Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thiruvananthapuram airport to get new radars

The Airport Surveillance Radar and the Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR) in Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, which are 17-years-old, are to be replaced at a cost of 1.60 lakh Euros by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The radars are being replaced as part of the AAI's ongoing project to upgrade air traffic management systems with advanced automation systems.

The decision to replace the radars comes at a time when Indra, an air traffic control technology developed by the Spanish Information Technology and Defence Systems Company, has been installed at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) here.

“Work orders had already been placed with the Czech Republic-based company ELDIS Pardubice, and the representatives of the company are scheduled to reach here soon to work out other details. Eight other airports under AAI will also get new radars,” a top AAI official told The Hindu.

The ATC Thiruvananthapuram covers about 250 nautical miles, with Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli being the northern boundary, and 200 nautical miles oceanic airspace off the West and South of Thiruvananthapuram.

A vertical distance of about 15,000 to 46,000 ft is also taken care by the ATC here.

The Nedumbassery and Karipur airports do not have radars till date, and the radars in Thiruvananthapuram airport monitor the movement of aircraft up to 250 nautical miles.

A combination of primary and secondary radars is used for landing and take-off. Besides, the primary radar will give the weather information and cloud formation. Secondary radars will give the height information and user-friendly data to the controllers. The data from the radars will be fed into Indra automation system.
Single sky system

Integration of various radars will be an important feature of Indra. The AAI is planning to interlink area control radars in the southern region to eliminate radar blind spots and ensure improved air safety and efficient air traffic control.

The Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar at Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Thiruvananthapuram airports will be interlinked at Chennai.

AAI sources said the radars at Mangalore and Bangalore will be linked to the upcoming one in Nedumbassery, and the one at Madurai will be linked to the radar in Thiruvananthapuram later.
Information regions

The aim is to bring down the number of Flight Information Region areas, where MSSR monitor flight movements over an area of 250 nautical miles or more.

Once the radars are interlinked, ATCs will be able to see the data position of flights, speed, altitude and other information from areas under the control of radar.

The area controls will be reduced to four Flight Information Regions.

Later, the AAI will merge these Flight Information Regions and bring them under one control to achieve a single sky system.

Van's RV-4: Neighbors share details on plane crash - Elbert County, Colorado


A small private plane crashed while attempting to land this afternoon on County Road 73 & Highway 94.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus says an RV-4 airplane crashed in the rural county Saturday afternoon, and the pilot was the only one on board. He said the pilot was conscious when emergency crews arrived.

Neighbors say the pilot was a retired commercial airline pilot who owned the land where the plane went down. He was airlifted for medical treatment but his injuries are not life threatening.

Aero Contractors Promises Support For Women In Aviation


In a bid to promote women empowerment in Nigeria, a privately operated airline, Aero Contractors, on Saturday in Lagos promised to assist Women in Aviation (WIA), a group of professionals in the aviation sector.

The airline’s Managing Director, Capt. Akin George, who made the promise, said the gesture was aimed at ensuring the development of women as professionals in the industry.
  • Aero Contractors is committed to assisting women in the industry.
  • The airline has appointed women in key positions as pilots, engineers, head of security department, among others.
  • It is a proof of our commitment to empower them,’’ he said in a statement e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
George expressed satisfaction with the competence of women and their role in the industry.

The women in the various aviation positions can compete favorably with their male counterparts in any part of the world,’’ he said.

George promised that the airline would assist the women in hosting their conference this year.

NAN reports that an all-female crew of Aero Contractors had in 2009 flown the airline’s aircraft, the first in Nigeria.

Source:  http://leadership.ng

Colorado: Elbert theft probe takes to the air - View from plane nets recovery of 200-plus stolen items

The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office went to the skies with an investigation that recovered more than 200 stolen items and resulted in the arrest of a Calhan farrier.

Justin Blasingame, 34, was charged with multiple counts after a victim offered the use of his private airplane to help investigators gain an aerial view of Blasingame’s property.

The air trip disclosed that Blasingame was in possession of a customized fifth-wheel trailer reported missing in mid-January from a home in Elbert County, said Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap.

The owner had converted the trailer into a customized gooseneck, unlike any produced by the original manufacturer, Heap said. When the report of the theft arrived at the sheriff’s office, investigators suspected Blasingame was the common link to it and several other thefts and burglaries.

On Jan. 19, sheriff’s investigator Jason Miller went airborne over Blasingame’s Calhan home on 80 acres off Judge Orr Road south of the El Paso county line. The owner of the custom trailer was at the controls of the plane and positively identified his trailer, parked behind a building on Blasingame’s property.

Miller obtained a search warrant and eventually recovered more than 200 items from Blasingame’s property. The recovered items had been reported stolen from Elbert, El Paso and Washington counties and Colorado Springs, Fort Morgan and Fountain, Heap said.

“Miller was diligent and tenacious in his investigation in bringing Mr. Blasingame to justice,” Heap said. “He did a great job.”

The approximate value of the items reported stolen out of Elbert County is $29,000, Miller said. Blasingame works as a farrier, shoeing horses for a living in El Paso County.

Blasingame was arrested in Elbert County March 5, when he appeared in court on an unrelated case. He was charged with theft by receiving, second degree burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

Blasingame has two prior felonies on his record, opening the door for a possible sentencing enhancement as a habitual criminal, Heap said. If Blasingame is convicted, the enhancer would increase his possible sentence to 36 years in prison, Heap said.

Big crowd expected for Premier Aviation job fair: High hopes to bring skilled and unskilled jobs to Windsor, Ontario

Al Bradshaw, Director of Safety and Security near the new $21-million, 
143,000-square-foot hangar — big enough to accommodate a Boeing 747 and 737 side by side - at Windsor Airport on March 23, 2012.
Photograph by: Jason Kryk, The Windsor Star


WINDSOR, Ont. -- Like ants on a sugar cube.

