Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Partners of pilots launch lawsuit - Bond Offshore Helicopters, Eurocopter EC225 LP Super Puma, G-REDU near the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) Central Production Facility Platform in the North Sea


THE partners of the two pilots who were killed in the Super Puma helicopter disaster two years ago have raised a multi-million-pound legal action against the aviation company which employed the two men, it was revealed yesterday.

Paul Burnham, 31, the captain of the Super Puma, and co-pilot Richard Menzies, 24, were amongst the 16 men who died.

The aircraft, operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters, plunged into the North Sea on its way back to Aberdeen from BP’s Miller oil platform.

All 14 oil workers on the helicopter also died when it crashed 14 miles from the Buchan coast, leading to the biggest loss of life in a helicopter accident in the North Sea for 20 years.

Joanne McKenzie, Mr Burnham’s partner, and Katherine Botham, Mr Menzies’ partner, have now raised a legal action against Bond Offshore Helicopters at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

It is understood the compensation figure being sought, calculated on the basis of the pilots’ salaries until retirement age, may total more than £2 million in each case.

Ms McKenzie lived with her fiancé Mr Burnham in the Aberdeenshire village of Methlick before the crash.

She said: “There is no amount of money that could bring Paul back. However, my life was turned upside down after his death.

“We moved to Aberdeenshire because of Paul’s job. When he died, I went to London. I had to rethink my whole life.”

Ms Botham, 26, whose partner was from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, said: “Losing Richard has affected my whole life and not a day goes by without me thinking of him.

“Some days it can feel like I am back at square one, but I have had wonderful support from my family and friends and from Richard’s family.”


Ontario International Airport (KONT) looks awfully lonely


Published: 02 May 2012 06:24 PM

When my plane landed at Ontario International Airport on Monday afternoon, the twin terminals were a picture of desolation.

A single United Airlines jet was pulled up to a gate at the far west end of the terminals; a single US Airways jet, at the far east end.

Between them: eerily, gate after empty gate.

I stared from the window of my Southwest flight as we bumped along the taxiway and pulled up to a gate in the lonely middle.

Every time I fly out of or into ONT, I am struck anew by the airport’s decline. As Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner says, if something doesn’t change soon, there won’t be an Ontario airport.

It’s hard to say whether the city’s efforts to regain control from Los Angeles can succeed. The harder local-control proponents push, the more Los Angeles World Airports digs in its heels.

Last week, a candidate for Los Angeles mayor — former federal prosecutor Kevin James — issued a strongly worded opinion piece in favor of transferring control of ONT to a regional authority.

He’s considered a long-shot candidate. But maybe the frontrunners — LA Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti — will take the hint. As James points out, it’s in LA’s interests for Inland residents to use ONT: 1.3 million fewer cars on LA freeways if people aren’t driving to LAX.

The Inland airport doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the current mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. He’s got bigger fish to fry in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, apparently.

On Monday, LAWA put out a cryptic news release saying ONT’s general manager, Jess Romo, will “effective immediately” report to LAWA’s chief operating officer to “align (his) expanded duties.” Meaning what? LAWA officials didn’t respond to my calls on Monday.

Roma used to manage ONT. Then LAWA added Van Nuys Airport to his duties. He now divides his time between the two airports.

That was a big clue that LAWA considers ONT unimportant. For decades, ONT had its own manager. Now it shares one with another secondary LAWA airport where the locals are also unhappy with LAWA’s stewardship.

I caught up with Romo recently when he was in San Bernardino, and asked him about efforts to bring airlines back to ONT. He mentioned cost-cutting steps such as reducing the frequency of parking shuttles and closing a remote parking lot for a savings of $2 million a year.

That hasn’t stemmed the bleeding of passengers and flights, which have been in a steady nosedive since 2007, now down to 1987 numbers.

When I departed ONT five days earlier, I noticed all three exit-lane booths for the on-site parking were staffed, even though no cars were exiting. With so few customers, why not save two salaries by staffing only one booth? I wanted to ask Romo. But I couldn’t reach him Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, James pointed out that LA could focus its attention on improving LAX if it gave up control of ONT. It has an offer from Ontario on the table: $50 million for LA’s general fund. Why wait for the situation to get even worse?


Le personnel de Tunisair s'attaque aux passagers de la Syphax - Tunisair staff tackles the passengers Syphax

Aprés ce matin à Djerba Tunisair handling rebloque syphax airlines ce soir à Tunis:  Suite à l'incident entre Tunisair Handling et Syphax Airlines survenu aujourd'hui à l'aéroport de Djerba, la nouvelle compagnie vient de subir un deuxième incident à l'aéroport Tunis-Carthage.

En effet, Syphax airlines, se voit à cet instant même refuser l'enregistrement de ses quelque 140 passagers (tunisiens et étrangers) à destination de Paris par Tunisair Handling, sachant que le vol devrait s'effectuer à 17h40. Les agents de cette dernière ont estimé que Syphax n'avait pas les autorisations nécessaires, et de ce fait lui refusent même l'ouverture d'un box d'enregistrement.   L'affaire Syphax-Tunisair Handling serait loin d'être résolue, puisque le bras de fer continue. Nous y reviendrons incessamment.

After this morning to re-lock handling Djerba Tunisair Syphax airlines to Tunis tonight:
  Following the incident between Syphax Airlines Tunisair Handling and occurred today at the airport of Djerba, the new company has just undergone a second incident at the airport Tunis-Carthage. Airline Syphax is seen at this very moment refuse to register any of its 140 passengers (Tunisian and foreign) to Paris by Tunisair Handling, knowing that the flight would take place at 17:40. Agents of the latter felt that Syphax had not the necessary permits.

Estonian Air Embraer ERJ-170LR Takeoff from Tallinn

Video by Flightspotting 

Estonian Air (ELL) [OV] Embraer ERJ-170LR (E170), ES-AEA, Built in 2005, leased from Finnair, takeoff from runway 26, from Lennart Meri airport (EETN) [TLL] in Tallinn, Estonia, to Gardermoen airport (ENGM) [OSL] in Oslo, Norway, as flight OV 137/ SK 8417, on 24th of april 2012 18:37 LT. METAR: EETN 241550Z 27010KT 9999 SCT016 07/04 Q1009 NOSIG

Plane damages two others on ground at John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA), Santa Ana, California

Orange County Sheriff deputies and others investigate near a damage Beechcraft airplane that was involved in a minor collision at John Wayne Airport on Wednesday afternoon. The pilot was doing a pre-flight check of the Beechcraft Baron when it started moving and struck a single-engine Cessna and a single-engine Bonanza, damaging both aircraft, according to airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge.



