Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aeropro CZ A220, N8119: Petaluma case raises questions about FAA policies on drunken pilots

Prosecutors asked a Sonoma County judge for more time Tuesday to prepare a case against a Penngrove man accused of flying his airplane while drunk.

The pilot, Michael B. Ferrero, has said he wasn't drunk while in the air and blamed his positive blood-alcohol test on celebratory shots of whiskey he gulped down after landing his light sport aircraft.

Ferrero says he continues to fly, but only when sober, and no longer takes a post-flight nip in his hangar at Petaluma Municipal Airport, where he stores his Aeropro A220. Judge Bradford DeMeo on Tuesday postponed a settlement hearing until April 3 while prosecutors further investigate the matter.

The case has sparked discussion within the local aviation community about why private pilots may keep their licenses while facing drunken flying charges, while motorists' licenses are automatically suspended or restricted during the court process that determines innocence or guilt.

For his part, Ferrero said he poses no risk and hopes to reassure his fellow pilots.

“Nobody needs to worry about me ever again,” said Ferrero, 62. “All my life I've followed the law and I hope I'm exonerated from the charges against me now.”

Pilot licenses are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, which generally treats violations as civil matters rather than offenses subject to criminal prosecutions, officials said.

With few exceptions, FAA officials must follow an administrative process when pilots are accused of flying under the influence of alcohol or drugs, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the agency. Pilots are given the chance to respond to allegations and be heard before a National Transportation Safety Board judge before their licenses are revoked. The process can take months, he said.

He declined to discuss what, if any, actions the agency is pursuing against Ferrero.

“Everyone deserves due process,” Gregor said.

That brings no solace to some local pilots who said federal authorities are sluggish to address potential dangers in the air.

“The FAA really hasn't to our knowledge stepped in and taken hold of this,” said Bob Patterson, manager of the Petaluma Municipal Airport.

Patrick Bell, a private pilot who keeps two planes at the Petaluma airport, called and wrote to the FAA when he learned Ferrero was still flying following his arrest.

“I'm incredulous that the Federal Aviation Administration seems to be either not empowered or unwilling to suspend the pilot's license of a pilot caught red-handed and who failed a Breathalyzer,” said Bell, a business consultant who lives in Novato.

The issue dominated discussions among pilots at Mangon Aircraft repair service at the Petaluma airport following Ferrero's arrest, owner Ron Mangon said. Pilots are in general a strict bunch, he said.

“We hold each other to higher standards,” Mangon said.

Federal authorities rely on that culture to help them regulate private pilots, who face less scrutiny than commercial pilots, Gregor said.

Ferrero faced even less scrutiny because, as a light sport aircraft pilot, he isn't required to have a doctor issue a medical certificate authorizing him to fly.

Still, all pilots are barred from drinking eight hours before take-off and FAA regulations consider 0.04 percent blood-alcohol content to be unlawfully impaired. The legal limit for driving a car is 0.08 percent.

Ferrero's blood-alcohol was 0.09 percent following his Jan. 3 arrest, the CHP said.

No one patrols the air or airports to police pilot behavior as law enforcement patrol the roadways. That's because there are fewer pilots and flying in general has a much safer record than driving, Gregor said.

There were 23.8 million licensed drivers in California as of Jan. 1, 2011, the most current numbers available. In contrast, the FAA listed 96,530 licensed pilots in California as of March 1, 2012.

Sonoma County Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook said her office has never charged a person with drunken flying “according to our collective memory.”

The current case stems from a chance encounter on Jan. 3, when a CHP airman patrolling for speeding motorists spotted Ferrero's plane buzzing Highway 37 traffic.

“I've never seen something like that before,” said Gary Wareham, a pilot with the Napa CHP air patrol.

Wareham followed Ferrero's blue and yellow aircraft for about 45 minutes and described watching the plane fly lower than power lines, suddenly pitch up at what appeared to be 90 degree angles and perform illegal rolls.

He tailed Ferrero to the Petaluma airport and smelled alcohol on Ferrero's breath shortly after he landed. Wareham said he later called the FAA.

Ferrero, a retired office equipment maintenance technician, said an FAA official called him a few days later and he will meet with them in the spring. He's retained an attorney who specializes in aviation law.

“I love to fly, it's my passion,” said Ferrero, who started taking flying lessons in the 1980s. “I'm 62 years old, and I've been waiting my whole life to fly. I don't want to lose that privilege.”

See full article:   http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Cessna 340 snagged in red tape, US aircraft stuck for over 3 yrs

A Cessna 340, which has been stuck between Customs Commissionerate, Ahmedabad, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in New Delhi for more than three years, has finally got a green signal to head back home to Texas, US.

However, the aircraft, worth Rs 1.5 crore, now needs Rs 50 lakh for repairs and another Rs 1 crore for paying parking charges at the airport, besides nearly Rs 60 lakh in custom duty.

The aircraft entered the Indian airspace on August 21, 2008 and landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad for the mandatory customs clearance.

The light-weight aircraft was procured on behalf of Bangalore-based Agni Aviation Consultants (AAC) on a 45-day lease for cloud-seeding demonstration at Gadag in Karnataka.

Local Congress leader H K Patil, known for his several agricultural initiatives, had organised the demonstration.

After getting the Customs clearance at the Ahmedabad airport, the flight landed at Bangalore airport for refuelling but was grounded as it developed technical snags. The cloud-seeding demonstration did not take place.

Later, AAC officials approached the DGCA, seeking permission to get repair parts

and a subsequent test flight to take back the aircraft to the US since the lease period was only for 45 days.

However, the permission was not granted. Nine months later, on May 29, 2009, the DGCA informed the Customs authorities in Bangalore that the AAC had falsely come up with the issue of technical snag with an intention of retaining the aircraft without paying the customs duty. Subsequently, the additional commissioner (Customs) in Ahmedabad seized the aircraft and imposed a duty of more than Rs 37 lakh on the aircraft.

After prolonged correspondence with the DGCA, the aviation regulator issued a letter on September 10, 2009, allowing AAC officials to carry out the test flight to ascertain the serviceability of the equipment.

However, by then the matter had reached Customs Commissionerate (Appeal) in Ahmedabad, which refused to let it go without claiming the customs duty.

Interestingly, while issuing the order in September 2011, Customs Commissioner (Appeal) P K Sinha said the value of the aircraft was lower than the combined outstanding dues to be collected from the AAC. Sinha, however, refuted the DGCA’s claim that the AAC wanted to retain the aircraft.

Captain Arvind Sharma, one of the partners at the AAC, said, “We have been told that after paying the duty, we can fly the aircraft back to the US and reclaim the customs duty. But the case doesn’t end here. I fell out with my business partner K T Sebestian. I have to negotiate with the owner of the aircraft to settle the matter for which I need at least Rs 1 crore,” said Sharma.

See full article:  http://www.indianexpress.com

Plane makes emergency landing on Route 52 near Belfast Municipal Airport (KBST), Maine

BELFAST, Maine — A Cessna aircraft reportedly made an emergency landing on Route 52 shortly after taking off from Belfast Municipal Airport on Tuesday evening, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Two passengers reportedly were on board and both were uninjured. It is unknown what caused the aircraft to make the emergency landing, McCausland said.

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KBST

http://bangordailynews.com

Cessna 172 landing gear collapsed at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), Trenton, New Jersey

EWING - A two-seat aircraft was damaged during touchdown at Trenton-Mercer Airport this afternoon when its landing gear collapsed, a county spokeswoman confirmed.

Neither person on board the Cessna 172 was reported injured. The plane was landing on one of the airport's two main runways around 4:40 p.m. when the mishap occurred, said Julie Willmot, Mercer County spokeswoman.

"They had a landing gear collapse upon landing on Runway 6," she said.

