Sunday, March 25, 2012

White Bear Lake aviation class honors son's memory

Patrick Marzitelli

John Marzitelli and his son, Patrick, had talked of starting an aviation class at White Bear Lake Area High School, where 17-year-old Patrick was a junior. 

But on May 21, 2010, Patrick Marzitelli died while working at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport - apparently overcome by fumes while refueling a truck. 

At his son's visitation, John Marzitelli started talking with Peter Pitman, Patrick Marzitelli's science teacher at White Bear, about their dream of an aviation class. He had no idea Pitman had worked in aviation for nearly two decades before coming to the school. 

"So when I was talking to Peter, he said, 'Here's the guy you go talk to. I'll teach it and let's get it going,' " Marzitelli recalled. 

Funded through the Patrick Marzitelli Science and Aviation Foundation, the elective class kicked off this fall at the junior-senior South Campus and attracted 18 students. The curriculum covers "a full pilot ground school, everything that a student would get if they paid for" the course privately, Pitman said, including airplane physics and the principles of flight, as well as flight controls and aviation meteorology. 

Soon, thanks to another donation by Marzitelli, the class will have its own flight simulator - a full-scale mock-up of the cockpit of Marzitelli's Piper Warrior. 

So far, one of the inaugural students is going on to study aviation at the University of North Dakota, and at least a few more are looking into aviation careers with the military. 

"I'm happy with that," Marzitelli said. 

His own son was working for Cirrus at the Anoka County airport when he died two years ago. 

According to text messages sent by Patrick the night of his death, as well as a witness account, he was blasted by jet fuel on his face and chest about 8 p.m. He texted his girlfriend and said he was coughing but would be OK. 

A co-worker last saw him alive at 9:40 p.m. as Patrick refueled a tanker truck. He was next seen at 10:32 p.m., motionless on top of the truck. His head was hanging down into an inspection hatch, submerged in fuel.
His family believes he might have accidentally overfilled the truck and was overcome by fumes as he inspected the level inside. 

In addition to the class, the Patrick Marzitelli foundation funds three aeronautics scholarships totaling $10,000. Its main fundraiser is a springtime golf tournament, scheduled this year for May 19 at Manitou Ridge Golf Course. 

For Pitman, the class has been an effective entry point for kids to get excited about science. And it appears to be catching on: 30 students have signed up for next fall. 

"It's all about the kids, really," Pitman said. "Just give me the kids, and they get so excited about aviation. The class is going to be very popular." 


For information on the Patrick Marzitelli foundation, go to

For information about the class Principles of Aviation and Aerospace, go to


Schon Air Cessna 172 Makes Forced Landing Near Hyderabad, India

On March 19, 2012, Schon Air Cessna 172P Skyhawk (registration AP- BJG) after experiencing engine problem made forced landing near Super Highway at Loni Kot near Hyderabad. All three people aboard the aircraft including an instructor pilot and two student pilots remained safe and unhurt. The Cessna was flying from Nawabshah to Karachi.

Bowling Green man injured in ultralight aircraft accident

TONTOGANY, Ohio — A Bowling Green pilot was injured Sunday evening near Tontogany, in Wood County’s Washington Township, when his ultralight aircraft was unable to gain enough lift and struck railroad tracks, the Bowling Green post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Troopers said they learned of the crash when officials at Wood County Hospital reported at 7:10 p.m. that Ricky L. Grimm, 57, was in the emergency room with “incapacitating,” but nonlife-threatening injuries he had sustained earlier in the evening.

Investigators said Mr. Grimm, was trying to take off from a private runway east of Reams Road and north of Long Judson Road southwest of the village.

The aircraft flipped over on the tracks after it struck the tracks.

A family member took Mr. Grimm to the hospital, where his condition was not available. Troopers said he was wearing a helmet and a six point safety harness at the time. No damage was reported to the tracks and no trains were stopped because of the crash.


Balloon-crash findings may never go public

The findings of an investigation into a hot-air balloon crash landing in North Canterbury may never be made public.

Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman Emma Peel today said the weekend's crash was being treated as a serious incident rather than a higher-level accident as it appeared there was no injury to passengers.

Accidents findings were released only because they could be beneficial to the wider aviation industry, but incidents with hot-air balloons could often be related to an incorrect assessment of the weather, she said.

Investigators would talk to witnesses, the pilot and the company.

Peel said the investigation would be conducted from a desk in Wellington. No investigators would visit the site.

No action was being taken against Balloon Adventures Up Up and Away Ltd and it could operate flights as normal, Peel said.

The incident happened about 8am on Saturday when a gust of wind picked up a hot-air balloon carrying 18 passengers as it was preparing to land.

The balloon crashed into pine trees, putting holes in the balloon, before a final attempt at landing was made and the balloon bounced, slid and tipped on its side, bringing it to a stop in a paddock in Downs Rd near Eyrewell Forest.

Passenger Savannah Hyssong said she was terrified and there were screams of panic from passengers. 

Nacogdoches County, Texas: Man dies in aircraft crash

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A man has died following an accident involving a powered parachute crash near Garrison Sunday afternoon, according to Sheriff Thomas Kerss.

Kerss posted on his Facebook page that someone was flying the aircraft and wind blew it into some trees near FM 95. The pilot fell to the ground and later died at a Nacogdoches hospital.

The identity of the victim has not yet been made known.

"I ask that you offer prayers of support for his family during this difficult time," Kerss stated.

A powered parachute is a type of small aircraft with a large fan and parachute.


Air Création XP GT 582S, C-IEJG: Accident occurred March 24, 2012 near Highway 214, between the towns of Bury and Scotstown, QUE - Canada

MONTREAL – The 35-year-old pilot of a two-seater ultralight plane – found unconscious by rescuers perhaps an hour after it crashed in thick woods east of Sherbrooke late Saturday afternoon – was declared dead later in hospital, Sgt. Geneviève Bruneau of the Sûreté du Québec said Sunday morning.

The name of the man, who Bruneau said had been a resident of nearby Bury, was not immediately available, she added.

The Eastern Townships crash site is some 225 kilometres east of Montreal.

A 29-year-old man who survived the crash suffered relatively minor injuries.

The survivor walked about one kilometre from the crash site to Highway 214, also known as Victoria Rd., and flagged down a passing motorist near Long Swamp Rd., who alerted police at 6:35 p.m., Bruneau said.

"The SQ was on site (of the crash) by 7 p.m. and conducted life-saving measures on the pilot," Bruneau added.

"Unfortunately, he didn't survive."

SQ investigators are handling the on-site probe, Bruneau said.

Aircraft crashes are usually investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

"The TSB is aware of the accident but we are not deploying to the accident site," TSB spokesperson Julie Leroux said via email.

Cellular-phone coverage in the region is spotty at best, Bruneau noted.

She said she couldn't provide such preliminary details as whether mechanical problems or weather may already have emerged as possible factors.

Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza, Jim Lafferty Aircraft Sales Inc., N364AB: Accident occurred March 14, 2012 in Panoche, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA139
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Panoche, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2014
Aircraft: BEECH B36, registration: N364AB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was delivering the single engine airplane from England to the west coast of the United States. According to his resume, he had piloted 196 Atlantic crossings in general aviation airplanes. The trip began about 1 week before the accident. The flights from England to Maine, with a pilot-rated passenger on board, consisted of 6 legs, with a total flight time of about 27 hours over a period of about 96 hours. The passenger and pilot separated in Bangor, Maine, and the pilot continued to Kentucky that same day, with an additional 2 legs and 6 hours flight time. He spent a total of 13 hours on the ground in Kentucky before departing early in the morning on the day of the accident. The first leg was 5 hours followed by a fuel stop. The next leg was 3 hours 20 minutes, and another fuel stop was made. The pilot then departed on the accident leg to his destination in California. The pilot flew the over 4-hour accident leg under visual flight rules using air traffic control flight following services. He flew directly between waypoints instead of on established airways. The airplane was equipped with a panel-mounted GPS unit with altitude information capability, and the pilot’s iPad was equipped with current flight planning and guidance software, and electronic navigation charts. The pilot had access to sufficient information in flight to remain clear of terrain, but the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot accessed that information during any part of that flight leg. When the airplane was about 65 miles from its destination, the pilot began a steady descent from his cruise altitude of 12,500 feet, which he had flown without supplemental oxygen. The destination elevation was 230 feet. Due to coverage limitations, radar contact with the airplane was lost when it was descending through 5,100 feet. At this point, the airplane was 46 miles from its destination, and the controller cancelled the flight-following services. There were no further communications from the pilot; up to this point, he had acknowledged all transmissions from ATC. Twelve miles after flight-following services were cancelled, the airplane impacted a hillside at an elevation of about 1,960 feet. Ground scar and wreckage information indicated that the airplane impacted in a wings-level attitude on a near-horizontal flight path. The airplane was highly fragmented and damaged by postimpact fire. Evidence was consistent with the landing gear and flaps retracted. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Darkness prevailed at the time of the accident, and AIRMETs for mountain obscuration were current for the time and location of the accident. Satellite and weather radar data suggested the presence of instrument meteorological conditions along parts of the airplane’s route, but the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot encountered or entered instrument meteorological conditions during the descent. Extrapolation of radar-derived speed and descent rate data indicated that the airplane descended steadily on track from cruise to the impact point. The pilot’s autopsy indicated that the cause of death was multiple blunt trauma injuries, with no adverse pre-existing conditions. The effects of possible fatigue or hypoxia on the pilot’s performance could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s lack of situational awareness regarding the surrounding terrain while descending during dark night conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.


On March 14, 2012, about 1955 Pacific daylight time (PDT), a Beech B36TC, N364AB, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in the Diablo Mountain range near Panoche, California, during a delivery flight from Gloucester, England, to San Jose, California. The airplane was recently purchased and operated by Lafferty Aircraft Sales (LAS), and was operated by American King Air Services (AKAS). The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The accident leg of the flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and in accordance with visual flight rules (VFR). Darkness and possible instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the pilot-rated passenger who flew with him for a portion of the trip, the pilot took a commercial flight from South Carolina to Florida on March 7, 2012, and the two of them then flew commercially to London, England, that evening. They arrived in London on March 8, and began the delivery flight the next day. They landed in Bangor, Maine, on March 13, where the passenger separated and returned to Florida via commercial airline service. The pilot continued with the delivery flight, and made an overnight stop in Kentucky that evening. The pilot departed Kentucky about 0900 local time on March 14, made one fuel stop in Oklahoma, and a second in Arizona. During the Arizona fuel stop, the pilot informed his wife that his planned overnight stop was at Hollister Municipal Airport (CVH), Hollister, California, and that the route for the last segment of that flight was direct from the Palmdale very high frequency omnirange facility (PMD VOR) to CVH.

By the morning of March 15, neither the wife nor the pilot's business partner had heard from the pilot, and they began attempts to contact him. The FAA issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) for the missing airplane later that morning. About 1200 PDT on March 17, the wreckage was found on a hillside, located on a ground track between PMD and CVH. The wreckage was located on a steep slope, was highly fragmented, and was damaged or consumed by fire. All major airplane components, or elements from them, were identified at the accident site. The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for additional examination.

The passenger stated that they did not experience any mechanical anomalies during his trans-Atlantic portion of the trip. While at the fuel stop in Arizona, the pilot told his wife that the airplane was performing "perfectly."


The pilot was the president of AKAS, located in South Carolina. According to its website, one service provided by AKAS was the transport/delivery of airplanes over long distances. The pilot was transporting the airplane for LAS of San Jose, California.

Records provided by the FAA and LAS indicated that the pilot held multiple certificates and ratings, including an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. The 78-year-old pilot reported a total flight experience of about 13,400 hours, including about 300 hours in Beech 35/36 airplanes. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in October 2011. The pilot's resume reported that he had 196 Atlantic crossings in general aviation aircraft.

According to persons knowledgeable about the pilot's flying habits, whenever possible, although he was instrument rated and current, the pilot preferred to fly under VFR, and via direct routes using GPS. Witness and tracking data from the flight indicated that the pilot's behavior and actions were consistent with his reported preferences.

Details regarding the pilot's wake/sleep cycles and quality of sleep during the trip were not available.

In September 2007, based on a telephone call from an unidentified woman, the FAA began an investigation into the pilot's fitness to hold a second-class medical certificate. The caller claimed that the pilot had significant vision and hearing deficiencies. In spring 2007, the FAA determined that the pilot remained qualified to hold that certificate, and the available evidence indicated that the complainant was the pilot's ex-wife.


The airplane was manufactured in 1991, and was equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-520 series engine. The most recent annual inspection was completed in England on March 9, 2012. The maintenance records indicated that at the time of that inspection, the airframe, engine, and propeller each had a total time in service of 1,302 hours. The records also indicated that about 20 discrepancies that were noted by the inspecting technicians were dispositioned as "owner requests no action," and therefore no corrective actions for those items were accomplished.

The airplane was equipped, approved, and current for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations. In addition to the normal complement of avionics, the airplane was equipped with an autopilot and a King KLN-90B IFR certified GPS navigation system.


On the day of the accident, accident locale sunset occurred at 1913, and local civil twilight ended at 1938. The moon did not rise until 0144 the next morning.

AIRMETs for icing, IFR conditions, and mountain obscuration were current for the accident locale and flight altitudes. The investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot was aware of those AIRMETs.

