Saturday, February 18, 2012

Helicopter crash – court date

A flight instructor has been charged over a fatal helicopter crash at Rudding Park four years ago.

Ian King, from Wetherby, is due to appear at Haywards Heath Magistrates Court in West Sussex next Friday, February 24.

Paul Spencer, 43, and his wife, Linda, from Brighouse, were killed in the crash on January 26, 2008.

He is charged with intent to deceive, making a false representation for the purpose of procuring a private pilot’s license for Mr Spencer. The Civil Aviation Authority said the allegation related to the instruction and exam Mr Spencer undertook to obtain his pilot’s license in December 2007.

Flight examiner John Jackson received a conditional discharge at Haywards Heath Magistrates Court on February 3 for making or omitting entries, or destroying a log book which should have been kept, in relation to the crash.

Indonesia's Aviation Industry Expected to Take Off

When Lion Air chief Rusdi Kirana inked a record Boeing deal at the Singapore Airshow this week, it not only propelled the airline to international fame, but also offered a glimpse into Indonesia’s rapidly expanding air industry.

The 12-year-old airline stole the limelight when it signed a $22.4 billion order for 230 Boeing 737s, the largest such deal for the United States company.

That a budget carrier - starting with just one borrowed plane in 2000 flying between Jakarta and Pontianak - could make such a purchase reflects the strong growth of Indonesia’s aviation industry, now the world’s third-largest.

Lion Air now boasts a fleet of 67 aircraft flying to 35 cities, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but its latest order promises to expand the range of destinations for travellers in the region. Singapore now has air links to 15 Indonesian cities, and the addition of more planes will mean more regular flights - at possibly lower prices.

According to official data, the number of passengers going through Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport soared from 12 million in 2001 to nearly 50 million last year - the fastest growth recorded in any Asean airport.

Analysts attribute the growth to a confluence of factors, from the liberalization of the aviation industry in the late 1990s, to the burgeoning middle-class with their growing incomes and rising confidence in Indonesia’s economy, which grew 6.5 per cent last year, its highest in 15 years.

All these have helped to drive revenues of the 50 airlines operating here skywards. Passenger numbers are projected to grow at a healthy 13 per cent this year - double the global average last year.

Said aviation analyst Shukor Yusof of Standard and Poor’s: “Geographically, Indonesia is the perfect country for aviation to thrive, with its over 17,000 islands and diverse terrain.”

Observers say budget carriers, in particular, will benefit from the expanding aviation industry, as the domestic sector makes up three quarters of passenger numbers.

Lion Air, which controls 51 per cent of the domestic market, is hoping to tap this growth. Now flying some 27 million passengers a year, it has set its sights on an ambitious target: to take 60 per cent of the market share in five years’ time. It will consider launching an initial public offering then, Kirana told reporters.

Its subsidiary, Wings Air, also sealed a $610 million deal of 27 smaller planes to fly to more small towns and offer short-range connecting flights.

Garuda, Lion Air’s nearest competitor with 24 per cent of the domestic market, is planning to double its fleet of 89 planes to 154 by 2015, said chief executive officer Emirsyah Satar. It, too, got tongues wagging after signing an order for six Bombardier jets with an option for 18 more, in a deal potentially worth US$1.32 billion.

Not to be outdone, AirAsia Indonesia, which operates out of its own terminal in Soekarno-Hatta, is also eyeing to list.

Singapore-owned Tiger Airways has also indicated its confidence in the Indonesian market, buying a 33 per cent stake in Mandala Airlines - thus ensuring that the failed local airline can fly again.

Said its CEO Chin Yau Seng: “As one of the fastest-growing economies in the Asean region, we see great growth potential in Indonesia’s aviation market.”

One possible dampener to faster growth, however, is infrastructure and safety. More airports that are efficient and wide enough to accommodate today’s extra-large aircraft are needed, said Shukor. Jakarta also has to resolve the issue of poor safety, which has resulted in a ban on all Indonesian airlines - except Garuda - landing in Europe.

The government has put aside Rp 6 trillion ($666 million) to expand and build airports to cope with the burgeoning demand, with plans being made to build as many as 20 airports over the next 15 years.

“There is clearly room for growth,” said the secretary-general of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association, Tengku Burhanuddin.

Australia - Aviation industry 'needs to be examined'

There are calls for the Australian aviation industry to be investigated after budget carrier Air Australia went into administration.

The Brisbane-based airline was placed in voluntary administration on Friday, grounding all flights and stranding up to 4000 passengers overseas.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said the airline previously held contracts with successive federal governments and was supposed to be open about its performance.

'It does say something about ... the fact the aviation industry should be properly investigated in this country,' Mr Sheldon told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

'There is an obligation to ensure if a company is flying into our air space that they're profitable and able to operate.'

A spokesman for voluntary administrator Korda Mentha told AAP the airline employed 300 staff, most of whom would be stood down immediately.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) expressed its disappointment at the announcement, saying the airline had failed to consult with it or the pilots before entering administration.

'Obviously this is bad news for our members at Air Australia,' AFAP President, Captain Bryan Murray, said in a statement.

'It is regrettable that the company did not consult with the union or the pilot body prior to this drastic step being taken.'

Mr Sheldon called on the federal government to assist the stranded travellers in getting back home, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Air Australia should be doing all it could to assist its passengers.

'I want to say to the administrators they need to do everything they can to ensure that these people who have been passengers with this airline get back home,' Ms Gillard said.

'I do understand that Qantas and Jetstar are stepping up with some additional seats to help people get back home.

'But I do want to see maximum support for those Australians who have been stranded ... and of course we want to see (Air Australia) deal with their workforce properly.'

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on Friday said both Qantas and Jetstar would fly stranded passengers home, with Qantas looking at putting on supplementary services.

'If the (Air Australia) passengers come to a Qantas desk, a Jetstar desk, show their ticket, we'll give them a ticket for the same value they've paid with Air Australia,' Mr Joyce said.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia said it would assist Air Australia passengers stranded in Denpasar in Indonesia, with US$199 fares from Denpasar to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

And the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has urged all travellers affected by the airline's grounding to contact their travel insurer as soon as possible.

'Travel insurance is meant to compensate policyholders for financial losses they may incur in unforseen and unexpected circumstances. However, each insurer has different terms and conditions,' ICA CEO Rob Whelan said in a statement.

Some insurers exclude the collapse of travel service providers from policies, while about 10 per cent of Australians neglected to take out travel insurance before they left the country, he said.

