Saturday, April 28, 2012

Historic Wendover Airfield, Utah: Keeping old airfield from turning into dust in the wind

(Tom Wharton | The Salt Lake Tribune)
 Jim Petersen, director of the Wendover Airport, shows off vault in bomb sight storage building that is part of Historic Wendover Airfield Tour. 

Wendover » The historic Wendover Airfield often stands silent in the harsh desert environment. Save for the efforts of a few dedicated souls, it could easily become nothing more than, to quote a Kansas song, "dust in the wind."

This is the place where more than 20,000 members of the old Army Air Force gathered in the middle of World War II to train for a secret mission that would change the course of history. The 509th Composite Group came here to train to drop atomic bombs on Japan.

Airport director Jim Petersen and a volunteer board hope this won’t be a place where history is forgotten. They have big dreams for what is the most intact World War II vintage Army Air Force base in the world.

The problem is finding enough visitors and donors willing to help pay to preserve it.

The group’s board of directors met a few weeks ago to kick around some ideas, share some interesting statistics and do a little dreaming about what could be done if money was not a problem.

The number of visitors to Wendover is impressive. About 60,000 arrive on casino gaming flights each year, enough to compete with St. George as Utah’s second busiest commercial airport. Another three million vehicles pass through the area each year on Interstate 80. The town’s casinos host about 2.5 million visitors annually as well as an air show and several speed trial racing events on the nearby Bonneville Salt Flats.

The site has also been used to film actions movies such as "Con Air" and "Independence Day."

Yet only about 7,000 visitors each year actually take the time to explore the Historic Airfield.

Petersen has dreams of increasing that number to 100,000 visitors in five years and 200,000 in 10 years. He has set a fundraising goal of $5 million, largely to complete work on turning an old officer’s club into a combined museum, restaurant with a historic military mess hall theme, conference center and community building. He also wants to finish restoration of the Enola Gay hangar.

The group’s ambitious vision is to turn all that the National Army Air Force Museum, make it Utah’s western gateway, and become part of a Utah Military History Museum Network.

The key, as always, is funding. Petersen thinks the museum could host such activities as aircraft simulators, control tower re-enactments and training experiences that history buffs would pay to enjoy. The area could be rented out for movies. Salt Flat racers sometimes rent space during Speed Week.

The board is looking for public-private partnerships to use some of the many buildings. And it is working with Wendover casinos to generate more tourist traffic.

Operating often with little more than a wing, a prayer and a sense of duty, the Historic Wendover Airfield Board has organized air shows, offered facility tours, written up driving tours, worked with casinos, improved a small museum and found grant money to preserve the Enola Gay hangar, which was in danger of falling over.

Members took to heart words written by the late Gen. Paul Tibbets, the commander of the 509th Composite Group who named the Enola Gay after his mother.

"Time and apathy must not be allowed to let this historic area degrade until nothing is left of our training field," Tibbets wrote before he died.

Preserving the ghost-like base on the outskirts of the Salt Flats is a daunting task but, without the board’s efforts, the base could easily fade into the dust of history.

Loganair is like no other airline – where dogs scurry under seats for take-off, geese scatter across runways and the view from the window catches at the heart

IT IS 16 April, exactly 897 years since the martyrdom of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint, and the puffins, as if in acknowledgement of the anniversary, have chosen this day to return to their sea stack off Westray after months in the north Atlantic. Meanwhile, Captain Stuart Linklater, a senior pilot with Loganair, lifts the nose of the small plane known as the Islander from the runway at Kirkwall and plunges once more into his own natural environment – the cool blue air above these green islands.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he says. And it is.

Linklater is one of three pilots who, between them, fly several times daily from Kirkwall Airport, its name written in sharp steel runes above the main entrance, to the North Isles, the remote and sometimes sparsely populated islands beyond the Orkney mainland. The archipelago is spread wide in every direction, as if God – or better, perhaps, to say Odin – had dropped a landmass in the sea and, being pleased with the pattern of its shattering, allowed the shards to remain and grow fertile.

Yet while the islands of the south are linked to the mainland by causeway and regular crossing, the North Isles are isolated. There may be just one ferry each week, sailings to Kirkwall can take almost three hours, and in winter – when the swell of the sea is more than any pier can handle – the furthest islands can go three weeks without a boat being able to land. In such circumstances, the plane, as Neil Rendall, a farmer on Papa Westray, puts it, means “the difference between daylight and darkness”. These flights are lifeline services without which it would be difficult for the North Isles to sustain their populations. The plane carries teachers to schools, commuters to and from Kirkwall, and, on freight flights, food and bevvy to whomever has had the foresight – and the drouth – to place an order.

Loganair, known as Scotland’s airline, is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Orkney inter-island service began a little later, in 1967. There had been flights between the islands from 1932, pioneered by Captain Ernest Fresson, whose Highland Airways was funded in part through a deal that saw The Scotsman being delivered to Orkney a day ahead of rival titles. Those flights ended with the outbreak of war, but some North Isles elders still remember Fresson and his little biplane – a visiting angel with beret and pipe.

Flying between the islands is a remarkable experience. These are short journeys. The longest, Kirkwall to Stronsay, takes 25 minutes, and the briefest, between Westray and Papa Westray, just two. This last is the world’s shortest scheduled flight; passengers making the hop for the first time are given a certificate and a whisky miniature, the latter being a welcome restorative following exposure to gales howling across the tiny island known to locals as Papay, a blotted punctuation mark between ocean and sea.

The Islander is a versatile eight-seater with two propellers. If cross-winds rule out the runway, it can land in fields, where the wee black and white plane looks quite at home taxiing among oystercatchers. Those seated at the front are closer to the pilot than they would be to the driver in a black cab. “It can feel like driving a bus,” says Linklater. “You get to know the passengers and their foibles; the ones who are going to have difficulty fastening their seatbelts. You have a chat and get the news.”