That’s how St. Clair College’s Ron Seguin described the worker activity he witnessed during a tour of Premier Aviation’s Trois-Rivieres aircraft overhaul centre, a scenario local officials hope will be replicated in Windsor, where Premier is holding an inaugural job fair on Wednesday.

Mayor Eddie Francis announced the job fair, speaking on behalf of a company that wants to quickly find workers for its nearly completed hangar at Windsor Airport.

“The facility (a $21-million, 143,000-square-foot city-owned structure so massive it can accommodate a Boeing 747 and 737 side-by-side) is going to be turned over to them shortly, in a couple of weeks, and they’re ramping up their hiring,” Francis said Friday.

He said the company already has customers lined up.

“And it’s my hope they can ramp up and get as many people hired as possible so these planes can start flying into Windsor and that facility can be filled.”

Media in Quebec reported this week Air Canada had moved three planes to Premier’s Trois-Rivieres operation following news that the firm it used for servicing, Aveos Fleet Performance, was shutting down its Canadian operations and putting 2,600 out of work.

There has been local speculation that the demise of Aveos could mean an increased demand for Premier to get its Windsor centre up and running. Francis wouldn’t comment on that Friday.

He said there has been a “strong level of demand” from customers for the Windsor facility from the very beginning.

Company officials couldn’t be reached on Friday. Francis was asked to announce the job fair on their behalf.

The job fair will be held at Windsor Airport from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s expected people will be hired in a very short time span — weeks rather than months.

“We expect a heavy turnout for this job fair,” the mayor said.

Though he wouldn’t say how many people the company hopes to initially hire, the mayor said he is conservatively estimating that 200 to 300 people will be working there in the next two to three years.

The company’s job fair advertisement says it is looking to build an team of qualified technicians, including aircraft maintenance engineers, avionics/composites technicians, mechanics/structures technicians, inspectors, supervisors, a quality auditor, a general manager, a director of maintenance and a director of quality.

The mayor and Seguin, the college’s vice-president of global education and training services, said people without these specific skills should still apply.

The college is working with Premier to provide various levels of training, including immediate entry-level training (lasting perhaps four to six weeks) for general labourers.

“In that (aviation) business, they need a lot of labourers,” Seguin said. “Pulling the seats out of a 747 is a huge job.”

There’s training that’s required for this kind of work but it’s not the highly specialized and skilled training you’d normally equate with the aviation industry, he said.

“It’s like ants on a sugar cube. That’s the beauty of this industry in that it’s very labour intensive.”

It’s a well-suited industry for Windsor, he said, because many unemployed people here have backgrounds in tool and die and machining. Those kinds of generic skills will help get them in the door, and the company seems very sincere about promoting people up the ranks, Seguin said.

“These people will have a chance to grow into the skilled jobs.”

A small number of Windsor people have already been hired and are receiving training in Trois-Rivieres. Seguin said it’s possible some displaced Aveos workers will apply for some of the highly skilled jobs in Windsor.

But he said there will be other jobs Windsor people will qualify for.

“Certainly 200 to 300 (jobs) is not a pipe dream, and I think with this announcement of Aveos going down, certainly the bad news for one community can be good news for another community.”

The job fair will be located at the airport’s main terminal. On Wednesday, people should follow the signs for free parking and the job fair location.

For those unable to attend, resumes can be posted online at premieraviation@city.windsor.on.ca.

Over flight and altitude issues discussed at aircraft workshop

Many concerned Beach residents and visitors on various aircraft issues got an eyeful at Chapel by the Sea at the Southwest Florida International Airport overview concerning Federal Aviation Administration regulations of the Part 150 Noise and Land Use Study on Wednesday, March 21.

The third workshop in the three-part series featured many visual aids to support a comprehensive view of the actual study, operational statistics of the airport and noise contours that were developed from noise modeling efforts. New information was also provided.

"We have provided the draft recommendations and graphics depicting the results coming out of this study. Those are here for folks to review," said Sarah Brammell, managing associate at Environmental Science Associates'. "We also talk about the updated proposed land use overlay zones at the airport."

ESA's Mike Arnold, the project manager for the study, said the purpose of the third workshop was to show the results of the analysis and provide recommendations. The first workshop kicked off the study, while the second one examined noise conditions around the airport, collected feedback from the residents and analyzed the results.

"There was a lot of community concerns raised by Fort Myers Beach," said Arnold. "We have taken a look at all of them, and we have many recommendations that provide benefits to the residents here."

Arnold said recommendations focus on island over flight and altitude issues.

"There are procedures that are being implemented right now by the FAA, which Southwest Airlines took the lead on, that turn the aircraft before they reach the Beach. The aircraft are being re-routed through the middle of the state and are turning much earlier," he said. "The other issue that we are recommending is raising the altitude of the procedures for the aircraft that come into the airport, so that the published procedure actually reflects a higher flight point intercept."

ESA statistics show annual arrival and departure operations at RSW have dramatically increased from more than 50,000 flights in 1990 to nearly 160,000 flights projected for 2030.

Quality of life concerns for Estero Island include noise from aircraft flying as low as 1,600 feet. ESA officials are seeking for altitudes more in the 3,000-foot range.

"We are doing some type of step-down where if the aircraft were higher coming over the Beach, then they might decrease their altitude and continue to fly at a lower altitude until they intercept the drive path," said Arnold.

Beach residents are sensitive about noise issues caused by low flying airplanes. If aircraft cannot be re-routed to a course south of the island, at least minimize last nigh/early morning flights over residential areas.

Noise measurements have been taken on the Beach, but Arnold stated the FAA examines noise at a cumulative basis instead of an individual aircraft basis.

"That's the challenge. People don't complain about the cumulative noise, they complain about a single aircraft over-flight," he said. "Here in Florida, we have pretty significant peaking activity that occurs with the seasonal residents. Because it's the same time when everyone wants to have there windows open, people notice the noise more at this time of the year because of that."

Other aircraft issues affecting Beach citizens involve air quality, wildlife, soot, safety and lowering of property value.

The next step is for ESA officials to formulate study recommendations for review at a formal public hearing by the Lee County Port Authority Board of Directors at an unspecified date in the fall of 2012.