METARs from surrounding airports about the time of the accident were as follows:

CVH (leg destination; ~34 nm northwest of accident, elevation 230 ft)

1945 PDT Wind 290 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 1,400 ft agl, overcast at 3,000 ft agl, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C

2005 PDT Wind 300 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast at 3,000 ft agl, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C

SJC (San Jose, ultimate destination; ~72 nm northwest of accident, elevation 62 ft)

1953 PDT Wind 100 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain, few clouds at 1,500 ft agl, scattered clouds at 3,000 ft agl, overcast at 6,500 ft agl, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C

SNS (Salinas, ~38 nm west northwest of accident, elevation 85 ft)

1953 PDT Wind 340 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, light rain, overcast at 6,500 ft agl, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C

NLC (LeMoore, ~45 east southeast nm west northwest of accident, elevation 232 ft)

1956 PDT Wind 350 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 6,500 ft agl, overcast at 15,000 ft agl , temperature 18 degrees C, dew point 8 degrees C

Rawinsonde data (information derived from an instrument package ascending through the atmosphere) identified a saturated or near-saturated environment between about 3,300 and 8,200 feet mean sea level (msl). A cross-section of that data identified an extensive area of relative humidity values greater than 94 percent between near-surface altitudes and approximately 4,300 feet msl. Satellite imagery indicated that cloudy conditions dominated much of the accident region, but a layer of high clouds prevented determination of whether clouds were present along the airplane's flight path or at the flight elevations near the accident site. Doppler weather radar imagery did not indicate significant meteorological targets above the accident location between altitudes of 3,100 and 9,100 feet msl.


According to the pilot's business partner, the pilot wanted to ensure that the database in the KLN 90B GPS unit was updated for the United States before he began the flight, and the partner understood that that update had been accomplished. According to a representative of the manufacturer of the KLN 90B, the device includes altitude features such as Minimum Safe Altitudes, Minimum En route Altitudes and altitude alerting.

The pilot also had a personal iPad with the "ForeFlight" program installed. The pilot-rated passenger who accompanied him from England to the US reported that the pilot used the iPad for that portion of the trip. The iPad was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Recorders laboratory for download. The iPad/Foreflight does not store track data. The last map viewed in the ForeFlight program was that of the accident route leg, overlaid on IFR (instrument flight rules) low altitude en route charts. The accident leg route on the device was depicted as a straight line between the PMD VOR and CVH, the destination airport.

Reconstruction of the flight route from England to the accident location, using commercial tracking vendor data and air traffic control radar data, revealed that the pilot primarily flew direct legs between origin and destination airports, as opposed to routes that used established airways and ground-based navigation facilities.

The iPad/Foreflight examination results indicated that the pilot had the information necessary to enable him to determine the minimum safe altitudes for his route of flight and current location. A review of the applicable VFR Sectional chart revealed that the charted Maximum Elevation Figure (MEF) was 5,600 feet msl in the vicinity of the accident location. MEF values provide pilots with a ready means to ensure terrain clearance, and they range between 100 and 300 feet above the highest obstruction within a given quadrangle. A review of the applicable En route Low Altitude IFR chart revealed that the applicable OROCA (Off Route Obstruction Clearance Altitude) was 7,600 feet msl. CVH elevation was 230 feet msl. The airplane impacted terrain at an elevation of 1,960 feet msl.


Flight Services

Once in the US, the pilot did not file any flight plans, and did not obtain any official preflight weather briefings through Lockheed Martin Flight Services (LMFS), either telephonically or via the Internet. No records of any other pilot attempts to obtain weather information from other sources were located.

The only contacts the pilot had with LMFS were two separate radio communications, approximately 1 hour apart, on the morning of the accident day. Both communications occurred while the airplane was airborne and inbound to Woodward, Oklahoma. In both of those communications, the pilot requested and was provided weather information for the West Woodward airport (WWR).

Air Traffic Control

The pilot operated the accident leg under VFR but was using air traffic control (ATC) flight following services. The last known ATC facility that the pilot was communicating with was the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center, normally referred to as "Oakland Center." He had been assigned a discrete transponder beacon code for flight following purposes, and was tracked on radar until shortly before the accident. Review of the communications revealed that about 1949, the pilot informed ATC that he would like to begin a descent if that was acceptable to them. The controller approved the descent, and instructed the pilot to "maintain VFR," to which the pilot responded "roger will do." The radar data indicated that the pilot vacated his cruise altitude of 12,500 feet, and established a steady state descent.

About 1957, the controller asked the pilot to "report the Hollister area in sight," which the pilot agreed to do. About 13 seconds later, the controller told the pilot "you have descended below my radar coverage, radar contact is lost and I won't be able to see you again, you can contact NorCal approach in about ten miles on one two seven point one five for further advisories. And November four alpha bravo squawk V-F-R and frequency change is approved." The pilot asked the controller to repeat the frequency, which he did, and about 1958 the pilot confirmed the frequency. That was the last known communication from the airplane.


On the morning of March 15, when neither the pilot's wife nor his business partner was able to contact the pilot, they notified the FAA. Later that morning the FAA issued an alert notice (ALNOT) that the airplane was missing, and review of communications and radar information enabled notification of authorities in the region of the last known location of the airplane. About 1130 on March 15, a deputy of the San Benito County Sheriff's department spied what he believed to be the wreckage. At that time, the deputy was positioned on a road several hundred feet below, and a few thousand feet laterally, from the wreckage. A search and rescue officer hiked up to the site, and confirmed that it was the airplane.

The accident site was in remote, sparsely populated mountainous terrain, with sparse tree and shrub cover. The accident site was situated about 34 miles from the destination airport. The magnetic heading from the accident site to the destination airport was approximately 294 degrees, and the debris field axis was similarly oriented. Site elevation was approximately 1,960 feet above mean sea level (msl). The impact site was on a localized upslope of approximately 35 degrees, and was situated on the northwest side of a wider flat-floored valley. A straight-line projection from the impact site back on the reverse azimuth of the impact heading showed that the impact site was the highest terrain for at least one-half mile, and possibly significantly more.

The debris field extended approximately 250 feet, but most of the debris was concentrated within about 60 feet of the initial impact point. Ground and vegetation scars were consistent with the airplane being approximately wings-level, in a level pitch attitude, at impact. Initial ground contact occurred with the right wingtip, which created a 15 foot long cut in a steep but sandy hillside that was parallel to the impact heading. That ground scar indicated that the flight path angle was approximately level or slightly descending.

The airplane was highly deformed and/or fragmented, and damaged or consumed by fire. All major components were accounted for at the accident site. The engine was partially attached to its mounts and firewall, and partially embedded in the slope. The propeller blades were separated from the engine and hub. One wing root remained partially attached to the fuselage lower structure. The fuselage/cabin was highly fragmented, and the bulk of it was consumed by fire. The vertical and right horizontal stabilizers were consumed by fire, and the left horizontal stabilizer was intact but separated from the airplane.

In addition to the on-scene examination of the wreckage, the recovered airframe and engine were examined at the recovery facility several weeks later. All observed fire damage was consistent with an on-ground (stationary) post impact fire. The observed evidence was consistent with landing gear and flaps retracted, and engine/propeller operating normally, at impact. No evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunction was noted during either examination.


The Monterey County California Coroner's office conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The pilot also sustained post-mortem thermal injuries. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute conducted forensic toxicology examinations on specimens from the pilot, and reported that no ethanol, or any screened drugs, were detected.


Trip Chronology

Witness and flight tracking data enabled the re-creation of the trip chronology. The pilot left his home in South Carolina on Wednesday, March 7, via a commercial flight. Later that evening he and the passenger took a commercial flight from Miami, Florida, to London, England, arriving in London about noon on Thursday, March 8. They then traveled by bus to Gloucester, England, where the airplane was located. The passenger, who accompanied the pilot back to the United States, reported that the trip from London to Gloucester appeared to be "longer and more difficult than the pilot expected." The original plan was to depart Gloucester for Wick, Scotland, later that day, but paperwork issues delayed their departure until early Friday afternoon. They overnighted in Wick. The total flying time on Friday was about 3 hours.

Their intended first stop the next day was Keflavik, Iceland, but forecasts and winds caused them to file Egilsstadir, Iceland, as an alternate. On Saturday, March 10, they departed Wick for Keflavik, but then diverted to Egilsstadir. They refueled, and departed Egilsstadir for Keflavik, where they landed, refueled, and overnighted. The total flying time on Saturday was about 8 hours.

Since Greenland air traffic services were not available on Sunday, March 11, they remained in Keflavik Sunday and Sunday night. On Monday, March 12, they departed Keflavik, stopped in Greenland for fuel, and arrived in Goose Bay, Canada. Total flight time was about 11 hours, in 2 legs.

Fifteen hours after arriving in Goose Bay (where they cleared Canadian Customs and offloaded the overwater survival gear) they departed for Bangor, Maine. That flight leg was about 4.5 hours, and from there, the passenger used commercial airline service to return to Florida. After 40 minutes on the ground, the pilot departed Bangor, and flew 4.5 hours to Ohio. He refueled in Ohio, and flew another 1 hour 40 minutes to Kentucky, where he spent a 13-hour overnight.

On Wednesday, March 14, the pilot departed Kentucky, flew 5 hours, refueled, flew 3 hours 20 minutes, refueled, and then departed on the accident leg from Arizona to California. The accident occurred about 4 hours into the last leg of that day. The accident site was about 34 miles short of the pilot's destination (CVH) for that night. CVH was located about 37 miles from the final destination of San Jose, California.

Accident Flight Leg

The final leg of the flight, from SJN to CVH, was conducted under VFR, and the pilot used ATC flight following services for most of that leg. Recovered data indicated that at least the last segment of that leg, before the pilot began a steady descent to CVH, was flown at 12,500 feet. The descent began about 7 minutes before loss of radar contact due to radar coverage limitations. The last recorded radar target associated with the airplane indicated that the airplane was descending through 5,100 feet at that time. Extrapolation of radar-derived speed and descent rate data yielded results that were consistent with a steady descent from cruise to the impact point.

Supplemental Oxygen

Paragraph 91.211 ("Supplemental Oxygen") of the Federal Aviation Regulations required that a pilot be provided with and use supplemental oxygen for that part of a flight that is of more than 30 minutes duration at cabin pressure altitudes above 12,500 feet (msl) and up to and including 14,000 feet (msl). With the exception of the last several minutes of the accident leg, altitude data for the trip was not obtained. As noted elsewhere in this report, the ATC radar data indicated that at least the last cruise portion of the accident leg was conducted at 12,500 feet.

The airplane was equipped with two wing-mounted 49-cubic-foot oxygen tanks. Both tanks were found in the debris field. Each tank throat was plugged with a red plastic cap. No oxygen regulators or portable oxygen systems were identified in the wreckage.

According to FAA publication FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), "the word "hypoxia" means "reduced oxygen" or "not enough oxygen." Although any tissue will die if deprived of oxygen long enough, usually the most concern is with getting enough oxygen to the brain, since it is particularly vulnerable to oxygen deprivation. Any reduction in mental function while flying can result in life threatening errors. Hypoxia can be caused by several factors, including an insufficient supply of oxygen."

The document further stated that "All pilots are susceptible to the effects of oxygen starvation, regardless of physical endurance or acclimatization. When flying at high altitudes, it is paramount that oxygen be used to avoid the effects of hypoxia" and as "altitude increases above 10,000 feet, the symptoms of hypoxia increase in severity."


According to FAA information, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents account for 17 percent of all general aviation fatalities. The FAA defines a CFIT accident as a situation that occurs when a properly functioning aircraft "is flown under the control of a qualified pilot, into terrain (water or obstacles) with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot of the impending collision."

NTSB CFIT Safety Alert

In January 2008, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert (SA) entitled "Controlled Flight Into Terrain in Visual Conditions" with the subheading "Nighttime Visual Flight Operations Are Resulting in Avoidable Accidents." The SA stated that recent investigations identified several accidents that involved CFIT by pilots operating under visual flight conditions at night in remote areas, that the pilots appeared unaware that the aircraft were in danger, and that increased altitude awareness and better preflight planning likely would have prevented the accidents.

The SA suggested that pilots could avoid becoming involved in a similar accident by accomplishing several actions, including:
- Proper preflight planning
- Obtaining flight route terrain familiarization via sectional charts or other topographic references
- Maintaining awareness of visual limitations for operations in remote areas
- Following IFR [instrument flight rules] practices until well above surrounding terrain
- Advising ATC about potential inability to avoid terrain
- Employing a GPS-based terrain awareness unit

Situational Awareness

The PHAK defined situational awareness as the "accurate perception of the operational and environmental factors that affect the airplane, pilot, and passengers during a specific period of time." The PHAK stated that a situationally aware pilot "has an overview of the total operation and is not fixated on one perceived significant factor." The PHAK stated that "some of the elements inside the airplane to be considered are the status of airplane systems, and also the pilot and passengers," and cautioned that "an awareness of the environmental conditions of the flight, such as spatial orientation of the airplane, and its relationship to terrain, traffic, weather, and airspace must be maintained."

 NTSB Identification: WPR12FA139
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Panoche, CA
Aircraft: BEECH B36, registration: N364AB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 14, 2012, about 1955 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), a Beech B36TC, N364AB, was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain near Panoche, California, during a delivery positioning flight from Gloucester, England to San Jose, California. The airplane was recently purchased and operated by Lafferty Aircraft Sales (LAS), San Jose, California, and was flown by the president of American King Air Services (AKAS), Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Darkness with undetermined meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the pilot-rated passenger who flew with him for a portion of the trip, the pilot took a commercial flight from South Carolina to Florida on March 7, 2012, and they then flew commercially to London, England that evening. They arrived in London late on the morning of March 8, and planned to begin the delivery flight that same day. Due to administrative issues, the flight did not begin until mid afternoon on March 9. The airplane landed at Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine about 1240 local time on March 13, and the passenger then returned to Florida via commercial flights. The pilot continued with the positioning flight, and made an overnight stop at Bowman Field Airport (LOU), Louisville, Kentucky. The pilot departed LOU about 0900 local time on March 14, made one fuel stop in Oklahoma, and a second at St. John's Industrial Airpark (SJN), St. John's, Arizona. The manager of SJN physically fueled the airplane, which took 61 gallons. While at SJN, the pilot notified his wife that he planned to overnight at Hollister Municipal Airport (CVH), Hollister California, and that the route for the last segment of that flight was direct from Palmdale (PMD) VOR to CVH.