SANTA ANA – A twin-engine plane struck two single-engine planes in a ground collision at John Wayne Airport on Wednesday afternoon, but no injuries were reported.

The pilot of a Beechcraft Baron was performing a pre-flight check of the aircraft about 4:30 p.m. when it moved forward on its own, said Jenny Wedge, an airport spokeswoman.

The plane struck two other aircraft – a Cessna and a Bonanza – damaging both, Wedge said.

No one was injured in the collision, which authorities say had no effect on the airport's operations.

Hang glider breaks ankles in crash on Vancouver Island

A Search and Rescue helicopter has air lifted an injured hang glider off a Vancouver Island Mountain.

Just before 1 p.m. emergency crews responded to calls a hang glider carrying one man had crashed a short time after take off from Mount Prevost – a popular take off spot north of Duncan.

Paramedics and search crews found the man in bushes below the take off spot.

He was stabilized and a Search and Rescue Cormorant Helicopter was used to lift him from the area.

Witnesses say he suffered broken ankles in the crash and has been taken to a Victoria hospital for treatment.

Read it on Global News: Global BC | Hang glider breaks ankles in crash on Vancouver Island

Schleicher ASW 24, G-CGDU, Robert James Brimfield (regd. owner): Accident occurred April 30, 2012 on Harling Road, in Eaton Bray, Near Dunstable, Bedfordshire

The pilot was carrying out his second flight of the day from a winch launch. He turned downwind and was seen to make an orbit to the right before continuing downwind. The glider made a brief, steep, wings-level climb before levelling off at a height of about 300 ft. It then banked to the left, before entering what was described as a spiral dive to the right. After turning through approximately 270°, the glider impacted the ground in a steep nose-down attitude. The pilot was fatally injured. The most likely cause of the accident was a stall leading to a loss of control, with insufficient height available to recover.

The scene of the crash near Harling Road, Eaton Bray on Monday afternoon (April 30) 

AN investigation has been launched after a man was killed when the glider he was flying crashed in Eaton Bray on Monday afternoon.

Emergency services attended the scene, close to Harling Road, after a call from a member of the public was made shortly after 2.30pm.

The victim was a member of the London Gliding Club, based in Tring Road at the foot of Dunstable Downs.

The last fatal glider accident in the area was more than seven years ago.

East of England Ambulance Service spokesman Gary Sanderson told the Gazette: “First and foremost our thoughts are firmly with the man’s family at this tragic time.

“It was evident that nothing could be done on our arrival and the man was pronounced dead shortly after.”

Police assisted the ambulance services and set up a roadblock. An air accident investigation is under way.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK’s aviation regulator, said yesterday: “The investigation could take months, but when it is released the report will be thorough.

“It’s not good to speculate what went wrong at this stage.”

The identity of the man had not yet been released by the Bedfordshire coroner’s office when the Gazette went to press.

A spokesman for London Gliding Club said: “We can confirm that this crash involved one of our members.”

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, voiced his hope that the pilot’s death would not be in vain.

He said: “I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man who was killed when his glider crashed. I will be looking to see that all lessons are learnt from this sad incident so that we can avoid any tragedy in future.”

Engineless gliders are towed by a plane to a height of between 2,000ft and 4,000ft to get them off the ground, before travelling at speeds of up to 70mph.

Typically it takes between 50 and 80 flights with a qualified instructor before a gliding enthusiast is allowed to fly solo.

As the pilot was flying on his own, it would indicate that he was an experienced flyer.

No one else was hurt in the accident.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch, which is conducting the investigation, said that the last fatal glider accident in Dunstable was in August 2004.

Club member Peter O’Donovan died in the Luton & Dunstable Hospital from injuries he received in the incident.

Mr O’Donovan, a construction manager from Lewsey Farm, had just left the ground after a winch launch when his glider began an unusually steep climb. The craft was at an altitude of 100 feet when it plummeted nose-first into the ground.

A 52-year-old club member was killed when his glider crashed near Dunstable in 1998.

The London Gliding Club was founded in 1930. In 1939, member Geoffrey Stephenson became the first person to glide across the English Channel, flying from Dunstable to France.

Drone-Testing Site Lifts Central New York’s Aerospace Industry: Griffiss International Airport has become a center for developing unmanned aerial systems

ROME, New York — Griffiss International Airport was once a cornerstone of Cold War deterrence, serving as a base for the U.S. Air Force’s biggest bombers. Now something smaller is taking flight over its runways: the next generation of drones.

The airport is one of seven sites across the country designated by the Federal Aviation Administration for testing unmanned aerial systems, and local officials say the much smaller aircraft are helping rejuvenate an aerospace sector that once flourished here in Central New York.

More than 2,600 test flights have taken off from the Griffiss tarmac since 2014, according to officials from Nuair, the nonprofit organization that manages the site. They include everything from smaller drones designed to pollinate crops to a four-seat, twin-engine aircraft that operated without a pilot.

As private companies test unmanned aerial systems for delivering goods, Nuair’s team at Griffiss is helping develop technology that will let drones automatically detect and avoid other aircraft, as well as systems that will remotely identify them to law enforcement and air-traffic controllers.

“The concept behind it is not only to test future technologies for unmanned aerial systems, but to operationalize and commercialize that technology,” Nuair CEO Mike Hertzendorf said.

Mr. Hertzendorf said he expects testing to accelerate in 2020. The organization recently completed work on a 50-mile test corridor that stretches between Griffiss and the city of Syracuse, allowing for longer flights. Officials hope to fly a 500-pound drone across the entire airspace later in the spring. The flight path will let researchers see how drones perform over rural and suburban landscapes as well as a major highway.

Data from these flights will help the FAA develop a traffic-management system and loosen the strict regulations currently in place for commercial uses of unmanned aerial systems. Current FAA rules allow for commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate below 400 feet and at speeds of 100 mph or less and remain within the pilot’s visual line of sight. Pilots must be licensed, and operations over urban areas are restricted.