"People will have an opportunity to comment at that time," said Arnold. "From there, we would incorporate the transcripts, address the comments made at the public hearing and submit the draft document to the FAA for initial review. The FAA will review it to make sure it complies with all of their requirements, and then we will incorporate any changes that they made at that time before formally submitting the document to the FAA, which they would issue their approval on. They are known to specifically address every recommendation with an approval or disapproval."

If all measures fall into place, implementation may occur in late 2013.

Source:  http://www.fortmyersbeachtalk.com

Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman to lead Pakistan International Airlines


ISLAMABAD - Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has been appointed as the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) managing director (MD) less than a week after he relinquished the charge of Pakistan Air Force chief, in a development that has negated his elevation to the Board of Directors (BoD) chairman of the state-run airline due to some reported legal hitches.

Rao has replaced Captain Nadeem Yousufzai who has been reappointed as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general (DG). Yousufzai, who has replaced Air Marshal (r) Khalid Chaudhry, was the aviation body’s chief till he was placed as the PIA MD after protest by Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa) led to the ouster of the then MD Ijaz Haroon last year.

Air Marshal (r) Chaudhry is on an official visit to China. He did not respond to repeated calls and text message dropped at his cell, while Yousufzai was also not available for his comments.

CAA General Manager Public Relations Pervaiz George, when approached, said he was unaware about any reported change in the CAA top hierarchy, while citing a long weekend as an excuse.

Sources in PIA confirmed to this newspaper having unofficially been communicated about Rao’s appointment.

The government was reportedly mulling over appointing Rao as PIA BoD chairman till the stay granted by Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the appointment of new secretary defence was vacated, in order to get Rao elevated as the secretary defence. However, as reported in this paper last Tuesday, the portfolio of BoD chairman by default rests with the defence minister and could only be assigned to any other if endorsed by the BoD.

The board’s meeting was not likely before next month while its endorsement for Rao’s appointment as chairman seemed difficult due to the unavailability of some of the members.

A BoD member requesting anonymity confirmed the chances of the b taking key organisational decisions in the next month’s expected meeting were very slim as four of its members had engagements abroad.

“The meeting is not likely to arrive at major decisions. Even the future of this particular meeting has landed in uncertainty due to the probable unavailability of some of its members,” he added.

Some days back, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar had told The Nation that he would relinquish the charge as PIA BoD chairman, while appearing to impliedly hinting at the probable elevation of Rao.

However, Mukhtar had cited his extensive occupational engagements as an explanation.

Following these constraints, the Ministry of Defence, with the reported approval of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, appointed Rao as the PIA MD.

Earlier, Yousufzai was likely to be replaced by a serving PAF commodore, who attaints the position of director at a PAF offshoot. He is reported to have been enjoying close association with Rao. Moreover, Rao has reportedly brought with him a large team of retired and serving PAF officers for deputation appointments and regular inductions in the airline that already faces fiscal losses calculated in billions. This has not boded well with the PIA personnel and the PIA Action Committee has voiced serious reservations over the development.

Reportedly, Yousufzai is not happy over his removal that came at a time when PIA was under immense criticism for operational lapses pertaining to flight safety. Although, the government gurus’ decision to replace Rao with Yousufzai was pre-planned, the suspension of PIA safety licence by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) proved as an excuse.

Amraiz Khan adds from Lahore: Talking about current financial status, an aviation expert said it would be a challenging job for the new MD since the accumulated losses of PIA from Sept 30, 2011 had hiked to Rs 111.543 billion. When the PPP government took over, the figures stood at Rs 42.416 billion, he added.

Source:  http://www.nation.com.pk

Spain’s Iberia launches low-cost airline: New carrier is called Iberia Express

Spanish airline Iberia launches its new low-cost carrier for Europe on Sunday, against a backdrop of angry protests by workers who fear for their salaries.

"This is a fundamental project for the Iberia group," chief executive Rafael Sanchez-Lozano told reporters as he unveiled the new carrier, Iberia Express, ahead of Sunday's inaugural flight from Madrid to Alicante.

"It will allow short- and medium-haul operations that are currently not profitable to become profitable, to make the group grow," he said.

The group behind the venture is the International Airlines Group formed by the merger of Iberia and British Airways in 2011.

"It is an absolutely necessary element of the group's strategy," he said.

But Iberia pilots and other staff have staged several days of strikes in protest at the launch of the new offshoot.

Unions complain that lower salaries are being offered to new recruits on the budget airline and fear that jobs will be shifted away from Iberia.

Management says the conditions of existing staff will not be affected.

The government has appointed a mediator to handle negotiations between pilots and the management.

A few dozen protesters demonstrated outside Iberia's headquarters during Friday's news conference waving banners that read: "Iberia Express will destroy 6,000 jobs."

Iberia Express will start on 17 routes, serving destinations including Ibiza and Majorca in Spain and further afield: Dublin, Naples and Amsterdam.

It plans to expand by the end of 2012 to serve more than 20 destinations, with 14 aircraft and 500 staff carrying 2.5 million passengers this year, the company said.

The carrier aims to turn a profit from this year and to save 100 million euros (ê130 million) a year from 2015 by replacing regular Iberia flights on those routes with Iberia Express services.

"We are not a traditional low-cost airline," said the director of Iberia Express, Luis Gallego.

"A customer of Iberia Express will receive the same services as on Iberia," the regular flagship carrier, he added, explaining that options will range from "express" travel without baggage or assigned seating, to full business class.

"Prices will be more accessible because costs will be lower," Gallego said.

Iberia has come under pressure from its British partner to make savings after the Spanish line logged a loss of 98 million euros compared with some 620 million euros of profits for BA.

It faces tough competition meanwhile on its home ground, particularly from Irish budget line Ryanair, which overtook it in passenger numbers last year.

"The majority of (low-cost airline) companies are in the red and others are collapsing," said Gallego.

