Friday, April 13, 2012

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP: Airplane crash at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport sends one to University of Michigan Hospital



A small plane crashed at Ann Arbor Municipal Airport this morning, sending one man to the hospital.

The two-seater plane crashed into a grassy area at the northwest end of the runway at 11:41 a.m. today. The pilot, who remained conscious during the rescue, was the only one in the plane at the time of the crash. He was extracted from the cockpit using hydraulic rescue tools and saws to remove damage from around the pilot.

No fire was present after the crash. Pittsfield Township fire department officials controlled flammable vapors using a hose line.

Police were releasing few details on the crash at the scene earlier this afternoon, which was surrounded by yellow police tape.

At least six police cars from the Pittsfield Township Police Department were on the runway assisting.

The man was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital via ambulance.

The airport, located at 801 Airport Dr., was closed to all other traffic during the crash investigation while officals waited for Federal Aviation Administration.

Fire foam released in King Hangar

A test of the fire suppression system of King Hangar at Eglin Air Force Base was captured in this image taken Sept. 3, 2009. The system has 24 foam generators. 
AIRMAN 1ST CLASS CHRIS JACOBS / U.S. Air Force


EGLIN AFB — Eight aircraft stored in King Hangar were nearly submerged in fire suppression foam Thursday night when something triggered the emergency response.

What caused the activation about 7:15 p.m. was not known Friday, according to base personnel.

Foam in the hanger was 10 to 12 feet deep in the immediate aftermath.

Eglin Air Force Base spokeswoman Lois Walsh said Friday afternoon that maintenance personnel were still assessing whether the foam had damaged any of the planes. Of the eight planes, five were operational and three were trainers, Walsh said.

None of the base’s F-35s were in the hangar or affected by the incident, Walsh said.

Cessna Grand Caravan steep approach - St. Barth

Safety Zones: 2012 Ocean City Air Show; Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City, Maryland

Big bang theory . . . it was a sonic boom



 THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE has confirmed the loud bang heard across South Warwickshire on Thursday evening was a sonic boom caused by an RAF Typhoon.

Two of the fighter jets had earlier been scrambled from their base in Lincolnshire to intercept a small civilian helicopter flying near Bath, their course taking over the south Midlands on their way to the incident. An MoD spokesman confirmed pilots had been authorized to go supersonic, something they are not normally allowed to do over built-up areas due to the sonic shock-wave created.

The noise prompted a flurry of speculation as to its cause on the social networking site Twitter, with some initially suggesting it was a gas explosion.

Residents in the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire reported hearing what sounded like an explosion at just after 6pm.

The MoD later said that the two RAF Typhoons had taken off following an emergency call, transmitted on the wrong frequency, from a helicopter. The MoD stressed tonight that at no point was there any threat to civilians, and that the Typhoon aircraft, from the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) based at RAF Coningsby, were scrambled after a helicopter pilot accidentally emitted an emergency signal. The Typhoons were already on their way to the helicopter by the time the pilot realized his mistake.

The video above shows one of the Typhoons circulating over Bath after arriving on the scene.

Diamond DA40 XLS 40.1141

 

Published on Apr 13, 2012 by Great Lakes Diamond Inc 

New 2012 Diamond DA40 XLS walk around and delivery flight video. For once, a tailwind westbound - covered the ground at 160 - 165 knots. At the end is a nice shot of the Thornton Quarry - bisected by I80/94

Sanford airport taking off

photo by Sean Murphy 
 Future hangar site
~Dana Perry, manager at Sanford Regional Airport, stands in an open field that will be the location of an eight-hangar building, similar to the existing hangars seen in the background. The move is the latest sign of expanding business at the airport, and Perry is hoping a new marketing effort will boost traffic even further.



The town of Sanford recently signed a lease with a company to build a new, eight-unit hangar building at the Sanford Regional Airport.

According to the Weekly Observer, the agreement will allow MAS Hangars to begin building the 18,500-square-foot hangar at the airport, where the Federal Aviation Administration estimates some 76,000 takeoffs and landings occur annually.

Airport Manager Dana Perry told the paper the airport has recently undergone $8 million in largely federally funded improvements, including runway upgrades and new parking spaces for small planes. The airport currently has 66 hangars, which can house up to 80 planes, according to the paper.



SANFORD - A recent approval of a new eight-unit hangar building at Sanford Regional Airport could be a sign of clear skies ahead for the facility.

At a recent meeting, the Town Council signed a leasing agreement with MAS Hangars, which permits the company to build a new, 18,500-square-foot hangar building at the airport.

James Knowles, who operates Southern Maine Aviation at the airport, is planning to build the hangars. The move, according to Dana Perry, airport manager, is a sign of business picking up there.

“I think it’s indicative of what’s been happening at (the airport) for the past five years,” he said.

Among other changes, Perry said, is the growth of hangar space, which had nearly doubled in size even before the new project was approved. There are 66 hangars now. Knowles has built or rebuilt 39 of them since 2005 alone. The airport can hold as many as 80 planes in its buildings at any one time, and actually has a total of 90 planes based there at various times of the year, Perry said.

Other improvements include $8 million in upgrades to the existing runways and new outdoor parking spaces for small planes. About 95 percent of the improvements have been paid for by the federal government, Perry said.

Despite the larger outdoor space, Perry said, hangars are always a better place to park an aircraft.

“It’s much better for airplanes to be under a hangar than out in the sun,” he said.

The airport began as a dirt airfield in 1929, after the Goodall family donated the land to the town. A Works Project Administration project in the 1930s expanded the runways to a configuration nearly identical to that in use today, and paving the runways led to the U.S. Navy using it in the 1940s as an auxilary airfield. A recent aerial photograph of the field still shows a 1,000-foot stretch of runway once used by Navy pilots to practice short landings, in preparation for landing on aircraft carriers.

The airport made some headlines in 2007, when a dispute with operator Sanford Air over leasing fees led to the town evicting the company. The company then waged a bitter civil battle in court, but eventually lost.
Despite the dispute, the airport has continued to grow. Today, the Federal Aviation Administration estimates some 76,000 takeoffs and landings there annually. Between building property taxes from about 30 different hangar and building owners, and lease payments made by those same owners, the town makes between $135,000 and $140,000 off the airport every year, Perry said. With an operating budget of about $210,000, Perry said, he is optimistic that the airport’s continued growth means it will soon be paying for itself, and then some.

