Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FAA NextGen a Cure for Houston's Congested Airspace

HOUSTON - Houston, fasten your seatbelts! The Federal Aviation Administration is testing new equipment and procedures here.

They’re calling it NextGen and billing it as a solution to our congested airspace. NextGen replaces reliance on ground-based radar with an increasing role for satellites and computers.

In some ways, Houston airports will be a proving ground for NextGen technology, which is intended to save time, save fuel, and literally smooth out your flight – from takeoff to landing.

Most of these changes will be invisible to you.

They’re designed to put more planes in the air – faster - by providing multiple paths to cruising altitude. That’s critical, say federal officials, so more passengers can get where they need to go.

“Our current air traffic control system simply can't accommodate the anticipated growth,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari. “It's like building more cars without building the highways that they would drive on.”

And speaking of highways, most air routes are still dictated by land-based considerations since radar and communications are handed off from one site to the next during flight.

The NextGen technology uses computer networks and GPS to generate more direct routes.

“We're creating new airways that will have the effect of reducing bottlenecks, improving safety and efficiency and fostering the flow of commerce,” said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

That brings us to landings. Today, commercial aircraft perform “step down” descents, like bumping down a staircase.

That will change to a smooth, linear descent, like sliding down the banister.

The aircraft’s final approach will change as well. Instead of flying an elongated pattern, planes will perform a much shorter and more direct hook-shaped approach, shaving time and saving gas.

“Here in Houston,” said Huerta, “we estimate that aircraft will fly something on the order of 650,000 fewer nautical miles each year.”

And the calculated savings? About 3 million gallons of fuel and more than $9 million. Not to mention 31,000 metric tons’ worth of carbon footprint.

However, anybody who’s ever followed GPS directions onto a nonexistent street may reasonably wonder: is it safe?

According to the FAA, it is.

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FAA final recommendation released for Kalispell airport

KALISPELL- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released their final recommendation for the Kalispell City Airport but it's ultimately up to city council to decide what will become of it.

Stelling Engineers of Kalispell sent their study off to the FAA and in turn gave a recommendation to upgrade the current airport. That would include moving the runway south 1,000 feet to add 500 feet to the runway.

City Attorney/Interim Manager Charlie Harball says city council could go a totally different route than what the recommendation says.

"Council has some other directions they could go. They could decide we'll just leave it, we won't do anything to the airport or we will shut the airport down, we'll move the airport. There's a number of different choices."

On Monday city council will review the report but there will be no time for public comment.

A public comment hearing will be May 7th.

Council should make their decision on the airport May 21st.

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CAF Airpower Museum to host first 'Fly Day' event

The CAF Airpower Museum will host a "Fly Day" event Saturday for visitors. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include history flight opportunities in some of the rare vintage aircraft at the CAF.

The event will be the first of its kind at the museum.

The Hi-Sky Remote Control Club will fly remote control airplanes around the World War II aircraft which will be on stationary display.

The aircraft that makes up the CAF's Desert Squadron and High Sky Wing will also be available either in flight or on the ground. Air rides will be available for purchase at the event, CAF staff said.

Those who become a member of the CAF and museum will receive a complimentary flight in a vintage warbird, officials added.

The Hi-Sky Remote Control Club also will demonstrate model aircraft in the main hangar.

Club members will be on hand to answer questions.

Regular museum admission prices include the "Fly Day" activities, officials said.
For more information, call 563-1000 or visit

Admission prices:
- Children 5 and under are free.
- Children ages 6-12 are $7 each.
- Children ages 13-17 are $9 each.
- Adults ages 18-64 are $10 each.
- Seniors ages 65 and older are $9 each.

New body scanners to change check-in at Savannah airport

New body scanners unveiled Wednesday at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport will change the way passengers go through security before boarding flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The scanners use imaging technology to search passengers for explosives and other contraband.

Early versions drew howls of criticism for being too intrusive, as they effectively produced a digital image of a person's naked body. Upgraded machines like the ones just installed in Savannah use a generic silhouette instead, and passengers can see the image along with security screeners.

TSA spokesman Mike McCarthy said the main difference for passengers is that they will now have to empty everything from their pockets, not just metallic items.

"Car keys, boarding passes, tissues -- this technology detects both metallic and non-metallic items without any physical contact with the passenger," McCarthy said. "It really reduces the need for pat-downs because screeners will know if something is on your left leg or in your pocket."

The scanners should be a relief for passengers with metallic joints or hip replacements who previously set off alarms at walk-through metal detectors, McCarthy said.

In all, about 165 airports nationwide are using the new body scanners. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was among the first to install the machines.

For Port Royal resident Cecile Banner, who complained to the TSA about a "traumatizing" pat-down she received at the Savannah airport in November 2010, the machines are a welcome change.

Banner, 76, said a trip through the imaging machine would have been much better than the examination she received while traveling to her husband's funeral in Virginia. Agents touched her breasts and groin, she said, and now she avoids flying.

"I'm glad they put the scanner in," she said.

For passengers who don't want to go through the imaging machines, pat-downs will still be an option, the TSA says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Citizens' Firefighter Academy Learns From HealthNet Pilot

Students at the Upshur County Citizens' Firefighter Academy gathered at the airport to learn more about HealthNet and what it takes to safely transport a patient by air.

In addition to all the medical gear needed to help the patients, the crew of helicopters also needs to be well trained, especially the aircrafts' pilots, like Frank Figueroa. Figueroa learned to fly through the military, including tours areas such as Kosovo. He says that military training serves him well in his new job.

