Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chilean Air Force commander denies hiding info about plane crash

 Jorge Rojas says the aircraft was in ‘perfect working order’ until the time of the crash.

In an attempt to put an end to probing investigations into the Juan Fernández Island plane crash, the head of the Chilean Air Force (FACh) on Wednesday denied the existence of any hidden vital information.

FACh Cmdr. Jorge Rojas met with Appeals Court Minister Juan Cristóbal Mera at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and gave him access to the military accident report. Mera was appointed to oversee the investigation. This comes two days after Defense Minister Andres Allamand gave FACh 48 hours to deliver all important information regarding the plane crash.

Shortly after the meeting, Rojas issued a brief statement asserting the institutional transparency of FACh.

“I want to emphasize on behalf of the Air Force in Chile that the information regarding the crash has never been a military secret,” Rojas told Radio Bio Bio. “I have given the minister the entire history of maintenance processes of the CASA 212 aircraft. Information which certifies that the system was in perfect working order until the time of the accident.” 

The plane carrying military personnel, a news team, officials of the National Council for Culture and the Arts and volunteers from the Lift Chile Challenge crashed into the sea on Sept. 5, 2011 near the Juan Fernández Island (also known as Robinson Crusoe Island). All 21 passengers on board were killed.

Following the crash, the military had been reluctant to reveal information regarding the plane and the circumstances of the crash, describing these details as military secrets. 

An investigation carried out by La Tercera revealed that the plane had at least one maintenance order pending before the crash occurred. This applies specifically toward a set of bolts connecting the two halves of the control column, which had been described by the pilot as in need of repair. 

Mera was also given access to inspect the remains of wreckage of the CASA 212 aircraft. 

Due to heightened public interest in story, Secretary General of the Government, Andrés Chadwick, has also stepped in the debate.

"The government's commitment is that all research is done as swiftly as possible,” Chadwick told Radio Cooperativa. “We want all the information to be available to the judge and to ensure there is total and absolute transparency."

Low-flying planes to spray for gypsy moths in Clark, Logan counties

The Ohio Department of Agriculture plans to dispatch low-flying airplanes in late April to spray 350 acres in Clark and Logan counties for gypsy moths.

The 100-acre Clark County target area is on Saint Paris Pike between Upper Valley Pike and Hominy Ridge Road. The 250 acres in Logan County are near East Liberty.

April 19 is the tentative first date of spraying, but the timing will depend on the weather.

The destructive moth has been spreading through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Clark and Logan counties are in a transition zone between infested and uninfested areas.

In its caterpillar or larval stage, the gypsy moth “feeds on the leaves of trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak,” said a department press release. “A healthy tree can usually withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged.”

Ohio State University Extension Agent Pam Bennett says infestations are unpleasant.

“I can tell you that you don’t want these caterpillars on our trees and in our backyards,” Bennett said. “They are extremely messy to the point that you stand under an infested tree and literally hear their frass (leavings) drop from the tree.

“The longer we can keep them out the area, the better.”

The Department of Agriculture said it sprays affected areas with Foray, a “naturally occurring bacterium found in the soil that interferes with the caterpillars’ feeding cycles.”

Foray “is not toxic to humans, pets, birds or fish,” the release said.

Although fond of oaks, the moth feeds on more than 300 tree and shrub species.

Maps of the areas to be treated are listed by county at, and updates on days of treatment are available by calling (614) 387-0907.

This summer, a 900-acre area of Clark County in the same vicinity will be treated in the mating disruption phase of the gypsy moth program.

2 US Marines killed, 2 injured in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco — Two U.S. Marines were killed and two severely injured in the crash of a hybrid aircraft in Morocco on Wednesday, officials said.

The Marines were taking part in joint U.S.-Moroccan military excercises located in the south of the country based in Agadir, said U.S. Embassy spokesman Rodney Ford in Rabat, who gave the toll.

Capt. Kevin Schultz, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon in Washington, confirmed that the aircraft involved was an MV-22 Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane. The aircraft was participating in a U.S.-Moroccan military exercise known as "African Lion."

The Osprey was flying from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is in the early stages of investigation.

The annual exercise which began in 2008 runs from April 7 to 18 and involves 1,000 U.S. Marines and 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen. They were working with some 900 Moroccan soldiers.