Barcelona-based budget airline Spanair, which ran 200 flights a day, shut down abruptly in January after going bankrupt, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. Another, Air Europa, has cut hundreds of jobs.

Source:  http://www.emirates247.com

ORNGE aborts emergency call as chopper door flies open midflight

Police guarded an ORNGE chopper overnight after it was forced to land in Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Friday.
David Ritchie for the Toronto Star
 
Liam Casey and Kevin Donovan Staff Reporters
 
An ORNGE air ambulance made an emergency landing Friday night after one of its doors opened and a window blew out in midflight, which could have been “catastrophic.”

The chopper took off from the Billy Bishop island airport after 6 p.m. on Friday en route to pick up a patient west of Toronto. Shortly after the helicopter was airborne, one of the doors opened, forcing the helicopter’s two pilots to search for a spot to land.

They found it in the middle of a dog park in Colonel Samuel Smith Park near Humber College’s Lakeshore campus around 6:20 p.m. Toronto EMS scrambled to get an ambulance to the area for precautionary reasons, but neither the pilots nor the two paramedics on board were hurt.

“The pilots made the right decision and landed,” said Jennifer Tracey, a spokesperson with ORNGE.

The chopper was on the way to a car crash near Brantford, according to an ORNGE insider, who said if the door or window hit the tail rotor, “it could have been catastrophic.”

ORNGE refused to say what happened to the patient, citing confidentiality rules, but said “the patient would have been transported by other means.”

When the helicopter landed, the window of the door was missing, and hasn’t been found, according to another ORNGE source. It isn’t known if the window ejected and caused the door to open or vice versa.
 
Police guarded the chopper overnight until it was examined by the Transportation Safety Board. When the board released the chopper back to ORNGE, two aircraft engineers removed the faulty door and the flight crew flew it back to the airport where a more exhaustive examination will take place, Tracey said.

After the landing, Toronto EMS drove the helicopter’s two paramedics back to their base on the island as a backup aircraft was put into service, although by then it was too late to respond to the Brantford-area call.
 
This is the latest problem for the beleaguered air ambulance company. On Friday, an ongoing Star investigation revealed ORNGE refused to disclose the salaries of more than 50 employees who earned more than $100,000 for inclusion on the province’s Sunshine List.

On Wednesday, Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter detailed the troublesome practices and a lack of health ministry oversight in a long-awaited 39-page report that comes as an Ontario Provincial Police investigation continues into ORNGE.

A recent Star probe found ORNGE plagued by secrecy surrounding its complex business model, a $1.4 million salary for its president, call delays, lack of service in some areas and a related web of for-profit companies that aimed to “leverage” the financial support from taxpayers.

A few weeks ago, Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees raised concerns in the legislature about the safety of the AugustaWestland AW139 helicopter, the same chopper that went down Friday night. He said the helicopters tail rotors fall off and have been the reason for three crashes outside Ontario.

“I would not want to be a pilot, I would not want to be a paramedic,” Klees said in early March, “and I would not want to be a patient.”

A directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency last Aug. 19 ordered helicopter owners to replace the tail rotors after 600 hours of flight following a fatal accident “possibly caused by cracks in a TR (tail rotor) blade.”

ORNGE examined the rotors daily from August to February and said “no defects were found.”

Source:  http://www.thestar.com

Kenai, Alaska: Teen ascends to new heights as a pilot

In this March 16, 2012, photo, Alex Agosti stands with a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 170 in Kenai, Alaska. Agosti flew the check flight to earn his private pilot's license on his 17th birthday earlier this month. 
(AP Photo/Peninsula Clarion, M. Scott Moon)


KENAI, Alaska - He always has felt comfortable up in the air.

"I've never had a problem with heights," said Alex Agosti. "I'm more comfortable flying than I am driving my truck."

The teenager is on a mission to become an aviation expert. Staying true to a passion that developed at a young age, the high school student gravitates toward everything plane-related.

On his 17th birthday - the minimum age requirement - Agosti obtained his private pilot's license. He had his license in less than 24 hours of becoming eligible. The young pilot calmly spoke about the "many little different things" a person must complete to obtain the license.

Agosti is a cadet of the local Civil Air Patrol, a federally supported, nonprofit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary unit of the United States Air Force. The volunteer organization was founded Dec. 1, 1941.

During World War II, its principle purpose was allowing private pilots to use their light aircraft in civil defense efforts. Today, it offers education programs and emergency services, such as search and rescue and disaster relief.

CAP members Tom Lemanski and Dick Woodin instructed Agosti for 14 months. Lemanski described the path to a private pilot's license as a major undertaking, which requires memorizing regulations, airplane systems, airplane maneuvers and navigation as well as medical issues.

"He's a hardworking, dedicated student to get through all of it," Lemanski said.

"It's not something somebody can do half-heartedly and get through successfully."

Prospective private pilots generally obtain their licenses in their 20s or 30s. During Lemanski's 30 years of flying, he only has known two other people who got their licenses at 17 - but neither was on their birthday.

Agosti's fascination with planes formed at 5 when he flew in his Uncle's Super Cub from Lake Hood in Anchorage to a family cabin at Kelly Lake in Talkeetn a.

"My interest was sparked during that first flight, more or less," he said. "It felt very surreal."

Camping excursion flights and other trips taken simply for the sake of flying kept Agosti's interest aloft.

But it was the CAP's Wing Glider Academy that solidified his path toward aviation. The academy is a training program designed to advance the flight skills of cadets during a ten-day course.

The academy is conducted at Clear Air Force Station just off of Parks Highway between Healy and Nenana.

When Agosti was 14, he was spending hours every day floating through the air in a glider, a motorless aircraft towed into the sky by another plane. The faster a glider goes, the more lift its wings produce. Angling the glider downward, trading altitude for speed, allows gliders to fly fast enough to generate the lift needed to support its weight.

Glider pilots also use thermals to remain afloat. Thermals are columns of rising air created by the heating of earth's surface.

Lemanski recalls being impressed with Agosti's knowledge when he began instructing the young pilot.

