Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ultralight plane crashes in Indio

Indio authorities are on the scene of an ultralight plane crash at Avenue 42 and Monroe Street.The crash was reported shortly before 6:30 p.m. 

It is believed the plane collided with a power power and then crashed just west of Monroe, according to police scanner traffic. 

The pilot is believed to be conscious, authorities said.A power pole was reportedly on fire near the scene.

Emergency services report a man has died when a light plane crashed near Caboolture

A MAN has died in a light plane crash near Caboolture airport, according to early reports from emergency services.

It is believed the plane crashed into trees at a council refuse dump on McNaught Rd.

There were no passengers on the plane.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 10.50am.

Bad behavior in cockpit has proven deadly


Terrifying incidents of bad pilot behavior like a JetBlue pilot’s meltdown this week are not unprecedented in the history of commercial aviation and have sometimes caused deadly crashes.

Nevertheless, the list of incidents resulting from unprofessional pilot behavior over a 50-year history and millions of flights show that “it’s a very rare thing,” says aviation safety expert Aaron Gellman of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “And even with what’s happened in the past, it’s the safest mode of transportation by far.”

Tuesday’s JetBlue incident, where the FBI alleges captain Clayton Osbon started speaking nonsense to his first officer and was later tackled and restrained by passengers, is extremely unusual. But airline procedures, which require two pilots and locked cockpit doors, protected the public, Gellman says.

Some previous incidents of bad behavior by pilots have been fatal, showing that airline procedures cannot save lives when pilots choose to ignore them.

•On Feb. 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 iced up and crashed in Buffalo, N.Y., after a series of mistakes by tired pilots, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Both the captain and first officer had traveled for hours before taking controls of the plane in Newark, and the young first officer, Rebecca Lynne Shaw, was heard on the flight recorder saying she had little experience dealing with icy conditions. When ice caused the flight to stall, captain Marvin Renslow erred and made the stall worse, crashing the plane and killing 50 people, according to the NTSB. The board also concluded that Shaw and Renslow had been chitchatting in the cockpit.

“They weren’t properly trained and weren’t able to handle the situation,” Gellman says.

•In 2008, an Air Canada co-pilot was forcibly removed from a Toronto-to-London flight, restrained and sedated after having a mental breakdown and speaking to God while behind the controls at 30,000 feet. The plane landed safely in Ireland.

•On Oct. 31, 1999, Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Massachusetts coast due, according to the NTSB, to the deliberate action of first officer Gameel Al-Batouti. The Boeing 767 crashed with dozens of Egyptian military officers aboard who were returning from helicopter flight training in the USA at a time that the Egyptian government was at war with radical Islamists. Al-Batouti, an Islamist sympathizer, “wanted to get rid of the helicopter pilots and crashed the airplane,” Gellman says.

•On Oct. 14, 2004, two pilots taking an empty airliner from Little Rock, Ark., to Minneapolis decided to explore the limits of their Pinnacle Airlines plane. Captain Jesse Rhodes and first officer Peter Cesarz took the plane to 41,000, the maximum approved altitude for the plane, and then failed to follow proper procedure when the plane stalled and the engines shut down, according to the NTSB. After trying unsuccessfully to restart the engines while gliding, they crashed behind several homes 2½ miles from an airport. Both crewmembers were killed.

•A 1956 mid-air collision that investigators blamed on pilots trying to give passengers better views of the Grand Canyon resulted in a revamping of the role of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in patroling the airways.

The pilots were maneuvering around cloud formations over the canyon and collided, killing 128 people.

“It was a watershed event because it changed the whole approach to air traffic control,” Gellman says. Congress reacted by increasing funding for the FAA, giving it the capability to monitor aircraft “in the airways not just in the terminal,” Gellman says.

Investigations of deadly accidents over the years have resulted in safety procedures, such as requiring two pilots and locking cockpit doors, which helped preserve lives in the JetBlue incident, Gellman says.

“Even if the captain had insisted on making trouble in the cockpit, I think the first officer would have been able to handle it,” Gellman says. “That’s why we have two people in there.”

Dave Funk, a retired Northwest Airlines captain now an aviation consultant with Laird & Associates, says the JetBlue flight might have been saved by the co-pilot, who barred an incapacitated Osbon from the cockpit. “The first officer recognized the gravity of the situation and solved the problem,” Funk says.

The co-pilot’s quick thinking on that flight is analogous to captain “Sully” Sullenberger landing a US Airways flight on New York’s Hudson River with no lives lost, Funk says. “We gave him a bunch of broken eggs. He made scrambled eggs. He didn’t make eggs over medium.”

Funk says pilots today face more worries than they did years ago, when airlines like TWA and now-defunct Pan Am projected an image of employees who have “this wonderful life, have great benefits, fly around the world, fall in love, all in their 20s.”

Instead, he says, pilots today are dealing with “the crappy economy, the political fights each day. Is Washington going to get attacked? That’s going to create stress.”

Pilots, in particular, have to deal with a lot more stresses in their job because of the intense security situation, Funk says.

“It’s the greatest job in the world when you get to the end of the runway,” Funk says. “All the crap you have to get through to make it to the runway doesn’t make it worth it to a lot of us anymore.”

Contributing: Nancy Trejos

Aviation industry still struggling to find qualified workers

GREENSBORO, N.C — The Piedmont Triad has built a reputation as one the aviation meccas, but it could be in for a crash landing.

The aviation industry is facing a labor shortage right now. The news of this shortage affects people like Jamie Bullins, a student a Guilford Technical Community College Aviation School the most.

“It’s hard in this economy to have enough money to even be qualified for these positions,” Bullins said.

Companies like Timco Aviation Services said they’re not getting enough qualified people for jobs, and those who apply are just out of school. Kip Blakely, VP of Industry and Sales for Timco said the demand is so great right now that companies are outstripping the system.

Blakely believes another reason is the lack of knowledge about the aviation industry.

“I don’t think that the aviation industry has done a good job of educating and explaining to parents what a great career aviation is,” Blakely said.

Timco will work with other counties and schools to see if it can recruit more experience people to the booming field.

To look at Timco’s openings, go to the Timco Career Center site.

Smith Field Gets Hangar Upgrade

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- A struggling Fort Wayne Airport is now seeing business flying high. 

Officials cut the ribbon today on a new 12-unit aircraft hangar at the small northside airfield.