According to the U.S. Marine website, the exercise involved "everything from combined arms fire and maneuver ranges, aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, to command post and non-lethal weapons training."
The main unit involved in the exercise is the 14th Marines, a reserve artillery regiment based in Fort Worth, Texas, but also includes members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The goal of the exercise is to train the two countries' forces to work together.

Further information about the crash was being withheld until the next of kin of the killed and injured Marines were notified, said Rodney Ford, spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Rabat.

The MV-22, a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter, is designed to carry 24 combat troops and fly twice as fast as the Vietnam War-era assault helicopters it was to replace.

The Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and two test crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000. But development continued, and the aircraft have been deployed to Iraq.

While the General Accounting Office questioned the Osprey's performance in a report last year, the Marine Corps has called it effective.

An Air Force version of the aircraft crashed in Afghanistan in April 2010, killing three service members and one civilian contractor.

Plane 'suffered fuel supply problems' before fatal crash in Salford killed pilot Ian Daglish

A light aircraft that crashed into two houses in Peel Green in Salford, killing the pilot, probably suffered a fuel supply problem, an air accident report revealed.

 No-one on the ground was hurt but the Piper PA38's pilot, Ian Daglish, 59, died later in hospital, the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.Mr Daglish's 19-year-old passenger Joel McNicholls was seriously hurt in the crash on the morning of July 29 last year.Leaving Manchester/Barton City Airport, the aircraft suffered an engine stoppage on take-off at about 200ft. It rolled to the left, with the extension roof of the first house most likely being struck by the aircraft's right wing. 

The underside of the aircraft then hit the side wall of a neighbouring house, with the wrecked and on-fire aircraft coming to rest in a driveway between the two homes.The AAIB report said: "The account of the passenger and the findings from the investigation support a fuel supply problem as being the most likely cause of the engine stoppage."The AAIB went on: "Although other potential causes for the engine stoppage could not be eliminated from the investigation, the most likely cause, based on the available evidence, was that stiffness of the fuel selector valve and wear on the rod connecting it to the selector handle, may have resulted in the valve being in an intermediate position during the take-off.

 "This would have reduced the fuel flow to a level too low to sustain continuous engine operation."The report added: "The suddenness of the engine stopping and the limited time available to react to it probably resulted in the pilot omitting to lower the nose before the aircraft stalled."Once the aircraft stalled, it is highly unlikely that he could have recovered the aircraft in the height available."Father-of-two Mr Daglish, from Alderley Edge, Cheshire, was a military historian and wrote a series of books about Second World War battles. He described himself on his website as a "battlefield mythbuster".Colin Maher, whose home was hit, said at the time that he had run into his garden and saw the plane alight.

 "I heard a man shout for help and just put a hosepipe on him," Mr Maher told the BBC.Man dies after light aircraft crashes into houses in SalfordParents' hopes as son hurt in Salford plane crash is brought out of coma

Man dies after light aircraft crashes into houses in SalfordParents' hopes as son hurt in Salford plane crash is brought out of comaSalford plane crash boy volunteered for flight just before take-off

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Quick-thinking pilot shares his tale

AN 83-YEAR-OLD pilot has told of the terrifying moment he was forced to crash-land his home-made plane into trees near Coleambally last week.

Rudy Meyer, a retired Coly rice farmer whose extraordinary life is the subject of an upcoming book, was taking off in his home-made ultralight from the local airstrip about 9am on Thursday morning when disaster struck.

Mr Meyer lost control of the plane when luggage he had packed in the second cockpit of the aircraft came loose and jammed the controls.

With the plane flying about 12 metres above the ground, Mr Meyer had to act fast, ditching the plane in a clump of boree trees.

He remained conscious throughout the ordeal, even calmly calling his wife Dorothy on his mobile phone to tell her: “I’ve crashed the plane”.

Mr Meyer, who was heading to the Temora air show at the time, suffered a compound fracture of the right heel and a fracture of the left ankle heel and is likely to remain in the Canberra Hospital for up to three months.

Speaking to the Coly-Point Observer on Monday, Mr Meyer said the accident would not deter him from continuing his life-long passion for flying.

“I will fly again,” he declared. “Flying isn’t dangerous when you do the right thing.

