he was returning to his departure airfield. Subsequently, the airplane disappeared from radar, and there was no reported distress call from the pilot or witnesses to the accident. The wreckage was found in an open field. At the time of the accident, visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Impact markings were consistent with the airplane having been in about a 90-degree nose-low attitude when it impacted terrain. An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. An autopsy performed on the pilot noted evidence of an enlarged heart and extensive coronary artery disease. Given this information and the pilot’s history of a left anterior hemiblock, it is likely that the pilot became incapacitated due to a sudden cardiac arrhythmia or acute myocardial infarction.

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

The medical incapacitation of the pilot due to a sudden cardiac arrhythmia or acute myocardial infarction.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 10, 2012, about 1240 central standard time, a Cessna 172N, N5427J, impacted terrain near Floresville, Texas. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by Pro Flite Aviation, San Antonio, Texas, 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 local flight originated from the Stinson Municipal Airport (SSF), San Antonio, Texas, at 1222.

The pilot received flight following services from air traffic control before radio and radar contact was lost. There were no distress calls made by the pilot and no eyewitnesses to the accident.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 58, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane multi-engine land and instrument airplane ratings, and a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. On October 29, 2011, the pilot was issued a third class medical with the restriction to have glasses available for near vision. On the pilot’s medical application, he reported having accumulated 2,707 hours with 0 hours accumulated in the preceding six months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a single engine, high wing, fixed landing gear, four seat, Cessna 172N, serial number 17273790, and was manufactured in 1980. It was powered by a normally aspirated, 160 horsepower Lycoming O-320-H2AD engine, serial number L-1174-76T, that drove a McCauley, metal, 2-bladed, fixed pitch propeller. A review of maintenance records revealed that the last annual inspection was accomplished on October 23, 2011, at a total airframe time of 8,268.5 hours. The airplane had accumulated 8,345.4 hours when the pilot checked out the airplane from the fixed base operator (FBO) at SSF.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1853, an automated weather reporting facility located at SSF, approximately 15 nautical miles north-northwest of the accident site, reported wind from 330 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 2,400 feet, a broken layer at 4,300 feet and an overcast layer at 5,000 feet, temperature 59 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 50 F, and a barometric pressure of 30.17 inches of mercury.

COMMUNICATIONS

A review of the radio recordings, revealed normal radio communications; the last communication indicated that the pilot was returning to the Stinson Airport.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted an open field leaving an outline of the airplane’s wings, wing struts, and tires, consistent with an impact of approximately 90 degrees nose low. The main wreckage was located 41.5 feet northeast of the impact markings in a nose low attitude. Both wings displayed symmetric, accordion crushing along their entire length. Both flaps were in the retracted position. The fuel selector was seated in the “both” position. The empennage was twisted and tore aft of the cabin compartment. The vertical stabilizer and elevators displayed impact damage, but were otherwise unremarkable. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit control linkage to their respective flight controls. A block of wood was found in the empennage near the flight control cables. The block of wood displayed gouges and rubbing. It was sent for examination at the NTSB laboratories in Washington, D.C. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the airframe.

The propeller fractured from the propeller hub. Both blades contained signatures of twisting, polishing, and chord wise scratches. The propeller hub was displaced axially and displayed torsional shearing and rotational smearing of metal surfaces. The gascolator was found destroyed and its screen was found free of obstructions. The engine’s carburetor was disassembled for examination as its throttle plate was found in the full open position. The metal bowl floats were hydraulically deformed and the fuel screen was free of obstructions. The engine’s oil screen was found free of particulates. The oil filter was opened and found free of any large particulates. The magnetos were impact damaged. The cabin heat shroud was removed and disassembled; there was no evidence of carbon monoxide intrusion. Impact damage to the engine prevented rotation of the crankshaft. The cylinders and engine interior were observed with a lighted borescope and no defects were noted. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Officer. The cause of death was multiple sustained injuries. The manner of death was ruled an accident. The autopsy noted the following findings:

Presumed cardiomegaly (430 g cardiac remnant)
Severe calcific atherosclerosis, right coronary artery (left coronary system not identified)

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The samples obtained were marked putrefied and not suitable for the testing of carbon monoxide and cyanide. The following were detected in the toxicology:

28 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Muscle
20 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Heart
Metoprolol detected in Muscle
Metoprolol detected in Kidney
Ranitidine detected in Muscle
Ranitidine detected in Heart

Metoprolol is a beta-blocker used in the treatment of hypertension. Ranitidine is a histamine receptor blocker used in the treatment of gastritis.

A review of the pilot’s medical records from his personal physician revealed that he was prescribed Toprol, Hyzaar, ranitidine, and Flomax. He also had a mildly elevated hemoglobin A1C at 6.6%.

A review of the pilot’s medical records from his Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) stated that the pilot had annual electrocardiograms (EKGs) performed as part of his first class certification from 2000 to 2003. In each EKG, the pilot had a left axis, left anterior hemiblock and a non-specific interventricular conduction delay. This meant the anterior fascicle of the left bundle (or one third) of the electrical system in the ventricles was no longer conducting electricity.

TEST AND RESEARCH

Wooden Block

The dimensions of the block of wood was consistent with an airplane chock. Aged areas of oil soiling were detected on portions of the block. Examination of the block did not reveal any cable patterning or signatures of control cable machining of the block. Damage to the aft bulk head of the airplane likely displaced the wooden block into the empennage area during the impact sequence.