All 12 spaces have already been leased, which will help recoup a 900-thousand dollar investment in building the storage space.

Patrick Tippmann, who got his pilot license within the past year and a half, says the modern hangar is a big upgrade over the older Smith Field storage units.

Patrick Tippmann, Hangar Tenant says. " I think these are 43 foot wide, which is really nice. You don't have to be so careful when you're putting the plane in the hangar, because you don't want to clip the wings on the sides, so, it's nice. They're bigger, they're better, they're newer, and they're clean."

Another new hangar is being planned for construction on the property over the next two to three years.


Praying for airport jobs at Philadelphia International (KPHL), Pennsylvania

Bishop Dwayne Royster took a stroll through Philadelphia International Airport's terminal C with a few friends Thursday. Dressed in vestments, kippahs and hijabs, the walkers prayed for what they say Philadelphia needs the most.

Jobs. Airport jobs, to be exact.

Royster is the executive director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Power and Rebuild, an interfaith advocacy group comprised of 36 Jewish, Christian and Muslim congregations from across the city.

POWER organized the prayer walk, its first public action, in response to the airport's $6 billion expansion project. About 50 clergy members marched in silence, a symbol of the city's "voiceless" unemployed, who they believe should get first crack at the jobs created by the expansion.

But why come in full regalia?

"We're here to say with no ambiguity that God stands with those who struggle with unemployment," Royster said.

The group supports the airport's expansion project but wants Mayor Nutter and the airlines brokering it to keep these out-of-work Philadelphians in mind.

"This airport has the opportunity to bring life to the city's marginalized communities," said Rabbi Linda Holtzman, one of the event's organizers. "The jobs created by this expansion need to go to those of greatest need - that's our demand."

Elizabeth Johnson is one of those people in need. After her husband was laid off last year, her family lost their home.

"I found myself at the shelter, declaring that I was homeless," she said. "I couldn't understand how I got into this situation."

Johnson joined POWER's prayer walk to help spread the group's message.

"No one should be left suffering alone," she said. "These are tough times, and we need to help our neighbors."

A spokesperson for Nutter office said that the expansion project could create "tens of thousands of construction jobs" in addition to 3,000 permanent positions.

Cassutt IIIM, N420FH: Accident occurred May 22, 2011 in Erie, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA346 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 22, 2011 in Erie, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2012
Aircraft: HANSEN IB C CASSUTT III M, registration: N420FH
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.

During the initial takeoff on the airplane's maiden flight, witnesses observed the airplane climb to about 300 feet above ground level, turn left, descend and impact the ground. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any anomalies. An autopsy revealed that that the pilot's left anterior descending artery had up to 70-percent stenosis with 100-percent stenosis in many of the branches. With a lack of control-type injuries to the pilot's extremities, the medical examiner concluded that it was possible that the pilot experienced a sudden cardiac death shortly after takeoff.

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

The pilot's incapacitation due to a cardiac event.


On May 22, 2011, approximately 1050 mountain daylight time, an amateur built Cassutt III M airplane, N420FH, impacted terrain while maneuvering after takeoff near Erie, Colorado. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage and a post-crash fire ensued. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a flight test. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The accident flight was the airplane's first flight or maiden flight. A witness observed the airplane takeoff from the airport, climb to about 300 feet, and enter a sudden left turn. The airplane was then observed to descend towards the ground and impact terrain.


The pilot, age 64, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. A third class airman medical certificate was issued on December 9, 2009, with the limitation that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. On his medical application, the pilot reported using Atenolol to control his high blood pressure. At the time of the last medical application, the pilot reported having logged 1,975 hours with 35 hours in the previous six months.


The Cassutt is a low-wing, fixed gear airplane, serial number NAC 2009-1, was built by the accident from plans, and was completed in 2011. It was powered by a 100 horsepower experimental engine, which drove a Sterba 58x64 2-bladed wood propeller. The airplane employed a steel tubing frame, covered with fiberglass, fabric, and laminated plywood. The airplane’s airworthiness certificate and experimental operating limitations were issued on May 16, 2011. 


At 1049, the automated weather observation facility at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC), Broomfield, Colorado, reported wind 240 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 40 miles, few clouds at 7,000 feet, broken layers at 15,000 and 20,000, temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure of 29.88 inches of Mercury.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane collided with trees located 350 yards west-northwest of the runway's departure end. Downed tree limbs and impact marks on aspen trees revealed an impact angle of approximately 50 degrees nose down. A two foot deep crater contained fragments of the airplane's composite materials as well as portions of the wooden propeller. The airplane was found inverted, approximately eight feet from the impact crater. A post-crash fire consumed most of the airplane's coverings. All airplane components were found at the accident scene. A portion of the right wing composite casing was found separated from the right wing and was entangled in aspen trees. The spruce wing spar remained attached to the fuselage and displayed thermal damage. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the flight control surfaces. The aileron push-pull rod ends displayed overload fractures. The engine received extensive thermal damage. Both magnetos were impact and fire damaged; neither magneto could produce a spark. Engine continuity and compression was confirmed by rotating the propeller by hand. The oil screen contained a tiny amount of particulates, consistent with a new engine. All fuel screens were found to be clean. No anomalies were found with either the airframe or the engine.


On May 23, 2011, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Weld County Office of the Corner/Medical Examiner as authorized by the Weld County Coroner. Of note, the medical examiner discovered that the heart’s left anterior descending artery had up to 70-percent stenosis with 100-percent in many of the branches. The medical examiner concluded that the pilot’s heart disease may have contributed to the plane crash. He noted that “[i]t is possible that sudden cardiac death occurred shortly after takeoff and that led to the crash, as there are no definitive control type injuries to the extremities.” The manner of death was ruled an accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The report noted that following findings:

0.821 (ug/mL, ug/g) Atenolol detected in Blood (peripheral)

Atenolol detected in Urine

The United States National Library of Medicine listed atenolol as a medical used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. The medication is also used to prevent angina (chest pain) and improve survival after a heart attack. Atenolol works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing heart rate to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.

A 64-year-old Arvada experimental airplane maker died during the first test flight of an aircraft as his son and a client watched Sunday morning, the Weld County coroner said.

Ib Christian R. Hansen was killed during a fiery crash into a field soon after taking off from Erie Municipal Airport, said Deputy Coroner Chris Robilliard.

He was flying a Cassut III M Racer, a tiny single-seat racing and acrobatic airplane, that made him famous among kit-plane enthusiasts. Hansen and his son had built the ill-fated plane for the client, Robillard said.

A veteran Formula 1 airplane racer, Hansen sold kits and design plans for the Cassutt from his Arvada business, National Aeronautics Company.

Witnesses told authorities something went terribly wrong minutes after he took off.

"They said the plane got to about 300 feet and then it started acting funny," Robillard said.

"He had a parachute on. But, of course, he didn't have enough altitude to get out of the plane," Robillard said.

The initial identification was based on the statement's of Hansen's son, who was watching from the ground, and the client, who was following Hansen in a chase plane, Robillard said.

A native of Sweden, Hansen's flying career hearkened back to the barnstorming days of early aviation.

"(Hansen) learned to fly in Liberia, went through and survived the revolution, (and) with only 300 hours (experience) flew a small single-engine plane across the Mediterranean Sea to visit relatives in Sweden," according to a 2009 newsletter for the Antique Airplane Association of Colorado.

Hansen then came to the United States where he flew in several National Championship Air Races in Reno.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, police said. 


 Aviation investigators say the pilot who died in a plane crash in Erie last year may have suffered a heart attack shortly after takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board released its final report Wednesday on the death of 64-year-old Ib Christian R. Hansen of Arvada on May 22.

Hansen was demonstrating a single-engine plane for a potential buyer when it crashed after takeoff from Erie Municipal Airport. He was the only person aboard.

Weld County Coroner Mark Ward says a pathologist ruled Hansen died of blunt force trauma. Ward says the pathologist could not rule out the possibility that Hansen had a heart attack but couldn’t say definitively that he did.

Vision Airlines doesn't see Naples in plans, gas prices daunting to other carriers

—Vision Airlines flights linking the Florida Panhandle to the rest of the state proved to be a short-lived service.

And with the cost of fuel on the rise and the Vision company cutting back, it doesn't appear that's about to change anytime soon. Airport executives say the cost of fuel is keeping airlines from adding commercial flights into smaller markets like Naples and Charlotte County.

Vision Air launched a non-stop, low-fare air service between Punta Gorda and Destin-Fort Walton Beach last March, but suspended flights about two weeks ago.

Vision's emphasis on the Panhandle had drawn support from Gov. Rick Scott, who raved about the effort to restore the part of the state that took a big hit after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. But many of the flights on the company's current schedule may not continue into April, according to various news reports coming out of the cities served by the carrier.

"Vision flew here on their own for a short period of time, but they aren't any longer," said Gary Quill, executive director of the Charlotte County Airport Authority. "They also flew in here for several months for Direct Air, but they (Direct Air) went bankrupt last week. They want to have guaranteed revenue, so in effect, they're not flying at any risk to themselves."

The Naples Airport Authority also had expressed some interest in Vision Air, and looked into the possibility of having 30-seat commercial prop planes flying in and out of Naples, but an agreement couldn't be reached.

"Vision Air came down here with a middle man and they were going to fly on a contract basis for him," Soliday said. "But I don't think there was ever a realistic plan put together on that for us."

In 2010, the airline wanted to offer commercial flights to Miami, Orlando and Tampa, but couldn't reach a local agreement with the other airlines, Soliday said.

Clay Meek, Vision's director of marketing and sales, couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Naples airport has been without a commercial carrier for three years.

"I still believe we can serve this community with turbo props in a very profitable way for the airlines," Soliday said. "People here are willing to pay if they can transfer from this airport to another airport without having to go back through screening and can get their bags taken care of."

Soliday is convinced that the demand is there.

"We were carrying almost 200,000 passengers in the mid-90s," he added. "Our population has increased by three-fold since then. The number of hotel rooms and vacationers has doubled since then. Our income per capita is the second highest in the nation. You put all that together and you say there has to be a market there."

So if there is a market, where are the airlines?

Soliday said the cost of fuel is the problem.

"Fuel is the big issue," he said. "Smaller airplanes just don't have enough seats to cover the cost of fuel. Will a person pay $200 each way to get to Miami? I don't know. But I think there is a market and it will happen. When? I don't know. It will probably take the price of fuel going down. Right now, the airlines won't bear any of the risk for starting up the service."

The conversation these days at local airports doesn't stray far from rising fuel prices.

"Every aviation user is being affected. I think every industry is," Quill said. "Everyone is nervous that we are kind of on the edge."

Profits for the airline industry could plummet 62 percent this year due to the rising cost of fuel, according to the International Air Transport Association in a forecast for the global industry.

"To me, this problem rests with Washington," Quill said. "We need to increase supply to bring the cost down. That's just basic economics."


Grounded: air fleet hit by security alert

THE US terminal at Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport was shut down for an hour yesterday afternoon while officials investigated what they called an airport "security breach".

The breach occurred around 1pm when arriving passengers somehow wound up in the United States departure lounge rather than Bahamas customs and immigrations.

According to Shonalee Johnson, Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) communications manager, the passengers accidentally went through a boarding door.

She said an airline employee managed to find the passengers and redirect them to the passageway leading to customs and immigration, but an investigation followed.

"Airport officials immediately deployed personnel to the scene to investigate the matter," Ms Johnson said. "During that time, all US-bound flights were placed on hold resulting in departure delays. Passengers were, however, still being checked in and processed as normal."

Sources reported that US Customs and Border Protection, as well as NAD, carried out investigations into the apparent mishap.

Ms Johnson said it was shortly after 2pm that US-bound flights resumed their departure schedules from the airport.

State certifies $3 million deficit at airport

A $3.3 million deficit at Nantucket Memorial Airport caught the eye of Gerard D. Perry, the state Department of Revenue's director of accounts, who issued a letter of concern to island officials.

The selectmen characterized the letter and a subsequent conference call with Perry as "sobering." The Inquirer and Mirror requested and received a copy of the letter Wednesday night. 

"This office certified a negative -$3,356,201 in retained earnings associated with your airport enterprise fund," Perry wrote in the letter. "During a conference call with your Town Manager and other financial officials on March 28, 2012, we learned that the airport has had financial problems for several years. Further, we learned that Nantucket is in the process of conducting a forensic audit regarding the airport."

Perry added that he would not approve Nantucket's tax rate next year unless he first received the town's financial audit and management letter for the close of FY12, the balance sheet for the close of FY12, as well as the forensic audit regarding the airport. 

Long-running accounting problems among town and airport finance officials, as well as other significant issues that have cropped up over the past year, including an expensive legal settlement and volatile fuel sales, combined to generate the significant deficit in the airport's retained earnings. A complex plan to cover the deficit has been crafted by town officials, and features a large transfer of cash from the government's general fund, the use of authorized but unused borrowing from previous capital projects and other financial maneuvers that must still be approved by voters at Town Meeting on Saturday. 

"This is a unique, unfortunate and disappointing event, but I don't think we've found any way around it other than the town using town funds to cover the deficit at the airport," selectmen chairman Rick Atherton said. He added that the plan to cover the airport deficit includes a provision for the enterprise fund to repay the town over time for the subsidy from the general fund. 

The town operates the airport as an enterprise fund, meaning its revenue and expenses are separated from the general fund and the other municipal departments. 

Unlike some of the town's other enterprise funds - namely the solid waste, sewer and Our Island Home enterprise funds - which require annual cash infusions from the town's general fund to continue operating, the airport has long been self-sufficient, and has often been flush with excess revenues. This year will mark the first time voters will have to take action due to a shortfall at the transportation hub. 

Several selectmen noted that both the town and the airport hire private auditing firms to reconcile their financial records, yet those companies did not flag the growing problems at the airport nor the fact that its books didn't match those of the town. 

Town manager Libby Gibson said that she, the town Finance Department and airport officials all share the blame for the situation. 

"The internal controls that should have been in place were not, but they are now," Gibson said. "Then there is the issue of the airport being excluded from town administration. There was a lot of sloppy bookkeeping that caught up with us. Why it wasn't caught in prior audits, I don't know. Why it wasn't caught in a prior DOR review, I don't know. We do believe the actions at Town Meeting, as difficult as they might seem, are the way to resolve them going forward."

There was some good news from the DOR, however, including the town and its other enterprise funds being informed that they will have more than $13.3 million in certified free cash available following the state certification. 

The term “free cash” is a misleading expression used by government budget wonks to describe unreserved, undesignated fund balances from year-end revenue in excess of projections, or money left over when year-end expenditures are less than appropriations. In other words, it’s money that is budgeted but not spent, or additional revenue that comes in above initial projections. The town's free cash policy generally dictates that it be used for one-time items like capital projects, and not for recurring operational expenses.

On Wednesday, the state DOR transmitted the following free cash and retained earnings certifications to the town:

• General Fund: $ 3,630,103
• Sewer Enterprise Enterprise Fund: $ 2,256,301
• Siasconset Water Enterprise Enterprise Fund: $ 1,328,310
• Wannacomet Water Enterprise Enterprise Fund: $ 5,068,378
• Landfill Enterprise Enterprise Fund: $ 853,716
• Island Home Enterprise Enterprise Fund: $ 253,616
• Airport Enterprise Enterprise Fund Deficit: $ -3,356,201

Plane Crashes at Ellis County's Mid-Way Regional Airport: Pilot, passenger suffer non life-threatening injuries

NBC 5 
The Cessna 172S crashed at Ellis County's Mid-Way Regional Airport 

A single-engine Cessna 172S crashed Thursday afternoon at Mid-Way Regional Airport in Ellis County.The pilot and a passenger are said to have non life-threatening injuries.It is not yet known why the plane crashed.The airport is halfway between Midlothian and Waxahachie along state Highway 287.

7 soldiers dead in Venezuela helicopter crash

Seven Venezuelan soldiers have died in a helicopter crash near the Colombian border, military officials have announced.

State news agency AVN reports that it is still unclear what caused the Superpuma helicopter to crash.
The soldiers were deployed on anti-drug operations in the state of Apure.

In a statement, military officials said the bodies were recovered from the crash site early on Thursday morning and a full investigation was under way.

Venezuela recently sent extra troops to beef up its patrols along the borders with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana in an attempt to tackle drug trafficking and armed groups.

Direct India flights nearer

THE long-proposed, oft-postponed promise of direct flights from India to Australia could come as soon as the end of the year, and Australia's two largest cities remain in the hunt as the preferred destination.

India's civil aviation authorities have formally given permission to Indian airlines to fly direct from Delhi to Melbourne, and from Delhi to Sydney.

The civil aviation ministry's ruling gives government-run Air India first right of refusal on the sector, and despite a grim business outlook, the flag carrier is keen to pursue direct flights to Australia, servicing the student, tourist and business markets.

Air India must first wait for its new 787 Dreamliners from Boeing, also much-delayed, but which it now expects to receive midyear.

A civil aviation ministry official told local media the mid-sized 787s were crucial to the government airline regaining some competitiveness in India's cutthroat airline industry.

''Air India has proposed to launch direct services to Australia from Delhi commencing about the third quarter of 2012-13 [October-December, the Indian financial year begins in April], using the Boeing 787 aircraft, which are expected to be inducted in May this year.''

Both Victoria and New South Wales are keen to have the flights landing at their capital.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu met with Indian Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in Delhi last month, and pitched Melbourne's credentials. ''With [a] sizeable Indian population residing in Melbourne, a Delhi-Melbourne direct Air India flight would be in their larger interest and also in the business interest of the two countries,'' he said.

Before that, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell visited the Indian capital in November, meeting with Air India, privately run Jet Airways, and civil aviation authorities.

''There is no doubt that if there is to be direct flights to Australia, I'd like them to be to Sydney … the business-case model, for putting flights into the jurisdiction with the highest number of Indian students, the most people of Indian background, and the financial services capital of Australia … is a no-brainer," he told BusinessDay.

It is understood the Victorian and NSW governments would be willing to offer significant concessions to Air India to have their city preferred.

Indian estimates suggest the air traffic between India and Australia's two largest cities is fairly evenly split. Civil aviation ministry figures quoted by The Economic Times say 125,000 passengers fly between Melbourne and India, against 130,000 to or from Sydney. The total number of passenger movements between the two countries is about 335,000 passengers a year.

For all its expansionist talk, Air India faces a difficult time ahead. The airline currently carries an astonishing $US12.9 billion ($A12.3 billion) in debt, and will finish this financial year at the end of this month with a loss of nearly $US1.3 billion.