“I remember just as I got airborne, some luggage came loose and pushed up against the joystick so I couldn’t move it.

“I tried to elevate the plane but I couldn’t and I hit the trees. I was very fortunate really, the wing took the brunt of the punishment and the fuel tanks didn’t ignite.”

-The Observer

Private airline steps in to carry Air Tanzania Company Limited passengers

Kigoma airport workers look at an ATCL aircraft 5H-MWG on April 9th

The Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) management has entered into an agreement with Precision Air to carry its already booked passengers for a week while finalizing the maintenance of another plane expected to start operations next month. 

This follows the crash of its plane while taking off at the lake side town of Kigoma on April 9th in which all the 35 passengers and crew aboard cheated death.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian yesterday in Dar es Salaam ATCL’s Acting Managing Director Paul Chizi said they were depressed over the recent incident as they were gearing up to improve the company’s situation.

Chizi noted that they had agreed with Precision Air to carry its already booked passengers for a week.

“We decided to find other options that would see that our customers are never stranded because of lacking our services…we are collaborating with Precision Air to see that they transport our customers for one week, ” explained Chizi.

He said all the 35 passengers and crew aboard the ill-fated plane were transported back to Dar es Salaam and it would see to it that all its passengers who had previously booked with ATCL were transported as arranged.

“We had a meeting on Monday to see how we would resume services. The decision we reached is to find other options to ensure our customers who had earlier booked flights with us do not get stranded, hence we agreed with Precision Air to do so until all the passengers have been transported,” he said.

On Monday, 35 passengers and crew aboard an Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATC) flight ‘Ft 119’ from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam cheated death after the plane crashed on take-off at the lake-side town.

By David Kisanga, The Guardian 

$3 Million Sent to Assist Lambert Cargo Campaign

CLAYTON (KMOX) – Efforts to land a cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport are getting a $3 million cash infusion, though not everybody agrees with writing the check.

“That particular project is not strong enough or firm enough” to warrant the grant, St. Louis County councilwoman Colleen Wasinger said after casting the lone “no” vote Tuesday on steering community development block grant funds from Lemay to Lambert.

Wasinger stressed that she does have confidence in the Midwest Hub Commission and in its leaders, she just believes that the efforts are futile until state legislators step-up with support.

“It’s a band-aid until the state legislature takes up the issue, which I do not believe will happen this session,” she said. “It may very well happen next year.”

Improvements to be Made to Trenton-Mercer Airport Taxiway

Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued recently by the Mercer County administration.

Mercer County announces it received a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant of $25,625 to go toward the necessary engineering for rehabilitation and improvements to taxiways H, B and F at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing.

This latest grant adds to the $973,750 received from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project, bringing the total, with the county’s apportionment, to $1,025,000. Work is scheduled to begin this summer.

“Mercer County is extremely pleased to have received this $1,025,000 grant for taxiway improvements at Trenton-Mercer Airport and we thank State DOT Commissioner James Simpson for his continued support,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “We continue to make upgrades and improvements at Trenton-Mercer that keep our airport competitive with other regional airports and attractive to potential carriers, and we believe Trenton-Mercer is vital to the continued economic growth in Mercer County and the surrounding region.”

“Our public use airports fill an important niche in New Jersey’s vast and varied transportation network,” state DOT Commissioner James Simpson said. “Public use airports provide a recreational option for residents as well as convenience and mobility for businesses and their clients. Support of these facilities through state and federal grants helps promote economic growth.”

Hughes agreed. “Trenton-Mercer is an economic driver in our region that generates, according to a state study, more than $217 million in economic impact to our regional economy and generates more than 2,000 jobs in our area. For Mercer County alone, the airport provides $1.5 million in local property tax revenue.”

Improvements, which include lighting and draining upgrades, are important because these primary taxiways at Trenton-Mercer provide access and egress to some of the airport’s heaviest users. TTN is home to more than a dozen aviation tenants, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Pilot walks away after Fargo plane belly landing

FARGO, N.D. (WTW) — A plane belly-landed at the Fargo airport when its landing gear didn't go down.

Assistant Fargo fire chief Leroy Skarloken says the pilot wasn't injured after the Tuesday night landing.

The pilot was flying a Beechcraft Bonanza. He wasn't identified. The plane wasn't carrying any passengers.

The cause of the landing gear problem isn't known.

The airport's operations weren't affected by the accident. On Wednesday morning its website says scheduled flights are arriving and departing on time.

Alleged pot pilot released on bail

FITCHBURG -- An Oregon man charged with trafficking about 75 pounds of marijuana into Fitchburg Municipal Airport on Sept. 27 was released on $5,000 bail after his arraignment in Worcester Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

Hoang Nguyen was already free on $50,000 bail set in Fitchburg District Court.

Nguyen pleaded not guilty to trafficking marijuana, according to District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.'s spokesman, Paul Jarvey.

Nguyen flew out of Santa Monica, Calif., to Grundy, Ill. where he refueled using cash and slept in his plane, court records state. A suspicious airport manager tipped off Homeland Security, which sent a plane to follow Nguyen.

State police troopers were waiting for Nguyen when he landed in Fitchburg.

Troopers and a police dog found three duffel bags filled with marijuana valued at about $370,000, as well as $77,000 in cash, an iPad and maps, Fitchburg District Court records state.

Nguyen worked as a flight trainer and then as a commercial pilot for SkyWest Airlines for five years, according to court documents.

If convicted, he could lose his plane.

Nguyen must check in with the Probation Department weekly while out on bail. His next scheduled court date is June 6.

Bomb threat forces jet to land at Comox: Korean Air Boeing 777-200, HL7734, flight KE-72

A Korean Air flight bound for Seoul from Vancouver International Airport with 134 passengers on board was intercepted by two U.S. Air Force fighter jets and forced to land in Comox Tuesday because of a bomb threat phoned to a U.S. call centre for the airline.

The plane was sitting at Comox Airport. Its crew of 13, headed by Canadian pilot Stow Andrew Chisholm, put the total at 147 people on board.

The passengers and crew were taken off the plane and into a hangar where they are being screened in a safe location, said 19 Wing Comox spokesman Lt. Trevor Reid.

"[Our] priority remains with the safety of the passengers and support to the RCMP, who are the lead agency for response to this situation," Reid said Tuesday evening. "Wing emergency personnel have responded to the location and secured the aircraft in accordance with standard procedures."

"There were no obvious injuries suffered by anyone on board and everyone is being taken care of," said Comox Mayor Paul Ives. Police, fire crews and B.C. Ambulance paramedics were at the scene.

"It's too early to tell if they are staying the night or headed back to Vancouver," Ives said, adding that 19 Wing Comox had enough space and sleeping quarters to accommodate them.

The threat was received around 3 p.m., about 25 minutes after takeoff from Vancouver.

The plane was diverted while it was over Haida Gwaii. Korean Air flight 72 was escorted into Comox at about 5: 30 p.m. by U.S. air force F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland, Oregon, the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

"Twenty-five minutes after take off from Vancouver International Airport, the U.S. call centre received a call that there was a threat on board the aircraft," Penny Pfaelzer, a spokeswoman for Korean Air, said in a statement.

"After discussion with the related departments, we decided to turn the aircraft."

On Monday, Korean Air flight 72 was delayed for two hours as authorities swept the plane, said James Koh, a Vancouver-based regional manager for the airline. "The RCMP and the Vancouver airport security checked our plane, but there were no problems, so our flight departed with a two-hour delay."

Military and commercial flights share the 10,000-foot runway at Comox Airport and military personnel operate the air control tower.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines investigates Zest Air-Cebu Pacific wingtip collision

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Wednesday started a preliminary investigation on the wingtip-to-wingtip collision of Cebu Pacific and Zest Air airplanes in Puerto Princesa Airport late Tuesday.

In an interview with GMA News Online, Capt. Amado Soliman Jr., head of CAAP’s aircraft investigation inquiry board, said, “as per the report we got, the wingtips of both aircrafts have been damaged.”

Soliman noted the black box of both aircraft will be ‘read out’ in Singapore as part of the investigation.

A black box also known as a flight data recorder is a device use to record an aircraft’s performance parameter.

“Ang eroplano kasi hindi porke nakita mo na may damage ganun na lang ‘yun. Malalaman ang stress ng structure ‘pag na-read na ‘yung black box. We will be able to determine the G-force[s] that applied in the collision,” he explained.