Individuals and companies can apply for waivers to operate drones outside those parameters—particularly the line-of-sight requirement. United Parcel Service Inc. received FAA approval to ship medical products and specimens in North Carolina across various hospital campuses. Wing, a division of Google parent Alphabet Inc., was allowed to conduct package delivery in a mostly rural part of Virginia.

The test sites have a blanket exemption from the requirements that allow companies to test their products while they apply for FAA waivers. Flytrex, an Israeli company, won approval to do food deliveries in North Carolina after testing at Griffiss.

The tests at Griffiss are the product of years of effort by business leaders as well as local and state officials. In 1993, the Defense Department announced it would cease most operations at the base as part of a larger realignment.

Oneida County, which includes the cities of Rome and Utica, eventually took over the airfield and began soliciting private companies to locate there. It is still home to an aerospace defense command center and a division of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory that specializes in communications and cybersecurity.

Both Oneida and Onondaga County, which includes Syracuse, have a history in defense electronics. General Electric had major radar manufacturing plants in Utica and just outside Syracuse in Liverpool. Lockheed Martin Corp. now operates the Liverpool plant. Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace and defense company, makes radars and other defense products east of Syracuse in DeWitt.

The FAA solicited proposals for test sites in 2012, and Nuair was formed by CenterState CEO, a Syracuse-based economic development organization, at the urging of the companies and area universities.

CenterState President Robert Simpson said he believed unmanned aerial systems are the logical next step for the region.

“There is a very clear core competency in central New York that was built around sensing technologies and various applications for sensing technology,” he said.

Mr. Simpson and other local officials won $500 million of state economic development funding in a 2015 contest and have dedicated half of it to seeding the drone industry. The state spent $30 million on radar and sensing infrastructure necessary for the new test corridor between Griffiss and Syracuse, and in 2017 announced it would spend $30 million to incentivize Saab to move its North American headquarters to Onondaga County.

The funds have also paid for a competitive business-accelerator program, called GeniusNY, that has attracted more than two dozen companies focusing on unmanned aerial systems to the area. Most are located in a business incubator in downtown Syracuse fashioned from a former parking garage.

On a recent day at the incubator, employees of one company played Ping-Pong during a lunch break while Craig Marcinkowski, senior vice president of the Swiss company Fotokite, showed off the company’s tethered-camera system. It is being marketed to fire departments, and Mr. Marcinkowski is building out the firm’s North American operations from Syracuse.

Syracuse University this year launched the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute to develop courses on the regulatory, technical and social issues that arise from unmanned aerial systems. The school plans to launch a major in the fall of 2020. Local community colleges are also offering courses.

Back at Griffiss, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said he could remember the ever-present din of the heavy bombers and tankers that were once stationed there. He hopes the confluence of Nuair’s testing, the Air Force lab and new companies will create economic opportunity.

“When it comes to aviation, this community and this area looks to the skies,” Mr. Picente said. “Other neighborhoods might look to them as noise, people here look to it as progress and continuing growth.”

Opinion: Study airport needs on Long Island

Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan 
Planes at their tiedown and hangars at Brookhaven Calabro Airport (April 23, 2012). 

 A severe fiscal drought has dried up some key revenue streams for the Town of Brookhaven, leaving officials little choice but to shed costs. Now Supervisor Mark Lesko wants a private firm to run Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, which has been losing the town roughly a half-million dollars a year. He's right, but there are some questions about Calabro that need to be asked first.

One is: Do we still need it? There's a long list of facilities for private planes:  Suffolk County's Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, the state-run Republic Airport in Farmingdale, and town-run airports such as East Hampton Airport and Islip's Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, to name just a few.

We'd like to see the impending change of management at Calabro lead to an examination not only of this one airport's niche but of the need for small-aircraft services throughout Suffolk County. A town couldn't afford a study like that. So Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo could help by having the state's Department of Transportation do it.

Town officials say closing Calabro would be complex. For one thing, the town would likely have to repay back Federal Aviation Administration grants. Also, in a closing, the land would revert to the state.

There may be other valid reasons to keep it flying. Dowling College uses its 100-acre campus there to teach about 250 aviation students courses including pilot training (through private operators), aviation management and air traffic control, among other uses. But Calabro's total general aviation takeoffs, landings, and touch-and-go flights fell from 59,115 in 2010 to 47,246 in 2011. So far, this year's totals look like last year's depleted ones.

The wild card: If the Shinnecock Indian Nation builds a casino in Brookhaven, it's possible that could bring more flights to Calabro.

But it will take a real study to get answers. Lesko is doing the right thing for the town, saving taxpayer money and maybe getting a better-run airport. But for the region, a look at the total need for small-plane facilities is in order. Even with many points in Calabro's favor, it's worth at least asking the question.

Columbiana Boy Becomes Pilot for A Day


The 910th Airlift Wing got a new honorary pilot on Wednesday. 

 Mark Sidor, 11, of Columbiana, was sworn in as an honorary Air Force Reserve 2nd Lieutenant and Pilot for a Day at the 910th Airlift Wing at the U.S. Air Force Reserve Station in Vienna.

Mark is receiving treatment for a bleeding and autism disorder at Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley, and his family said he has wanted to visit the air base most of his life.

The purpose of the "Pilot for a Day" program is to reach out to the community by providing a fun-filled day of activities to children who live with a chronic or life-threatening disease or illness.

"It is a great program at the base. They get a chance to see what we have to offer and get to take a high speed taxi on the airplane," said Capt. Brian Hodor of the 910th Airlift Wing.

Mark said he enjoyed being a co-pilot and sitting next to the captain, but he thought the lunch was the best part. 

Small plane veers off runway at airport; no one is injured. Columbus Metropolitan Airport (KCSG), Georgia

Flights were halted early Wednesday morning at the Columbus Airport after a small plane ran off the runway.

The pilot say the plane was leaving the runway, about to take off for air, when something went wrong.

Columbus' runway sits right in front of many residents' backyards. Don Lindsey says, "I don't see how it happened as far as safety rules the folks have over there. As far as I'm concerned from what I see and what I hear that's the first thing on their mind, safety."

Lindsey says he did not hear a peep but he's not afraid of the constant coming and going of planes right in his backyard.

"After 6 years in Vietnam these little airplanes don't bother me a bit. If a plane ran off the runway over there it's either a wind gust or a pilot error."

There were no injuries in the incident. News Leader 9 tried several times to get a hold of airport officials but our calls were not returned.