Airplane dealer pleads guilty to hiding financial transactions

•  Sold planes to Mexican drug lords
•  ‘Selling to criminal elements and helping them conceal their cash is a losing proposition’

Stancil Enterprises Inc., a Placerville corporation that sold aircraft, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid and abet structuring financial transactions, says U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
The guilty plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. in Sacramento.
Joseph Stancil, the owner and president of Stancil Enterprises, spoke on behalf of the company at the plea hearing Thursday, admitting the factual basis for the plea was accurate.
As part of the plea, Stancil Enterprises agreed to forfeit $428,589 to the federal government.
Joseph Stancil and salesman Daniel Mathis were also charged with conspiracy to aid and abet structuring financial transactions.
Stancil Enterprises and its agents were required by federal law to report the receipt of cash in amounts exceeding $10,000 for a single transaction unless a bank was required to report the transaction on a Currency Transaction Report (relating to cash transactions of over $10,000 made for a single person or company in a single day).
According to the plea agreement, Stancil Enterprises sold multiple planes for cash in 2008 and 2009 to purchasers whom they believed to be Mexican, involving deposited cash they believed to be from illegal narcotics trafficking.
The company and its agents knew that the buyers were structuring cash into the Stancil Enterprises account in increments of less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal cash transaction reporting requirements, Mr. Wagner says.
The company and its agents tracked deposits by these purchasers, requiring them to alert Stancil Enterprises of the deposits and which plane sales the deposits related to. Often the purchasers faxed cash deposit tickets to Stancil Enterprises as proof to ensure credit for the payment. They made deposits in such a way that the banks could not connect the transactions to a specific buyer or plane, and could not identify the individuals making the deposits or purchasing the planes, and therefore could not make a Currency Transaction Report for large cash transactions, court documents show.
According to the plea agreement, in November 2009, an undercover agent with the Internal Revenue Service made contact with Joseph Stancil, stating that he wished to purchase a plane for his son with cash and asked for advice on how to accomplish that without having any reports filed on the cash transaction.
Mr. Stancil’s response indicated that he understood that the fictional son was engaged in drug trafficking activity in Mexico, specifically marijuana, Mr. Wagner says.
The aircraft dealer proceeded to advise the agent how “the Mexicans” did it, depositing cash in increments into Stancil Enterprises accounts. Mr. Stancil and the undercover agent proceeded into the office of Daniel Mathis, who advised the agent about Stancil Enterprises’ Form 8300 reporting requirement for such cash transactions.
When asked how they got away with not reporting “the Mexicans,” Mr. Mathis advised that no one had ever “hassled” Stancil Enterprises about the issue, court documents say.
From September 2008 and through August 2009, Stancil Enterprises received $428,589.30 in structured funds for six planes, each with a separate buyer.
“Selling to criminal elements and helping them conceal their cash is a losing proposition. Stancil Enterprises lost the planes to its customers and lost all of the payments for those planes through forfeiture to the United States, and put its employees and officers at risk of very significant time in prison,” says Mr. Wagner.
“These crimes matter – doing business with drug dealers, from Mexico or anywhere else, enables these criminals to engage in dangerous criminal activity. We urge all businesses to review their own cash accounting practices and ensure that any suspicious cash transactions are reported according to the law,” he says.
A Placerville aircraft dealership that helped several alleged drug traffickers from Mexico conceal the purchases of six airplanes has agreed to forfeit more than $428,000 as part of a plea deal.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. today, Joseph Stancil, president and owner of Stancil Enterprises Inc., admitted that his company and its employees helped buyers from Sinaloa, Baja California and Sonora, Mexico evade federal reporting requirements for large cash transactions.

Federal law requires U.S. businesses and banks to file a currency transaction report anytime a person makes a cash purchase of $10,000 or more.

According to federal prosecutors, Stancil and Stancil Enterprises helped the buyers parcel payments totaling more than $428,000 into 57 different transactions of $9,500 or less during 2008 and 2009.

"Selling to criminal elements and helping them conceal their cash is a losing proposition," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

The plea deal covers the company, Stancil Enterprises. Joseph Stancil, a former owner of a local Toyota car dealership, and one of his salesman Daniel Mathis also were charged with conspiracy to aid and abet structuring financial transactions. They have worked out a deferred prosecution agreement.

Pilot wants careless driving charge dropped

Saturday, 18 February 2012 00:07 BY ROY AGOYA

A pilot facing a charged over a traffic offense yesterday asked a court to throw out his accuser's case.
In the case, Aquinas Burisa Orenge, a Kenya Airways captain, is charged with careless driving. Through a lawyer, Orenge told a Kibera court the charge the police brought against him was an afterthought.

He said the evidence an aide to Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi gave against him is prejudicial and will deny him a right to fair trial. Orenge is charged with driving on the wrong side of a road on the night of February 16. His lawyer said the witness failed to recall the time of the accident and had been fully indemnified.

San Diego, California - New Corporate Facility Lease Ok'd At Airport

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has awarded a 37-year lease to Landmark Aviation to develop and operate a corporate and general aviation facility to provide fueling, maintenance and aircraft parking at San Diego International Airport.

The lease is expected to generate $315 million over 37 years for the airport authority, which is $4.5 million more in rent annually than is generated under the current lease, officials said. The award was approved Feb. 9.

The new $39 million facility will be built northwest of Landmark’s current fixed-base operation or FBO on the north side of the airport. It will include a 20,000-square-foot terminal, a 250,000-square-foot aircraft parking ramp and five hangars on 12.4 acres of airport property. Landmark plans to demolish its existing facility.

“The new FBO will provide the latest amenities to corporate and general aviation customers,” Thella F. Bowens, president and chief executive officer of the airport authority, said in a statement. “We have had a positive experience working with Landmark and look forward to many more years of partnering with them.”

Landmark Aviation, which operates 52 FBOs in the U.S., Canada and Europe, was picked from three finalists. In all, seven firms indicated an interest in the project when it was advertised in 2011, said Katie Jones, a spokeswoman for the airport authority.

Landmark has operated the FBO at Lindbergh for four years, since it acquired the lease from Jimsair Aviation Services, Jones said. The previous lease was in place since 1988.

“We have enjoyed working with the San Diego Airport Authority over the past four years, and are excited to continue that relationship,” Dan Bucaro, president and chief executive officer of Landmark Aviation, said in a release.

FAA: Valley International Airport (KHRL) should find a place for Sun Valley Aviation

HARLINGEN, Texas — The Federal Aviation Administration has advised city officials to find a way to allow Sun Valley Aviation to operate at Valley International Airport.

Meeting Thursday in Fort Worth with Sun Valley Aviation officials and Mayor Chris Boswell, FAA representatives said the city and VIA board should find a “pathway for Sun Valley Aviation to operate at the airport,” Boswell said Friday.

Also attending the Fort Worth meeting were David Moran, the city’s legal counsel on the Sun Valley matter, and VIA board member Sam Coats.