"Talking to different controllers in the FAA community, our use of night vision goggles, we use those a lot in the military, and being able to be familiar with that equipment and being able to use it here has been really really helpful," Figueroa said.

That training can be helpful, since there's plenty of challenges to go with the job, like the terrain and the elements.

"We do have weather reporting capabilities and as good as they are, sometimes there are gaps in the time in which the reports come out, so you have to be able to make some decisions," he said.

The job isn't always easy, but Figueroa said he looks forward to going to work each day. He said he is glad he can help the area he calls home.

"I live in the community, I grew up here and being able to provide a service to my local community like what we have right here is very rewarding," Figueroa said.


New Auburn University simulator enhances flight students' experience

Credit: Courtesy Auburn University
 Auburn University student Joseph Young prepares for takeoff in a new Fidelity/Motus 622i Advanced Aviation Training Device, a full-motion flight simulator that can be programmed to replicate a variety of aircraft. Auburn officials recently dedicated and named the machine the Solon Dixon Simulator in honor of Solon Dixon, a 1926 graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University.

Despite heavy fog and some turbulence, Auburn University flight student Joseph Young carefully maneuvers his aircraft onto the runway for a smooth landing Wednesday after flying a quick loop in the air.

In reality, though, the weather conditions are manufactured, and Young hasn’t left the confines of the school’s facility in the back of the Auburn Center for Developing Industries. Young has just taken the Solon Dixon Simulator, the university’s newest and most realistic flight simulator, for a successful spin.

“What I like about the flight simulator is the realism that it simulates and the ability to be in any weather situation — clear and sunny, calm winds or thunderstorm, horrible conditions — something you never really want to intentionally get yourself into as a pilot,” said Young, a junior double-majoring in flight management and supply chain management. “It lets you portray what you could potentially run into, and it lets you do a normal flight as well.”

The school has been using the flight simulator for about a year now, but it was recently dedicated and named in honor of Solon Dixon, a 1926 graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University. Dixon worked in forestry management and is the namesake of Auburn’s Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Andalusia, but he began his career as a flight instructor at API. The Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation contributed a $200,000 gift that helped make the simulator possible.

The university typically uses simulators to supplement students’ in-flight training, but the school’s old simulators don’t come close to matching the Solon Dixon Simulator’s realistic feel.

“This one is just leaps and bounds ahead — not only the visuals, but the motion. It feels just like a real airplane,” Young said. “That’s the beauty of this simulator.”

In addition to the enhanced feel, the simulator can operate as three different types of aircraft: single-engine piston, multi-engine piston and the Cessna 500 business jet.

“Because of that versatility, it has widespread application across all of our students,” said Dale Watson, director of aviation education at Auburn University.

While the simulator can fabricate certain weather conditions, it can also simulate in-flight mechanical issues and create disorientation for the pilot. Nick Lenczycki, Auburn’s assistant chief flight instructor, demonstrated the disorientation training by making the simulator lean hard to the left while Young’s controls indicated a normal incline.

Flight conditions can be altered by a computer nearby the flight simulator.

Watson said the simulator will better prepare student pilots as they graduate from Auburn.

“It’s very realistic compared to what we’ve had … and it’s a great preparation for their first jobs as professional pilots,” Watson said.


TSA: Man Caught Trying To Conceal Knife Inside Jar Of Mayo At John F Kennedy International Airport (KJFK)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Transportation Security Administration said security screeners at John F. Kennedy Airport caught a man trying to sneak a knife onto a flight by putting it in a full jar of mayonnaise.

TSA Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said screeners stopped the man Tuesday before he headed on a trip to Mexico City.

Farbstein told 1010 WINS a TSA officer at the airport came upon the discovery when carry-on luggage was being screened.

“One of the TSA officers spotted something very unusual and when they did a closer inspection, it turned out that somebody had pushed his leatherman knife into a full container of mayonnaise,” she said.

The hiding spot may not have been the brightest idea, considering TSA rules require liquids and gels, even mayo, to be in a 3.4-ounce or smaller container.

“The mayonnaise jar was larger than that, so ironically he was trying to smuggle a prohibited item inside of another prohibited item,” Farbstein said.

The knife was taken from the man, who was not arrested. He was permitted to fly to his destination.

Aircraft called in to fight Minnesota grass fire

 BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WTW) — Fire crews from several communities battled for several hours to snuff a large grass fire in Brooklyn Park.

The fire began late Wednesday morning and soon filled the sky with thick, black smoke. It blackened 50 to 60 acres.

KARE-TV reports ( the leading edge of the blaze advanced to within 500 to 1,000 feet of buildings in an area filled with warehouses and businesses. The flames stopped just yards from a First Student school bus yard and a large storage facility, among other buildings.

The fire was hard for firefighters to access. They called in water-scooping helicopters and airplanes from the Department of Natural Resources and the State Patrol.

There's no word yet on what sparked the blaze, but conditions continue to be extremely dry across much of Minnesota.

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Snake fright for Australian pilot

This file illustration photo shows a python, pictured at the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford near Sydney, in 2002. An Australian pilot was given the fright of his life when a snake slithered from the dashboard of the plane he was flying, forcing him to make an emergency landing, according to airline officials.

An Australian pilot was given the fright of his life when a snake slithered from the dashboard of the plane he was flying, forcing him to make an emergency landing, according to airline officials.