St. Cloud State rues end of aviation program

ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Supporters of an aviation program at St. Cloud State University say its closure is poorly timed as the industry expects to see more demand for pilots and aviation workers.

The St. Cloud program trains students for jobs as air traffic controllers, airport managers and pilots. Minnesota Public Radio reports the university will close it by 2014 as part of its new focus on broad learning over career training.

The school also faces a $20 million budget gap. Ending the program will save nearly half a million dollars.

But government retirement guidelines and stricter regulations are increasing the call for new aviation workers. Industry officials say military-trained pilots who filled positions in the past are now retiring.


New Zealand: Pilot's Queenstown night flight fears

 A senior pilot is casting a black cloud over night flights, saying Queenstown Airport is dicey enough in daylight – let alone in darkness.

The veteran jet captain – who can’t be named because his airline contract bans media comment – warned last week that a Queenstown aviation disaster is inevitable unless major changes are made.

His chilling prediction coincided with Mountain Scene revelations of a Transport Accident Investigation Commission report citing “system drift” and rising risk levels at Queenstown’s increasingly busy airport.

In an extensive interview this week, the airline captain – we’ll call him ‘Peter’ – says he’s very concerned about Queenstown Airport’s push for potentially lucrative night flights.

“There are a lot of issues presenting during daylight operations, let alone at night.

 “Queenstown is by far the most hazardous airport in New Zealand,” Peter says.

“Some pilots have been spooked so much by the challenge of operating into ZQN they simply try and avoid it.”

The TAIC report heavily criticises the Civil Aviation Authority and tower operator Airways Corporation, urging “a review of [Queenstown’s] entire air traffic management system and operational procedures”.

Peter’s stunned at TAIC’s indictments of CAA and Airways – the report was an official inquiry on how Qantas and Pacific Blue jets came to be on a potential collision course in June 2010.

“Terrain, weather and runway difficulties make piloting a passenger jet into and out of Queenstown tough enough,” he says.

Peter adds that having extra layers of risk from what he claims are “air traffic control inadequacies and a slack regulatory regime” is absolutely intolerable.

There’s “a disconnect between airlines, Airways and CAA”, Peter believes.

“[TAIC’s report] is a sad indictment on CAA who’ve had their blinkers on when assessing the various airlines operating into ZQN and the general operating environment there.”

As an example, the veteran pilot flays CAA for allowing airlines – if they chose – to restrict Queenstown-specific simulator and other training to captains only, leaving co-pilots unprepared for ZQN’s trickier landings and take-offs.

“If the captain becomes incapacitated, the first officer takes over,” Peter points out, adding co-pilots also monitor captains to ensure correct flight procedures are followed.

“How can a first officer do this if he or she isn’t trained for the particular operation?”

Air NZ, Jetstar and Qantas were training first officers for Queenstown flights – Pacific Blue wasn’t until CAA made it mandatory last November during TAIC’s investigation.

All jet pilots now undergo “a comprehensive briefing, a simulator exercise and a minimum of two familiarisation flights” before flying into Queenstown, TAIC says.

“This was an incredible omission on the part of CAA and a reflection of CAA’s airline-friendly officials,” Peter alleges.
Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson told Mountain Scene last week he’s keen on night flights – as was his predecessor Steve Sanderson – and he sees TAIC’s report as “providing more clarity”.

CAA has recently conducted a “risk review” of Queenstown operations and CAA spokesperson Emma Peel has said Airways, airlines and the airport are being consulted.

Airways is working on improving Queenstown Air–port lighting, surveillance systems and radar cover – and will eventually have some of the most modern air traffic services equipment in the world, Airways navigation services chief Lew Jenkins told Mountain Scene last week.

Meanwhile, Paterson, CAA chief executive Graeme Harris and Airways chief executive Ed Sims have collectively written to Mountain Scene to say last week’s coverage was “alarmist” – and reassure travellers Queenstown skies are safe.
Queenstown is the country’s diciest airport – official

The Civil Aviation Authority is now admitting what jet jockeys have been whispering for years – that Queenstown is home to this country’s most white-knuckle airport.

“Aviation operations at Queenstown carry higher risk than those at other aerodromes in New Zealand,” CAA spokesperson Emma Peel tells Mountain Scene.

“Terrain, runway dimensions, lighting and environmental conditions” create the high risk, she says.

A veteran pilot – who we’re calling ‘Peter’ – knows Queenstown Airport like the back of his hand so Mountain Scene asked him to explain why it’s so difficult.

Queenstown skies pose “a multiple high-risk environment”, Peter says, ticking off the main dangers:
  • Narrow runway – standard width is 45 metres, the resort runway is 30m
  • Short runway – Queenstown’s “available landing distance” is 1777m, excluding what’s known as runway end safety areas, compared with Dunedin’s 1900m and Invercargill’s 2200m. With a wet runway and five-knot swirling tailwind – quite common here, Peter says – Airbus and Boeing manuals require A320 and B737 jets at 2000kgs below maximum weight to have landing distances of 1840m and 1690m respectively
  • The shorter runway also means “significant risk” if engine failure aborts a takeoff, Peter says – inadequate overrun areas mean the jet may plummet into the Shotover River at one end or over the highway into houses at the other
  • Frequent turbulence, cross winds and marginal weather also force pilots to “very quickly assess and correct for conditions to make a safe landing”, he says.
  • Finally, there’s that ring of mountains at close quarters all round the Wakatipu Basin.


U.S. Coast Guard video: Medevac's of man from cruise ship off North Carolina


 ATLANTIC OCEAN - An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevacs a 66-year-old man from a cruise ship approximately 60 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., April 29, 2012. The Jayhawk crew hoisted the man and the cruise ship's nurse and flew them to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C.

Pressurization worries prompt airliner's unscheduled landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (KAMA)

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — A United Express flight with 45 people aboard made an unscheduled landing in Amarillo after the captain reported pressurization issues.

Steven Picou is deputy director of aviation at Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport. He says the Embraer EMB-145XR jet was en route from Grand Junction, Colo., to Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston when the cockpit crew declared an emergency at 1:23 p.m. Wednesday.

The plane was operated by Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines for Chicago-based United. Picou says it made a safe, uneventful landing at 1:30 p.m., the passengers deplaned routinely and were booked on the next flight to Houston.