The FAA’s recommendation is the latest action toward resolving Sun Valley Aviation owner Patrick Kornegay’s five-year effort to open an aviation services business at VIA.

Kornegay, whose company has filed a complaint against the airport with the FAA, said Friday that the FAA asked the company to supply additional information, but did not say much more about the meeting.

David Garza, owner of Gulf Aviation, the only fixed-base operation currently at VIA, said his position hasn’t changed — there is hardly enough business for one operation at VIA, much less two.

The VIA board will meet at 7:30 a.m. Monday to vote on whether it will amend its budget to provide as much as $350,000 to build a parking lot and apron to reach a hangar that Sun Valley would build on land leased from VIA.

That VIA board meeting will be followed by a special City Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m., at which time city commissioners could act on an airport budget amendment providing money for the VIA infrastructure improvements.

“Fundamentally, the lease that’s been on the table with Sun Valley Aviation provides for the airport to just lease the ground and (SVA) would build a new hangar facility,” Boswell said. “But there’s no access to that facility unless the north apron is built. It’s basically a driveway for airplanes.

“At the end of the day, (the FAA) asked the city to reexamine its grant obligations and to look for a way to bring Sun Valley Aviation onto the airport,” Boswell said. “(The FAA) said (Sun Valley Aviation’s) desire is in and of itself an indicator of need and (the FAA) said competition was good.”

Regardless of any action taken at Monday‘s meetings, Sun Valley’s complaint against VIA remains active.
“(The FAA) couldn’t tell us what the outcome of the complaint could be,” Boswell said. “But (the FAA) did specifically discuss that if the city was found to be in violation of FAA grant assurances, that FAA funding could be withheld and that we could be made to pay back monies and that we could be fined treble damages, which is a legal term meaning three times or triple.”

But if city and airport officials can find a way to allow Sun Valley to operate at VIA, that could influence the FAA’s ruling on Sun Valley’s complaint, Boswell said.

Kornegay was mostly mum about Thursday’s meeting.

“(The FAA) asked us to provide additional information to them, and we did that,” he said.

Kornegay did say that he thought the FAA would be issuing a determination on its complaint against VIA in the near future.

Garza said his position on a second FBO operating at the airport is still the same.

“The economy, right now, is still very weak. And yes, right now, there is hardly enough business for one, much less two FBOs,” he said.

He also said that it’s false that the FAA would just immediately cancel grant funding if Sun Valley Aviation isn’t allowed to operate at VIA.

“(The FAA) basically just comes down with a ruling and asks the airport to take action to come back into compliance and they give you a date to fulfill that plan,” Garza said. “So it’s not a doomsday or a do-or-die-kind-of thing, and so much of that has been portrayed in the past. The FAA does not work like that.”
Garza alleged that City Attorney Roxann Controneo and City Manager Carlos Yerena were not allowed to attend the meeting and said he found that unusual, adding that it diminishes any chance for transparency that could have come out of the meeting.

Boswell said that allegation was false.

“There’s no truth to that. It wasn’t that they weren’t allowed,” he said. “It was just a small group that went. Moran was the outside lawyer that represents us in this matter.”

The total cost for the project would be $1.5 million, but it would only be built if a FAA grant was secured. Harlingen would have an obligation of 10 percent, or $150,000 for a north apron. A parking lot would cost an additional $250,000. The city will only apply for the grant funding if the City Commission and the VIA board approve the amended budget.

For several years, Sun Valley has been trying to open an aviation services business, known in the industry as a fixed-base operation, at VIA. Gulf Aviation is currently the only FBO at the airport.

While Sun Valley would build its own hangar on land it would lease, it also wanted the same amenities provided to Gulf Aviation, which include a parking lot and an apron.

The airport board has passed budget amendments that would allow for these features, clearing the way for VIA to enter into a lease with Sun Valley. But the City Commission must approve the airport board’s amended budget, which it has repeatedly denied.

Fly in a de Havilland Beaver to experience a hard-working piece of aviation history

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 5:43 AM
By Laurie Robinson, The Oregonian

If you're flying in to the Alaskan or Canadian bush to start any kind of wilderness adventure and you have a chance to ride in a hard-working piece of aviation history with a certain no-frills, 1940s-style glamour, take it. Be excited.

De Havilland Beavers are still the workhorses of the north even though the last one was delivered in 1968. Thirty feet long with a 48-foot wingspan, they can hold up to seven people but are often set up for the pilot, four passengers and gear.

Of the 1,692 of them that were built starting in 1947, about 800 Beavers are known to still be active, says aviation artist Neil Aird of Kingston, Ontario, who has made it his mission to locate and document every Beaver on his website.

The planes were built in the Toronto suburb of Downsview, Ontario, and the U.S. military bought more than 900 of them, most of which eventually passed into civilian hands.

De Havilland originally was a British company, but the Canadian subsidiary designed the plane after asking bush pilots in the north what they needed. They needed a high-lift wing that could take off and land in a short distance -- on a small lake, for example -- even with heavy loads, and one that could be fitted for floats, wheels or skis.

"They were built tough," says pilot Warren LaFave of Kluane Airways, who uses his Beaver to fly canoeists and rock climbers into Nahanni National Park Preserve and other remote areas, and has flown it more than 15,000 hours.

"They were a very well-made, very robust plane. They just do everything safely that a bush operator wants."

Some of the old Beavers have been retrofitted with modern turbine engines, but most still have the original, distinctive radial-style piston engines that old plane buffs love. LaFave's plane has one of the typical 450-horsepower Pratt & Whitney radial engines -- a powerful engine for that size plane.

Beavers are one of the few planes in Canada that are approved to carry canoes and other loads strapped to the outside.

LaFave owns a wilderness fishing lodge for paying guests on a lake in the Yukon. He built it by carrying in all the materials with his Beaver -- 1,200 trips of 1,400 pounds each. Everything that couldn't fit inside got strapped outside, including a hot tub, deep freezes and Chesterfields (that's sofas to us).

"It's a great old plane," he says.

Aird has the individual history and photos of more than 1,200 Beavers on his site, with new entries turning up all the time. There are several in Oregon, he says, including one in Burns, one in Eagle Creek and a few in Portland. To see Aird's online project on the Beavers, go to

-- Laurie Robinson

Delaware County Regional Airport (KMIE), Muncie, Indiana: Chris Mealy combines passions of the restaurant business and airplanes

Chris Mealy poses behind the bar at Kacy J's Restaurant, 5201 N. Walnut St., in Muncie.

MUNCIE -- For a guy who loves airplanes and the restaurant business, Chris Mealy couldn't ask for a better situation.

A Pennsylvania native who grew up in seven states, he is the "all around operations" person at the Delaware County Airport's restaurant, Kacy J's, which is owned by his father, Jay.