By the morning of March 15, neither the wife nor the business partner had heard from the pilot, and they began attempts to contact him. The FAA issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) for the missing airplane later that morning. About 1200 PDT on March 17, the wreckage was found at an elevation of about 2,000 feet mean sea level, on a track between PMD and CVH. On March 18 and 19, personnel from the FAA, the airframe and engine manufacturers, and the National Transportation Safety Board examined the wreckage on scene. The wreckage was located on a steep slope, was highly fragmented, and bore signatures consistent with a significant post-impact fire. All major airplane components, or elements from them, were identified at the accident site. The wreckage will be recovered to a secure facility for additional examination.

Records provided by the FAA and LAS indicated that the pilot held multiple certificates and ratings, including an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. The pilot reported a total flight experience of about 13,400 hours, including about 300 hours in Beech 35/36 airplanes. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in October 2011.

According to LAS information, the airplane was manufactured in 1991, and was equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-520 series engine. Its most recent annual inspection was completed a few weeks prior to the accident. The trans-Atlantic passenger stated that they did not experience any mechanical anomalies during that portion of the trip. While at SJN, the pilot told his wife that the airplane was performing "perfectly."

ARDMORE, OK - A memorial for a local pilot recently killed in a plane crash will be held next week.

78-year-old Don Ratliff died two weeks ago when the plane he was flying went down over the Diablo Mountain Range in California.

The FAA said they are still investigating the cause of the crash.

Ratliff's daughter Ladonna Aycox said a memorial for Ratliff will be held at the First Baptist Church in Washington, OK March 31 at 2 p.m.

A second memorial will be held in Mount Pleasant, SC where Ratliff was living at the time of the crash.

A single-engine airplane that disappeared Wednesday en route to San Jose from Arizona was found Saturday in rough, snowy terrain in San Benito County, its pilot dead. 

 Authorities did not release the name of the pilot. The plane, a Beechcraft B36, was registered to an aircraft sales firm in San Jose, and the pilot was ferrying the plane for the firm, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

Before the crash, the pilot was flying visually and was not in communication with air traffic controllers, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. However, the pilot told friends that he was diverting to Hollister because of bad weather around San Jose, Gregor said.

Friends monitoring the flight with GPS noted the device stopped broadcasting about 17 miles northwest of Coalinga. They reported the pilot missing Thursday morning, Gregor said.

Search crews found the wreckage Saturday near New Idria, about 100 miles southeast of San Jose.

The plane, owned by Jim Lafferty Aircraft Sales Inc., took off Wednesday from St. Johns Industrial Airport in St. Johns, Ariz.

Gardan GY-201 Minicab, built by Frank Enbody, N416FC: Accident occurred March 24, 2012 in Granite Shoals, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA203
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 24, 2012 in Granite Shoals, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2014
Aircraft: ENBODY FRANK GY 201 MINICAB, registration: N416FC
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane within a mile of the departure airport and hearing the engine sputter before a total loss of engine power. One witness stated that it sounded like the engine was starved of fuel. The airplane then descended and impacted a tree and terrain. A postaccident examination of the amateur-built airplane revealed that about 75 percent of the carburetor fuel screen was blocked by dirt and debris, which would have decreased the fuel flow to the engine, resulting in a partial loss of engine power. The examination also revealed that duct tape was used to patch holes in the fabric skin and on a fuel line connection, and "C" clamps that were used to support the wing rib to spar attachments. The airplane's logbooks were not recovered during the investigation; however, the overall condition of the airplane suggests that it had not been properly maintained.

The level of postmortem ethanol detected in the pilot's blood, urine, and vitreous fluid would have caused significant impairment; however, the pilot was soaked in gasoline as a result of the accident and postmortem exposure to gasoline containing ethanol has been shown to result in positive ethanol results. Therefore, it cannot be determined what portion, if any, of the ethanol found post mortem was from ingestion. The pilot's impairment from both hydrocodone and tramadol most likely degraded his decision-making ability.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of a contaminated carburetor fuel screen. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment from medications that degraded his decision-making and the pilot's improper maintenance of the airplane.


On March 24, 2012, at 1824 central daylight time, an amateur built Enbody model GY 201 Minicab, N416FC, impacted terrain in a residential area in Granite Shoals, Texas, shortly after departing from the Sunrise Beach Airport (2KL), Sunrise Beach Village, Texas. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to the pilot and was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which was not operating on a flight plan. The flight originated from 2KL just prior to the accident.

The departure airport was served by a single runway: 12/30; however, the runway direction that was used for departure could not be determined by available witness statements. Several witnesses located within a mile southeast of the airport reported that they saw and heard the airplane. One witness reported seeing the airplane flying to the east before it turned to the north. The witnesses reported hearing the engine sputtering/backfiring before it lost engine power. One witnesses stated the engine sounded like it was "….starving for fuel." The airplane then descended into terrain.


The pilot, age 74, held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. The pilot did not hold a current airman medical certificate, nor was he required to hold a medical certificate to operate a light-sport aircraft. The last Federal Aviation Administration airman medical certificate issued to the pilot was a third class medical issued on December 15, 2003. The pilot reported having 400 hours of total flight time on the application for his last medical certificate. A pilot logbook was located during the investigation. The last entry in the logbook was dated July 7, 1998. The total flight time listed on that date was 359.5 hours.

The pilot held a Repairman Experimental Aircraft Builder certificate for the accident aircraft. This certificate was issued on September 8, 1994.


The airplane was a 1994 amateur built, experimental GY 201 Minicab, serial number 01. The pilot was the airplane builder. The GY 201 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane, 2-place, tail wheel airplane. The airplane was primarily constructed out of wood and fabric. The airplane was powered by a Continental C85 engine. No airframe or engine logbooks were located during the investigation. The tachometer time at the time of the accident was 88.68 hours. The airplane had a maximum takeoff weight of 1,250 pounds, a cruise speed of 94 knots, and a maximum stall speed of 40 knots. As such, the airplane met the FAA definition of a light-sport aircraft.


At 1835, the weather reported at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Airport (DZB), Horseshoe Bay, Texas, located 5 miles south-southeast of the accident site was: Wind calm; 10 miles visibility; clear skies; temperature 26 degrees Celsius; dew point 15 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.96 inches of mercury.


The airplane impacted a tree and then terrain, coming to rest up against a wooden fence in a residential yard located about 3/4 miles southeast of 2KL. The airplane came to rest on its left side. The outboard portion of the left wing and aft fuselage separated from the airplane during the impact sequence.

Flight control continuity was established to the extent possible. All of the fractured control cables were consistent with overload separations. Several of the wing ribs were clamped with "C" clamps to metal brackets mounted on the wing spar. Several areas of duct tape patches were found on the fabric skin.