It was unclear if cabin depressurization actually had occurred.

Aviation industry adding jobs in South Florida

The aviation business seems to be taking off in South Florida.

Two Broward County aviation service employers said this week they are expanding, and over the past five years, at least six South Florida aviation companies have pumped up operations and created jobs.

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's expansion and record passenger traffic is generating business, said David Coddington, a business development executive for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. "More planes means more service," he said.

The industry employs 37,000 people at the Fort Lauderdale airport or related businesses, the Alliance said. Palm Beach County's aviation industry employs more than 10,000 people through 250 businesses including B/E Aerospace, a manufacturer of aircraft cabin products; Lockheed Martin, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne and Sikorsky Aircraft.

CTS Engines, a jet-engine overhaul company, said Wednesday it is hiring workers at its new headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and has bought 45 acres in western Palm Beach County, where it will to test engines.

The company has 53 workers and expects to have 80 by the end of 2012, and 125 to 150 employees within two years, said Konrad Walter, president and former company owner. CTS maintains and repairs engines of DC-10s, MD-11s, 747s and other aircraft for airlines, manufacturers, freight companies and aircraft leasing companies.

The company purchased a 60,000-square-foot headquarters and operations center near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, which opens Friday.

CTS will hire technicians, engineers and sales people, Walter said. Salaries range from $35,000 to $100,000, he said.

In 2010, Walter sold CTS to Neff Management, which made a $25 million investment that is allowing the company to expand, he said.

"We travel all over the world....We send guys to Hong Kong, Germany, Dubai, China and Kazakhstan," Walter said.

Also on Wednesday, GE Aviation said it has expanded operations in Pompano Beach to 30,000 square feet, adding a research and development laboratory. It's part of a $20 million investment over the next five years.

No new jobs are being created at the company, which designs and manufacturers electronic power supply systems for military and commercial use, said spokeswoman Jennifer Villarreal. GE Aviation employs 40.

Other industry expansions in Broward include:

Brazil's aircraft manufacturer Embraer made a $17-million investment in a Fort Lauderdale aircraft overhaul center in 2007, creating 60 jobs, according to economic development officials.

Propulsion Technologies International, an engine component repair company in Miramar, created 150 jobs and made a $5 million capital investment in 2008.

Heico Corp., a supplier of aircraft engine parts, employs several hundred employees in Hollywood and is adding engineering and sales staff, a spokesman said.

Spirit Airlines, based in Miramar, has added more routes and flights. The airline employs about 1,500 in Fort Lauderdale.

In Palm Beach County:

Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky announced expansions in the past year, with Lockheed adding 50 jobs in Riveria Beach and Sikorsky adding 14 manufacturing and engineering positions.

Hang-glider pilot’s instructor certification suspended

Canada’s hang-gliding association has temporarily suspended the instructor certification for a hang-gliding pilot facing a criminal charge after a female passenger fell to her death during a flight in the Fraser Valley last Saturday.

The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada says it has taken the measure pending the outcome of its own investigation into the case, which has raised questions about safety in the sport.

“Caution is important. We’re dealing here with members of the public and members of our own sport. We need err always on the side of caution until we have the conclusion of the investigation that’s about to start,” Margit Nance, executive director for the association, said in an interview Wednesday.

The association has named Martin Henry, a hang-gliding pilot with more than 30 years experience and former association president, to investigate the accident.

Ms. Nance said her organization is also co-operating with investigations by the police and coroners’ office.

Jon Orders, a veteran pilot, has been in the custody of RCMP in Chilliwack along with his equipment since Saturday’s incident in Agassiz, about 120 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Mr. Orders is facing a charge of obstruction of justice over allegations he swallowed a video card in a camera that recorded the flight. He had a court appearance Wednesday.

Lenami Godinez of Vancouver fell to her death after taking off on a tandem flight with Mr. Orders from Mt. Woodside in Agassiz. The 27-year-old somehow came loose from her harness and fell almost 300 metres to her death.

Ms. Nance said the association, which has about 900 members – 330 of them in B.C. – is in shock over the incident.

“This has never happened before in Canada,” she said. “It can’t happen again.”

Hang glider pilot stays in jail until memory card passes through his system

CHILLIWACK, B.C. - The hang glider pilot whose passenger fell to her death over B.C.'s Fraser Valley remains in custody while a memory card he's alleged to have swallowed passes through his body

William (Jon) Orders appeared for just a few minutes in a courtroom in Chilliwack, B.C., only have his case put off until Friday.

A court document outlining the charge against Orders alleges he attempted to obstruct justice by swallowing a camera's memory card, which may contain evidence of the death of 27-year-old Lenami Godinez-Avila.

RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth says a series of X-Rays have been conducted that confirm the memory card is still inside Orders.

Orders' business, Vancouver Hang Gliding, offers tandem hang gliding flights, and his website notes customers can purchase photos and videos of their experiences.

Godinez-Avila and her boyfriend purchased the hang gliding trip in celebration of an anniversary.

Missing man formation Vliegclub Wieringermeer 2012

$10,000 thank-you gift

Vicki and Tony Wilson, who were involved in a fatal crash near Carmila on May 2 last year, express their gratitude to RACQ-CQ Rescue pilot Brendon Barron, who represented the service as the couple handed over a $10,000 thank-you donation. The pilot on the day was Alex Crawford. 
Peter Holt

A YEAR ago Tony and Vicki Wilson didn't think they'd ever be lucky enough to be able to thank the workers who saved their lives.

The former Moranbah residents who now live in Mackay were seriously injured in a head-on collision on the Bruce Hwy, 10km north of Carmila, on May 2 last year.

German tourist Alex Lang, who was a passenger in the other vehicle, died in the crash.

The Wilsons spent months in Mackay Base Hospital Intensive Care Unit recovering from horrific injuries.

Yesterday they donated $10,000 to RACQ-CQ Rescue, which was involved in the rescue operation.

Mr Wilson said he couldn't express his gratitude.

"It's a great cause... we all think about it but we never think we'd have to use it."

He said he still had doubts about driving on the Bruce Hwy.

"You just can't relax as much," he said.

"I've driven back and forth to Brisbane a few times (since the crash). You sort of wonder what's going to come around the corner."

Mrs Wilson recalled the day of the collision.

"It was such a shock," she said. "It was a normal week for us.

"We were going to stop at Carmila, that was the weird part about it.

