Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10 News Investigators: Air marshals call federal investigation a coverup

TAMPA, Fla. -- Five current and former federal air marshals who first talked to the 10 News Investigators more than two years ago are calling a 21-month-long Office of Inspector General report on the agency a total whitewash and an embarrassment.

The air marshals insist the report missed the incompetence and discrimination displayed by mangers in the agency and the danger that incompetence causes in the skies.

"We asked for an investigation and we got an inspection," says Theo Doropoulos, a former air marshal who is not alone in his criticism.

Three current air marshals who asked us to not use their names are also upset with the report. "This is a whitewash. It's a whitewash from the top down," says one.

"They didn't try to find any evidence. They never interviewed the right people," says another.

"It affects us. And if it affects us, it affects the flying public. I'd be embarrassed to put my name to this," says a third.

The trigger for the investigation was a "Jeopardy" type game board we exposed in 2010. Managers in the training office in Orlando used the board to play a game disparaging African Americans, Gays, Lesbians, Hispanics, and Veterans.

"They are trying and attempting in every way to run from this game board," says Doropoulos.

To the air marshals, the board is symbolic of the system-wide attitude of managers in the agency. However, the inspector general's report says the board was not a source of allegations or retaliation and discrimination in other field offices. It goes on to say the board was used to make fun of those on the training staff, not others. The air marshals say that is a blatant lie.

Officer who claimed discrimination settles with airport

Man who claimed he was harassed for being gay agrees to $30K settlement.

An officer with the Bob Hope Airport Police Department has agreed to accept $30,000 to settle claims that he was harassed by his supervisor for being gay.

In the lawsuit, Richard Ellis claims the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority did nothing to stop the harassment, even after being notified of the situation.

Ellis claimed a police sergeant made disparaging remarks about him over his sexual orientation and took retaliatory actions against him, such as making false claims about the number of days he took off, according to court documents.

Ellis joined the airport police department in November 2006 after working as a police officer with the city of Glendale.

When he started at Bob Hope Airport, he worked with Police Sgt. Henry Gomez, who initially was friendly to Ellis and often complimented him on his work, according to court documents.

But all that changed after Ellis claims he was referred to in a derogatory way by his superior. Gomez allegedly tried to stunt Ellis’ progress within the department and took actions to erode his standing, according to the lawsuit.

The airport authority and Gomez deny all of Ellis’ allegations, court documents state.

A status hearing on the case, in which the settlement agreement is presented to the judge to consider dropping the case, was postponed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Dismissal is likely because Ellis’ attorney, Thomas Hoegh, has signed off on the settlement, court officials said.

The airport authority confirmed that both Ellis and Gomez still work for the airport police department.


Everything you wanted to know about the Salt Lake City International Airport expansion

SALT LAKE CITY — The plan is still conceptual, Maureen Riley warns. How it will be executed is unclear, and it's likely to change over the next eight to 10 years.

That's the reality of the planned $1.8 billion rebuild of Salt Lake City International Airport, its executive director said.

Riley has remained rooted in reality as she's fielded questions during the past month about redevelopment plans for the nation's 26th busiest airport.

But beneath the pretense of practicality, Riley is as enthusiastic as anyone to see the airport she's headed since 2007 address longstanding seismic risks and accommodate projected growth in passenger levels.

"I think generally people are very supportive and excited," she said.

They also have plenty of questions about the project, including its price tag, its lengthy timeline for construction and even its necessity.

During the next six months, plans will be refined. And city and airport officials said they want the project to remain flexible throughout construction to accommodate an ever-evolving industry.

"That's a great advantage for us, especially with a project this size," Riley said. "We're taking some time up front to really plan the entire 10-year construction period, which in the end, I think, will work as an advantage for us."

Here are answers to key questions about the expansion, first announced by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker during his State of the City address in January.


Where is the $1.8 billion coming from? Will tax dollars be used? Will it cost more to fly, rent cars, check baggage, etc.?

Becker called the airport expansion a "massive undertaking" and said there would be "no additional burden on Salt Lake City taxpayers." And airport officials said they can fund the project without slapping travelers with additional fees, either.

Is it true? The airport already has more than $250 million in the bank to put toward the project and to use as security for $302 million in general airport revenue bonds.

"That puts the airport in a good position to start on a project like this," Becker said.

Much of that money has been saved since 2008, when the airport retired its debt from previous construction and renovation projects, said Barbara Gann, airport spokeswoman.

'Swooping' toward a high-risk thrill

The death of another skydiver at Perris facility draws attention to the sport's trend of increased safety for novices along with riskier maneuvers by experienced divers.

By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times

February 22, 2012
Reporting from Perris—

The competition was high-performance and high-risk, and Sean Carey and his 16 fellow skydivers knew it.

They were equipped with special parachutes that allowed a faster and better-controlled descent, and their goal Saturday was to dive toward a shallow pond in an advanced maneuver known as swooping.

One by one, they plummeted toward the surface, executing a last-minute turn to accelerate before leveling off and gliding just above the pond. But Carey, an instructor at Skydive San Diego who had done the maneuver successfully hundreds of times, made his turn too low and crashed into the pond.

Carey was the sixth highly experienced skydiver to be killed in the last year at Perris Valley Skydiving, one of the largest and most popular facilities for the sport in the nation.

The deaths reflect a divergent nationwide trend: equipment upgrades and safety rules have reduced overall skydiving fatalities among novices — but the smaller, more aerodynamically designed chutes have allowed more experienced divers to take more risks.

Increasingly, industry veterans said, fatal accidents involve experts attempting advanced maneuvers with high-performance equipment — people like Carey, who according to his employer averaged 1,800 jumps a year and had won previous swooping competitions.

Last December, another experienced pilot died making a landing error while swooping at Perris. The facility temporarily suspended swooping while it conducted a review of safety procedures.

The company's general manager, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, said he found that Perris' safety standards were as high as or higher than other facilities' but further tightened requirements.

The facility had already required that before attempting a high-performance maneuver, a skydiver must have at least 700 jumps under his or her belt. After the December fatality, it added a requirement that pilots receive special training before attempting swooping.