"He attended (the glider academy) twice before I got to know him," he said. "The first time we flew, he already had experience with the gliders, and I was amazed by how much he knew about flying right off the bat."

Whether flying engine or no engine, Agosti said he experiences no fear while up in the air. He reads accident reports in hopes of learning from other pilots' errors.

"Pilots make mistakes, and it's sad and tragic, but you can learn from them," he said.

Other than his uncle who owns the Super Cub, none of Agosti's family members fly planes. He takes extra measures to ensure he learns everything he possibly can about aviation.

Although only a junior at Kenai Central High School, he enrolled in a private pilot ground school course and received college credit. He attended the ground school while a sophomore.

Having o btained his license, he helps out fellow pilots with personal projects to remain around and learn about planes as frequently as possible. When he's not sanding a plane's frame or working on instrument panels he shovels snow for extra cash, much like a regular teenager. However, thoughts of ascent pervade his mind.

"I've always looked up to the sky whenever a plane's flying by, and I'm like 'dang that guy is lucky,' when I'm down on the ground shoveling," he said. "Flying is the only thing I've ever truly wanted to do."

Agosti could take a few routes, but he said he believes the most likely one is getting a commercial pilot's license and working for a smaller regional carrier, such as Era Alaska, or an air taxi like Kenai Aviation.

He'll fly for the rest of his life, he said.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I'll fly and continue flying. I'm no expert pilot, but I'm going to keep learning and expanding my skills in the field of aviation."

Source:   http://newsminer.com

Opposition attacks PCs over $450,000 bill to fly empty aircraft: Governing Toriees have logged more than 200 so-called deadheads flights a year, Treasury Board manifests show

EDMONTON — The Alberta government continues to spend more than $450,000 annually flying empty aircraft between Calgary and Edmonton, outraging opposition critics who decry it as a scandalous waste of money.

For the past three years, the governing Conservatives have logged more than 200 so-called deadheads flights a year, often to pick up the lieutenant-governor to fly him to events in Edmonton and other communities, according to passenger flight manifests published on the Alberta Treasury Board website.

Last year, 116 of the 247 deadheads were flights between Edmonton and Calgary that cost taxpayers about $3,900 per one-way trip. Government planes also made numerous flights with no passengers from Edmonton to Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat as well as to other Canadian cities, but those additional costs are unknown.

Premier Alison Redford said the taxpayer dollars that fund government flights is money well spent.

“There are a lot of places in this province — this very big province — that it’s not possible to get to on commercial flights and it’d important for us — not just for politicians but also for government employees, for people that are part of some of our government boards (and) youth secretariats — to be able to travel around the province and connect with each other,” Redford said. “I believe we have four planes and I know they are put to very good use. . . . That’s an investment in what it means to build strong communities across the province so we’re not separate from each other.”

Treasury Board spokesman Stuart Elson said the province’s four-aircraft fleet flew empty on 247 flights in the fiscal year up to March 23. He said in the two previous years, government aircraft flew empty 220 and 214 times respectively.

“Efforts are made to reduce the number of flights with no passengers by co-ordinating those schedules,” he said.

The province operates a 36-passenger Dash 8 and three smaller Beechcraft King Air planes at a cost of $4.5 million annually, plus another $2.8 million for aircraft parts and debt payments on two new aircraft, he said.

The Dash 8 makes a regular weekly run between Calgary and Edmonton to take Treasury Board officials to Calgary for meetings, but the seven and nine-passenger King Airs can fly into smaller communities, Elson said.

“They enable officials to travel to even the most remote areas of the province,” he said. “Fewer than 10 per cent of Alberta communities are served by commercial airlines.”

Flight manifests show the government aircraft flew to 30 communities last year, including small places like Conklin, Slave Lake, Cardston, Taber, Bonnyville, Fairview, High Level, Rainbow Lake, Wabasca and Dawson Creek.

The most frequent flyer last year was Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell who made 127 flights, but former Premier Ed Stelmach flew 95 times and Alison Redford made 26 trips in the three moths after she was sworn in as his successor.

Elson said the cost of a King Air flight between Calgary and Edmonton is about $3,900. That’s many times the rate of a commercial flight, which costs less than $500 for a round trip.

New Democrat Leader Brian Mason said there might be a need for one or two smaller aircraft to reach remote communities, but there’s no need for a Dash 8 or a $24-million fleet of aircraft.

“I think there’s plenty of evidence that the government fleet is an expensive luxury that is not used efficiently,” he said. “We could reduce the number of deadheads if the cabinet ministers got off their high horses and took a commercial flight now and again. I don’t think Alberta needs its own air force.”

Most provincial governments use commercial aircraft or charter planes to take government officials and politicians to remote communities.

“I don’t think we should be flying between Edmonton and Calgary at all,” said Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson. “It’s a three-hour drive. It’s just not worth the expense to save an hour. It sure isn’t worth $4,000.”

He said officials could save taxpayers money by taking the Red Arrow express bus between Calgary and Edmonton.

“I’m not saying we don’t need one government plane to get to far-off places quickly, but between Edmonton and Calgary there is no excuse,” he said.

Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald said the government should use private- sector aircraft. “I think certainly we need to be more careful about the use of Klein Air and reduce the number of deadhead flights,” he added. “It’s convenient for the politicians, but not for taxpayers.”

There’s been criticism of the waste of money flying empty planes since 1995 when news reports pegged the cost at $100,000. The number of deadheads has dropped from 333 in 2006 and 272 in 2007, but the fleet still racks up at least four or five a week.

The fleet has been in operation since 1985 and for decades the flight logs were kept confidential.

The provincial auditor general endorsed the government fleet in 2005 as long as the flight logs were made public so taxpayers could see who flew where and when.

Fred Dunn said he could see the need for a private service that enabled government officials more privacy on flights.

“What we need to do is make it more efficient,” he said at the time.