All of India's aviation industry is under serious pressure at present, as rising fuel costs and unmanageable debt cruel profits. Kingfisher, once one of the shining lights of Indian multi-industry enterprise (the company makes beer as well as flies planes), is haemorrhaging money. It has grounded three-quarters of its fleet, and has been unable to pay staff since December.

Read more:

Air Force identifies Mountain Home pilot who died in Wednesday fighter crash

Capt. Francis "Piston" Imlay, 31, an F-15 pilot from Mountain Home Air Force Base was killed Wednesday in a crash near an air base in the Middle East. The child is Imlay's son. Imlay was from Vacaville, Calif. COURTESY OF MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE 

Capt. Francis D. Imlay, 31, an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot from Mountain Home Air Force Base, died the crash near an unidentified base in Southwest Asia Wednesday.The Department of Defense identified the pilot Thursday.

 Imlay is from Vacaville, Calif., according to a Department of Defense news release.Officials say another crew member from Mountain Home was injured in Wednesday's crash and treated for minor injuries. 

More than 300 airmen from the 366th Fighter Wing in Mountain Home are deployed to support F15E missions helping deliver combat air support for joint fighting operations. The region includes operations in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Conway residents to place marker at site of 1972 plane crash

Residents of the Conway area in Orange County plan to place a historical marker on Saturday at the site of a plane crash that killed eight people in 1972. The dedication ceremony will be at 11:20 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Merryweather Drive and Conway Road. The B-52 crash at McCoy Air Force Base killed seven airmen and one civilian, and injured seven other civilians.

Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria, N5542K: Accident occurred March 05, 2012 in Brockton, Montana

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA123
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 05, 2012 in Brockton, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/02/2013
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N5542K
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

Witnesses reported that the airplane made two low-altitude, 360-degree turns and then ascended rapidly followed by a descent into the ground, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. The airplane “belly flopped” on the edge of an elevated drive likely because there was insufficient altitude for the pilot to recover from the stall. The witnesses further reported that the engine sounded normal throughout the accident sequence. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A GPS receiver was recovered from the accident; however, no data was recovered for the accident flight. Data from previous flights revealed flight maneuvers at low altitudes similar to the one described by witnesses during the accident sequence.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and airplane control while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in a stall and subsequent impact with terrain.


On March 5, 2012, about 1556 mountain standard time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N5542K, impacted terrain about 12 miles southeast of Brockton, Montana. The private pilot was fatally injured and the one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight. The pilot departed Sidney-Richland Municipal Airport (SDY), Sidney, Montana at an unknown time.

Witnesses reported that it was a clear day with no wind; the airplane approached from the north and flew over them before conducting a 360 degree turn at a low altitude. The airplane flew over the witnesses a second time and appeared to depart to the west when it ascended and made a left turn followed by a descent into the ground. The airplane appeared to “belly flop” onto the edge of the elevated drive and came to rest on the other side of the drive. Witnesses further reported that the engine sounded normal throughout the accident sequence.


The wreckage was located in a field planted with trees in the yard of a residence. The first identified point of impact was an 8 by 13 foot crater located on the southern edge of an elevated east/west driveway. The debris path continued approximately 211 feet in length from the impact crater to the main wreckage.

A topped tree, approximately 100 feet northeast, followed the initial impact point. Approximately 50 feet beyond the topped tree was approximately 2 feet of the airplane’s left wing tip at the base of another tree. The airplane came to rest in thick dirt approximately 205 feet beyond the initial impact point; the airplane’s approximate heading was 240 degrees. The forward fuselage sustained extensive aft crushing and deformation throughout. The cabin area sustained side crushing. The inboard portion of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The left fuel tank and fuel cap were intact. The fuel cap was secured to the filler housing, although torn from the fabric around it. The right wing was partially attached to the fuselage; the wing root sustained crush damage. The right fuel tank cap was still secured to the filler housing. The aft fuselage was mostly intact although sustained lateral deformation. The empennage was mostly intact and undamaged; the left elevator outboard most section was bent upward.

Control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls.


The nearest weather reporting station was approximately 27 nautical miles southeast of the accident site. At 1535, the weather was reported as wind from 280 at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 16 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint -1 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.59 inches of Mercury.


At the time of the accident, the pilot, age 54, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land privileges that was issued on January 17, 1981. His most recent FAA third class medical was issued on January 11, 2011, with the restriction of required corrective lenses for near and far. Examination of the pilot’s logbook revealed that, as of the last entry on December 20, 1992, he had accumulated approximately 72 hours of flight experience, 5 of which were in the accident airplane.


An autopsy was not completed on the pilot; the cause of death was reported as blunt force injuries. Toxicology testing was completed by the Richland County Coroner. The results were negative for ethanol; caffeine was detected in the blood.


The airplane was recovered from the accident site to a storage facility and later examined by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-charge (IIC).


Visual inspection of the recovered engine revealed no visual anomalies. The cylinder rocker covers and spark plugs were removed; the spark plug electrode areas were consistent with, ‘worn out – normal’, when compared to the Champion AV-27 chart. The valves were undamaged and contained no abnormal thermal discoloration. Cylinder compression and valve continuity was obtained from all cylinders. Both magnetos were removed from the engine; when manually rotated, both impulse couplings fired appropriately and spark was obtained from all ignition lead ends. The carburetor was removed from the engine and disassembled. Carburetor screen was clear of debris, no fuel was found within the carburetor bowl and crushing deformation was noted on one of the carburetor floats.


Examination of the cabin area revealed that the throttle was in the full forward/full throttle position. The fuel selector valve was removed and examined; it was found in the “closed” position. The gascolator was removed and found to be clear of debris. It was noted that there was no stall warning system installed on the airplane.

Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operations.


A GPS receiver was recovered in the wreckage and retained for further examination by the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC. Data was successfully downloaded; however, there was no data for the accident flight. Data recovered from previous flights revealed flight maneuvers at low altitudes similar to the one described during the accident sequence.

The NTSB IIC calculated the approximate weight and balance at the time of the accident. It was revealed that the airplane weighed approximately 1,834 pounds with a center of gravity of 16.38 inches. Maximum gross weight of the airplane is 1,650 pounds, and the Center of gravity range for normal operations at maximum gross weight is between 14.2 and 19.2 inches.

