Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Pilot of fatal hang glider flight is accused of swallowing evidence

Lenami Godinez hang-glider who suffered a fatal fall near Agassiz, British Columbia
Photograph by: Screengrab , Linkedin.com


The hang gliding pilot charged with obstructing justice after the weekend death of his client is accused of swallowing evidence. 

Court documents filed by Crown Counsel in Chilliwack suggest William Orders tried to hide video from the tragic fall, by swallowing a memory card, recording the fatal flight. The 50 year old is slated to apply for bail Wednesday afternoon in Chilliwack provincial court. On Saturday, 27 year old Lenami Godinez fell about 300 metres to her death seconds after taking off from a Fraser Valley mountainside in a tandem glide piloted by Orders.
The pilot involved in Saturday's fatal hang-gliding accident in the Fraser Valley has been charged with obstructing justice.

William (Jon) Orders, 50, of Burnaby, was arrested shortly after the incident, in which 27-year-old Lenami Godinez became detached from the glider and fell 300 metres to her death.

RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said the charge against Orders is in connection with "an allegation that he withheld potential key evidence which could help determine whether he played a role in any wrongdoing."

She wouldn't give further details. Orders has been remanded in custody until Wednesday when he will appear in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

Orders, who runs Vancouver Hang Gliding and has 16 years experience, was piloting a tandem glider on Mount Woodside near Agassiz when Godinez started to fall shortly after launch. While Orders struggled to hold on to the young woman, she clutched desperately at the pilot, even grabbing his feet, before she fell.

Her body was found seven hours later in a clearcut, about 20 metres from one of Orders' shoes, after an extensive search .

The Agassiz RCMP and the B.C. Coroner's Service are investigating.

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP Sgt. Mark Pelz said police aren't investigating criminal charges at this time but that they could be forthcoming, along with potential implications for a civil suit.

"This is an absolutely tragic accident, there are really no other words to describe it," Hollingsworth said.

"What exactly happened as far as why she fell is still under investigation and we are hoping the investigation will answer that question as well as other questions we all may have."

The accident was a tragic end to what was an anniversary present to Godinez from her boyfriend, who was filming her as she started her inaugural flight.

Michelle Nilson, a Simon Fraser University professor who had worked and socialized with Godinez, said days before the flight the young woman had posted on her Facebook site: "We're going hang-gliding."

"For it to end like this ...," Nil-son said in an interview. "No matter who would have been in this accident, it would have been tragic. But it's especially tragic because of who Lenami was. She was such a diplomatic, sweet and amazing person to work with.

"With her there were so many ways in which that came through."

Nilson said she didn't know Godinez well, but noted the young woman's quick smile, comforting nature and generous spirit drew people to her.

When Godinez, who had worked as an assistant at SFU, left to take a job as a communications specialist at the 2010 Olympics, her co-workers threw her a party - something that is rarely done.

"She was one of the few people we celebrated," Nilson said. "It was really such an honour to work with her.

"She made people feel comfortable in a way that was quite rare."

A Facebook memorial site set up in Godinez's memory reflects similar sentiments.

Godinez, who was originally from Mexico but had lived the past nine years in Vancouver, was described by friends and co-workers as a warm, thoughtful and adventurous young woman, who loved the outdoors and the environment.

Godinez's last job was as section head of administrative services for the South Coast Region at B.C.'s Ministry of Environment.

"Lenami - although the time that we knew each other was relatively short, I feel blessed to have known your kind heart, pure soul and deep passion for environmental change," wrote Alina Cheng. "May your spirit soar and serve as a guiding light for others to follow."

Source: http://www.vancouversun.com

Piper's first-quarter revenue, sales continue upward trend

By Ed Bierschenk
Posted May 1, 2012 at 4 a.m.

VERO BEACH — Piper Aircraft Inc. saw first-quarter revenue and sales numbers take off, with deliveries increasing more than 40 percent from the same period last year.

"Piper's performance in the first quarter of 2012 gives us a good start on the year. It also gives us an upward trend in first-quarter results for the past three years," said Piper President and Chief Executive Officer Simon Caldecott in a release announcing the results.

The aircraft manufacturer delivered 37 airplanes in the first quarter of this year compared with 26 during the first quarter of 2011. New aircraft sales revenue grew more than 20 percent to $31.578 million compared with just under $26.160 million during the same period last year.

International deliveries continued to outpace domestic sales during the first quarter, which Caldecott said "reinforces the success of our strong globalization strategy.

"Thus far this year in Europe, for example, our delivery and order-taking performance for M-class business airplanes and also our smaller aircraft is far outstripping our sales projections for that part of the world and we are pleased with that," he said. The M-class planes include the higher-priced Mirage, Matrix and Meridian.

During the last quarter, Piper delivered 21 airplanes internationally and 16 in the U.S.

On Monday, Indian River County Commissioner Peter O'Bryan noted the significance of those international sales in bringing outside money into the U.S. and Indian River County economy.