Braden Blennerhassett was on a freight run for Air Frontier from Darwin to the remote town of Peppimenarti in the Northern Territory on Tuesday when the reptile appeared in the cockpit.

He made a mayday call and landed safely back in Darwin.

"My blood pressure and heart rate was a bit elevated -- it was an interesting experience," Blennerhassett told Nine News.

"As the plane was landing the snake was crawling down my leg, which was frightening."

Air Frontier director Geoffrey Hunt said Blennerhassett handled the situation well, given Australia is home to some of the most venomous snakes in the world.

"He said, we've got a snake on board," Hunt told reporters, adding that the pilot had trouble communicating with the control tower.

"The snake popped its head out near the transmit button that he needed to press to talk to the tower."

Blennerhassett managed to get his plane back to base where a snake handler was organized to meet him.

"We have got another chap here who is an aircraft engineer and a snake handler and he had a look and he couldn't find it," Hunt said, adding that they now planned to use a live mouse in a cage as bait.

Until the snake is found, the aircraft will be grounded.


New Zealand: Super-sized plane to make Wellington debut

COMING OUR WAY: Air New Zealand's all black 777-300 is heading to Wellington airport.

Wellingtonians will get a rare chance to see Air New Zealand's showpiece aircraft - the all black 777-300- for the first time this weekend. 

The massive all black long-haul carrier will land at Wellington airport at 10.45am on Sunday for a brief stop on its way to Warbirds over Wanaka in the South Island. 

The aircraft, which is 74-metres long, has the capacity to carry 338 passengers and has a giant silver fern painted on its side. 

It is the second time a 777-300 has landed in the city, but the first visit for the black model, as it usually flies long-haul services from Auckland to Los Angeles and London. 

The best vantage points for seeing the all black aircraft as it flies into the city will be on Moa Point Road, Lyall Bay. It is only a brief visit as it will depart the airport at 11.15. 

The whistle-stop Wellington and Wanaka tour follows last weekend's display at the RNZAF 75th anniversary air show at Ohakea. 

Earlier this year an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER landed in the capital, becoming the longest plane to touchdown on Wellington's short runway.


Beechcraft Baron B55: Catalina Island Arrival

by Admiral Peter Snoopy on Apr 4, 2012 

Approach and landing into Catalina Island's airport (KAVX) on April 3, 2012. Aircraft is a 1964 Beechcraft Baron B55. 

Shula’s, other airport restaurants taking off at Southwest Florida International Airport (KRSW), Fort Myers, Florida

Shula's Bar & Grill's 'Wine Country Burger'- roasted peppers, fresh goat cheese, balsamic greens, roasted tomatoes , served with french fries. 
Vanessa Rogers/ Banner Correspondent

The Shula Cut 12 Oz New York Strip with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes. 
Vanessa Rogers/ Banner Correspondent 

Shula's Bar & Grill at Southwest Florida International Airport. 
Vanessa Rogers/ Banner Correspondent

Wave bye-bye to so-so airport food at Southwest Florida International Airport. We recently sat down to a meal at the newly opened Shula’s Bar & Grill that would be worth extending your time before, after, or when meeting a flight.

The second airport-concept stepchild to former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula’s steakhouse kingdom, it replaces Chili’s Too in the main pre-security terminal area. It is one of several changes in the way airport passengers and guests eat at RSW, thanks to upgrades the airport’s concession management, HMSHost, has been making.

“As part of HMSHost’s upgrades to its 16 locations at RSW airport, we wanted to add more local flavor,” said Anne Duffy, HMSHost media director, in an email. “With the success of Shula’s Restaurant Group in South Florida, we decided it was a natural fit.”

Jose Tequileria, which opened in October 2011, serves drinks and Mexican dishes also in the pre-security area. When I stopped by this week, the bar was in the process of redoing its food menu and offering only free chips and guacamole.

Two Great American Bagel storefronts opened in December on concourses B and C. At the same time, Palm City Market on Concourse D morphed from cafeteria-style service to sit-down waited service only, dropping its take-out availability.

Shula’s has picked up the to-go slack. For eat-in diners, there’s seating inside the wood-paneled dining room and away from airport bustle or on a patio-style area, where diners can watch the drama of airport foot traffic. The restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Omelets and cinnamon-vanilla French toast ($9) kick off the day. The main menu stays in play for lunch and dinner with an emphasis on martinis, burgers, and steaks. It also lists nine appetizers, perfect for those on a tight travel schedule. We tried the blue cheese chips ($8) – crispy thin kettle fries topped with creamy, thick blue cheese dressing and bacon. And simply divine.

Other quickies or starters range from blackened tenderloin tips with béarnaise and barbecue sauce ($14) to sweet chili chicken bites ($9). Seafood is well-represented: a BBQ shrimp appetizer ($14), Asian tuna salad ($16), tuna “burger” ($12), and grilled, blackened, or pan-seared Atlantic salmon ($22).

The Shula Burger ($11) tops the list of creative ground meat variations. This one is classic with options to add cheese, caramelized onions, double-cut peppered bacon, or red onion jam. The Wine Country Burger ($13) layers on roasted peppers and tomatoes, goat cheese, and balsamic greens.

We sampled from the sandwich and seafood selections with the tuna burger and a flat-iron steak to represent the entrée and meat contingencies. The tuna was a thick, quality filet seared to preference on a whole wheat bun – nice touch; the slaw side scored properly creamy and crunchy.