Linklater, 58, is known as the Orcadian George Clooney on account of both a slight physical resemblance (it’s the hair; maybe the eyes) and a certain wry affability. He has been flying the Islander for 23 years and has made around 60,000 take-offs and landings – “so I’m just about getting used to it”. He has never had any interest in flying the big jets internationally; he is happiest in the skies above Orkney, serving the community to which he belongs. 

As the great majority of his passengers are regulars, the pilot’s safety demonstration appears to consist of little more than advising against opening a window in flight as “it’ll get very draughty”. One of the great joys of these flights is in avoiding unbending security measures that assume everyone is a potential terrorist and therefore deserving of interrogation. Captain Linklater, however, is not afraid to pose tough questions when need be. “So,” he asks one passenger while walking out to the plane, “how’s the lambing going?”

It is a bright afternoon when we take off for Sanday. As the plane climbs, its cruciform shadow races across green fields then out over the water. The sea is pale blue by the coast, darkening as it deepens. Islander pilots fly by sight rather than relying on electronic navigational equipment, keeping below the level of the clouds, sometimes as low as 350 feet. So the landscape never becomes abstract. It is, rather, miniaturised: turbines are toy windmills; fish farms are hoopla.

This, then, is the ideal air service for voyeurs and gossips – types in which, one is told, Orkney abounds. “You can see the washing on people’s lines,” says Linklater. “You can see the silage being cut, the different crops growing and when they’re starting to harvest. You get a feel for the season and the change in the light. It doesn’t feel like you are flying above the country, it feels like you are flying through it. You’re still part of it. There’s a sense, too, that you’re flying through history.”

The pilot notes, as he flies, points of interest below. Balfour Castle on Egilsay, where Robert Louis Stevenson stayed and which is said to have inspired parts of Kidnapped. Carrick House on Eday, where you can still see the stains of blood spilled during the capture of a notorious pirate. The small island of Gairsay, once home, says Linklater, to “the last real Viking”, Svein Asleifarson, whose plunderings with axe and fire are chronicled in the Orkneyinga Saga.

Orkney, with its many ancient homes and bones and stones, is a place where temporal barriers seem porous, in which past and present coexist, and from an aerial perspective the sense of collapsed history is even more acute. It is easy to imagine that pirate, Viking and writer are still down there somewhere; that life goes on at Skara Brae and POWs observe an eternal mass in the Italian Chapel.

From the cockpit, Sanday appears first as a dark hump on the horizon, a surfacing whale. One of the larger Northern Isles, with a population of around 600, it is known for its beaches, great white arcs, a coastline strung with crescent moons. The descent feels fast. The gritty track of the landing strip runs out amid daisies and dandelions. The plane halts, a door opens and a wooden box is shoved down as a makeshift step. Jim Lennie, the airfield manager, offers a hand. He is a retired farmer, big and strong at 71, with a handshake that could choke a heifer. “Bonny day,” he declares, brooking no argument.

Jim has looked after the Sanday airfield since 1967. His wife Mary is one of the firefighters. His duties include making sure the runway is fit for purpose, meaning free of geese. How, precisely, does he do this? “Shoot to kill,” he replies. “Have them for tea. That maks them stay away mibbe.”

Lennie is the ideal man to have in charge of an airfield. Heathrow could do worse. He is calm in a crisis and has a similar approach to life as he does to his whisky: “Tak it as it comes.” He has a reputation as a wind-up merchant and an accomplished spinner of yarns. Kirsty Walter, a member of Loganair’s cabin crew, sums him up fondly as “a yap o’ shite” – a description in which he glories, enjoying perhaps the way the phrase identifies him with other stalwart features of the Orkney landscape: the Point o’ the Scurroes; the Knap of Howar; the Yap o’ Shite.

Jim and Mary have been married since 1969 and have six children. They met while working the harvest together. It must be love, he says, because she came originally from an island – Shapinsay – that had electricity and mains water but nevertheless settled in Sanday, which had neither. 

In her time as airfield firefighter, Mary has never had to fight a fire. There was once a crash, however – over 20 years ago now. “It was like it happened in slow motion,” Jim recalls. “The plane came doon in the field and went right through two fences. The tail rudder was knocked off. Mary was in the bedroom with our twins – just peedie bairns. I just saw this plane coming straight at oor hoose. I could hardly move. Then it hit a bump and it turned and there were nobody hurt.” 

He pauses, relishing his punchline. “The folk in the plane were interviewed and said they saw very little difference fae a normal landing.”

The passengers on these inter-island flights are various. Itinerant teachers, farmers, hairdressers, health visitors, tourists, vets, hard-hatted workies out to fix the power cut on Papay. Passengers are allowed to take their dogs on the plane, so it’s not unusual to see a wet nose peeping out from beneath the seat. One woman, alighting on gale-scoured North Ronaldsay, buttons her poodle tight inside her duffle coat lest it be gusted off to doggie Valhalla.

There are times when life at Loganair seems rather like The High Life, as scripted by George Mackay Brown. Jackie Delaney, station manager at Kirkwall Airport, moved to Orkney from England four years ago and is still getting to grips with the local dialect. Once, when she was quite new to the job, the phone rang and an elderly woman asked whether the “toe wife” was on the flight to Eday. “Who on earth is the toe wife?” Jackie whispered to her colleague in the office. “That’ll be the chiropodist,” Inga explained.