In the first quarter of 2011, Piper sold a few less planes than the year before but its revenue still increased by more than 40 percent from the prior year because of increased sales of its higher-priced models. Those first-quarter numbers were a bit reflective of how Piper did for the year as a whole. While overall deliveries were down from 160 to 136 last year, the company saw revenues increase by more than 9 percent from $120.2 million to $131.2 million. International sales accounted for more than 50 percent of the airplanes sold last year.

The number of aircraft delivered last year was more than 50 percent above 2009 numbers when the company was feeling the brunt of the economic downturn.

The company experienced a dramatic drop in employment following the 2008 downturn, with the number of workers falling below 600 in the summer of 2009. Staffing later grew back to about 850 workers before Piper announced last year it was suspending its light business jet program and laying off more than 100 employees and releasing 55 contract workers.

That reduction in jobs meant the company was not able to reach certain employment benchmarks contained in a financial incentive package signed with the state and county, although it did meet other performance benchmarks. As a result, Piper might have to pay back part of the $10.7 million it received earlier pending the outcome of ongoing renegotiations with the state.

Last week, in response to an inquiry about how long the renegotiations were taking, Department of Economic Opportunity spokesman James Miller said that "each renegotiation is unique, and some take longer to get completed than others due to different factors. As with any contract negotiation, our goal is to ensure Florida receives the biggest positive economic impact possible."

Source:  http://www.tcpalm.com

Plane Tests Must Use Average Pilots, National Transportation Safety BoardSays After 737 MAX Crashes: Safety board says FAA should embrace data-driven approach to assumptions about pilot responses

The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
September 26, 2019 10:00 am ET

Federal accident investigators called for broad changes in decades-old engineering principles and design assumptions related to pilot emergency responses, the first formal U.S. safety recommendations stemming from two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

As part of lessons learned from the crashes that took 346 lives and grounded the global MAX fleet, the National Transportation Safety Board suggested that Boeing Co. and the Federal Aviation Administration used unrealistic tests to initially certify the aircraft to carry passengers. The board also urged the plane maker and the FAA to pay more attention to interactions between humans and cockpit computers to ensure safety. The board wants Boeing and the FAA to reassess—and potentially jettison—what senior investigators portrayed as overly optimistic assumptions about the speed and effectiveness of cockpit-crew reactions to complex automation failures.

Five of the NTSB’s seven recommendations, released Thursday, called for the use of more-objective methods to predict likely responses of airline pilots in such cases when automation goes haywire. The board’s announcement challenged long-held industry and FAA practices that largely use the nearly instantaneous responses of highly trained test pilots—rather than those of average pilots, who typically have less experience—to verify the safety of new jetliner models. Some of the recommendations cover future airliner designs, not just the MAX.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that mistaken assumptions by Boeing and the FAA about pilot response were at the core of last year’s Lion Air MAX crash as well as the Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash in March. The safety board is assisting local authorities in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines probes.

Both planes went down because pilots—seemingly confused and distracted by sometimes contradictory warnings prompted by faulty sensor readings—failed to cope with a powerful automated flight-control feature, called MCAS, that pushed down the noses of the jets and ultimately put them into unrecoverable dives.

NTSB officials told reporters that before the MAX began commercial service Boeing failed to test—and the FAA never asked to see demonstrated—the full range of alerts, warnings and related system failures that could result from an MCAS misfire. Pilots of the ill-fated jets were overwhelmed by multiple alerts caused by a single malfunctioning sensor, leading to what safety experts call task saturation.

The pilots “did not react in the ways Boeing and the FAA assumed,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, a retired pilot who flew older 737 models. “We have found a gap between the assumptions” used to certify the MAX, he said, “and the real-world experiences of these crews.”

Amid a flurry of outside investigations, including a Justice Department criminal probe of the certification process, FAA officials already are moving to bring some procedures and regulations in line with the NTSB recommendations. In consultation with its foreign counterparts, for example, the agency intends to use a range of airline pilots—with varying degrees of flying expertise, experience and training—to verify the safety of pending software fixes and changes to flight-control computers on the MAX.

Dana Schulze, the NTSB’s top aviation investigator, said it is important to discount the bias that test pilots have “because they know the airplane like the back of their hand,” and instead seek new ways to determine “what the average pilot would do.” She also said additional recommendations are possible.

Ms. Schulze also told reporters the all-important certification tests “did not look at all potential flight-deck alerts and indications that pilots might see” in a real-world MCAS emergency.

The nonbinding recommendations also call on the FAA to help its foreign counterparts avoid such missteps when certifying aircraft in their countries. Eventually, the safety board wants Boeing and other U.S. plane manufacturers to devise onboard diagnostic systems capable on their own of sorting through a jumble of emergency alerts, to help pilots prioritize and speed through the correct checklist and alleviate the danger.

The FAA said it would carefully review these and all other recommendations as part of ongoing work to safely return the MAX to service. In a statement, it said that it is committed to a philosophy of improvement and that lessons learned from the two crashes will be a springboard to an even greater level of safety.

Boeing said it is “committed to working with the FAA in reviewing the NTSB recommendations.” Previously, the Chicago plane maker said the MAX was certified according to accepted industry standards and FAA requirements.