"I run it," said Chris, who at 38 is a strapping, energetic, friendly fellow. "The concept is mine. The menu is mine."

As he spoke, he was seated at the bar, repeatedly fielding telephone calls from potential diners seeking reservations, while elsewhere the place was being readied for opening. Nearby, one wall was practically covered with a colorfully reproduced airplane poster, while a display case housed some model airplanes, among them a sharp looking Grumman F-6-F Hellcat.

Meanwhile, the classic two-seat Luscombe that Chris flies was tucked away in a nearby hangar, awaiting a nicer day to be guided aloft.

Originally, he seemed bound for a full-time career as a corporate pilot, having spent two years at Vincennes University as an aviation major, then attending Flight Safety training in Vero Beach, Fla., to earn his advanced flight ratings.

The problem was, corporate aviation's style of flying, slavishly heading from Point A to Point B and back, really wasn't his interest.

"It didn't fit my personality," said Chris, who much prefers that little old Luscombe, which is a good deal older than he is, or borrowing his father Jay's open-cockpit, two-wing Acro Sport for some aerobatics.

"I prefer being upside down rather than right side up," he said, with a laugh, of his flying preferences.

While corporate aviation lost its luster for him, however, the restaurant business, in which he had worked since long before college, beckoned.

"I truly enjoyed it," said Chris, who eventually worked his way up into three different restaurant management positions over 15 years. "I realized I could work in the restaurant business and support my habit of general aviation."

Naturally, when his father began exploring the possibility of taking over what was then a defunct airport restaurant in Muncie several years ago, he tried to sell his restaurant-manager son on the exciting opportunity it offered.

Just as naturally, Chris had a few doubts.

"I said, 'No way,' " he recalled.

But the chance to get involved in their own place, one at an airport no less, brought the young man around, and Kacy J's opened in November 2009.

In the past, previous restaurants here came and went with levels of success ranging from considerable to negligible, but Chris said Kacy J's is doing just fine.

"We're not going anywhere," he said. "My absolute goal is I don't want to have to do anything else."

To that end, Chris and Jay work to increase their customer base, hoping to disabuse potential diners of earlier notions that the place is a stuck-up "fine dining" establishment with prices to match.

"Every bit of feedback we get is phenomenal," Chris said. "Once people come out here they realize the prices are great, the food is good and it's not a ridiculous place to travel."

Indeed, it's little more than a mile away from McGalliard with its dining hordes, he continued, noting the large number of pilots who also fly in for dinner.

To Chris, of course, the fact the restaurant is at the airport is perhaps the most special thing of all about Kacy J's.

For a moment, in fact, he got a rapturous look in his eyes, picturing the runway lights brightening the gloom of night just beyond his dining room's picture windows.

"They just twinkle," he said a little dreamily, like a man who loves the sky.

WWII Honor Flight

On the Nahanni River, traveling by bush plane and canoe puts you in the Canadian tradition of spectacular wilderness tripping

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 5:21 AM

By Laurie Robinson, The Oregonian

We are standing on the shore of spruce-fringed Finlayson Lake in the Yukon watching mine workers in rubber boots tumble out of the 1957 Beaver floatplane that will carry us the next day to the headwaters of the Nahanni River, one of Canada's classic wilderness canoe routes.

Our paddle trip will take us 350 miles from lichen-softened alpine peaks through sheer yellow limestone canyons to big boreal flatlands with a few pop-up buttes, twisted-rock mountains and woodland buffalo.

A short walk away from the dock is pilot Warren LaFave's fuel depot -- a collection of rusty tanks and snaking hoses -- for the floatplane and his Hughes helicopter (one that was used in the filming of "Magnum, P.I." before he bought it used).

We are in the far north now. A vastness of pristine wilderness with pockets of gourmet fishing lodges and other pockets of no-frills gritty practicality marshaled by leather-jacketed men who want to know what jokes we bring from "the south." Meaning Portland. We are pitiful in the joke department. But we tell LaFave our worries.

"Some of us are afraid of the bears," our leader, Tyrae Mahan of Southwest Portland, tells the pilot. We are a group of friends who've been doing unguided paddling trips together for 20 years. We know each other's phobias.

"Some of us are afraid of the whitewater. Some of us are afraid of the plane ride. And some of us are afraid of the mosquitoes."

Mahan is in the "afraid of bears" camp, and the first couple of nights she streaks naked through a cold rain to her tent in the long July twilight because you're not supposed to sleep near the clothes you cook and eat in.

Me, I am in the "afraid of the plane ride" camp. Warren will be strapping our canoes to the outside of the planes, which is something I've never seen done in the U.S. but is a Canadian wilderness tradition.

"Don't worry," LaFave emailed me before the trip. "I have done this many hundreds of times."

It turns out I really should have been in the "worried about mosquitoes" camp. But don't stop reading -- it really was an utterly spectacular trip. The mosquitoes were just how we paid, in blood. Not that it was cheap in dollars.

Eight of us fly into the headwaters of the South Nahanni at Moose Ponds, and LaFave takes us in two trips, with two canoes nested into each other, per trip, strapped to the struts above the floats.

We float over hillsides thick with lichen, which lies like pale green patchy snow, pocked with short spruces that would barely qualify as trees in Oregon.

We fly for about an hour, crossing into the Northwest Territories and then LaFave lands, kicks us out and we are Out There. For three weeks.

Most of the rapids are in the first 60 miles, and some of it has been described as continuous Class 3/4. I figure the ratings are probably inflated a bit to discourage the overconfident. The guidebooks and the Parks Canada website caution us to have spray covers on our canoes, but most of us didn't invest in those.

"It's not our tradition," we tell the Canadians who ask. Our tradition is Clorox-jug bailers.

New navigational aids at Cheddi Jagan International Airport

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA) under a Government of Guyana Capital project to modernise the Air Navigation Services has installed new navigational equipment, the Timehri Instrument Landing System (ILS) which includes approach Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and the new High Powered DME co-located with the Timehri Very High Frequency Omni directional Radio Range (VOR).

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) says it has installed new air navigation equipment at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to help pilots land and take off during bad weather with poor visibility, Timehri.

A release from the Authority on Friday said these were an Instrument Landing System (ILS) which includes approach Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and a new High Powered DME co-located with the Timehri Very High Frequency Omni directional Radio Range (VOR).

“These en route navigational and landing Aids have been flight checked, tested and certified during the first week of February 2012 and have been commissioned for use by aircraft operating in Guyana’s National Airspace.

Prior to this installation, our Air Navigation Services Navigational Infrastructure was supported by a single VOR only for eight years since the removal from service of the high powered DME in 1997 and subsequently the ILS in 2003 followed by the decommissioning of the Non Directional Beacon,” the release read.