Anne Rendall, a banker with RBS, is the most frequent flyer. Based in Kirkwall, she is 52 and has been travelling to the North Isles, visiting a different island each day, offering cash withdrawals, deposits and other services, for almost half her life. “I’ve been keeping a tally and that’s over 9,000 flights now,” she says. Despite the unorthodox manner of her commute, there is something pleasantly old-fashioned about Rendall’s way of doing business, harking back to the days when people actually had a relationship with their bank manager. The banker before her, the late Maisie Muir, did the job for 22 years, right from the start of the inter-island flights. Before Muir was Willie Groat, who went by boat. For Rendall, the plane is part of her routine. Rain and wind do not worry her. It takes a lightning storm to interfere with her calculations of interest.

The weather in Orkney rarely takes its ease. The Islander can fly in up to 50 knots of wind, which is getting on for 60 miles an hour. During a flight from Kirkwall to North Ronaldsay, the wind is blowing at 42 knots, and the sea below billows and heaves. Spume froths into the geos of the jagged coast. Rain cascades along the cockpit window. It feels, in some ways, more like being on the waves than in the air. Indeed, Linklater’s navigation methods are similar to those used by a seasoned skipper – he looks for landmarks and shifts course appropriately. Flying directly above the rusting wreck of the tanker Juniata, scuttled in Inganess Bay in 1939, reassures him when haar shrouds Kirkwall that the airport is dead ahead.

We begin our descent into North Ronaldsay, skimming in low over flat, dark rocks that seem to ascend like steps from the sea. This is the northernmost of the Orkney islands. Impressive from the air is the 13∫-mile encircling dyke that keeps the sheep on the shore, where they subsist entirely on seaweed. There are roughly 3,000 sheep and only around 70 people. 

The Victorian lighthouse, a gigantic barber’s pole, has 176 steps, the same number of verses in the 119th psalm. Religion, one can imagine, might be a comfort here. We are right out on the edge. Norway is due east. In 1916, when Bergen burned, the islanders saw the horizon glow red.

The plane is met, as it is three times each day, by Helen Swanney, the airfield manager, a 76-year-old shopkeeper in deep pink headscarf and Bible-black anorak. “You won’t meet anyone more North Ronaldsay than Helen,” says Billy Muir, the lighthouse keeper. “She has lived here all her life.”

Swanney has been manager for 16 years, taking over following the death of her husband Ronnie, a crofter who had held the office since 1968. For her it is not just a job, it’s a duty of care for the place that has always been home. She remembers the days of the horse-drawn plough. She has seen the coming of the car to her island, the coming of television and electricity. Her father-in-law, Ken, ran the airport during the Highland Airways years of the 1930s. The Swanneys are a landing-strip dynasty. Swanney describes herself as a “gatekeeper” – and indeed she does seem a sort of presiding spirit of North Ron, a headscarfed idol to whom each traveller, alighting from the plane, ought to pay proper homage. Still, it can be a cold, wet job. Does she ever think of retirement? “Well, not yet,” she replies, softly. “I enjoy this very much, and I’ll do it as long as I can.”

We take off, before long, into ashen skies. The North Isles are spread beneath us. Sunshine, breaking through cloud here and there, slants down on to the water, creating islands of light, a radiant new archipelago scattered among the existing headlands and holms. This is Orkney much as it might have looked when observed in another age by a raven released from its cage on board a longship. That was the great Viking trick: to carry half-starved birds. Freed, they would fly in the direction of land – and food – and the Norsemen, hungry for fresh conquest, would turn the rudder to follow.

The Islander, therefore, gives a raven’s-eye view of the North Isles, and they look as seductively verdant now as they must have done then. Captain Linklater, for his part, counts it a privilege to be able to survey daily this landscape he loves. Soon, he will be unable to do so. Aviation rules mean that when he turns 60 next year he will no longer be allowed to fly the Islander, a plane in which he is the only member of crew. “I’m not looking forward to it one little bit,” he admits.

He will be grounded, a caged raven. He could work out of Glasgow airport and fly larger aircraft with a co-pilot, but that would mean leaving behind the great sights to which he has grown accustomed: the Westray waterfalls blown upwards by the wind; pods of orcas in the North Ronaldsay Firth; the whole glorious, dolorous presence of the islands and the sea.

“This is my home,” he says. “This is where I belong.”

Get a peek inside the new 787 Dreamliner from Boeing

Electrical problem forces emergency landing at Concord Municipal Airport (KCON), New Hampshire

An electrical problem prompted a pilot of a small plane to make an emergency landing at Concord Airport on Saturday afternoon after reporting smoke in the cockpit.

The pilot and his female passenger landed safely shortly after 4 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Guy Newbery of the Concord Fire Department.

“They did have smoke in the cockpit and he declared an emergency and came in,” Newbery said. The electrical transponder malfunctioned and popped a fuse, he said.

There was no visible fire and no injuries reported, he said.

The plane, which left Great Barrington, Mass., was destined for Portland, Maine, according to Newbery.

Mission Aviation dedicates Cessna Caravan bound for Haiti

Supporters, staff, and members of the community gathered Saturday at the Nampa headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship to dedicate a Cessna Caravan aircraft bound for a mission in Haiti where it will help transport supplies as well as medical teams and relief workers.

The fellowship is a faith-based, nonprofit ministry that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications and learning technologies.

The new plane will leave for Haiti in May. Mission Aviation has been on the ground working in Haiti for 25 years, long before the earthquake that caused so much damage in an already vulnerable country. The organization has a permanent base at the airport in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

Mission Aviation is active in 32 countries using a fleet of 140 planes.

Kitfox Series 5, N77LR: Accident occurred Saturday, April 28, 2012 in Port Canaveral, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA307 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 28, 2012 in Port Canaveral, FL
Aircraft: RICE LEO B KITFOX SERIES 5, registration: N77LR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On April 28, 2012, about 1410 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Kitfox Series 5, N77LR, impacted the Atlantic Ocean and subsequently sank approximately 3 miles offshore of Port Canaveral, Florida. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Merritt Island Airport (COI), Merritt Island, Florida, about 1300. The business flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he owned and operated an aerial photography business and the purpose of the flight was to photograph boats. After approximately one hour of flying, at an altitude of 100 feet and an airspeed of 65-70 mph with the wing flaps fully extended, the elevator control "bound up." The pilot attempted to manipulate the control stick, and stated that he felt "something move and push up" under his seat, but was unable to regain elevator control. He stated that the airplane's aileron and rudder controls, as well as the engine, operated normally until impact. The airplane contacted the water in a wings-level attitude and began to sink. The pilot egressed and was retrieved from the water by a nearby boat.

An underwater search to locate the airplane was initiated shortly after it sank. A diver observed some debris in the water, including a piece of the airplane's propeller blade, but reported poor underwater visibility, and could not locate the fuselage. A second search, performed the day after the accident, was also unsuccessful in locating the airplane.

The Coast Guard has confirmed that a plane crashed into water at 2:10 p.m. today near Port Canaveral.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dwayne Matthews, the Coast Guard officer on duty today, said that the pilot of the aircraft was rescued by a local boater who happened to be in the area of the crash.

The crash occurred about three miles off of the Port Canaveral beach line, Matthews said.

The model of the aircraft, as well as a cause for the crash, has not yet been determined. Matthews also said that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded along with the Coast Guard.

Matthews said that a fishing tournament being held today in Port Canaveral helped to bring boat traffic to the area and help to rescue the pilot.

“Usually, the fishing tournament promotes a lot more boating activity in the port than normal,” Matthews said.

Divers attempted to recover the aircraft today, but were unable to locate it.

Space Shuttle Enterprise landing at JFK International Airport in New York

Filmed from JFK runway 300 yards away from where shuttle lands. Closeup of specially designed 747 piggybacking space shuttle Enterprise landing at JFK International Airport in New York.

27-year-old Jet Airways pilot ends life

A Jet Airways pilot allegedly committed suicide at his house at Najafgarh in south-west Delhi, police said on Saturday.

Neeraj Lamba, 27, of Prem Nagar was found hanging by a rope tied to the ceiling fan. The incident came to light when his mother returned home after visiting a nearby market around 1:30 pm on Friday.

“Neeraj, who was alone at the house, did not respond when she knocked on the main gate of the house. She then peeped in through a window to find him hanging on the fan,” a police official said.

She immediately informed her husband about the incident and raised an alarm, upon which their neighbours broke the door to get inside the house. They untied the rope and rushed Neeraj to Ayushman Hospital in Dwarka sector 12 where doctors declared him brought dead. The hospital authorities later informed police after which a forensic team inspected Neeraj’s house.

“Prima facie, it appears to be a case of suicide. We have not recovered any suicide note, so the reason behind his extreme step is yet to be ascertained,” the official said and added it is suspected that Neeraj might have been upset over a failed love affair.

“We are currently investigating the incident under section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The probe is to find out exactly what drove him to kill himself,” the official said. Neeraj’s body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem at AIIMS on Saturday.

Neeraj, who had been working with Jet Airways for past one year, is survived by his parents and younger brother. His suicide has left his family in grief and shock.

 Under stress to get married, pilot commits suicide

A 27-year-old pilot with a private airline was found hanging from a ceiling fan under mysterious circumstances at his residence in southwest Delhi's Najafgarh on Friday afternoon. The victim, identified as Neeraj Lamba, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the bedroom of his Prem Nagar residence by his mother, police said. What drove Lamba to death could not be ascertained, as no suicide note was found.

Sources said Lamba was upset because his family wanted him to get married though he was not ready for it. A senior police officer said family members of Lamba took him to Ayushman Hospital, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival. The hospital then informed the police.

Family members told the police that Lamba's mother had gone to a neighbour's house at 1 pm and when she returned at 1.45 pm she called for him to have lunch.

When nobody answered the knocks at his room's door, she called the neighbours who broke open the door.

A senior police officer said Lamba may have been under some stress. He said the police are questioning the assistant pilot’s family and friends to know why the 27-year-old killed himself.

Lamba had got the job with a private airline just one year ago, and according to his family, he was not under any stress rather he was very happy.

No injuries reported after plane makes emergency landing at Fort Wayne International Airport (KFWA), Indiana

An American Airlines regional jet carrying 30 passengers made an emergency landing at Fort Wayne International Airport this morning after the smell of smoke was reported in the aircraft.

The incident took place around around 11 a.m., according to Craig Williams, the Director of Operations and Facilities for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, after the pilot of a plane heading to Chicago from Dayton, Ohio, reported what is called an Alert Two. Williams described that type of alert as something that relates to the aircraft itself, such as faulty landing gear or bad wiring or visible smoke.

Willams said the plane was able to land without incident at Gate 8 of the airport, 3801 W. Ferguson Road, with all passengers safe and able to leave the plane under their own power. Williams also said that the smoke in the plane had dissipated by the time the plane had actually landed.

The plane, which Wiliams said could hold around 50 passengers, will be kept at Fort Wayne International until representatives from American are able to inspect the plane and determine, if possible, what caused the smoke to form.

Rutan Long-EZ, HB-YCG: Pilot and passenger ok - Lake Constance

The pilot of a small aircraft and his passenger on Saturday morning in st. Gallic Altenrhein had tremendous luck: They stayed in the crash of their two-seater plane into the lake and were rescued unharmed.

The reason why the small plane crashed after takeoff at the airport in the Old Rhine in Lake Constance, is still unclear and under investigation. Clearly, according to police data, the Canton of St. Gallen, the plane suddenly immediately after takeoff shortly before 10 clock for still unknown reasons lost power.