NTSB recommendations usually refrain from mandating specific technical solutions, so those involving the 737 MAX predictably leave the door open to a combination of design and training changes.

But in a teleconference laying out the recommendations, senior NTSB investigators questioned historical assumptions that pilots can be counted on to identify certain in-flight emergencies and respond to them within seconds.

Instead of the subjective validation of those assumptions by using test pilots, Ms. Schulze said the board is advocating for a “more data-driven, more scientific” evaluation of pilot performance. “We’re asking the FAA to improve the human-factors aspects” of aircraft certification, she said.

In designing the flight controls for the 737 MAX, Boeing assumed that, regardless of experience or background, pilots trained on existing safety procedures should be able to sift through a jumble of contradictory warnings and take the proper action 100% of the time within four seconds. The FAA based part of its certification on that assumption, though it is currently considering lengthening that time requirement.

But now the safety board is explicitly calling on Boeing and the FAA to identify and correct for potential “pilot actions that are inconsistent with manufacturer assumptions.” In addition, the recommendations urge the creation of robust tools and methods, with the help of human-factors experts, to validate “assumptions about pilot recognition and response” to significant safety risks or system malfunctions.

The board, according to people familiar with the details, initially drafted language calling for a review of the way the FAA gives industry officials authority to conduct certain safety reviews on behalf of the government. But the final document doesn’t include such a recommendation.

The Tecnam Story

Video describing the history of a leading Italian manufacturer of light sport aircraft aircraft.  
Video che descrive la storia di una azienda italiana leader nella produzione di velivoli light sport aircraft. 

Sikorsky's helicopter chartering business lands at Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey

With business travel increasing, Sikorsky Aircraft's executive helicopter charter service subsidiary now offers service between New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and Manhattan, N.Y.

Associated Aircraft Group announced Monday it has an aircraft at Teterboro to take executives into New York in less than 10 minutes.

Carolyn Marino, director of AAG's sales and marketing, said the company has reached agreements with the airport that, along with the designated aircraft, will allow faster response times to meet clients' needs.

"We're seeing a slow increase," she said of business travel. "Our fractional ownership program is continuing to expand."

AAG, acquired by Sikorsky more than a decade ago, manages a fleet of S-76 executive helicopters. Some are owned by one customer for whom AAG manages and maintains the aircraft. It also offers fractional ownership in the helicopters and manages those, too.

It appears to be a good time to expand service, according to one veteran Fairfield County travel agent.

"Business travel has been picking up for us with increased air bookings," said Nancy Yale, owner and president of Fairfield-based Cruise Resorts and World Travel Inc. "Our clients don't use as much of the Internet conferencing they had been doing over the past few years. The value of personal meetings has certainly led to increased business travel."

She said the demand for business travel is heating up enough to prompt midsized companies to begin booking with travel agents again.

But, so far, helicopter service remains a fairly exclusive service and has not reached into the larger business community, she said.

AAG operates out of the Dutchess County Airport in New York state, and offers service between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Source:  http://www.ctpost.com

Ontario, Canada: No Seneca College Bachelor of Aviation Technology program at Brantford airport

By Hugo Rodrigues, Brantford Expositor 

Brantford airport will not be home to part of Seneca College's Bachelor of Aviation Technology program, following the pending closure of the Buttonville Airport.

Two weeks ago, Seneca announced Peterborough municipal airport as its preferred location; on Monday, the college confirmed Brantford had been in the running as well. The possibility first came to light at an April 10 meeting of city council's operation and administration committee when it was mentioned by airport advisory board chair Phil Race.

Race had mentioned the potential for the relocation of the program to Brantford as part of the board's annual report to council.

“Brantford was one of the places on the list — but after a thorough analysis… only Peterborough was chosen as a preferred site,” Seneca College media relations and public affairs specialist Emily Milic said. “We remain in discussions with the airport in Peterborough and nothing has been finalized.”

Mayor Chris Friel said he had heard mention of the attempt to land the Seneca program through the Grand Valley Educational Society, but was a little surprised to hear it from Race on April 10.

“Council was never really fully involved or made aware of that,” Friel said. “I'm very supportive of the airport as it's an essential part of our transportation infrastructure.

“I would have been more than willing to be involved in marketing and selling it during any site visits.”

College president David Agnew was quoted in the April 13 Seneca release stating the $28-million capital-improvement program at the Peterborough site as reasons for why the college had selected it as a preferred site. Agnew told a QMI Agency journalist in Peterborough that Seneca is hoping to partner with the city's Sir Sanford Fleming College when the program shifts.

“With the recent capital investments and an environment that best meets our operational needs, we are excited about the opportunity to offer both flight training and academic classes onsite,” school of aviation and flight technology chair Lynne McMullen said in the release.

Friel said he's aware the Peterborough airport is much further along in its capital renewal and investment plan than the Brantford airport.

“We're not at the same point, where our airport is in the same position,” he said.

Seneca's program sees students work out of flight simulators and airplanes after the complete their second year. These pieces of equipment will move to the Peterborough site some time for the fall of 2013 and the college would setup associated classroom space.

The Buttonville Airport is located in the Town of Markham north of Toronto.

Source:  http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca