Saturday, May 19, 2012

PANAMA CITY - Jurors: Airport trial wasn't about sand - Attorney says no decision yet on appeal

 PANAMA CITY — Jurors in this month’s marathon airport trial have heard all they care to hear about sand.

Sand dominated the two-and-a-half week trial to determine if Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), manager of the construction project to build the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, was responsible for more than $8 million in excess costs. But, two jurors contacted by The News Herald said sand had little to do with their finding KBR had not been negligent.

“It all boils down to the word ‘negligence,’ and we really had a hard time saying there was negligence on KBR’s part,” jury foreman Joey Segovia told The News Herald after the trial’s conclusion. While he thought KBR was not entirely blameless, he felt the ultimate responsibility was the airport board’s.

Robert Vezina, an attorney representing the airport board, said he would not use the word “surprised” to describe his reaction to the verdict.

“I thought that the evidence was compelling that KBR had breached its contract,” Vezina said.

He thought the evidence to support the Airport Authority’s contention that KBR should have done more to help the airport take advantage of its tax-exempt status when purchasing construction materials was particularly strong, and, compared to the Pond C sand issue, easy to grasp. “I guess I was surprised on that one,” Vezina said.

Of course, David McGee, who handled most of the questioning in KBR’s defense, also believed the evidence supported a verdict for his client.

“Lawyers like to think they make arguments, but the evidence makes the arguments,” he said. “Evidence wins cases.”
Long trial

Segovia and Cindy Burke, another juror on the case, said the experience was tedious, but they were fortunate they were able to adjust their work schedules to minimize the potentially adverse economic impact of spending more than two weeks in a jury box. That wasn’t necessarily the case for other jurors, they said. Jurors included teachers, landscapers and nurses.

“We had a psychiatric nurse,” Segovia joked, “so that was good, in case I went crazy.”

As for the jurors in the case, Vezina said he “felt their pain.”

“It was horrible,” Vezina said of the trial. “I’ve never tried a case that had so much prerecorded testimony.”

KBR’s two primary witnesses never appeared in court. Jeff Dealy and Ray Willett are building another airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where they were deposed earlier this year. Their video depositions were played for the jury, and their testimony took several days.

But for Burke, that testimony was among the most persuasive of any she heard, despite not being able to see their testimony live.

“They didn’t seem to be evasive or trying to hide anything,” Burke said.

That came as no surprise to McGee. He said the case was never about sand.

“The truth is it comes down to people, and these people are world-class people,” McGee said. “I think it’s hard to believe they did what they were accused of.” Dealy and Willett, KBR’s representatives on the ground during the construction of the airport, were accused of withholding the results of testing that showed the sand being used in Pond C was insufficient.

Another key

For Burke, the language in KBR’s contract was another key to understanding the verdict. During the trial, McGee repeatedly asked witnesses who were familiar with the contracts to point out where a failure on KBR’s part would absolve builders or designers of their responsibilities. No one did.

“I think KBR, being such a big company, knew how to write a contract to protect themselves,” Burke said.

Segovia said he expected the verdict to be unpopular locally. After all, no one wants to see the home team lose.

“If they were going to string somebody up at the next airport board meeting, that would be me,” said Joey Segovia, the jury foreman. “But that’s OK. I can take it.”

But, he also thought, whatever the verdict, “nobody was going to go broke in all this.” After all, the airport was finished on time. Burke echoed that sentiment.

“None of this felt like a life-or-death decision,” she said. “We kept coming back to the fact that they hadn’t been harmed by it.”

‘Lessons learned’

Segovia said his work involves large construction projects, and on every project there are mistakes and lessons learned. He said Phoenix Construction, whose owner James Finch did not return a call seeking comment on the verdict, did a fine job, and he wanted to make one point clear.

“I don’t want anybody to think that there’s anything wrong with that airport,” he said. “Hopefully, everyone can put this behind them and chalk up these lessons learned.”

Vezina said no decision on an appeal has been made; he had plans to discuss the possibility with airport representatives this week. In the meantime, no one involved in the case expressed anything other than relief to have the trial behind them.

“Let’s just say none of us want to know any more about sand,” Burke said.

Read more:

Plane crashes in O'Fallon, Illinois

Two people were taken to the hospital tonight after their plane crashed in O'Fallon, Illinois.  It happened east of Troy-Scott Road along Oak Hill School Road.  Fire Chief Brent Saunders says he believes an flight instructor and a student pilot were on-board the plane.  Neither appeared to be injured, but were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Rutan VariEze: International Learn to Fly Day - EAA Chapter 1042

Advanced Aviation Program Has Chance To Grow (With Video)


DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---The Lake Superior College Advanced Aviation Program has been around since 2000, but with the arrival of Kestrel Aircraft in Superior this past year and Cirrus Aircraft unveiling their new private jet. 

The program is hoping for a larger movement towards the aviation life.

"What we try to do here is establish students too get an airline job or become a professional pilot," Kevin Korteum, Director at the Lake Superior College's Advanced Aviation Center said.

"What we're trying to do is encourage folks not only if they think they want the college program, or if it's a continuing ed," Korteum said. "We want to tell the community that we have a whole lot of interest in them and hopefully they have an interest in flying."

With Kestral making a presence known in Superior, and AAR Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul group coming to Duluth, interest is hopefully an understatement for people seeking jobs in the aviation industry.

"I've always like planes," Sergey Usovich, an LSC student said. "I've always watched them fly through the sky and the little streaks they left, and I guess that was what got me interested. Just the general amusement and bewilderment of airplanes and how they fly and operate."

Students like Sergey are entering the aviation workforce at an opportune time according to job analysts.

"Right now it's terrific," Kortuem said. "Every analyst that I've been reading about says that the airlines are going to be hiring between 20 and 23,000 pilots every year from now until 2030."

Those are good odds for the 12 graduates that walked the stage this past week for the program, who most say are finding positions.

"We're happy to say that their really finding jobs....and really the placements been very good and we're happy about that because it's quite a commitment to become a professional pilot", commented Kortuem.

And for those who are unsure of taking the flight path, Sergey who now has to log 1500 flying hours says that you just have to jump in.

"I'd say start as early as you can, because the earlier you start the more time you have to plan it all out and figure out what you want to do with your life," Usovich said. "Don't be afraid to jump in. Hop into a simulator, or go to an open house and just get flying as early as you can and get that experience under way."

Recent graduates from the Aviation Program have received jobs within the agricultural departments and also in flight instruction.

Story and video:

Long Island Residents Want To Silence Local Air Traffic

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) – Long Island is under a constant barrage of airplane noise, according to Len Schier of Quiet Skies.

“It’s not just one plane flying over, we could deal with that, but it, it’s every thirty seconds a minute, a plane comes over and it goes on for hours at a time,” he told WCBS 880′s Jim Smith.

WCBS 880 Reporter Jim Smith spoke with advocates…

Residents living near John F Kennedy airport will attend a meeting at Malverne Village Hall on Monday night to continue their fight for peace and quiet.

“It will never revert back to where it was, uh, and it will only get worse, and we’re trying to energize the people to recognize that,” said Schier.

There will be a representative from the Port Authority at the meeting to speak with residents. There is also a special hotline being set up to field noise complaints.

Listen to audio:

Up close and personal with Cape Air pilot Jameson Hilliard

Cape Air pilot Jameson Hilliard.
Alan Rogers | The Southern

 •  Story by Adam Testa. 

Jameson Hilliard remembers his first time on an airplane, when the pilot invited him and his brother to look at the cockpit.

What began as a childhood fascination has become a career for Hilliard, now a pilot with Cape Air. But his journey took him many routes before landing with the airline. He has also managed a flight training program and delivered new planes to customers.

No matter the job of the time, Hilliard was just happy to be living his childhood dream, soaring the open skies. For the Iowa native, earning a spot with Cape Air last September was the best possible scenario.

While flying small planes might not seem as impressive as commandeering a massive jetliner, Hilliard is happy with the opportunities offered by the airline. His flights are all round-trip, meaning he starts and ends each day at home; he has more direct contact with passengers; and, there are plenty of chances to move around the country and up the corporate ladder.

What one sees most with a smaller airline, such as Cape Air, is a sense of family and teamwork. Everyone from pilots to baggage handlers to ticket counter employees work together to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.

“To me, it’s really satisfying,” Hilliard said. “That’s one of the coolest things about working for an airline — that teamwork and being a part of it. I just wish the passengers could see it.”

— Adam Testa


Cape Air uses exclusively Cessna 402 aircraft, which are now out of production. The 10-passenger vessels cruise at 170 mph at altitudes between 4,000 and 5,000 feet. A typical flight from Marion to St. Louis takes 45 minutes.

The airline operates a fleet of more than 60 aircraft with up to 850 flights a day in high-traffic season, earning it the title of world’s largest Cessna 402 operator.

Flip Book

This book contains maps and instrument-only approach guidelines for all public airports in Illinois and Wisconsin. If the weather is bad and visibility is low, pilots can use these maps to plan their landings. The book is open to the page showing Williamson County Regional Airport in Marion.

Bound Book

This book, specific to Cape Air, covers detailed information for all airports used by the airline, such as where to park the plane, baggage handling locations and contact information for local airline officials.


While many associate a pilot’s headset communication with air traffic controllers, it also allows the pilot to remain in contact with airline officials. Pilots are able to make special arrangements for passengers, such as having a wheelchair available at the terminal or arranging for a shuttle to be on site to help a passenger make a connecting flight. ‘A lot of customer service requests go through the radio,’ Hilliard said.


These engine controls are known to pilots as the ‘throttle quadrant.’ The two knobs on the left are the throttle, which acts similarly to an accelerator in an automobile.

The middle levers, the smaller ones with black handles, are the propeller control knobs. These change the pitch of the propeller blades to gain efficiency in flight.

The red knobs on the right are the mixture controls, which affect the ratio of fuel and air mixture.

Most Cape Air flights are single-pilot operated, and the front seat is usually filled by a passenger. There are exceptions, though. All pilots starting with the company, no matter their experience, must have a co-pilot for their first 100 hours of flight time.


Up to nine passengers can fly on any given Cape Air flight. While the Midwest has become a new hub for the company, the airline was built around its roots in New England. Last year, Cape Air carried more than 650,000 passengers, making it the largest independent regional airline in the U.S.


Bird’s Eye View is Cape Air’s in-plane magazine, featuring the destinations that it services. This issue focuses on St. Louis.

Weight Calculations

Large airlines use average weights for passengers and luggage when boarding, but with smaller planes, such as a Cessna 402, precision is more of a necessity. Each passenger is asked for his or her weight upon check-in, and then a computer program creates a weight ratio chart like this one used by pilots.

Instrument Panel

A. Commonly referred to as a ‘six-pack,’ these flight instruments provide basic flight information. These meters monitor things like speed, altitude, navigation and attitude, the angle of the aircraft to the horizon. These tools enable pilots to safely navigate the open skies.

B. These devices are called ‘avionics,’ used primarily for navigation and communication.

The left stack features an audio control panel, a Garmin 430 GPS equipped with a two-way radio, and a back-up communications radio.

In the middle is a weather radio, allowing pilots to navigate around rough spots of weather.

On the right are two transponders, which send out information to air traffic controllers.

Story and photos:

Destin, Florida: Helicopter damaged during emergency landing

DESTIN — The back end of a helicopter on a tourism flight broke off Saturday afternoon when the pilot made an emergency landing in a sand pit behind the Days Inn. None of the three people onboard were injured, Destin Fire Batallion Chief Mike Urenda said. 

 The pilot of the privately-owned Robinson R44 Raven helicopter made a hard landing onto the sand behind the motel on U.S. Highway 98 about 3:45 p.m., Urenda said.

The cause of the crash was likely mechanical.

The back end of the helicopter broke off and the propeller was damaged. The fuselage remained in tact and the pilot and passengers were able to exit through the helicopter doors.

A small pile of torn metal pieces from the tail were collected from the sand placed next to the helicopter in an empty parking lot after the aircraft was pulled from the sandpit later Saturday afternoon.

"She (the pilot) actually set it down very easily," a Sheriff's Office deputy who was at the scene later Saturday afternoon.

The helicopter did not catch fire, but some fluids leaked out that had to be cleaned up, Urenda said.

The aircraft, owned by Timberview Helicopters, flies out of the Destin Airport and was taking two people on a commercial sightseeing trip, according to officials with the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the fire department.

“The people were a little shaken up, but that's it,” Urenda said. “I would be, too.”

The Sheriff's Office contacted the National Transportation Safety Board, but officials declined to come to the site of the crash because there were no injuries. They released the aircraft back to the owner.

Ben Welborn, of Mobile, was staying with a friend at the Days Inn and stood on the balcony surveying the wreckage later Saturday afternoon. Both work offshore and have attended extensive helicopter training, he said.

"It appears to be a textbook emergency landing," Welborn said. "As bad as it was, it was handled properly and professionally for nobody to get hurt. The main unit was in tact, it didn't land in the water, it didn't hit a condo. I think the pilot did the job and did it well."


Titan Tornado II (built by David L. Dial), N158TX: Fatal accident occurred May 19, 2012 in Checotah, Oklahoma

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary -   National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA307 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2012 in Checotah, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/10/2015
Aircraft: DIAL DAVID L TITAN TORNADO II, registration: N158TX
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

After takeoff, the airplane leveled off about 100 ft above ground level; accelerated; made a steep, nearly vertical, nose-up climb; and then sharply banked left. The airplane then suddenly stalled and “nose-dived” into the ground. A witness reported that, in the past, he and his neighbors had frequently seen the pilot perform this type of maneuver. One person reported that, in the past, the pilot seemed to enjoy “showing off” for people when he was flying. 

Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. Federal Aviation Administration records showed that the pilot did not hold a valid pilot certificate and that his previously issued student pilot certificate had expired in 2003. Toxicological testing detected low levels of methamphetamine in the pilot’s cavity blood and urine, indicating that the pilot took some form of the drug before the crash. However, insufficient evidence was available to determine whether the drug had been medically prescribed or was being used recreationally. Thus, it could not be determined if the pilot’s performance was impaired by either the drug, an underlying medical condition, or withdrawal symptoms at the time of the flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noncertificated pilot's loss of airplane control while maneuvering during initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s ostentatious display.


On May 19, 2012, about 1600 central daylight time, a David L. Dial, Titan Tornado II, single engine land airplane, N158TX, impacted terrain during initial climb after takeoff from a rural private airport near Checotah, Oklahoma. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan was not filed. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing for a local flight.

Several witnesses reported the airplane had passed the departure end of the runway after take-off, when it leveled off about 100 feet above ground level, accelerated, and suddenly made a steep, nearly vertical, nose-up climb. The airplane then banked to the left to turn northbound. While in the left bank the right wing tip came up "very high", the airplane banked and turned even tighter and the airplane suddenly "nose-dived" into the ground.

Several witnesses reported that in the past they had frequently seen the pilot fly by fast at a very low altitude then pull the nose up steeply, do a sharp turn and come back flying back in the opposite direction at high speed and low to the ground. Another person who was not a witness reported that he was not surprised that the pilot had an accident because in the past he seemed to enjoy "showing off" for people when he was flying.


The pilot, age 42, did not hold a currently valid pilot certificate. He was first issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) student pilot certificate and medical certificate without restriction in 1996, which expired in 1998. He was issued another student pilot certificate on August 17, 2001, which expired on September 1, 2003.

The pilot's logbook and other flight records were not available for examination. His pilot experience could not be determined.

Although the pilot did not hold a current medical certificate he was flying an airplane that met the definition of light sport aircraft. The FAA's medical certificate requirement for operating light sport aircraft requires only a valid driver's license.


The two-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear, amateur built airplane, serial number (s/n) D95EA81C0HK0158, was manufactured in 1998. It was powered by a Rotax 912UL 80-horsepower engine, s/n 4152685, manufactured in 1994. The rear mounted "pusher" engine drove a Warp Drive, model R 3661, ground-adjustable composite propeller.

FAA records show that an airworthiness certificate in experimental category (amateur built) was issued on November 4, 1998. The airplane was registered and an FAA registration certificate was issued to the pilot on August 19, 2008. An actual aircraft weight and balance record was provided to the FAA by the original builder on October 18, 1998, showed that the actual empty weight was then 514 pounds. The kit builder's specifications showed the recommended maximum gross weight as 1,000 pounds.

No aircraft logbooks or maintenance records were available for examination and the flight hours of either the airplane or engine could not be determined.


The closest official weather observation station was at Muskogee, Oklahoma (MKO), about 15 nautical miles northeast from the accident site. At 1553 the automated weather observing system at MKO reported wind from 160 degrees at 18 knots, gusting to 24 knots, visibility of 10 miles, clear of clouds, temperature 30 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 13 degrees C, with an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of Mercury.


There was no record of any radio communications or radar contact with the accident airplane.


The unnamed private landing strip was located about 3 miles west of the center of Checotah, Oklahoma, at an estimated elevation of about 640 feet above mean sea level. A single grass runway 18 – 36 was observed. It was estimated to be about 1,200 feet long by about 50 feet wide and appeared to be maintained as an airport and in regular use.

The south end of the runway was located on the immediate north edge of U. S. Highway 266 which was oriented east-west. Single-phase electric power distribution lines about 30 feet above ground level were on the north side and parallel to the highway. The power lines were marked with orange balls where they crossed the extended runway center line.

There were no runway markings at the airport, no evidence of a wind-sock or other wind indicator, and no navigational aids or air traffic control services associated with the airport. FAA records do not show that the operator had ever registered the airport as required by 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 157.


An examination of the wreckage at the scene showed the airplane had come to rest upright in a flat grassy field about 1,000 feet southeast of the south end of runway 18 of a private landing strip. The nose of the fuselage was oriented generally to the south and the wings were oriented generally east-west. There was evidence of a substantial fuel spill at the accident scene, but there was no postimpact fire. Emergency responders reported the pilot had been secured by a 4-point seat belt and shoulder harness safety restraint system.

An impact crater about six inches deep corresponded to impact compression damage on the aircraft nose. Ground scars in front of the wings corresponded to the impact damage on the leading edges of the wings. The left main gear leg was bent aft and the cockpit was impact compressed to the rear.

Both wings displayed leading edge compression damage consistent with a terrain impact of about 40 degrees nose down. Both wings had structural deformation. The impact damage on the left wing tip was slightly more severe than the damage to the right wing tip. The empennage tube displayed "scorpion tail" bending at the point where it exited the rear of the lower fuselage. The elevator was bent and displayed evidence of substantial damage. The vertical fin and rudder did not show obvious evidence of damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed for the ailerons, elevator, and rudder.

Except for the outboard half of one propeller blade found about 50 feet to the west, all portions of the airplane were present at the scene. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine output shaft. Both ailerons and flaps remained attached. The tail surfaces including elevator and rudder remained attached. The needle on the airspeed indicator was observed to be impact frozen at 64 miles per hour. Impact damage prevented examination of any other instrument indications.

The engine, mounted on the top rear of the fuselage, was almost completely separated from its mounts. There was evidence of an old dirty oily mist residue in the engine area and on the tail surfaces and the aft section of the wings. Adequate amounts of engine coolant and engine oil were observed. There was no evidence of engine thermal distress or lubrication distress. The aircraft fuel tank was observed to still contain about a half tank of fuel.

The examination of the wreckage found no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The autopsy report attributed the pilot's death to "internal injuries due to blunt force trauma," and stated the manner of death to be an "accident".

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA, Aeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology report stated: NO CYANIDE detected in Blood (Cavity); NO ETHANOL detected in Urine.

The following additional findings were noted:

0.059 (ug/ml, ug/g) Amphetamine detected in Urine
0.121 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in Urine
0.007 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in Blood

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chief Medical Officer reviewed the report narrative, the autopsy report, the toxicology results, the pilot's FAA airman medical certification file, and other documents.

The pilot was first issued an FAA student pilot certificate and medical certificate without restriction in 1996. In 2001 he again applied for an FAA student pilot certificate and medical certificate and was initially deferred for a concern about his visual field of view. His vision was subsequently evaluated by an ophthalmologist and found to be essentially normal. The pilot's FAA student certificate and third class medical certificate was then issued without restriction. In 2001, at the time of his medical certificate application the pilot did not report any total flight hours.

According to the autopsy, the cause of death was internal injuries due to blunt force trauma; the manner of death was accident. No significant natural disease was identified by the pathologist.
Toxicology testing by the medical examiner did not identify any drugs or alcohol. Toxicology testing by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute identified 0.007ug/ml of methamphetamine in cavity blood and 0.121ug/ml in urine as well as 0.059ug/ml of its primary metabolite, amphetamine, in urine. No ethanol was detected.

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance and is sometimes used medically to treat ADHD, ADD and narcolepsy. It is unknown whether the pilot was being medically treated for any of those conditions because the investigator-in-charge was not able to contact any of the pilot's medical providers or to examine the pilot's medical records.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA30714 
CFR Part 91: General Aviation 
 Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2012 in Checotah, OK
Aircraft: DIAL DAVID L TITAN TORNADO II, registration: N158TX
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

On May 19, 2012, about 1600 central daylight time, a Dial David L, Titan Tornado II, single engine land airplane, N158TX, impacted terrain during initial climb after takeoff from a rural private airport near Checotah, Oklahoma. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan was not filed. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing for a local flight.

Several witnesses reported the airplane had passed the departure end of the runway after take-off, when it leveled off about 100 feet above ground level, flew for a short distance, and suddenly entered a steeper than normal left turn. The airplane completed a turn of more than 180 degrees when witnesses heard the engine "rev up" just before the airplane had a nearly vertical impact with terrain. There was a substantial fuel spill, but no postimpact fire.

The 1553 surface weather observation at Davis Field Airport (KMKO), Muskogee, Oklahoma, located 15 miles northeast of the accident site, showed the wind from 160 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 24 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear of clouds, temperature 30 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches Hg.

 Doug Hyer, of Checotah.

Photo of the Titan Tornado II before it crashed. 

Scene of the crash. 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that Douglas Hyer, 42, of Checotah died when his small plane took a nose dive in a rural area outside Checotah Saturday. The crash happened just after 4pm South of State Highway 266 in McIntosh County. Hyer was flying a 1998 Titan Tornado II and died at the scene of massive injuries. 

 Witnesses say the plane was heading southbound when it made a turn westbound then took a nose dive into the ground.  OHP suspects mechanical problems but federal investigators will determine the cause of the crash.

Hyer had apparently been flying throughout the day, and had even been flying other people earlier in the day.  He was the only person in the plane when it crashed.  Hyer had a small airstrip near his home.

The plane was registered in Hyer's name in 2008.  FAA records describe the Titan Tornado II as a single engine fixed wing plane, experimental and

McIntosh County, OK - Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop C confirmed for that a plane crashed west of Checotah Saturday afternoon.

 KTUL Storm Chaser Danny Brison reported that OHP troopers, McIntosh County Sheriff deputies, Checotah police, Checotah EMS, Muskogee EMS and Checotah Fire were on the scene.

Authorities cannot release information until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrives. They are en route.

Brison said the plane had one male occupant and that the plane was registered to him.

It was unclear whether the plane had been attempting to land or take off.

Brison said the plane's landing strip was on the south side of State Highway 266 but that the plane crashed on the north side of State Highway 266.

Surf Air on KNBC News4


Los Angeles' NBC4 highlights the Surf Air concept of "putting the glamorous life within your reach." Newscaster Chuck Henry experiences a chartered VIP preview flight.

Cessna 170B, N170ED: Accident occurred May 19, 2012 in Winterville, North Carolina

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report:

National Transportation Safety Board -  Docket And Docket Items:

National Transportation Safety Board  -  Aviation Accident Data Summary:

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA344
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2012 in Winterville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 170B, registration: N170ED
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he was participating in a "bean bag drop" competition at the airfield. He was flying from the left seat while his right-seat passenger was to drop the bean bag onto the target. He overflew the runway at 70 feet above the ground and banked right to see where the bean bag landed. There was a left-to-right crosswind that pushed him farther right than anticipated. As the airplane approached tall trees at the edge of the airfield, the pilot banked further right to avoid them. The airplane stalled, descended, and collided with the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's excessive bank at low altitude, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

The pilot reported that he was participating in a "bean bag drop" competition at the airfield. He was flying from the left seat while his right-seat passenger was to drop the bean bag onto the target. He overflew the runway at 70 feet above the ground and banked right to see where the bean bag landed. There was a left-to-right crosswind that pushed him further right than anticipated. As he approached tall trees at the edge of the airfield, he banked further right to avoid them. The airplane stalled and continued to sink until it collided with the ground. Structural damage to the fuselage and wings resulted. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane during the accident sequence.

 NTSB Identification: ERA12CA344 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2012 in Winterville, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA 170B, registration: N170ED
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

 The pilot reported that he was participating in a "bean bag drop" competition at the airfield. He was flying from the left seat while his right-seat passenger was to drop the bean bag onto the target. He overflew the runway at 70 feet above the ground and banked right to see where the bean bag landed. There was a left-to-right crosswind that pushed him further right than anticipated. As he approached tall trees at the edge of the airfield, he banked further right to avoid them. The airplane stalled and continued to sink until it collided with the ground. Structural damage to the fuselage and wings resulted. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane during the accident sequence.

A single-engine plane crashed in the woods behind a County Home Road home Saturday afternoon and resulted in minor injuries, a State Highway Patrol official said.

Two Burgaw men were in the Cessna 170B aircraft when it crashed shortly before 2 p.m. after departing the South Oaks Aerodome at 6440 County Home Road, Sgt. William Crane of the State Highway Patrol said.

"The airplane was taking off from the airport," Sgt. Crane said. "The co-pilot said they were banking right and the next thing he knew they were on the ground."

The plane crashed into the woods behind a home at 6606 County Home Road.
The pilot, Al Highsmith, was taken to Vidant Medical Center for treatment but had minor injuries, according to Pitt County Emergency Management Director Noel Lee.

"They were both up walking around," Lee said of Highsmith and the second occupant, 25-year-old Shane Caison.

Caison said he didn't know what went wrong.

"I was just sightseeing," he said. "He made a turn, and the next thing I knew I was looking at pine trees."

Crane said it appeared the plane clipped a tree just prior to going down, but he didn't believe that to be the cause of the crash.

Highsmith and Caison were lucky, Crane and Lee said.

"This is not something that happens often," Lee said. He said the last crash in this area occurred last year.

Ayden Fire, Ayden Rescue, the State Highway Patrol, the Pitt County Sheriff's Office and Pitt County Emergency Management responded to the scene, Lee said.

He said the Federal Aviation Administration had been contacted and would be handling the investigation.

WINTERVILLE, N.C. - State Highway Patrol officers tell 9 On Your Side two people suffered minor injuries after their small plane crashed near County Home Road. 

 Local Fire and EMS crews were dispatched to the scene shortly before 2 p.m.

Passenger, 25-year-old Shane Caison, says Al Highsmith, who Caison says is in his 50s, was flying the plane. Both men are from Burgaw and were "flying around" after taking off from South Oaks Aerodrome.

Both escaped from the plane with minor injuries.  Caison told our crews at the scene they were flying a four-passenger Cessna.  He says he thinks the plane is totaled.

Caison says he's "not sure what went wrong," but that Highsmith has been a pilot for more than 20 years.

"The plane was taking off from the private airport right behind us, and it was banking to the right, and the copilot says he doesn't know what happened after that," confirmed Highway Patrol Sgt. William Crane, who investigated the crash.

Emergency responders transported Highsmith to Vidant Medical Center for possible stitches in his head.

Mooney M20C, N2610W: Accident occurred May 19, 2012 in Pembroke Pines, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA348 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2012 in Pembroke Pines, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/15/2012
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N2610W
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the airplane had flown about 4 hours, 25 minutes, including two takeoffs and climbs, since its last fueling. When the airplane was about 3 miles from the destination airport at 1,200 feet above ground level, the engine lost all power. The fuel selector was positioned to the left main fuel tank when the power loss occurred. The pilot moved the selector to the right main fuel tank, but the engine did not regain power. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a road. During the landing, he veered left to avoid an automobile and the left wing impacted a median. The airplane spun 180 degrees and came to rest upright. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failure that would have precluded normal operation; however, there was impact-related damage to both wings. The left main fuel tank was intact and did not contain any fuel. Although the top of the right main fuel tank had been compromised, there was no evidence that fuel had leaked from that tank. About 1/2 gallon of fuel was found in the right main fuel tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power during approach due to fuel exhaustion.

The pilot reported that the airplane had been flying about 4 hours, 25 minutes since its last fueling, which included two takeoffs and climbs. Toward the end of a long cross-country flight, during approach to the destination airport, the engine lost all power. At that time, the airplane was approximately 3 miles from the destination airport at 1,200 feet above ground level. The fuel selector was positioned to the left main fuel tank when the power loss occurred. The pilot moved it to the right main fuel tank, but the engine did not regain power. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a road. During the landing, he had to veer left to avoid an automobile and the left wing impacted a median. The airplane spun 180 degrees and came to rest upright. Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to both wings. The inspector noted that the left wing fuel tank was intact and did not contain any fuel. The right wing fuel tank had been compromised; however, it was only compromised on the top of the tank and no fuel leaked from the right main fuel tank. The inspector observed approximately 1/2 gallon of fuel in the right main fuel tank. The inspector did not observe and mechanical malfunctions that would have contributed to the loss of engine power, nor did the pilot report any.

Photographer: WPTV

Mooney M20C, N2610W on Sheridan Street and Pine Island

A small plane in distress made a forced landing on a Cooper City roadway Saturday afternoon, and the two people aboard managed to walk away with no serious injuries.

The single engine plane was coming from Georgia and heading to North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines when it landed near the intersection of Pine Island Road and Sheridan Street on Saturday at 12:17 p.m.  Saturday, Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said.

Along with the pilot, there was one passenger aboard the plane.

The single engine plane, an N2610w, was pretty close to the airport when the pilot lost power and made the landing, FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said.

The incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, Baker said.

Traffic was closed in the eastbound lane of Sheridan Road while the scene was cleared.

“It’s a good day when an aircraft lands on a roadway anywhere, but specifically on Sheridan Street, in the weather we’re having and with the traffic other there and end up with no injuries,’’ said Tom Gallagher, a public information officer for Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue at the scene.

The pilot of the plane was identified as William McConnell, 68, of Clarksville, Ga., and the passenger was  James Avanaugh, 54, of Athens, Ga.

Witnesses said they were surprised to see the plane landing on the busy street.

Daniel Bedgood was mowing his lawn nearby when he heard a loud noise.

“I heard this big boom,’’ said Bedgood. “It’s by the grace of God that they’re not hurt.’’

PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Two people on board a small plane were not injured when they were forced to make an emergency landing on a busy Broward street Saturday afternoon. Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Kathleen Bergen said the single engine Mooney M20C aircraft left Atlanta this morning and was approaching North Perry airport in Hollywood when it suddenly lost power. 

 The pilot was forced to land the plane on its belly at the intersection of North Douglas and Sheridan Street.

Neither the pilot nor his passenger were injured.

Officials are trying to determine what caused the aircraft to lose power.

Sheridan Street is blocked off while the investigation continues and the plane is towed.

Sandpoint Airport (KSZT), Idaho: Silverwing files suit against Bonner County

SANDPOINT — The developers of a fly-in housing development at Sandpoint Airport are suing Bonner County, claiming unfair dealings and unequal treatment. 

 SilverWing at Sandpoint alleges county officials were not forthright about their intentions to relocate a runway and are trying to snuff a long-standing through-the-fence access agreement.

SilverWing filed suit in 1st District Court on May 11. Causes of action include breaching a covenant of good-faith dealings, inverse condemnation and violation of equal protection under the law.

The suit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $10,000 and a jury trial.

The county commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment, although county officials typically do not remark on pending litigation.

SilverWing purchased 18 acres on the west side of the airport and received approval from the city of Sandpoint to develop a 45-unit subdivision featuring hangar homes in 2007. Included in the purchase was a perpetual easement granting access to the airport runway.

The suit alleges that the county knew the Federal Aviation Administration would have to approve of the through-the-fence access agreement, but never obtained the agency’s approval.

Acting under the belief the matter was squared away, SilverWing spent $6.1 million grading home sites, installing utility infrastructure and paving streets, the suit said. SilverWing also spent $500,000 developing a west-side taxiway to serve the development.

The FAA subsequently put the county on notice that the airport was not in compliance with federal grant assurances, partly because of the outstanding access issue.

Meanwhile, the county adopted a revised airport plan that proposed shifting the facility’s runway 60 feet to the west so the airport could accommodate larger aircraft, the suit alleges.

An airport official allegedly assured SilverWing the county had no real intention of upgrading the airport to a higher design standard. But in 2011 the county advised SilverWing it would have to rip up and relocate its taxiway to make way for the runway shift.

SilverWing contends the shift would encroach on some of the development’s most valuable lots and the ongoing FAA compliance issue is thwarting efforts to attract buyers.

The suit alleges that SilverWing is being unfairly singled out because the county is trying to extinguish its access agreement, but not meddling with other similar access agreements on the west side of the airport.

SilverWing has so far invested $15 million in the development, the suit said.

Wheel Comes Off Plane At Jean Airport (0L7), Nevada

LAS VEGAS -- According to the Clark County Fire Department a small plane had a rough landing at the Jean Airport just south of Las Vegas.

The accident happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday when a wheel popped off the plane as it was landing.

Fire officials say there was minor damage to the plane.

No one was injured in the accident.

Chinese firm leased obsolete aircraft for Air Tanzania

ATCL’s Dash 8-300 aircraft that skidded off the runway at Kigoma airport

China Sonangol International Holdings Ltd, the Chinese government investment firm, has been plunged into fresh controversy following revelation that it procured obsolete aircraft for the Tanzanian flag carrier.

One of the three aircraft purchased by China Sonangol, a Dash 8 300 series operated by Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd (ATCL) crashed in April at Kigoma Airport in western Tanzania, injuring 35 passengers and four crew members. The aircraft is now a write-off.

A detailed report by the Controller and Auditor seen by The EastAfrican last week says that China Sonangol, as the lead investor in ATCL with a 49 per cent stake, in 2007 leased two secondhand aircraft contrary to a memorandum of understanding entered with the government of Tanzania that same year, after the breakup of the partnership with South African Airways in September 2006.

The planes were a Bombardier Dash 8-Q300 and an Airbus A320-214 that was all of 10 years old. In January 2009, the Airbus A320 underwent a Check D, also known as a Heavy Maintenance Visit, which is done after every four to five years.

Subsequently in July 2010, the aircraft was returned to the lessor, a Lebanese firm, Wallis Trading Company. The government on paper incurred a loss of $39 million on the lease of the Airbus, which according to the report did not fly. But the report further shows that the debt accumulated from the transactions with the Lebanese firm rose to Tsh322 billion ($200 million), enough to purchase three brand new Airbuses of the same series. According to Airbus Aircraft 2012 Average List prices, the purchase order price of a brand new Airbus A320 series is $88.3 million.

Controller and Auditor General Ludovick Utouh says that the government involvement in business decision making at ATCL is a serious problem.

Mr Utouh says that the parties involved in the acquisition of two Dash 8-400 series aircraft that are currently being operated by ATCL were the government and China Sonangol, and the airline’s board of directors and management were not part of the negotiations.

“They were only informed of the decision to procure the two aircraft and asked to advance $500,000 as commitment,” he says. Mr Utouh recommends that the government officials who participated in the controversial Airbus A320-214 leasing deal be taken to court for forcing cash-strapped Air Tanzania to sign a dubious deal with the Lebanese company.

“The most serious organisational flaws were absorbed at ATCL. In the first place, ATCL, exists as a private company vide section three of its Articles of Association,” he writes, adding that its governance, organisational structure and business processes are therefore to be viewed from a private company perspective rather than that of a public company.

The CAG’s report also notes that ATCL has for the past year been operating without a board of directors to oversee its activities. When the previous board of directors’ tenure expired in March 2010, another board was not constituted until August 2010, when the government extended the tenure of the old board to March 31, 2011. “Therefore, since April 2011 to the date of this report, ATCL has had no board of directors in place,” said the report.

“The government should take appropriate action to restructure ATCL by providing it with adequate working capital,” says Mr Utouh.

Gold Beach Municipal Airport (4S1), Oregon: Taxiway Rehabilitation project

  • Description: The work contemplated consists of, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. Reconstruct Parallel Taxiway
    2. Construct new South Run-up Apron
    3. Perform subgrade exploration, 10 feet below existing taxiway
    4. Install edge drainage system
  • Bid Date: 6/5/12, 1:00 pm PST
  • Walk Thru: 5/24/12, 1:00 pm PST MAP
  • Price: Purchase Prints or Free File Download
  • Refundable: No
  • Project Contact: Architect
  • Addenda: To Be Determined
  • Host: ARC-Portland (503) 227-3424

Bravo Lima Formation Piper PA 18 Flugschau air show Klassikwelt Bodensee

Video: Boeing 737 ND Main Landing Gear Change

May 18, 2012 by Jeffrey Barkes 
This video shows a 737 ND Main Landing Gear Change with the 'Omni Arm' from D Check Developments.

Video: Boeing 737 NG Nose Landing Gear Change

 May 17, 2012 by Jeffrey Barkes 
This video shows a 737 NG Nose Landing Gear Change with D Check Development's "Omni Arm".

Celebration Video: "Passed checkride and new Cirrus SR22 GTS" Congratulations! Now the fun begins!

 May 18, 2012 by CirrusSR20Pilot 
"I am pleased to report that I passed my Private Pilot SEL practical test yesterday in a rented SR20, and so I am officially certified! I celebrated by visiting my new (to me) Cirrus SR22 GTS. I am planning to begin training for the Instrument Rating in my new airplane and also LOTS of fun flying !"

Friday, May 18, 2012

North Central State Airport, Rhode Island: Aviation fuel delivery route changes

SMITHFIELD - Aviation fuel will no longer be delivered to North Central state airport over a long stretch of Limerock Road, a route that was criticized last year by state Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. as being potentially dangerous.

In response to the route change, Tassoni has withdrawn a bill he introduced in the current legislative session that would have banned such deliveries on the residential street.

While agreeing to a new delivery route involving mostly major highways, the corporation left intact its plan - also criticized by Tassoni and others - to move the airport's aviation fuel tanks closer to Limerock Road as part of a 20-year master plan for the airport.

The plan to relocate the two tanks from near the runways to a point about a quarter-mile from Limerock Road drew flak at a public hearing last October. Several local officials, including Tassoni, said a spill would send fuel into feeders for some of the community's major waterways, including Georgiaville Pond and Slack's Reservoir.

It was at the hearing that Tassoni said he first learned that the twice-monthly deliveries of fuel used Limerock and Jenckes Hill roads.

In April 18 letters to Tassoni and Senate Majority Leader Dominick L. Ruggerio, Airport Corporation CEO Kevin A. Dillon said the new delivery route would send fuel trucks from Route 295 to Routes 99 and 126, and then to Albion Road and to only a short portion of Limerock Road.

According to Tassoni, the trucks formerly used a Route 295 exit to Route 7 and then took a much longer stretch of Limerock Road.

Tassoni said he still opposes relocation of the 10,000-gallon tanks, one containing jet fuel and the other gas for piston-driven aircraft at North Central, which straddles the Smithfield-Lincoln town line.

At the hearing, Tassoni, who represents Smithfield and North Smithfield, said the new site is significantly closer to Limerock Road than the quarter mile estimated by the corporation, which now has officially adopted the airport master plan.

Also objecting to the tank relocation last year was Stephen A. Archambault, who is seeking the Senate seat that fellow Democrat Tassoni will vacate after the coming election, and Town Councilman Ronald Manni.

A consultant for the Airport Corporation said at the hearing the tanks are being moved so delivery trucks don't cross the paths of aircraft.

He said alternative sites would require severe and expensive grading, adding that safety precautions provided in the relocation plan include a containment area and spill alarms around the dual-walled tanks.