Pune, India: Aviation institute ordered to return fees to student

 The Pune district consumer grievances redressal forum has ordered AHA Aviation and Hospitality Academy to repay to a student fees of Rs 1.18 lakh along with 9 percent interest, an amount of Rs 31,626 as interest on the loan the student’s father took to pay the fees and compensation of Rs 25,000.

Forum president Anjali Deshmukh and member SK Kapase issued the order recently in a suit filed by Amruta Avinash Dhumal (20) on January 17 last year. Daughter of a policeman, Amruta lives at Somwar Peth police lines. She named the Delhi-based academy, its Pune branch represented through its manager (administration), director Akash Gupta and Daya Prakash as respondents.

Amruta’s plaint said she took admission to a one-year diploma in aviation and hospitality management after reading in the advertisement that the Cambridge University has permitted the academy to conduct the course in India. The fees were Rs 1.18 lakh. She paid enrollment fees of Rs 5,000 on February 7, 2008. Later, her father borrowed money from friends and paid Rs 30,000 on February 11, 2008. He took a loan of Rs1 lakh from the Pune district cooperative credit society to pay the remaining fees.

The course began on June 7, 2009 but shortly after that the institute was closed for eight days due to the swine flu scare. Later, in October 2009, the course was closed without giving any reasons. Amruta was promised that the course would be conducted and the students would get jobs.

On March 30, 2010, a student filed a criminal complaint against the academy directors. Amruta alleged that despite her demands, the institute did not refund the fees. The academy officials did not appear before the forum .

The forum relied on a Supreme Court ruling of 2000 in Charan Singh versus Healing Touch Hospital. The forum ordered the academy pay the compensation within six weeks.

Plane fails to fly Wetangula out of Mali

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula

The Government had secured clearance to fly to Bamako, Mali, to evacuate Wetangula, Government officials, and other Kenyans stuck there.

The plane charted from an airline company in Nigeria failed to fly out after the crew said they had been informed by the control tower in Mali that the airspace was not safe.

Foreign Affairs ministry, however, said despite this setback the Government was trying to get an alternative airline willing to fly to Mali following the military clearance.

Nairobi, through Kenya Ambassador Francis Sigei in Abuja, Nigeria, said it is trying all alternatives to charter an airline, which would be willing to fly into Bamako airspace following this clearance.

The ministry said they were also working with Kenya Airways, the African Union, and other friendly countries on this.

In an update to the Press, the ministry also said the Government had established and compiled a list of 27 Kenyans in Mali.

“One of them was evacuated last night,” the statement said and requested relatives to give details of any Kenyan in Mali to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs though its communications section at +25402318888 or email to communications@mfa.go.ke or communication.foreign@yahoo.com.

The Government assured Kenyans that Wetangula, other Government officials with him and other Kenyans are safe in Mali.

The ministry also said it is in constant and direct communication with the minister and has confirmed that he and his team are safe.

Wetangula was preparing to leave for the airport on Wednesday after attending an AU security meeting, but was stopped after news of Mali’s army uprising spread.

The Kenya Airways plane had to cancel landing in Bamako after a military coup.

Wetangula has been holed up in a hotel in the capital as officials attempt to find a way of getting him out of the volatile city.

Speaking to The Standard On Sunday on telephone, Wetangula said he could hear gunshots from his hotel room but he was safe.

“I am safe but asking Kenyans to pray for our safety,” he said.

The minister said some ministers from other countries and officials from the AU were also stranded in Mali.

Wetangula said he had attended the AU Peace and Security Committee meeting in Bamako, with other ministers to resolve the crisis caused by Tuareg armed rebellion.

By ATHMAN AMRAN, The Standard

Source:   http://spyghana.com

Business plus: Is this the next best thing to a private jet? London City airport offers 'business plus' travel to New York JFK – with a refuelling stop in Ireland. David Phelan takes his seat

However much you pay for your plane ticket to New York, it's hard to avoid congestion at the airport. You can understand why some celebrities and top executives opt for a private jet. But what if there's a way to mimic that private feeling while still paying the same as flying commercial? Avoiding super-busy airports such as Heathrow could be a good first step.

When British Airways launched its London City to New York business-only service in September 2009, it billed it as "business plus", with a price premium to match. It even gave the service the BA001 and BA003 flight numbers previously used by Concorde. Now, the ticket prices match those of other BA business tickets, but the flight still aims to be a cut above.

There are civilized check-in arrangements at London City. If you have luggage for the hold, you can check in just 20 minutes before take-off, or only 15 minutes for those with carry-on bags only. For comparison, you won't even be let through security at Heathrow Terminal 5 less than 35 minutes before departure.

The BA plane is an Airbus A318 – the same basic aircraft type as easyJet uses, only shorter. It is configured with only 32 seats in eight rows. This means that check-in queues are likely to be small, speeding you to the BA Business Lounge at the gate. This lounge is the first snag: it's makeshift at best. Still, there's champagne to sip while you wait.

On board, the seats are wide, well spaced and highly comfortable. Because it's such a small plane, with so few seats, it genuinely has a special, intimate feel to it.

London City Airport has a short runway. This means a plane loaded with enough fuel to make the journey to JFK doesn't have enough space to take off. So, BA flies first to Ireland's Shannon airport to refuel. Here is snag two: at Shannon, you have to get off the plane, with all your hand luggage.

The 45-minute refuel stop is used to maximum effect: there are US border officials stationed at Shannon and the stop is long enough for the plane's passengers to go through US immigration procedures. The two- to five-year tour of duty in leafy Shannon seemed to have a positive effect on the staff: they were relaxed and friendly. And the benefit of going through customs here is that you can walk off the plane at the other end in a domestic terminal with none of the formalities or lengthy queues that await most international arrivals in New York.

Strangely, you do not need to take your checked baggage through customs. It stays in the hold, but must be identified and declared cleared by the authorities. While this happens, or if the Shannon officials are not quite ready, this leads to a pause in what can only be described as a holding area. This feels anything but business class with its hard plastic bench seating in a windowless hall. Take hand luggage only and you go straight through to immigration – when I flew, the authorities were ready and waiting.