In the wake of Carey's death, Brodsky-Chenfeld said he is again reviewing the standards.

High-risk maneuvers are clearly gaining the interest of top pilots. Among the other daredevil moves is wingsuit flying, in which people glide across the sky in jumpsuits with fabric "wings" before deploying a parachute. Another is vertical formation skydiving, in which groups of pilots grip one another's limbs, their heads or feet pointed to the ground.

But many consider swooping to be the riskiest because the high-speed maneuvering is performed so close to the ground.

On Monday, parachutists at Perris Valley Skydiving — including some who witnessed Carey's death Saturday — said they were shaken but not deterred.

"Bottom line is, this is the life we chose. We know this is dangerous," said Joe Kaufman, an instructor at the facility, who has been skydiving for more than 20 years. Kaufman was not present when Saturday's crash occurred.

Decades ago, industry experts said, fatal accidents involving faulty equipment were more common. Now, extra safeguards are in place and such accidents are rare.

In addition to a backup parachute, most skydivers — and all skydiving students — now carry an automatic activation device that will deploy the reserve parachute in the event of an emergency if the skydiver does not do so, said Nancy Koreen, a spokeswoman for the United States Parachute Assn.

The technological advances that have made the equipment safer have also allowed the development of faster, more sensitive canopies. Experienced skydivers compare the performance canopies used by advanced skydivers to race cars. Canopy pilots can reach speeds as high as 75 mph at the beginning of a swoop.

Out of 25 skydiving fatalities nationwide in 2011, six involved landing errors, which have accounted for an average of one-third of skydiving fatalities each year for the last decade, according to the Parachute Assn. Nearly all of those accidents involved highly experienced skydivers attempting advanced maneuvers, Koreen said.

There are no industrywide regulations on swooping. Each skydiving facility is left to establish its own rules, although Koreen said they are asked to restrict swooping to a separate landing area.

Skydive San Diego president Buzz Fink said Carey's co-workers there — and skydivers around the nation — were distraught and shocked by his death, but Fink does not believe the Perris facility could have done more to prevent it. Carey was a skilled canopy pilot who made an error during a maneuver he had performed more than 1,000 times before, Fink said.

"Skydiving was his life," he said. "He loved it, he enjoyed it and it was his passion in life."


Airbus A321-231, AP-BJB: Accident occurred July 28, 2010, near Islamabad-Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Feb 21: The federal government has decided to appoint a board of accident inquiry into the Airblue plane crash in line with the orders of the Peshawar High Court, which had expressed dissatisfaction at an early probe.

A high court bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth was informed on Tuesday that the defence ministry had issued a notification on February 17 wherein it was mentioned that the federal government had decided in public interest to appoint a board of accident inquiry into the July 28, 2010 Airblue crash, which left 152 persons on board dead on Margalla Hills.

Senior law officer of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Ubaidur Rehman Abbasi informed the bench that the authority had received the notification issued by the government which provided that the said board should exercise powers conferred under the Civil Aviation Rules 1994 and furnish its report to the defence ministry within 30 days from the date of notification of the chairman and the members which would follow shortly.

The court issued directions for the heading of the said board by a team of international experts and CAA and the federal government should have no controlling power towards it. It was added that as soon as the inquiry was completed, it should be submitted to the court.

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by former MNA Marvi Memon and some family members of crash victims. The bench fixed March 27 for the next hearing into the case.

Both defence and law secretaries tendered unconditional apologies to the court in written statements given in reply to contempt of court notices issued by the court during previous hearing on January 19 for not following certain court orders.

Lawyer of defence secretary Tanveerul Islam Khan and consultant with the law division Mohammad Jawed Iqbal submitted the replies on behalf of the two secretaries saying they had taken several steps in accordance with the court orders and could not even think of disobeying it.

Mr Abbasi and Mr Tanveer informed the bench that in line with that order, the defence ministry issued a letter to the CAA on February 15 directing it to approach International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and others for nomination of experts. CAA was also asked to direct PIA and other private airlines operating under their regulatory control to prepare themselves for safety audit/assessment to be done in pursuance of the court order.

The bench observed that this being serious issue because lives of citizens were involved on a daily basis in thousands and therefore, all authorities, including federal government, was directed to undertake inspection process at the earliest otherwise if any mishap occurred responsibility would lay on the relevant authority.

During proceedings, the bench expressed annoyance over CAA performance saying facilities at airports and in aircraft were not up to international standards.

The petitioner`s lawyer, Umar Farooq Adam, said DNA tests of crash victims were not carried out as they were dumped in a single common grave in inhuman manner.

The bench directed the chief executive of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), where bodies were taken after the crash, to produce record of DNA tests on the next hearing. It said in case no such tests were conducted, then the government and Airblue were liable to pay for charges of tests and should be carried out at the earliest.


CC130 Hercules Flight Safety Emergency


Nine Canadian Forces personnel are safe after evacuating from a CC-130 Hercules aircraft that caught fire during take off while training at the Naval Air Station Key West in the United States, Tuesday.

The aircrew successfully conducted an emergency landing after the aircrew noted an onboard fire. Naval Air Station Key West Fire & Emergency Services extinguished the fire, and damage to the aircraft is reported as being extensive. A Flight Safety Investigation is being launched from National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa to determine the cause of the event.

The aircraft and crew are from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron of 17 Wing Winnipeg. They have all been examined by the on scene Canadian Forces Flight Surgeon as a precautionary measure.

"Noting the seriousness of fire aboard any aircraft, I am proud of the crew that followed through on their training, conducted the immediate emergency procedures, and got everyone out safely," said Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Pamplin, Commanding Officer of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron. "At times like this, my thoughts go to our families, and I am relieved to be able to confirm that the crewmembers are safe and remain in good spirits."

The RCAF strives to optimize its contributions to operations and training without compromising on safety or on standards, and this incident will be thoroughly investigated.