It added that navigation throughout Guyana’s airspace was accomplished with the use of the VOR complemented by satellite technology such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

The ILS provides enhanced capability during bad weather with poor visibility since it allows flight crews to make precision approaches for landing. The system comprises a Localizer Transmitter, a Glide Path Transmitter and Distance Measuring Equipment.

“When an aircraft approaches to land and is on final approach it intercepts the Localizer which gives accurate horizontal guidance along the centerline of the runway. When intersected at the correct angle with the Glide Path, the instrument in the cockpit will indicate to the flight crew that their aircraft is precisely on the centerline and at the correct gradient.

The Timehri ILS is category I which will safely guide an aircraft to a lower decision height of 200ft above the runway as against 520 ft when only the VOR is in use,” the GCAA stated.

The Authority added that these tools provide bearing and distance information which are used in the air traffic management environment to pinpoint aircraft positions relative to each other in order to provide a more efficient and effective service.

“Use of airspace is optimised because more precise position information is available to air traffic controllers. The air traffic controllers who manage our airspace can apply more efficient separation standards to ensure adequate spacing between aircraft, optimising use of airspace and allowing aircraft to operate at their optimum profile while ensuring safety of our skies,” the statement concluded.

Newark Liberty International Airport – Runway 11 Engineered Material Arresting System – Project Authorization and Award of Contract



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Newark Liberty International Airport – Runway 11 Engineered Material Arresting System – Project Authorization and Award of Contract

Breakdown of separation - Cessna 310, VH-XXT and Cessna 210, VH-RQD, Darwin International Airport, Northern Territory - Australia

A Cessna 210 (C210) was cleared to cross the runway after a clearance had been given to a Cessna 310 (C310) to take off. As a result the C310 took off over the C210.

The investigation is continuing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Van's Aircraft RV-10: Doctor ready to soar after building plane

The Van's Aircraft RV-10 is a four-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt airplane that Dr. Carroll Verhange and his wife, Sherry, are assembling at the old Fairmont Air Base. 
(JOANIE CRADICK/Lincoln Journal Star)

 Dr. Carroll Verhage and his wife, Sherry, have built a four-seat, single-engine, low-wing airplane.
 (JOANIE CRADICK/Lincoln Journal Star)

Sherry Verhage and her husband, Carroll, have built an experimental airplane together at the old Fairmont Air Base.
 (JOANIE CRADICK/Lincoln Journal Star)

Dr. Carroll Verhage built the instrument panel of this Van's Aircraft RV-10, a four-seat, single-engine, low-wing airplane. He added GPS and auto pilot to the panel and hopes to fly the plane in March.
 (JOANIE CRADICK/Lincoln Journal Star)

FAIRMONT -- Early in March, Carroll Verhage, a 67-year-old family physician, will taxi the airplane he built toward its maiden flight.

The Geneva doctor has 2,700 hours under his wings during 36 years as a private pilot, many in his Cessna 206.

He expects his new VANS RV-10 experimental aircraft will fly about 40 mph faster than that six-seat ship and reach 180 knots at 8,000 feet. That extra speed, plus the challenge of building it, as well as the soundness of the investment, prompted the venture. He estimates resale value at 120 percent of building costs, which roughly equaled the price of an average house.

He invested an additional $5,000 on special tools -- drills, air riveters and bucking bars.

He and his wife, Sherry -- she's the navigator -- began work on the four-seat kit on June 10, 2010. They finished in January.

The directions were deficient, said the 1960s-era U.S. Navy electronics technician, and installing the instruments was the most demanding task.

One appeal of an experimental airplane, Verhage said, is that "You can add and subtract things as long as it doesn't interfere with the flight characteristics."

He installed autopilot, GPS tracking and courtesy lights that come on when the doors open.

The plane also has an external power plug, which can be convenient when it won't start, and save the 30 minutes it takes to take out part of the back cabin in order to get at the battery.

During construction, Sherry Verhage manned the air hammer, one of the few tools small enough for her to manage, and applied thousands of match-head size rivets to the plane exterior.

"There are 13 rows of 180 plus rivets per row just in the tail section," Carroll Verhage said.

Among other notable numbers: a 260-horsepower engine, 60-gallon fuel tank for a 900-mile range, plus super heaters that can keep the cabin warm at 20 degrees below zero.

"This one has terrific heaters," Carroll Verhage said, "one on each muffler."

In the United States, nearly three times the number of experimental planes as commercially made planes are built, he said.

In all, there are 386 completed RV-10s flying, said Cynthia Schrantz, administrative assistant at Van's Aircraft Inc., in Aurora, Ore.

"We have everywhere from one-seat aircraft to four seats. The RV-10s are the most complicated," she said.

The company's website promotes the aircraft's ability to land on grass, gravel or pavement.

Occasionally, Carroll Verhage said, he asked friend and retired military pilot Lyle Bender for advice. Bender spent 41/2 years building his own RV-10.

"To do it in 18 months is pretty fast. I don't know anyone (else) who put it together in that length of time," Bender said. "It depends on the individual. The better measure is how many hours did you spend building it."

Carroll Verhage said he and his wife put in more than 4,000 hours, doubling the 2,000 he'd anticipated.

"It's been a real dedication," said Sherry Verhage.

After a check-off period -- a 40-hour-flying-time obligation, Carroll Verhage expects to make his maiden flight, alone, on March 1.

His wife said some of the couple's 10 grandchildren have asked them to paint the plane fluorescent purple and pink.

Carroll Verhage frowned at the combination and said he doesn't know what he'll use.

"You don't paint 'em 'til you fly 'em because you don't want to ruin a good paint job."

The Verhages, who have four children, already have flown all over the continental United States and Alaska in the Cessna 206.

"Anywhere is fair game," he said.

Saskatoon air show for veterans cancelled: Credit Union Centre CEO says it has not done well financially

This year will only see the Remembrance Day ceremony to honor veterans, with the Canada Remembers Air Show grounded.

CUC CEO Will Lofdahl explained the air show is too expensive, and suffers from big losses.

"It is something that our management and our board have been looking at in recent years, as to whether it's an event that we want to go forward with in the future," he said.

"It has not done well financially."

He added that the decision was not unexpected, but it doesn't have anything to do with the firing of two employees earlier in the year.

Two men escape injury in plane crash

The amphibious amateur-built aircraft in a Port Macquarie paddock this morning. 
Pic: Jacinta Bailey

Two elderly men escaped injury when their amphibious aircraft suffered engine trouble heading out of Port Macquarie this morning.

The men - one from Melbourne, the other from Cairns -were "hopping" the light aircraft to Innisfail from Melbourne when trouble struck this morning.

The pilots had barely left Port Macquarie airport when they were forced into a "controlled landing" in a paddock near the Oxley-Pacific highway intersection about 8am.

It is understood the men put to use the long grass in an open paddock to help cushion their landing.

The aircraft, believed to be amateur built, was not seriously damaged.

Who's paddock was it? Find out in Monday's Port News:

Air France flight aborted

An Air France jet, en route from Paris to Sao Paulo, had to return to Charles de Gaulle airport due to the failure of the onboard fire extinguishing system.

According to eyewitnesses, the plane spent another two hours in mid-air dumping the extra fuel before landing at Charles de Gaulle international airport. None of the 185 passengers was hurt.

On July 1, 2009 a Paris-bound Air France Airbus A330 crashed into the Atlantic shortly after taking off from Rio de Janeiro, killing all 228 passengers and crew.

Family: Ex-Teacher Killed in Plane Crash was Larger than Life. Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C, N4824L. Plattsburg, Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of J.C. Waters say that the retired teacher died this week doing what he did best – living life to the fullest.

Waters and another man were killed when the small plane they were flying clipped a tree and crashed on Tuesday in rural Clinton County. Waters’ family say that the men were doing a flyover a family friend’s farm at the time of the wreck.

“I think his primary statement would be if you have a dream, a goal, go for it. Do what it takes to make it happen,” said Paul Waters, J.C.’s younger brother. He says that his older brother was larger than life in many ways.

After retiring from teaching math and computer science at Truman High School, J.C. Waters moved to Virginia where he ran a charter sailing business.

Paul Waters says that owner of the property where the crash happened is devastated by the accident. But as painful as the accident has been for the former teacher’s friends and family, he says that it’s comforting to hear from his big brother’s former Truman High School students. He says that if his brother could speak, his message would be clear.

“He would say, ‘Hey guys, you know, life goes on’,” said Paul Waters.

J.C. Waters left behind his wife, also a retired teacher, three children and several grandchildren.

  Regis#: 4824L        Make/Model: PA28      Description: PA-28 CHEROKEE, ARROW, WARRIOR, ACHER, D
  Date: 02/14/2012     Time: 2230

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

  City: PLATTSBURG   State: MO   Country: US


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

  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: KANSAS CITY, MO  (CE05)               Entry date: 02/15/2012 

Beechcraft 95-B55 Baron, N4624A: Near Lancaster Municipal Airport (73C), Wisconsin

From the Grant County Sheriff's Department:

Location of Incident:
Hwy 61 @ Aupperle Road – South Lancaster Township

Date and Time:
February 17, 2012 1:20 p.m.

Dennis Dangberg
Minor scrape to face

1970 Beechcraft Baron – twin engine plane

Dennis Dangberg, of Windside Nebraska, was operating his 1970 Beechcraft Baron plane just north of the Lancaster Airport.

Mr. Dangberg was flying from Freeport, IL back to Windside and needed to get fuel.

He was about 2 miles from the Lancaster airport, when he ran out of fuel.

Mr. Dangberg attempted to land his plane on Hwy 61 just south of Aupperle Road, but was unable to do so.

The plane landed in the ditch line on the west side of Hwy 61 and Mr. Dangberg was able to keep it upright and it traveled several hundred feet in the ditch before coming to rest.

Mr. Dangberg was able to exit the plane and was treated on scene by the Lancaster Rescue Squad. The Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Lancaster Fire Department, Lancaster Rescue Squad and Bennett’s Towing.

The investigation was turned over to the FAA.

New York State Electric and Gas Takes to the Sky

Over the next couple of weeks, low flying helicopters will be seen in the towns of Chenango, Fenton, and the Binghamton area.

The rotary aircraft will be controlled by NYSEG.

Starting Tuesday and continuing into early march, the choppers will be pruning trees along transmissions lines.

They'll use a special saw that hangs beneath the helicopter.

Stopping deadly airline accidents before they happen

Rolling across the tarmac in a line, waiting to take off ... or arrive at the gate.

It can be hard on your patience, but did you know it's also the most dangerous moment of your entire flight?

With more flights and increased runway traffic, KING 5 aviation specialist Glenn Farley reports on how a Redmond company is developing technology that stops deadly accidents before they can happen.

Tonight at 11 on KING 5 News:

Nigeria Airspace Management Agency Now to Install Airfield Lighting at Airport Runways

The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) would now take the responsibility of providing airfield lighting at the nation’s airports.

It will also provide bird hazard control to eliminate bird strikes on flights and carry out calibrations of airport facilities.

Before the new policy, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was providing airfield lighting which obviously accompanies construction of runways, while calibration is done by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The Ministry of Aviation may have decided on this new policy because over the years FAAN seemed incapable of providing airfield lighting at rehabilitated airports, thus subjecting many of the nation’s airports to day light flights.

An important example is the domestic runway (18L) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, which was commissioned in December 2008 after rehabilitation by the then Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba without runway lighting, and since then, four years after, the runway has been without lighting.

This adversely affect the operations of domestic airlines at sundown, and aircraft have to trudge to the international runway (18R) which is about two kilometer away, burning fuel that was put at about N500 million annually to take off to domestic destinations.

Not only that, using the international runway alone in the evenings gives rise to congestion because it is the period of peak landing and take-off by international flights, so aircraft have to hover for minutes to wait for its own turn to land, which also wastes a lot of fuel.

Ideally, both the runway and airfield lighting are built simultaneously so that they are ready for commissioning together, but at the Lagos airport, it was different; the same with the Owerri and Enugu airports.

A statement from NAMA, signed by its the General Manager, Public Affairs, Supo Atobatele, said that the agency has been given additional responsibilities to effectively manage the nation’s airspace as the Federal Government directed the agency to oversee airfield lighting at all airports and also be in charge of bird harzard control.

It noted that similarly, the agency under the new dispensation was to take over the calibration unit otherwise known as Navigational Aids Flight Inspection and Surveillance (NAFIS) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

This directive the statement said, given to the affected agencies by the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah would take immediate effect.

The exercise according to the Minister ’’is in line with the Federal Government’s transformation agenda for the industry’’.

All the Chief Executives of the affected agencies have been directed to work out modalities for the take over and complete the details for same.

The managing director of NAMA, Mr. Nnamdi Udoh addressing the management staff of the agency in Lagos on Thursday over the new development, remarked that the workforce, especially the technical staff would have to brace up for the emerging challenges.

The NAMA boss, described the additional job as enormous and reminded the staff of the need to realign for corporate goal of providing high quality air traffic services.

‘’With these huge responsibilities given to NAMA, we need to settle down and work assiduously to justify the new status bestowed on the agency by the Federal Government’’, the Managing Director stressed.