The 43-year-old pilot landed on the lake and then the plane could leave floating along with the 52-year-old passenger. Both men had great luck. They survived the emergency landing some 500 meters from the shore unhurt and were shortly afterwards by a private boat out of the water and brought ashore.

The pilot and the passenger would have incurred in the accident not a single scratch, Hanspeter Krüsi, spokesman for the St. Gallen canton police, the news agency said sda on request. At the time of the crash, some boats were near the crash site. Also from the shore of the accident had been observed.

After receiving the first reports, a large alarm was triggered. Besides the police were the Sea rescue, police divers and several fire departments were called out, police said.

The small plane that lost during the emergency landing the left wing, was launched on Saturday afternoon at the Port of Staad ashore. It is examined by specialist services of the State Police.

At the end of March was a small plane crashed near Bregenz in Austria into Lake Constance, just 20 kilometers away from the crash site of the Old Rhine. The pilot and passenger were lost during the disaster her life. The machine was launched in Hohenems (A).

Passenger plane escapes fatal crash at Galkayo Airport

Posted by pi English on April 28th, 2012

Galkayo(Puntlandi)— Jubba airways, one of Somalia’s decent passenger planes operating in Somalia for the past decade escapes fatal accident at Abdullahi Yusuf Airport in Galkayo after one its tires burst, Puntlandi Reports.

Over dozens of passengers and crew members of a Jubba Airways panicked when tire burst and caused aircraft to tilt toward one side.

All passengers evacuated safely by airport rescue team. One of the airplane wings has been cut off after emergency landing.

The incident took place during a rainy season but it has not been confirmed that weather has relation with the accident.

Witness told Puntlandi none of the people on board the Jubba Airways were hurt but the incident caused the closure of the airport runway for several hours as well as panic among passengers.

Civil Aviation Authority at the airport confirmed one the wings of the plane has been severely damaged during accidental landing, but plane finally makes save landing.

Chile blames Air Force officers after deadly plane crash

The Chilean Air Force announced Saturday it has filed administrative charges against 13 of its own officers for their role in a deadly September 2, 2011 plane crash that killed 21 people.

The charges follow a seven-month investigation by a prosecutor into the crash of a CASA-212, Air Force commanding General Jorge Rojas said at a news conference.

Two of the officers being charged are generals who were forced to retire.

The prosecutor's report found evidence to hold the officers responsible but did not list a cause of the crash, which is supposed to be determined later by a judge through a judicial inquiry.

The airplane crashed into the sea while trying to land on the small island of Robinson Crusoe, about 674 km (419 miles) off the Chilean coast.

The prosecutor "closed the summary administrative investigation and under his authority brought charges against 13 officers" of the Air Force, Rojas said.

The officers consisted of two generals, three colonels, five majors, two captains and a lieutenant who were punished for "individual breaches of internal active rules and procedures" of the Air Force, Rojas said.

The two Air Force generals, Marcos Gonzalez and Julio Frias, were forced to retire, while the other officers suffered various disciplinary sanctions.

"Those affected may submit their resignations within five working days," said Rojas.

The CASA-212 plane, with 21 passengers and crewmembers aboard, crashed after two failed attempts to land. It was considered the worst air disaster in Chile in 40 years.

On April 14, the Air Force announced the demotion of General Carlos Bertens for allegedly delaying information indicating the plane was two percent overweight when it took off, or the equivalent of 165 kilos.

A day later, the Chilean newspaper La Tercera revealed the plane had been sidelined five months before the accident and lacked maintenance.

The news reports, along with the late delivery of information about the plane being overloaded, led to criticism from families of the victims, which included Chilean television entertainer Felipe Camiroaga.

Flydubai’s success reflected in UAE travel, tourism market

Dubai’s first low-cost carrier, flydubai, is playing a significant role in the UAE’s fast-growing travel and tourism sector as the airline recorded a significant increase in passenger numbers from CIS, Europe and Gulf countries in the last 14 months.

The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the UAE’s GDP is expected to hit $19.9 billion this year and its set to become increasingly important as a sector in driving the country’s overall economic development.

Key to this growth has been the performance of flydubai, the world’s fastest-ever growing start-up airline ever. The airline said the remarkable growth was recorded in passenger numbers particularly from the CIS, Eastern and Central Europe and GCC markets from February 2011 to March 2012.

The airline now has 78 regular flights per week to 13 different destinations in CIS countries, Eastern and Central Europe, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. It is currently the only scheduled operator flying to Dubai from Belgrade, Donetsk and Kharkiv. Flydubai’s GCC network is also the largest of all Middle Eastern carriers, with 424 flights per week to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Within Saudi Arabia alone, the airline has 73 flights every week covering seven destinations. The airline is also the only scheduled operator flying from the UAE to Abha, Gassim, Taif and Yanbu. Key statistics show that there was a 284 per cent annual growth in passenger numbers from the CIS and Central Europe markets between February 2011 and March 2012, compared to the period of February 2010 and March 2011. An 89 per cent annual growth also recorded in passenger numbers from the GCC between February 2011 and March 2012, compared to the period of February 2010 and March 2011.

Speaking ahead of the region’s foremost travel and tourism event, the Arabian Travel Market 2012, which begins on 30th April, flydubai chief executive officer Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “What these latest figures illustrate is how flydubai is proving to be a pioneering force on a number of levels. Our vision three years ago was to build a unique network that not only offered real value for passengers but that also strategically opened up new markets. The resulting benefits for these destinations and the UAE are clear to see, whether that’s in terms of trade or tourism. As these latest figures prove, this vision is already being realised, but what excites us the most is that we’ve only just begun on our journey.”

In just under three years, flydubai has launched operations to more than 45 destinations across 29 countries and is now the second-largest airline operating out of Dubai Airport. Crucially, it now has the most comprehensive network of all Middle Eastern carriers to Central and Eastern Europe and has opened up new markets that previously had no direct UAE air links.