Firefighters from Station 33, which services the airport, were called out to the scene. The Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted, and investigators are en route from New York City to examine the plane. The aircraft will remain on Runway 6, and the tarmac will be closed, until their arrival, Willmot said.

FAA investigators will determine fault in the crash and allow the plane to be moved. Damaged aircraft are usually stored in the Ronson Aviation hanger within the airport property.

The plane flew out of Alexandria, Va., Willmot said.

See full article: http://www.nj.com

Van's RV-9A, N629BJ: Accident occurred March 20, 2012 in Santa Maria, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA141 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Santa Maria, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/12/2013
Aircraft: GRIMM RV-9A, registration: N629BJ
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After the pilot leveled the experimental amateur-built airplane for cruise flight, the engine began to vibrate and lose power. He immediately applied full rich fuel mixture, then conducted a series of troubleshooting procedures, including recycling power to the electronic ignition system and switching between the left and right electronic magneto. The vibration continued with no increase in engine performance, and, unable to maintain altitude, he performed a forced landing into a plowed field, where the airplane sustained substantial damage.

Subsequent examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The ignition modules were examined and tested, and, while one unit exhibited wear consistent with imminent failure, both units functioned correctly. If one of the ignition units had failed in flight and lost its timing reference, it could have resulted in the observed engine vibration. However, if this was the case, the troubleshooting steps performed by the pilot would have remedied the problem. During examination, compression was not attained for one of the engine cylinders. This was most likely due to postaccident cylinder contamination and did not cause the loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power during cruise flight for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination and testing did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 20, 2012, about 1530 Pacific daylight time, a Grimm (Vans Aircraft) experimental amateur-built RV-9A, N629BJ, collided with a berm during a forced landing near Santa Maria Public Airport/Captain G Allan Hancock Field, Santa Maria, California. The pilot/builder was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certificated commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence. The local flight departed Oceano County Airport, Oceano, California, about 15 minutes prior. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that after departure, at an altitude of about 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl), he trimmed the airplane for cruise flight, and began to adjust the fuel mixture control. As he leaned the mixture, the engine began to lose power and vibrate. He immediately applied full rich mixture, but the vibrations continued. He began a series of troubleshooting procedures, including switching the fuel tank selector valve, recycling power to the electronic ignition system, switching between the left and right ignition systems, and adjusting the throttle and mixture controls, but the vibration continued with no increase in engine performance. The pilot described the vibrations as so violent that they caused the airframe to shake in a manner he had never experienced before. He initiated a turn toward Santa Maria Airport, and unable to maintain altitude, declared an emergency to the tower controller about 1 minute later.

The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing into a plowed field. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a berm, and came to rest nose-down. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage structure and both wings during the accident sequence.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The low-wing, two-seat airplane was equipped with an O-320-E3D four-cylinder Lycoming engine, serial number L-46401-27A, and a fixed-pitch Sensenich propeller.

FAA records indicated that the airplane was issued its special airworthiness certificate in May 2006. The engine had been overhauled in 2004, and installed on the airframe prior to certification.

Maintenance records revealed that the airframe and engine had undergone a conditional inspection on March 28, 2011, at a total flight time of 406.2 hours. The airplane had accrued an additional 72 flight hours between the inspection and the accident.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The NTSB investigator traveled in support of this investigation, and performed an examination of the engine and airframe subsequent to recovery.

Engine

The engine sustained minimal damage during the accident sequence and remained attached to its mount. The propeller sustained aft bending to one of its blades, and no sections of the blades were missing.

The crankcase, cylinder heads, and pushrods were free of obvious indications of distress. Examination of the dipstick revealed an appropriate quantity of dark-colored translucent oil to be present within the crankcase. The engine was equipped with two E-Mag electronic ignition units, which remained, along with the fuel pump and carburetor, firmly affixed to their respective mounting pads. The inner surfaces of the exhaust pipes exhibited tan-colored deposits, and were free of oil residue.