The engine rotated freely when the propeller was turned by hand and continuity was established throughout the engine. Thumb compression was established, with the compression being lower on cylinders 1 and 3. Several fuel lines were noted to be degraded. Safety wire was not present on the screws which held the carburetor together. The carburetor fuel screen was about 75 percent blocked with dirt and debris. Duct tape and cable-ties were found on the fuel line connection near the fuel tank. Both the engine driven and electric fuel pumps were intact. It is unknown how much fuel was on board at takeoff and the fuel tank was ruptured, but there was a strong odor of automotive fuel at the accident site.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on March 25, 2012, at the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, Austin, Texas. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's remains were soaked in fuel.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The test results revealed:

169 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine

161 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Blood

162 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Vitreous

15.05 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in Urine

Cetirizine NOT detected in Blood

Cetirizine detected in Urine

Citalopram detected in Urine

0.21 (ug/ml, ug/g) Citalopram detected in Blood

Dextromethorphan detected in Blood

Dextromethorphan detected in Urine

Dextrorphan detected in Blood

0.029 (ug/mL, ug/g) Dihydrocodeine detected in Urine

Dihydrocodeine NOT detected in Blood

Gabapentin detected in Urine

Gabapentin NOT detected in Blood

0.031 (ug/ml, ug/g) Hydrocodone detected in Blood

0.185 (ug/ml, ug/g) Hydrocodone detected in Urine

N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in Urine

0.04 (ug/ml, ug/g) N-Desmethylcitalopram detected in Blood

Tramadol detected in Urine

0.724 (ug/mL, ug/g) Tramadol detected in Blood

Ethanol is primarily a social drug with a central nervous system depressant. Ethanol is also an additive in automotive fuel.

N-desmethylcitalopram is a metabolite of Citalopram. Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor used as an antidepressant and marketed under the brand name Celexa.

Dihydrocodeine is a metabolite of hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opiod analgesic prescribed as a Schedule II controlled substance that is commonly marketed under various brand names including Vicodin, Lartab, and Norco. Hydrocodone may impair mental and physical abilities.

Tramadol is an opioid pain medication that may impair mental and physical abilities.

Dextromethorphan is a non-sedating cough medication.

Cetirizine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms.

Gabapentin is a prescription medication used to treat chronic or neuropathic pain or to help prevent seizures.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA203 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 24, 2012 in Granite Shoals, TX
Aircraft: ENBODY FRANK GY 201 MINICAB, registration: N416FC
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

On March 24, 2012, at 1824 central daylight time, an amateur built GY 201 Minicab, N416FC, impacted the terrain in a residential area in Granite Shoals, Texas, shortly after departing from the Sunrise Beach Airport (2KL), Sunrise Beach Village, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger received serious injuries. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The local flight had departed just prior to the accident.

Witnesses reportedly heard the engine sputtering after the airplane took off. The location of the accident was approximately 1 mile south of the departure airport.

A plane crash earlier tonight killed one man and injured another. Officials said it crashed into a residential yard in Granite Shoals, Texas Department of Public Safety reported.

Pilot Frank Rollin Enbody of Horseshoe Bay died in the crash, a Public Safety officer said, and 19-year-old Joshua Brandon Araiza of Granite Shoals was airlifted to University Medical Center Brackenridge with incapacitating injuries.

Araiza was in good condition, a Brackenridge spokeswoman said just before 10 p.m.

Enbody, 76, was flying out of the Sunrise Beach Airport and headed east. A preliminary investigation determined that the engine on the plane - an Experimental craft built from a kit - stopped, the Public Safety officer said. Witnesses said they heard the engine on the craft sputter and die, the officer said. Enbody was attempting to return to the airport, when at 6:32 p.m. he crashed into the yard of a home in the 200 block of Shorewood Drive in Granite Shoals, the officer said. He died at the scene.

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Saturday night's flight on a single-engine plane was Joshua Araiza's first flight on an airplane, a short trip that ended in a crash in Granite Shoals that left the pilot dead.

The crash, aboard a small home-made plane around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, left the 76-year-old pilot Frank Enbody dead. His passenger was Araiza, 19, a friend of his grandson. Araiza, who was taken to UMC Brackenridge, suffered minor injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

Witnesses reported hearing the engine make sputtering sounds before the plane went down. The plane, a CAB GY 201 Minicab, came down in between two houses and landed in a tree. Witnesses praised Enbody's skills as a pilot, saying he had avoided heavily residential areas.

The CAB GY 201 Minicab is a experimental plane built from a kit, based on the designs of planes just after World War II. According to FAA records, Enbody built the plane back in 1994.

NTSB and FAA were at the crash site on Sunday morning to investigate the accident. Araiza was expected to be released from Brackenridge on Sunday afternoon.

Frank Rollin Enbody of Horseshoe Bay has been confirmed as the pilot killed in the crash of an experimental plane in Granite Shoals about 6:20 p.m.Saturday, Granite Shoals Police Capt. Clint Low said.

Chief J.P. Wilson said the crash occurred north of Bluebriar Park on the shores of Lake LBJ. A reporter on the scene said the plane crashed into a fence near a house on Shorewood Drive.

Wilson said the male passenger on the plane, identified as Joshua Brandon Araiza, sustained serious injuries and was taken by airlift to UMC-Brackenridge in Austin.

Low said the pilot had flown from Sunrise Beach airport. FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene Sunday morning.

Golden Triangle Regional Airport hosts local officials, touts recent growth

Golden Triangle Regional Airport hosted area officials March 16 to raise awareness of the airport’s growth and economic impact. Officials from Columbus, Lowndes County, Starkville, Oktibbeha County and West Point listened to a brief presentation by Executive Director Mike Hainsey followed by a Q&A.

“We are the third largest airport in the state,” Hainsey said. “Jackson’s the largest, Gulfport is the second then us. There are eight commercial service airports in Mississippi. Our business has really grown with the economic development out here. We have about 230,000 within our primary service area, which is within about 45 minutes from here. If you spread it out to a 90-minute drive, we have almost 600,000 people who can fly out of here.”

The original participating communities put in $1.25 million 40 years ago to found the airport, Hainsey said. The airport is now valued at over $30 million.

“We are very proud of our operating budget,” he said. “We have not taken any money from the communities for operations in the last 25 years. For economic development, yes, we have needed money from the community, but not for the day-in, day-out operations. We take care of ourselves through fees and grants.

“Since 2004 we’ve spent over $26 million, mostly in federal money, to improve the airport,” he said. “Some of it’s for buying land, some for paving the runways. That money has been mostly from the [Federal Aviation Administration and Mississippi Department of Transportation.]”

The airport went through a rough patch when Northwest Airlines pulled out, but was able to survive by reinventing itself.