The departure lounge and this holding area were the only times the other passengers came into focus. Though this was a business flight, there was a mix of suits and well-to-do families, though some had clearly used the service before and knew the hand-luggage-only fast track. There is another delay in a slightly more convivial gate area before reboarding; Irish coffee, said to have been invented at Shannon airport, is served while you wait. Apparently, BA had wanted US officials to come on board and check everyone's passports in their seats, which would have been the height of nostalgic elegance, but the US didn't agree to this.

Back on board, the business-plus element is on display again. Once aloft, the crew hand out iPads, which explains the lack of seatback screens. The 9.7in iPad screen is better than most seatback screens, but the capacity is not enough to hold all the content BA offers; the airline is looking into reducing TV programme content to cram in more movies.

There's another bonus to this service: Wi-Fi and mobile phones. You can't make calls from the plane, thank heavens, but you can send and receive texts and emails, or surf the internet. Texting was oddly liberating. It's priced in line with international roaming charges so, for instance, Orange charges 40p per message back to the UK. The internet connection isn't fast and drops occasionally, but this is a massive step forward. Food on board is on a par with BA's Club World, and service throughout was attentive.

The return flight from JFK to London City is quicker, as the prevailing winds are in your favour and there is no need to refuel. You can also use the BA lounge before you set out. There is no arrivals lounge at London City, so the airline has an arrangement with the nearby Radisson Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel instead.

This isn't an executive jet. But it is a jet for executives. The pairs of seats are private and spacious, comfortable for sleeping when they stretch out flat. The freedom offered by the seats, and how few there are on the plane, make it feel like the next best thing to private.

Doing the biz: Orly to Newark

In 2008-9, three business-only airlines – MaxJet, Silverjet and Eos – went bust. The sole survivor is OpenSkies, a Paris-based airline owned by BA. It operates business-only flights between Paris Orly and New York's other international airport, Newark, New Jersey. I took this route back across the Atlantic.

Check-in at Newark can be precarious: though this is a business flight, there are two classes (reclining Biz Seat and the lie-flat Biz Bed) with separate check-in desks. Biz Seat customers behind me grew angry at being asked to wait, pointing out that this was supposed to be an all-business flight.

The lounge at Newark is shared with other airlines. The plane is an elderly Boeing 757, but the specially configured seating and bright lighting made it look fresh. It is much bigger than the Airbus, with a dozen Biz Beds and up to 72 Biz Seats. Biz Seats are wide and comfortable, arranged in pairs. They don't quite feel like business seats, though – more like premium economy.

Biz Beds are analogous to BA's business seats, though not as comfortable. In-flight entertainment is now via iPad, like on the BA City flight. The food was also BA business-like.

There's nothing wrong with the OpenSkies flight, but the larger plane makes it a much less special proposition. From June, OpenSkies re-introduces economy seats and (revealingly) renames Biz Seat as Prem Plus.

Travel essentials

British Airways flies twice daily between London City and New York JFK. The lead-in fare is £2,418 return. On OpenSkies, between Paris Orly and Newark, fares start at £3,240 for Biz Bed and £1,160 for Biz Seat.

Source:   http://www.independent.co.uk

Royal Canadian Air Force slept while guarding Prime Minister's plane

TORONTO -- An RCAF corporal has been fined $500 for falling asleep while guarding the aircraft of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other government members during a trip to Morocco.

Master Cpl. C.J.S. Agnew was found guilty by a standing court martial on March 5 at CFB North Bay, according to documents from his court martial.

Chief Military Judge Cmdr. Peter Lamont said Agnew pleaded guilty to a charge of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline and can pay his fine in $100 installments.

“The facts of this case are not complicated,” Lamont said in a ruling. When a new shift came aboard to take over the responsibilities “they discovered that the offender was apparently asleep in the vehicle.”

“The offender was charged with the responsibility of guarding the plane,” the decision stated. “He was awakened after about a minute of observation.”

The court martial heard Agnew was responsible for guarding the expensive jet transporting Harper on a Jan. 2011 stopover in Rabat, Morocco.

The prime minister was on a one-day stop in North Africa where he paid a visit to the tomb of the “father of modern-day Morocco” -- King Mohammed V -- and had an audience with King Mohammed VI, to whom power passed in 1999.

The hearing was told Agnew enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1985 and has served continuously since.

“Throughout his long career in the Canadian Forces he has discharged his duties with vigor and effectiveness,” Lamont ruled. “I have every reason to suppose that what happened on the date alleged in this offense is a single incident out of character for this offender.”

Lamont said Agnew had no record of previous incidents of a disciplinary nature and is a married man with responsibilities for dependents.

Source: http://www.lfpress.com

Van's RV-4: Crashed Plane Lands Upside Down, 1 Man Sent to Hospital


A man is en route to the hospital after his plane crashed Saturday afternoon, flipping onto its roof as it landed.

A neighbor tells 11 News that the pilot was flying at low speed as he descended towards a landing strip on his property. The neighbor identified the pilot as Bob Boozell. The pilot's identity has not been officially identified, but property records do show a Bob Boozell living near the crash site, located near County Road 73 and County Road 94.

Though early responders reported that the victim was trapped upon arrival, the neighbor says he was just struggling to get out due to being buckled up. The neighbor says the injuries are likely not serious.

11 News is still working to get official confirmation about the neighbor's account.

The FAA describes the plane as a RV-4, which is small, lightweight and home-built. 

Article and photo:   http://www.kktv.com

Vijay Mallya's looking at TINA to save Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya speaks to the media after a meeting with EK Bharat Bhushan, director general of civil aviation, on Tuesday. The DGCA had summoned Mallya after Kingfisher again reneged on its revival plan.

When Vijay Mallya entered the office of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the country's aviation regulator, in New Delhi last Tuesday, his face was the picture of stress, his steps slow and shoulders drooped. Taken together, those signs told the story of his crisis-racked airline.