"I was fast asleep and I think that's what saved me.

"I think if I was awake and tensed up I might have had more injuries."

CQ Rescue public relations and community co-ordinator Louise Blines said the donation was unexpected.

"It was an honour and a privilege to be able to meet and talk with Tony and Vicki today (yesterday)," she said.

"It's not a cheap thing to operate a rescue helicopter service so their donation will really go a long way in supporting our operating costs."

A police spokesman said no charges had been laid in relation to the crash.

Wall Street Journal: Hawker Beechcraft could file for bankruptcy any day

Updated May 2, 2012, 5:30 p.m. ET 

Hawker Beechcraft Edges Closer to Chapter 11


Hawker Beechcraft Inc., the struggling aircraft manufacturer, is in the final stages of preparing to file for bankruptcy protection and hand ownership to several hedge funds, said people familiar with the matter.

Hawker, based in Wichita, Kan., has negotiated a debt-restructuring deal with lenders and could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection sometime within the next week, the people said, depending on how quickly lawyers can put finishing touches on documents.

Hawker's lawyers are "working by the hour" to prepare the filing, so "it will happen" as soon as they're done, said a person familiar with the matter.

Hawker, which employs more than 7,000 people, plans to file a so-called prearranged bankruptcy in which creditors holding a substantial amount of the company's more than $2.3 billion in debt would agree to a restructuring deal ahead of time. The creditors would convert more than $2 billion of Hawker's debt to equity in a restructured company, eliminating nearly all the debt on the company's balance sheet, the people said.

A prearranged restructuring would allow Hawker to rework its finances quickly, limiting the company's time in bankruptcy court. The company would continue operating and paying employees while under Chapter 11 protection, the people said.

Centerbridge Partners, Angelo, Gordon & Co., Sankaty Advisors LLC and Capital Research & Management own large pieces of Hawker's $1.8 billion in senior debt and would forgive those obligations for the bulk of the company's new equity, making them owners, the people said.

Some of the lenders are expected to provide Hawker with roughly $350 million of so-called debtor-in-possession financing that would help the aircraft manufacturer keep operating during bankruptcy proceedings, the people said. The people cautioned the financing could be provided by other investors.

During bankruptcy proceedings, Hawker could explore "strategic alternatives," including possible sales of its business lines, one of the people said. If buyers emerge for any of Hawker's assets, that could change how the company restructures.

Hawker's woes in part trace back to a buyout by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s GS -1.35% private-equity arm and Onex Partners, which purchased the company for $3.3 billion in 2007.

Hawker hired Robert S. "Steve" Miller, a restructuring veteran, to take over as CEO in February amid weak demand for business jets. Uncertainty over Defense Department spending, too, has hurt Hawker's military aircraft business. It reported a net loss of more than $630 million for 2011. In April, Hawker gave layoff notices to about 350 workers at a Wichita plant.

Mr. Miller, who led auto-parts maker Delphi Corp. during bankruptcy proceedings and has been chairman of troubled insurer American International Group Inc. as it repaid government rescue funds, is expected to oversee Hawker during its Chapter 11 court proceedings, and could depart once the restructuring is completed, said a person familiar with the situation.

The company received a waiver on various debt terms from creditors in March, along with a $124.5 million loan to keep the company running. That loan comes due June 29. Hawker raised "substantial doubt" about its "ability to continue as a going concern" in an April regulatory filing and listed seeking Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as an option for dealing with difficulties making debt payments.

The company also flagged "material weakness" in internal controls related to financial reporting in the regulatory filing. Hawker hired turnaround firm Alvarez & Marsal to help fix the accounting problems, the company said. Along with Alvarez & Marsal, law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP and investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners are advising Hawker on its potential bankruptcy filing and restructuring.
—Joann S. Lublin
contributed to this article.


Helicopter crashes, knocks part of roof off home in Phoenix; 2 men injured (with video)

PHOENIX - A helicopter has crashed Wednesday morning into a Phoenix house.
The helicopter crashed around 11:45 a.m. into the home on E. Roma Avenue near State Route 51 and Campbell Avenue.

The chopper knocked off part of a home's roof before settling in a tree just feet from another home.

Air15 video showed half a dozen police vehicles and fire trucks on scene.

Phoenix fire spokesman Scott McDonald said two men were transported to a nearby trauma center as immediate but stable patients.

There was no fire and no injuries on the ground.

Neighbor Scott Chapin said he heard the helicopter hitting his neighbor's house and ran outside, where he saw the wreckage sticking up. He said that he initially thought it was a tree trimmer's boom or a piece of construction machinery that had hit power lines above the home.

"But then that didn't make any sense, because the rotor was still going around making an incredibly weird noise, a very ear-deafening noise," Chapin said. "So I knew it was something else, but it did not dawn on me that it was a helicopter because that's such a rare thing to happen in the middle of a Wednesday."

The helicopter appeared to fall almost vertically onto the roof, then slid off and landed in the tree, Chapin said.

One of the two men on board was helped to the street by bystanders, Chapin said. He didn't see the second man.

"He was conscious, but totally stunned, or really knocked around, shell-shocked," Chapin said. "I can only imagine he must have had a heck of an impact. He got his bones rattled for sure."

The copter crashed in an east Phoenix neighborhood about four miles north of Sky Harbor International Airport. All that could be seen from the street was a red tail boom sticking into the air.

The helicopter smashed into the rook of one home, causing substantial damage, and also damaged the next home's air conditioning units. Utility crews made repairs after the crash.
The helicopter was a Hughes 269C, a small two-seater commonly used for personal and ranch use and for pilot training. The aircraft was registered to Canyon State Aero in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. The company's website says it specializes in pilot training.

Calls and emails to the company weren't immediately returned.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.

Ugandan diplomats injured in South Sudan plane crash

It is not clear what assignment the Foreign Service officers and nine other passengers were on, when the World Food Programme plane hurtled down with a bang.

Two diplomats at Uganda’s embassy in Juba yesterday sustained injuries after a plane carrying them crash-landed at South Sudan’s Yambio airstrip in Western Equatorial State, according to diplomatic and security sources.

The plane’s unnamed pilot and another passenger got multiple fractures, said Col. Gabriel Ayol, the deputy commander of the newly-created counter-LRA African Union Regional Taskforce.