The CC-130 Hercules aircraft and crews were operating in the area to provide air-to-air refuelling support for the training of new CF-18 fighter pilots from 4 Wing Cold Lake, who were conducting essential training focused on air combat tactics and air interdiction missions.

SOURCE: Department of National Defence


Central Illinois Regional Airport: Former Restaurant Manager Sentenced

A former manager of the Tailwind Bar and Grill at the Central Illinois Regional Airport was sentenced Tuesday to jail for theft.  Kevin Scott received six months jail but was given credit for three months he's already served. He's also been ordered to pay five thousand dollars in restitution. Scott was arrested last year in Virginia for stealing several thousand dollars from the restaurant. 

Piper Aircraft sees revenue increase from sales of higher-end models

VERO BEACH — Piper Aircraft Inc. saw revenues increase last year on an upswing in deliveries of its higher-end models.

The company's total deliveries of 136 aircraft were down from 160 the prior year, but the sales of its flagship Meridian increased from 25 in 2010 to 32 last year. As a result, revenue grew by more than 9 percent from $120.2 million to $131.2 million.

Overall, the sales and deliveries of the company's higher end M-class planes — the Meridian, Mirage and Matrix business airplanes — increased from 74 to 82 aircraft.

Piper spokeswoman Jackie Carlon said the company this year is seeing a slight uptick in sales of its trainers, with higher-end sales remaining relatively flat.

She said the company, which currently has 720 workers, doesn't anticipate any employment changes. Company officials for the past few years said their goal is to have production more closely meet demand to avoid large swings in employment levels.

"Piper continues to meet or exceed our internal financial and delivery targets, and we are focused on continuing to balance our production activities with the marketplace. Moreover, increased deliveries of the top-end Piper Meridian and a larger backlog for our overall core products entering 2012 mean that the company is stronger financially than just a year ago or the previous year," Piper President and Chief Executive Officer Simon Caldecott said in a prepared statement.

Carlon said the company continues to expand its presence globally and expects to add two new dealers by the end of this quarter. International sales accounted for 70 of the 136 aircraft sold last year. While overall delivery numbers were down last year, the company said deliveries were still more than 50 percent above what they were in 2009 when the company was feeling the brunt of the econonic downturn.

The company saw a drastic drop in employment following the 2008 downturn. In the summer of 2009, the number of company workers fell below 600. Staffing later grew back to about 850 workers before Piper announced last year it was suspending its light business jet program and laying off more than 100 employees and releasing 55 contract workers.

The reduction in jobs meant the company failed to reach certain employment level benchmarks contained in a financial incentive package signed with the state and county in 2008. As a result, the company may have to pay back part of the $10.7 million it earlier received depending on the outcome of negotiations currently under way between the parties.


DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver: Floatplane Flips, Sinks During Takeoff Run Near Kodiak, Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—  A floatplane flipped and sank after hitting a rock during a takeoff run Tuesday afternoon near Kodiak, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. All three people on board escaped without injuries.

NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says a DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver owned and operated by Island Air of Kodiak was carrying a pilot and two mechanics on a post-maintenance test flight when it landed in Long Lagoon, about five miles northeast of Kodiak, at about 3 p.m. to conduct some tests. It then struck a rock as it attempted to take off, holing one of the plane’s floats and causing it to sink.

The pilot and mechanics got out of the plane and were rescued by good Samaritans in the area, then subsequently picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Johnson says the three spent about 20 minutes in the water before they were picked up.

The plane was submerged after the crash, but crews were working on retrieving it Tuesday afternoon.

8 year old Nacogdoches, Texas, boy recognized for helping deputies nab a suspected thief . Cessna TR182, N5141S. Athens Municipal Airport (F44)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – A young Nacogdoches boy has been honored for his role in helping law enforcement nab a suspected thief.

Sheriff Thomas Kerss says when you do a good job, in his book, you should be recognized for it and that is exactly what he did for 8 year old Madi Simmons. Tuesday afternoon Kerss presented the youngster with an appreciation plaque for alerting his father, Jerry Simmons, when a stolen plane landed on a private air strip near their house.

That tip brought deputies to the scene, which led to an arrest in a major case.

Kerss commended the young boy for his awareness and quick action which illustrated a civic minded individual. Madi was told he is certainly a good citizen.

Haycraft Sport Hornet, N72PD: Accident occurred February 21, 2012 in Mariposa, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA113
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 21, 2012 in Mariposa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: HAYCRAFT SPORT HORNET, registration: N72PD
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot was returning to the airport when he noticed the smell of smoke in the cockpit. The smoke intensity increased, and after about 15 seconds, he opted to perform a forced landing into a pasture. During the landing roll, the nosewheel separated from the airplane, which slid to a stop. The pilot stated that after egressing, he observed fire emanating from underneath the engine area.

A postaccident examination revealed that the engine’s predominant area of thermal deformation was around the No. 4 cylinder (right side). Examination of the bottom of the engine revealed that the right side exhibited hotter thermal exposure signatures than the rest of the engine. Due to the thermal destruction, it could not be determined precisely where the fire originated; however, the area where the damage was the greatest was where the fuel lines, coolant lines, ignition harness, and carburetor were located. It was also noted that no heat shielding was installed between the exhaust system and the engine, which more than likely had an effect on the initiation of the fire.

Both the engine and the exhaust manufacturers recommended installing heat shielding between the exhaust and engine components. The limits section of the Installation Manual states that if there is not proper heat shielding to protect the modules and fuel lines from the exhaust heat, the engine may be susceptible to a fire. However, because this airplane is experimental, there is no requirement for the installation of the heat shield.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Improper clearance and inadequate heat shielding between engine components and the exhaust system, which resulted in an in-flight fire.