“G-forces” push on a free-moving object, such as an airplane, with 1G equivalent to the force of normal gravity.

He did not say how much damage the budget carriers incurred from the accident. “We do not make estimation or assess damages.”

No one was reported hurt or injured in the incident.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the wingtips of Zest Air and Cebu Pacific airplanes collided. The Zest Air aircraft was loading passengers, while the Cebu Pacific plane was taxiing out of the Puerto Princesa tarmac.

Asked when the investigation will be over, Soliman said that an accident investigation follows no time frame as a probe usually is “very fluid.”

A year earlier, a Cebu Pacific plane also figured in an accident in the same airport. One of its planes burst a tire upon nighttime landing when the plane touched down in a grassy area of the Puerto Princesa Airport. —VS, GMA News

One dead after crop duster plane crash in Moree

The pilot of a crop duster plane has died after it crashed and caught fire in a vacant paddock east of Moree on the Gingham Rd towards Mugindi.

Emergency services are on the scene and Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators are on their way.

Hector International Airport battling bird problem

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Hector International Airport is battling a big threat: Birds. Pilots are now on the lookout even more after a recent flight was diverted and delayed after a bird hit a plane.

Hector International Airport is battling a big threat: Birds. Pilots are now on the lookout even more after a recent flight was diverted and delayed after a bird hit a plane.

Sanford Pilot Justin Fosberg says sometimes hitting a bird is hardly noticeable.

Justin Fosberg – Sanford Pilot: "Unless you saw it, you won't even know if you land."

The other times it can cause some serious damage.

Justin Fosberg: "Impact the wing, landing gear, at that point we return to the airport, have maintenance come out, take a look at it."

Crashing into animals sharing the skies is a risk pilots take when they take off Last week a red-tailed hawk crashed into a plane, delaying the flight for hours.

Justin Fosberg: "It's part of flying. That's where the birds live. It's where they are."

To prevent these problems, plans are in place nationally to keep birds from calling Hector International Airport home.

Shawn Dobberstein – Hector International Airport Manager: "To minimize insects and so forth by different spraying techniques."

Another one of the ways Hector battles birds is by keeping all this grass here nice and short. That stops birds from nesting here. If that doesn't work there are always fireworks.

Shawn Dobberstein: "Different shells, pistol, shotgun, there are companies that specialize in that."

Hector International Airport manager Shawn Dobberstein says the fight for the skies is endless, yet there's always ways to improve.

Shawn Dobberstein: "We send staff out to different training to find different techniques trying to minimize the effect birds have."

While research continues, communication is key to preventing pilots and passengers from potentially dangerous crashes.

Justin Fosberg: "Keep other pilots aware so if you do see any birds on takeoff to relay that information to the tower."

Hector also tries to prevent sunflowers from being planted near the airport. It's a big draw for birds.

The airport's insect sprays, fireworks, and grass-clipping techniques may sound threatening for the bird population, but they're perfectly safe says Doug Leier of North Dakota Game and Fish.

The insect sprays meet regulations. Leier says there's nothing to worry about, since most of the birds airports battle have a strong population.

Doug Leier – ND Game and Fish: "There is definitely a priority, and the priority is on human health and safety versus one individual animal."

The airport works with Game and Fish on a regular basis.

Plane lands without landing gear at Hector; pilot unhurt

FARGO – Crews are cleaning up an airport runway here after a plane made a belly landing at Fargo’s Hector International Airport.

A lone pilot was the only person on the plane. He was not injured, said Assistant Fire Chief Leroy Skarloken.

The Fargo Fire Department was called to a northeastern runway at the Hector International Airport about 7:30 tonight after reports of the plane’s landing gear not working.

“(The plane) bellied down into the runway,” Skarloken said.

The exact malfunction of the landing gear is not yet known.

Skarloken said the private plane was a type of Beechcraft Bonanza, with four to six seats for passengers.

The pilot was able to walk away from the crash and without destroying the plane, Skarloken said.

“Seems like he brought it in pretty well,” he said.

Although there was some debris on the runway, which Skarloken said will be cleaned off, the airport was not shut down.

All flights were listed as departing and arriving on time, according to the airport website.