“To give you an idea of the impact it had on our budget, Northwest had about $300,000 impact on our $1 million operating budget,” he said. “We lost 30% of our budget in one year when they left. We had to figure out a way to not go in the hole. The first year after they left we ran at a $180,000 deficit. We had to figure a way to expand our passenger base. At the same time a lot of major companies were looking to go to smaller communities, and the Link had started working on some major projects to attract companies to move in here.

“The first major project on airport property was Eurocopter,” Hainsey said. “That first 85,000-square-foot building was built by the airport and is still owned by the airport. Then we had Severstal, which brought in a lot of money and a lot of jobs. Aurora Flight Sciences started with a 20,000-square-foot facility, and now they’re up to 80,000. Paccar makes engines for big trucks. Stark Aerospace is a wholly owned subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace, and they make drones.

“All of those companies are high-tech jobs, but they’re also international jobs,” Hainsey said. “So we get a lot of international travel out of here. Now three of our top fifteen destinations are in Germany. We are doing well at a time when Delta is pulling out of many small airports.”

Columbus Air Force Base is a major airport partner, he said.

“We work really hard to support CAFB,” he said. “As everyone knows, [Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta] has said he’s like to have two rounds of Base Realignment and Closure, possibly one next year and one in 2015. Next year won’t happen, but 2015 is very possible. It’s important that our communities pull together and support our base, which is the second-busiest air base in the world.”

GTRA has added over $16 million of infrastructure that supports CAFB, Hainsey said.

“We talked last year about tornado sirens,” said Lowndes County District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks. “Do any of the companies out here have their own sirens?” “Severstal has one, it’s active now and in the county system,” Hainsey said. “Eurocopter is discussing it.”

“There really needs to be one in this area,” Brooks said.

“We would love to have one,” Hainsey said. “We don’t hear anything. The only thing we get is when the control tower calls and says there’s a funnel cloud out here.”
“We hear so much about Tupelo not having air service,” asked Columbus Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box. “Can you talk about that?”

“Delta this past year retired their old propeller airplanes,” Hainsey said. “It was a 34-passenger plane that was run to several airports in Mississippi using a federal subsidy. That plane, because it was very old, was retired. The last one flew in December. It fit economically to serve Tupelo, Hattiesburg and Greenville. There’s nothing to replace it in that class. The next step up is a 50-passenger regional jet that cost about three times as much to run. What happened is that Delta announced they were pulling out of those three communities, along with about 20 other across the US, that were served solely with by that propeller airplane.
“The way the process works is that the federal department of transportation will seek bids from anyone who wants to provide that service with a subsidy,” he said. “But the subsidy has a limit on it of $200 per passenger. They’ve gone out three times now for those three airports, and all three times the only viable bid they received was from a single-engine eight-passenger small Cessna. The problem is that in the month of January Tupelo put 639 passengers on airplanes. That’s about 22 a day. Spread across two flights served by 50-passenger jets. Jet fuel is $3.50 a gallon right now, which is about $2 higher than it was several years ago. The airlines can’t make money, so their air service is not viable.”

“What about service to Dallas?” Box asked.

“The only viable company that could do that is American, and they’re in bankruptcy,” Hainsey said. “We are in talks right now with Delta to get a fourth flight. Our numbers show we’re up 10 percent for the year, and so far this month we’re up 8 percent. This past January and February we’ve put more people on airplanes than we have in the same period over the last 10 years. Our numbers are growing, and they have to in order to remain viable with the price of fuel what it is.

“We are the only small airport that is not subsidized,” Hainsey said. “We don’t ever want to be subsidized, because if you get subsidized you can’t grow.”

Opinion/Letter: Approve Longmont airport master plan

In the March 13 Times-Call, it was reported "Airport officials have said a longer runway would let Vance Brand serve more of its aircraft more of the time. At Longmont's elevation, a hot summer day can make it difficult for some planes to take off when fully loaded."

I'd like to add, despite what I hear repeatedly from NIMBYs, the runway extension isn't just for billionaire jets. Runway extension would also allow for smaller airplanes based at Vance Brand to top off their tanks. While I am married to a pilot and member of the Airport Advisory Board, as a parent I wouldn't ask others to take their families in their cars for a cross country trip without a full tank of gas. Figuring weather, passenger load and type of aircraft, the current runway often prevents fueling up with a full tank, which also deprives our city gas tax revenue. Those who tell me we can just stop and get more gas along the way apparently don't realize that you're airborne. That is a safety issue.

Improving the base of operations is also no different from improvements to roads that keep driving families safe. A longer runway also does not necessarily mean louder planes. Prop airplanes are louder than jets. Keeping our airport the way it is and not allowing improvements/expansion to it will not decrease noise.

Approving the airport master plan does not guarantee runway extension will occur and is dependent on the federal budget, but I think it's selfish to ask that the airport limit itself because some who chose to live near it, and don't use it, don't want to see it grow. If you use air travel, you pay into the aviation fund. I'd rather see money from that come back into my community airport.




Cessna 182R, N6279N - Parents: Daughter who shot husband had been menaced. West Tisbury, Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard

The parents of a Martha's Vineyard woman who was shot by her estranged husband Friday say he had threatened her with a rifle several years before the shooting.

Cynthia and Kenneth Bloomquist struggled over weapons before shots were fired — killing Kenneth and injuring Cynthia Bloomquist, Carl and Elsbeth Helgerson, Cynthia's parents, said Saturday.

"He had (a gun) in his hand, and she was pushing it away," Carl Helgerson said.

Cynthia Bloomquist, 63, remains in stable condition at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

Her husband, 64, allegedly broke into the West Tisbury home where she lived and shot his wife, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said.

The Helgersons said they worried about their son-in-law's volatility after he threatened their daughter multiple times. On one occasion a few years ago, Elsbeth Helgerson said, Kenneth Bloomquist threatened his wife with a rifle at their former home in Harvard.

"We suspected that something might happen," Elsbeth Helgerson said. "Many of us were concerned."

Husband dead upstairs

On Friday, members of the Martha's Vineyard tactical response team found Cynthia Bloomquist suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso and Kenneth Bloomquist dead from apparent gunshot wounds upstairs in the house Friday morning, O'Keefe said.

The incident unfolded at about 7:45 a.m. Friday when Kenneth Bloomquist, who most recently lived in Rehoboth and traveled to the island by ferry, drove to the 19 Skiff's Lane home where his wife lived since the couple separated more than a year ago, said Carl Helgerson, Cynthia Bloomquist's father.

He quietly snuck inside bearing a rifle and a pistol, said Elsbeth Helgerson, Cynthia Bloomquist's mother.

Both weapons involved in the shooting were licensed, O'Keefe said.

Kenneth Bloomquist cut the phone line at the house, made his way upstairs and pointed the guns at his wife, Elsbeth Helgerson said.

Carl Helgerson said his daughter's life was saved when the pistol jammed. The two then struggled over the weapons and at least one of them fired, he said.

A next door neighbor heard three shots, said Elsbeth Helgerson.

After the shooting, Cynthia Bloomquist told her mother from the hospital that she was unsure of how many shots were fired, which gun went off or who pulled the trigger, Elsbeth Helgerson said.