The Shula Cut ($32) steak is clearly signature as a 6-ounce filet mignon or 12-ounce New York strip. But we were looking for something zingier and found it in the zesty red pepper chimichurri that topped the flat-iron steak. Asparagus came with, grilled to perfection and nicely accented with a sweet balsamic reduction. The fat French fries weighed in the lowest of all we tried, a tad on the greasy side.

Cocktails and wine, the lists as long as the food menu, dabble in vintages both familiar and not-so-much, mojito martinis, margaritas, and an intriguing Hennessy Martini Sangria ($12).

Our efficient and personable server insisted we try the key lime pie, which we found custard-y and justly tart with a buttery graham cracker crust. In the end, I couldn’t remember a better meal at an airport in this country or any other.


Shula’s Bar & Grill
Where: Main terminal at Southwest Florida International Airport, 11000 Terminal Access Road, Fort Myers
Prices: Breakfast entrees $8.50-$10: All-day starters $7-14; sandwiches and entrees $9-$32.
Information: (239) 229-4683 or visit


Come buy with me: Vintage Wings of Ottawa Opens Store at Airport

Vintage Wings of Canada's Michael Potter opened the Gear-Up boutique, which offers aviation heritage clothing, in the arrivals area of the Ottawa International Airport. 

Vintage airplane enthusiasts in Ottawa now have the chance to check out memoribilia of their favourite historical Canadian aircraft.

The Vintage Wings of Canada has opened its 'Gear-Up Store' at the Ottawa Airport, offering up a collection of heritage aviation clothing and models.

All of the funds raised will go towards supporting the charitable side of the organization, which restores and flies historical Canadian aircraft dating back to World War I.

The Ottawa Airport boutique is the first of six shops to open across Canada in the next few years.

A large portion of the funds will be put towards the group's flagship show, the Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa, which draws more than 20,000 spectators every September.

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Regional district criticized over airport fence

The new fence will cut off access to the Columbia River Flats in the airport area. 
Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

A local resident is seriously questioning the Columbia Shuswap Regional District's decision to block access to the Columbia River flats near the Revelstoke Airport.

"The way they went ... about this makes you wonder if further actions to cut off access will happen just out of the blue," said Jim Maitre, who lives near the Airport. "They don't talk to anyone about it, there's no signs to indicate potential hazards for people running around the runway. They just arbitrarily closed access and there's no reason to think they won't close other access."

Maitre was reacting to a decision by the CSRD to place a fence that would block access to the trail used to access the area.

The CSRD, which operates the airport, said the action was being taken because of concerns that people and their pets accessing the runaway could conflict with aircraft taking off or landing at the airport.

"We don't have any known instances of individuals interfering with air traffic but the hazard is there," said Loni Parker, the director for Area B of the CSRD. "Any time you have people and dogs alongside runways there's always an oportunity for a dog to go off and chase something onto the runway."

There was no public consultation done on the issue and residents were not notified of the changes. The CSRD sent out an announcement last Tuesday morning announcing the decision. "I expect we probably will have people calling us," said Parker. "We're prepared to answer their questions."

She recognized the area was popular but added, "It's also an airport. I don't know of any airports that aren't secured against the public going in or accessing the runways."

The district said it considered placing a $100,000 fence alongside the south side of the runway but the cost was prohibitive. Instead it is installing a smaller, $18,000 fence that would block the access path.

The area is used by many people to walk their dogs, ride their bikes and for cross-country skiing, said Maitre. 

"I understand their need to have some sort of security out there but I think public education and consultation are in order out here," he said. "They seem to make these decisions in Salmon Arm with the help of other people and it doesn't seem to reflect the wishes of people around here."

He said improved signage and enforcement would be a better solution than the fence. 

"Making it clear that if the airport manager catches anyone and their dog up there, they're going to be faced with a fine," he said. "If somebody needs to be made an example of for bad actions, then so be it. I agree that airport security is paramount."


East Africa: EA Aviation Facing Severe Manpower Loss

Nairobi, Kenya — The East African aviation industry is losing highly skilled manpower to other countries, especially the Middle East.

The General Secretary for the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Raymond Benjamin said until recently, the rate of loss was manageable but it is now important to avert a crisis by focusing on the training and hiring of more staff.

Low pay has however resulted in brain-drain as Kenyan pilots leave to seek better returns with international airlines.

Regional airlines have voiced their concern about losing pilots to the bigger players.

Benjamin was speaking during the launch of a training programme for pilots, air traffic controllers and technical staff.

Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Hilary Kioko said the national airspace regulator has spent Sh1.2 billion over 10 years to improve the East African School of Aviation (EASA).

Kioko said the funds have been used to improve on infrastructure, training facilities as well as instructor development programs.

Kioko added that it will contribute largely to Vision 2030 by helping the aviation industry meet its human resource needs.

Kenya needs 2,000 more pilots to meet the current demand of 5,000 pilots. There are 500 aircraft engineers at the moment.

Estimated costs for training a traffic controller stands at Sh3.5 million while an aviation engineer takes up Sh1 million at the diploma level.

"We are looking to set up schools of excellence in every county that will set the standards for any new training facility," Benjamin further added.

He said most of the skills offered by private colleges cannot be absorbed by international airlines because they don't have recognised certification.

The airlines industry has in the recent past witnessed expansion and entry of new players that has piled pressure on the local talent pool.