At the time, Manni argued that safety concerns should take precedence over the cost of using alternate sites further from Limerock Road.

Patti Goldstein, the Airport Corporation's vice president for public relations, said it is not yet known when the tanks would be moved.

The airport master plan calls for some $27million in improvements over two decades, none of which involve runway extensions to accommodate larger aircraft.

The plan anticipates that planes using North Central will continue to be those with approach speeds of up to 140 miles per hour and with wingspans of from 49 to 79 feet.

Flight patterns will remain unchanged.

North Central, where some 116 planes are based, accommodates single- and twin-engine piston aircraft and small to medium-sized jets. It has no control tower and does not service commercial passenger airlines.

The airport's master plan calls for enhancement of instrument guidance, rehabilitation of taxiways, improved sewerage, redeveloping the old airport terminal possibly to include a restaurant, and construction of new hangars with private investment money.

The master plan's consultant said at the public hearing that studies indicated the planned work would have no significant negative effects on rivers or wildlife.

Feds say pilot tried to bring gun on plane in New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - An airline pilot is accused of trying to board a flight at Buffalo for New York City with a loaded revolver in his bag, and authorities believe he'd been flying with it for two days. 

 The U.S. Attorney's Office charged 52-year-old Brett Dieter of Barbersville, Va., with possessing a concealed firearm. A screener spotted the .357 Magnum before Dieter boarded Friday at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Dieter was to pilot a Piedmont Airlines flight to LaGuardia International Airport.

Investigators believe Dieter had been flying with the gun since Wednesday, when he flew from Charlottesville, Va., to New York City without having his bag X-rayed. He'd made seven flights since.

Dieter appeared without a lawyer in court. He's due back May 23. He couldn't be reached by phone.

Microlight: Accident occurred May 18, 2012 near the town of West Wyalong

TWO men have made a miraculous escape from a light aircraft after it crashed into a paddock near West Wyalong yesterday.

Just before 8.30am, emergency services were called to a paddock off Wargin Road to the town’s south, when the microlight aircraft crashed shortly after take-off.

The plane, carrying a 35-year-old pilot and his 27-year-old passenger, reached a height of 50 metres before it plummeted back to ground.

The pilot was trapped for 30 minutes until paramedics and Fire and Rescue NSW could free him from the extensively damaged plane.

Suffering a fractured pelvis and suspected spinal injuries, the pilot was taken to West Wyalong Hospital before being flown to Canberra Hospital by the Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter.

The 27-year-old passenger was treated at West Wyalong Hospital for a leg laceration.

The cause and circumstances surround the incident are now under police investigation.

“We’re investigating to see whether there is any criminal negligence or criminal offences involved in the crash and are looking into the cause,” Griffith police Inspector Stuart Gair said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and other civil aviation authorities were advised of the incident, with the ATSB stating it would not be undertaking any investigation.

In the meantime, police are appealing for anyone who saw the aircraft or the crash to come forward.

Dual G600's Panel Upgrade - Cessna 421C


May 18, 2012 by GoldenEagle24GB 
A slide show of the panel upgrade showing the before and after photos in our Golden Eagle. This was a massive undertaking that consumed 4 months and lots of money, but I am very happy with the end result! What a capable traveling machine!

Owner: Skydiving injuries unusual

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) - After two amateur skydivers were injured in the past two weeks, the owner of that skydiving company is speaking with us about safety.

The owner at Skydive Indianapolis said injuries from parachuting are actually very rare. And the thought of jumping from thousands of feet in the air didn't seem to phase one group of first-time jumpers.

"It looks like you have to be careful and follow what your instructor tells you, but from the movie that they showed us before, the introduction movie, it looks safe if you do everything properly," first-timer Oleksndr Kiavchenko said.

When Kiavchenko and his friends took their first tandem skydiving jump Friday afternoon, he wasn't concerned about his safety, even after learning two people had been injured parachuting in Frankfort over the past two weeks.

"I feel comfortable," he said. "I hope nothing will happen."

And after dropping from a plane, thousands of feet in the air, "nothing" did happen. Aside from an adrenaline rush.

Despite those recent injuries, a smooth day of skydiving Friday was no surprise to owner Bob Dougherty.

"You go 15 years without any injuries, other than scrapes and bruises of course, and then you get two broken legs in two weeks," Dougherty said. "So yeah, it makes you scratch your head a little bit."

Dougherty said in both of those cases, the injured parachutists were jumping on their own for the first time, without a tandem professional. Any time someone makes a solo jump, the company requires them to take an 8-hour course first. Even tandem jumpers must watch an instructional video.

Dougherty said both injured jumpers did not listen to instructions over a radio. He said his experienced instructors can only teach so much.

"My son got his driver's license, he got 100 on the test, but the real test is the first time somebody pulled in front of him, and how he reacts, and that's kind of the same circumstance," he said.

Dougherty claimed that statistically speaking, a jumper is more likely to be injured while driving to and from the facility than while actually skydiving.

Pennsylvania: Three aircraft crashes

Three aircraft crashed in central Pennsylvania within hours of each other on Friday afternoon.  Two of those were in Blair County, one in Huntingdon County.  All three appear to be unrelated.

Two of the crashes involved hang gliders, the other a small plane.

Helicopters searched for one down hang glider off Dry Run Road in Juniata Township in Blair County around 3:30 P.M.  The helicopters located the injured pilot and directed ground rescuers to him.

A hang glider in Huntingdon County had to make an emergency landing.  911 dispatchers say the glider was coming from Mifflin County and had to make the landing in a field in West Township off of Route 305.

The person operating the glider was not hurt.

Emergency dispatchers tell us a small aircraft had to make an emergency landing near old Route 220 Tipton.

The small plane made the landing at about 4:30 Friday afternoon

Emergency crews are on the scene and the roadways in that area closed.

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