 NTSB Identification: WPR12FA123
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 05, 2012 in Brockton, MT
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N5542K
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 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 5, 2012, about 1556 mountain standard time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N5542K, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain about 12 miles southeast of Brockton, Montana. The private pilot was fatally injured and the one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 local personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Sidney-Richland Municipal Airport (SDY), Sidney, Montana, at an unknown time.

Witnesses located outside and near the accident site, reported that the accident airplane flew over their location from the north and made a 360 degree left turn, followed by a 180 degree left turn. The airplane then departed to the west and ascended. Shortly thereafter, the witnesses observed the airplane in a left turn and descending to ground impact. The airplane “belly flopped” and then continued through a series of trees before it came to rest about 70 yards from the initial impact point.

In this March 24, 2012, photo, Kayla Steppler, left, holds her son, Easton, with Verlin Steppler, rear, at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Mont., while discussing the plane crash that injured Verlin on March 5. 
(AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Casey Page)  

BILLINGS, Mont. — On a Monday afternoon more than three weeks ago, Kayla Steppler watched as a plane carrying her husband fell from the sky in the northeastern corner of Montana. She was 38 weeks pregnant and knew that life had just taken a very dramatic turn.

"When I saw the plane in the air, I knew it was Verlin," Kayla said. "But I didn't want to believe it. I kept looking back toward our ranch looking for another plane."

Verlin Steppler, 31, and his father's cousin, James "Jim" Steppler, both of the Brockton area, took off into clear blue skies March 5. Flying planes was a longtime family affair that had been passed down from Verlin's grandfather.

"We'd flown hundreds of times before," Verlin said. "We were just taking in the sights."

Vast open space of ranchland is the last thing Verlin remembers from that day and from the following week.

On a flyover the house, the Bellanca fixed-wing, single-engine plane stalled for unknown reasons, crashing in the Steppler's front yard shortly before 4 p.m. Neighbors and ranch hands from every direction ran as fast as they could to the accident site. Emergency crews immediately responded.

Kayla was still a few miles from the house. When she arrived to her family's crashed plane 10 minutes later, everyone there tried keeping Kayla at a distance.

"I was told he was alive, but that was all that they would tell me," said Kayla, 25. "They didn't want me close to the accident — I guess afraid of what I would see. But I was persistent to get there and see him. I found comfort seeing he was breathing and seeing his eyes open. But it was the worst day of my life."

Jim Steppler, 54, died on impact during the crash. He is survived by his wife, their four children and three grandchildren.

Verlin was taken by helicopter to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. Nine months pregnant, Kayla could not fly with her husband and had to make the 300-mile drive.

"I had no idea if he was going to make it," Kayla said. "It was a very hard drive to the hospital. But I had faith and a great support system with me."

For the next three weeks, they lived in the hospital, the first week of which was spent in intensive care. Verlin had broken ribs, a broken femur, and two broken vertebrae in his neck and two in his back. Doctors were not certain that Verlin would survive, and if he did, paralysis was likely.

"I was preparing myself for the fact that my husband would most likely be in wheelchair for the rest of his life," Kayla said. "But, that didn't matter so much — I just wanted my husband alive."

After just three weeks, doctors said Verlin was only months away from full recovery.

Verlin was released from St. Vincent Healthcare on March 23, just in time for the delivery of his first child at the same hospital, a few wards away.

Easton Arnold Steppler came into the world at 7:38 p.m., weighing a healthy 9 pounds, 5 ounces. And Verlin was able to be with his wife throughout the delivery.

"The timing was perfect," Verlin said. "He is everyone's silver lining and will be a big part of everyone's healing process."

Jim's wife and family were the first family members to meet Easton.

"This is an extremely emotional time for all of us," Verlin said. "But we have a lot to be thankful for — family, friends and an amazing support system.

"And now there is this little guy."

Investigators get voice recorder from Jetblue Airbus A320-200, N796JB flight B6-191

Officials are investigating pilot Clayton Osbon's erratic behavior aboard JetBlue Flight 191.

  • NEW: The pilot's stepmother releases a statement
  • Federal regulations: Recorders must tape conversations on planes made since 1991
  • The co-pilot's mother says he would not consider himself a hero
  • The incident took place on the 10th anniversary of his sister's death, his mother says
(CNN) -- The FBI has obtained the cockpit voice recorder from JetBlue Flight 191, which had to make an emergency landing this week, a law enforcement official told CNN on Thursday.

The FBI had no comment.

Investigators are probing the apparent midair meltdown of the captain, Clayton Osbon, whose remarks and erratic behavior Tuesday led the co-pilot to lock him out of the cockpit. Crew and passengers subdued Osbon as he screamed and banged on the door so hard that the first officer thought Osbon would come through, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Wednesday against Osbon.

The complaint says Osbon began making remarks during the flight that concerned the first officer, who is his co-pilot.

"Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet. Osbon turned off the radios in the aircraft, dimmed his monitors and sternly admonished the FO (first officer) for trying to talk on the radio," the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Texas said in a written statement. "When Osbon said 'we need to take a leap of faith,' the FO stated that he became very worried. Osbon told the FO that 'we're not going to Vegas,' and began giving what the FO described as a sermon."

It was not immediately known whether the alleged remarks are audible on the recorder. But federal regulations state that planes manufactured since 1991 must record cockpit chatter on microphones. The JetBlue plane was new and would be subject to the rule.

Osbon has not made a public statement.

JetBlue has repeatedly praised the first officer, along with an off-duty captain who stepped in to assist and other crew members.

Some passengers have referred to the first officer as a hero. But his mother told CNN on Thursday that he would reject the label.

"Knowing my son, he would think that he's not a hero. He just did what he was paid to do," Jean Beatrice Dowd said of Jason Dowd.

"That's just his job, and he loves his job. He's just a quiet man."

He called his parents the night of the incident, his mother said. "He was pretty shaken up, and he couldn't say much."

The incident took place on a significant date for the family -- the 10th anniversary of the death of Jason Dowd's older sister, who died of cancer, Jean Dowd said.

"I know he was thinking of her, too, at the time this was all going on," Dowd said.

The incident "has been earthshaking for us, too," she said. "To lose him would have been terrible for us."

Jason Dowd, 41, who is married and has two young children, has not made a public statement. He was in New York, speaking with officials about the incident, his mother said.