On February 21, 2012, about 1440 Pacific standard time, a Haycraft Sport Hornet, N72PD, experienced an in-flight fire near Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, Mariposa, California. The airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing and consumed by fire. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The sport pilot and sole passenger were not injured. The local personal flight departed from Mariposa about 1340. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that after taking photographs of property, he began to return back to the airport. With the airport about 5 miles to the north, he noticed the smell of smoke in the cockpit. He maneuvered the airplane directly toward the airport and noted that all the engine temperature and pressure cockpit gauges indicated normal operation. The smoke intensity increased and after about 15 seconds, he opted to perform a forced landing into a pasture below. During the landing roll, the nose wheel separated from the airplane and slid to a stop. The pilot and passenger egressed and watched the airplane burn. The pilot further stated that he first observed the fire underneath the engine area.


The Haycraft Sport Hornet single-engine amateur built airplane, serial number 0054, was completed in 2008. The airplane was equipped with the originally installed Rotax 912ULS engine. The pilot stated that the airframe and engine had accumulated a total time of 97 hours. The last conditional inspection was dated as having been completed August 07, 2011. The airplane had accrued approximately 10 hours since that inspection.


The airplane was configured in a pusher-type style, with the engine mounted above and aft of the cockpit. The airframe fabric covering was burned from its steel tubular structure with the exception of panels that remained covering the left wing and several panels on the outboard right wing. The engine, a Rotax 912ULS, remained affixed to the three-bladed propeller. The engine had sustained thermal damage and the firewall was melted, with the only identifiable pieces being molten material clumped in the wreckage.

A postaccident examination revealed that the predominant area of thermal deformation was around the No. 4 cylinder (right side) and concentrated around its forward inboard section where several cylinder fins were bent. Examination of the bottom of the engine revealed that the right side was white in coloration and the left side was black, consistent with more thermal exposure and hotter temperatures reached on the right side. The housing on the exhaust pushrod of the No. 4 cylinder was thermally destroyed exposing the charred pushrod.

According to the Rotax representative, the exhaust system installed on the engine was manufactured by Titan Aircraft. There was no evidence that there was heat shielding between the exhaust system and engine. The distance between the exhaust pipe and the ignition module was about 3 inches; the module was consumed by fire as was the ignition harness. In the area that had sustained the greatest thermal damage (above the No. 4 cylinder) was where the following components were routed near an exhaust pipe: fuel and cylinder head coolant lines, an ignition harness, and a Bing Carburetor (mounted via a rubber carburetor socket).


According to the Rotax Installation Manual section 11, “Exhaust system,” the “shape and execution of the exhaust system is determined essentially by the free space available in the aircraft.” A caution notes to, “fit heat shields near carburetors or as required,” and “because of high temperatures occurring, provide suitable protection against unintentional contact.”

The Rotax representative stated that there is no defined maximum or minimum distance the components need to be from the exhaust system, but the installer must take into account that a certain amount of back pressure will occur during takeoff, which will affect that distance. He noted that keeping the exhaust system closer to the engine is most desirable as long as the installer does not exceed the minimum bend radius on the exhaust pipe and that the proper heat shielding is used.

The Rotax representative further stated that the exhaust system reaches temperatures of 1,560 to 1,616 degrees Fahrenheit, as explained in the limits section of the Installation Manual. The ignition modules have a maximum ambient temperature of 176 degrees Fahrenheit, and the representative stated that if there isn’t proper heat shielding to protect the modules and fuel lines from the exhaust heat, the engine may be susceptible to a fire.

Titan Aircraft, the exhaust manufacturer, issued an advisory in July 2010 for another aircraft equipped with Rotax 912 series engines, stating that an ignition module failure can occur due to heat from the exhaust. The advisory states, “Installation of exhaust/header wrap on the muffler and outlet pipes or fabrication of a heat shield to cover the ignition module is required.”

 NTSB Identification: WPR12LA113 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 21, 2012 in Mariposa, CA
Aircraft: HAYCRAFT SPORT HORNET, registration: N72PD
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On February 21, 2012, about 1440 Pacific standard time, a Haycraft Sport Hornet, N72PD, experienced an in-flight fire near Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, Mariposa, California. The airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing and consumed by fire. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The sport pilot and sole passenger were not injured. The local personal flight departed from Mariposa about 1340. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that after taking photographs of property, he began to maneuver back to the airport. With the airport about 5 miles to the north, he noticed the smell of smoke in the cockpit. He maneuvered the airplane directly toward the airport and noted that all the engine temperature and pressure cockpit gauges indicated normal operation. The smoke intensity increased and after about 15 seconds, he opted to perform a forced landing in a pasture below. During the landing roll, the nose wheel separated from the airplane and slid to a stop. The pilot and passenger egressed and watched the airplane burn. The pilot further stated that he first observed the fire underneath the engine area.

The wreckage was taken to a recovery facility for further examination.

A plane has crashed in Mariposa County. The FAA says a homebuilt, experimental plane had smoke in the cockpit and made an emergency landing in a cow pasture.
 Photo Credit:  KFSN/ ABC30

 The scorched experimental aircraft that crash landed near White Rock Road Tuesday afternoon is pictured above. Both the pilot and passenger survived. (Dan Tucker| The Gazette)

 Photo Credit:  KFSN/ ABC30

  Photo Credit:  KFSN/ ABC30

The plane, identified as a Sport Hornet, reportedly had smoke in the cockpit and made an emergency landing in a cow pasture in Mariposa County Tuesday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m.

The plane caught on fire and was destroyed, but neither of the two people on board were injured. According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Haycraft Oliver of Glendale, California.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A plane has crashed in Mariposa County. The FAA says a homebuilt, experimental plane had smoke in the cockpit and made an emergency landing in a cow pasture around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.
It's located near White Rock Road and Beach Road. The plane caught on fire but neither of the two people on board were injured.

The aircraft is registered to a person from Glendale in LA County. The crash sparked a small brush fire that continues to grow at this hour. 

Around 2:30 p.m. this afternoon an experimental aircraft that left the Mariposa/Yosemite Airport crash landed high atop a hill several miles down White Rock Road.

Both the pilot and his passenger received scrapes and bruises, but avoided serious injury. The plane caught fire on impact but both escaped. About two acres of grassland were torched before being extinguished by first responders.

Flight departing Portland International Airport turns around after passenger lights electronic cigarette, becomes disruptive

A flight departing Portland International Airport this afternoon turned around after a passenger lit an electronic cigarette and "was not cooperative" when asked to turn the device off.

The man is currently being questioned at the airport by airport and federal authorities, said Steve Johnson, a spokesman for the Port of Portland.

The Continental Airlines flight departed PDX for Houston just before 12:20 p.m., Johnson said. At some point after take off, the man turned on the cigarette.

"He was asked to not do that and was not cooperative," Johnson said.

The flight returned to PDX about 1 p.m. and the unidentified passenger removed.

Also known as "e-cigarettes," most electronic cigarettes do not burn tobacco. Instead, a lithium battery heats a liquid nicotine solution, which creates a vapor that can be inhaled by the user and delivered directly into their lungs.

They often look similar to real cigarettes.

Federal law prohibits passengers from smoking tobacco products on a commercial plane, but does not single out e-cigarettes. In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced plans to explicitly ban the devices on all domestic and commercial flights within the United States.

But electronic cigarettes are currently not prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration, said spokeswoman Tina Burke.

Johnson said it wasn't clear if the man faced charges in connection with the incident and more information would be available later today.

The other passengers departed PDX about 2 p.m.

The People Of 1919 Imagined Circular Runways For New York City (You Know, For Our Personal Commuter Airplanes)

When the Wright Brothers did their thing in 1903, it apparently put the idea in people's heads that one day we'd all be flying, everywhere, for everything... even to our jobs. We've had this fantasy pop up time and time again—including the most popular pop culture reference of all, in The Jetsons—but it has yet to really happen on a broad scale, and for a long period of time. Sure, we had New York Airways, which helped some commuters skip traffic into the city, but that ended in the 1970s after too many people died and the company shut down operations. But let's go back further in time, to 1919, when this airplane business was new, and the ideas were even more wild.

Frederick Municipal Airport tower nears opening: Officials expect improved air traffic safety

The Frederick Municipal Airport’s new radio control tower will make air travel safer for the 160,657 aircrafts that take off and land each year, according to the airport’s manager Kevin Daugherty.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “It’s a game changer.”

The $5.3-million tower, which has been in the works for about a decade, was paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Daugherty said construction is complete, with just touch-ups — such as fixing chipped paint — needed before the FAA can approve the site. He said the tower is expected to be operational by June 1.Tower-controlled airports function by having controllers issue departure and arrival instructions for pilots, according to the FAA. Without a tower, pilots using the airport are responsible for talking directly to one another.

The tower will be staffed by between six and eight new permanent full-time positions, all of which will be paid by the FAA, Daugherty said.

The airport already is getting tower designation on national airport maps, which lets pilots know the airpsace will no longer be uncontrolled, he said.

The city broke ground on the tower in October 2010. Daugherty said the airport has two flight schools and operates as a location for business and personal flights.

About 200 aircraft are based at Frederick Municipal Airport, a reliever airport for Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, meaning it directs smaller flights away from the larger airport to alleviate traffic.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Frederick Mayor Randy McClement (R) toured the tower Tuesday and said it could lead to economic growth.

Cardin, who helped secure federal funding for the tower, said he was pleased the project is almost complete.

“I remember talking to people in this area, saying ‘We need a new tower,’” he said. “Then this opportunity presented itself to fund this with the recovery act. Now, to be standing in the tower? It’s amazing. It’s a real economic opportunity for the region.”

McClement said the new tower allows for safer travel and could increase the number of flights at the airport, which could in turn mean more fuel sales.

“This is great,” he said. “The ability to see where our future lies, to see where the runway can expand. … There are people who won’t come into uncontrolled airports. I’d hope companies might be able, if they have that concern, to be alleviated.”

Frederick's Board of Aldermen accepted federal stimulus grant money to construct the tower in September 2010.


Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport flights to Cuba postponed until fall

The lure of a mojito, the world’s most prized cigars, the rich Cuban culture and a chance to see the Pope were not enough to fill seats on what was to be the inaugural flight between Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and Havana.

The March 21 charter flight has been postponed until fall, and the head of the travel agency that planned weekly service between BWI and Cuba says the agency will try again in October and improve its publicity campaign.

“We’ve had lots of calls and lots of interest, but that hasn’t translated into ticket sales,” said William J. Hauf, president of Florida-based Island Travel and Tours. “We probably could have filled up the first flight, but we want to offer these flights on a weekly basis, and right now we weren’t confident we’d sell enough tickets for the second and third flights to cover a cost of $50,000 to $60,000 per flight.”

Hauf said that Island had just six confirmed ticket sales for next month’s flight.

Charter flights to Cuba are offered from other U.S. cities, and March 21 seemed like a good launch date for Island Travel to begin offering the service from BWI. In addition to the attractions of an island that generally has been off limits to Americans since the communist takeover, the Pope’s three-day visit to the country, scheduled to begin March 26, also seemed likely to encourage ticket sales.

Vacation tourism to Cuba is still prohibited for U.S. citizens under federal restrictions mandated during the Cold War and still supported by many Cuban-Americans whose families fled after Fidel Castro came to power.

The charter flights are open to academics, journalists, religious institutions, cultural groups and other organizations that show a purpose other than tourism for the visit. Travelers are subject to daily spending limits and are prohibited from bringing home Cuban souvenirs or other goods.

Though Island travel has been promoting the BWI flights since January, Hauf said many religious and educational organizations need a longer lead time to plan such an excursion.

“We’re going to continue to promote this heavily so that when we begin [BWI] flights, probably in October, these groups will have had plenty of time to work it into their plans,” Hauf said.

Airline sues regulator over corruption

Company files case after failing to get its 'unfit carrier' cleared, counter Caab

The owner of a private airline has filed a bribery case against an official of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, but Caab officials are saying that the case is false and has been filed to harass their colleague because he did not give a no-objection certificate to an unfit aircraft.

Rupashi Bangla Airlines Ltd acquired a provisional licence to operate flights in September 2008, but could not start operation in over three years because it could not import a single aircraft meeting the requirements of Caab, although the provisional licence was extended thrice, according to Caab documents.

Rupashi Bangla was required to own at least two aircraft within the provisional period meeting required standards for getting the final permission to operate as a passenger carrying airline.

During the period the company applied for technical clearance for 17 different types of aircraft, none of which got clearance because neither the company could provide all required original documents nor did the aircraft meet the required standards.

"Due to frequent change of aircraft for purchasing and placing of incomplete proposals, Rupashi Bangla caused loss of huge government work hours of Caab officials," said a top Caab official wishing anonymity.

On the other hand, Rupashi Bangla Managing Director Afzal Hossain said he filed the case because Caab Deputy Director Golam Sarwar had demanded Tk 10 lakh bribe in exchange for issuance of a no-objection certificate (NOC).

Afzal claimed that he did not get the clearance although his airline complied with all requirements.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is now investigating the case being ordered by Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court, Dhaka with which Afzal lodged the complaint on July 31 last year.

The immediate past investigation officer (IO) of the case, ACC Deputy Assistant Director Nazim Uddin, summoned eight top and mid- ranking Caab officials including its chairman and the director of flight safety and regulations, to the commission in December last year, although the case is against only one official.

Some of the summoned officials alleged that Nazim did not tell them whether the other seven officials were being accused or being summoned as witnesses.

"Nazim gave us a questionnaire to answer. After giving the answers we asked for copies of what we wrote, but the IO refused to give copies," one of the summoned officials told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.

Nazim said he did everything following ACC rules and regulations.

Caab sources said when their top officials brought the matter to the notice of ACC top officials they rebuked Nazim and replaced him by ACC Deputy Director Benzir Ahmed as the IO. Contacted recently Benzir said he is now studying the case.

The case statement says that Golam Sarwar assured Afzal of awarding an NOC for importing an aircraft from the Philippines in May 2010 if he was bribed.

It also claims Sarwar told Afzal that he would pocket Tk 5 lakh while the rest of the bribe would be given to his director to earn his approval. But Afzal refused to bribe, the case statement adds.

In December 2010, Rupashi Bangla again applied for an NOC for importing two aircraft from a Philippines-based airline.

Following the application, three Caab inspectors inspected the aircraft in May 2011, but the inspection results were not satisfactory. The inspectors were not even provided with the original copies of two key documents -- Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Airworthiness.

But on May 29, 2011, one of the aircraft that failed inspection landed at Chittagong Shah Amanat Airport without flight clearance, violating Bangladesh air space and Caab rules, an incident that irked all related government agencies.

After the incident Caab contacted the Philippines Civil Aviation and arranged for the unauthorised aircraft's return.

Days later the Directorate of Air Defence of Bangladesh Air Force wrote to Caab saying Rupashi Bangla should not be allowed to operate flights.

Afzal, however, denied all allegations and claimed that despite signing aircraft purchase agreement with different companies he could not buy those as Caab intentionally delayed in giving him necessary clearances.

He also said although in the original case he accused only one of seeking bribe, in his statement to the ACC he named nine officials including the Caab chairman, and the director of flight safety and regulations, all of whom allegedly demanded bribe from him.

He also accused them of causing his financial loss due to forcible return of the aircraft to the Philippines.

Asked why he did not file a petition with a higher court against Caab for sending back the aircraft, he said he tried "but a lawyer demanded a huge amount of money". He also said as the next two days were government holidays, by the time he could file the petition, the aircraft would have already been sent back.

Rupashi Bangla was first awarded the provisional licence to operate flights after certification from the registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms that the company has a paid up capital of Tk 20 crore which is Caab's required amount for issuance of the licence.


Canadian Forces simulate aircraft crash in Cochrane area

Canadian Forces members from across Ontario are training in the near Cochrane, Kapuskasing and Hearst, Ontario, from February 14 to 26.

The exercise is a part of the Trillium Response series, which are designed to address a range of scenarios under varying environmental conditions.

Each year, Joint Task Force (Central) (JTFC), along with its partner government agencies, conducts a major field training exercise in the province of Ontario to test its ability to provide military assistance to civil authorities.

This year’s purpose is simulating a large aircraft crash near Mistango Lake which is approximately 51km east of Cochrane, and a smaller crash near Constance Lake, about 256km west of Cochrane.

Approximately 600 regular and reserve force soldiers, including Canadian Rangers, from the greater Toronto area, Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, and Ontario-based air force squadrons will deploy in order to gain a better understanding of operations in a northern environment during the winter months.

Military aircraft from air force squadrons based in Ontario will deliver emergency supplies and rescue personnel, and will evacuate simulated casualties to the Cochrane and Hearst airports for transfer by ground ambulances to local hospitals. No actual aircraft were crashed as part of the exercise.

Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Stephen Hill, head of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) Air component Coordination Element shared his thoughts on the exercise.

“This year it is a simulated major air disaster, where an aircraft crashed in the woods and there were some survivors. As it turned out in this scenario, it was not a security problem, it was simply a pilot error or malfunction,” he said. “The soldiers that you see out here are providing site security for the crash site.”

He continued explained the air force’s role in the exercise.

“Our job here in the Air Force is to support that army in any way we can,” he said. “Yesterday the air drop activity occurred in the morning and afternoon, which was the immediate reaction phase of the crash. Now we are in the sustainment phase, where we extracting the people and bring them to the local area hospitals.”

The initial crash occurred on Sunday February 17, where the first indication of a problem was made.

“We are simulated in a remote site that is not accessible by road. The owner of the airline contacted the Joint rescue coordination centre in Trenton Ontario and they launched the search and rescue aircraft,” LCol. Stephen Hill said. “The second phase is when the army comes in to help secure the site and provide whatever assistance is necessary, until we get the people safely out. The final phase is the investigation with the transportation safety board and the OPP to determine what happened, and then the cleanup phase after it.”

LCol. Stephen Hill stressed the importance is teamwork.

“That’s the critical piece of this,” he said. “This is not just a military exercise, whole-of-government type of exercise. It’s very important for us to work with other partners because you never know when we may have to work together in the future.”