NAMA by the Act No.48 of 1999 has the mandate to provide Air Navigation Services in the country and commenced operation in January, 2000.

Recent booms heard throughout the Borderland caused by F-22 Raptor

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. —  Lt. Col. Robert Teschner on Friday addressed what residents in the Borderland have been talking about since Feb. 9.

Due to Mission F-22A -- training exercises where the Raptors are being flown over the local airspace -- Teschner said when a flying object is traveling faster than the speed of sound through the air, you're going to get a sonic boom.

The base is home of the 49th Wing, which operates the F-22A Raptor. Its is one of three that trains and operates the aircraft. Teschner said it's designed to fly at high speed.

If you were wondering why these booms weren't heard before, its because the aircraft were grounded due to suspended operations, said Teschner.

Recently, Holloman Air Force Base got the green light to start flying again.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) - It's the fastest fighter plane in the Air Force.

The F-22 Raptor flies at supersonic speeds, and can create a boom loud enough to set off car alarms.

One of the squadrons is based at Holloman Air Force Base outside Alamogordo. But, the booms that come with them are rattling some people up to 50 miles away.

The explosive sound is a result of the super-fast aircraft breaking the sound barrier. It can be heard from the ground, sometimes from 30-50 miles away.

"With a family that lives downtown as well, I am sensitive to the noise issues with this airplane," explained F-22 pilot, and 49th Operations Group Deputy Commander Robert Teschner., our balance is that the nation needs us to be as prepared as possible

Since the F-22 squadron at Holloman is one of the five operational squadrons for the jets in the United States, being combat-ready is vital.

"Our daily training prepares us to be ready to execute worldwide contingency missions on a moments notice," Teschner said.

With 26 Raptors on base and 39 qualified F-22 pilots, flight times often run Monday through Fridays and sometimes on Saturdays. The flights are during the day, but in the past they've occasionally flown at night.

Many people have complained about the booms. Some say they moved to the surrounding mountains for the tranquility only to be subjected to the booms.

Others complain that it spooks their livestock.

F-22 pilots at Holloman Air Force Base explained that the sonic booms are a natural consequence to a very important mission and that constant training is necessary.

To lessen the impact on the public, the Air Forces uses air space over less-populated areas.

But they are not cutting down their test flights. Air Force officials say the sonic booms represent the sound of freedom.

"You have to be able to absorb lots of different kinds of data, quickly assimilate, and then do something about it," Teschner said. "And the only way to be able to do that effectively is to do it often."

Teschner said even a few days off from flying can make a pilot feel like he's losing his edge.

"For the nation, we don't want any of our pilots to get into that rusty-sort of feeling," he explained.

Officials at Holloman also send out flight schedules to let the public know about their mission and when to expect possible booms. The schedules also are published on the Holloman website under Boom Report.

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, N665SP: Fatal accident occurred February 15, 2012 in North Bend, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Docket And Docket Items -   National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA105
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 15, 2012 in North Bend, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N665SP
Injuries: 3 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 the local flight, which took place in dark night visual meteorological conditions, several witnesses reported observing the airplane’s lights at a low altitude and hearing the airplane’s engine running before the sound of impact. One witness, a certificated pilot, estimated that when he saw the airplane there was an overcast layer of clouds about 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) with some lower level clouds and patchy areas of fog. Recorded radar data showed the flight departing the airport and ascending to an altitude of about 2,400 feet msl while traveling in a northeasterly direction. The data subsequently showed that the airplane descended on an east-southeasterly heading to an altitude of about 1,500 feet msl before radar contact was lost. The last recorded radar target was about 6 miles northwest of the accident site, which was located at an elevation of about 1,958 feet msl. The terrain along the pilot’s route of flight ranged between about 500 and 1,000 feet msl; the accident occurred as the airplane approached an area of rising (mountainous) terrain. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology tests of the pilot revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 154 mg/dl. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit operation of an airplane by persons with blood alcohol concentrations exceeding 40.0 mg/dL. It is likely that the pilot was impaired during the flight, which affected his ability to operate the airplane and maintain clearance from terrain.

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

The pilot's physical impairment due to alcohol, which adversely affected his ability to operate the airplane and to maintain clearance from mountainous terrain while operating in dark night conditions.

On February 15, 2012, about 0154 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172S, N665SP, was substantially damaged following impact with terrain on the western face of Mount Si, near North Bend, Washington. The airplane was registered to Christiansen Aviation Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, and operated by the pilot, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and his two passengers sustained fatal injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), Renton, Washington, at 0135.

A witness, who was a rated private pilot, reported that while driving in an easterly direction on Interstate 90 (I-90), he observed anti-collision and navigation lights from a low flying airplane that was flying in a southeasterly direction, about 1 mile north of I-90. The witness stated that as I-90 turned to a southwesterly direction, he lost sight of the airplane for a couple of minutes, however, reestablished visual contact with the airplane as he and the airplane approached North Bend. The witness said that at that time, the airplane altered its course and was traveling in a northeasterly direction at an estimated altitude of about 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). The witness added that visibility was at least 3 miles with a high overcast cloud ceiling and a few lower elevation clouds.

Several witnesses located near the accident site reported having heard an impact sound. One witness reported observing the lights of a low flying airplane over his location about 300 to 500 feet agl. The witness stated that he heard the engine rev up and couldn’t see the lights anymore. Shortly thereafter, they heard a pop along with the engine noise suddenly stop.

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded radar data revealed that the accident airplane was on initial climb from RNT. The airplane ascended to an altitude of about 2,400 feet mean sea level (msl), initially traveling in a northeasterly direction. As the airplane approached the area of Snoqualmie Falls, it descended to an altitude of about 1,500 feet msl, and traveled along an east-southeasterly course. The last recorded radar target was at 0146, about 1.5 miles southwest of Snoqualmie Falls at an altitude of 1,500 feet msl. The last radar target was located about 6.11 miles northwest of the accident site.

According to one of the passenger’s family members, the pilot and the two passengers attended a local hockey game that started at 1930. Following the game, the pilot and passengers went to dinner.


The pilot, age 30, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. A first-class airman medical certificate was issued to the pilot on August 8, 2007, with no limitations stated. Review of the pilot’s logbook revealed that as of the most current logbook entry, dated February 12, 2012, he had accumulated 991.5 hours of total flight time.


The four-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number (S/N) 172S8069, was manufactured in 1998. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, serial number L-27912-51A, rated at 180 horsepower. The airplane was also equipped with a McCauley 1A170E/JHA7660, serial number SH101, fixed pitch propeller. Review of the aircraft maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on October 10, 2011, at an airframe total time of 5,477.3 hours and engine time since major overhaul of 560.7 hours.