The flight took off from New York and was heading to Las Vegas. After the incident, it made the emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.

Osbon's stepmother said Thursday she has flown with him several times.

"He loved to fly, a love which he got from his dad," Judy Osbon said in a statement. "He also took his piloting very seriously and was very good at it. I've only known Clayton to be a cheerful, conscientious and caring person."

Her stepson was upbeat the last time they spoke, she said.

Osbon's father, Ronald, who was a pilot, and a passenger were killed in a 1995 airplane crash in Florida, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The pilot radioed he was losing power on both engines and was out of gas. The aircraft crashed near Daytona Beach Regional Airport.

On a wing & a prayer for 3 years - License pangs dog flying cradle in capital, 28 wannabe pilots stare at another two-month delay

Vikas Kujur was pursuing civil engineering studies in 2009 when the state government decided to train tribal and other underprivileged youths as commercial pilots. The 24-year-old left his course midway and joined the promising program

Raj Kumar (26) was a probationary officer with State Bank of India. He, too, quit his job because he wanted to fly high

The two who had initially made different — and perhaps right — career choices three years ago, today share the same fate: a very uncertain future. 

Their wings have, ironically, been clipped by none other than a government that pledged pilot training, botched up cradle selection not once but twice, proposed a flying institute in the state and has been hobbling since to obtain the mandatory licence from Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). 

“Had I continued my studies, I would have become a civil engineer in 2011. I lost three precious years of my life in pursuit of a dream (commercial pilot) that should have taken only 10 months to realize,” said Vikas, a Lohardaga resident who was pursuing engineering at a Bhubaneswar college. 

Among the 29 boys and one girl who were handpicked by the government in early 2009 for the training, Vikas is not the only one to quit academics. Jagdeep Karmali from Khalari, Piku Tiu from Chaibasa and Divya Ekka from Ranchi were all studying engineering at BIT-Sindri, but decided to give passion a chance.

Two other youths among the group were a tad wiser. Ankit Lakra, a BIT-Mesra student, and Prakash Ekka from NIT-Patna returned to their respective cradles after they discovered in May 2010 that the Hyderabad-based flying institute selected by the state government to train them had run into trouble. 

“Sometimes I feel I’ve made a terrible mistake by joining a government program. Next moment, I console myself saying that my dream will take wing in a few more months. Maybe I am hoping against hope,” said Raj Kumar of Bokaro, who would have had a permanent bank job by now.

His feelings are not alien to any of the 28 youths still waiting — some of them at their makeshift home at Morabadi’s Tribal Research Institute — for resumption of the pilot program.

With the noble intention to offer free pilot training to 30 underprivileged youths, the state welfare department handpicked Hyderabad-based Spica Aviation Academy.

The aspirants who were sent to the cradle in March 2009 soon discovered that the flying cradle had no permission from the DGCA.

The government once again — and this time through an open tender — selected Bilaspur-based Sai Flytech to train the youths in November 2010. A year later, the trainees returned home because the DGCA cancelled the cradle’s license over irregularities. 

Having burnt its finger twice, the state decided to float its own cradle. The Jharkhand Flying Institute was proposed last year for resumption of training.

The school was to be set up in Ranchi with two Czech-made Zlin aircraft, three gliders and one twin-engine aeroplane for immediate training infrastructure. The state civil aviation department had also decided to rope in a private instructor. It perhaps only forgot the license.

“For four months, we have knocked every possible government door, urging officials to obtain the licence from DGCA and start our training. But our pleas have fallen on deaf years,” complained 29-year-old Harilal Bhagat of Lohardaga, who quit his job as a block program officer to train as a pilot. 

“I cannot hold back my age. If the training is delayed, I may find it difficult to get a job in any airline,” he added.

Sources in the civil aviation department said that the state had sent licence applications to the DGCA twice, but they were returned owing to either incomplete or improper documentation. A fresh request was made a month ago. 

“Getting licence for a flying institute takes time. The DGCA is, currently, verifying our infrastructure. We may get the license in a month or two,” said V.K. Singh, secretary, civil aviation. 

Fingers crossed.


Jets collide at OSL Gardermoen

Two jets from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and one from Norwegian Air were involved in two separate collisions within the space of 40 minutes at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen Thursday evening.

Norwegian is blaming SAS for one of the collisions, claiming that the SAS jet started backing away from the gate before it received clearance from the airport tower. It collided with an arriving Norwegian Air flight from Trondheim at around 7:45pm.

No one was injured in the collision, but passengers were evacuated. Jo Kobro, spokesman for OSL Gardermoen, told Norwegian Broadcasting that there was material damage to both aircraft, to the wing of the Norwegian jet and the tailwings of the SAS jet.

Norwegian claimed the damage would be expensive to repair,  costing “several million kroner,” according to one airline spokesman. “In addition we have to take the aircraft out of service,” he said.

An SAS spokesman said the SAS’ jet’s departure from the gate occured “according to procedure,” but the airline was waiting for the results of a closer investigation into the accident. SAS wouldn’t comment further pending the results.

SAS suffered a second collision earlier Thursday evening, when one of its jets was hit by a mobile passenger bridge connecting the aircraft to the terminal. Operators lost control of the gangway when it was supposed to be fastened to the newly parked aircraft, and the jet had to be taken out of traffic for the damage to be assessed.

The two accidents were “very unfortunate, both for us, and for our passengers, said Christian Kamhaug of SAS. “But all our passengers got to where they were going, albeit somewhat delayed.”

Flight Crew Calls Police Due To 2 Unruly Children On Skywest Plane From Long Beach

LONG BEACH (CBS) — A Skywest crew radioed authorities Tuesday when two children refused to fasten their seat belts on a flight from Long Beach to Portland, Ore.

Officers with the Port of Portland Police Department were called to meet the Skywest-operated Alaska Airlines plane when it landed at Portland International Airport at 7:20 p.m., Alaska spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey told CBS2.

“During the flight, the children became disruptive and wouldn’t stay in their seats and wouldn’t fasten their seat belts, which is against federal regulations,” she said in a statement.

It was unknown if they were seated at the time of the landing.

“Following this, an Alaska Airlines supervisor meet with the family (of four), talked with them about the need to comply with Federal Air Regulations that the children must be in their seats and remain buckled when asked,” Lindsey added. “Our supervisor then personally escorted the family to the gate for their connecting flight Alaska Airlines Flight 2056 from Portland to Seattle which departed at 8:30 p.m.”