“The goal, ultimately, is to make the airport self-sustaining,” he said.

It is a general aviation airport, which means there are no military or major commercial airline operations there, but it is the second-largest airport of its kind next to the Lewiston/Auburn airport, Perry said.
James Nimon, executive director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, said another factor in the airport’s growth is new legislation last summer that abolished a “use tax.” The old law required that anyone who bought a plane in a state without sales tax, but then moved the plane to Maine, had to pay the state of Maine a sales tax fee.

“It certainly put Sanford on the map,” Nimon said of the move to eliminate the tax.

Nimon said renovations to the airport during the recession were essential in anticipation of the recession ending. One thing economic developers have learned, he said, is that communities need to prepare for the end of a recession, even when it seems like there’s no end in sight.

“They feel like baby steps to us now,” he said of some of the more recent developments like the hangar expansion. “(But) you have to do the preparatory stuff.”

Now, Nimon said, with other signs indicating the country may be finally clawing its way out of hard economic times, it’s time to make the airport the cornerstone of commercial and industrial recovery in the area. Nimon said he and the council are working on a new marketing plan for the airport, including a website and promotional materials.

“Certainly there’s a lot of pieces to that,” he said.

Perry said the hope is to see more people flying to Sanford, but he sees the airport as more than just a stopover point for people visiting friends on the coast.

“We would like a nice, healthy mix of aircraft here,” he said.

Perry said he hopes marketing plans can draw in a commercial corporate air service. Many of these companies already exist, flying corporate clients in and out of Boston, but storing small jets at Logan International Airport is expensive. Parking in Sanford is cheaper, he said, and flying a jet from Boston to Maine literally takes minutes to do.

There is also plenty of room, he said, for companies wishing to set up aircraft repair and maintenance shops, a natural offshoot of new growth at the airport.

“Like the governor says, we’re open for business, and we have a lot to offer,” he said.

McAlister's at airport's new terminal to close

McAlister’s Deli at Monroe Regional Airport will be closing this month.

Tom Janway, the city’s public works director, confirmed the restaurant will be closing because it isn’t making enough money.

Airport officials had wooed McAlister’s to set up at the airport months ago, and had even made accommodations to make the offer more attractive to them, they have said in the past. When the plans for the new terminal were first made, the city was only looking at having a cold sandwich shop.

“Looking long-term at the airport needs, it was determined that the airport needed a full-service restaurant,” Phillips later said in January, so the space for what was going to be the sandwich shop had to be moved and additional plumbing, electrical work and a Dumspter pad had to be installed to make it compliant with health standards.

“In our initial council meeting, what Mr. Janway had initially said is that at a lot of these airports around the country, they come in and do their own finishing, but when we at a smaller airport are trying to attract something like McAlister’s or even a local restaurant, they can’t come in with architects. We have to furnish it to make it more attractive for them,” explained Nikhil Joshi, a project coordinator and strategic planning consultant who was hired by the airport at that time.

Thus the establishment of the restaurant and a bar, the Southern Girls Saloon, which is still open at the airport, added $609,033 to the city’s contract with Lincoln Builders of Ruston, city officials have said.

“There’s not a lot of money to be made in an airport setting like that in the restaurant (business),” Janway said on Friday when he confirmed the closure.

Phillips said McAlister’s met the “out” clause stated in its contract, which was to give 30 days notice before closing.

City Attorney Nanci Summersgill said McAlister’s was current on all of its rent payments through March.

McAlister’s had paid the city $600 in rent each month. As of information from the airport provided on April 7, the deli’s last rent payment was made on March 14.

Phillips said the airport is in discussions with other businesses to set up a restaurant in that space, and that many have shown interest.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, a call to McAlister’s corporate office was not returned.


Fredbird becomes air traffic controller for Skyzoom 4

Governor says he will promote new NYC-Bozeman flights with appearance on Letterman show

HELENA, Mont. — Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has big plans for promoting a new direct flight from New York City to Bozeman.

Schweitzer says he is scheduled to be on the Late Show with David Letterman on April 25. Letterman owns a ranch north of Helena and is one of Montana's most famous part time residents.

    Schweitzer says he is going to take one downtown and give away Montana products like beef jerky and huckleberry jam, hoping to "cause a commotion."

The governor says the state is placing murals of Montana attractions and wildlife on a dozen city delivery trucks.

Schweitzer says he is going to take one downtown and give away Montana products like beef jerky and huckleberry jam, hoping to "cause a commotion."

The governor says Montana has never gotten cheaper advertising than it will get with his television appearance.

The new flights are scheduled to start in June and will be offered by United Airlines.

Flying Around New York on the skyline route. Pilot - Anthony S

Boeing Celebrates 4,000th Next-Generation 737: Popular single-aisle commercial airliner soars to another milestone

SEATTLE, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Boeing BA -0.79% executives and more than 500 employees, suppliers, union representatives and government officials joined China Southern Airlines to celebrate the 4,000th Next-Generation 737 at a special event today at Seattle's Boeing Field.

The 4,000th Next-Generation 737 jetliner off the 737 production line in Renton, Wash., will be delivered next week to China Southern Airlines, headquartered in Guangzhou, China.

"The Next-Generation 737's success is the result of years of expertise that thousands of employees continue to build into every Boeing 737 used in private, government and commercial service," said Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. "It is an incredible milestone to be delivering our 4,000th Next-Generation 737. We thank China Southern Airlines and all our customers who have made the 737 the world's most popular jetliner."

China Southern Airlines is commemorating its own milestone as the plane will be the 75th 737 delivered directly to the airline. The carrier has an additional 45 737-700/-800s on order. China Southern is the largest airline in China and operates a fleet of 450 airplanes, making it the 6th largest carrier worldwide.

"China Southern and Boeing have built an excellent relationship and we are honored to be the recipient of Boeing's 4,000th Next-Generation 737 airplane," said Dong Suguang, executive vice president, China Southern Airlines. "The Next-Generation 737s provide a solid foundation to China Southern's modern, fuel-efficient and economical portfolio of commercial jetliners."

The 4,000th Next-Generation 737 is a 737-700 model that seats 126 passengers in a two-class configuration with the new Boeing Sky Interior.

More 737s have been produced than any other commercial jetliner in history and continues to hit the record books as the program produces airplanes at record rates. The gap between each Next-Generation 737 record delivery is shrinking. It took Boeing three years and one month between the 2,000th and 3,000th, while the gap between the 3,000th and 4,000th delivery is just two years and eight months. With 737 production rates increasing incrementally to a record 42 airplanes a month in the first half of 2014, the gap will continue to close.

The Next-Generation 737 family has won more than 6,600 orders and has a diverse backlog exceeding 2,600 airplanes.

With more than 5,550 airplanes in service, the 737 family represents more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of large commercial jets flying today. More than 358 airlines in 114 countries fly 737s.

Contact: Linda Lee 737 Program Communications+1 206-766-2905linda.a.lee@boeing.com

Michelle MeiBoeing China Communications+86 1391-072-8092michelle.mei@boeing.com

Photo and caption are available here: http://boeing.mediaroom.com

SOURCE Boeing

Transport Ministry to striking pilots: 'Get back to work'

 Government had a strong message for Air Canada pilots who caused dozens of flight delays and cancellations on Friday morning — get back to work.

The pilots caused havoc in airports across the country when they skipped work as part of an organized "sick-out" campaign.

The disgruntled pilots apparently were upset about federal anti-strike legislation passed last month, as well as recent threats by Air Canada to fire two of their union's top executives.

As a result, some pilots called in "sick" in a protest not officially sanctioned by their union. Air Canada criticized the employees for taking part in what it called an illegal job action.

"It's a dangerous move," said Ian Lee, who teaches business at Ottawa's Carleton University. "All they're doing is diminishing the brand of Air Canada and sending passengers to other airlines. We don't teach in business schools that it's a good thing to alienate and send to competitors."

Air Canada said at least 30 flights were cancelled Friday morning, and that more were delayed.

"The fact that this number of people has been stranded is unacceptable," said Pierre Poilievre, parliamentary secretary to Transportation Minster Denis Lebel. "It's essential to our economy to keep planes in the sky."

Poilievre, who said the pilots should "get to work," also said the government is monitoring the situation and is waiting to see the result of a complaint by Air Canada to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board before taking action.

This is the second rogue job action at the airline in the aftermath of the federal bill. The legislation, introduced last month, removed the right of the airline to lock out its workers and prevented the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) and the union representing mechanics and ground crews from striking.

Flights also were disrupted on March 24 when some of Air Canada's ground crews walked off the job to protest the suspension of three of their colleagues for heckling Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.

Friday's work stoppage came after threats by the airline to fire both union chief Jen-Marc Belanger and ACPA president Paul Strachan for remarks they made in two separate television interviews questioning the safety of the airline.

The rogue group of pilots said Friday's illegal job action was necessary because of the back-to-work bill prevents a legal strike.

"The government and the corporation have largely handcuffed our leaders," they wrote in an email. "Our . . . chair Jean-Marc Belanger and our president Paul Strachan, giants in defending your rights, are having their careers threatened. You attack one of us you attack us all."

Friday's action is a violation of the anti-strike law.

"This looks like sheer frustration on the part of the pilots," said Rosemary Warsckett, an expert on labour relations at Carleton University. "There's a certain set of political and economic circumstances that mean the pilots are meant to have the right to strike, but in fact they don't. But it appears that they're going to exercise that right no matter what the government says."

Toronto's Pearson International was hardest hit, with more than 25 cancelled flights. Travellers in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa have also had to deal with delays and cancellations.

Cheryl Johnson's connecting flight between Toronto and Ottawa was delayed more than six hours.

"I'm disappointed," she said. "But I guess I just have to wait it out."

Johnson said she received no information from the airline about the delays, and only found out about the strike from another delayed passenger.

Joanne Wong saw her 7 a.m. flight to Seattle cancelled early Friday morning. The 24-year-old traveller said she was "lucky" she checked her flight status on the Air Canada mobile app before she left the house.

"Without the app, I wouldn't have known," she said. "I would have just been at Pearson airport at 5 a.m. running around."

Johnson said the labour problems will make her consider avoiding Air Canada in the future.

"It doesn't surprise me how ridiculous this has become," said Johnson. "I just don't really trust them anymore."

Air Canada took action to address the pilot shortage on Friday morning, consolidating some flights and cancelling others. As of 4 p.m., average delays on Air Canada flights at Ottawa International Airport were below 30 minutes.

Air Canada directed passengers to check AirCanada.com for the latest flight information, but heavy traffic made the website inaccessible at different points during the day.

The airline flies about 600 major flights a day, plus hundreds of regional flights.

Read more: http://www.canada.com

Victoria-bound WestJet flight struck by lightning

VICTORIA —Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux is accustomed to loud blasts of sound and light, but when a huge fireball rocked his WestJet flight into Victoria Thursday, it was a psychedelic show unlike any he’s ever seen.

No one was injured and the plane landed safely. But the fuselage suffered considerable damage and the plane was flown without passengers to Vancouver for repairs, said Terry Stewart of the Victoria International Airport Authority.

“It was a huge blast of fire on the left side,” said Lemieux, of Victoria. “It was so bright it looked like it was inside the plane.

“Everyone, and I mean everyone, felt spooked.”

The lightning struck WestJet flight 1733 from Las Vegas as it descended into Victoria Thursday afternoon, said WestJet spokeswoman Jennifer Sanford. It’s a rare occurrence, she said.

“It sounded like a really loud explosion, a quick blast,” said Lemieux, legacy manager and archivist of the American rock band the Grateful Dead. He was returning from the opening reception for a yearlong Grateful Dead exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

“There was a huge, jarring shake to the plane” and “a collective shriek,” Lemieux said. “We thought it was lightning or an engine blew.”

Once passengers saw that the plane was still flying steadily and a flight attendant confirmed “in a nervous voice” that it was a lightning strike, all was calm, he said.

Victoria Times Colonist

Lightning damages jet, rocks passengers

VICTORIA - Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux is accustomed to loud blasts of sound and light, but when a huge fireball rocked his WestJet flight into Victoria Thursday, it was a psychedelic show unlike any he's ever seen.

No one was injured and the plane landed safely. But the fuselage suffered considerable damage and the plane was flown without passengers to Vancouver for repairs, said Terry Stewart of the Victoria International Airport Authority.

``It was a huge blast of fire on the left side,'' said Lemieux, of Victoria. ``It was so bright it looked like it was inside the plane.

``Everyone, and I mean everyone, felt spooked.''