His taskforce oversees security incidents in the area where the accident happened. He told Daily Monitor by telephone from Juba, the South Sudan capital, that there were 11 passengers on board when the plane hurtled down violently at about 10:30am. “I am told two people sustained serious injuries,” he said, “the cause of the mishap is not yet known.”

Amb. James Mugume, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, returned our telephone call at 7:30pm last night, and said the two Ugandan Foreign Service officers - a man and a lady - had been evacuated for treatment in Gulu town.

Both diplomats, he said, are known by the surname Okello. The man broke his leg, according to Amb. Mugume, but “they are safe”. This newspaper understands that the ill-fated, fixed-wing plane belonged to, or was chartered by, the UN food agency, the World Food Programme.
A diplomat familiar with the incident, but who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said: “A WFP fixed-wing plane crashed (yesterday) morning at Yambio airstrip with eleven on board. No deaths, but certainly injuries occurred.”

Reports about the fate of the other passengers, or their particulars, were scanty by press time. We could not establish the plane’s itinerary or nature of the errand by what sources described as a “high-powered delegation”.

A South Sudan government official had said injured passengers were taken for emergency treatment at a nearby hospital in Yambio, and that the Ugandan diplomats were stuck there.

But PS Mugume said otherwise. “I have confirmed two Ugandan (Foreign Service) officers were involved, and one injured the leg. Both have been flown for treatment in Gulu and they are safe.”

Salina Municipal Airport (KSLN), Kansas: Scientists Studying Thunderstorm Impacts on Upper Atmosphere to Base in Salina

The three research aircraft will be based at the Salina Municipal Airport, a location central to all three study areas.

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other organizations are targeting thunderstorms in Alabama, Colorado, and Oklahoma this spring to discover what happens when clouds suck air up from Earth's surface many miles into the atmosphere.

The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) experiment, which begins the middle of this month, will explore the influence of thunderstorms on air just beneath the stratosphere, a little-explored region that influences Earth's climate and weather patterns. Scientists will use three research aircraft, mobile radars, lightning mapping arrays, and other tools to pull together a comprehensive picture.

"We tend to associate thunderstorms with heavy rain and lightning, but they also shake things up at the top of cloud level," says NCAR scientist Chris Cantrell, a DC3 principal investigator. "Their impacts high in the atmosphere have effects on climate that last long after the storm dissipates."

Past field projects have focused on either the details of thunderstorms but with limited data on the atmospheric chemistry behind them, or on the chemistry but with little detail about the storms themselves. DC3 is the first to take a comprehensive look at the chemistry and thunderstorm details, including air movement, cloud physics, and electrical activity.

Funding for DC3 comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA. The scientists leading the project are from NCAR, Pennsylvania State University, Colorado State University, and NOAA, with involvement by more than 100 researchers from 26 organizations.

Read more:

"No-Fly Zone" Over Chicago During NATO Summit

The Federal Aviation Administration will impose a "no-fly zone" over Chicago during the NATO Summit, and private-plane pilots will be intercepted and detained if they violate restrictions.

A Temporary Flight Restriction issued this week states the "no-fly" zone will be in place from May 19 to May 21 as part of NATO security measures. No plane will be allowed to fly within 10 nautical miles of downtown Chicago and not below 18,000 feet.

The flight restriction notice further states the government "may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat."

The only planes allowed within the 10-mile "inner core" include regularly scheduled commercial passenger planes and approved law enforcement, air ambulance flights and military aircraft directly supporting the U.S. Secret Service

All aircraft flying between 10 and 30 miles of downtown Chicago must be limited to planes arriving or departing local airfields, the restriction states.

No flight training, model aircraft operations, banner towing operations and balloon operations, among other operations, will be allowed.

Lancair Legacy 2000 (built by David Campbell), Forever and Always LLC, N12KX: Accident occurred May 01, 2012 in Durango, Colorado
NTSB Identification: CEN12CA263 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 01, 2012 in Durango, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: CAMPBELL DAVID LEGACY, registration: N12KX
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The pilot reported that he lowered the landing gear and set the flaps to 30-degrees while on the downwind leg to the runway. He added that, as he lined up the airplane on final approach, the airplane drifted to the right. After the airplane crossed the beginning of the runway, the drift increased, and the pilot tried to correct back to the runway centerline. The pilot further stated that the airspeed decreased and the airplane “stalled between five and ten feet above the runway”. The airplane landed hard, slid off the runway onto a glass slope, and came to rest in an upright position. Examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the fuselage, including separation of the empennage section, forward of the vertical stabilizer.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper flare and subsequent aerodynamic stall, which resulted in a hard landing.

The pilot and passenger arrived at their destination airport after a cross-country flight. The pilot reported he lowered the landing gear and flaps to 30-degrees while on the downwind leg to the runway. He added that as he lined up for the runway, the airplane drifted to the right, indicating a strong wind from the west. After the airplane crossed the beginning of the runway, the drift increased and the pilot tried to correct back to the runway centerline. The pilot further stated that apparently the airspeed decreased and the airplane “stalled between five and ten feet above the runway”. The airplane landed hard, slid off the runway onto a glass slope, and came to rest in an upright position. Examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the fuselage, including separation of the empennage section, forward of the vertical stabilizer.

A two-seater, single-engine, experimental aircraft crashed Tuesday at the Animas Air Park south of Durango.  

Two passengers, Robert and Louise Pavicic of Prescott, Ariz., were uninjured in the crash. The accident occurred at 12:35 p.m. as Robert Pavicic was attempting to land from the south end of the runway. 

Pavicic said he was going too slow and was too high and he missed the middle of the runway and skidded off the right side into a grassy area. 

The Pavicic’s were en route from Prescott. They planned to visit Durango for a couple of days before returning home. 

The Lancair Legacy broke apart in several locations, including the tail. 

Both Robert, 65, and Louise Pavicic, 67, walked away from the crash uninjured. Louise Pavicic was good-humored about the bad situation.  Not only were they uninjured, but Louise Pavicic said the jostling may have aligned her spine. “People do have good crashes,” she said. Louise, who is not a pilot, said she was just beginning to feel comfortable flying with her husband, who has been flying since 1967. 

The red-and-white plane was named “Little Lady in Red.” She used to tell her husband it was the only other lady he was allowed to mess around with. On Tuesday, she said: “Bob, you know you just lost your plane, don’t you? And your passenger.” She added: “My heart breaks for him. We’re going to cry it out later.” The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the crash.