The airplane was equipped with NGK BR8ES automotive spark plugs. The plugs were removed for examination, and exhibited black sooty deposits, with no mechanical damage. The bottom spark plugs for cylinder number three and four were “lead fouled” when compared to the Champion AV-27 Check-A-Plug guide. These plugs were tested utilizing an ohmmeter, and there was no short circuit between the plug electrode and ground.

The engine cylinder chambers were examined via the spark plug bore holes utilizing a Borescope. No mechanical damage was observed, and both the piston crowns and cylinder head surfaces exhibited tan-colored deposits. Cylinder number three exhibited lead buildup around the inner surfaces of the head, and on the exhaust valve.

The rocker covers were removed, and the valve springs, piston stems, and rockers were intact and covered in oil. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand via the propeller. The engine rotated smoothly, and all valves and rockers moved. Compression was confirmed in firing order for all cylinders except number three. The exhaust and inlet manifolds for cylinder number three were removed, and the spark plugs were reinstalled. During subsequent crankshaft rotation, air was heard to leak past the number three exhaust valve seat.

Cylinder number three was subsequently removed and inspected in accordance with the Lycoming Mandatory Service Bulletin SB388C “Procedure to Determine Exhaust Valve and Guide Condition.” The exhaust valve did not exhibit any indications of excessive wear or carbon buildup. Subsequent examination revealed that fragments of carbon and lead deposits (dislodged from within the cylinder head during the impact sequence) were present on the exhaust valve seat, and most likely the reason for the leak. Further examination of the valve guides revealed that they were of the “Hi-Chrome” type, referenced in Lycoming Service Instruction 1485 “Exhaust Valve and Guide Identification Procedure." Installation of such guides increases the time between compliance for SB388C from 400 to 1,000 hours.

Electronic Ignition

The two E-MAG Ignition units were the “P-Model”, P113 type. Both were tested, disassembled, and examined at the facilities of E-MAG Ignitions, in the presence of the IIC. The manufacturer’s records indicated that both units had been returned for service in April 2011, at which time they were overhauled, and modified in accordance with the “Position Sensor Magnet Mount Mandatory Service Bulletin (9/12/08).” The service bulletin documents a modification to the sensor magnet mount assembly, which reduces the likelihood of an assembly failure, and subsequent loss of ignition timing. Based on airframe maintenance records, the ignition units had sustained about 200 hours of operation since the overhaul.

Both ignition units were functionally tested, and operated normally, passing self-tests, and retaining their timing position after multiple rotations. The left unit was disassembled, and no anomalies were noted. Disassembly of the right unit revealed brown dust and metallic particles on the underside of its circuit control board, and within the cavity of the stator and coil. The magnetic rotary encoder chip was intact, and free of damage. The unit’s stator and coil remained intact within the case, with the stator exhibiting light radial scoring to its inner layered surface. The upper nose bearing rotated smoothly when turned by hand, but appeared loose on the shaft, with excessive play (0.5mm – 1mm) at the shaft. The E-MAG Ignitions representative stated that he had not seen this type of damage before, and that the bearing should be a light press-fit on the shaft.

A complete examination report is contained within the public docket.


(Courtesy Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The plane went down southwest of the Santa Maria Airport in the 1700 of Sinton Road. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department says 2 people inside the single-engine plane suffered very minor injuries.

Emergency crews check on a single engine aircraft that made an emergency landing in fields on Sinton Road in Santa Maria.


A small two seater plane made an emergency landing at about 3:30 this afternoon in the 1700 block of Sinton Road near Black Road in the area of the Santa Maria Public Airport.

According to officials on scene two people got out of the plane, both with minor injuries.

"Both are fine with some bumps and bruises," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Sgt. Martin Eberling. "The witnesses said they just missed the (electrical) lines."

The plane, an RV9A experimental aircraft, lost power and landed nose first, according to officials. It is likely a total loss, they said. The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

A small two seater plane made an emergency landing at about 3:30 this afternoon in the 1700 block of Sinton Road near Black Road in the area of the Santa Maria Public Airport.

According to officials on scene two people got out of the plane, both with minor injuries. The plane landed nose first, according to the officials, and is likely a total loss. The investigation is continuing.

Government warns could cancel Kingfisher Airlines license


(Reuters) - Kingfisher Airlines Ltd  said it will halt international flights and fly just 20 planes as it seeks funding, hours after the government warned the carrier's license may be canceled if it fails to meet safety norms and financial viability conditions.

The embattled airline, which has debts of $1.3 billion, is scrambling to raise funds after banks refused to lend more for its day-to-day operations.

A big cutback in flights has reduced its revenue, leaving the carrier controlled by flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya with little cash to pay staff, airports, tax authorities and lenders.

"If he gives a plan and says I have that many planes, that much schedule, then why should we cancel?," Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said ahead of Mallya's meeting with the regulator to submit a recovery plan for the carrier.

"The problem is, (in the) last two to three months, he has given several plans and he has not adhered to any of them," Singh said, warning that the airline was liable for prosecution over unpaid taxes.

"If passenger safety is compromised we'll not let any airline fly. Safety norms also involves financial viability," Singh said.

Kingfisher said it had submitted an interim plan to operate 20 planes on between 110 and 125 domestic routes a day, and halt international flights by April 10. The carrier's fleet, which earlier had 64 planes, now has 47.

"We have not submitted an ambitious plan. We have submitted a holding plan," Mallya told reporters.
The company has said it is in talks with potential investors, some of which would require India to allow foreign carriers to own up to 49 percent of Indian airlines, a change the government is considering.

"Some of the potential investments depend on the change in FDI (foreign direct investment) policy but there are other investors we are in discussions with," Kingfisher Chief Executive Sanjay Aggarwal told reporters.
Cancellations have already disrupted the travel plans of thousand of passengers across the country and pushed up fares.

For graphic on India airline market click link.reuters.com/zum46s

UNFRIENDLY SKIES
Shares of Kingfisher Airlines, which has a market capitalisation of about $200 million, hit an all-time low in early trade on Tuesday before closing 5.5 percent lower.

Kingfisher has never made a profit in a struggling Indian airline industry that is saddled with high fuel costs, stiff competition and low fares.

Five of India's six airlines are in the red and domestic carriers are likely to lose a total of $2.5 billion in the year through March, according to the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA), an industry consultancy.
"As a government, we don't want to shut down any industry. There are employees and customers involved. Kingfisher had 22 percent traffic. If we close it suddenly, where will the fares go?," Singh said.

Global industry body IATA has suspended Kingfisher from its settlement system, restricting bookings through overseas agents, hitting ticket sales. On Monday, the last of Kingfisher's independent directors resigned.
The carried needs at least $500 million immediately to keep flying and $800 million to return to full operations, according to CAPA.

Kingfisher's billionaire chairman owns one of the world's most expensive yachts as well as cricket and Formula One teams, but he has been unable to raise fresh equity for an airline that was once India's second biggest by passengers.

"Mallya has been talking a lot about capital but I think he's only doing it to calm the situation and postpone the problems. We have not seen any money," said a senior executive at a state-run bank, which recently downgraded Kingfisher's loan to non-performing status.

There are no provisions for companies to declare themselves legally bankrupt in India.

"Right now, it is a complicated situation. We are closely monitoring," said the banker, who requested anonymity as he was not allowed to talk about clients.

Unpaid Kingfisher Airlines pilots ring safety alarm

NEW DELHI: About 30 Kingfisher pilots, who have not been paid salary for four months, confronted Vijay Mallya last week with airline safety issues even as the company tumbled deeper into a financial crisis.

The pilots met Mallya last Thursday and told him that flying with their minds preoccupied with personal financial distress is a safety hazard as they would not be able to pilot aircraft with a clear head, pilots who were present at the meeting told ET.