The lightning struck WestJet flight 1733 from Las Vegas as it descended into Victoria Thursday afternoon, said WestJet spokeswoman Jennifer Sanford. It's a rare occurrence, she said.

``It sounded like a really loud explosion, a quick blast,'' said Lemieux, legacy manager and archivist of the American rock band the Grateful Dead. He was returning from the opening reception for a yearlong Grateful Dead exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

``There was a huge, jarring shake to the plane'' and ``a collective shriek,'' Lemieux said. ``We thought it was lightning or an engine blew.''

Once passengers saw that the plane was still flying steadily and a flight attendant confirmed ``in a nervous voice'' that it was a lightning strike, all was calm, he said.

Victoria Times Colonist

Geci's Skylander aircraft needs more cash-report

(Reuters) - Geci's Skylander turbo prop aircraft needs extra investments of tens of millions of euros, a report viewed by Reuters showed, as the European Commission continues to probe state aid previously awarded to the French engineering group.

The report by experts commissioned by the French government comes as France's presidential election campaign heats up, and as the European Union's antitrust regulator examines state aid to Geci totalling about 50 million euros ($65.87 million).

The project to build the small, light Skylander aircraft suitable for hard-to-access areas, should cost 306 million euros, or 70 million euros more than initially planned, the experts estimated, praising the project's technical quality.

The Skylander, which has yet to make its first flight and should be delivered to customers by 2014, is seen as essential for the economy of France's north eastern Lorraine region.

Geci said in a statement late on Friday the experts' estimate that the project would require financing of 200 million euros until the first aircraft were delivered - up from 120 million previously - was "excessive."

The company added it was looking at new ways to finance the Skylander programme and in particular at possibly finding long-term private investors and support from other companies.

The rescue of troubled industrial areas has become a battleground in the election campaign - dominated by president Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist front-runner Francois Hollande - but any suggestion of more state aid could trigger scrutiny by the EU's competition regulator.

The Skylander is designed to carry up to 19 passengers or 2.7 tonnes of cargo and serve small airlines and specialists such as FedEx Corp, as well as conduct surveillance. These operators want light aircraft able to land and take off from very small airports, sometimes with little infrastructure.

Geci shares and those of its subsidiary, Geci Aviation SA , were suspended on Friday. Geci said without elaborating that both stocks would not resume trading until Tuesday "for technical reasons."

Geci Director Pascale Sansonetti told Reuters the company would soon issue a statement on the report.

"The audit has not been completed yet, talks are continuing," Sansonetti added.

The experts said Geci's plan to deliver 1,500 aircraft in 15 years was too optimistic and did not take into account possible delays or modifications to the aircraft. Delivery of 1,000 aircraft in 20 years - or 48 a year - would be more realistic, they added.

Geci said in March that negotiations were continuing between Geci Aviation and Russia's Aviamost to buy 40 Skylander aircraft, with an option for an additional 260. The two signed a memorandum of understanding in November last year.

The first batch of aircraft could represent potential revenues of $260 million, Geci has said.

ANZAC Day warbird flight

 
Bill Kiernan of the Northern Rivers Aero Club looks over the Vietnam O-2 Skymaster warbird in preparation for an Anzac Day flyover.


NORTHERN Rivers Aero Club in Lismore is giving kids the chance to win an Anzac Day flight in an old war bird.

Northern Rivers Aero Club chief pilot Bill Kiernan will take the winner up in a Cessna 0-2 air control plane, which was used in the Vietnam War.

"I'll line it up and fly down over the main drag in Lismore, where the Anzac parade will be," Mr Kiernan said.

"I'll just come down the line and at the last minute I'll pull up. It will be an over-fly, a salute to the diggers and then a pull-up as a farewell to all the guys that didn't come back."

To enter, kids must write half a page about what Anzac Day means to them and send it to Northern Rivers Aero Club.

Mr Kiernan said the ride was worth about $500 and a rare opportunity.

"You just don't get to ride in things like these any more. This warbird is as it came out of Vietnam," he said.

The plane's cockpit still carries a vintage 1970s radio that was used to talk to troops on the ground and co-ordinate fighter-bomber attacks.

"The other little bit that is a real rarity is this bullet hole," Mr Kiernan said, pointing to the plane's right wing.

The plane is in tip-top flying condition, though, and Mr Kiernan said the old war bird would ensure the competition's winner had an authentic flight experience.

"Generally, to get kids interested, you've got to show them exactly what it was like," he said.

"Kids need to see what other young people went through.

"The kids flying these things were 21 and 22, and it's not that they were heroes. They were just young people who were called in to do a rotten job and did it to the best of their ability. They were the sort of people who make a real community."

Send entries by Friday to Northern Rivers Aero Club at nrac@bigpond.net.au, fax 6621 7609 or PO Box 113, Lismore 2480.

Damaged landing gear, no injuries in plane scare at Cross Keys Airport (17N), Cross Keys, New Jersey


MONROE TWP. — A pilot made a hard landing Friday on a Cross Keys Airport runway after catching a strong crosswind, police said, but no injuries were reported in the incident.

The pilot was attempting to land on Runway 9 of the airport on North Tuckahoe Road a little after 2 p.m., when he “encountered a strong crosswind,” police reported.

The single-engine 1950 Piper Pacer landed hard. Part of the landing gear was damaged, and the plane came down on its left side, police said.

Federal Aviation Administration Safety Inspector Stephen Koza arrived at the scene and took over the investigation.

Monroe Township police and Emergency Medical Services responded to the incident, along with Williamstown Fire Company.

STILL WAITING: No refund so far for REDjet passengers

Passengers who were affected by grounded by low-cost airline REDjet, say almost one month after the airline ceased operations, they are still awaiting a refund of their ticket money.

Meanwhile, employees at the financially-troubled airline have been told they will receive their salaries next week after more than two weeks of waiting.

The affected passengers complained of frustration as they are constantly told to “come back next week” when they visit the airline officve for their refunds.

The airline when announced that it was ceasing operations temporarily last month, promised passengers a full refund, however according to the passengers ” its a royal run-around” to get their ticket money.

Meanwhile REDjet employees, who were paid up to February 25, are quoted as saying they had been informed that payment for February 26 to March 16 would be ready next Tuesday.

The Barbados-based airline announced last month that it will cease operations temporary and according to officials, the carrier was in an “uneven playing field since it was competing with government-subsidised airlines in the region.