Latest figures from Dubai International Airport reveal that passenger traffic between Dubai and Russia in the first quarter of this year climbed 46.53 per cent to 359,066, compared to 245,050 during the same period in 2011.

Bell 206B III, N2068X: Accident occurred April 26, 2012 in Amarillo, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA258  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 26, 2012 in Amarillo, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/29/2013
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N2068X
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that he was aware of lightning and a thunderstorm that was close to the airport and approaching from the southwest. He was flying an approach to the southeast and planned to approach “straight in” to the hangar. As he began to flare to stop the descent, movement of the cyclic stick was briefly hindered by a laptop computer in the left seat passenger’s lap; the passenger immediately moved the obstructing laptop computer. The helicopter was then about level with the hangar roof when, according to the pilot, a strong gust of wind forced the helicopter’s nose up, and the helicopter briefly entered into a climbing right turn. The helicopter then began a sudden uncommanded turn, spinning to the right. The pilot reported that left pedal input had no effect and that he had only partial control as the helicopter made a full 360-degree turn, descended, and impacted the ground. During the impact with the ground, the lower fuselage sustained crushing damage, and the main rotor separated from the main rotor mast. A significant amount of fuel spilled during the impact, but no postimpact fire occurred. After the crash, both occupants were able to extract themselves from the wreckage unassisted. According to a weather observation station at the airport, the wind was from 120 degrees at 19 knots, gusting to 25 knots, and a thunderstorm was recorded on the field. Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular 90-95, “Unanticipated Right Yaw in Helicopters,” describes loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) as a critical, low speed aerodynamic flight characteristic that could result in an uncommanded rapid yaw rate that does not subside of its own accord and, if not corrected, could result in the loss of aircraft control. The pilot was operating the helicopter in a low airspeed, out-of-ground-effect, high-power-demand flight condition, which could have resulted in LTE.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain helicopter control during landing in gusty wind conditions associated with a thunderstorm, which resulted in a loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

On April 26, 2012, about 1645 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N2068X, impacted terrain while landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (AMA), Amarillo, Texas. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an aerial surveillance flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan was not filed. The helicopter was destined for AMA and had departed about 1600 from Moore County Airport (DUX), Dumas, Texas.

The pilot was aware of lightning and a thunderstorm that was close and approaching the airport from the southwest. He was flying an approach to the southeast and was landing “straight in to the hangar”. As he began to flare to stop the descent his cyclic stick was briefly hindered by interference from a laptop computer in the left seat passenger’s lap and the passenger immediately moved the obstructing laptop computer. The helicopter was then about level with the hangar roof and the pilot reported that a strong gust of wind forced the helicopter’s nose up and it briefly entered into a climbing right turn. The helicopter then began a sudden uncommanded turn spinning to the right. The pilot reported that left pedal input had no effect and he had only partial control as the helicopter made a full 360 degree turn, descended, and impacted the ground. During the impact with the ground the lower fuselage sustained crushing damage and the main rotor separated from the main rotor mast.

There was a significant fuel spill during the impact, but no postimpact fire. After the crash both occupants were able to extract themselves from the wreckage unassisted. An examination of the helicopter revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operations.

At 1653 an automated weather observation facility at AMA reported: wind from 120 degrees at 19 knots gusting to 25 knots, visibility 10 miles or greater, thunderstorm, few clouds at 9,000 feet above ground level (agl), scattered clouds at 11,000 feet agl, temperature 28 degrees Celsius, dew point temp 14 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.84 inches of Mercury, peak wind during previous hour from 110 degrees at 27 knots at 1634, thunderstorm began at 1647.

Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular (AC) 90-95, “Unanticipated Right Yaw in Helicopters,” issued in February 1995, described loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) as a critical, low speed aerodynamic flight characteristic that could result in an uncommanded rapid yaw rate that does not subside of its own accord and, if not corrected, could result in the loss of aircraft control. The AC also stated, “LTE is not related to a maintenance malfunction and may occur in varying degrees in all single main rotor helicopters at airspeeds less than 30 knots…Any maneuver which requires the pilot to operate in a high-power, low-airspeed environment with a left crosswind or tailwind creates an environment where unanticipated right yaw may occur.” When operating at airspeeds below effective translational lift, pilots should avoid OGE hover and high power demand situations...

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - Officials say a helicopter crash during a landing attempt at an airport in the Texas Panhandle has left the pilot slightly hurt.

A spokesman for Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport said Friday that the cause of the crash has not been determined.

Steven Picou says authorities do not believe weather was a factor. Forecasters say winds were gusting at nearly 30 mph at the time of the crash Thursday afternoon.

Both men on the Bell Jet Ranger walked away from the wreckage. Picou says the pilot suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital for observation.

An Xcel Energy spokesman says the chopper was being used to scan utility transmission lines.

The operator, Chesapeake Bay Helicopters Inc. of Chesapeake, Va., did not immediately return a message Friday.

  Regis#: 2068X        Make/Model: B206      Description: BELL 206B HELICOPTER
  Date: 04/26/2012     Time: 2155

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: AMARILLO   State: TX   Country: US


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


  FAA FSDO: LUBBOCK, TX  (SW13)                   Entry date: 04/27/2012 

First commercial flight of the B747-8R7F at MST Airport

LX-VCB First commercial flight of the brand new B7478 at MST- EHBK

Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, Groupement de Vol à Moteur Lausanne, HB-PGA: Accident occurred April 28, 2012 in Chatel-St-Denis, near Tatroz, FR - Switzerland

 Firemen remove the wreckage of a small plane that crashed today in western Switzerland. The aircraft plunged into a field not far from houses in the village. It flew over the town twice before crashing around 3:00 pm local time. The passengers and pilot could not immediately be identified.