The number of aircraft landing in Kenya has also increased from 757 in 2008 to 1,056 in 2011 with operators acquiring bigger aircraft.


by baixadoetravado on Apr 2, 2012 

Aproximação para SBRP - Ribeirão Preto / Aeroporto Leite Lopes em condições VMC diurno. Procedimento RNAV para pista 36 Aeronave A320 procedente de Congonhas  (Sugestão pedroocosta100) 

Virgin spends £50m on jets clean-up

Virgin Atlantic is investing more than £50m to spruce up a fleet of the airline's jumbo jets. More than 100 members of staff will spend over 95,000 hours fitting 32,000 new parts to Boeing 747s based at Gatwick airport. 

Seats will be ripped out, carpets replaced, a new in-flight entertainment system installed and the outside of the seven aircraft will be repainted. 

Passengers travelling to holiday destinations such as Orlando, the Caribbean and Las Vegas will be first to travel on the refurbished planes later in the year.

Future bright for Gippsland

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan turned the first sod at Latrobe Regional airport as part of the State Government's funding injection into a Gippsland Aeronautics project. 

THE turning of the sod at Latrobe Regional Airport has been marked as "a huge step for the aviation industry" in the region.

According to Gippsland Aeronautics chief executive Terry Miles, joint funds from the State Government and Latrobe City Council would go a long way in establishing the future of Gippsland's aviation industry.

"It shows that there's no limit to what we can develop here," Mr Miles said.

"It signals the creation of up to 20 new jobs and shows that we're here for long term growth."

Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan who was present to welcome the joint partnership between the government and council, heralded the event as "a case of welcome to the future".

"This is about building opportunities and creating niche products that no one else in Australia can do," Mr Ryan said.

Latrobe City Council contributed $500,000 towards the upgrade of the airport, while $1.5 million from the State Government's Regional Growth Fund was used to create a new hanger in the airport.

Council is currently awaiting on the outcome of its application for the Federal Government's Regional Australia Development Fund, if successful, it could pave the way for the manufacturing of GA18 aircraft.

This project is expected to trigger job opportunities in the region.

Latrobe City councillor and LRA board member Graeme Middlemiss signalled the airport as a hub for "economic diversification", adding it presented the region with a positive future ahead.


Airport workers see man playing with live bat

A live bat was found near the interisland terminal at Honolulu International Airport on Monday afternoon.  

Airport security personnel saw a man playing with the bat and tossing it in the air outside of the lobby near Baggage Claim B. 

The bat was recovered by security personnel and turned over to the Transportation Safety Administration which called inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

The bat died overnight and a necropsy was conducted Tuesday by state veterinarians. 

The Department of Health’s laboratory completed rabies tests which were negative for the virus.
Identification of the species of the bat is ongoing, but local authorities believe the bat is not a Hawaiian hoary bat.  

The bat was brown in color and had a wingspan of about nine inches. It is not known where the bat came from or how it got to the airport.

“Keeping Hawaii rabies free is one of the highest priorities of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture,” said Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Incidents like this remind us that it is not just a concern for animal health, but also human health.” 

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaii is the only state and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free.

Luscombe Silvaire 8, N71479: Accident occurred April 03, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Comment:   "Paul L. Taylor purchased property from my dad's estate. He hasn't made a single payment on his note, which were supposed to begin June 1, 2014. All correspondence has been ignored or refused. Please comment or email if you can help me track him down."

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA269 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 03, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2012
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8A, registration: N71479
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was landing the tailwheel-equipped airplane at the conclusion of a cross-country flight. He reported that he applied the left brake during the landing roll, and the airplane veered off the left side of the runway and traveled down an embankment, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing and right elevator. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s loss of directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion.

Taylor has a new best friend in his 1946 Luscombe.
Credit: Hickory Daily Record

TARENTUM, Pa. -- A 90-year-old pilot walked away uninjured after his small plane careened off the runway and down a hillside at Rock Airport on Tuesday night.

West Deer Township Police Chief John Lape said the pilot, Paul Taylor, celebrated his 90th birthday in February.

Taylor was landing his plane when it went off the runway and down a hill, Lape said.

"He said it was his fault he went off the runway. Nothing happened with the plane. The plane was intact," Lape said.

Taylor told Channel 4 Action News that he flew in World War II and has been flying since the 1930s.

He said he bought his 1946 Luscombe a year ago and was flying the plane back from Hickory, N.C., en route to Butler, but decided to land at Rock Airport because the hour was getting late.

"Basically, it got into a small, rabbit-hopping operation, and I didn't have enough room on the side of the runway to actually correct it. That's why it went off," Taylor said.

Despite going off the runway, Taylor said he was able to remain calm because no large rocks or trees were in his path. But he also said the landscape didn't help matters.

"The runway is up here. That angle is the bank going away from the runway, with very little room between the runway and where the bank is. If I had more room there, I could have saved it," he said.

Watch Video:

Bomb threat on Virgin flight

UPDATE: A MAN was last night charged with a federal offense after allegedly telling people on a plane, he had a bomb.

The 24-year-old man from Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast was one of two passengers escorted off a Virgin plane at the Rockhampton Airport yesterday afternoon.

A police spokesman last night confirmed the man had been charged with making threats and false statements, which comes under Federal Legislation - the Crimes Aviation Act.

Emergency services were called about 3pm in relation to the scare on flight DJ1244, which was due to fly from Rockhampton to Brisbane.

Police confirmed the second man had been taken into custody, questioned and released without being charged.

At least three police units were dispatched to the airport and the plane was parked some distance from airport buildings.

It's believed airport security staff isolated a travel bag belonging to one passenger.

A Virgin spokeswoman confirmed two guests were offloaded from flight DJ1244 about2.50pm.

The spokeswoman said the aircraft was cleared for departure at 4.10pm, incurring a short delay.

The Mermaid Waters man is due to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on April 20.

Rockhampton Regional Council owns the airport and would only confirm an incident had taken place at the airport as investigations were still underway at close of business yesterday.

UPDATE 8.50pm: ONE man has been charged in relation to the bomb threat on a Virgin flight at the Rockhampton Airport this afternoon.

UPDATE 5.40pm: A MAN is currently assisting police with enquiries about a bomb threat made on a Virgin flight about 3pm this afternoon.

BREAKING 3.30pm: Police are investigating reports of a Virgin passenger making threats on a plane at Rockhampton Airport.

Details are sketchy but it's believed police have escorted a passenger off a Virgin plane while airport security staff are isolating his travel bag.

Job done: Rebuilding a Russian Yak3 World War II fighter

Blenheim aviation engineer Jay McIntyre and his team have finished three years of work rebuilding a Russian Yak3 World War II fighter plane in his hangar at Omaka for co-owner Graeme Frew, of Auckland. 

 A Blenheim aviation engineering firm has farewelled the result of three years' hard work rebuilding a Russian Yak3 World War II fighter plane.

Plane co-owner and Auckland pilot Graeme Frew flew the plane from Omaka Club Airfield yesterday bound for the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow, which starts tomorrow.

Blenheim aviation engineer Jay McIntyre, of JEM Aviation, has been working on the project in his hangar at Omaka since 2009, when the plane arrived as a collection of parts in boxes. He has been supported by Mr Frew's nephew Daniel Frew and staff members Dick Veale, Marty Nicoll and Chris O'Connor.

Mr McIntyre said he was sad to see the plane leave his hangar.

"It's kind of like the youngest child leaving home, but it has to be done.

"We just hope that we have delivered an exceptional product, that won't let the owner down.

"There have been a lot of head-scratching moments during the build, but nothing we haven't been able to get through and I have to thank the owner for his fortitude to keep going with the project."

Mr Frew, who is an Air New Zealand pilot, said he was overwhelmed with the finished plane.

"It's just incredible," he said yesterday.

"It sounds fantastic, it looks great and it's been the culmination of a fairly big dream. The guys have worked hard, long and tiring hours. It's testament to how professional and hard-working these lads are, and I'm forever grateful for their work."

The plane will be part of the air displays over Wanaka during the weekend, watched by thousands of spectators.

Mr Frew's friend and experienced pilot Frank Parker will be at the controls.

"I'll be a very proud man seeing that up in the sky, that's for sure," Mr Frew said.

"Frank has got endless experience and I know it can't be in safer hands. It's certainly going to be a very special moment in my life and I'll treasure it."

Mr Frew had his first go at the controls on Thursday last week, taking the plane for an engine run above the airfield under the guidance of Mr Parker, and said it was exhilarating.

The plane received its official flying certification yesterday.

"It's unbelievable and doesn't even compare with flying a commercial plane," he said. "These days the commercial planes are all silenced, whereas with a plane like this, it's all noise, noise, noise.

"Flying this type of plane really stimulates the senses and the adrenaline pumps through the veins. It's unreal and a dream come true."

The Yak will return to Omaka after the airshow, before heading to Auckland.

CanJet and Boeing ink gear exchange deal

CanJet Airlines of Halifax has become the first Canadian customer for a Boeing landing gear exchange program.

Boeing, based in Dallas, said in an announcement Wednesday participants in the landing gear program will receive fully overhauled and certified landing gear during scheduled maintenance cycles.

Dale Wilkinson, vice-president of the Boeing commercial airplanes material services division, said the program gives customers an alternative to a capital investment in new landing gear.

“The landing gear exchange program allows our airline customers to focus on what they do best,” Wilkinson said in a news release.

Boeing offers the service and support of the landing gear exchange program to 78 customers around the world.

CanJet’s exchanges are scheduled for 2012 and 2013.

Kent Woodside, executive vice-president of operations for CanJet, said Boeing was selected as landing gear provider after careful consideration.

“Their 100 per cent on-time delivery history showed us that they care about our success,” Woodside said in the news release.

Geriatric Pilots on a mission for members

Left, Arnie Eckert,82, of Irondequoit together with others, listens to Jon Van Derhoof (CQ),73, of Dansville talk about landing experiences at a Geriatric Pilots Association luncheon at the Holiday Inn across from the airport in Rochester, N.Y. on Thursday March 15 2012. Eckert is a former civilian pilot and Derhoof a former civilian pilot and flight instructor, who says "No accidents, no incidents" about his experience in aviation. Many of the members had experience in WWII as pilots or other flight related jobs. The organization has been around for 20 years and members meet once a month.
 CARLOS ORTIZ/staff photographer 

WWII B-17 tail gunner Charlie Corea,90, of East Rochester talks about his experiences in Germany at a Geriatric Pilots Association luncheon at the Holiday Inn across from the airport in Rochester, N.Y. on Thursday March 15 2012. Many of the members had experience in WWII as pilots or other flight related jobs. The organization has been around for 20 years and members meet once a month.
CARLOS ORTIZ/staff photographer

It all began when a couple of World War II-era pilots went out for breakfast sometime in 1986 or ’87.

The exact date is unknown; at the time, it seemed like nothing more than an inconsequential cup of coffee a way for two pilots to swap stories.

But the informal gathering sparked interest within the Rochester aviation community. Before long, a group of both military and civilian pilots were meeting regularly and calling themselves the Geriatric Pilots Association (and yes, they have a sense of humor about their name, says longtime member Elmer Pancratz).

At its peak about 10 years ago, the Geriatric Pilots Association boasted more than 175 members. Monthly meetings drew 40 or 50 people. As members aged into their 80s and 90s, though, health problems emerged, and some members passed away. The group began to falter.

The crisis point came last year, when attendance at meetings was at an all-time low. There was talk of disbanding.

“There were some of us who said, we just can’t do that,” said Pancratz, 89, a retired major in the Air Force Reserves. “We’ve been too active and we’ve cherished each other’s company for too long . . . There’s a camaraderie in the military that just is there, and usually doesn’t go away. Even if you did totally different jobs, if you’ve been in the same conflict, there’s a bond there. We said, we can’t just walk away from that unless we’re sure.”

So the Geriatric Pilots are on a mission to improve membership numbers and keep the group going. They’re reaching out to veterans of other wars, civilian pilots, and anybody else interested in aviation. Pancratz said he would like to see the group continue its social function of bringing together people who love flying.



The Geriatric Pilots Association has always been about exchanging stories.

Paul Roxin, 95, has been a member of the group since its inception. He was a flight instructor before WWII, and in 1938, he went to work for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (the precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration) in airway traffic control and communications. Although he tried to join the military on several occasions, the government said he was too valuable to the CAA. He remained a civilian. In November 1941, Roxin was transferred to Rochester and worked at the airport here in his capacity as a CAA employee.

 For about a year and a half during the war, Roxin worked as an adjunct instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The war had an impact on his non-military work as well: He still recalls the busiest day he ever had, in the summer of 1944, when he and a colleague cleared 160 B-17s and B-24s as they made their way through Rochester en route to Bangor, Maine and then over to Europe for a mission.

Roxin has formed many friendships through the Geriatric Pilots Association over the years. There’s something intangible about the experience of being a pilot that makes it easy for pilots to relate to each other, he said — something about understanding both the romance and the risks of flying a plane.

“You can get away with some stupid things,” Roxin said. “But if you go too far, it can be fatal.”

Longtime member and retired Air Force Capt. David Cole, 89, tells the story of when he and some comrades got separated from their group during a mission in 1945. Bad weather was to blame. Cole’s crew finished the mission with another squadron and returned to their barracks, only to find their fellow servicemen packing up their belongings.

“They just assumed that we had been shot down or lost,” Cole said.

The next morning at church, the chaplain asked everyone to pray for the gunners who were missing in action, not having heard the news that they’d already arrived back safely. At the end of the service, Cole and the others approached the chaplain and told him they were the ones he’d asked everyone to pray for.

“He was happy, and we were too!” Cole said.


A new mission

Cole would like to see the Geriatric Pilots Association get some younger members — despite the group’s name — as World War II veterans and their contemporaries won’t be around forever.

Or as Pancratz puts it, “Us old guys are disappearing at a rapid clip.”

For his part, Pancratz plans to stay involved with the group as long as he can. He especially enjoys speaking to students at Brighton High School, something that members of the group have done for many years.

“As long as I can be ‘vertical,’ I will do it,” Pancratz said. “There are so many (WWII) stories that won’t be told, because there are so many vets who either can’t or won’t tell their stories.”

He tells students of his own experience in tactical reconnaissance; he flew planes over Germany and took pictures. He flew 43 missions and was “shot at plenty of times,” providing plenty of excitement, but not too much, as he likes to say.

Pancratz hopes that the pilots group will continue long after he and his friends have passed on. In the meantime, he will do what he can to educate others about WWII.

“We are living history. Disappearing history, but still living history,” Pancratz said. “As I tell the kids, if you have any questions, ask them now! We just may not be around next year to answer them.”


Salvation of a Spitfire: For 40 years it lay decaying but thanks to one man's passion (and £3m) it's soaring again

Cleared for take-off: The rare Mk1 Spitfire was painstakingly restored at Biggin Hill 

Restored: The Spitfire flies above the Biggin Hill airbase having been rebuilt four decades after it crashed 

  Reunited: Seventy years after he flew her aged 20, Howard Squire climbs into the cockpit of his Spitfire

Taking to the skies again over the green fields of England for the first time since it was downed during World War II, this Spitfire in its British standard camouflage colours epitomises the heroic defiance of our island nation against the might of the Nazi onslaught.

The stunning sight above Biggin Hill airfield in South-East London is the result of an eight-year restoration project which cost £3 million.

The Mk1 Supermarine Spitfire — one of just three in existence which are still airworthy — has been completely rebuilt using original Spitfire parts salvaged from aircraft which flew in the Battle of Britain.

Its reconstruction was made  possible only after a team of some 30 dedicated restorers gathered the parts from more than 20 aircraft enthusiasts from all over the UK.

The plane had lain submerged in a North Yorkshire river for decades after 20-year-old fighter pilot Howard Squire bailed out during a training exercise in 1940.

It came to light only when water levels fell during the 1976 drought, exposing the wreckage embedded in a clay riverbank.

The wrecked plane ended up in the hands of a North Yorkshire collector, and some years later it came to the attention of former commercial pilot Peter Monk, 48, who supervised the restoration.

Mr Monk, who runs The Spitfire Company at Biggin Hill — which reconstructs old planes — and is considered to be the world’s leading expert on early Spitfire restoration, took ownership of the legendary fighter in 2004, in exchange for a truckload of Avro Lancaster bomber parts.

‘I was on the search for Spitfire parts, so I went to see this chap in Yorkshire,’ explains Mr Monk.

‘He mentioned he had some wreckage in store and I was taken aback by how much there was of it.

There was the fuselage, engine, propeller and a third of each wing. There was more than enough to start a restoration.’

The project was given a huge boost when the Spitfire was bought — for an amount Mr Monk says he found ‘very difficult to refuse’ — by Texan businessman Dan Friedkin, grandson of Pacific Southwest Airlines founder Kenny Friedkin, in 2009.

Kenny had been an American  volunteer with the Royal Air Force before the U.S. entered the war. Dan, 46, and his billionaire father, Tom, now have two airworthy Mk1s. The other is owned by the Queen.

Peter Monk was kept on to supervise the restoration. ‘The whole point was to use as many original parts as possible,’ he says. ‘It would have been easy to get these parts made new, but I would rather get in the car and drive 100 miles if an original part exists. It’s a testament to how good they were in the first place — that so much effort was put into the original parts.’

This Mk1 came down during a training session on December 28, 1940, when Howard Squire, then a promising sergeant pilot, was being given a lesson by a New Zealand fighter ace, Flight Lieutenant Al Deere DFC, over fields close to RAF Catterick in North Yorkshire.

Flt Lt Deere was giving Sgt Squire a lesson in how to keep close to an enemy aircraft and told him: ‘Stick to me like glue.’

But Squire took the advice too  literally and his plane hit Deere’s. Both men bailed out safely, and Squire’s plane plummeted into the River Leven, where it lay our of sight and out of mind for decades.

A lovely footnote to the story is that Howard Squire — who was shot down near Calais in February 1941 and spent more than four years as a PoW — was reunited with the plane two years ago, months before his death at the age of 90.

So what is it like to fly today? Pilot Paul Bonnehome, 47, has put the Mk1 — the fastest plane in the Battle of Britain — through its paces, reaching 400mph in a steep dive. He says: ‘Flying it is a bit nerve-racking as you are taking a priceless piece of history into the air.

‘It’s like driving down the High Street in a Ford Model T. But it flies brilliantly. My strongest feeling is to give thanks to those guys who were there to fly these in the first place, so we can do this now.’

The Mk1 was the original incarnation of the Spitfire and the first of its kind off the production line. Now, more than seven decades after its finest hour, it has returned to the skies in all its glory.

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Aviation company displays Clearwater man's restored Piper Cub to mark 75th anniversary

Geri Crosby of Clearwater was asked to bring her husband’s 1946 Piper J-3 Cub to Lakeland’s recent Sun ’n Fun air show to commemorate Piper’s 75th anniversary. 

CLEARWATER — After her husband, Walter, died in January, Geri Crosby figured her days of Piper Cubs and air shows were over.

That all changed last week after Piper Aircraft asked her to bring her late husband's restored Piper J-3 Cub to the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, an annual air show that attracts tens of thousands to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Piper Aircraft wanted to display the pristine plane, built in 1946, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of both the Piper Cub and Piper Aircraft.

So Geri, a Clearwater resident, went to the air show and told the story of how Walter's friends had finished restoring the plane for him as he was dying from cancer and how he watched it fly just days before he died in January.

At the air show, the plane drew much praise while stirring up lots of memories and emotions for onlookers.

"People talked about how they took their first plane ride or flying lessons in a Piper," said Geri. "And those who knew Walter said he would be so pleased to know his plane was featured in the air show."

Not only that, it was entered into judging at the air show and was named the best restoration for classic aircraft with engines under 100 horsepower.

Geri and Walter were 15-year volunteers for the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, which ended this year's six-day run on Sunday with a performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. This was the first time Geri had been there without her husband.

"It could have been very difficult, but it turned out to be wonderful," she said.

Jacqueline Carlon, director of marketing for Piper Aircraft, said the company had been on the hunt for a special Piper Cub to celebrate the 75th anniversary when they heard about the Crosbys and their special story.

"Even though we don't build the plane anymore, we wanted to pay homage to the Cub because it is such a symbol of our heritage," Carlon said. "William T. Piper's intent was to make flying accessible to everyone. He wanted it to be just like owning a car."

The plane, typically yellow and embellished with a black lightning bolt on the side, has become the icon of personal flight for many Americans. Cubs were simple, lightweight and affordable, making them an ideal aircraft for training civilian and World War II pilots to fly.

About 20,000 Piper Cubs were manufactured between 1937 and 1947, Carlon said.

In January, a Tampa Bay Times story detailed how the couple bought the classic two-seater plane for $650 in 1962. Over the years, Walter's plans to restore the dilapidated plane were stymied by family, work and other obligations. For decades, its wings, fuselage and propellers were stowed in the attic, under beds, in the dining room.

When he retired, Walter finally began a seven-year restoration effort and also earned a pilot's license. Six years ago, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and began battling the disease.

But late last year, when it became apparent that Walter didn't have much longer to live, his aviation buddies worked day and night to complete the restoration and get the plane airborne.

Though Walter would never fly it or ride in it, he did see it take off twice from his bedroom window overlooking Clearwater Airpark — 50 years after the plane was rescued from a scrap yard.

Piper isn't the only one with a 75th anniversary to celebrate. Geri will turn 75 this year. Walter would have as well.

"I'm sorry I don't have him around to tell this great story to," Geri said. "I hope though — I believe — he already knows."