Radar Information

The pilot remained under radar contact for the accident flight. The radar information recorded the airplane as it traveled to the southeast of SSF. The airplane headed towards a ranch area and flew three complete left hand turns. The airplane then tracked northwest and then north before it flew another left hand turn and then disappeared from radar.


 NTSB Identification: CEN12FA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 10, 2012 in Floresville, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5427J
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.

On February 10, 2012, approximately 1245 central standard time, a Cessna 172N, N5427J, impacted terrain near Floresville, Texas. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by Pro Flite Aviation, San Antonio, Texas, 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 local flight originated from the Stinson Municipal Airport (SSF), San Antonio, Texas, approximately 1130.

Initial reports indicate that the pilot was receiving flight following services from air traffic control before radio and radar contact was lost. There are no reports of any distress calls made by the accident pilot.

There are no reported witnesses to the accident. An airplane assisting in the search of the accident plane spotted the wreckage in an open field, notified air traffic control, and landed at the nearby airfield to alert residents of the wreckage's location.




WILSON COUNTY--Wilson County Justice of the Peace Johnny Tejada Villarreal has identified the pilot as 58-year-old John Kevin Hurley of Bulverde.


According to the Federal Aviation Administration the single-engine Cessna 172 aircraft was on a flight from Stinson Municipal Airport in San Antonio. It was near Connally Ranch when air traffic controllers lost radar contact before 1:00 pm Friday afternoon.

"It looks like it came down nose first to the ground, " said Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Safety Board will be investigating the cause of the crash.

Sheriff Tackitt told News 4 WOAI a sheriff's deputy will remain at the crash site until federal investigators arrive on Saturday morning.

 ---------------
According to Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Trooper Harold Estep, the victim is 58-year-old John Hurley of San Antonio. The FAA is en route to the site where the Cessna went down.


The plane crashed just after 1 PM on the grounds of the Picosa Ranch on F.M. 2579.

Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt, Jr. said that is unknown what caused the plane to crash and that a second plane was sent to find it moments before the incident.  The second plane was parked on the ranch's airstrip as sheriff's deputies and members of the Wilson County Emergency Medical Services arrived. 

Investigator Roland Trevino of Wilson County Sheriff's Office said troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety who are trained to respond to aircraft accidents also were en route to the crash site.


The pilot of a single-engine plane died Friday when it crashed while en route from Stinson Field to an airport in Wilson County, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

“As I understand it, he was on a pleasure flight,” Lunsford said of the Cessna 172's pilot, who he declined to identify. He provided the tail number on the plane, which FAA records show is owned by a San Antonio man.

“It was preparing to land at Connally Ranch (Airport) when air traffic controllers lost radar contact,” Lunsford said from his office in Fort Worth. “Local law enforcement confirmed that the sole occupant did not survive the accident.”

He said investigators from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were enroute to the scene, where Department of Public Safety officers were already stationed.


FLORESVILLE, Texas — A small airplane crashed near a rural South Texas airfield, killing its lone occupant.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the aircraft was on a pleasure flight from Stinson Municipal Airport in San Antonio. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says it was preparing to land at the John B. Connally Ranch Airport about 28 miles southeast of San Antonio when it disappeared from air traffic control radar.

No other injuries or damage was reported. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate for a cause.

The FAA and Wilson County Sheriff's Office were withholding the pilot's identity until relatives can be notified.

http://www.wilsoncountynews.com

Statement from St. George's Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada - The St. George’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is working with other government departments, particularly the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Finance, to arrive at a solution to the current financial difficulties being experienced by the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).

This situation arose as result of the EXIM Bank of Taiwan obtaining judgment against the government of Grenada for outstanding loans in a suit filed in the United States. The Taiwanese have made a claim for all monies owing to the government of Grenada and its agencies to be paid against the loan. Consequently, a request was made to airlines operating on the Grenada route to pay monies owed to the Grenada Airports Authority to the Taiwanese.

An escrow account has been established, and carriers such as Virgin Airlines, British Airways, and Delta Airlines have begun to deposit monies owed to the Airports Authority into the said account. This has placed the Airports Authority in a very precarious financial position.

“Mr. Rodney George, Chairman of the Grenada Airports Authority, has alerted us in the government about the situation facing our airport. I am doing all that I can from a civil aviation point of view. The Ministry of Finance is doing its part from the debt-financing angle, and the Attorney General’s Chambers is working towards a legal solution,” said Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Peter David, who is currently attending an OECS Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in St. Vincent.

The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation will continue to work with other government departments to ensure this matter is resolved quickly and does not severely disrupt airport operations, which would directly impact the economy at a time when it can be least afforded.

MEDIA CONTACT: Betty-Ann Lazarus, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Botanical Gardens St George's, Tele: 1-473-440-0366, Fax: 1-473-440- 0443

 http://www.forimmediaterelease.net

Bill Allowing Guns in Virginia Airports Delayed a Year

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) A proposal to allow people to carry guns and other weapons into Virginia airport terminals has been postponed until next year.

The House Militia, Police and Public Safety committee agreed Friday to carry over Republican Del. Richard Anderson's bill to the 2013 legislative session.

The committee chairman, Republican Del. Scott Lingamfelter, said most of the panel's members probably agree with the bill's intent. But he said there are too many technical issues that can't be resolved before Tuesday's deadline for each chamber to act on its own legislation.

The committee also killed a bill allowing former prosecutors to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

The panel unanimously endorsed a bill allowing county and city treasurers to carry weapons into courthouses.