Agency reports on Tuesday quoted civil aviation minister Ajit Singh saying that no airline will be allowed to fly if passenger safety is compromised.

Pilots have also written to the DGCA requesting the civil aviation regulator to keep the mental state of the pilots in mind when there is a safety audit for Kingfisher Airlines.

"I will not be able to comment on it now," civil aviation regulator, EK Bharat Bhushan told ETwhen quizzed about issue. "He (Mallya) told us that whoever feels he cannot fly, can choose not to fly. If you feel you need to quit the airline you can and those who wish to stay back can decide to do so," a pilot who attended the meeting said.

The airline which has 450-500 pilots on its rolls needs 160 now as only 16 aircraft, from a fleet of 64, are flying. Kingfisher had 7,000 employees in 2011 each earning anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 4.5 lakh per month.

None of them have received pay for four months now. It had a wage bill of Rs 532 crore during the first nine months of this financial year, roughly 11% of the revenues during the period.

But many employees are still clinging on to Kingfisher as they are unable to find jobs with other airlines. "It is too late to quit now. IndiGo, which was hiring in good numbers, has slammed brakes on hiring last week," said a Kingfisher senior commander who used to fly international routes before the airline withdrew overseas operations in March first week. "Whoever is left behind is in tatters."

The personal finances of lower rung employees are in dire straits. "Some of our colleagues as airport staff now have to worry about their next meal," said a Kingfisher employee who will now be quitting the airline after waiting for long for situation to improve. Kingfisher CEO, in a letter to airport staff in February, had offered assistance of Rs 5,000 for those working at the airport and need money immediately.

Senior level executives are struggling too. "No money has come into my account for nearly four months now. I am forced towalk to office as I cannot afford petrol for the car," said a senior Kingfisher executive.

Amidst all this chaos, the employees have nobody to consult. "We do not even know if the HR head (Ruby Arya) is still with the airline as she is not seen in the office and nobody in HR takes calls," said an employee.

"It is unbelievable that we are working for the same Mallya (Vijay Mallya, chairman and promoter Kingfisher) who was known for his flamboyance and lavish parties and who we thought will never have to face money problems," said a young Kingfisher employee who joined Kingfisher swayed by its glamour quotient.

Kingfisher's plight will impact employees across all airlines. A pall of gloom now surrounds flying schools and airline hostess training academies which were doing roaring business till recently. For aspiring students, hope has give way to despair.

"We are staring at a situation where not all our students aspiring to be cabin crew, would get their dream job," ED Rajan Mehra, co-founder, Asia Pacific Academy (for Aviation and Hospitality) said. "If Kingfisher Airlines reduces operations, it is expected that hundreds of cabin crew would lose jobs, in which case hiring of freshers will drop by a significant number." They have to explore options in other industries like hospitality.

About 4,000-5,000 students find jobs as airline cabin crew every year, added Mehra. Only 1,000 will get hired this year.

Boeing employee seriously injured when caught in 747 flap

EVERETT, Wash. — A Boeing employee suffered serious injuries after getting caught in the wing flap of a 747 Monday.

Firefighters said the worker was seriously injured in the 7:30 p.m. accident at the Everett plant.

The Everett Fire Department said they responded after Boeing Fire Department crews rescued the man who was trapped between the spoiler and the flap/wing assembly on the aircraft.

The spoiler is used in flight for roll control and to slow the plane for landing.

Sources said the plane was for Air Bridge Cargo Airlines, a freight airline in Russia.

Paramedics transported the man to Providence Hospital in Everett.

Boeing said it is making the Employee Assistance Program available for employees who witnessed what happened and need support and they said staff have been in contact with the victim's family, but did not say anything about the man's condition.

An investigation into the cause is under way.

On Feb. 3, Boeing worker Josh Divers suffered severe leg injuries when he was trapped under a 787 at Paine Field. He is now an amputee who is doing rehabilitation at Harborview Medical Center.

Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said he's in satisfactory condition and has "a tough road ahead but is doing better."

Reno air race tickets on sale


Tickets for the 49th annual National Championship Air Races at Stead are now available, the Reno Air Racing Association announced.

The Federal Aviation Administration has given the races a waiver and a the group is still waiting for a permit from the Airport Authority of Washoe County, spokeswoman Tara Trovato said.

The association vowed to continue the races after last September's crash, which killed the pilot and 10 people on the ground and injured 70 others.

In January, the association announced the races would take place Sept. 12 to Sept. 16 at the Reno-Stead airport. Tickets are for sale at www.airrace.org or at 775-972-6663.

“The National Championship Air Races have provided a fun-filled racing experience for hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the globe for nearly half a century and we are committed to preserving this historic and unique aviation event,” Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the National Championship Air Races, said in a statement. “The continued support of our incredible fans from within the northern Nevada community and around the world has been overwhelming and we plan to put on a powerful and emotional celebration for them this year.”

In recogniation of last year's crash, the association is planning a memorial and tribute. Details will be announced later.

The 49th annual National Championship Air Races feature David Martin, Kent Pietsch, Patty Wagstaff and Jim Pietz. Additionally, the L-39 Patriot Jet Team will return.

Read more:   http://www.rgj.com

Oroville Municipal Airport (KOVE) now offering jet fueling

At the Oroville Municipal Airport on Feb. 15, Tom Hagler shows a jet refueling truck. 
(Ty Barbour Photo)


OROVILLE -- Full-service jet refueling is now available at the Oroville Municipal Airport.

Rick Walls, senior civil engineer and airport manager for the city of Oroville, said they started the project in January, but there were quite a few steps to go through.

"They just started jet refueling at the airport earlier this week," Walls said by telephone on Friday.

Full-service jet refueling has been a priority for the city since 2008, according to a press release from Bob Marciniak.

In 2008, an Airport Revitalization Study concluded the airport was not being used to its full capacity.

The study recommended offering jet refueling and refurbishing the Fixed Base Operator building to revitalize the airport.

Walls said now pilots can call the airport to arrange to refuel.

When the airplane lands, Tom Hagler, the fixed base operator, will take the jet refuel truck out to the airplane.

Then Hagler will take the money or credit card and process the transaction inside the building.

"The pilots don't even have to get out of their airplanes," Walls said.

The airport charges $5.70 a gallon for full-service refueling.

The project started earlier this year when the city asked for bids for a new contract to operate the airport.

The bidding resulted in an extended 5-year lease for Hagler, of Table Mountain Aviation, who already operated the airport.

However, a condition of the extended lease was for Hagler to offer jet refueling in 2012.

The airport will offer pilots full-service refueling during normal business hours and by appointment after hours, according to Marciniak.

The City Council also has approved a staff proposal to craft the final plans to remodel the airport operator's building.

Source:  http://www.orovillemr.com

Rights watchdogs allege markup in Sukhoi jet deal

A coalition of human rights groups has filed a report with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), alleging that there had been a markup in the government purchase of Sukhoi jet fighters from Russia.

“We suspect there was an illegal fee paid to the Defense Ministry,” Imparsial executive director Poengky Indarti told reporters at KPK headquarters on Tuesday.

The coalition found several indications of a markup, she said. “Those include documents that we have submitted to the KPK,” she added.

On Dec. 29, 2011, the Defense Ministry signed a contract to purchase six jet fighters from JSC Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned company appointed as the sole distributor of Russian-made weapon systems. According to the US$470 million contract, the first two planes ordered would be delivered in 2012, while three others would be delivered in 2013 and the remaining plane in 2014.

The coalition consists of Imparsial, the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), the Institute for Defense and Peace Studies (IDSPS), Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG).

Representatives of the coalition met three KPK leaders, namely Bambang Widjojanto, Busyro Muqoddas and Adnan Pandu Praja.