The DGCA had summoned Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, asking for an explanation on the state of the carrier, which these past few months has become synonymous with scores of flight cancellations, a pile of debts and frozen bank accounts. The threat of losing the permit to fly hung heavily in the air.

When Mallya emerged after nearly two hours, he managed to smile through the impromptu press conference forced on him by a waiting phalanx of journalists. There was no move to cancel Kingfisher's operating licence. The liquor baron had managed yet another reprieve from the authorities, or so it seemed.

What was unsaid that day was that Vijay Mallya had assured authorities that he will make an announcement crucial to its future on March 27, according to a senior government official familiar with the matter.

Make-Or-Break Time

The announcement could be related to the infusion of equity or entry of a strategic investor, the official said. If a credible plan was not presented by then, the authorities could "pull the plug" on Kingfisher, the official added.



A Kingfisher spokesman has denied that Mallya had given any commitment about a date.

But truth be told, Kingfisher is fast running out of time and ideas as the patience of authorities wears thin. On Tuesday, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh put the onus of revival squarely on Mallya, holding out the prospect of legal action if Kingfisher fails to clear dues and taxes.

Financial analysts and industry experts say the government will be forced to act if the airline fails to come up with a revival plan quickly. An ICICI Direct report earlier this month said the promoter will either have to infuse significant funds into the company or bring in strategic partners with infrastructure for ATF (jet fuel) import or some foreign carriers to survive.

To say Kingfisher is in dire need for cash is to put it mildly. It has accumulated a total debt of Rs 7,057 crore and losses of about Rs 6,000 crore. The airline's bosses have repeatedly assured that talks are on with potential investors, but no name has arrived on the scene. Mallya again said on Tuesday that Kingfisher was working on several recapitalisation initiatives.

Kishor Ostwal, chairman of CNI Research in Mumbai, said Kingfisher needs an equity infusion of at least $300 million immediately. "That is the only option before the airline."

Investment by a foreign airline looks unlikely because the government is yet to clear the proposal and no airline would be interested given Kingfisher's poor state, according to Ostwal. So Mallya would have to sell stake in one of his companies in the liquor business and pump the money into Kingfisher, he says.

Safety Issues

In any case, Mallya must come up with a rescue act and soon, according to analysts. Already, the government has hardened its stance against Kingfisher after criticism that authorities have failed to act despite the airline reneging on promises repeatedly.

Mohan Ranganathan, a former pilot and air safety consultant, said the DGCA is not enforcing rules. "Scheduled carriers cannot be cancelling flights the way Kingfisher has been. Earlier, Kingfisher executives applied for a full schedule although DGCA officials knew that it had only 28 planes in possession." (Kingfisher earlier had 64 planes; the rest were grounded or confiscated by aircraft leasing companies).

Ranganathan said Kingfisher's troubles are also fraught with safety issues despite its curtailed schedule for the summer with just 20 planes and an end to all international flights. "With staff not being paid salary [since December], their focus is not on the job, but the financial shortfall. It just takes a delay of a few seconds for a major disaster to take place."

Grasping At Straws

For its part, Kingfisher plans to run as a smaller, leaner airline without the frills for now, until equity comes in, according to a company insider. This person, asking not to be named, dismissed talk about not finding an investor. "There is value for any airline, be it Jet [Airways] with 50 planes, Kingfisher with 20 planes or GoAir with 10 planes. The question is what would be the valuation and who will invest."



It will have to be a strategic investor, the person said, adding that "we have ruled out a financial investor". "Two international airlines are interested. But for that, rules have to change."

The person was referring to a government proposal to allow foreign airlines to invest in Indian carriers. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government was considering the proposal. But analysts ask: "Will Kingfisher be around until then?"

The delay in FDI is only one of the many challenges that Kingfisher faces. With its coffers empty, the airline is hard-pressed to operate flights. Cancelled flights are keeping passengers away, which in turn means even less cash to fly. Put these problems together, it is easy to see why finding an investor has been difficult for Kingfisher's bosses.

Low-fare Avatar

But the airline still seems to have a few tricks up its sleeve. To get around the stigma of cancellations and fly anyhow, Kingfisher is offering the cheapest airfares in India (see India's New Low-Fare Airline). That begs the question: who is buying the airline's tickets? Cheap or not, planes have to eventually take off. In Kingfisher's case, there is no surety there.


Hriday Daswani, owner of Dynasty Tours &Travels in Mumbai, says the people flying Kingfisher booked tickets a couple of months ago. Kingfisher is also finding passengers in routes such as Delhi-Dharamsala and Delhi-Dehradun where it has a monopoly, she says.

But Daswani says on other routes, people are switching to an alternative airline like Indigo or Jet. "People hesitate to book a Kingfisher flight despite the lower fares," she says, adding that she has stopped recommending Kingfisher to passengers.

"There is too much stress not just for me but also passengers. With the holiday season here, no one wants to get stranded at the airport." Daswani says Kingfisher employees are not helping. "They just throw up their hands in despair instead of helping the passengers find another flight."



Another travel agent who sells Kingfisher tickets in bulk says passengers are offered two tickets. "Say, a ticket for a Kingfisher flight that takes off at 9 am for Rs 4,000 and an Indigo ticket for 11 am for Rs 6,000. If god willing, the Kingfisher flight does take off, the Indigo ticket is cancelled."

Kingfisher is also winding down operations in several routes. There are no flights on routes such as Delhi-Hyderabad, Delhi-Kochi and Kochi-Agatti Island.

Clock's Ticking

Despite mounting evidence of Kingfisher's desperation and calls for action, analysts and experts say it is not easy to shut the airline.

CNI's Ostwal says the government is in a dilemma over Kingfisher's fate because of its unwavering commitment to Air India, the distressed national carrier that the authorities are propping up with taxpayers' money.

There is also the issue of putting Kingfisher's more than 7,000 employees out of work and loans to the airline by government-owned lenders turning bad.

What about Mallya putting the airline on the block? "He will not sell. The valuation is quite cheap," says Ostwal. "Not that there are many takers."

Source:  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com