A review of recorded data from the Renton Municipal Airport automated weather observation station, located 21 miles east of the accident site, revealed at 0756, conditions were wind from 160 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 6 miles, mist, few clouds at 2,800 feet, overcast cloud layer at 4,000 feet, temperature 2 degrees Celsius, dew point 2 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.25 inches of mercury.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted trees and terrain on an approximate heading of about 120 degrees magnetic at an elevation of about 1,958 feet msl. Multiple topped trees and damaged tree limbs were noted within the wreckage debris path. Both wings, horizontal, and vertical stabilizers were separated and located throughout the wreckage debris path. The fuselage came to rest inverted and the engine remained attached.

Partial flight control cable continuity was established due to the extent of impact damage to the aircraft. The rudder flight control cables remained attached to the control horn at the tail of the aircraft. The ailerons and flap control cables were observed with tension overload separations at the inboard section of each wing and remained attached to the flight controls. The flap actuator was observed with no threads exposed corresponding to a 0 degree flap setting. The elevator control cables were observed with tension overload separations consistent with the separation of the horizontal stabilizer surfaces. The elevator trim tab control cables and actuator remained attached to the tail. The elevator trim actuator was measured and found to be 1.3 inches, which equated to a neutral trim position.

The top spark plug for the number 2 cylinder was removed and exhibited normal wear signatures as per the Champion Aviation Check-a-Plug chart. The fuel distribution valve was opened and observed with no debris or damage to the diaphragm. The propeller was separated from the crankshaft and exhibited leading edge polishing and “S” bending.

The on-site examination of the airframe and engine, revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure with the airframe or engine prior to impact. The wreckage was not recovered from the accident site.


The King County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy of the pilot on February 16, 2012. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was “...blunt force trauma...”

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and had positive results for 246 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in the Urine, 195 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in the Vitreous, 154 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in the blood, 92.08 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in the urine, 6.852 (ug/ml, ug/g) Dipehnhydramine detected in the blood, and an unspecified amount of Dipehnhydramine in the urine and liver.


Information obtained from CAMI revealed, “…ethanol is primarily a social drug with a powerful central nervous system depressant. After absorption, ethanol is uniformly distributed throughout all tissues and body fluids. The distribution pattern parallels the water content and blood supply of each organ. Postmortem production of ethanol also takes place due to putrefaction processes, but vitreous humor and urine do not suffer from such production to any significant extent in relation to blood. Vitreous humor would normally have about 12% more ethanol than blood if the system is in the post absorptive state, and urine would normally have about 25% more ethanol than blood. The average rate of elimination of ethanol from blood is 18 mg/dL (15-20 mg/dL) per hour.”

CAMI also states that Title 14 CFR 91.17 (a) “prohibits any person from acting or attempting to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while having 0.040 g/dL (40.0 mg/dL) or more alcohol in the blood.” Adverse clinical symptoms have been noted with blood ethanol levels as low as 20.0 mg/dL (0.020 g/dL).”

 NTSB Identification: WPR12FA105 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 15, 2012 in North Bend, WA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N665SP
Injuries: 3 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 15, 2012, about 0154 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172S, N665SP, cruised into the western face of Mount Si, about 1.75 miles east of North Bend, Washington. The airplane fragmented upon impacting trees and upsloping mountainous terrain, which resulted in substantial structural damage. The airplane’s registered owner, Christiansen Aviation, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, leased the airplane to a fixed base flight school operator in Renton, Washington, called AcuWings. The commercial pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the dark nighttime, personal sightseeing flight. No flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), about 0135.

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded radar was performed for an aircraft having performance characteristics of a Cessna 172, that flew on a route from RNT to the accident site vicinity, and that disappeared about the time of the accident near the crash site. Only one target was found that met these criteria. The FAA’s recorded radar shows an aircraft on initial climb out from RNT. The aircraft climbed to 2,400 feet mean sea level (msl), as indicated by its altitude encoding transponder. Initially, the aircraft proceeded in a northeasterly direction. However, as the aircraft approached Snoqualmie Falls, it descended to 1,500 feet and proceeded on an east-southeasterly course. The last radar hit occurred at 0146, at which time the aircraft was about 1 mile southwest of the Falls, and about 1 mile north of Interstate Highway 90 (I-90). During the last minute of recorded flight, the aircraft’s ground speed decreased from about 112 to 106 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator received information from a witness who stated that about 0150 he was driving in an easterly direction on I-90. The witness holds a private pilot certificate. He reported having observed the anticollision and navigation lights from a low flying airplane that was cruising in a southeasterly direction an estimated 1 mile north of I-90. The witness stated that when I-90 turned southeasterly, he lost sight of the airplane for a couple of minutes. However, he regained visual contact with the airplane as he and the airplane approached North Bend. At that time, the airplane had altered its course and was heading in a northeasterly direction. The witness estimated that the airplane’s altitude was about 1,000 feet above ground level. (North Bend’s elevation is 400 to 500 feet msl.) The witness stated that the visibility was at least 3 miles. There was an overcast ceiling several thousand feet above the ground, with a few lower elevation clouds. Based upon the flight path drawing provided by the witness, the Safety Board investigator notes that when the witness lost visual contact with the airplane, it was flying toward the Mount Si area and was within 3 miles of the crash site.

Beginning about 0154, several persons located in North Bend telephoned 911 and reported having heard an impact sound. At least one witness reported having observed the lights of a low flying airplane and the sound of its engine suddenly stop following its 0153 low altitude easterly direction flight over the city toward Mount Si.

The Safety Board investigator’s on scene examination of the accident site and airplane wreckage revealed evidence of multiple broken tree trunks and felled branches on the mountainside in Mount Si’s Natural Resource Conservation Area. Fragmented airframe components, including both crushed wings, were noted below dozens of felled branches on an approximate 120-degree magnetic track leading to the fuselage, which was upside down. No evidence of preimpact oil leaks, fuel filter blockage, flight control anomalies, or fire was noted at the estimated 1,950-foot msl crash site.

NORTH BEND, Wash. - Two investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived at a trailhead near the scene of a plane crash near North Bend, said KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois.

The two did not say anything as they geared up and walked into the woods, said Dubois, who reported earlier that the trailhead was closed to the public for the investigation.

A witness to the crash told Dubois that he called 911 after seeing the plane go down.  He said he heard nothing usual from the plane before it crashed, but he thought he was strange the pilot was flying so low.

 The crash early Wednesday morning of a Cessna 172 killed three people: Liz Redling, Seth Dawson and the pilot, Rob Hill.

Hill was a flight instructor for a company out of Renton Air Field.

According to The Seattle Times, no one at the flight school was aware Hill had taken the plane out late Tuesday night.

No flight plan was filed, and Hill hadn't been in contact with air traffic controllers.