Brig.-Gen. Fred Lewis, Commander JTFC shared his thoughts on the annual exercise.

“Exercise Trillium Response 2012 is an important way to practice winter skills under difficult conditions while preparing for domestic operations in the North,” Brig.-Gen. Fred Lewis said. “The men and women of the Canadian Forces (CF) are ready to assist fellow Canadians with rapid response when needed.”

Canada Command is the CF formation responsible for the conduct of all routine and contingency domestic operations and is the CF operational authority for SAR.

JTFC is the Canada Command Regional Joint Task Force responsible for the conduct of all routine and contingency domestic operations in Ontario.

When requested, the CF will provide military assistance to civil authorities in order to protect and defend Canada and to keep Canadians safe. At any one time approximately 10,000 skilled and dedicated regular and reserve force personnel are on high readiness to respond to calls for assistance and are prepared to operate in austere locations across a full range of environments.

The Department of National Defence is the lead agency responsible for the overall effective operation of the coordinated aeronautical and maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) system in Canada, and for the provision of all aeronautical SAR assets in response to both aeronautical and maritime SAR incidents.

The CF mandate in response to a major air disaster falls within the primary mandate for aeronautical SAR response and comprises detection, alerting, and search and rescue of survivors of the incident.


Maryland National Guard May Soon Lose Cargo Planes & Jobs

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—With the budget ax starting to swing at the Pentagon, Maryland’s Air National Guard is taking a bit hit.

Alex DeMetrick reports the Air Force is eliminating the local guard’s cargo planes and possibly jobs as well.

Whether it’s delivering a paratrooper or a pallet of supplies, the Maryland’s Air National Guard is flying a smaller twin engine cargo plane.

This spring, those planes and crews start deploying to Afghanistan. When they return, the Air Force is planning to eliminate the planes, and the heart of Maryland’s airlift capability.

“That’s a concern for us,” said Col. Scott Kelly, Maryland Air National Guard.

Because these planes aren’t just used in war. They also bring supplies to disaster zones. Removing them will save the Air Force money, but maybe not jobs.

“You’ve got the fliers, the pilots. You’ve got the loadmasters, maintenance, so 250 to 300, somewhere in that range of individuals, who keep this thing up and running,” said Col. Kelly.

“The sentiment is everybody loves this mission. They love flying,” said Col. Thomas Hans, Maryland Air National Guard. “But we understand we’re here to serve the country, and if they take that mission away from us and give us another mission, we’ll make that succeed as well.”

That new mission will likely focus on cyber security and intelligence gathering.

The guard views that as a plus, but “what the impact’s going to be, we don’t know yet,” Col. Kelly said.

While the impact of losing these planes is still down the road, what’s most in focus now is the deployment to Afghanistan.

“Let’s worry about what we need to do today for the job,” Col. Kelly said, “as we try to figure out what’s to come personnel wise”–when the planes leave Maryland for good.

Eliminating the cargo planes must still be approved by Congress.

The planes will remain with the guard through at least September when they return from Afghanistan.


2nd attempt to retrieve crashed Wyoming copter fails

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A second attempt to retrieve a search and rescue helicopter that crashed last week in northwest Wyoming has been called off.

Bridger-Teton National Forest spokeswoman Mary Cernicek says high winds stopped the second attempt on Tuesday. She says poor weather conditions this week may mean crews will have to wait until Friday for a third try.

The helicopter crashed Feb. 15 in a remote area of the forest northeast of Jackson while responding to snowmobile accident in which a man died. One volunteer rescuer died while the pilot and another rescue volunteer were hurt.

The pilot reported losing control of the helicopter, but the helicopter must be retrieved so investigators can determine whether mechanical failure was a factor.

Snowy weather stopped the first attempt to retrieve it last Friday.

  Regis#: 407HL        Make/Model: B407      Description: Bell 407
  Date: 02/15/2012     Time: 2105

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

  City: JACKSON   State: WY   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   3     Fat:   1     Ser:   2     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: CASPER, WY  (NM04)                    Entry date: 02/16/2012 

Greg Delainey recovering after plane crash south of Williams Lake

Greg Delainey, 55, of Williams Lake is recovering in hospital after his ultra light aircraft he was flying crashed on Feb. 11 near Rosa Lake, south of the city. Delainey’s family says he is in stable condition.
Photo courtesy of Angie Delainey

Responding to community concerns, the family of a man who crashed while flying an ultra light aircraft south of Williams Lake on Feb. 11 says he is in stable condition at Vancouver General Hospital’s burn unit.

Greg Delainey, 55, was flying at about 3 p.m. when he crashed near Rosa Lake, between Chimney and Felker lakes.

The family says that while they appreciate the community’s thoughtfulness, Greg can’t receive cards or flowers at this time.

However, the family will be accepting in kind donations to a “Get Well Greg” fund. The funds will go toward helping Greg get better. A bank account is being set up at the Bank of Montreal. The account will be in Angie Delainey’s name and a credit memo will be issued for each donation. This way, a record can be kept and people will feel confident that their donations are indeed going toward Greg’s recovery. Cheques can be dropped off at Delainey’s Lock & Key for the time being.

“We know that Dad is a well-known member of the community and that people want to help,” says Angie, Greg’s daughter. “We don’t expect it but would like everyone to know that any monies donated to Dad’s recovery will be used in the best way to help him recover. I know how humbling it is to have people donate to your health. Having battled an illness that lasted about 16 months with a stay at GF Strong Rehabilitation myself, I know how expensive alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, and nutritional supplements can be. I feel very fortunate for the lessons that illness has taught me as I feel that it may help my dad through his journey.”

Angie was away at a wedding with her partner Matt in Kamloops when she got the news that her dad had been in the accident and left to drive to Vancouver to where he was medivaced.

“Dad is passionate about flying and the challenges that it presents,” Angie says. “I won’t say that he won’t fly again; however, I hope that he will stay grounded until he has fully recovered.”

Greg’s good friend George Broomfield witnessed the crash and was the first to arrive on the scene.

Greg had crawled out of the plane but because he was flying with a full tank, when he crashed the fuel spilled all over and ignited.

“He landed in somebody’s field at Rosa Lake and had stopped, dropped and rolled around in the rushes to try to get the fire out.” Angie says.

When Broomfield arrived he helped get snow on Greg and then brought him over to Chuck Delainey’s place on the quad where Della Westwick transported him to the hospital.

“He was awake and totally coherent, but once they got to the hospital they sedated him because of the degree of the burns and the pain that he was experiencing,” Angie says.

Angie and her sister Jo-leen returned from Vancouver Wednesday evening after spending time with their dad.

Greg is absorbing fluids and the third-degree burns he sustained are mostly on the back side of his body. His face is also burnt, but the plastic surgeon told the family she thinks he’ll have little to no scarring.

“We can see his eyes. His eyes are really good, and his hands and feet and the front side of his body are all good. They are mostly second degree burns, except for one leg that is pretty burnt. So far there’s no infection. He’s in good and stable condition. It’s just a matter of monitoring him now,” Angie says, adding Greg knows where he is.

The family anticipates he’ll be in the burn unit for two to three months before being moved to G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre or another facility to be determined.

“Dad’s been around Williams Lake for a long time and has a lot of friends that want to know how he’s doing. I would ask people not to rush down to Vancouver because they’re only letting family in to see him at the moment. We don’t want the staff at VHG to be inundated with phone calls so we have set up a list of people that are allowed to call,” Angie says, adding if someone wants to send a letter or note through her, she’ll pass it on.

The accident has come as the third incident in a series of hard hits for the family.

Angie and Jo-leen’s brother and Greg’s son Palmer Delainey passed away in a terrible accident in September, for which the family has yet to achieve closure, and Jo-Leen and Greg’s nephew Wade Delainey have been recuperating from a quad accident.

Presently Westwick is in Vancouver to ensure that somebody’s with Greg. Angie and Jo-leen are making plans to go back on Wednesday.

If people want more information they may contact Angie via email at delainey12@hotmail.com. They can also visit Greg’s Facebook page for updates. The family would ask that they refrain from calling around for information and instead funnel it through Angie.

Angie adds that Delainey’s Lock & Key has the staff to ensure that everything is business as usual.

“Krista has taken the reigns on many occasions while Dad has been away on holidays,” Angie says. “She has 12 years of experience and is fully bonded with a security license. Steven is also a certified locksmith. I feel very confident that the staff at Delainey’s Lock & Key will continue to provide the community with excellent service, so there is no need to go looking for another locksmith.”


Price County Airport Expansion Project Moves Ahead

PHILLIPS - The Price County Airport expansion project has drawn a lot of attention lately as opponents gathered petitions and drafted resolutions to stop this project from taking off.

But Tuesday, the Price County Board voted down those roadblocks.

The Price County Airport expansion has a long debated history that was evident Tuesday, Chairman Bob Kopisch says, "The board voted in February of 2011 to proceed with the project. We had a 12-0 vote."

Kopisch explains that the three resolutions looking to block that project have also been voted down despite some public protest.

After hearing comments from both sides of the issue, the full county board took the 7-5 vote to shutdown the opposing resolutions, but not everyone is convinced.

Attorney for the opposition, Peter McKeever says, "Let's use the dollars where it's most effective. Simply, you've got here a project that simply isn't justified."

Despite the public outcry, there were also supporters of the airport's expansion, like Park Falls Mayor Tom Ratzlaff, "The current project would require a very small local monetary contribution that will have very positive impact on the airport's ability to service present, future business, industry and recreational users."

But still, Tom Kiesgen says, "Say no to the expansion."

George Martin counters, "To me that "no" signs mean no progress to Price County and I don't think that anybody in this room wants that."

A major issue in the debate was tax dollars and where the funding would come from.

McKeever says, "This project would not pass your basic cost, benefit analysis."

Supporters like Carol McLaughlin say the funds aren't a problem at all, "I don't know where people ever got that idea. Because 95% of the funding for this project comes from the airport fund."

For now the project moves forward.

Kopisch says, "Well the project actually continues. It's just that the issues that were brought up are now referred to the airport committee for further review."

According to Kopisch taxpayers will fund 2 1/2% of the $5 million pricetag anticipated on this project.

Kopisch says those who oppose expansion can still submit petitions and requests to cancel the project to the Price County Airport Committee for review.

Pacific Blue plane in emergency landing

A Pacific Blue plane flying to Wellington has been diverted to Christchurch and declared an emergency landing overnight.

A Christchurch Airport spokeswoman said the plane landed safely about 12.30am.

"We enacted our ordinary emergency procedures because we were notified by the plane that it had a potential issue."

The plane was meant to land in the capital, but headed to Christchurch instead, a Wellington Airport spokeswoman said. She confirmed it was a Pacific Blue plane.

No further information was immediately available.

More pets died on Delta than any other airline

More pets died on Delta Air Lines than on any other carrier last year, according to data released by the federal government.

Out of 35 pets that died on airlines last year, 19 died on Delta flights. That's up from 16 the previous year.

Delta said it carries more pets than many other airlines, in part because of its broad route network. The number of pets that are injured or die on the airline is less than 0.2 percent of pets carried, Delta said.

Many carriers such as AirTran and Southwest don't carry pets as checked baggage in the cargo hold. Some pets also are transported in the cabin as carry-ons, but the deaths were all in the hold.

"The loss of any pet is unacceptable to us," Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. "We are working to improve the processes and procedures to ensure that every pet arrives safely at its destination."

One of Delta's latest changes came in December, when it stopped accepting snub-nosed dogs or cats as checked items. Delta already had banned American, English and French bulldogs from flying. That came after a sharp increase in the number of animals that ran into trouble on Delta flights, particularly bulldogs, which are susceptible to respiratory problems.

In most cases, pet deaths are not caused by mishandling but because the pets run into health issues in the cargo hold environment, Delta said. The Humane Society of the United States recommends not transporting pets by air "unless absolutely necessary" because of the risks.