The family’s name has not been released.

At last, Nagpur airport runway to be resurfaced

NAGPUR: The 3,200-metre runway of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport will finally get a much-awaited resurfacing soon. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has given a nod to equally share the cost of runway resurfacing work with Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC).

On Thursday, after taking stock of development works and inspecting the newly-installed Indra-ATC automation system at the city airport, AAI chairman V P Agrawal announced that AAI will share the amount of Rs 25 crore jointly with MADC and will ensure that the runway is resurfaced soon.

Agrawal admitted that due to the increase in air traffic at the city airport, the existing runway requires resurfacing immediately. However, as the city airport, managed by the joint venture company Mihan India Limited (MIL), is suffering heavy losses, getting funds had become a difficult task. Estimates for the work was prepared well in time and the only thing lacking was funds, that was preventing floating of tender and allotment of work order. However, now the problem has been resolved and the runway will soon get a new surface, he said.

The runway was last resurfaced in 2004. Before that, the then operator Airports Authority of India (AAI) had resurfaced it in 1995. TOI has been highlighting MIL's negligence towards the bad condition of the runway. The 350 to 400 metre patch of the runway, where aircraft land or brake hard, had been completely damaged and poses a potential threat to aircrafts.

Agrawal also clarified that AAI has no plan to take back the Nagpur Airport from MADC for its operations and maintenance. The airport will remain with the joint venture company MIL, where MADC has a 51% stake and AAI has the remaining 49%.

As per the MOU signed, which has five-year tenure, MIL has assured to develop airport and absorb the entire AAI staff except CNS/ATM (communications, navigation and surveillance systems for air traffic management) employees and also pay their salaries. However, MIL has failed to develop it and neither has it paid salaries to employees. The pending salary amount has reached Rs 30 crore due to lack of funds. "Based on such facts, AAI has only proposed to exchange the share of 51 % in MIL with MADC. The proposal is pending with the Maharashtra government for final decision," he added.

The AAI chairman appreciated Nagpur airport for emerging as the first in the country to have completed Indra-ATC automation system. He said that apart from increasing the efficiency and reducing chances of accidents, the new system would ensure complete radar coverage. Aircraft would be in continuous contact with air traffic controllers while transiting and the new system will help aircraft reach economic flight level, thereby drastically reducing fuel consumption.

Gondia airport ready to take off

Gondia: The Birsi Airport at Gondia is now ready to have a regular air service apart from having ongoing training operations. AAI chairman V P Agrawal said that AAI has already expanded the runway of Gondia airport to 9,000 feet to handle the operations of aircraft like Airbus-320 and Boeing 737. A state-of-the-art passenger terminal building along with ATC tower and fire station is also ready. "Airlines operating smaller aircraft have yet not approached AAI for operations, but can start intrastate services from here," Agrawal said.

Meanwhile, AAI has constructed two toilet blocks at Birsi village having population of around 2,000, near the airport spending Rs 24.20 lakh. Each block has five Indian style water closet, one European style closet and four bath rooms and a waiting room.


Cuts in airline industry CanJet lays off all flight attendants based in Halifax

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, Mar 29, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --CanJet Airlines laid off all its flight attendants based in Halifaxthis week. The 18 flight attendants comprise the entire staff workingout of Halifax. The workers also happen to be some of the most seniorCanJet staff across the country. 

"It's a huge shock to all of us. It was not something we expected.Not that long ago we were in a meeting with the employer and they hadno intentions of making this move," says laid off flight attendantMary Fougere who is also the union local's president. "And it wasdone in such a cavalier way, with no consideration for workers. Someflight attendants found out from pilots on flights they were workingon." 

The cuts also have a major impact on the union's local which waseffectively beheaded. Both the president of the union and thevice-president were served layoff notices. 

CanJet is a division of IMP Group Limited, located in Halifax. Thecompany's behaviour was all the more shocking given that IMP tootsits own horn on all correspondence by claiming to be "Nova Scotia'stop employer". 

The union has already filed two grievances following the job cuts."This is effectively a base closure as defined in the collectiveagreement and our contract says that in the case of a base closurethey have to meet with us in order to mitigate the effects of thelayoffs. This was not done. They didn't even serve layoff notices asper Canada's Labour Code," added Fougere. 

This is the final blow to flight attendants in Halifax. In 2006,CanJet had let go 137 similar workers. They recalled some and wereback up to 44 flight attendants in 2010 when 27 of them were let go.The 18 laid off this week were what remained after the subsequentcuts. 

CUPE is Canada's largest airline union, representing nearly 10,000flight attendants at both large and smaller air carriers including:Air Canada, Air Transat, CanJet, First Air, Cathay Pacific, CALM Air,Canadian North, Sunwing, and the ground agents at Porter Airlines inOttawa.

'I remember my feet folding up, hot dog-style'

SEATTLE -- A Boeing worker nearly lost his life when he was trapped under a 787 at Paine Field a couple months ago.

On Wednesday, Josh Divers reached a milestone in his recovery with his release from Harborview Medical Center.

Behind the grin is a compelling story of tragedy and resilience.

"The outside two tires caught my feet. I don't know how. I don't even know what happened, but I remember my feet kind of folding up hot dog style," Divers said.

For 40 long minutes, Divers was stuck under a mammoth 787.

"Incredible, burning.. Just horrible pain," Divers said.

But instead of giving up, he fought.

" 'My hips are trapped! My hips are trapped! My femur just broke! My femur just broke!' -- Kind of repeating everything over and over again at the top of my lungs... so they knew what was going on and I had a release of pain just by yelling."

Josh said a forklift was used to lift a 35,000-pound engine block and moments later he was free.

But now as a double amputee, Divers will always have the battle scars. But his father Del said Josh won the war.

"Josh is still intact," Del Divers said. "He doesn't have his legs and he has a different way he has to go about life. But life is still there and I just praise God for that."

Now it's time for Josh Divers to go home and begin the fight to gain back a little piece of life many of us take for granted.

"It's definitely going to be nice to be out of the hospital environment for a bit," he said. "But I really want to come back and learn how to walk."

Divers says Boeing has given him and his family all the support they've needed. He says he'd love to go back to work for the company some day.