A plane crash near a small village in western Switzerland has killed at least five people, according to The Associated Press.

Described as a single-engine tourism plane, the aircraft had been flying from Lausanne to Fribourg when it passed over Tatroz village in Attalens commune and crash-landed in a field, according to the newspaper Tribune de Genève, which compiled information from the news agency Agence Télégraphique Suisse and the Vaud canton newspaper 24 heures.

The police said there were no survivors

According to Tribune de Genève, police said none of the victims had so far been identified but the in the village of fewer than 300 residents the passengers were well known. A village husband and wife were aboard with the wife’s father and his brother and a friend of the brother. The flight had been to celebrate the 60th birthday of the father.

The newspaper 20 minutes reports that a teenager gave details after witnessing the scene.

“The plane’s crew had come to wave from the sky to friends in the village. The latter were having an aperitif on their terrace and were in telephone contact with them. This information was confirmed by the police. The aircraft must have had four to six people on board and was flying rather low. It completed several turns over the village before scraping a rooftop and suddenly crashing. Maybe it was surprised by the wind.”

An investigation has been opened, according to 20 minutes.

A small plane crashed in Tatroz in Châtel-St-Denis in Canton Fribourg on a field. As reported by several witnesses over the western Swiss online edition of "20 Minutes"after the crash were several deaths to mourn.

"The occupants of the aircraft from the air would greet friends in the villagewho were just an aperitif on the terrace and in telephone contact with them," says a witness to the news service.

The Manschine had five or six people on board. The canton of Fribourg police confirmed the crash, but can still give an exact number of victimsPolice spokeswoman Donatella Del Vecchio may face only say"All passengers and pilot are dead"

The death toll could not be identifiedThe cause of the accident is still unknown. Eyewitnesses saw the plane had circled twice over the village before it crashed.

The pilot had taken off from the airfield from Lausanne-Blécherette. The plane is a single-engine


Police say at least five people have been killed when a small plane crashed near a village in western Switzerland.

Fribourg district police spokeswoman Donatella Del Vecchio said no one survived the single-engine plane crash, five bodies were found at the site, and authorities are investigating to see if one more person aboard the aircraft had died in the accident.

She says residents of Tatroz saw the plane circle twice above the town before crashing nearby. No one on the ground was hurt.

The plane was flying from a small airport near Lausanne city on Lake Geneva to an airstrip in the Fribourg district.

Police had no immediate information on the cause of the crash or the passengers' identities.

Avery Nofsinger receives illustrious aircraft award

On March 21, the Federal Aviation Administration presented Avery Nofsinger of Columbus with “The Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ Award.” Nofsinger’s wife Sharon also received “The Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ Award Spouse Recognition Pin.”

COLUMBUS – When a man’s work coincides with his passion, longevity may be the result.

Avery Nofsinger has been more than 60 years of working on airplanes.

On March 21, the Federal Aviation Administration presented Nofsinger with an award given only to those who spend at least 50 years as an aircraft mechanic.

 “The Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ Award,” is named for the Wright brothers’ original aircraft mechanic, according to Nofsinger.

The award includes two plaques, and is given for “Fifty Years of Dedicated Service in Aviation Safety.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is part of the Department of Transportation.

“A friend of mine actually put me in for this thing,” Nofsinger said.

The event was held at Wisconsin Aviation in Watertown, where Nofsinger worked from 1992 until 2009.

“They are a fixed-based operator out of Madison,” Nofsinger explained. The business works in the fields of chartering airplanes, training pilots and performing maintenance.

 “I retired a couple of years ago but I am still current as far as aircraft mechanic and inspector,” said Nofsinger. “Wisconsin Aviation gave me a nice party.”

Nofsinger’s wife, Sharon, also received a keepsake at the event.

“They decided they wanted to recognize the wife,” she said. Sharon received the “Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ Award Spouse Recognition Pin.”

Avery’s award covers both civilian and military service.

Nofsinger originally got into aircraft mechanics when he followed his five older brothers into the military.

“I selected to avoid the draft by going into the Air Force,” he said. “In 1952 I joined the Air Force and went through aircraft mechanic and power plant school.”

His love of airplanes developed from there. He had a farming background and had always worked on mechanics there, and naturally developed an interest in planes.

Nofsinger has 35-and-a-half years in the military, extending through 1992, including time in both the Air Force and Wisconsin Air National Guard.

His military experience took him to Alaska and southern Japan.

“I was a member of the 68th Fighter Interceptor Squadron after the Korean War ended,” he said. He worked on planes bound for Vietnam as early as 1953, changing the markings on the planes from American to French.

Nofsinger finished his time in the Air Force in Las Vegas.

Later he fixed airplanes for the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Speaking of the time prior to Desert Storm, he said, “We took old A-10s to Germany and brought back newer airplanes.”

He also worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a mechanic and pilot.

Nofsinger obtained his commercial pilot’s license in 1978, and has held a private pilot’s license since 1957.

But he always thought of himself as more of a mechanic than a pilot.

“To work on the airplane and see it fly afterward was really a thrill,” he said. “The thrill of it is to see the airplane fly after having worked on it.”

“Very few people can attain that many years,” Sharon said.

“He could fix anything that we had or the neighbors had, and it would run,” she added.

Avery has lived in Columbus since 1968. He and Sharon were married in 1973.

They actually met when she was a civilian secretary at Wisconsin Air National Guard – where she spent more than 36 years herself.

“Most people don’t keep jobs that long,” she said.

Avery is still active in his field, holding an aircraft and power plant mechanic certificate and inspection authorization certificate.

Will Kenya Airways get it right this time on low-cost carrier?

Kenya Airways’ venture into the low-cost airline business takes off with the planned hiring of an executive to head the unit as it takes up a model it abandoned nearly 10 years ago.