"Cynthia doesn't remember all of it, because when you're fighting for your life, you're not thinking about how many shots went off," Elsbeth Helgerson said.

At some point, Cynthia Bloomquist called 911 from her cell phone, O'Keefe said in an interview on Friday.

News of the shooting shocked Barbara Bloomquist, Kenneth Bloomquist's mother, who, on Friday, said her son was not a violent person. From her perspective, the two seemed to have an ideal marriage.

High school sweethearts, the Bloomquists married around 1971. Barbara Bloomquist stressed that the two had separated, but did not divorce. The couple had no children.

Couple's history

After working for 30 years at her alma mater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cynthia Bloomquist retired in 2010.

She earned a bachelor of science there in 1970 and retired as the school's senior associate director of corporate relations.

Kenneth Bloomquist owned an aerial photography company, Harvard Images in Harvard, according to public online databases.

About three weeks before the shooting, Cynthia Bloomquist applied for a restraining order against her husband, the Boston Globe reported.

In a March 1 affidavit that West Tisbury police provided to the Globe, Cynthia Bloomquist wrote that she feared her husband "may be volatile and may act out impulsively out of his sense of entitlement.''

In the affidavit, she noted her husband possessed firearms.

Superior Court Judge Robert Kane, who was the on-call judge for emergency orders that night, denied the request, the Globe reported.

A West Tisbury police Sgt. Jeffrey Manter on Friday told a Cape Cod Times reporter that Cynthia Bloomquist had not taken out a restraining order.

He did not mention that Cynthia Bloomquist had applied and been turned down.

On Saturday, Manter said the police department is no longer providing the documents and referred all calls to O'Keefe.

O'Keefe, reached Saturday, refused to comment on the affidavit and Cynthia Bloomquist's application for a restraining order.

Domestic violence homicides and homicide attempts are a very predictable crime, said Toni Troop, a spokeswoman for Jane Doe Inc., an anti-domestic violence organization.

Kenneth Bloomquist's prior threats against his wife and access to firearms foreshadowed the incident, she said.

"These are all warning signs that have been identified, substantiated by research," Troop said on Saturday.

In some cases, Troop said, a judge may order a person with a restraining order against them to surrender their guns.

That Kane denied Cynthia Bloomquist's request for a restraining order against her husband surprised Drew Segadelli, a Falmouth-based defense attorney.

"In my experience it is highly unusual for a judge to deny a restraining order upon request, because the threshold is relatively low," Segadelli said.

Restraining orders

To take out a restraining order against someone, the plaintiff must have a family or personal relationship or have lived under the same roof with the other person and be in "imminent fear of physical harm," Segadelli said.

Cynthia Bloomquist's parents harbor no ill will toward Kane for denying the order, they said, asserting that he must have had a good reason. A restraining order would not necessarily have prevented the shooting, Carl Helgerson said.

"If someone's going to do something, they're going to do it anyway," he said.

O'Keefe told the Times Friday that Cynthia Bloomquist is unlikely to be charged, though the shooting remains under investigation.

When they talked to their daughter on Saturday, the Helgersons said that while she is healing physically, Cynthia Bloomquist was still in shock over the deadly struggle the day before.

"She's more in shock today than she was yesterday," Elsbeth Helgerson said.

Tense Moments In The Air

There were some tense moments in the air yesterday for passengers traveling on a Porter Airlines flight. Flight number 268 was forced to make an emergency landing in St. John's. 

A spokesperson for Porter Airlines, Brad Cicero, says the plane landed safely without incident. He says the pilots noticed smoke in the cockpit and were able to correct the incident in flight. He says they returned to St. John's anyway as to follow procedure. There is no official word yet on the cause.


Cessna's new business deal with Chinese company not a threat to Cirrus Aircraft, official says

An agreement Cessna Aircraft Co., reached Friday with partners in China is indicative of the promise of the aviation market in that country and is not a threat to Duluth-based airplane builder Cirrus’ potential sales there, a Cirrus official said.

Cessna, a Kansas-based company, is joining with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) and the municipal government of Chengdu in western China in a joint venture to produce midsize Cessna business jets.

Cirrus announced in June that China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd. (CAIGA) had completed its acquisition of all operations of Cirrus. CAIGA is a subsidiary of AVIC.

“The announcement by AVIC to partner with Cessna is indicative of the potential of the general aviation market in China; similarly as CAIGA sees its partnership with Cirrus of a year ago as growth toward the same goal,” Todd Simmons, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Cirrus Aircraft, said Saturday.

Scott Donnelly, chief executive officer of Cessna’s owner, Textron Inc., said he expected significant growth in China’s aviation market because of the country’s growing economy and diverse geography.

So far, China’s private jet market has been dominated by Bombardier and Gulfstream, which make larger jets than Cirrus and Cessna. Cessna officials said there are about 200 Cessna aircraft in China.

The signing between AVIC and Cessna comes two days after Bombardier signed an agreement with state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China to collaborate on common parts for their aircraft.

Simmons doesn’t see Cessna as a competitor to Cirrus. “The majority of the Cessna product line today is light- to mid-size jets that are larger aircraft than we build,” he said. “Whereas Cirrus’ strength is the single engine piston line — the SR20, SR22 and SR22T models. We are very, very strong in that business and we are developing the Vision SF50 personal jet,” he said. “So for the most part the strength of our individual Cirrus products and Cessna products are in different places in the general aviation market.”

Cirrus’ Vision jet, still in development, has a distinctive V-shaped tail and a red-over-white color scheme. The jet is designed for personal and regional business travel, seating five to seven people.

As of Saturday, orders for the $1.72 million Vision jet are up to 510, Simmons said. About 90 have shifted their $100,000 deposits toward the purchase of other Cirrus planes, with many of those keeping their places to buy the jet, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Investigations ongoing in ten kilos cocaine thrown over airport fence

The police said, yesterday, that investigations are ongoing into the matter of 10 kilos of cocaine which was found on the premises of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri last Saturday.

According to Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, the police are continuing their probe into the matter but have so far made no more arrests pertaining to the haversack that was dumped over the perimeter fence of the airport.
Persaud also told this publication that there has been no indication that the shooting incident that left one businessman, Leonard Mahadeo, dead was connected to the incident at the airport. Mahadeo was killed on March 16 at a bar at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, when two men with guns riddled him.

It was believed that Mahadeo was killed as a result of a drug deal gone bad. There were also reports that Mahadeo may have somehow been linked to the recent discovery of the drugs at the airport. The Crime Chief has however refuted these claims. He has said that to his knowledge, information of such nature had not surfaced.

At first, an engineer employed with Caribbean Airlines was said to have been detained by police following the discovery of the two bags containing the drugs. Caribbean Airlines later issued a statement that none of its staff had ever been detained.

The act was reportedly seen by someone who alerted the police and promoted drug ranks to the scene. Investigations had led to the detention of the airline staff but he was however released after being questioned by the police.