Subsequent to the announcement, the Barbados government suspended its Air Operators Certificate (AOC), followed by the Trinidad and Tobago’s revocation of its licences .

The airline is now seeking a meeting with T&T officials shortly to discuss the licences.

However Trinidad’s Transport Minister Devant Maharaj has blanked that request

A statement from the Ministry of Transport said that Maharaj “has not agreed to meet with the officials at REDjet as per their request until they have secured the AOC from the Barbados Government”.

It said Redjet had written to the Director General of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) Ramesh Lutchmedial indicating that “the Airline’s Shareholders were obliged to suspend operations as continued funding of the current business plan was contingent on the activation of agreement that was concluded between the Shareholders of REDjet and the Government of Barbados in January this year”.

The statement further quoted REDjet as indicating that in the interim it was “requesting dialogue with the TTCAA in the interim”.

“However, the TTCAA while noting the commitment on achieving the restoration of its AOC with the Barbados Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) and out of respect for its regional counterparts will not engage in any premature discussions with REDjet until the AOC has been reinstated by the BCAA and have reapplied for a Trinidad and Tobago License,” the statement said.

The REDjet officials also met with Guyana officials on the airline’s future.

Government spokesman Dr Roger Luncheon said two weeks ago that Guyana has no intentions of revoking REDjet’s licence.

REDjet staffers waiting on pay

After more than two weeks of waiting for their pay, REDjet workers have been told they’ll get at least some of their money by next week.

But passengers affected by the suspension of REDjet flights announced on March 16 are still awaiting their refunds.

Frustrated employees who were paid up to February 25, said yesterday they had been informed that payment for February 26 to March 16 would be ready next Tuesday.

Some spoke to the WEEKEND NATION on condition of anonymity because management had instructed workers not to talk to the media.

Sky's the limit

Every second Easter the skies above Wanaka turn into an aerial playground for some of the best pilots around and a staggering selection of aircraft. Last weekend Grant Shimmin made his Warbirds Over Wanaka debut ... as a spectator, that is.

The last airshow I attended was about as far back in the past as the model aircraft that used to decorate the pelmet in my bedroom when I was 12, as Easter arrived and Wanaka beckoned. Not that I was a reluctant visitor to Warbirds. I'd happily have gone sooner; the opportunity just hadn't arisen before.

In those last years of primary school, I'd developed an intense fascination with the world wars, and particularly the second, in which my Dad had served. But he was in the navy; exactly where the passion for aircraft came from escapes me now.

It quickly faded as I went through my teenage years, but not to the extent that I didn't feel a surge of excitement as we hit the road to Wanaka Airport more than two hours before the 10am start of Saturday's action. I'd seen an event programme already and recognised many of the aircraft whose replicas had been pinned up in my room more than three decades earlier.

Getting an early start was a wise move. As we approached the airport, it was clear many had the same idea and traffic slowed to a crawl as cars entered parking areas on either side of the highway. Several travellers bypassing the airport simply had to endure the go-slow for a few minutes as both lanes were clogged with Warbirds visitors.

It was even clearer, as the stream of foot traffic passed the airport entrance and headed for the best possible vantage points along the runway, that I was a little out of my depth in terms of my enthusiasm, as excited as I was to be there. The passion might have cooled for me but, for many others, it obviously hadn't.

I'd only recently heard the term "aerophile", which the dictionary says is a "lover of aviation". But in a family discussion the night before, I'd been introduced to "propellerhead", the aerial equivalent of a "petrolhead". Perhaps, I'd ventured, "wing nut" might be a more suitable term.

Take your pick, they were all there. Already deckchairs had been set up along most of the length of the fence parallel to the runway. My daughter and I headed along to the first open section and quickly pitched camp for the day.

One of the reasons I'd been keen to get to Warbirds was the photographic opportunities I knew it would present, and I went feeling I was reasonably well equipped. But, by the time we reached our spot, I'd developed an acute case of "lens envy", and a distinct sense that I'd been a little casual in my approach to this project. Tripods had been set up by some, while others had made camp next to the hefty fenceposts to ensure they had platforms on which to balance their high-calibre digital weaponry.

Already, numerous enthusiasts were wandering among the static displays, photographing the parked aircraft shortly to take to the skies, and engaging the pilots in conversation.

Across the road from the airport, on a ridge, there was a line of campervans and tents, most with deckchairs already set out in front of them. How those punters got there was unclear but, when we drove home on Monday, heading past the airport towards Cromwell, campervans were streaming down the hill. So presumably they'd been there for the full three days of the event. Plainly, an afternoon nap would have been out of the question over the weekend!

The flying – which was obviously what had brought us to Warbirds – was yet to get under way, but already there was a sense of this being a thoroughly slick operation, the large number of enthusiastic volunteers playing a major role in that state of affairs.

There was plenty to see and do too, including a huge marquee offering a vast range of goods, by no means all aviation-related. And a kids' programme.

In a small stall just behind where we had set ourselves up, representatives for the Wings Over Wairarapa show next January – which a commentator would later say was not a rival operation, "it's our sister show" – wore humorous T-shirts with aviation-related Tui slogans on the back (see picture, page 23).

Then it was time for what we were there for and, if it began relatively quietly, with two Tiger Moths being put through their paces, there was soon an injection of the spectacular into the proceedings.

Across the runway, it turned out, was a major stockpile of pyrotechnic toys that would become a focus of the event. Suddenly, loud bangs issued from that location and all eyes turned to see what, for me at least, was a first daytime fireworks display. Who knew they could be effective against a cloudless blue sky?

The display was all too brief, but it provided the perfect setting for two World War II fighters, a Corsair FG-1D and a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk, both aircraft operated extensively by the New Zealand Air Forceduring that conflict, to roar through the natural arena that Wanaka's mountains create.

As would happen dozens of times that day, eyes were lifted skyward, hands shielding even those wearing sunglasses from the full glare of the sun that some of the aircraft seemed to be flying, Icarus-like, right into the centre of.

Suddenly, having a front-row seat was no longer that important, though the staunchest wing nuts (sorry, propellerheads) with the flashest cameras seemed determined to photograph every take-off and landing, as well as everything in between, making a position along the fenceline a valuable possession indeed. Just what some of the more serious snappers will do with the thousands of pictures they must have shot that day is beyond me.

But that's an aside; above our heads there was much to admire. And not just the spectacular flying displays, but the sheer seamlessness of the whole operation. With superb commentators – Englishman Trevor Graham, a veteran of more than 1000 such shows, Aussie aviation historian Peter Anderson and television weatherman and pilot Jim Hickey – keeping the big crowd continually informed and the next featured aircraft always in the air ready to go before those preceding them landed, there was never a break in the entertainment.

Sometimes the commentators did what every good one should be able to when appropriate – they shut their mouths to let the crowd hear the distinctive roar of a particular engine reverberate through the speakers stationed all along the fence. The range of sounds was remarkable.

Catalina crash 'due to different expectations'

An accident involving a Catalina flying boat during a Fermanagh festival last year was due to different expectations between the pilots and boat crews.

An official report said this could have been resolved during the pilot's briefing before the event.

The Second World War aircraft damaged an elevator when it drifted into a yacht while attempting to moor.

The report said the plane crew expected that after they shut down their engines a tug boat would tow them to a mooring.

The marshal boat crew expected the Catalina to taxi to the mooring under its own power.

The French-owned aircraft flew to Enniskillen last September to take part in the festival at the former RAF airbase at Killadeas, which played a crucial role protecting Allied convoys during World War II.

'Limited experience'

The 70-year-old flying boat had recently been returned to an airworthy condition after a lengthy restoration program.

Accident investigators said the aircraft had not been operated on the water for more than 10 years and, with the exception of the Dutch commander, the crew had limited experience of water operations.

The AAIB report said that during a pilot's briefing held on the morning of the event, specific details on how the Catalina was to moor up were not covered.

After it landed in the water and shut down its engines attempts were made to attach a line from a marshall boat.

But as they tried to pull it to the mooring, the line became tangled in the boat's propeller.

The ground crewman fell into the water as he attempted to prevent the boat becoming separated from the Catalina.

Another marshal boat went to help the man in the water but also became tangled in the line.

A third marshal boat was unable to prevent the aircraft from drifting into the moored yacht, damaging its right elevator.

The Catalina and a French pilot were stranded in Fermanagh for 10 weeks while repairs were carried out.

It eventually took off and returned to Paris at the beginning of December.

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SpiceJet flight makes precautionary landing at Mumbai airport

A Chennai-bound SpiceJet flight with 106 passengers on board made a precautionary landing here this morning after the pilot reported a technical snag in the aircraft.

The flight, SG-281, took off from Ahmedabad at 5:45am and landed safely at the Mumbai airport at 6:50am, the private airline said in a statement here.

"It was a precautionary landing and in order to avoid inconvenience to the passengers on board the Ahmedabad-Chennai flight, we pro-actively accommodated them in our other flight and on other airlines as well," the statement said.

The aircraft, which had a minor glitch, is now fully operational, it added.

36 bottles of booze, bag of dope seized at airstrip

RCMP seized alcohol and marijuana on Thursday after a flight landed in Hopedale. (RCMP) 

Lost Labrador snowmobilers smuggling booze, police say

RCMP arrested in man in coastal Labrador Thursday shortly after they seized an illegal shipment of alcohol and drugs.

Police in Hopedale acted on a tip and arrested the man, 32, just after he arrived on a plane from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

A search of his bags turned up a bag containing 45 grams of marijuana, as well as 36 bottles of liquor.

Police believe the drugs and booze were destined for the dry community of Natuashish.

The man was released from custody, and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Libyan plane crash investigation report delayed

The Libyan investigation report into a plane crash in Tripoli two years ago in which 70 Dutch nationals were killed has been delayed.

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told parliament on Friday afternoon that the Libyan authorities had informed him that they will not be able to submit a final report on the crash before 12 May – the second anniversary of the tragedy.

Libyan transport minister Yousif al-Wahishi has expressed his regret at the delay. The Libyan interim government told Mr Rosenthal in November, during his visit to Tripoli, that it expected to need another six months to complete its investigation. At the time, 70 percent of the investigation was complete.

The Foreign Ministry’s highest civil servant travelled to Tripoli at the beginning of April when it became known that the investigation would be delayed. He offered Dutch assistance and urged the Libyans to hurry up.

However, Minister Wahishi turned down the offer.

The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 crashed shortly before landing at Tripoli’s international airport on 12 May 2010, killing 103 people. A nine-year-old Dutch boy was the sole survivor of the crash.

Airline fuels flight with recycled cooking oil

AN AUSTRALIAN airline said Friday it had found a sustainable alternative to aviation fuel that was more economical and efficient and cut an aircraft’s carbon emissions: recycled cooking oil.

Officials of Qantas airline said an Airbus A330 left Sydney for Adelaide on Friday using a 50-50 mixture of recycled cooking oil and regular jet fuel in what could have been the first biofuel commercial flight, according to reports culled from various wire agencies including the Australian Associated Press.

Biofuel flight. A Qantas plane on Friday flew on cooking oil and aviation fuel.

Flight captain Phil Davenport told reporters on arrival at Adelaide that the aircraft handled the same as any other.

“There was no real difference on the way over, apart from a a very slight reduction in the fuel flows on the engine that was using it, which basically means it was more economical and more efficient than the normal fuel,” Davenport said.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the Federal government had given the airline $500,000 to finance a study into the feasibility of alternative aviation biofuels, which the airline industry needed to face the immediate challenges ahead.

“We need to get ready for a future that is not based on traditional jet fuel, or frankly we don’t have a future,” Joyce said.

He said the use of biofuel was an important step in confronting the major challenge of high fuel prices and the aviation industry’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2020.

“And it’s not just the price of oil that’s the issue. It’s also the price of carbon,” Joyce said.

“From July, Qantas will be the only airline in the world to face liabilities in three jurisdictions, so our sense of urgency is justified.”

Europe has started imposing a controversial carbon tax on airlines, while New Zealand has a carbon tax that applies to flights within the country by Qantas budget carrier Jetstar. Australia’s tax on carbon emissions comes into force on July 1.

Biofuels have been criticized for cutting into potential food supplies, but Qantas said it used a product that was not a food crop.

The oil was produced and refined in Houston, Texas, and shipped to Australia, but passengers were not made to pay surcharge, John Velastro of Qantas was quoted by the Australian Associated Press.

Qantas had also been working with other firms on alternative sources of aviation jet fuel made from algae or household waste, officials said.

Outdoor Channel to air tribute to Jose Wejebe, host of “Spanish Fly”. Accident occurred on April 6, 2012 in Everglades City, Florida

As the family and friends of Capt. Jose Wejebe prepare for his Celebration of Life memorial Sunday in South Florida, the outpouring from the boating and fishing communities continued for the popular guide, producer and TV host who was admired for his kindness and recognized for his many charitable efforts, especially in the Florida Keys.

Wejebe, 54, of Summerland Key, died April 6, after his single-engine plane he was piloting, crashed shortly after takeoff in Everglades City on Florida’s Southwest Coast. Weather is believed to have been a factor.
He was the respected host of the long-running "Spanish Fly” fishing show which began in 1995 on ESPN and later on the Outdoor Channel.

Those whose lives were touched by Jose are welcome to attend The Celebration of Life at 1:30 p.m. at the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Museum in Dania Beach.

Wejebe was respected for his generosity, donating hundreds of hours to causes not only involving conservation but especially those for children such as Make-A-Wish, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series raising funds for cystic fibrosis research.

“It’s where he was first noticed and got his start in television nearly two decades ago,” said Redbone founder Capt. Gary Ellis of Islamorada, when outdoor program producer Jerry McKinnis was filming a show at the Redbone’s Mariner Outboards SLAM tournament in Key West in 1993. “Jose was a popular young Keys guide who volunteered his efforts to fish the Redbone events. He was selected as one of the guides for NFL stars Gary Dunn and Kim Bokamper. McKinnis was instantly impressed with Jose who also appeared on Flip Pallot’s shows.”

The affable Cuban-born guide, whose family fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba when Jose was a youngster, was presented an opportunity by McKinnis to host his own TV show and began filming in 1994 for the 1995 initial season of “Spanish Fly.”

The following are remembrances from associates and friends in the sportfishing industry:

Chico Fernandez, author, fly expert and frequent TV guest: “Jose was a fine guitarist, a top fishing guide and a great angler on all facets of the sport. Yet he was humble about his accomplishments. His gentle ways will be missed by so many of us.”Andy Mill, Olympian, TV host, tarpon fishing champion, author: "Words can't describe the enormity of the fishing world’s loss with the passing of Jose. He impacted anyone who admired adventure, laughter and love. He lived large, and brought us all along for the ride, like Peter Pan." 

Flip Pallot, fly expert, host and producer of the Walker’s Cay Chronicles: "The unspeakable tragedy of Jose's death has left a great hole in the hearts of family, friends and fans alike. The adventures he has left us on film will forever define him in our memory. So long ‘Grasshopper.’"

 C. A. Richardson, Flats Class TV host, Tampa Bay guide and educator: “Jose has always been an inspiration throughout my career, teaching through example by staying humble and willingly sharing his vast fishing knowledge with others at industry events and workshops. He’s been the most significant face and personality associated with saltwater fishing for nearly 20 years and our entire industry will sorely miss Jose as our most affable and loved ambassador of the sport." 

 Chris Peterson, President of Hell’s Bay – “I admired Jose's energy, love for life, and dedication to his friends. Jose inspired me with his ability to make everyone around him feel as if they were his personal best friend, or Bro. He had charismatic energy to light a room with just his mere presence. Jose was always willing to give to the children's charities, where he gave of himself and his personal time, a rare quality today. Jose brought his love of the ocean and the salty flats to all of us, like only a few have on film.”

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 548SF        Make/Model: EXP       Description: CA8-SF
  Date: 04/06/2012     Time: 2106

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

LOCATION
  City: EVERGLADES CITY   State: FL   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS 
  FATALLY INJURED, NEAR EVERGLADES, FL

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: SOUTH FLORIDA, FL  (SO19)             Entry date: 04/09/2012 

Cessna 172 low flight: Flying under 500ft to stay out of New York Class B airspace. Marine Park Bridge in background

Vol en Piper PA28

South Jersey Marine killed in Osprey crash

SALEM — A Woodstown native was one of two U.S. Marines killed Wednesday during a military training exercise in Morocco, military officials said today.

Cpl. Derek A. Kerns, 21, died in the crash of an MV-22 Osprey.

Kerns was a  MV-22 crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 26MV-22 based at New River Air Station in North Carolina.

A Marine spokesman said that the Osprey crashed in a training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, after taking off from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima.

Kerns joined the Marine Corps from Fort Dix in September 2008 and was promoted to the rank of corporal in December 2010.

His awards include the Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a certificate of appreciation.

He was a Woodstown High School graduate. Family friends said he had just married in January and has a 3-month-old son.

Kerns’ mother, Carol, lives in Woodstown.

The 10-day exercise is to end April 17 and involves about 1,200 U.S. military personnel.

The other Marine killed was Cpl. Robby Reyes of Los Angeles.  Two other Marines were also injured.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

Precision Aviation Group Company -- Gardner Aviation Services (GAS) -- Completes 3 Enstrom 480B Garmin G-500H Upgrades


ATLANTA, Apr 13, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Atlanta-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) subsidiary Gardner Aviation Services (GAS), announces the completion of its 3rd Enstrom 480B Garmin G-500H installation and Avionics upgrade. The Rotorcraft Services Division (RSD) performed the upgrade for Denver, Colorado based Mountain One Helicopters. The RSD provides Helicopter-specific Avionics Upgrades/Installs, Airframe Maintenance, and MRO services at GAS' 35,000 square foot facilities located at the Atlanta Regional Airport (KFFC), in Peachtree City, Georgia.

David Mast, PAG President and CEO said: "GAS has been performing Avionics upgrades/installs, retrofits, and airframe maintenance on Helicopters for over 18 years. However, similar to our other business units, we wanted to differentiate the Rotary Wing from the Fixed Wing business. We launched the RSD in February at HAI, and are excited to have completed these 3 Enstrom 480B G-500H installs and other Avionics upgrades shortly thereafter."

Karl Gardner, President of GAS said: "We are proud of the expansion of our Rotorcraft specific upgrades/installations through our Rotorcraft Services Division. For Mountain One Helicopters' Enstrom 480B, we performed a full Avionics upgrade that included a Garmin G-500H glass panel with Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), Garmin GNS-430W, SL-40 com, GTS-800 traffic system, GDL-69A XM weather/audio and a 406 MHZ ELT system. We are excited about the way the RSD continues to grow, and look forward to the future."

About Gardner Aviation Services (GAS): Located at Atlanta Regional Airport (KFFC), in Peachtree City, Georgia, GAS performs Avionics Installs/Upgrades, Airframe Maintenance, and MRO Services for Fixed and Rotary Wing Aircraft. In February of 2012, GAS launched the Rotorcraft Services Division which focuses on the specific needs of Helicopter Operators. GAS is "Your Next Generation Service Center."

About Precision Aviation Group (PAG): PAG is a leading provider of products and value-added services to the Worldwide Aerospace and Defense industry. With 150,000 square feet of sales/service facilities in the United States and Canada, PAG uses its distinct business units and customer focused business model to serve aviation customers through two business functions -- Aviation Supply Chain and its trademarked Inventory Supported Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul -- ISMRO(R).

PAG provides MRO and Supply Chain services for Fixed and Rotary-wing aircraft through Precision Heliparts - PHP ( www.heliparts.com ), Gardner Aviation Services - GAS ( www.gardneraviation.com ), Precision Accessories & Instruments - PAI ( www.precisionaccessories.com ), Precision Heliparts Canada -- PHP-C ( www.heliparts.ca ), Precision Accessories & Instruments Canada -- PAI-C ( www.pai-canada.com ), and Aero Technology -- ATI ( www.aerotechnology.org ). PAG has MRO capabilities on over 10,000 products, including Accessories, Avionics, Hydraulics, Instruments, NDT, Starter/Generators, and Wheels/Brakes -- ( www.precisionaviationgroup.com ).

The Precision Aviation Group logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=11615

Files accompanying this release are available at: http://media.globenewswire.com/cache/18991/file/13288.png

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Precision Aviation Group

$16,000 in equipment stolen from planes at Rock Hill (York Co) Airport-Bryant Field (KUZA) Rock Hill, South Carolina

ROCK HILL --  At least two planes were broken into at the Rock Hill Airport in the past few days, with thieves stealing GPS and radio units.

On Thursday, two men reported their planes –– a Cessna 182-R and a 1968 Cessna Cardinal C177 –– had been broken into, according to a Rock Hill police report.

A radio worth $11,280 was stolen from one plane, the report states. It was inside an unsecured hangar.

Another plane had a GPS worth $4,000 and a Lightspeed Zulu headset, worth $1,000, stolen from it, the report states.

Neither plane had damage to the inside of them.

However, the second plane did have pry marks on the driver’s side door, the report states. The owner said the suspect must have had a rare key to gain access to take the GPS.

The other owner said people entering that part of the airport must have security access, the report states.

Airport officials told police they believe the thefts occurred overnight, the report states. No surveillance video was available.

Source: http://www.heraldonline.com

Riley Petroleum stays in Jefferson County

STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday agreed to transfer 5 acres of land at the county's industrial park that will become the new headquarters and warehouse of Riley Petroleum that will keep 20 jobs in the county and allow for future expansion.

Ed Looman, Project Alliance executive director, said he has been working with John Riley, owner of Riley Petroleum, for about a year to secure state funding that will assist in the construction of the new facility.

The commissioners will transfer the property to the Community Improvement Corp., which in turn will gift the land to Riley. Looman said the gift of the land is part of the county's effort to keep Riley's operation in Ohio and Jefferson County. He said West Virginia was courting Riley to locate in Weirton.

Looman said the Ohio Department of Development will provide $360,000 in a loan and a $120,000 grant.

Riley said he will construct a 12,000-square-foot warehouse and a 4,000-square-foot office that will be the headquarters for the company. He said there are about 120 employees in the retail part of his company and about 20 workers at the headquarters.

"I'm glad to be able to keep the operations in Jefferson County, and I look to grow," Riley said.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham thanked Riley for staying in Jefferson County. "I know he had many options."

In other matters, commissioners again discussed an energy-efficiency project for county buildings with Johnson Controls.

The county contracted with Johnson Controls for the program that will use state money to help pay for the cost of installing equipment to make county buildings more energy efficient.

Commissioners had believed the cost of the program would be paid for with the savings of energy costs over a period. But the commissioners are now looking at spending $55,000 a year for 17 years to pay for the cost.

The figure was much higher because of the need for electrical upgrades at the courthouse not covered by the state program. The electrical upgrades are needed for the installation of heat pumps that will heat the courthouse when the outside temperature is above 30 degrees, said county Commissioner Tom Gentile. The boiler will assist the heating of the building in colder weather.

Commissioners said they may use capital improvement money to make the electrical upgrades at the courthouse.

County Commissioner Dave Maple said the process with Johnson Controls has been "cumbersome and awkward."

Graham said the commissioners are not prepared to act on Johnson Controls' agreement. "It is a maybe at this point. It is a lot of money and we have to give it careful thought."

Commissioners may have to act by April 30 when costs of equipment are expected to increase.

Commissioners received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration approving the use of two new hangars at the county airport for nonaviation purposes because the aprons outside the hangars haven't been paved. But Mike Menzel, county regional airport authority, said a plane has paid rent in one of the new hangars. He said a new company has a plane capable of hauling 2,000 pounds of cargo or passengers. Menzel said the plane doesn't need a paved apron to access the runway.

"That's great news," Maple said.

Graham said the development of the airport has taken a long time. "It has come a long way," he said.

Commissioners also were informed by Shannan Gosbin, county water and sewer department director, and Thomas Hartwig of Malcolm Pirnie, the county's engineering consultant, of a $25,000 to $50,000 reduction on the $2.3 million Pottery Addition sewer project. Hartwig said Rudzik Excavating will dig a shorter sewer line in one area of the project through the backyards of homes instead of on the street, which will save money.

County Engineer James Branagan said the mild winter has resulted in some savings to his department. He said the county was forced to purchase a minimum amount of salt through a state-purchasing program. He said the department spent about $15,000 in overtime because the snow events that did occur happened on the weekends.

The county may commit to purchasing less salt through the state next year, resulting in a savings then.

Commissioners opened two bids for the paving of an access road in the rear of the two new hangars at the county airport.

The estimate was $98,537.

Lash Paving submitted the apparent low bid of $79,539.

Commissioners also opened bids for mowing service for the engineer department. The estimate was $30,000. Quick Mow Inc. of Millersburg submitted the apparent low bid of $28,641. Branagan said the agreement calls for three cuttings during the summer along county roads.