Gresham, Oregon: Man struck by Challenger II aircraft - Danny Oothoudt remains in serious condition since Sunday’s incident

Courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office
The Ultralight aircraft was taxiing after landing when one of the wings apparently hit Danny Oothoudt.

A Gresham man is still hospitalized in serious condition after being struck in the head by an ultralight airplane’s wing Sunday afternoon, April 29. 

Danny Oothoudt, a 64-year-old photographer, has been in serious condition at Oregon Health & Science University since the incident, said Tamera Hargens-Bradley, spokeswoman for OHSU.

Washington County sheriff’s deputies around 4:30 p.m. Sunday responded to a report of a man on the ground and unresponsive after being struck by an ultralight airplane on a private runway in the 16500 block of Southwest Meyer Lane in Tigard.

Investigators determined that Timothy Akers, 59, of Portland was taxiing his plane after he landed, and one of the airplane’s wings hit Oothoudt, knocking him unconscious, according to a press release.

Investigators reported the runway is private, made of grass.

It is being used for landings and takeoffs of a Challenger II kit plane, which is classified as “ultralight” because of its small size, a few hundred pounds, and low horsepower, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue transported Oothoudt to OHSU with non-life-threatening injuries. 


No oversight on hang-gliding: Self-regulation fails to prohibit pilots from taking flight

The pilot involved in Saturday's tragic hang-gliding accident near Agassiz, William Johnathan Orders, 50, of Burnaby, is shown in a photo from his website. 

Transport Canada regulates ultralight planes and skydiving, but the sport of hang-gliding is largely unregulated — despite five fatalities across Canada in the past decade, including three in B.C.

And while there’s a body that certifies hang-gliding instructors, the Hang Gliders and Paragliders Association of Canada said it can do nothing to prevent pilots from taking people on flights, even if their membership in the association has been revoked.

William (Jon) Orders, the pilot involved in last weekend’s tragedy, in which a 27-year-old woman became detached from the tandem glider and plunged 300 metres to her death, was an experienced and paid-up member of HPAC.

But Steve Parson, a Canadian pilot who was convicted of manslaughter in New Zealand in 2010 after he failed to hook his female passenger into the glider, is still offering tandem flights on Vancouver Island on his website despite not being a member.

Parson was involved in an accident after he returned to Canada, in which one of his student took off on a solo flight and crashed during his sixth lesson.

HPAC spokesman Jason Warner said he wasn’t too familiar with what happened in New Zealand and could not “confirm or deny” whether Parson — who is no longer a member of HPAC — was still offering flights. Parson did not return phone calls to The Vancouver Sun Monday.

“We’re self-regulated. We can only advise them and tell people what the regulations are,” Warner said. “If they continue to fly, that’s up to them to do it.”

HPAC takes credit for keeping the sport self-regulated, according to its website, which states: “In this age of government regulations, it is significant that hang gliding and paragliding are the least regulated segments of aviation. This is due to the nature of these sports and the unrelenting effort of the HPAC/ACVL to keep these sports free of regulation.”

This means Transport Canada’s aviation regulations do not impose any training requirements for hang-glider or paraglider pilots, nor do they require the pilots to hold a licence or permit. Transport Canada does, however, require that pilots pass a written test known as the HAGAR examination before taking hang-gliders and paragliders into controlled airspace.

Bill Yearwood of the transportation safety board noted there are fewer regulations as the flying craft gets smaller. Big aircraft, for instance, are heavily regulated followed by smaller planes, float planes, private operations, ultralights and hot air balloons.

Ultralight aircraft pilots are required by Transport Canada to get a specialized permit for that purpose and the aircraft must meet certain design specifications. A recreational pilot permit is required for any single-engine aircraft in order for the pilot to transport a passenger.

But those regulations don’t apply to hang-gliders, who wear a harness hooked into a glider, while a passenger is connected to the same wing. The pair then usually run down a short ramp or mountain and as the airspeed increases, the glider lifts them into the air.

HPAC, a non-profit membership organization, provides a national insurance program as well as guidelines for pilots and instructors. This includes requiring instructors to be 18 or older with at least 25 hours air time in either hang-gliding or paragliding. They are also required to have a valid first-aid certificate, complete an instructor certification course and put in another 25 hours assisting a certified instructor.

The RCMP and BC Coroner’s Services are still trying to figure out what went wrong with last weekend’s fatal flight.

Orders, who has 16 years experience and offered tandem flights through his company, Vancouver Hang Gliding, had just launched off Mount Woodside near Agassiz when his passenger, Lenami Godinez, started falling.

Police noted Orders tried to grab the woman and the straps of her harness as she clutched desperately for a hold on the pilot, even clinging to his feet before she plunged 300 metres to her death. Her body was found seven hours later in a clearcut, 20 metres from one of Orders’ shoes.

Orders was charged Monday with obstructing justice in connection with “an allegation that he withheld potential key evidence which could help determine whether he played a role in any wrongdoing.”

In the New Zealand case, Parson, who was considered a Canadian pilot abroad at the time, was charged with manslaughter after he failed to properly hook 23-year-old Greek tourist Eleni Zeri into the hang-glider during a trip in 2003.

In a case eerily similar to what happened at Mount Woodside, the two launched from a site on the Remarkables mountain range, when it was discovered almost immediately that Zeri wasn’t attached to the glider.

As she hung by her hands, Parson tried to hold her, even wrapping his legs around her, but she slipped, falling 200 metres. He had faced 10 years in prison but was instead given community service and ordered to pay $10,000 NZ.

There have been other tragedies involving tandem hang-gliding flights.

In 2002, a pilot and student were being towed by an ultralight on a tandem training flight near Fort Langley when the tow line snapped and the glider spiralled out of control.

William Allen Woloshyniuk, 40, of Coquitlam and his student, Victor Douglas Cox, also 40, of Cumberland on Vancouver Island, both fell 300 metres, struck a tree and died.

Altogether, hang-gliding accidents across Canada between 2002 and 2012 have resulted in two serious injuries and five fatalities, including the three in B.C.

There were two other B.C. fatalities before 2002. Two years earlier, John Ames, a hang-gliding student, had a heart attack in the air. That crash, at the Fort Langley sea plane base, killed Ames and instructor Raymond Smith.