Kenya Airways (KQ) through Jambo Jet, a low-cost airline, will seek to make headway in the fast-growing domestic and regional flying markets.

However, analysts warn that the airline faces huge competition from already existing low-cost airlines.

Does KQ have something up its sleeves to help it push through a strategy that flopped in 2004?

The number of cheap, short-distance flights across East Africa keeps increasing; to succeed in this segment, an airline must manage costs, lure customers from rival airlines and give passengers value for their money.

Value for their money will be measured by the airlines’ ability to keep time and take fliers as close to their destinations as possible without hurting their pockets.

Also, low-cost airlines keep costs low by using small, relatively inexpensive aircraft that handle several flights each day.

KQ’s Jambo Jet — which is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2012 — will have its own management team, have a leaner wage structure and lease planes from its parent company.

However, the Kenya Airways management has been cagey with details about the expected rollout of Jambo Jet.

KQ, whose shares are listed on three regional stock markets, closed its fund raising drive last week through a rights issue, where it was hoping to raise Ksh20.6 billion (about $250 million).

The money is expected to boost the airline’s expansion plans, which include establishing a low cost airline.

Jambo Jet is expected to serve the growing domestic and regional routes. “This low-cost airline is necessary because of increasing competition and to provide an alternative to cater for the needs of all our passengers. It will serve existing routes in the region and any other new route that will make economic sense,” said Titus Naikuni, CEO of Kenya Airways.

KQ is said to have advertised for a CEO for Jambo Jet through international executive recruitment company Spencer Stuart.

Jambo Jet’s CEO and the management team are expected to be in place by September and will report directly to KQ’s board, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Sources said KQ opted to recruit at an international level in order to get a CEO with a deep understanding of the low-cost airline model.

“The low-cost carrier will have a different business model from that of KQ, and given that locally there are really no low-cost carriers going by international standards, the company has decided to source the CEO globally,” said a source familiar with the matter.

Low-cost airlines have lower fares and fewer comforts — the price of the meal is not included in the ticket price for example Fly 540, Jetlink, Air Uganda and Rwandair are among the competitors who have been fighting for a slice of the region’s aviation market.

READ: Why flying in Africa is getting harder even as airlines expand fleets

But most of them have similar air fares to KQ, bringing into question whether they are indeed low cost carriers.

For example, KQ charges around Ksh12,950 ($155) for a return flight from Nairobi to Mombasa, while Fly 540 charges Ksh12,570 ($151) and Jet Link Ksh12,205 ($147).

But Fly 540 said the term low-cost airline was not just about price and that they offer different bands of pricing for their clients, with a return trip going for as low as Ksh10,540 ($127).

About low-cost airlines

“The term low cost airline does not necessarily mean cheap fares,” said Nixon Ooko, Fly 540 operations director. “Low-cost airlines provide you with other things like the way you purchase your ticket,” he added.

Mr Ooko said 75 per cent of their bookings are made through the Internet, which makes it cheaper for their clients because it cuts out agents’ commissions.

In 2000, KQ rolled out a low-cost airline called Flamingo Airlines but it was closed in 2004 after it faced stiff competition from AirKenya, African Airlines and Regional Air, which ceased operations in 2005.

The competing airlines’ costs were lower and their fares cheaper.

While operating Flamingo Airline, KQ rolled out a then ambitious programme that sought to have customers book their flights on the Internet via e-ticketing.

This would not only have made booking flights quicker for customers, but it would also have cut out middlemen — travel agents who raked in about seven per cent commission on each ticket — and helped improve KQ’s profit margin.

But factoring in that in 2003, Internet penetration stood at just 500,000 users compared with 20 million today, the e-ticketing idea, though smart, was well before its time.

Now, KQ is focused on a leaner structure. “The airline learnt a vital lesson then. The current business model is very different from a low-cost model, and probably this thinking is behind the push for separate management for the two firms,” said the source.

Jambo Jet will have its own staff, whose terms, especially for the cabin crew, will differ from those of KQ.

Currently, an entry level flight attendant at KQ earns in excess of Ksh100,000 ($1180). But at Jambo Jet, an entry level flight attendant will earn around Ksh35,000 ($413).

Also, flight attendants at Jambo Jet will not be part of a union and will have a renewable contract of two years. Fly 540 said its workers, including cabin crew, are free to join a union.

By putting the employees under a two-year contract, KQ will be seeking to limit union power in its subsidiary and thus help it control employee costs, which according to analysts at Renaissance capital contributed 14 per cent to the company’s total expenses in the year ending March 2011.

KQ signed a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Aviation and Allied Workers Union (AAWU) last year, under which union members received a 25 per cent increase in salaries and allowances backdated to 2008.

The new 2010-2012 CBA will result in a 20 per cent increase in salaries and allowances (a 10 per cent adjustment for the next two years).

Taming expenses

The proposed salary structure will be within the same bracket as that of regional rivals, a factor that will enable KQ to effectively tame its employee costs and deliver better margins for regional flights.

Jambo Jet will lease KQ’s aeroplanes, especially the Embarer 190s and the Embarer 170s, which KQ currently uses for its regional flights.

It will also operate regional routes within four hours from Nairobi, meaning that it will fly to countries within EAC, placing it in direct competition with Fly 540, Jetlink, Air Uganda and Rwandair.

“I think Jambo Jet is targeting the regional market, not just the domestic market,” said Captain Elly Aluvale, CEO of Jet Link. “We do not project to go head-to-head with Kenya Airways.”

In Kenya, Jet Link currently flies to Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret. Outside Kenya, it flies to Juba, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam.

Captain Alluvale questioned the need for an international CEO to run a low-cost airline. “Will an international CEO really understand the East African market?” He asked.