The coalition claims that the alleged markup resulted in about $78 million in state losses.

Adnan Topan Husodo from the ICW said that Rosoboronexport offered the same model of Sukhoi for between $60 million and $70 million in August 2011.

“The six fighters cost only around $420 million,” he said.

The activists also claimed that they had an official document stating that PT Trimarga Rekatama brokered the deal.

“It is dubious as Rosoboronexport has a representative here in Jakarta,” he said.

Previously, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro denied that the government had used a broker.

The Russian Embassy in Jakarta has also stated that the purchase of the jets did not involve a price markup, or a third party.

Embraer sees private jet takeoff in India

Embraer, the Brazilian executive jets company, foresees a significant expansion in the Indian private jets market, with the country accounting for about 90% of the demand in South Asia till 2021.

“Estimates show there would be a demand for 1,363-1,690 executive jets worth about $40-48 billion in the Asia Pacific market between 2012 and 2021. South Asia alone would require about 400-480 units worth about $10-12 billion. Of this, India would have a share of over 90%. China is estimated to have a demand for about 520-635 jets worth about $17-20 billion,” Jose Eduardo Costas, Embraer’s vice-president - marketing and sales, Asia Pacific, said.

India currently has 130-140 private jets in operations including 14 Embraers.

“Even in the projected numbers for the next 10 years, we hope to maintain our market share at over 10%,” he said.

To meet the growing demand, the company is expanding its field presence by setting up a second field support office after Mumbai by the first quarter of 2013. It is also entering into an agreement with Airworks for deployment of onsite stock of parts in the country.
The company is also hopeful of securing fresh orders for its new Legacy 650 aircraft, which has recently secured an approval from the Director General of Civil Aviation. “We will start deliveries of Legacy 650 later this year,” he said refusing to disclose the total order book the company has from India.

Embraer is also hopeful of finding market for pre-owned executive jets in India, though the inventory of those jets is said to be at a lower level compared to 2008.

“There are about 19,000 private jets worldwide and on an average about 9-11% come to the pre-owned market. During the peak of the recession the inventory was at about 15-16% since several jet owners were looking for liquidity. Today, it is back to 9-10%. If there is a fresh problem, there would be another surge in the pre-owned jets market. The numbers, however, are definitely not going to be higher this time,” Costas said.

Embraer estimates a demand for 8,600 to 11,200 private executive jets by 2021 and this is expected to present an opportunity worth about $200-260 billion to various manufacturers.

While North America would contribute about 49% to the total demand, Asia Pacific would be about 16-19%. The Europe, Middle East and Africa market would contribute about 27% to the demand while Latin America is pegged at about 8%.

Minister of Transport clarifies comments on Caribbean Airlines Limited

Minister of Transport, Devant Maharaj, has clarified the statement appearing in the Sunday Express regarding the cost cutting measures of Caribbean Airlines.

Minister Maharaj reports that the statement on the removal of meals from economy fares was a miscommunication. He confirmed that while a number of measures were being examined by the Executive team of the airline to streamline and optimise the efficiency of its operations, there is no intention to remove the meal service that has defined the warmth of the Caribbean's hospitality on board.

Minister Maharaj took the opportunity to recognise the strides being made by the regional carrier in expanding its routes internationally and developing the airline into one with a global vision. He said that the recent award as voted by International travel agents, as the Best Airline Regional Award beating out American and Delta among others came about because of attention to details such as meeting the hospitality needs of passengers on every flight.

Minister Maharaj said that while he regrets the miscommunication on the matter he hoped the bigger picture of the airline's continued success would be the real story.

He also took the opportunity to confirm the airline's intention to fulfill its pledged contribution to the Children's Life Fund. Minister Maharaj said that the question of whether the airline would or not do so is a non issue. The Minister said "Once we have worked through all the processes, the pledge to this most worthy cause will be proudly realised."

Source:  http://www.news.gov.tt